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HARLEQUIN PRESENTS: Meant to be Yours by Susan Mallery Blog Tour

Full Disclosure: This is my very first blog tour and I’m so excited to kick it off with Susan Mallery’s newest addition to her Happly Inc series. I’ll be totally honest here, this is also my first book by Mallery so this was definitely not read in order haha!

However, I can tell you she’s got a fan in me because I was completely engrossed by her story and her characters and her writing was sheer perfection. I loved every minute of Meant to be yours and I will definitely retrace my steps and read this series as it was intended! And yes, I did go straight to Goodreads after finishing to look her up haha.

“It was the lack of coffee that was going to do him in.”

I fell in love with Jasper and his addiction with coffee and getting things just right. He was obsessed with writing a female character to finish his series and he was determined. I envied and adored the lengths he went to to perfect his companion for his character in his novel.

“What I know about women wouldn’t cover a postage stamp.”

Jasper is one honest fellow and it takes a real man to admit this. He knows his weaknesses right off the bat and one of the hardest things for men to admit is when they’re wrong, so good going Jasper! I especially loved his extensive knowledge of Rory and Lorelai from watching Gilmore Girls in the name of research. His reactions to these female characters displayed in movies and television was hilarious and his investment in their lives was a true treasure to read. I wouldn’t call Jasper soft, by any means but he opened himself up to see their sides of things and his research and relationship with Renee made him value the opposite sex, it made him understand women better and I can’t say that many men would go to such lengths to do that. I know it was for his book but I think it was really much more than that. As a writer I felt an immediate connection with him and introducing Renee as the key to figuring out his female character was an ingenious way to help both of them find love. Plus his anecdote and childlike wonder in the library was so great!

“Honest to God, when this was over, he was never writing a woman again. It was just too difficult.”

His commentary while observing Renee and all others he interacted with while shadowing her was pure gold. It was hilarious and typical man thoughts haha. And it was never casting women in a negative light either, it was as if he was in awe of just how much women know and can do.

“Love meant stepping off an emotional cliff and waiting for someone to catch her so she wouldn’t crash into the ground. What if no one was there? She couldn’t take a chance. If her heart were shattered again, it would never be whole and she didn’t want to be some sad, broken person for the rest of her life. Better to stay as she was. Lonely, yes, but functional.”

For Renee, I admired her precision and motivation to give each couple the perfect wedding. She cared for each and every couple and she worked like a dog to grant every single task whether it be normal or strange. She didn’t judge, instead she valued the concept of someone’s wedding day and what it meant as a couple, but most importantly, she treated it as if it were her own.

The clever addition of companionship with Jasper’s adoption of Koda and then later with Renee’s two cats, Fred and Lucille, just made the animal lover in me tear up. These people are loners, whether it’s obvious like Jasper and his secluded mountain retreat or relaxing after a chaotic day at work like Renee, they don’t have the skills or drives that help create lasting relationships so using pets was a clever way to incorporate a sort of baby step to commitment. They learned to love one another and commit by learning to not be alone and this led them to one another and it was incredibly romantic. It showcased the difficulties people face with relationships and intimacy as well as showing that you don’t automatically know how to do everything just because you’re an adult. Everyone has problems with stuff at any age. You don’t have to marry your high school sweet heart or your childhood friend. The world is constantly going and sometimes it takes us a little longer to find the perfect match. See here I go again, getting all cheesy. This book just hit so many feels throughout! (which is a GREAT thing!- I like things with a little cheese when it comes to romance, and yes I’m someone who loves cheesy, usually lame jokes too haha)

“What’s the best part?’

‘Meeting the readers. It’s hard not to like people willing to line up to tell you how much they love what you do.”

I don’t know if this reflects Mallery’s attitude as an author but I loved this little gem. It made me as a reader feel valued by the author. It was a great touch and one that probably many of us just skipped right over, but I loved it all the same.

“Jasper thought about throwing his laptop out the window, but as always, talked himself down. The urge occurred fairly regularly and so far he’d resisted destroying his computer. No good would come of it, he reminded himself. It wasn’t as if getting rid of the piece of equipment would solve the problem. It wasn’t the keyboard’s fault that he couldn’t write for shit.”

Jasper is so hilariously practical in his frustration. I am so similar, its uncanny, in both practicality and temper haha! And that is definitely something I would say (yup to myself) as an aspiring novelist, who may or may not be attempting NaNoWriMo this November. I am definitely a Jasper. He’s a cheeky and honest loner. I resonated with Jasper’s career and my hopeless romantic self adored Renee’s determination.

“You young people today. Why are you so afraid of commitment? Loving someone is a wonderful thing. I would like to fall in love again at some point. Don’t hide from one of our greatest blessings. The ability to love and be loved is what gives us our soul.”

Verity’s character, I’m not going to lie was a little strange at first. Her gift to communicate with animals was a definite quirk to this town and I understand Renee’s embarrassment towards it. But by the time I finished reading I saw how important it was to the plot and I came to see it as a necessary element. Her character was great too! She provided the perfect nudge to get Renee to start living her life. First with the adoption and then again with realizing her feelings for Jasper. This is a great realistic quote that will definitely leave you gripping a box of tissues!

Don’t be deceived by the cover or the name of this town because this is not a romance that comes instantly and it’s not one that involves two perfectly made humans who have everything figured out. This is a tale about two workaholics who would rather be alone than hurt again and it takes every ounce of themselves to figure out just what they want. It’s a lot of hard work between two very emotionally damaged characters. But I think that’s what I loved most about them. They were created with some real substance. Their thoughts and commentary reflected their imperfect souls and I think it just created a better story.

I was captured by the cheesy, hallmark romance description and yet when I finished I felt like it wasn’t as simple as most of those movies are. It had substance and a relatability that fought off my initial impression and it left me with a perfect but realistic happily ever after. I know, now I sound cheesy but I promise you’ll get what I mean when you read this. It was a great pick me up with a little dash of hot, steamy romance.

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