Monday, February 15, 2010

The Book Stops Here: Swinging on a Star by Janice Thompson

Bella Rossi's life is nearing perfection. She's got the perfect guy, she's running a successful business, and she's about to plan her most ambitious wedding yet; a Renaissance-themed fairy tale come true, complete with period costumes and foods, horse-drawn carriages, and even a castle.

There's just one hitch. The best man just happens to be Brock Benson, Hollywood's hottest and most eligible bachelor. Oh, and did we mention he's staying at the Rossi house to avoid the paparazzi?

With all the pressure surrounding this wedding, Bella's not sure she's going to make it through. Add her starstruck sister, her feuding aunt and uncle, and a trio of large, sequined church ladies with even bigger personalities, and you've got a recipe for disaster--and a lot of laughs.

This hilarious romantic comedy is sure to delight both fans and new readers alike.

My thoughts:

I have read books by Janice Thompson (most recently The Wedding Caper) and I know she's a great story-teller. With that in mind, I had high hopes for Swinging on a Star. And let me say up front that I was not disappointed.

Swinging on a Star is the second book in the Weddings by Bella series. I have not read the first book, Fools Rush In, but I had no trouble following the story or getting involved with the characters. It's impossible to dislike Bella Rossi and her large Italian family. They are quirky, fun, and down-to-earth. Each character brings something unique to the story, from Bella's aunt Rosa, a fabulous cook who lands a gig on The Food Network, to Hollywood star Brock Benson, to the three hilarious full-figured "church ladies." The author does a wonderful job of creating characters that stick with you after the final page.

Even though sweet romances are not my typical first choice, the lighthearted writing and fun storyline held my interest. Bella's relationship with boyfriend, DJ, is well done and sprinkled with romance, affection, true commitment, and lots of kisses. The faith element shines through every page and is in no way "watered down." In other words, readers will have no question of what the author believes. And yes, also included is what some will call a "typical Christianity conversion". This isn't a bad thing, in my opinion. Although I knew it was coming, the transformation was well-crafted and when it happened, my heart jumped at the idea of another soul won to Christ.

The only nitpick I have is Bella's almost too-perfect persona. Besides her eccentric family and the interesting things that happen to her, there doesn't seem to be much character growth. Maybe this was more developed in the first book. I would definitely be interested in finding out. Regardless, it doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the story itself.

Overall, Swinging on a Star is a delightfully fun read that will appeal to anyone who loves lighthearted romance with splashes of humor. And if you have a large quirky family - Italian or not - you'll definitely relate.


Janice Th
ompson is a seasoned romance author and native Texan. An experienced wedding coordinator herself, Thompson brings alive in her books the everyday drama and humor of getting married. She is the author of Fools Rush In and lives in Texas.

Visit Janice online at:

*Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.*

Thanks to Revell for providing me with a copy of this book to review.


Janice Thompson said...

Thanks so much for the sweet review. Yep, you're right! The crux of Bella's character growth took place in that first book when she came into the business as a struggling young entrepreneur! Honestly, though, it's the third and final book in the series where you see some rather startling (and intense) changes in Bella. It all happens while trying to plan several weddings at the same time she's planning her own to D.J. The third book is really funny, but definitely has more of a serious side, particularly in the end. The reason? I felt like Bella needed to go through more than just one more wacky adventure (especially since I was closing out the story in the third book). You'll have to let me know what you think after you read it. :)

Lynda Schab said...

Will do, Janice! I look forward to reading it (and the first one, too) :-)

Andrea said...

Blessings, andrea

Amy Tate said...

Oh that sounds like a great one! I'll add it to my book tower. Thanks!

Faith said...

Lynda, thanks for the review -- mine goes up next week :) Unlike you, I found it difficult to connect with Bella simply because of the 'too-perfect' persona, and it did affect my enjoyment of the book in a significant way.

But thanks so much to Janice for letting us know about the third book! That sounds more up my alley. I hadn't planned on picking up another book in the series, but with that note... I just might :)