Taming Groomzilla

80920Title: Taming Groomzilla
Author: E.N. Holland
Publisher: Bristlecone Pine Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Length: Novella / 50 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

A guest review by Kassa

THE BLURB:

Joel Harfner and Luke Townsend, lovers for two years, have just bought their first home together in Scarborough, Maine. In a moment of domestic impetuosity, Joel proposes to Luke, who says yes. Then, to Joel’s surprise, Luke says he wants a wedding with “all the bells and whistles.” Joel, who never expected to be married, suddenly finds himself in the midst of planning a full-scale destination event to be held in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Why Massachusetts? As Joel says, “We can’t get married in Maine — yet — but we are ever hopeful.” Taming Groomzilla tells the story of how Joel and Luke navigate the tribulations of the six months from “Will you marry me?” to “I do.” And while they do seal their union, complete with a kiss, there is more than one twist and turn in store to complicate their journey and keep the reader hilariously entertained. A portion of the profits from the sale of this book will be donated to Maine Freedom to Marry and EqualityMaine, organizations that are fighting to keep same-sex marriage legal in Maine.

THE REVIEW:

A delightful, entertaining story about a very happy gay couple that turns into funny but crazy grooms when planning their wedding. Joel and Luke are moving into their first house together and on the spur of the moment, Joel proposes. Although the proposal starts offhand, the emotion and sentiment involved is very true. Luke wants a real wedding with all the trimmings and soon Joel is overwhelmed with clothing choices (kilts?!), cakes (who knew they were so expensive!), venues (six months, are you nuts??) and through it all, Joel struggles to remember why they’re doing this in the first place. Thankfully the committed couple has enough time together to solidify what is important to them.

This story is wonderfully written with great characterization and often poignant moments of emotion mixed with hilarious planning antics. As an introductory novella from a new author, this shorter story is a true gem. The characters are fully realized and developed. Joel is the first person narrator and has a fun, witty voice as a stereotypical gay hairdresser that is anything but predictable. Both Joel and Luke get caught up in wedding plans and gift registry, injecting a lot of humor and sympathy into the narrative. The fag hag attendants are a perfect touch, especially as Joel stresses over his recent hag-less state.

The occasional overwhelming details of planning a wedding are offset by the solid relationship between the two men. Their love is clearly shown in various small details and gestures. Even without any explicit sex scenes included, the suggestion of a vigorous and satisfying sex life is obvious. Here the author is able to please fans without lengthy graphic scenes by adding tantalizing phrases such as:

“That night we made love and it was hard and fast and more intense and passionate than it had been in awhile—and I loved it. He pounded my ass into the mattress.”

Often the importance of gay marriage is highlighted in subtle but poignant moments. Most especially is a conversation between Joel and his mother. It’s too long to include in its entirety but the emotion is touching and moving. Without needing to preach or argue, the simple truth of the issue is stirringly depicted. Here is only a short excerpt but portrays the sentiment of the scene:

“But there’s another group of people who… while they might not approve, won’t actively fight to prevent you getting married. They ‘tolerate’ you… go ahead and get married, but do it privately and quietly. Don’t put wedding announcements in the paper, don’t have a big, splashy ceremony… and I think those people are just as wrong. Joel, you are my son, and I love you. You are not someone to be ‘tolerated.’”

Fans of the genre will enjoy the story and laugh, perhaps even cry, along with the characters as they plan what they thought would be a simple affair. The clean writing, evocative emotion and creative imagination all deliver a thoroughly engaging and delightful story. The ending is romantic, sweet, and very fitting as life and love is more important than any particular event. For only 60 pages, this story has no missteps, with crisp, clean prose and brings a fresh, entertaining voice to the narrator. You’ll definitely want to pick up a copy.

12 comments

  • Thanks everyone for the comments!! I think everyone will want to get this story – not only because it’s a great comic tale but also supports a great cause. It’s really short so you can bump this to the top of TBR piles without much angst or drama for those other lonely titles. 😀

    Reply
  • I was just thinking yesterday that I’d like to see more comedy in the m/m romance genre. All of my favourite het romance writers have at least a witty style and sense of fun, even when they aren’t writing comedy as such and I’d love to see more of that in m/m. I suppose I should go write some. I have this idea that would work as a comedy drama romance… Anyway, I love comedy and planning a wedding is certainly fertile ground for comic situations!

    Reply
  • This sounds like great fun, Kassa. Two of my gay friends got married recently and one of them had to have all the bells and whistles. He nattered his partner to death for over a year about colours, venues, and a million other details. This books sounds like it’s very similar to their experience. 🙂

    Reply
  • Great review Kassa. I agree with everything you said. This was a great book and I am glad to have contributed to Maine’s equality fight.

    Reply
  • To nichem: as the publisher, I can tell you that Dan Savage even gets a mention in Taming Groomzilla! Joel is a fan of Dan…LOL

    Kassa, thanks for this review. I am thrilled you enjoyed the book so much and I hope many follow your suggestion to “pick up a copy.” I am looking forward to making a very generous donation to Protect Maine Equality/Equality Maine/Maine Freedom to Marry (multiple organizations under one umbrella) in the coming weeks and months.

    For anyone who would like to learn about the issue we are facing in Maine, I have included a precis on the publisher website. You can read more here: http://www.bcpinepress.com/special_release.php

    That same page also has links to buy the book in various ebook formats.

    Thanks to everyone who reads this for your interest and support. It is greatly appreciated!

    Leslie Nicoll, Publisher
    Bristlecone Pine Press
    http://www.bcpinepress.com

    Reply
    • Hi Leslie
      Thanks for coming by. When you sent me the book to review I had it scheduled for this week but then Kassa told me she had already read it and how much she enjoyed it, so she got first dibs.:) I will definitely check out your website to read the article. Lots of luck on the book!

      Reply
  • Great review, Kassa. I saw this book on amazon the other day and was debating about whether to get it or not. I think I need to head back over there and buy it now.

    BTW, if you liked this book, Kassa, you really should try Dan Savage’s The Commitment. Similar theme with the two planning a wedding (and trying to decide whether to even get married at all). It’s based on his true story and is very funny in parts. (And I know I was pimping him on your site the other day too, but it really is a good book!)

    Reply
  • Kassa
    I so want to read this story. It’s on my weekend reading list. As I mentioned to you when we discussed this review, you beat me to the punch by this much.:)

    Reply
  • You don’t too many comedies in the romance genre. Sounds like a fun read Kassa with a good cause behind the sales. Great review, I’ll have to check it out.

    Reply

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