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Archive for the tag “marriage”

Review: Reality Check

Reality Check by Karen Tufts is a bit a of light reading, something fun after the heaviness of some of the classics I’ve been reading. It tells the story of Lucy, who returned home from college and found herself entered to be a contestant on the show “Soulmates” by her best friends. She wrestled with the decision, being from a devout Mormon family, but ultimately decides to be a contestant. What she doesn’t expect, however, is that she will fall for the handsome Ethan Glass, or what will stop them from being together.

Although maybe not the most realistic story, it was actually a pretty good read. Tufts does a good job of presenting a realistic look behind the scenes of a reality show that is familiar to many, and for the most part, she creates incredibly believable characters.

That being said, I had a few reservations about the book. The first is how the storyline played out. Would Lucy really have been able to forgive her friends for betrayal like that? I am not so sure. I feel like she too easily moved past her feelings toward Grace and Allie without really processing them. Her best friends, people she had known her entire life, sold her out. They judged her for her faith, they revealed their own feelings about decision she had made to the public instead of to her, and really, Allie didn’t even apologize. It doesn’t seem fully believable that she would be able to forgive them.

The second aspect that I had some reservations about is the faith aspect of the book. Lucy is a Mormon, and her faith plays a big role in her life, and she hopes it will play a big role in her future spouses life. In addition to describing LDS services, there is also a more detailed discussion of conversion to the LDS faith. While I understand how Lucy’s faith makes an impact on her decisions, and made her a rather unwelcome target for treachery, I was surprised at how much the Mormon faith and conversion experience became central in the plot.  Was it completely necessary element to the story? Maybe, but not quite to the extent it was included.

Overall, I give Reality Check two stars. I loved the concept, I just wasn’t fully satisfied with the way it played out.



Review: The Elusive Mr. McCoy

 The Elusive Mr. McCoy by Brenda Baker was a surprising tapestry of interconnected lives and stories. They are the lives that surround Mr. McCoy, a man would slipped into a coma in a coffeeshop and is found with two wallets revealing two separate identities- one Eric McCoy, married to Kendra McCoy, the other Dave McCoy married to Lesley McCoy. In one life he is a mysterious and elegant employee of Pentagon, in the second he is a wilderness guide hoping to make a go of organic gardening. And he is married to both women at once.

There are quite a number of characters and factors in this book- McCoy, the wives, his agent, the former police detective Jason who was talking to him when he slipped into a coma, the families of the wives, and Jason’s own complicated family and history. It seems like its almost too many characters for a 300-page book, and yet it works. Each character has there own story, motivation, and secrets of their own.

Baker is an amazing writing. The book contains a bit of suspense, a bit of romance, and a surprising bit of sci-fi, all blended together in a highly readable piece of fiction. Four stars out of five.

Review: How to Love An American Man

 How to Love An American Man by Kristine Gasbarre was part of my library loot from this past week. I was intrigued when I saw the title, intrigued enough to add it to my reserve items. When I found myself between books this past weekend, I decided to give it a try.

First of all, I’ll be honest. Its not at all what I anticipated, even having read the description. So we’re both on the same page, here is the books description as it appears on Amazon:

“Kristine Gasbarre made a New York career of dating driven, inaccessible men. When she realizes her love life will never result in happiness if she continues on the same path, she makes a big decision—relocating to Italy to discover her roots and find out what defines her adoring grandpa. But upon receiving the news of his sudden passing, she is lured away.

With nowhere left to go, Krissy returns to her small hometown for the first time in a decade to help care for her grandmother—a refined, private matriarch suffering from early dementia along with the loss of her husband. In her reluctant agreement to share the nearly lost love stories and transformative lessons from her rich sixty-year marriage, Krissy’s grandma becomes the one offering comfort as she coaches her granddaughter through the fear of loving. Grandma’s unapologetic femininity and secret giving spirit opens Krissy’s eyes about relationships, teaching her the single most important requisite for loving a man: first a woman has to learn the power of her own inner beauty.”

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting to be honest, but what I found in the memoir, I loved. Krissy’s intimate conversations with her Grandma Glo on love and her grandmother’s life with her grandfather are something to be treasured, and they seem so healing for both of them as they remember the past, and learn from it together.

Krissy transforms in the year she spends with her family. She increasingly comes to rely on her grandmother’s advice and opinions. And she becomes so much more confident.

As a single woman, I think it was also an interesting read, not that I plan on running out and applying each part to my life. But I have certainly been aware of the temptation to change myself to capture the attention of a man, all the while, wanting him to be the one noticing and pursuing me. If Krissy’s Grandma Glo is right, I’ve had things backwards.

The book was a quick read, but a thoughtful and fun memoir. I would definitely recommend it.

Review: Arranged

After reading a review of Arranged at the blog 5 Minutes for Books (check it out at, I ordered it from my local library. It came in Friday, and much to my surprise, I had free time to read on Sunday night, so I picked up Arranged.

Arranged tells the story of Anne Blythe, who after yet another failed relationship followed quickly by the engagement announcement of her best friend Sarah, decides she needs help finding a relationship. She contacts Blythe & Co., whose business card she found, believing that they are a dating service only to discover that they specialize in arranged marriages. The concept is surprising to Anne, but not completely unwelcome, and we follow her as she explores arranged marriages and makes a decision whether or not to take the plunge.

McKenzie creates amazingly normal characters. One of the things I loved about her writing is that the characters were well developed and realistic. I can imagine my best friend and I have conversations that resemble Anne and Sarah’s. McKenzie’s writing is refreshingly light, but still makes you think about your own thoughts and feelings about romance, dating, marriage, and friendship.

It was a fun read, and I recommend it for beach reading.

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