Category Archives: Adult Contemporary

Leave Me – Gayle Forman

Leave Me – Gayle FormanTitle: Leave Me by Gayle Forman
Publishing Info: September 6, 2016 by Algonquin
Source: Edelweiss, BEA 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 29, 2016
Related Posts: If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay (If I Stay #1), Where She Went (If I Stay #2), Just One Day (Just One Day #1), Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5), I Was Here, I Have Lost My Way

For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention--meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who's so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn't even realize she's had a heart attack.
Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: She packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once we get to where we're going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself.
With big-hearted characters who stumble and trip, grow and forgive, Leave Me is about facing our fears. Gayle Forman, a dazzling observer of human nature, has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head-on.

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I’m a HUGE Gayle Forman fan so any book of hers, no matter the age range or genre, will be on my radar. When I heard that LEAVE ME was adult contemporary, I had to admit that I wasn’t super excited about it since I haven’t been reading as much “serious” contemporary lately and I don’t really read it on the adult level — I’m more of a YA gal. Either way, it was Gayle Forman and I knew no matter what, I was in good hands so I was excited to receive a copy of LEAVE ME at BEA this year! Upon finishing, I don’t really know how to feel about this book. If we’re being perfectly honest, if it wasn’t Gayle Forman’s book, I wouldn’t have read it. The entire premise of the book is that overworked, overtired Maribeth Klein whisks herself away for time to recover both mentally and physically after a heart-attack in her early 40s. She leaves her husband and two four-year-old twins with only a note, no way to contact her, and actively avoids ways that she can be traced so she can just take some time for herself. This really isn’t a topic I’m drawn to but Gayle Forman is the master so I was along for the ride!

This book (and entire concept) is so confusing to me as I try to sort out my feelings towards it. I know how I personally feel about Maribeth’s actions but there are just so many ways to look at it. The beginning of the book before Maribeth leaves was actually kind of hard for me to read with so many situations hitting a little too close to home. Having been in a similar situation with a medical emergency turning your life completely upside down, I just had a very hard time with the decisions that Maribeth made. I was not the person who was directly medically affected but I was a big part of that whole situation and yes, it’s always hard but my thoughts were constantly directed towards, “How can I help?” and “How can I understand?” On the flip side, no matter how close you are to a person, you’re not that person going through the medical issues and there are things and feelings you won’t understand. You have fear of your own but may not understand the level of anxiety that person is feeling, in which case, I did identify with Maribeth. Her heart attack was such a complete disruption of her life in so many ways and her only way that she was finally able to handle everything was to leave all responsibilities behind, including her family. Leaving I had a hard time with. Leaving and cheating are two situations that I really struggle to forgive or forget and even if things did end up working out in the end of this book (I won’t give anything away), I knew I wouldn’t be able to forgive Maribeth for up and leaving.

But then there’s the question of what strength is in this situation. Is strength staying and pushing through, working through all of the things with your family? Or is it leaving, taking some time off and gathering yourself up first? Honestly, I think either one could be the right answer but I had such a hard time with the fact that she literally abandoned her family. I know that she was not in the right mental state to really assess things, and that falls on her husband too since he didn’t really try to help around the house or with anything after Maribeth’s surgery, but it was hard for me to support Maribeth when her solution was to run. I guess we wouldn’t have much of a story if she spoke with her husband and took some sort of retreat instead of simply running… But that would have been a workable situation for me where I wouldn’t have hard feeling towards Maribeth. We’ve gone through some very hard things and our family is still in tact… but I’m also not a parent and don’t have that added responsibility and role in my family so I can’t speak on how that might affect a situation either. Life is messy and each situation is unique and complicated. I’m not in Maribeth’s family so maybe I would have handled things differently if I was in her shoes but from a reader’s perspective, it was really hard for me to fully understand.

My feelings for Maribeth aside, I thought this was a very good story and as always, Gayle Forman does an amazing job of bringing so many things to light. Maribeth’s situation was definitely more complicated than just the heart attack too and these things really added to why she ended up running in the first place. I won’t say hard things justify abandonment but it does help you understand where she’s coming from a little bit more. Gayle Forman also just has a way of making these characters come to life. I felt like I really got to know Maribeth, all of her new friends, and I could easily picture Maribeth’s life with her husband and children in so many ways.

I started and finished the book in one day. It was really easy to read and like so many of Gayle’s books, just so easy to get lost in. She does an amazing job of making you really feel a setting, getting you invested in a character’s story, and bringing raw, real emotions to the table. Her stories are about the more challenging sides of life and I’m actually glad she wrote this book because I wouldn’t have read this story by another author. It’s outside of my normal comfort zone — both being adult contemporary and also the “leaving factor” — and it was refreshing to think about things in a different way as I read. It’s also a bit scary, to be honest. I’ve only been married for two years and we’ve already been through a lot. I have amazing confidence in my marriage and I’m not really worried for us in the future but it does make me wonder what our life will be like in five or ten years which isn’t something I normally do. Life has taught me that there are too many thing you can’t plan for so I don’t map everything out but all I can do is hope that we grow together and build a solid foundation for our home and books like LEAVE ME really leave readers to reflect on their relationships/marriages/friendships. Even if you have an amazing relationship, there’s always a little bit more you can take into account and it’s interesting to have that reminder of what even the closest person to you might be going through without you even realizing.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Maribeth // Character obsessions: Work, responsibilities, letting it all go.
Maribeth’s character really hits me hard because I feel like so many of us feel like this so often. I think we as a society have such a focus on work and career that it consumes so much of our lives. So many people’s places of employment expect them to take their work home with them or be available at the drop of a hat, in and out of the office, and people aren’t getting relaxation time anymore. Add to that a family life which can be so fulfilling but still adds responsibilities, chores, and duties to one’s life and it can easily be overwhelming. Maribeth was easily identifiable for me in that sense. I work from 7:30am – 5pm and it takes me an hour to get to/home from work so work consumes twelve hours of my day. Then I come home and make dinner, do laundry, make candles for my second job (essentially) and by the time I’m done with everything, it’s time for bed. I’m not complaining about it at all and my husband does help out but it’s so exhausting and I can’t imagine doing that with kids. I absolutely see where Maribeth is coming from and has a life-changing experience with her heart attack… But even with all of that I still can’t get over leaving. Maybe leaving her husband would be more forgivable (okay, really not for me) but she left her children and I really can’t get over that either. I understand that she needs to take care of herself first but to just LEAVE like that, that’s so, so damaging to everyone. She could have handled it totally differently, communicated with her husband, gone to therapy, went on a retreat even, and I would have been fine with it. I personally couldn’t forgive the leaving. I know she healed, I know she helped herself, but you can’t just run away form responsibilities. You discuss, you face them, you figure out a solution, even if it’s hard. Plenty of people go through such things without leaving their families. I guess I’ll never quite understand it but it’s a strong feeling of mine. As much as I grew to like her as a person, I couldn’t let it go.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adult contemporary/realistic fiction. I really don’t read many adult realistic fiction novels because it’s just not my bag but I’m glad I read this one. I read it simply because it’s Gayle Forman and I really enjoy how she crafts a novel.
Left Me Wanting More: Understanding. The lack of communication between these characters killed me. It wouldn’t have been easy but if Maribeth and her husband had just talked, they could have figured things out without her having to run away. I know it’s not an easy thing to do and especially having that feeling like Maribeth, I know it’s hard to ask for help, but it was something I couldn’t shake.

Addiction Rating
Read it

It was a very good read and as always, a well-crafted story from Gayle Forman. I love her big-picture novels and books that take you through the messier parts of life. It wasn’t my favorite topic but I enjoyed the novel from start to finish.

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BOOKS LIKE LEAVE ME

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    KILLER INSTINCT

Guest Post from Lauren Smith: “How to Make a Rake Fall in Love With You”

Hi, friends! I just got MARRIED and am now on my honeymoon in Aruba!!! I won’t be able to attend to my blog this week since Shane and I are having fun in the sun and relaxing, but not to worry — I’ve left my blog in good hands. All this week, I have a series of guest post-ers (and they all have some pretty great posts!

Today’s guest post is from author Lauren Smith whose new novel, His Wicked Seduction, was just released on Tuesday, November 11th! She has a great guest post for us today so check it out below!

10 Ways to Make a Rake Fall in Love with You

A little bird recently told me that Brittany is getting MARRIED! How exciting and wonderful! I couldn’t think of a better love story than hers, a bookworm and a man into cars falling in love and tying the knot. That sounds just like the next great romance novel! (Hint hint.) Naturally I wanted to add my congratulations and Horatia Sheridan, the heroine from my latest novel, His Wicked Seduction, wanted to offer some good advice for all those other ladies out there still searching for the own happily ever afters.

  1. Always tuck your nose in a book. He can’t resist a smart woman who has better things to do than try to find a husband.
  2. When he comes over to visit your brother (his best friend), play it cool. He’ll like the challenge of a good seduction.
  3. During your first kiss, be sure to kiss him back at first, and then shove him away. He’ll see your passion and your good sense and want you all the more.
  4. When an old enemy from his past threatens your life, accept the rake’s invitation to go to his home for Christmas. It’s only fair to let him protect you since he wants to be a hero.
  5. Make sure to notice all the mistletoe and kissing boughs his younger brother hung all over the house. Rakes love a good surprise kiss.
  6. If he has brothers, make sure to dance with all of them. He’ll not want to share you with anyone.
  7. When engaged in a snowball fight with his family and friends, make sure you beat him. Rakes have egos but they love spirited, cunning ladies.
  8. Turn to him when you’re hurting because a good rake loves to ease a woman’s sufferings and will want to hold you while you cry.
  9. Don’t let your brother find out you love his friend. They might end up dueling on Christmas Day.
  10. If he runs into a burning cottage to save your injured brother, go in after him. He’ll see how much you love him, and he’ll be brave enough to love you back.

Congratulations Brittany! I hope you’ll post some fabulous wedding pictures for everyone to see!!


His Wicked Seduction by Lauren SmithLauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets, a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including: Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and Semi-Finalist Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.

Her latest book, His Wicked Seduction, released on November 11, 2014 (Samhain Publishing). Warning: This book contains an intelligent lady who is determined to seduce her brother’s friend, a brooding rake whose toy of choice in bed is a little bit of bondage with a piece of red silk, a loyal band of merry rogues and a Christmas love so scorching you’ll need fresh snow to extinguish it.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Website | Twitter


Thank you so much for guest posting on my blog today, Lauren!! I think that is VERY sound advice 😉 Such a fun post and I’m so happy to have had you on the blog today!

What do you think, guys? A surefire way to romance? 😀 And be sure to check out Lauren’s latest book from the links above!

Nutcase (Crazy #2) – Charlotte Hughes

Nutcase (Crazy #2) – Charlotte HughesTitle: Nutcase (Crazy #2) by Charlotte Hughes
Publishing Info: February 24, 2009 by Penguin
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 2, 2012
Related Posts: What Looks Like Crazy (Crazy #1)

Psychologist Kate Holly is about to get evicted from her office, and her best option may be to share space with her jacuzzi-loving ex-boyfriend, Dr. Thad Glazer. That?s not going to help her patch things up with her firefighter ex-husband. With her oddball patients, meddling mother, and eccentric secretary thrown into the mix?not to mention a spree of suspicious fires?will Kate put her life back together or wind up in a padded cell?

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Another cute, quick read from Charlotte Hughes, staying right on par with WHAT LOOKS LIKE CRAZY. This is just what I needed to bring me out of the reading slump I’d been in for the past week or so! Dr. Kate Holly is a really fun character for me to read about. She deals with so many crazy patients and sometimes she wonders how qualified she is to be working with them since her family is so crazy – erm, eccentric – and her life is so hectic as well.

I think I enjoyed the first book just a bit more. It seemed to have a bit more humor whereas NUTCASE actually took on a bit more of a serious tone, in my opinon. That being said, I really liked where the serious notes carried us: A few of the featured patients that Kate is treating are facing really serious issues that may sound grandiose and although they’re exaggerated for the novel and cases usually aren’t that extreme, they are still real conditions that I’m sure a lot of people don’t even realize are prevalent in quite a few people. I like that even though Kate has a lot of wacky cases, this book dealt with some more serious ones like bipolar disorder, gender identity disorder, and dissociative identity disorder (which is not the same thing as schizophrenia!). I love reading these books because it brings me back to all of those psychology classes I took in college (I almost had a minor in Psych but it wasn’t worth staying another year to take the statistics classes I needed to fulfill the minor — Plus, I hated math) and I feel like I can actually understand what’s going on! I’ve always found it really interesting, so it’s really great to read about this kind of stuff.

I think Kate’s relationships with the other characters turned more serious as well. She and Jay Rush (I just love his full name. Something sexy about it for some reason…) are still on the rocks and it’s only getting rockier. I’m really hoping they’ll work things out in future books! I’m rooting for them!

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Kate Holly: Kate just can’t stay away from the extreme cases! Although I am glad to see her help them out and take them under her wing. I love how we can see how much she cares about her patients, and although I’m not totally convinced she has OCD (I’m not sure how extreme a case has to be in order to be diagnosed), she definitely has a few neuroses that put an extra twist in everyday life. She’s definitely a lot of fun to read about!
Jay Rush: Mmmm, Jay Rush. I just like his name! Both he and Kate are a little bit stubborn and/or headstrong so their marriage (well, they’re already divorced, but still) is still pretty rocky. I’m hoping they’ll figure this thing about because he clearly still loves Kate too!
Arnie: I loved Arnie’s character development in this book! And go, Arnie for being true to himself and standing up to his father! I thought it was great how he actually became a really big part of the character ensemble we have here and I hope to see a lot more of him in these books!

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Read it!

These books are a lot of fun! Quick, easy, and definitely remind me of Janet Evanovich. I hope to continue the series!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE NUTCASE

           

The Rock Star in Seat 3A – Jill Kargman

The Rock Star in Seat 3A – Jill KargmanTitle: The Rock Star In Seat 3A by Jill Kargman
Publishing Info: May 22, 2012 by HarperCollins
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 21, 2012

    It's Hazel's thirtieth birthday and she has everything she's ever wanted: a kickass job, a dream apartment in New York City, and the perfect boyfriend—who's just days away from proposing. Hazel thinks she's happy but isn't quite ready to settle down. So when her most far-fetched fantasy enters the realm of the possible, shouldn't she drop everything to see it through?
The morning after her birthday, Hazel boards a flight to L.A. only to get the surprise of her life. When she's bumped up to first class, extra legroom and free drinks are absolutely the last things on her mind when she catches sight of her seatmate: her all-time biggest celebrity crush, rock star Finn Schiller! Only the night before she'd confessed her infatuation with the gorgeous musician, and her boyfriend joked that she had a free pass if she ever met him. Hazel can't believe fate has actually thrown them together.
Even more unbelievable is that during the flight they genuinely connect. Finn likes her uncensored cursing and wicked sense of humor, and that she's unlike all of his groupies; Hazel likes his killer looks, ripped physique, and soulful music. But what started as a fantasy quickly becomes a real attraction, and after a dream date and taste of the rock-star life with Finn in L.A., Hazel is forced to examine the track her life is on. Indulging in a passionate affair with a rock star seems crazy—but could she ever forgive herself if she walked away from her wildest dream coming true? And is her wildest dream the stuff that happiness is made of?

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Okay, so… Here’s where my problem lies: Poor research on my part; before reading books, I’ve stopped reading the entire summary because I like to be thrown into the story and not have anything at all spoiled by reading the synopsis of the book. I saw the giveaway on BookTrib and thought it looked like a cute little chick lit story. Girl meets her crush and they start to hit it off. Sounded great! What I didn’t realize — and far too late — was that it wasn’t as innocent as it seemed.

Hazel has a boyfriend. An awesome one. An awesome one who proposed to her and she pretended she didn’t see it. Right off the bat, I’m not a fan of Hazel. To make things worse (for me, better for Hazel), she meets Finn and they hit it off. They started to really hit it off and then Hazel’s questioning breaking it off with her boyfriend to kick it with a rock star and her all-time biggest crush. To me, I was like, “No! How disloyal!” and I threw a fit (in my head) about where this story was going. I was saddened by how much it was not like I thought it was! But like I said, kind of my fault for not looking into that!

Anyway, so the rest of the book…. Ahh ummm, still didn’t care for it. Okay, so I’m no saint or anything, and I’ve never been hesitant about a book before because of its language, but this book was just way too crass for me. Okay, anecdote time:
I actually began reading this book because I took it on the plane with me on vacation a few weeks ago. I thought, “Cute book about being on an airplane while I’m on an airplane!” I’m cheesy, I know. So I started reading, and my boyfriend was sitting next to me and he glanced at the book and was like, “What are you reading!?!” because this book is not censored in any way, shape, or form. Cursing, followed by sexual innuendos, followed by more curses, followed by more sexual references and cursing and sex. It was just overwhelming! I’ve never been bothered by swears or sex in a book before, but this was just a little too much for me and lots of things taken too far. Thrown in an onslaught of pop culture references that I didn’t care for and I was ready to put the book down and back away slowly.
Lesson learned: Although YA lit may not always appear age-appropriate, it will still be much more appropriate to read in public places!

I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes it’s not a bad thing to look further into books before reading them! I try not to ruin things with mysteries, but this was clearly an open book and I should have checked it out better before jumping in!

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Hazel: You suck. You’re obnoxious and still act like a teenage girl even though you’re thirty. And I watched Friends — There’s no such thing as a break. You’re a cheater.
Wylie: Poor, poor Wylie. He was so sweet and he got trampled on. Except he really seemed like quite the pushover… So I don’t like him either.
Hazel’s Sister (I can’t even remember her name): Bad influence! Terribly, terribly so.
Finn: Finn actually seemed like the most enjoyable character of the book! At least he was honest and not totally corrupt or the cliche dirty rock star (although he dressed like it and had a rep like it).

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Skip it

This one just didn’t work for me. It really wasn’t my type of book and I can’t stand books where the main character cheats.

Top Ten Tuesday – June 19, 2012: Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR list

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR list.

Let me tell you, my TBR list is HUGE. But since we’re all pretty much obsessed with books here as bloggers, I’m sure the same goes for almost everyone! I’m really excited about this list though because I get to narrow it down and almost kind of make a goal list for myself. I’m sticking to ONLY books that I have in my possession right now. If I made up a list of books I want to read but don’t have yet, it would literally be hundreds of books! So here we go:

1. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth: I guess this one is cheating since I’m already two thirds done, but to be fair, it was already summer when I started it so I’m still counting it! She was one of the ladies I was fortunate enough to meet on the Fierce Reads tour and it made me all the more excited to read her book. Always extremely interested to hear what the author has to say about the book as well as the creative process behind the writing!

2. Midnight In Death (In Death #7.5) by JD Robb: The “In Death” series quickly became one of my favorites. This is an “in between the books” short story, but I’m determined to read them all in order! Should be a very quick read since it’s not a full novel, but I bet it’ll still be jam packed full of action.

3. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne: Emmy was another one of the awesome ladies on the Fierce Reads tour and she was so much fun to hear from! I had seen some reviews around before I actually picked up her book and when I read about the Fierce Reads tour and I had an opportunity to meet her, I couldn’t pass it up! Very excited to read it.

4. Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner: When I read the Maze Trials last year (last year? I think… Regardless…) I wasn’t too sure about it when I started. Then there came a certain point where I was racing through to see how this book ended! Somehow I got hooked. I’ve been anticipating picking up the sequel to continue on in this story, but so far haven’t actually made it along to starting it, so hoping to do that this summer!

5. Shades of Grey (Shades of Grey #1) by Jasper Fforde: NO, this is not Fifty Shades of Grey (I refuse to read it). This Shades of Grey is a fantasy/dystopia/post-apocalyptic novel where the ability to see different spectrums of color determines your social standing. I came across this in my suggestions from GoodReads and thought it sounded really interesting! I just got the book from Book Mooch the other day and I’m pretty excited about reading it.

6. Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews: First off, summer is the in the title. So it only makes sense. It’s about three best friends who all went to Catholic grade school together and now find themselves at a crossroads in their 30s. Since I happen to have spent 10 years in Catholic grade school and I happen to have two best friends who I still talk to from that school, this book seemed like it was screaming at me to read it!

7. Glitch by Heather Anastasiu:  I have also seen reviews for this one around the blogisphere and when I saw I could request a copy for review on NetGalley, I was excited that they approved my request! Hoping to read this one within the next month or two, depending on how my book schedule goes.

8. Beauty to Die For by Kim Alexis: Another request from NetGalley – Should be a cute little cozy mystery written by former Supermodel Kim Alexis, and it looks like she uses a lot of her knowledge of the modeling world to create her characters. I always get nervous when celebrities write books, but so far so good. I just started a couple pages and haven’t had time to get much further yet.

9. Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot: This is coming out in July!!! This is book #4 in the Heather Wells series which has always been one of my favorite, so this is probably one of the rare times I’ll actually buy the book brand new.

10. A Killing in Antiques by Mary Moody: Another nice little cozy mystery that I think I’ll pick up soon. I got a whole bunch of cozies at the same time and I’m selecting this one as the next one to read.

What Looks Like Crazy (Crazy #1) – Charlotte Hughes

What Looks Like Crazy (Crazy #1) – Charlotte HughesTitle: What Looks Like Crazy (Crazy #1) by Charlotte Hughes
Publishing Info: February 26, 2008 by Penguin
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 23, 2012
Related Posts: Nutcase (Crazy #2)

Psychologist Kate Holly's own life has become the stuff of intensive therapy. She's divorcing her gorgeous firefighter husband, she has an eccentric secretary, her mother and aunt have erected a vaguely sexual sculpture in her front yard, and her psychiatrist ex-boyfriend won't stop calling to find out what color panties she's wearing. Now, Kate's being bombarded with mysterious threats, and the only person who can help her is the one man who always makes her lose her mind-and heart.

Breaking It Down Further: Kate Holly is a psychologist who helps patients whose lives are falling apart. The only thing is, her life isn’t so great either. She’s about to officially divorce her firefighter husband since she spends her life in fear that he’ll get hurt or die in a burning building, she can’t get away from her crazy family (specifically her mom and aunt who collect junk and sell it as treasure), and to top it off, she’s now receiving threats after they cement a provocative statue in her front yard. How can she help her patients fix their lives when she can barely hold it together?

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I really enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would! It was a very quick read with Kate Holly being a really likable character for me. For what it’s worth, trust your husband to do his job and stick it out because I cannot believe she would even consider letting Jay out of her life! He seemed like a great husband with a great connection to Kate and great looks don’t hurt either. He was extremely likable as well, and I think Charlotte Hughes wrote it so that you want to root for Kate and Jay to stay together.

Kate’s friend and assistant Mona is a real kick! She’s rich and sassy and somehow down-to-earth all at the same time. She was a great person to sort of stick it to Kate and tell it like it is no matter what and a nice comic relief as well! And also a great new friend in Mike the dog, who becomes a big part of the story as well.

Funny to see all the wacky patients Kate has to deal with and also some nice and touching moments with her helping as well. Lots of Plum-esque moments with the goofy patient moments (a la Stephanie and her FTAs). I know Charlotte Hughes and Janet Evanovich teamed up for a few works (which I have yet to read, but do own a few!), so it made perfect sense and I’m really glad it felt so similar since I love Stephanie Plum.

Oh, and I forgot to say, as an almost Psych minor (what does that count for, right?), it was nice to see that the diagnoses for the patients were relatively accurate. A lot of times in books or TV shows, people just throw terms out there and they’re way off, but from the little knowledge that I retained from all my Psych classes, even if there were some really uncommon cases in there, at least the descriptions were accurate (or accurate enough for me)!

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4.5/5 stars
Really pleasantly surprised with this one! It was such a quick read that I found myself wanting to jump right into the next book. It was a nice balance of love story, comedy, and a dash of mystery/thriller.

Slightly Settled (Slightly #2) – Wendy Markham

Slightly Settled (Slightly #2) – Wendy MarkhamTitle: Slightly Settled (Slightly #2) by Wendy Markham
Publishing Info: February 1, 2004 by Harlequin
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 15, 2012

Top Two Don'ts for the Office Party.
--Don't dress in a revealing manner.
    (Translation: Don't wear the sexy scarlet, size-eight dress you couldn't fit into three months ago. The one that flaunts your firmed-up cleavage and newly discovered collarbones.)
    --Don't make a spectacle of yourself.
    (Translation: Don't get drunk and make out with a really cute stranger for the whole company to see; he could turn out to be your boss's roommate.)
    I didn't follow these tips and here I am with a hot new man in my life, Jack. But my friends are asking if I really want to bump into my boss in his boxers in the hallway of their apartment. After all, I am aiming for a promotion.
And now, not only does my ex want me back, but the guy I used to think was Mr. Right just kissed me!
Three months ago I couldn't hold on to one guy. Now three want me. When did my life become so complicated?

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Whew, after a couple of serious book reviews, this was a nice light-hearted one to breeze through. I always recommend reading the first book in a series first, of course, but even though I was a little blank on the first book, Settled transitioned easily and I felt well-informed on Tracey’s current life. As for the character of Tracey… Well, to put it lightly — Sometimes she’s a little too over the top for me. I was kind of annoyed with her being so eager to immediately make Jack her boyfriend after meeting him or turn Buckley into something more than friends and push the issue; she didn’t really act on it and it was more of an inner monologue running throughout the book. Then again, maybe I was just so annoyed because it kind of reminded how I used to be at times back in high school and even in college… Hell, maybe it’s a girl thing! I’m sure most of us do it at some point in time… I just found it a little distracting at times, but that’s really the driving force behind the novel.

I really did like the conflict that Tracey has between the developing relationships she has with Buckley and with Jack. She creates somewhat of a love triangle for herself and there comes a point in the book where you really don’t know who she’s going to choose. I’m actually really glad it came to that. I wasn’t expecting it and the author smoothly resolves the issue without (that we know of) severely damaging any characters.

Other than that, I thought the plot flowed really nicely throughout the book and you get a real sense of who the characters are and Wendy creates some really likable ones as well. Tracey grows up a little bit in this book so I look forward to seeing her progress in the next couple of novels!

addiction_factor1

3.5/5 stars
I think I’ll stick with 3.5 stars for this one. I enjoyed the book a lot more towards the end when Tracey started to mellow out and things started to finally go the way she had been planning the whole time. I think I just got too annoyed in the beginning with her pushing the whole boyfriend/lusting after someone issue. She does struggle with the idea of being alone in the book and maybe I just didn’t connect with her on that level.