Always Something There to Remind Me, by Beth Harbison

what a nice 2 days it’s been – discovering that one of my fav authors has 2 books that i had no clue existed.  that on top of the fact that i had a bit of time to actually read through both was the icing on the cake.

so here we are, introduced to a plot in what is sometimes a confusing way, but in general, a manner that just worked for the story.  Different than other stories by Beth, ever chapter basically alternates between past and present.  This way we’re given the history which is really key to ‘getting’ the relationship, yet we’re also given another perspective on how things changed and went in life, because that’s just what happens.  history shapes things and you move on.

so we meet Erin who is a single mom that right off the bat you just LIKE.  she has a 15/16 yr old daughter that she luckily has a GREAT relationship with (would we expect anything otherwise), a relationship that most people would want,  a really cool job, and great friends.

top that off with a pain in the ass job situation with a reality show filming an unreasonable version of ‘my super sweet sixteen’, and the memory of first love that really isn’t the kind of puppy love first love that we always think about from high school.  it was INTENSE.  that’s what we’re reminded about all the time.

in any event, what i really liked is that Erin is trying to be mature and sane about things, but she can’t help but wonder about the past and if that really f’d her up in the long run. i also really liked the fact that when she broke up with Nate, the unrequited love god, well, she wasn’t just depressed, she almost went off the deep end depressed.  that’s normal if you think about it.  you’re a teen, you’ve dated someone for years, you gave yourself entirely to them, pictured yourself married and growing old, and then shit happens, life happens and well, you break up.  it’s cataclysmic i think.  life just ends for you when that happens.

it did for erin, yet some how she picked up the pieces, got preggo by some other guy, realized that there wasn’t romance there but great co-parenting, and then the dad dies, leaving erin on her own.  she wasn’t miserable about that though and i think that it’s because her love for Nate really killed off any level of deep emotion.

so that’s what i love about this story.  you know that she was broken, she thinks about him when she should be accepting a marriage proposal from some other guy, yet that’s not even just it.  she happens across him, sleeps with him, finds out that oops he’s married, and to her best friend from high school, and still, she’s broken but she knows that only he can fix her

and that he does – in the end.  seriously, that’s really all that i wanted to see happen, and i stayed up all night reading the story just so that i could see that.

*le sigh*  thanks Beth, you made my night last night!

When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

one thing that i love, when i find that an author that i favored in the past actually has more books than i realized.  it leaves me a happy girl since it means that i’ll have a couple more days of good reading to enjoy.

From the author of Shoe Addicts Anonymous, and Secrets of a Shoe Addicts, and Hope in a Jar, and Thin, Rich, Pretty,

one of the things that i LOVE about Beth’s writing is that she’s giving you female characters that really know how to give it their all, in circumstances that aren’t ideal, and still come out on top.

Here we have Gemma (mind you i LOVE this name because it’s my daughter’s name too) – she’s a personal chef because well she doesn’t like to work in an office and likes to work for herself, and she’s forced to deal with every personality under the sun.  that’s one thing that i have to give Beth credit for.  it’s not that hard to create all sorts of personalities, but she really carries those through in great detail that makes you feel like you’re in each one of their crazy homes and lives.

Well, Gemma, has different families that she cooks for just to make ends meet, she’s single and looking for love, kind of find ‘love’ in a one night stand all while flirting with Mr. Tuesday – one of her clients.  that’s what i love – i guessed it right away and made the connection between Mr. Tuesday and the mysterious Mack – and i loved that she didn’t figure it out right away.

I also loved that Lex was rooting for her all along, and that he wanted to see her succeed, put her in touch with his niece (i think) that didn’t have too many people on her side, and well – that was the beginning of great things happening.

i know i’m all over the place here with what i loved about this story, but what i LOVE too about Beth’s stories is that you get it all resolved in the one story and you’re not resigned to waiting until the next book comes along.  you have a nice sweet story where you see that the people you want to do well actually do well.  if another book / sequel comes along then great, but you’re pleased with how things ended.