I wanted to love this one so badly, but alas! It took me months to get through it (normally I'd just DNF, but I'd already gotten through a good chunk of it my first few readings, and if I get through at least a third of a book, I pretty much always finish it).
I was pretty disappointed by the kind of copaganda presented in this book. It alludes to Daniel having had bad experiences with police (bc the other MC is a cop), but they never really flesh this out and delve deeper into Daniel's complicated feelings surrounding the police and falling in love with an officer. The romance too felt like it came from nowhere, and I didn't see really any of the "falling in love" parts that should come with a romance novel.
In general, the writing style left a lot to be desired and felt very surface level.
Broadly I liked this, it was fun, moving, honest, and thoughtful. I liked the cast of characters surrounding the main couple and wouldn't mind some other stories.
James Petika a police officer in Chicago who has faced gunfights, robberies and the usual problems that police officers face but now he is facing his worst fear, his family. James called his friend Randy for help, his sister is getting married, and his mother wants him to bring a date, a woman, only he is gay. He will be spending six days in Montana helping with the preparations for the wedding until it is over so what is he to do.
There is no woman James can call on for help and how does he act as if the woman is his girlfriend. Randy to the rescue, he has a woman who will fit the bill. When he is introduced to Daniella, he finds himself attracted to the beautiful woman, being attracted to a woman is something he has never experienced now he is wondering if he really is gay. Then, the drag show begins, and the star of the show Lala Traviata is none other than Daniella, yup that was one question answered he is gay.
This book made me laugh out loud so many times, suuuuuuch great humor in the story.
Also a very fresh take on weddings and dates, would’ve never thought of it, definitely recommend for a laugh.
Dragged to the Wedding by Andrew Grey
Fairytale feel to a fake-date trope in which a couple goes to a family wedding. The relationship is fake, the girlfriend is not a girl, the boyfriend is not into girls, and the family is Montana conservative. There are secrets to keep, problems to solve, a wedding to save, family drama, and a come-out for one character that was not as he had ever planned it to be.
* This was an easy-to-read, quick-paced, fun frolic with some big issues alluded to and some that were tackled.
* I loved Daniel-Daniella-Lala in all of his appearances. He was wise, aware, knew himself, took no guff, and was also caring, kind, generous, and a person anyone would want as a friend.
* James, the brother of the bride, grew quite a bit in the story and began to come into his own. I loved his interactions with his sisters and how he became more aware of himself and others.
* Holly and her fiancé were good people and so was little sister Margot.
* Grace, mother of the bride, was someone that may have had a good heart lurking somewhere underneath all of her commandments, expectations, and pushiness…maybe.
* Phillip, father of the groom was…a bit nebulous but spoke his mind from time to time.
* Weston was someone I would never want to meet…anywhere
* Interesting and sometimes “unbelievable” but eye opening and made me think
Did I like this book? Yes
Would I read more by this author? I think so
Thank you to NetGalley and Carina Adores for the ARC – This is my honest review.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was a fun and fast-paced read, with well-developed characters perfectly suited for the chaos that ensued. I appreciated the realistic portrayal of James' parents struggling to accept his sexuality, as it added depth to the story. However, I did feel that there were too many missteps packed into the plot, making it difficult to keep track of the main purpose of the story. That being said, it was a cute and enjoyable read, perfect for those who enjoy quick romances."
James is living two thousand miles away from his family, and this helps him hide his identity as a gay man. He needs a female date when he has to go to his sister’s wedding. Fortunately, he has the help of a drag queen named Lala, whose legal name is Daniel, to help him fake date his way through the wedding festivities.
There wasn't much build-up to the romance. For reasons only the author knows, the first time James and Daniel can have a moment alone after meeting the family is off the screen.
The romance feels off balance because Daniel does everything for James's family. Daniel saves the wedding constantly. Daniel does remark on being the fairy godmother, but mentioning it doesn't make the actions any more unbalanced. It removes any conflict because I know Daniel will fix any problem.
This review is based on an advanced reader copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.
thank you to netgalley for the advanced reading copy. I really enjoyed this and will be getting copies for my shop.
I really should have read the synopsis o this first, because I don't care to read books told from the point of view of a police officer. This was fun at times and heartwarming, but the characters frustrated me for most of the novel.
I feel uber conflicted with this one. We have manly cop James who is out in Chicago but not to his family and friends back home in the Midwest. He needs a date for a wedding and enters a fake dating arrangement with Daniel aka Daniela a femme presenting man and drag queen.
They just need to pull this off for 6 days then both can return to their big city lives. This all sounded cute and funny.
What I struggled with was the uber pushy and Christian mom. She was incredibly overbearing to her adult children. She was a total Karen using the bible to justify her nasty behavior. She was unapologetic in her actions and words. This really rubbed me the wrong way. I know there are women like this. Her character was a bit too real for comfort if that makes sense.
Comedy wise this was giving 90's gay fun. Bird Cage & To Wong Foo. At first it was great but then as certain dangers were highlighted, I started to remember watching both those movies with grown up eyes and how they are actually really sad. Then I got mad because it's 2023 and this gay man was literally fearful of losing everything and that hurt my heart and made me angry. These types of stories SHOULDN'T have to exist anymore, but they do.
Also, I'm not a fan of cop romances. I'm guilty of NOT reading the blurb so I didn't realize James was a cop. For a good 50-60% of the book it was a nonissue, but then certain comments rubbed me the wrong way. Like how they had to keep bringing up his job and suggesting that he's an alpha male because of his job. Little jokes about how he wishes he could pull out his badge and exert power over the smallest of situations. I didn't care for that.
Overall, it was a fun read. I think I'm just too jaded and over analyzed the hell out of certain things. I'm also on my period so yes, we will blame my hormones for getting super emotional when certain aspects of the book triggered an image of Nathan Lane being exposed in Bird Cage and my heart dropping because he had so much love for his son, he was willing to pretend to be a female character rather than himself and that Daniela's character and presence represented the same selfless love and need to appease.
I would recommend this book, but I would definitely do so with content warnings.
MM FAKE DATING, COP, DRAG QUEEN, STRICT CHRISTIAN, HARMFUL LGBT COMMENTS, POLICE BRUTALITY, CLOSETED GAY, COMING OUT, & A SUPER KAREN
“Dragged to the Wedding” by Andrew Grey had the makings of an entertaining MM romance that didn’t totally work for me.
James is a gay Chicago police officer who is not out with his family. He needs to bring a date to his sister’s wedding at his mother’s insistence and hires Daniel for the task. Daniel is a drag performer known as Lala Traviata.
I loved the idea of this book. But the writing lacked some emotional exploration that would take a fantastic idea and engaging characters up to the next level; there was a lack of interior thoughts / feelings that made for a disjointed reading experience.
I also found James’ mother and exploration of midwestern American Christian purity culture to be handled poorly. Mothers as the villain is never a plot device I enjoy, especially with the writing problems in this book. There are so many “bad” parts to the mom, some of which don’t totally make sense. For example, she orders a wedding dress too large for her daughter. I have no idea why – because she thinks her daughter is fat? Because she expected her daughter to be pregnant for the wedding? I honestly don’t know. Yet, it causes a meltdown and Daniel coming to the sewing rescue.
I also thought religion as villain could work if handled better, but it seemed more like a crutch than something explored in a meaningful way (ex., how one can have a meaningful spiritual life and be gay and/or not favour institutionalized faith, etc.).
I hated that James is closeted with his family and the expected plot development did not work for me.Daniel is not described as a trans woman. I really enjoyed that James was attracted to Daniel as either himself, Daniella, or Lala Traviata. There are some expected drag jokes and some stereotypes that I wasn’t crazy about, but I liked the possibility of the relationship between James and Daniel.
Overall, a great premise but not executed well.
I received an ARC of this book, but the review is my own. 2.5/5
A big-hearted and hilarious queer romcom that has a closeted gay man bringing home his secret drag queen boyfriend to pose as his 'girlfriend' for his sister's wedding. Full of heart and humor, this was great on audio and perfect for fans of authors like Sidney Karger and Nicolas DiDomizio. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy in exchange for my honest review!
Dragged to the Wedding is a delightful MM rom com. A closeted gay policeman from Montana living in Chicago goes home for good sisters wedding. What could go wrong you ask? Anything and everything make this a very enjoyable read.
Tw homophobic religious family
I really don’t know how to rate and review this one. The writing wasn’t bad, but it took me a long time to read this one because I wasn’t very interested in our main characters. I liked the ending, though. I wish we saw more of James and Daniel being themselves together. I think the most interesting point for me was when they started to investigate the reverend, but I thought more would have come of it. Overall this was just an okay read for me.
A fun romcom
James is a police officer in Chicago and he has a good life. The only problem is that he needs a date to his sister's wedding and his family doesn't know he's gay. Daniel, a drag queen, is the perfect date because he can also be Lala, a woman his family will accept more easily. The pair go to the wedding as a fake couple to dazzle everyone. What could possibly go wrong?
I thought the premice of this book was really fun and unique and the story in itself did not disappoint. I love the fake-dating trope so much, but when you throw in a drag queen in there, it makes it even more fun. But fun is not the only thing this romcom has to offer. There are also some real, queer, relatable issues that are talked about and developped and I loved reading about those as well. It's my first time reading a book with a drag queen main character and it was very interesting to be in Daniel's shoes. I enjoyed a lot of things about this story and the characters really made an impression on my little queer heart. I loved their relationship, their feelings, their situation and most especially their struggles. It was beautifully written and addictive.
I would definitely recommend this queer romcom!
"Lala knew that beauty was a process - painful and a great deal of work."
TW: queerphobia, violence, sexual content
*Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. Pub date: October 17, 2023
What happens when you RSVP to your sisters wedding that you’re bringing a date (that they think is a woman, when in reality you’re gay) only to have your friend bail? Well, you hire a drag queen of course! This definitely gave some old school wedding romcom vibes and a fake dating trope is always fun, but I wanted more details and relationship development to fully invest in these characters!
[I received a digital arc for an honest review]
Dragged to the Wedding by Andrew Grey is a new standalone MM romance. James is dreading going home to face his conservative church going family for his sister’s wedding. To avoid the pressure of all the single women being pushed his way he takes a chance by bringing drag queen extraordinaire Daniel ‘Daniella Lala Traviata’ Bonafonte. Daniel needs the money while his usual club is being worked on so he agrees to the charade as long as everything stays professional. Unfortunately the two men find themselves thrust into all kinds of wedding chaos, family drama and inconvenient feelings. James is already taking a huge gamble bringing Daniel home so when truths are exposed, will the two see anything beyond just a crazy wedding week.
I was very excited at the premise of this book because: drag queens (check), fake dating trope (check), one bed/forced proximity (check). Unfortunately although this book had the making of a slam dunk for me the characters fell a bit short. James is a grown man and a police officer who is too afraid of his conservative family to be his true self. His fears of losing those he loves is completely understandable but how he approaches his problems left me a little put off. I enjoyed Daniel more. He was authentically himself and refused to bow down to any kind of societal expectation. He was the hero in so many ways for the wedding. Did I believe them as a couple, nope. Unfortunately their connection and even steam didn’t work for me so when strong feelings were expressed it left me scratching my head a bit. Believe me I wanted to enjoy this book but alas it fell short.
2.5 stars for James and Daniel falling for their own charade.
I was prepared for this to be one of the best books of the year for me. We have fake dating, secret identity, going home to Montana, secret hookups, and all of it will be done backwards and in heels.
James' family doesn't know he's gay and to buy some time, he comes up with the idea to take a fake girlfriend to his sister's wedding. He's introduced to a friend of a friend, Daniel, also known as Lala, a drag queen he can't take his eyes off of. "Daniela" agrees to accompany him to this disaster of a wedding. While in Montana as Daniela, a ton of things pop up that end up being corrected by James' girlfriend from the flowers, to the officiant, to completely tailoring the wedding dress at the last minute.
Of course, everything goes wrong but the thing I felt went the most wrong was that I never felt like they clicked emotionally at all. Definitely physical chemistry but they never really seemed to talk about anything. Daniel never really got to be Daniel in the whole mess of a situation and I wanted to see him outside of being on and in character and vulnerable with James.
Forgive my pronouns if they're off - I tried to do she when the character was Daniela or Lala, and he when they were Daniel.
Thank you to Netgalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.
NetGalley ARC Educator 550974
Fans of the Birdcage will love this book. There are common themes but different stories. James needs a date for a wedding, Daniela agrees to accompany him, for a fee of course. No one can predict what happens when Daniela meets James'family.
This one sitting read will pull you in. It's funny, makes you consider your own biases and has a bit of romance thrown in.
James Petika is a Chicago cop, enjoying his anonymity in the big city, half a country away from his intrusive family in Montana. James is out in his personal life, but not to his family, which causes conflict because his mom is always after him to settle down with a nice woman. Now that his younger sister Holly is getting married, James is expected to show up with a plus one–and he doesn’t have anyone to take. His buddy connects James with Daniel Bonafonte, a notable drag queen, who offers to take a job pretending to be his girlfriend while staying with James’ family.
“Daniella” didn’t expect they’d be staying 24/7 with James’ family and need to remain in drag for nearly a week, but James’ mom really wants that closeness. And, well, his mom is meddling with so many of Holly’s wedding plans that James and Daniel have their hands full repairing all the damages she’s wrought. Add in some nasty bridal party members and a crooked preacher, and this visit to the folks may turn into trouble.
One thing I really liked about the story was the family dynamic, where the God-fearing mom has to face the cold truth that she’s alienated her children to the point they don’t want to be around her. James’ internalized homophobia is on full display, and this trip, plus his age and experience, gives him that strength to come to terms with himself, and come clean to his family. He’s so awed by Daniel’s skills, charm, and beautiful soul that he’s captivated by the way Daniel handles all the many crises that interrupt the festivities.
There’s a lot of other stuff happening in the plot, but the love between siblings was a shining beacon, and my favorite part of the story. They have each other’s backs, and that means a lot in this family. Daniel is a great character and I really found myself immersed in his POV chapters, as he’s so pragmatic. His ability to save the day goes beyond the anticipated, so it was surprising how quickly he seemed to give up on himself when things got really contentious. That said, James finally has the chance to be his own hero, and risk his comfortable closet to support Daniel. His choice definitely heralded a happy life for both men, but also made way for reconciliation and further improvement of the familial relationships.
The pacing on the story was great, and this fake relationship romance had all the elements of a wedding disaster rom-com. It’s a fun read with some moments of deeper conflict and an equitable resolution. Definitely recommend.