Mini Reviews: Once Upon a Bride & Merrily Ever After by Jenny Holiday

Once Upon a Bride

Author: Jenny Holiday
Series: Bridesmaids Behaving Badly, book 0.5
Publisher: Jenny Holiday (October 9, 2018)
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USA Today bestselling author Jenny Holiday’s hilarious prequel to her acclaimed Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series!

Jay Smith likes to be in control. His every choice, every move, is made with his carefully planned future in mind. Sure, some people think that’s boring. But Jay knows who he is, and he makes no apologies for it. So when the lobby in his accounting firm needs a makeover, Jay takes charge—and quickly determines he needs a designer. What he does not need is a woman who tempts him to break all his long-held rules.

Elise Maxwell needs this job. After cutting off her overbearing, old-money family, she’s determined to establish a successful design business—all on her own. Independent for the first time in her life, Elise isn’t looking for a boyfriend. She certainly doesn’t want someone telling her what to do.

Until she meets Jay…

Merrily Ever After

Author: Jenny Holiday
Series: Bridesmaids Behaving Badly, book 2.5
Publisher: Forever Yours (December 4, 2018)
Goodreads     |     Amazon

Elise Maxwell is loving her first Christmas with her husband, Jay Smith. So far, newlywed life has been filled with laughter and lots of steamy marital “bliss.” But when Elise discovers she’s accidentally, against-all-odds pregnant, happily-ever-after screeches to a halt. Although she sees it as a Christmas miracle, Elise knows her new husband might not agree…

Jay never wanted to be a father. In fact, he’s avoided it his entire life, worried he’d repeat the patterns of his own messed-up childhood. He’s madly in love with Elise and, until now, he thought they were on the same page about not having children. But her surprise pregnancy changes everything. Elise is suddenly committed to parenthood, and Jay knows he can’t lose her. Facing his deepest fears will be difficult, but with a little holiday magic, Jay might be able to prove to Elise that – as a family – they’re destined to live merrily ever after.

The Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series is set up with the bridesmaids falling like dominoes, with the bridesmaid that was the female romantic lead of one book being the bride in the next book, and one of her bridesmaids being the lead of that next book. As such, SOMEONE needed to be the original bride. That original bride was Elise, and since she came off as a total Bridezilla it was really great getting to Elise the Person (rather than Elise the Bridezilla). Her chemistry with Jay is off the charts *amazing*. And their love for board games is just too adorably cute. This is a slowwww burn that is brain melting once it finally takes place, and definitely worth every second of the wait. I love that because Jay is such an honorable (and okay, maybe just alittle bit uptight) guy, their relationship is really built upon a friendship first. It makes for something truly beautiful to experience. 

Once Upon a Bride is book 0.5 in the Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series. It can be read as a stand alone or in any order during the series. P.S. Shout-out for the super-secret insider Jenny Holiday signature grilled cheese scene, LOL. 😀


I’ll admit, I struggled a little bit with Merrily Ever After. This is a novella that is book 2.5 in the Bridesmaids Behaving Badlyseries. Book 0.5, Once Upon a Bride, is the story of how Elisa and Jay get together, while Merrily Ever After is the story how they stay together. It’s definitely much higher angst than any of the other books in the series to date, and I wasn’t quite prepared for that going in. The only thing is, you know it’s a Jenny Holiday romance novel so you KNOW it’s going to have a HEA. (And, come on, the book is called Merrily Ever After.) A large focus of the novella is on the rocky path their marriage goes through, so prepare that box of tissues if you’re a crier (because you’ll probably need it). 

On the other hand, it was so amazingly great to revisit Jay and Elisa again! I love them as a couple, and the secret santa gifts Elise keeps getting (like her “Bridezilla” ornament) are hilarious. Also, how totally like Elise to have a travel edition of Yahtzee in her purse (and how like Jay to find that super sexy). They’re the most adorable, wacky, dorky couple ever, and I love them to pieces. I feel like Elise doesn’t get a lot of time to be a fully fleshed out character with all her wackiness on display as a supporting character in the other books in the series (probably because most people only get to see her perfectionist surface, and not her vulnerable board game loving underbelly), so it’s really wonderful to get to experience that fun-loving and goofy side of this rather straight-laced couple in these novellas.

2 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Once Upon a Bride & Merrily Ever After by Jenny Holiday

  1. I normally am not satisfied after finishing a novella, but I really enjoyed both of these. The second one WAS tough. I wanted to smack Jay a few times, but then he started unpacking his baggage, confronting his demons, and things got much, much better.


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