Miranda Woodruff has given up everything to become the star of a home-building show. So when she discovers that her program could be cancelled, she agrees to let reporter Matthew Knox write about her closely guarded personal life. Desperate to keep her former fiance a secret, can she keep her real and onscreen lives from colliding?
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When Miranda Woodruff's fiance left her three years ago, he left gaps both in her heart and in the backstory of her television show, From the Ground Up. Miranda's on-screen personality has a husband who taught her everything she knows about home building. So when rumors and questions arise about her husband, Miranda agrees to pretend to be married. Finding a pretend husband turns out to be easier than expected. However, when attractive reporter Matthew Knox begins poking around, Miranda finds her on-screen story and her real life both wearing thin. Will Miranda sacrifice everything to save her show? Or will she find that truth really will set her free? Read more in Made to Last by Melissa Tagg.
I enjoyed Made to Last, Melissa Tagg's debut novel. This book had a lot of hype and it took a little longer than I would have liked for the story to “hook” me. However, once I really got into it, the story offered refreshing originality and Tagg's writing style was lovely. Though it's classified as a romantic comedy, Made to Last, has plenty of depth and development. I cheered for the characters as they faced life's challenges and lessons.
Just a heads up to anyone who, like me, is keen on plenty of resolution. The ending was sweet, but there were several unresolved situations and issues. It appears that there will be another book that continues Blake's story. However, from the synopsis I read, it doesn't appear that Miranda and Matthew are a focus of the story. This leads me to assume that those issues will mostly likely not be addressed.
Overall, Made to Last is a sweet and entertaining story. However, I recommend renting before purchasing if you have an issue with stories that lack resolution.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I won a copy of "Made to Last" by Melissa Tagg. I am happy to write a review and give my honest opinion of the book.
While reading about MIranda, Matthew, Blaze, and Robbie I could completely see the movie in the making. I loved the spunk, twist and turns the author uses. I think this is a great novel. You can totally connect with the characters, some you like, some not so much, and some grow on you. You can see how one little "white lie" can snow ball into something so out of control your not sure what to do any more.
I enjoyed the surprises that continue throughout the story. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys spunky, funny, romance novels, even if you don't usually read contemporary ones give this one a try I think it is worth it.
I don't read a lot of contemporary novels, but one of the things that drew me to Made to Last is the premise. It's inspired by an old classic film, Christmas in Connecticut. When I heard that, I knew I wanted to read this story! And even though it is a contemporary book, it reads like a classic. From the quaint setting to the quirky characters, this story had me hooked from the first chapter. I love that Melissa Tagg also continued with the timeless feel by adding additional classic film references throughout the novel. This story might be set in present day, but it could easily be set in another time period. I'm intrigued by this debut novelist! It will be fun to see if her next story has this same classic feel...I have a hunch that it will.
"Made to Last" is a novel that is entertaining, sometimes witty, but still contains a serious thread at its heart. I am excited to see that more contemporary, romance novels are making an appearance on the Christian fiction market. This is a two-person viewpoint novel for which I was thankful. I am not a fan of three or more viewpoints. Melissa Tagg has done an excellent job at keeping the reader's attention constantly with lots of conversation among multiple characters. Also, who in their right mind doesn't love the mountains of Asheville where the setting takes place?
Miranda Woodruff's (love the play-on-words of her last name) television show is possibly being dropped. In order to bring in more viewers and to get the network's attention Miranda goes through with a pretend marriage. A reporter, Matthew Knox, comes on the scene and is required to follow Miranda around and get the inside scoop. In other words, dig up what dirt he can find to save his job. I thought this was going to be a light-hearted comedy. In a way it was, but the further I read the deeper and more serious the book turned. The big themes in this novel are lying and identity.
One of the areas I enjoyed a lot were the details of Miranda's wood-working at her own home and on the television set. I don't know if Melissa Tagg personally knows how to do all this stuff, but she did a great job of bringing it across to the reader. One thing I missed were actual pages in the book containing Matthew's blog posts with some reader comments. I think that would have been neat to include. Maybe a blog post at the beginning of each chapter.
As for the romance I actually loved the fake husband, Blaze! He was so endearing that I fell for him all the way. I never really felt like I got to know the hero, Matthew, very well. To me it seemed there was way more chemistry between Randi and Blaze than Randi and Matthew. I liked Matthew, but never quite go attached to him. The interactions between Matthew and his niece were just right. The child angle wasn't being crammed down our throats like it is in some books. It did get a little disturbing about the amount of men in this woman's life. She seems to have only one or two female friends including acquaintances.
The biggest issues I had with the book were the lack of Christian themes. Miranda felt guilty a lot and knew that she had sinned, but never seemed to repent. It was strange because she talks about it, but seems to go around it. The two main male characters don't appear to have much knowledge of salvation or forgiveness either. All three of them seemed to be searching for God's peace, but never really dealt with it even at the end of the novel. I felt like it was a major missed opportunity by the author. The heroine would sit in the empty church sometimes and think, but that's it. The hero never seemed to darken a church door on his own in the whole book. I hope readers know that sitting in a church or even attending church with Christians isn't going to save them. I realize that the author probably wants the book to primarily entertain the reader, so didn't want to get into Christian topics. If she had stayed in a comical mode throughout the entire novel, than I would have expected it to be lite on spiritual issues. It would have just been a fun, romantic comedy. Since she chose to take it down a darker, serious path I felt like she should have been gone deeper and been a lot clearer on salvation and God.
All in all I enjoyed the book and will probably re-read it several times in the years to come. I am greatly looking forward to Blaze's story next year!
My first impression of the book was that I didn’t really like it. It didn’t catch my interest right away. There were also a lot of new characters thrown at you: characters from Miranda’s life and from Matthew’s life. There was a lot going on. I kept on reading and eventually I was hooked. I actually really liked the book. I liked the characters and the plot. One thing I enjoyed is that the character Miranda is not perfect. Many Christian fiction novels that I have read have characters that are pure and innocent. It’s hard to relate to those characters. It was nice to see that someone who has made mistakes can be redeemed. It made her more human and easy to relate to. The ending was predictable, but it was interesting to read the journey of the two main characters. There will be a sequel coming out about Blaze and I look forward to reading about his story. Other than that it was a great book and I would recommend it.
I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review.
Miranda Woodruff appears to lead the perfect life. She is the star of a home improvement television show and she is “married” to a perfect man named Robbie. The only problem is when she goes home there is no husband waiting there for her. Robbie is Miranda’s ex-fiancé. When she was trying out for the show she thought she would be married by the time it aired. Unfortunately, Robbie had left and she could not bring herself to tell her real story. With her television show on the line she needed some publicity. Miranda had been able to keep her husband hidden from the public for years. Introducing him to the public is just what she needed to get her ratings up. While filming one day Miranda was taken back as she thought she saw Robbie. As it turns out Miranda had mistaken Blaze, an employee of the caterer, as Robbie. Miranda and her managers decided Blaze would be just the right person to hire to be her “husband”. As if things were not complicated enough a reported named Matthew would be following her around and doing a blog about her. I invite you to journey along with this lively group to learn about their laughs, their troubles and their road to healing.
I really enjoyed reading this book as it included many elements. I found myself laughing as many times as I found myself sympathizing with these characters. I thought the author did an excellent job of making the characters personalities shine through. This book has a unique plot and I enjoyed all of the twists and turns. I am hoping the author surprises us with a second book as Blaze has a story that has yet to be told.
*This book was provided by Bethany House for my honest review.
I have been given this book free of charge from Bethany House/Chosen Books in exchange for an honest review.
'Made to Last', by new author Melissa Tagg, is a cute, light-hearted Christian fiction that has a love 'triangle/rectangle' going on. The main character ~ Miranda, is almost like a movie star, in that she has her own homebuilding tv show, which began w/a real fiance who ran out on her 3 yrs. before. The homebuilding part of it really interested me because of my own hubby/son's construction business, but I still found myself learning some new things. She pretends to be married for the sake of ratings, then has to come up w/a real guy to play the part, which ended up being quite comical in itself. That person, Blaze, was just a hoot and I found myself wanting to know about his character, hopefully in a future novel. Meanwhile, another guy, Matthew, is a handsome reporter who follows her around, digging into her personal life to get a 'story', for his own personal reasons. As she starts having feelings for him, she still has to 'pretend' she's married and then in pops the original fiance to make things even more interesting! Overall, I felt it a very cute and endearing story, but it was almost a bit confusing in the beginning w/the story line and characters and there really wasn't much interaction w/the character's relationship to Christ. Other than that, it was fun read and a great first novel.
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Review 8 for Made to Last - eBook
Fun and Entertaining Read
Date:August 31, 2013
Well, other than the fact that I had to read this ARC copy with all the letter f’s missing, it was very cute! (Seriously, try reading “different”, “off”, “stuffed”, or “Woodruff” for an entire novel without the “ff”). Miranda’s homebuilding show From the Ground Up is her whole life and she’ll do just about anything to save it – and the crew. Unfortunately, her fans all believe that she’s got a husband hidden away at home who has taught her everything she knows… except… she never married him. Her fiancé left her three years earlier. She’s kept this secret by being extremely private about her personal life, but her fans are clamoring for more. There are rumblings about the show not getting another season, so to try and save her show she agrees to giving up some of her personal privacy. She allows them to find her a fake husband and have a reporter follow her around to write a weekly blog of her life. Life is about to get complicated. I really loved the interaction between Blaze, the fake husband, Miranda, and Matthew, the reporter. They had a really good vibe going between the three of them and interacted very well. This isn’t the kind of reporting Matthew usually does – not this fluff celebrity stuff. But his career had hit a rocky patch and he thought this would be easy – until he actually gets to know Miranda. Sparks fly between the two of them, but she’s already married – isn’t she? This book had some great side-stories going on. Miranda’s missionary parents, her past fiancé (who also shows up at some point), Matthew’s dad, his brother’s family, the reason for his tanked career and then Blaze – I was left wondering about his story. Maybe he’ll be another book?? Matthew and Miranda both also have some trust issues, which have caused them to doubt God. I didn’t feel like the God aspects of this book were forced. It was nicely woven into the storyline. I wouldn’t say this book was anything super wow! or amazing about it, but it was a nice, solid and clean story. I would read another book by this author. Preferably with all the letters in the book.
Disclosure: I recieved a free e-book copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
How many of us wonder what really happens behind the scenes of our favorite home improvement or reality television shows? Melissa Tagg explores these possibilities in her debut novel, "Made to Last." The basic scenario is familiar: the main character need a spouse, someone is hired to play the part, and the pretense begins with the threat of being discovered constantly looming on the sidelines. Tagg puts a new spin on the situation with a plot that is both humorous and serious and involves a love "rectangle." Humor is more prevalent at the beginning of the novel and takes a backseat mid-way through. Delving into deeper topics deserves a more serious tone, but I found myself wishing for more of the light-hearted moments to make their way back into the plot.
Miranda finds herself in quite a quandary, in a pretend marriage with three potential love interests. "Made to Last" is told from both Miranda's and Matthew's perspectives, and they both bring depth to the plot with their less-than-perfect pasts. They are both believably flawed with stories worth telling. Miranda's fake husband situation is not completely realistic, but the scenario leading up to her ongoing lie is believable. In regards to the love story, limiting the perspective to just Miranda's would have kept me in more suspense about the outcome. From the beginning, it was clear that Matthew captured Miranda's heart, although part of me hoped it would be Blaze. Blaze offers sometimes over-the-top comedic relief in a surfer dude style, but has untapped potential to become a very dynamic character. I definitely hope that we see him in one of Tagg's future novels, but "Made to Last" tackled enough issues without introducing Blaze's as well.
Tagg's contemporary romance reminds me of novels by authors like Denise Hunter and Lisa Wingate. She creates a plot reminiscent of a movie with characters and situations to capture a reader's interest. After getting our attention, Tagg incorporates meaningful themes of honesty, faith, forgiveness, and true love.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
I knew after I looked at the cover and read the blurb that Made to Last would be a read I'd enjoy. I was right! I easily entangled myself within Miranda's story. I loved how both she and Matthew's voices were down to earth and distinct. They read as real people. Imperfect people. People with troubles and struggles.
I loved the home-improvement TV show angle. It's unique, fresh, and it was really cool to read about. More than once I found time slipping past with ease while I read earnestly, and before I knew it, I was halfway through. Sadly this book didn't surprise me, but, the genre is "contemporary romance" and not "mystery" so I'll let it slide. ;-)
Tagg is one to watch in the future. I like her writing style and her spunky characters, especially Celine. I don't know why I adore side child characters, maybe it's their innocence, but Celine is absolutely wonderful. For those who are looking to read something different, then you need to try out Made to Last, it'll be worth it. I recommend to ages sixteen and older for readability and content.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review of my opinions, thanks!
Miranda Woodruff appears to have achieved what most young women dream about, a successful career and a loving husband. In reality she is a toolbox-toting, successful builder, but the loving husband doesn't exist. Shortly after her home-building show launched, her would-be husband left her with a broken heart and a house half built. As filming for the fourth season of her show is about to begin, rumor has it there may not be a fourth season. To increase publicity and boost ratings her producer hires a reporter to divulge Miranda's softer side and dispel rumors about her "mystery" husband. Her references to a loving husband had begun at the onset of the program, and the deception continued. With a reporter hired to follow every move she makes, Miranda needs a husband. A look-alike of her former fiance is hired to play the part. He plays a loving and attentive husband, but the guy's an accident waiting to happen! Reporter on the prowl, Matthew Knox is living in a cabin on Miranda's property, and quickly suspects that her home life may not be what is portrayed. Miranda's conscience kicks in as additional lies compound her initial deception. Her faith is a mere shell of what it once was, and as she seeks peace in her spiritual life the road to redemption appears long.
I don't know what I was expecting when I began reading this book, but this debut author has pulled out all the stops! Melissa Tagg has created a host of diverse characters close to those we know and love, and others we love to hate. Her characters are believable and varied, from dead serious to crazy hilarious! The settings she has designed are beautifully vivid and artistically created, visions of reality painted with creativity. Emerging relationships and romance blossoms as unsuspected situations develop. Variety flourishes throughout this story of deception, relationships, frayed faith, romance and humor. What stems from heartbreak progresses to hilarity, distance melts into familiarity, insecurities develop into hope. After enjoying this book as much as I did I can hardly wait for a sequel. Don't miss out on this well-written, creative novel.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
I found Made to Last, by debut author, Melissa Tagg, delightful. From beginning to end, the story kept me hooked. The premise, the action and the conclusion all left a feel-good pitter-pat in my reader’s heart.
All the characters felt real to me throughout the story. They were fun, and yet flawed. Each one had issues to work through. Melissa Tagg crafted believable story arcs and wove each character’s story together in a wonderful way. Even the secondary characters were three-dimensional. She dealt with an issue many people deal with: who are we, really? These characters had depth. Miranda and Matthew fit together. Blaze, though, was the most intriguing. I hope Ms Tagg will write his story too.
What I liked: Melissa wove in a number of twists, things I would have never predicted that fit with the story and kept it lively. She made me laugh, and even drew a few tears in a couple of scenes. Her descriptions of the scenes made me feel like I was there. I highly recommend this book. I’m looking forward to more great books from this author.
If you like romantic comedy with deeper truths, you will love this book.
A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review.
Miranda is a character in the story who loves working with her hands building with wood, painting, anything that makes a home pretty. In the novel she is the star of her show From the Ground Up which teaches the viewers how to fix or build anything in a home. Yet, for all her hard work and knowledge Miranda felt trapped along with fear when anyone got too close to her. Matthew would do anything for a headline story since his fall from stardom five years prior. His past haunts him in many ways, and when he is assigned to write about Miranda’s show, her life and dig up anything the public doesn’t know about her. Matthew is able to do that and more until someone touched his heart which made future decisions all the harder to make. Blaze was working for a catering company when Miranda sees him from a distance then when he turns toward her she realizes he isn’t who she thought he was. Now he is hired to play an unusual part in her life, which causes both parties to become uncomfortable as time builds passes, along with a nosy reporter asking lots of questions. The tale told here reveals how our pasts can make our present choices ridiculously entangled. Now each of the main players have to decide if the past is going to come out, how it is going to come and how to find the peace their hearts are crying out for. Sometimes in the story I was laughing at the way the action scene was going, it was just funny to picture the playfulness that is usually attributed to children being done by adults. Along with being caught playing when work was calling for their attention, but hearts were crying for the freedom to just be! What develops between some of the characters is true friendship, forgiveness along with walking the hard road of letting the truth be exposed to others. The true friendship these players develop, though not all of them is a reminder of how we all need people in our lives we can trust with good and the bad. I enjoyed how in one part of the book the legacy of one man in a local church influences people for years to come. There is romance, adventure, time for laughter and time to just think about what we would do if we were a particular situation the character was facing. What would we do when tempted in the various ways or situations as portrayed on the pages? I enjoyed the novel very much and hope there is a sequel coming from Melissa Tagg or maybe another story totally unrelated, as she is a good story teller!
Melissa has written the kind of book I like to read. Contemporary romance is my favorite (maybe because I write that myself). She has created flawed characters we care about and want the best for.
Each chapter revs up the tension for a fast read. This is a book that I found myself reading into the night. I would look at the clock and say, “I have to go to sleep”. But I didn’t want to leave the storyworld Melissa had created.
Miranda Woodruff is a mess due to not letting go of things from her past and her life just keeps getting messier. Isn’t that so true? Until we allow God to come in and heal those broken places we just keep trying to hold it together on our own and it never works.
Matthew is a hero you will adore. He, too, has hurts from his past that continue to an impact on his present. As soon as he meets Miranda he’s saving her. I just kept thinking how can they ever fall in love if he thinks she’s married? What will happen to her show when the world finds out she lied? So many good questions that will keep you flipping pages.
This has a great plot with plenty of funny moments and romantic encounters. I highly recommend Made to Last. If you read it I think you will be adding Melissa Tagg to your list of favorite authors.
A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Can one pull off pretending to be married? Because that’s what Miranda “Randi” did in “Made to Last”…and you’re going to have to read the novel to see how it worked out for her. *wink*
Sprinkled with LOL moments and serious, come-to-Jesus meetings, “Made to Last” will definitely do just that on my keeper shelf. Can I just make a confession? Blaze was my favorite character. I know, I know, why love the fake husband, right?? Read far enough into the book and I bet you’ll agree with me. He made me laugh more times than not and had such a loveable personality about him. There wasn’t anything self serving in the guy and I can’t wait to find out his story next year!
Randi has got quite the story to tell and the book certainly is not without its share of conflict. Sometimes the lie you’ve been living just becomes the reality and when the lie threatens to take away everything you’ve worked so hard for, the house of cards only flutters faster. To watch Randi scramble to keep her façade in place was at times, comical, but more often than not a growing experience and chances for new and different choices. She never once became unlikeable to me…an important fact when you have a deceitful main character. But she’s changing and growing…and it was so much fun to watch her fall in love.
Thoroughly entertaining. Deeper than “just” a romantic comedy. A tale worthy of the telling!
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the author for my copy to review.
Melissa Tagg certainly delivered with her debut book, Made to Last. The story line is fast paced with good humor mixed in at just the right moments. I found the characters to be well developed. I loved all the side stories with the secondary characters. Melissa has a secondary novel due out this summer. I am hoping it tells Blaze’s story, because he is a man with a story begging to be told.
Made to Last is a refreshing book. The main heroine is quite unlike any other I have read in Christian Fiction. She is strong willed and determined, but she is also not adverse to lying in order to accomplish her goals. At times, I struggled to relate to Randi, but most of the time I found myself cheering for her as she worked to find her way in the competitive world of reality television.
I loved how Melissa brought closure at the end of the book.
I truly cannot believe this is a debut novel. Melissa Tagg is incredibly talented, and her book has stayed with me since I read it.
It's not just the characters, who are completely lovable and -- understandably -- flawed. It's not just the dialogue, which is witty and reminiscent of Gilmore Girls, or the setting, which made me want to move to the mountains.
To me, the thing that stood out most is the way Tagg weaves the story together, using descriptions that are fresh and unique. In addition, her message came aross clear as day without being preachy or extremely obvious. I won't spoil it for you, but I will say I related in so many ways to Miranda's fears and the lie she believes.
I would without a doubt recommend *Made to Last* to anyone who enjoys a clean romantic comedy with spunky characters and witty dialogue.
The publisher provided me with a promotional copy in exchange for my honest review.
Melissa Tagg's debut novel, Made To Last is my year's top pick for sure.
This story was engaging. The best part for me was that it seemed the plot was resolving at the midway point through the book. At first you may think that sounds bad - predictable plot, blah, blah, blah. But it isn't bad. It was exciting that I thought I knew where we were going and how the ends would tie together but then I'd see the solid inches left of unread pages still in my right hand. It was enthralling!
Tagg's characters were fantastic. I loved getting inside Miranda and Matthew's frame of mind. They felt real and almost touchable. Usually my head is controlled by the characters of my own writings that roam around and rule the roost of my brain. I push them aside while I open a novel and then when I close the book, they come right back, front and center. However for the three or four days I poured into Made To Last my mind was fully and completely consumed with Melissa's characters. They tugged on my heart and teased my thoughts and perceptions. They truly came alive to me.
I can't wait to see what Melissa Tagg will do next!
"Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practise to deceive." Sir Walter Scott
Remember that cliche? The protagonist in this Christian contemporary romance, Miranda Woodruff, should have heeded it. She's the star of a reality TV show with a problem. The ratings are slipping, so to keep the interest of her fans, she's pretending to be happily married. To further complicate things, Miranda, "Randi," allows a reporter to shadow her for an entire week! Her dilemma is keeping him from finding out that the handsome guy "playing" her husband is really just pretend.
I appreciate a lighthearted read--a "sugar candy for the brain" book. Here is an interesting one with a happy ending.
Discussion questions are included.
Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Bethany House Publishers for my copy.