Review: Our Options Have Changed by Julia Kent & Elisa Reed (On Hold #1)
Note: This ARC was provided by InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review.
"I sacrificed," I tell her. "Put my kids' needs first. Lost my marriage and a fair number of friends along the way who couldn't understand that. Made plenty of new friends who did."
"But I never met a woman who got it. Who would enter my world and let me enter hers and share the kind of love you only find through family."
"And I'm that woman?"
Time stops. Seconds tick by. Then a full minute, as I close my own eyes and listen to the voice inside me that wants to say what's true.
Yes, my heart beats.
I open my mouth to say it, and—
She's fallen asleep.
I so love when a book is able to surprise the hell out of me and by the time I put my e-reader down, I've still got a silly but satisfied smile on my face. Our Options Have Changed is so damn refreshing a read that it's left me with a doozy of a book hangover and a craving for even more from this new writing duo. This is my first book from either author—though based on a bit of research on Goodreads, this is Elisa Reed's debut release, and Julia Kent is a bestselling author whose Shopping for a Billionaire collection I bought on Kobo when it was first released but as is the case with many a book hoarder, I haven't been gotten around to reading it yet. This may be may introduction to their combined storytelling but it sure as heck won't be the last, not with this being just the first novel in their On Hold series, and yup, while I was reading this gem, everything else had to be put on hold. Am I gushing? Why, yes. Yes, I am. It's that good. And this is only the beginning of a series, so the bar has been set so high that I'm already feeling rather nervous for the books to follow. This book is a difficult act to follow, and while I'm not sure who's story is up next, it's going to have to impress me as much as this one did. I'm not asking for TOO much now, am I?
One of my favorite things about this series starter was that the main characters were older. Chloe Browne is a thirty-five-year-old single woman waiting to adopt a baby and the director of design at O, an exclusive, high-end women's spa, and Nick Grafton is forty-two, a divorced father of three college-aged children, and the head of branding for Anterdec Properties, the parent company of O. Chloe is intelligent, driven, and gorgeous and has a brilliant career to speak of, but her whole world is about to knocked off its axis when she becomes a mother. On the other hand, Nick is relishing the fact that he's in the early stages of empty-nesthood (yep, I made that up, but if someone else came up with it before today, no biggie) and is excited over the idea of experiencing freedom, having been the sole caregiver to his kids for sixteen years. They're in different stages in their lives, and you would think that this alone would have wanted them to step on the brakes on what was developing between them, and it does present complications, but I loved how it was tackled and how they met the challenges thrown their way. Neither Nick nor Chloe are perfect, but their imperfections made it easy to relate to and to fall in love with as they themselves fall for each other.
Fabulous writing? Check. Engaging story? Check. Irresistible main characters? Check and check. But it wasn't just Nick and Chloe that made this one of my favorite reads this year. They were surrounded by such a wonderful group of supporting characters who only helped to make the book even better. There are quite a few potential main characters in the making waiting to get their stories told. There's Charlie Grafton, Nick's younger and aimless brother and Chloe's boyfriend from her teens. I know Henry and Jemma Holliday are married and all, but I wouldn't mind reading more about them. Zeke, a master-level masseur at O, is intriguing, as is Ryan, the "bad boy" masseur at the spa. And have I mentioned Nick's three kids? Amelie, Elodie, and Jean-Marc never failed to entice a laugh out of me, except for a point in the story where my heart squeezed for them and their dad. Maybe a spin-off series for them? But sticking to the here and now, I'm seriously and enthusiastically recommending Our Options Have Changed. It's about how change can be for the better and that the most important things—and people—are the ones most worth waiting. This must-read romantic comedy is on my list of best reads for 2016. Five-plus stars. ♥
Date Read: 08 October 2016