Maddy, Christine, and Amy, friends since college, are thrilled to learn their old suitemate's self-help book, How to Have a Perfect Life, has become a smashing bestseller - until they realize she used them as negative examples of how women let fear mess up their lives. The worst part is…it's sort of true. So, the three friends make a pact: They each have one year to face down their fears - and prove Miss Perfect wrong!
A free spirited artist - Maddy was always the artistic one of the group, full of life from her saucy red curls to her vintage hippie skirts. Her challenge, the friends decide, is to get her artwork accepted at a gallery. A job as arts director at a summer camp near Santa Fe - with its thriving art scene - seems like just the thing.
There's just one catch: The camp is run by Maddy's high school flame, Joe, whose heart she smashed when she chose her art over marriage to him. His anger over the breakup hasn't cooled one bit. But neither has their attraction. Old desires burn hotter than ever as Joe makes it clear there's only one way back into his heart: She has to get serious about the art career she once valued above all else. But will falling in love help or hinder Maddy as she struggles to meet her challenge?
©2011 Julie Ortolon (P)2013 Julie Ortolon
I got the kindle book for FREE, that's right, FREE at Amazon and then the Audible price was only $1.99 with their Whispersync deal! I was really pleasantly surprised with this one! I loved the best friends aspect as much as the romance. The 3 woman make a pact that each will complete a challenge decided upon by the other two. It is something that the person has let fear keep her from doing. I loved the interactions of these ladies woven into the story as a backdrop to the romance that takes place. For only $1.99 total for e-book and audiobook both, I say give it a try! You just might be pleasantly surprised too!
This is a review of both the Audible and the Kindle versions.
I haven't enjoyed a new-to-me author this much in a long time and it just goes to prove the old adage about never judging a book by its cover - but in this case, its 'never judge a book by its price.' See, I've had Almost Perfect sitting on my Kindle forever! Seriously, at least couple years, I'm sure. But I had this idea that because it had been free, it probably wasn't all that good, so I was in no hurry to get to it. Yeeaaah, no! I was totally wrong about that and I'm kicking myself for having waited so long to read this story.
Maddy, Christine, and Amy find that an old college roommate has written about them in her new self-help book-and they're furious that she's used them as examples of how women screw up their lives. And the worst part is, it's sort of true. Together they make a pact: they'll face down their fears-and maybe show Miss Perfect a thing or two!
Maddy rejected her high school sweetheart's marriage proposal for art school years ago. Now her friends challenge her to rediscover her lost passion for arts. In doing so, she crosses paths with her old flame, Joe, at an art camp. Perhaps it's about time that Maddy reignites another old passion.
There are a few things that stand out in my mind as to what makes this such an entertaining story. Most definitely Christine and Amy and their friendship with Maddy - true friends who tell you what you need to hear, even when it's not what you want to hear. Their relationship added a bit of a chick-lit feel, but not too much. This truly is a romance driven novel. And a steamy one, at that!
Another thing I loved is the theme of never giving up on your dreams. In fact, that's the jumping off point and the foundation of the story. And while the friendship is the catalyst for Maddie reaching for her dreams, Joe is also there, cheering her on.
But for me, best of all, I loved this second chance romance that, against almost impossible odds, was truly wonderful. No hurried forgiveness, no lame excuses that are acceptable just to move things along...the whole story, start to finish, drew me in and kept me totally invested in these very real, totally normal, compelling flawed people. (And an FYI to those I know will be wondering - there was no cheating involved when the relationship ended the first time.)
Jane Cramer did a great job of giving each character a distinctive voice and personality. Her own voice is smooth, pleasant, and so, so easy to listen to!
I'm excited to read more by this talented author/narrator team!
My thanks to the Ortolons for providing me with a copy of this audio book in exchange for an honest review. It was such a pleasure!
Maddie had put her art career on hold while her husband had cancer. She stepped in to help run his accounting firm, and now since his passing, she hasn't done anything towards rekindling earlier desire of making a name for herself. Maddie is charged with getting her art in a gallery and an offer to work as an Art Coordinator for a summer camp near Santa Fe, seems the perfect opportunity. Just one big problem, her high school boyfriend Joe, is the Camp Director. She hopes to clear the air with him and maybe once again become friends. Only Joe hasn't forgotten, nor has he forgiven her.
Maddie and Joe had sparks right from the start. When Joe finds out his mother has hired Maddie behind his back, he tries to make her leave. They share a history, but have since grown and changed and become new people. I think second chance at love stories work best when both of the couple have not only changed since they were together last, but still have growth opportunities available. This was especially true for Maddie and Joe. I enjoyed the story and though this is part of a trilogy, the only cliffhanger is what happens to Christine in her story. I would listen to the next 2 books, as I really enjoyed the interactions between the women.
I think Jane Cramer did a good job on the narration. Though she didn't really change up the tone of the different voices, she did give each one it's own distinct rhythm and cadence that made it clear which character was speaking. I was pleased with the overall performance and would listen to her again. This was a solid 3 stars.
We read to know, we are not alone ~ C.S. Lewis
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration:4 Story: 4
I needed a lighter romance with some interesting spin, and Julie Ortolon’s title managed to create that for me without issue, and it also puts a spin on the”self-help” genre (a particular non-favorite of mine) giving the characters a needed kick in the pants while actually dealing with long-standing issues.
Maddy, Christine, Amy and Jane were suitemates and friends in university: and now ten years later Jane is published with her new book How to Have a Perfect Life. Maddy, Christine and Amy are still very close, and do the right thing - appear to support a friend who has become more distant since they left school. But, when they open the book and see that they are all used as ‘what not to do’ examples in the book, they decide that they won’t stall - they make a bet that in the next year they all must tackle the fear that Jane had noted, and overcome it.
This is Maddy’s story: and recently her life has been all about recovery after nursing her husband during a long illness, and managing his business, before liquidating after his death. Maddy had always hoped to be an artist: in fact her now deceased husband had planned for her to create her art while he worked at building his accounting business. But, needs must and her personal dreams were put on hold, and her friends also have found a stalling point in their own lives.
Highlights include the interactions: the caring friends, the reconnection between Joe and Maddy, and Maddy and Mama Frasier, the owner of the summer camp that will give Maddy the space and place to kickstart her own part of the challenge. As the Arts Director, Maddy will be teaching, supervising and organizing the arts programme at this New Mexico summer camp, while leaving her plenty of inspiration and opportunity to get back into the swing of a productive artist.
The hesitation from both Maddy and Joe was realistic, and the reasons that they both held anger and fears about their own broken high school love affair led into further revelations from both Maggie and Joe, and forces them to look forward to the “what next’ in their life. Not wanting to let her friends down, and actually being excited by the challenge, Maddy is willing to take those first tentative steps into her new life. Steamy hot - the emotions between the two set off sparks: some angry and hurt, others desiring yet afraid, and make their interactions full of emotion. They are electric together and their connection both physical and emotional fuels their growth.
Narration in this story is provided by Jane Cramer who uses subtle shifts and changes to define individual character voices, and they all feel natural and not over-emoted. She doesn’t over-act the voice of Joe - using a harder and quicker delivery style to present him, the perfect addition of masculine energy without presenting as a caricature. At the 1x speed, I found her enunciation felt far too ‘careful’, moving the speed up to 1.25 brought a nice conversational speed without damaging the presentation.
I received an AudioBook copy of the title via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I thought the story line insipid and a little too 'finger pointy' for me. The narrator has a nice voice, but she'd put a little lilt at the end of most sentences that grated on my nerves. She also, to me, had poor pacing. I want a narrator; the AUTHOR is the storyteller. Could be just me.
On the plus side, the author can put a sentence together and uses grammar correctly, for the most part.
It is possible I am just too old and too experienced to fall in love with this story. Needless to say, I won't consider the sequels and I'm glad it was inexpensive.
As always, YMMV.
This is a feel good, old fashioned type of romance.
Some steamy scenes which is never crude or over the top. The tension between the two main protagonists were enough to make me want to listen more and more.
The Momma character was a hoot as well as a very wise woman who basically served to explain the theme of the book while the two main protagonists served to advance the plot of love lost, misunderstaning etc.
The narrator, Jane Cramer did a brilliant job in giving a voice to a very loveable cast of characters.
Yes, absolutely! This is exactly what it looks like - a paint by numbers romance with a decent plot. It won't win Hugo's but it's lovely. It flows with an effortless beauty which is difficult to achieve in this genre.
Nora Roberts books come to mind. This isn't a fantasy romance but it has that same relatable feel to it. The performance and the voice of both written and spoken narration is beautiful and charming and reels you in.
The slight changes in tone and rhythm when reading spoken dialogue or an actual scene, compared to that of reading text within the text is masterful. It honours the integrity of the written work. It's an amazing performance.
Will dreams get in the way of their second chance?
That tag line is so corny but it is what the book is, which is fluff. It's enjoyable and kind of brainless fluff but in the best possible way. Sometimes all you want is a book like this you can glide through.
Take a look it's in a book...Reading Rainbow!
Such a fun and yummy romance. The story has many layers and levels to the relationship. I am a sucker for reunited lovers. This book really delivers.
Maddy is a typical artist, they feel so much and second guess themselves. Thankfully that does not make her angsty. She is perfect for Joe, who is serious and organized. I love their dynamic, sure they have issues to resolve from their past, but they are great together.
The wonderful thing about these books is that a whole lot of time does not need to be spent on making the connection feel real. They already have a past that builds banked feelings. The story does work to resolve hurt feelings from a bad breakup, sometimes people need time to grow before they are a great match.
At first I did not think I would like the references to the self-help book. Turns out they were well done and matched up with the story really well. This is a romance about two people who are still a little flawed, they let outside factors influence their choices. It was interesting to see Maddy make realizations and try to change.
It is a mixed narrative, switching between the two leads POV. This is my favorite style. It gives so much insight into what they are each feeling and motivation for their actions. They both had a touch of angst to work through.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Jane Cramer, She does a great job with the pace, brisk and steady. She has consistent and distinct voices. The men could be a touch deeper, but that is me being picky. She did a great job of infusing emotion and energy into the read.
This is more of a room temperature read than a hot and spicy romp. While the bedroom door is open it is not overly detailed. More NC-17 than R rated. I enjoyed the bedroom stuff, it doesn't always have to be ultra spicy. There are times when warm and fuzzy work, this is one of those series.
Overall, the read is entertaining and has plenty of movement throughout the story. The relationship has some solid ups and downs that feel real. By the end I was totally sold on the I love yous! Sigh, I may have shed a tear or two!
Disclosure - I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.
Amateurish attempt at writing...she's a best selling author? I stopped listening after 45 minutes. Even at the reduced price of $4.95, it was a complete waste of money. Don't buy this book.
Everything was horrible.
dr. suess would be an upgrade.
p.u. She really couldn't read.
return to gradeschool.
i want my money back
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