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Publisher's Summary

Mattie Ross is probably the last person who should be doling out good counsel to anyone about anything. Still smarting after being left at the altar two years earlier, she is strapped with debt, has sworn off men, routinely buries herself in her work, and despite her well-proportioned figure remains haunted by childhood taunts of "Fatty Mattie". But to her publisher at the Chicago Gazette, and listeners, she is their latest advice columnist, The Plate Spinner, a self-assured working parent to adorable fake children and multi-tasking savant. Enter Nick Derosa, the twin brother of Mattie's cold-footed fiance, who is trying to get back on his feet after his brother steals his identity and implicates him in an illegal investment scheme. But thanks to Nick's legendary running career, the publisher of the Chicago Gazette proposes a wager: If Nick can train an out-of-shape working parent in time to compete in the Chicago Marathon, he will contribute enough to help Nick launch his own non-profit running club for kids. Suddenly "Fatty Mattie" and Nick are thrust together as the most unlikely of pairs and under a deadline to put their trust issues aside and avoid another false start in their lives.

©2014 Barbara Valentin (P)2016 Barbara Valentin

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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False Start

Which scene was your favorite?

I totally enjoyed this audiobook - a fun romance with lovable characters that you just want to cheer for. I This story had me cheering for Mattie as she faced her demons and searched for love. Enjoyed every minute of it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Thoughtful and reflective

This was a really inner thought provoking book. It started off slow for me. But, then it hit it's stride. (Pun intended). This is not a steamy romance, though it does have an element of romance. This book is more about soul searching, finding inner strength. It sort of deals with overcoming self-doubt and hardships that almost everyone can relate to.

Nick and Maddy were very well developed characters that fought through difficulties life threw their way. They didn't come out unscathed, but they kept moving forward with maybe a few fits and starts. And, yet, this book is not highly emotional either. The book maintains enough of a light-hearted balance that keeps you from having intense emotional hills and valleys. I found it more reflective.

Lastly, specifically to the working out, eating right, etc. this book for me was right on time. Seasons are changing, it's getting cold, and I'd been struggling to try and stick to my regular workout routine. I was also having a love affair with pastries with my coffee. I'd hit a wall or was in a workout slump. And, listening to Maddie struggle, who was just starting her fitness journey, made me feel better about my own current struggle and pulled me right out of my slump. I listened while I worked out which kept me going.

Lastly, I am a huge Wendy Rich Stetson fan. She just always captures the essence of the characters. Maddie and Nick were already written great. Then, Wendy comes along and literally breathes life into them. Even the side characters are great. Really great story that will leave you feeling good at the end.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Fun & Heartwarming Romance!

I really enjoyed this fun and heartwarming romance. Altho it started slow for me and took a bit to become engaged, I soon didn't want it to end and thought about it long after it was over. This is a wonderful story of second chances, forgiveness, self improvement, and learning to love yourself. Mattie has struggled with her weight and her self esteem all her life. The paper she works for has asked her to train for a marathon and her coach is the twin brother of the man who left her at the altar. They were both victimized by Nick's brother and have been paying the price for several years. There were some misunderstandings also causing some lingering animosity. They do not start their journey together easily. Mattie and Nick were well developed and intriguing characters and I truly enjoyed the evolution of their relationship. The narrator, Wendy Rich Stetson, did a wonderful job bringing them to life and making me feel all their stumbles, heartbreaks, joys and triumphs! I look forward to listening to the net book in this series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Funny and easy to read

If you could sum up False Start in three words, what would they be?

Funny, cute, and entertaining

Have you listened to any of Wendy Rich Stetson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not yet, but I really like Wendy Rich Stetson’s performance in this book. The narrator is perfect and enjoyable to listen to.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, I want to, but I don't have enough time for that. This book is 7 hours long!

Any additional comments?

I like this book because this is not a steamy romance novel. I prefer a funny and uplifting book like this, perfect book to read before go to bed and help my mind separate my sleep time from the stresses of my daily life.The characters are pretty likable. I'll definitely check out more of her books. I've recommended this audiobook if you like simple sweet romance kind of book. One more thing about this book, it motivates me to exercise which is a good thing. It was a great read!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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False Start

This is a great, positive and uplifting book. It was so nice seeing them both learn to believe in them selves and get justice. This is a book that leaves you feeling great when it's over. Wonderful narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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False Start - A sweet contemporary romance

Mattie's life is turned upside down... she's left at the alter, lost her job and is buried in debt. She has taken a position as an advice columnist, but her readers don't know who she really is.

Nick has lost everything. His twin brother stole his identity and Nick was implicated in all the illegal activities his brother was involved in. The only thing Nick still has is his running and his reputation for being the "comeback kid".

When Mattie and Nick are thrust together for an assignment, can they get over their past and have a fresh start?

False start is a sweet and funny romance written by Barbara Valentin.

Wendy Rich Stetson delivered a stellar performance as the narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • DK
  • 07-16-17

Clever, Smart and Funny – Five Stars


Mattie Rose has huge streams of becoming a big-time journalist but after her very public jilting she is "reduced" to advice columnist. The groom's twin brother (the deliverer of the jilting news) has had a fall from fame himself thanks to his twin. The only job he can get is one as a high school track coach. They have not seen one another since the wedding (or not wedding) a few years before. Little did they know that their paths are about to cross again in the strangest way and in the most unflattering way for Mattie.

Mattie went to elementary school with the aforementioned twins. All she really remembers is receiving and no with a poem about "fatty Mattie." As a bigger girl she continued to feed her inner fat girl – quite literally. Nick is suckered into a wager with Mattie's boss and all of a sudden a really strange relationship is forced between Mattie and Nick.

This is a really cheeky, fun, romantic. Actually it is not limited to any sort of description. Barbara Valentin weaves a wonderfully and charming tale. This is the first installment of her "Assignment" romance series. I have added book number two to my wish list and will do the same with books 3 and four when they become available on audio.

Wendy Rich Stetson is one of my favorite audio performers. She is so talented as she narrates every character – females, males and children – it doesn't matter, she gives each their own believable voice.

This book (and performance) is right up there with books written by Sophia Kinsella & Marian Keyes, two of my favorite and earliest authors and narrators they chose to perform their books. I mean that as a high compliment to both Valentin and Stetson.

Near-perfect, I easily give this book 5 stars on all three categories. It is absolutely credit worthy and/or worth purchasing outright. This is a light hearted romance and I cannot think of anything inappropriate or feel the need to warn potential listeners. Enjoy!

Thank you for reading. I received this book in exchange for my unbiased review of it. I hope you found it helpful in choosing to purchase this book. If you did, would you please select yes below? Also, please consider following me here on audible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Book!

Any additional comments?

This is a great book written by Barbara Valentin and narrated by Wendy Rich Stetson. Mattie Ross is probably the last person who should be doling out good counsel to anyone on anything. Still smarting after being left at the altar two years earlier, she is strapped with debt, has sworn off men, routinely buries herself in her work and despite her well-proportioned figure, remains haunted by childhood taunts of "Fatty Mattie." But to her publisher at the Chicago Gazette, and readers, she is their latest advice columnist, The Plate Spinner, a self-assured working parent to adorable fake children and multi-tasking savant.
The narrator Wendy Rich Stetson did a wonderful job with this book. She did a great job with the different voices of each character in this book. It was very easy to listen to and I didn’t want to stop listening until the end. If you are looking for a great book with well-developed characters then you need to listen to this book. I am looking forward to listening to the next book by this author and narrator. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader’s copy of this book. The free book held no determination on my personal review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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My Musings

I received a request from Wendy Rich Stetson to listen to her latest recording. False Start is not my usual type of book, but since I have loved all the other books that Ms. Stetson has sent me, I did not hesitate. Wow! I’m so glad I did. Not only did I get to listen to another excellent narration, False Start is an awesome book!

Mattie Ross is left at the altar with a ton of debt for a wedding that never happened. She takes a position as an advice columnist at the Chicago Gazette. She has sworn off men and buries herself in her column, The Plate-Spinner.

When her publisher decides she needs to run a marathon and even hires her a personal coach, none other than Nick Derosa, her ex-fiance’s twin brother, she reluctantly agrees. But, how does an out-of-shape, supposedly overworked parent become fit for the challenge?

Nick and Mattie are thrown together and work toward a common goal. Can they unite to achieve that goal, and fall in love along the way?

False Start is fast-paced and kept me enthralled from the first page until the last. This book is very thought provoking and filled with all kinds of positive messages wrapped up in a delightfully funny story. False Start had me rooting for Mattie, hoping she could achieve her overwhelming goal and even find love along the way.

Mattie’s character is truly inspiring. This was a perfect book for me to read since I really need to keep active. I was doing great, but life has a way of throwing in curve balls to interfere. I’m hoping I can use Mattie’s character as an example to jump start me again. If Mattie can do it, anyone can make the life-style changes that will improve one’s quality of life. Mattie is so optimistic and determined, a character to truly admire.

Nick’s character is also inspiring. Even though, he was dealt a huge blow when he was arrested because his twin assumed his identification for his criminal activities, he does not let it get him down. He is determined to succeed with the opportunity given him. While he starts out helping Mattie because of the money, he truly wants her to achieve her goal and devotes his time and energy to help her make it happen.

I listened to the narration by Wendy Rich Stetson. She gives a stellar performance as I have grown to expect. She truly brings the characters to life. Her ability to give each character their own distinct voice is astonishing. She is one of the most talented narrators I’ve had the pleasure of listening to, and I listen to a lot of audio books.

If you are looking for a book that will lift your spirits and help you find inner-strength, then False Start is the perfect book for you. I highly recommend this book and the narration by Wendy Rich Stetson. Happy reading!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Surprisingly Good!

I didn't have very high expectations of this book. I am a bit of a cynic about all the 5 star reviews I read but this book surprised me. It was well written, and maintained my attention throughout. The narrator was also very good. Will look forward to more books by Barbara Valentin!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful