Author: Beth Harbison

Guest Review: One Less Problem Without You by Beth Harbison

Posted November 23, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: One Less Problem Without You by Beth HarbisonReviewer: Tina
One Less Problem without You by Beth Harbison
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 336
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Meet Prinny, Chelsea and Diana. Prinny is the owner of Cosmos, a shop that sells crystals, potions, candles, and hope. It’s also a place where no one turns down a little extra-special cocktail that can work as a romance potion or heal a broken heart. But Prinny is in love with her married lawyer and she’ll need nothing short of magic to forget about him.

Chelsea works as a living statue at tourist sites around Washington, DC. It's a thankless job, but it helps pay the rent. That, and her part-time job at Cosmos. As her dream of becoming a successful actress starts to seem more remote and the possibility of being a permanently struggling one seems more realistic, Chelsea begins to wonder: at one point do you give up on your dreams? And will love ever be in the cards for her?

Diana Tiesman is married to Leif, a charismatic man who isn’t faithful. But no matter how many times he lets her down, Diana just can't let him go. She knows the only way she can truly breakaway is if she leaves and goes where he will never think to follow. So she ends up at Cosmos with Leif’s stepsister, where she makes her homemade teas and tinctures as she figures out whether she'd rather be lonely alone than lonely in love.

In Beth Harbison's One Less Problem Without You, three women suddenly find themselves together at their own very different crossroads. It will take hope, love, strength and a little bit of magic for them to find their way together.

When I see books by Beth Harbison the first thing I think of is chick-lit. I am not saying this as a bad thing at all, but that is just what most of her books are, in my humble opinion. I was spending an early weekend morning checking out the new books at the local library. I found One Less Problem Without You and of course I read the blurb on the back of the cover, and thought “hmm, this is a little out of the norm for this author”, but then I figured that maybe it was just the way I was interpreting it so I plopped it in the old trusty book bag and foraged on through the rest of the rows.

When I got home later, I grabbed the book and started reading. After a few chapters, I noticed this book was nothing like what I had expected. It was a more “weighty” (is that even a word??) type of story that I didn’t really expect from Beth Harbison. But then, maybe that is exactly the point. Perhaps the author wanted to shake her readers up a bit. I really couldn’t say. But this book was a little hard for me to get through and I actually kept laying it down. I did a load of laundry, I wiped down the kitchen counters….you know the drill. There just seemed to be a lot going on with a lot of different characters. At one point I got pretty lost in all the back and forth. I totally get wanting to give some background and explain some things, but I think it was a little overdone at times.

I guess from the cover of the book AND the fact that the author is Beth Harbison, I expected a light-hearted, borderline cutesy kinda read. And yes, I DID read the synopsis, but I figured if anyone could make it all better it would be Beth. The abusive scenes in the book really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting rape to be part of it.. I also could not stand the main male character and I was annoyed with his wife and all the crap she kept putting up with. I personally do not have any knowledge about abusive relationships, but I can honestly say that my butt would’ve been gone a LONG time before she finally decided to do something about it.

So there you have it. One Less Problem Without You will not be one that I brag about or tell my friends they need to read. I struggled with this one and even considered not finishing. But hey……I’m NOT a quitter! Okay, I am sometimes, but I saw this one to the end.

Now just because I wasn’t thrilled with this one doesn’t mean that you won’t be. I absolutely HATED 50 Shades of Grey and look how popular that was! Just remember that this one is not all sweet and wrapped it a bow. It deals with some pretty heavy things at times. There are tons of people that rated it highly, so read some other reviews, or just go to the library like I did. You won’t be losing anything either way, and you might just like it.


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Guest Review: When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

Posted October 5, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth HarbisonReviewer: Tina
When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 17th 2012
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 338
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Shoe Addicts Anonymous and Always Something There to Remind Me comes a delicious new novel about the search for true love and all the ingredients that go into it.

As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it's her job to cater other peoples' dates, and that's just fine by her. At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She's got six steady clients that keep her hands full.

There's Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor's orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an überwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is "allergic to everything"; and finally, a man she calls "Mr. Tuesday," whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to.

For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma's takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and---oh yes---butter.

I have been in a kind of “fluff’ read sort of mood lately. I went to the bookstore and the library quickly scanning the shelves for books that gave me the impression that they would be quick, easy and uncomplicated. Well, I found several. I just finished one by Beth Kendrick and then picked this one up thinking it was the same author. I guess since both of them were together and had that sort of “cutesy” cover going on I just assumed..

Anyway, another reason I chose the book was because I love to bake. And any book that has cupcakes on the front of it will at least make me pick it up and check out the blurb on the back. Since this one was about a girl who was a personal chef, my mind said “Heck yeah” and into my basket it went.

When I picked up When in Doubt, Add Butter , I pretty much had an idea that I was getting a cute little story that I could read quickly before bed without doing a lot of thinking or one that I could read a couple chapters during my lunch break at work. It was a quick read and I can say that I enjoyed the story, although it was VERY predictable and had ending that I wasn’t that keen about. (Which I will not talk about….no need to spoil it for the rest of you all). I also think I would’ve rated this 3.5 starts had it included some recipes in it as well.

So, if you are looking for something thought-provoking and deep, you will need to keep on looking. But then, my question to you would be “Why would you pick a book titled When in Doubt, Add Butter, if you wanted something profound?” I did think this was an enjoyable read for what it is, which I would personally call a “rainy day book”.

I will most likely keep my eye out for a couple more books by Beth Harbison. I found her writing to be catchy, and it did make me smile in places.


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Review: If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison

Posted August 11, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth HarbisonReviewer: Rowena
If I Can Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Genres: Women's Fiction
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Told with Beth Harbison's wit and warmth, If I Could Turn Back Time is the fantasy of every woman who has ever thought, "If I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, I'd do things so differently..."

Thirty-seven year old Ramie Phillips has led a very successful life. She made her fortune and now she hob nobs with the very rich and occasionally the semi-famous, and she enjoys luxuries she only dreamed of as a middle-class kid growing up in Potomac, Maryland. But despite it all, she can't ignore the fact that she isn't necessarily happy. In fact, lately Ramie has begun to feel more than a little empty.

On a boat with friends off the Florida coast, she tries to fight her feelings of discontent with steel will and hard liquor. No one even notices as she gets up and goes to the diving board and dives off...

Suddenly Ramie is waking up, straining to understand a voice calling in the distance...It's her mother: "Wake up! You're going to be late for school again. I'm not writing a note this time..."

Ramie finds herself back on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, with a second chance to see the people she's lost and change the choices she regrets. How did she get back here? Has she gone off the deep end? Is she really back in time? Above all, she'll have to answer the question that no one else can: What it is that she really wants from the past, and for her future?

Ever wonder what it would be like to wake up the day before you turn 18 again?

While out on her yacht with friends, Ramie is partying it up when she cartwheels right off the yacht and wakes up the day before her eighteenth birthday. When she fell into the water? She was 38 so waking up right before you turn 18 again is definitely a trippy experience for Ramie. Getting to do things differently, right some wrongs and all that made for an interesting story.

Ramie was an interesting character, one that I didn’t think I would connect all that much with but in little ways, I did. This book made me think to when I was 18, the choices that I made back then. Would I change things or not? It made me remember the kind of person I was back then. How different things were back then and how the choices I made then, molded me into the person that I am right now. Would I risk losing everything I have now to maybe change my life for the better?

Even after reading through Ramie’s journey, I’m not sure if I would or not.

This was an enjoyable book and I probably would have enjoyed the book more if the middle didn’t drag and if the lessons being taught in this book didn’t come off as so freaking preachy. There were times when I would put this book down because I didn’t want to roll my eyes down the street. I felt that I was being preached to and I’m not a fan of that in the books that I read for fun. I thought this book would be a lot lighter than it actually was and even though I enjoyed the beginning and the end, the middle was hard to get through at times. I wanted to speed things up a lot.

It was a solid story but not quite what I was expecting and wanted. I will definitely be reading more books from Harbison though because the beginning to this book was strong and the ending did a great job of wrapping things up so I’m game for more.

Grade: 3 out of 5

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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