I'm not sure why, in the spur of the moment, I chose to listen to this audiobook. I had learned enough about the book in the "cheating heroes" thread...moreI'm not sure why, in the spur of the moment, I chose to listen to this audiobook. I had learned enough about the book in the "cheating heroes" thread at Amazon to banish it to my "not in this lifetime" list. But with gloomy weather enhancing a melancholy mood, I decided to embrace depression completely.
Tessa & Nick Russo, it would seem, have a life together that many aspire for yet few achieve. In their mid-30's and married 7 years, they are already enjoying an affluent lifestyle. Nick is a world-renowned pediatric plastic surgeon and Tessa was a professor until recently when she quit working to devote herself full-time to raising their daughter Ruby,4 and son Frank, 2. Tessa & Nick's relationship isn't one of earth-shattering passion fueled by copious amounts of sex as it had been when they were first married, but long work days and small children will do that to any marriage, right? More importantly, with love and commitment they are developing a solid foundation for their children and for their future as a family. Success in their endeavors can be attributed to one important factor...Tessa and Nick love each other.
What's love got to do..got to do with it? What's love but a second-hand emotion?
Valerie Anderson is a part-time lawyer and full-time single mother raising a 6-yr-old son. Her relationship with Charlie's father was over before the guy even knew Valerie was pregnant, so her twin brother Justin is doing his best to provide Charlie with the male guidance and loving attention he would otherwise be without. Aside from Justin, Valerie isn't close to any other adult. She has serious trust issues with pseudo friends and family members, her track record for hooking up with a good man is non-existent and she refuses to associate with wealthy - and therefore - pretentious people. Suffice it to say Valerie is a loner...and very lonely.
So the hero rides in on his white stallion and rescues the damsel in distress.
Dining out on their anniversary, Tessa and Nick are interrupted by an emergency call from the hospital requiring Nick's area of expertise. Tessa understands, as she always does, and goes home. At the hospital, Nick treats the burn victim, little Charlie, while Valerie, wide-eyed and horrified, tries not to fall to pieces. Fortunately, as a pediatrician Nick has excellent consoling skills with children that apparently extend to distraught single mothers. Charlie is going to need plastic surgery and Nick officially becomes his doctor. Nick bonds with Charlie as a father-figure and with Valerie in a way that is anything but fatherly. Pretending to themselves more than anyone else, Nick and Valerie insist they are just good friends; however, the sexual tension between them is palpable and it becomes just a matter of time. When Tessa goes away one weekend to visit an old friend, Nick and Valerie succumb to their desires and f**k the night away.
What you don't know won't hurt you. (Really? What stupid-ass penned that nonsense?)
Tessa knows something is wrong. Oh sure, Nick has been working longer hours than ever before but Tessa attributes that to the crazy clock a doctor lives by. She hasn't been feeling like much more than a mommy since she quit teaching but it had been Nick's idea for her to quit. On the surface, he seems like the same wonderful man she fell in love with years ago, but knowing him so well she senses something is amiss...he's pulling away. She finds his cellphone lying unattended; and though normally she wouldn't give it a second thought, that nagging woman's intuition insists she check his messages...
Oh what would we do without our well-meaning friends?
"I miss you too and no, he doesn't hate you. How could anyone hate you?" Tessa comes up with a hundred plausible scenarios for someone to send Nick this message because she trusts her husband completely. Come on Tessa...you've got more than enough clues. Then, while away visiting her best friend, Cate, Tessa gets a text from one of her newer "society" friends who feels an obligation to the sisterhood to inform Tessa her husband was seen standing "unnaturally" close to Valerie Anderson. Tessa stands firm that her husband is faithful, yet she cuts her weekend stay short and is on the first flight home.
Shame, thy name is Nick.
I'll stop here but believe me I can't think of anything more heart-wrenching than what transpires in the last fourth of this story. In fact, the entire book was tough to listen to. Not only was my heart in my throat most of the time but I had to pull the earbuds out at one point because I couldn't handle what was transpiring. Did I like it? I LOVED it! This is my first book by Emily Giffin and I now intend to read (listen to) every book she has written.. She has the gift of bringing her characters to life...people you can't help but come to know extremely well and thereby care for immensely. I can't wait to become so involved like that again!
The story is told in alternating chapters by Tessa in 1st person and Valerie in 3rd person, with an emphasis on her personal thoughts. Valerie played the martyr well, strong enough to handle motherhood alone yet vulnerable and helpless without a man. Yes Nick was married and had 2 children, but Valerie decided that they were responsible for his unhappiness. As she sneakily cruised by his house (yeah, like a stalker) she decided Tessa was a society snob and probably had a lover herself. Surely, she was anxious to get rid of him. Besides, Nick was wonderful with Charlie and her son needed a father! With all the rationalizing Valerie did to convince herself she was entitled to Nick - along with a healthy dose of hero worship - she came off as helpless and needy, yet vindictive and manipulative. Gah! I hated the bitch! How much pleasure I would have found in rewriting the story to have Tessa beating the crap out of her!
On the other side of the coin, I loved Tessa. She was experiencing some depression when all this began, probably due to the fact that she missed teaching, which meant daily interaction with humans older than 4. I know it isn't hard to succumb to the feeling that you are nothing more than someone's mommy. With a husband at work 12 hours a day, by the time Tessa & Nick had some alone time, all she wanted to do was sleep. But she wasn't a bitch or whiny about what she was saddled with all day, and she was never too tired for sex. I felt bad for her when Nick initially told her she was the one who had changed and caused the rift in their marriage. But Tessa was not a shrinking violet, a doormat or TSTL. As much as she loved Nick, she held her marriage vows sacred and (hell, yeah) kicked his ass to the curb when the time came. There is a major confrontation between Tessa and Valerie, and Tessa's ability to remain gracious at the worst of times is tribute to the good person she is and the woman Nick realizes he can't live without.
And Nick? Well yeah, he betrayed his wife and family in the worst way possible. And what he saw in Valerie we can only speculate, but I think he got caught up in the hero worship thing...being the knight in shining armor to both Valerie and Charlie. Whatever, he crossed the line that can never be uncrossed and lost the complete trust his wife had in him...probably forever. Nevertheless, Nick seemed truely remorseful for what he had done and his grovel was Oscar-worthy. I completely forgave him.
I'm all jacked up on angst-driven romance right now so when I saw this cover and title I thought "meh". Not that I don't read sexy, sweet light-hearte...moreI'm all jacked up on angst-driven romance right now so when I saw this cover and title I thought "meh". Not that I don't read sexy, sweet light-hearted adult romances, it just isn't what I'm feeling at the moment. But being the first book to pop up on my Kindle day after day wore me down so I decided to give it a shot.
What can I say? I erroneously judged a book by its cover; but come on...if it looks like a duck, right? In this wonderful era of the indie author, so many books are continuously being presented that for me the book covers act as tags. Visually I can tell if I'm in the right place without reading a thing. Kick in the title "Accidentally on Purpose" and you've got light, sexy contemp...Bella Andre, Shannon Stacey, Jill Shalvis. Not the case here. Although the author has a great sense of humor and is able to project that through the heroine's high-spirited personality, the subject matter isn't funny at all. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RECIPE FOR DISASTER
Ingredients: 1 - Beautiful, single, independent, open-minded female 1 - Hot-headed, hot-bodied hunky boss, attached but not unavailable 1 - Sexy studmuffin hottie with a jumbo-sized who-ha, single but convinced ingredient #1 is who he wants to spend the rest of his life with.
Mix 3 ingredients very carefully. Timing is of utmost importance as you don't want 2nd & 3rd ingredients to blend.
When inserting into the oven, WEAR A GLOVE! Failure to do so means someone will surely get burned.
Finished product will result in a complex love triangle
Note: Do not attempt to enhance recipe with crystal meth as it might create a monster.
This is Emmy's story - a beautiful, brainy, feisty, potty-mouthed 30yr old "Jersey Girl" who loves to drink and plot her mother's demise (usually done simultaneously), who falls in love with two hot men and the repercussions of not having the willpower to let one of them go. She will crack you up, she will piss you off and she might make you cry...whatever it is, she will definitely evoke some kind of emotion in you. And so will Kyle and Luke who both love Emmy with everything they've got... but of course are approaching from very different angles as Kyle is engaged to someone else and Luke wants to "domesticate" her. As you might imagine, this story packs a whole lotta punch (literally & figuratively) so proceed with caution. But definitely proceed!!
Hardy Bradford is a high school senior who, by outward appearance, has it all going on. Tall, with dark hair, light eyes and rockin' a 6-pk, he's the...moreHardy Bradford is a high school senior who, by outward appearance, has it all going on. Tall, with dark hair, light eyes and rockin' a 6-pk, he's the picture you see when you look up "swoonworthy". He's the quarterback "on fire"...the one being scouted most actively by the top colleges in the country; and his girlfriend of several years, Cheyenne, is the best-looking female on the planet. Although Hardy knows his future as a football pro is more for his father than for himself, and Cheyenne - handpicked by his father as well - is NOT the girl of his dreams, he is content for now...until he meets Miracle St. James.
The first time Hardy lays eyes on Miracle she is sitting on a park bench. He is mesmerized by her emerald green eyes, her sweet smile, her seductive voice. Does her skin feel as soft as it looks, he wonders. Hardy is oblivious to anything but this beautiful girl in front of him until Cheyenne walks up and asks him if he is "into bald chicks now." The spell is broken and he walks away...but he doesn't forget. Five months later, Hardy is ecstatic when he discovers Miracle is now attending his school. Like a moth to a flame, he is drawn to her beauty...her sweet disposition...her joy in experiencing the little things in life that most people take for granted. Unfortunately, everything good that is Miracle is overshadowed by everything bad that is Cheyenne...and Hardy feels no remorse when he kicks Cheyenne to the curb. Yeah!!!
What follows is a touching story about two young people who are fortunate enough to find their lifelong soul mate in each other. The question is...how long is lifelong? Miracle had been diagnosed with cancer the year before, but treatment had been successful and she was clean; however, as the result of high med dosage, chemo, etc, she lost a kidney. Now tests on her surviving kidney are indicating problems...
Hardy is probably the best YA hero I have come across to date. He realizes early on that Miracle is the love of his life; and, while a few of his decisions are probably not too smart (like knocking her ex unconscious with little forethought) he is completely exonerated of any wrongdoing in my book. Miracle holds his heart; therefore, her happiness and well-being are foremost in his mind and affect every decision he makes. At one point Miracle calls Hardy her hero, and he realizes that is exactly what he wants to be...her protector, her lover and her savior...forever. But while Hardy envisions forever to mean he and Miracle sporting white hair & playing with their grandchildren, the heartbreaking truth is that Miracle might not live to see her 19th birthday. My heart went out to Hardy...he had so much conflict at home to contend with, his scholastic future was unclear, Cheyenne kept trying to break him down...yet despite all that, he stayed focused on Miracle and his quest to fill her life with happiness.
Please don't think you can read this story without shedding a tear. If you can, then you are probably made of stone.
Staring deeply into her eyes, Hardy prayed that all he felt for her would show, that she could see what he couldn’t find the words to say. When her lips curved into a tremulous smile, he cupped her face in his hands and pressed his forehead to hers, closing his eyes. Hardy whispered, just loud enough for Miracle to hear, “Someday I’ll marry you, Miracle. And maybe someday after that, I’ll deserve you.”
Although Fragile is told in 3rd person with an insight to only what Hardy is thinking, I felt like I knew Miracle just as well. The author, M. Leighton, must have poured her heart and soul into creating Hardy & Miracle because they were living, breathing people from the first page to the last. The dialog flowed smoothly and all characters used to build the story were thoroughly fleshed out. Best of all, I was told nothing and experienced everything. That is the make-it-or-break-it issue for me when I read a book and Ms. Leighton's presentation kicked ass! Indie authors rock!
Lady Elyssa has a secret admirer and she wants to meet him. Her brother Harrison, the Marquess of Fellingsdown,...moreAn excellent HR by a new author for me!
Lady Elyssa has a secret admirer and she wants to meet him. Her brother Harrison, the Marquess of Fellingsdown, is horrified when he learns that the so-called admirer is nothing more than a fictitious gentleman their twin sisters have created in the hopes that their older sister will feel better about herself. You see, although she is breathtakingly beautiful and has a charming personality, Elyssa has never had a suitor. A freak accident at the age of nine left her with a mangled foot that could not be corrected, and she can not walk without the use of a cane. Her coming-out Season had been a mortifying experience, and she has been residing at the familial country estate ever since. Harrison, ever the protector of his sister, immediately organizes a house party to which he entices Brent Montgomery, the Earl of Charfield and most eligible bachelor in London, to attend. If Brent will "pay attention" to Elly for the 2-week duration of the party and cause her to forget about the secret admirer, Harrison will let Brent sire a colt on his prize-winning Arabian horse.
Historical romances with house party themes are always fun and this one is no exception. Of course the "deal" goes awry from the get-go because Brent is immediately attracted to Elly, and vice versa. As they become better acquainted, Brent teaches Elly to look past her disability and strive to do all those things she once thought to be impossible. There were several touching scenes...Brent teaching Elly to waltz and how to play croquet...he was really the hero extraordinaire. In fact, their relationship reminded me of that between Kit & Lauren in Mary Balogh's A Summer to Remember. Add to this, a thoroughly enjoyable secondary romance between Harrison and the woman he loved and lost 4 years prior, a peer at the party who wants Harrison dead, a kidnapping and ensuing chase, and of course what transpires when the bet is discovered, and you've got one damn good book! The sexual content is mild and limited, but the sexual tension carries the story right on through.
I'm currently reading another book by Laura Landon that is showing promise of being just as good as Shattered Dreams, and Ms. Landon is showing great promise of becoming an auto-buy for me. Seriously, if you are in the mood for a fast-paced, well-balanced HR with an awww-worthy love story (or two) and a sweet HEA, this would be the book to pick up (for only .99c on Kindle)!
(No, Dina, I will never grow tired of him.:)(less)