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Love After All

Hope, Book 4
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Series: Hope Series, Book 4
Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
Categories: Romance, Contemporary
4.5 out of 5 stars (142 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

High school math teacher Chelsea Gardner has the perfect plan. She's tired of dating all the wrong men, and after years of frustration, she's developed a foolproof list of requirements for finding "the one".

Bar owner Sebastian "Bash" Palmer finds Chelsea beautiful, smart, and fun, but he thinks her list is ridiculous and unnecessary. Intent on proving that Chelsea is looking for love in all the wrong ways, he offers to help her find the "perfect" man. Chelsea knows that Bash isn't the right guy for her - he barely meets one of her criteria - but there's something about the charismatic man that has her yearning for things that are most definitely not list approved. Because sometimes, a relationship that looks totally wrong on paper can turn out to be incredibly right....

©2015 Jaci Burton, Inc. (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"The romance is extremely hot thanks to some intense chemistry between Bash and Chelsea." ( RT Book Reviews)

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DNF at Chapter 13

The narration of this story is fine. I found it by searching for titles narrated by Saskia Maarleveld. My issue with the story was the main female character and the plot.

Chelsea is a high school math teacher and a seemingly nice, likable woman with a slew of friends in her small town. What she doesn't have -- and wants to have -- is a boyfriend. But not just any boyfriend. She's on the hunt for the Perfect Guy(tm). In order to find the Perfect Guy, she pens a list of desirable traits. These aren't character traits, because she figures that's the easy, commonsensical part of it. No, she's focused on compatibility traits. For instance, since she works days, she wants a guy who also works days so they're on the same schedule. Also, she'd like to find someone who is more wine-and-dine rather than a beer-and-burgers kind of guy. And she doesn't want a man who has been married before because DRAMA! or someone who is obsessed with sports because BORING!

As you can imagine (since this is a romance novel), the man the author has picked out for Chelsea is none of those things. In fact, he doesn't really ring the bell for ANY of the items on Chelsea's list. Bash owns a bar. He works nights and weekends. He's all about the beer (naturally!) and the burgers, and he definitely likes sports. AND he's been married before. So clearly he is not the guy for her.

And yet they have chemistry. Chemistry out the wazoo. And they're friends, and have been friends for a while, going all the way back to high school. Because they're friends, Bash even offers to help Chelsea find her Perfect Guy. (After all, he knows a lot of guys.)

So far so good, right?

But the problem I had with the story was that as the pages turned, Chelsea became less and less likable to me with every reference to her precious list and her mythical Perfect Guy. I get the feeling that maybe her parents didn't have the greatest relationship, and that their incompatibility caused problems that trickled down and made for an unhappy home life for Chelsea as a girl. As a result, and in reaction, she's determined to do better, to be smarter and more selective. But rather than coming across as sensible, she just came across -- increasingly -- as immature and shallow and really rather self-centered.

The DNF moment for me came in Chapter 13 when Chelsea announced to Bash that she was thinking about having sex with him so she could get it over with and put it aside and then focus on her hunt for her Perfect Guy. I mean...let's get real. If a man I was attracted to said something like that to me, I'd probably say thanks-no-thanks and walk away. Since I DNFd the story at that point, I have no idea if he took her up on her so-magnanimous offer, but since he's the other lead character in the story, I'm assuming he did. And honestly, that just makes HIM less likable as well.

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Great!

Loved the story! The series is quite great. Keeping the former character's at the for front in each story. Can't wait for the next one.