So this is a weird feeling. I have liked/loved every Kim Gruenenfelder to date. I finished this book yesterday and absolutely disliked it. I only liked one out of the three characters we are introduced to in the book. We don't get a lot of development for any of the characters except one. The men (except for one) are all terrible people. The main plot (opening a wine bar) is barely in the book. Instead we get a fast forward years later and everything is coming up roses. I thought this have more funny stories about trying to run a business with your best friends, instead of sitting around and complaining and flirting with guys. Bah to this book. Bah humbug.
The three women in this book is Holly (struggling actress), Jessie (not thrilled with her job as an accountant and upset her boyfriend Kevin is not doing the right thing by proposing to her and getting a house together), and Nat (sleeping with her married boss).
FYI, I am not spoiling anything that is not in the synopsis for this book. My own damn fault for not looking at it before I purchased it. But Gruenenfelder was always on my "buy with no reservations list". Not anymore.
First off, I can't stand to read about cheating in a romance novel. Yes, I know it happens in real life, but I love my romance novels to not have cheating terrible ass people in it, with them trying to justify it. This is a key reason why I gave up on reading New Adult books cause there's always a whiff or out and out cheating going on, but people go, but true love and apparently that makes things better.
Second, I hated the whole trope with Jessie and her madness about not getting married with her boyfriend. She reminded me unfortunately of a character in one of Gruenenfelder other books. It just got old. And when she starts to get what she wants, it apparently is not enough cause her boyfriend doesn't like all the same things she does.
Third, the whole wine bar thing just came together too easily. We don't hear about any struggle, any issues with renovations, any problems getting customers. Hell, I was intrigued about the character of Nat trying to be a sommelier but failing at it, cause she didn't have a "nose." Instead we get some bs psychobabble about Nat and her issues via another love interest (I hated that dude) and apparently everything is good.
The only character I felt connected to throughout was Holly. Holly was awkward as anything with her crush, when she found out he was dirt, she was done (or at least partially done). I did like her with the guy she ends up being friends with, Joe. She and him both had a lot of more adult things to get through. Both lost fathers, and for Holly, she is still dealing with the everyday of not having her dad with her. Also reading about her trying to wean herself off of antidepressants made me feel for her too. I could have read a whole book about Holly. I really wish she had been the main character with the other two friends devoted to side characters until they got their own books. Sigh. Whatever.
The writing was not that great. We start in medias res and than we go back to what had the three friends ready to throw in the towel at their jobs. Than we get back to the scene we got during the medias res scene (and I mean exactly) and I seriously got ticked that we got a word for word repeat of something I already read.
The dialogue between characters except for Holly and Joe was not good. I seriously hated Nat and her bullshit rules (hey I have a rule, don't sleep with a married man and act like you got taken advantage of and pretty much until the end of the book you were still trying to be with him) and Jessie who just goes on and on about Giovanni to the point that he doesn't even feel like a real character, just a stand-in for the most perfect guy ever.
The flow was up and down. I tended to like Holly's POV chapters better. There is more meat in her story-line. The other two, nope.
The setting of Echo Park I thought would be really cool to delve into. You don't get that in this book at all.
The ending just made me roll my eyes. At least the way things ended, we won't have to see another book starring any of these people. I was hoping that maybe Gruenenfelder could save things in the end by pulling off what she did with "There's Cake in Your Future" by having a follow-up with the three friends and you getting to see that not everything was wine and roses. But nope, this is most definitely the end.