Saturday, January 23, 2016

Christie's review: Starting Over by Barbie Bohrman


Title:Starting Over
Series: Standalone
Author: Barbie Bohrman
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Rating:3 stars
Cliffhanger: No

Single mom Vanessa Holt has a daughter she loves, a supportive family, and her art. Having given up on finding true love—if that even exists, which she doubts—she’s content to put romance on the back burner. But not everyone agrees. Those nearest and dearest are ready to see Vanessa let down her long blonde hair and have some fun.

To put their grumbling to rest, Vanessa agrees to go on a date with the next man who asks. Luckily for her, that man is Cameron Thomas, her daughter’s extremely handsome science teacher. She’d felt a spark of chemistry the first time she’d laid eyes on him. Now she’s ready to lay a whole lot more on the sexy bachelor.

But just as things get hot, they also get heavy. When the man who broke Vanessa’s heart reappears, her old doubts and fears about love rush to the surface. Will her fresh start with Cameron be over before it’s barely begun?

I became a fan of Barbie Bohrman after reading Playing It Safe. It was one of those new-to-me author experiments that worked out even better than I could have imagined. Sexy, sweet, surprisingly addictive rolled into one, I was ready to sign up for any future releases she had to offer. I'm going to be honest and tell you that I didn't even read the synopsis before I requested this book. I was just that happy with my first experience. While I didn't quite love this as much as I was expecting, there was still enough to offer to make it a pleasant read. This was the type of book that was light on the drama and heavy on the sweetness.

Cutting it down to basics, here's what you get with Starting Over:

Sexy, nerdy science teacher meets single mother and sparks fly, awkward dating ensues, and a relationship with two people grows. I have a weakness for stories with nerds so that was one big selling point for me. It's a very simple plot but while reading it, I could identify with the heroine quite a bit. While I'm not a single mother, I have a daughter around the same age and a lot of the things she experienced and discussed with her felt like it was coming right from my own home. In that way it felt very naturalistic and enabled me to understand the heroine very well.

Vanessa was abandoned by her boyfriend in college when she became pregnant, but instead of taking the easy way out like he did, she resolved to make the best life for her child. Her dreams of pursuing her love of art became a hobby rather than a career and she devoted her life to providing a stable and happy life for her daughter. After 13 years, she hasn't had a dating life to speak of. But now that her daughter is getting a little older and becoming more independent, she's starting to wonder if maybe she should start thinking of being more selfish. To give herself permission to do things for herself and not feel guilty about it. The first step in that direction was setting eyes on her daughter's new science teacher. He had sexy geek written all over him and for the first time in years, she was flustered and attracted to a man.

Like Professor Indiana Jones himself came to life and stepped off the movie screen and is now standing right in front of me in all his adorably dorky, aloof hotness, packaged perfectly in the guise of a random science teacher in Anytown, USA.

Really there only a couple of conflicts in the book, but they were just minor blips on the scale, they weren't all that significant. We had Vanessa's ex suddenly reappearing and looking to finally step up and become a part of his daughter's life. This scaring the living daylights out of her, and making her fear him pursuing custody of their child. First of all, her fear level didn't seem plausible to me simply because the man abandoned them and not only did not financially support his child in 13 years, but he never met her or spoke with her. How does she feel like he has a chance of taking her daughter away from her? She's raised a happy, healthy, and well adjusted child and she thinks he's going to have more rights than her? Not only that, but I lost a little respect for her when she questioned whether or not to accept child support from him. Because she "feels like it makes her look like that's all she cares about." Really? The man helped father the child, decided he wanted no part of them for that many years, and she wants to continue to let him have it easy? Hell no.

The conflict toward the end caused by Vanessa's fears came out of nowhere for me and didn't seem naturalistic IMO. Her reasoning why she did what she did wasn't sufficient for me to believe in her reacting that way. She knew all the dangers and risks going into things with Cameron from the beginning and was willing to take her chances in order to find happiness for herself, to start over. My other reasoning for my rating was the lack of heat in the book. After being pleasantly surprised with Playing it Safe, I was expecting a considerable amount of steam, but in this case it never passed the simmering stage.

If you're looking for a book that's high on the angst, drama, or steam, this probably won't be the book for you. But if you're in the mood for a fast, light read with plenty of sweetness this could be what you're looking for. Barbie Bohrman is a talented author I will continue to follow. I may not have loved this one as much as I had hoped, but it was still entertaining, engaging, and that geeky Star Wars loving hero made everything worth my while.


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