2018 Book #67 – At the Heart of It by Tawna Fenske

51ZxBkN1V4LTitle: At the Heart of It
Author: Tawna Fenske
Date finished: 8/7/18
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction, romance, romantic comedy
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Pages in book: 336
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

TV producer Kate Geary is in unscripted heaven. She’s piloting a reality series featuring her favorite self-help guru, Dr. Vivienne Brandt. The Dr. Viv—whose nuggets of wisdom helped Kate get through some of her toughest times. Thanks to Dr. Viv, Kate is almost on the verge of figuring everything out. That is, until Jonah Porter, the superhot book nerd Kate just spent an amazing date with, appears at the show’s first meeting.

Jonah did not want to get reeled into a world filled with invasive crews, pushy network execs, and over-the-top drama, but a connection to the story leaves him no choice. Fortunately, Kate—hot, smart, and funny—helps make it bearable. Now they’re both on the verge of violating their contracts as they find themselves sneaking around off set. But the cameras have a way of finding out everyone’s secrets…especially the ones that can break hearts.

My rating:  3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I finished this book for ARC August 2018! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because as part of the challenge they added one of my favorite things, reading Bingo! This book will be checking off my “Finish a 2017 ARC” box. PLUS! The fun never ends, since this is from my 2017 Backlog list, I am also completing this book as part of the 2018 Bookish Reading Challenge,  for the “a book you picked up based on the title” category.

I had read another of Fenske’s books, Now That It’s You, a couple years ago and really enjoyed it. I have to say I wasn’t as thrilled about this one’s plot but overall I still did enjoy it. This was a solid romance novel for me but wasn’t anything that really grabbed me. I liked all of the characters, Kate especially seemed like a very strong woman and I really admired her. The insight into reality television was also interesting and learning about how the show featured in the book was produced. The show itself was an unusual idea that made me curious how that would turn out in real life. Other than that I would say it was pretty standard but still a good book. I would recommend it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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2015 Book #71 – Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

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Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Date finished: 7/12/15
Genre:  Young adult
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Pages in book: 286
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from Amazon:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.
An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I haven’t read much by Sophie Kinsella but her Shopaholic series is on my TBR list. I saw the movie they made of the first book and loved it. So when I saw that Kinsella had a YA book coming out I wanted to read it.This story is (mostly) about Audrey, a young girl trying to learn how to cope with depression and anxiety after it appears she had a mental breakdown resulting from an “incident” at her school. I have to be honest, part of me finds it extremely frustrating that we never learn the specifics of this “incident.” There are vague references to what happened, and the reader is left to piece together what probably occurred. While I found this frustrating though, I thought it really spoke of some of the main points in the book. Audrey (the narrator) says multiple times in the book that she has learned through her therapy books that everyone has the right to privacy, your thoughts and feelings are your own and you have the power to say no to anyone. And towards the beginning Audrey says to us that she knows we (the readers) are curious but that the actual incident itself doesn’t really matter, what matters is what happened after that. Which is true of the book, the point of the book wasn’t to get into the gory details of why Audrey had the mental breakdown, it was about her road to recovery and about feeling more like herself again. So long story short, while I found it frustrating, part of me also appreciated that the author didn’t include exact details of the incident.
Along her road to recovery, Audrey becomes friends with her brother’s friend Linus. Linus ends up being a big support for Audrey and helps nudge her along on the  experiences she needs to be more functioning in the regular world. They end up developing a romance which is very sweet. The mother’s fixation on Frank’s video games became frustrating at times, it felt almost a little overdone. That seems to have been the point though, for part of the story the family is a bit tense and edging towards shambles but they learn to appreciate each other more and as Audrey awakens from her shell of depression we see more of the family’s loving side.
Overall I thought this was a sweet and touching book. It was a fairly quick read but full of insight into the lives of those dealing with depression and how frustrating it can be to want to feel normal and just not be able to accomplish that due to some dumb chemical reactions in your brain. The characters were all funny and interesting, I found myself laughing out loud at multiple points in the book. Great read!

The bottom line: I thought this was a good book. Some parts were overly frustrating but overall I think this is a touching story and I would recommend it!
Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page