Friday, January 11, 2013

REVIEW: Running on Empty by L.B. Simmons

"I had the perfect life. 

Beautiful and loving husband.Three gorgeous little girls. 
Successful career. 

The only thing missing was the white picket fence. I really wanted that fence. 

Three years ago, I lost that life. I lost my husband. And I lost myself. But, eventually, I found my way through the darkness. I’ve made peace with my new life. I have my girls, and that’s all that matters. They are my world. I have no illusions of ever falling in love again or getting whisked away on a white horse. 

But then he came back into my life. On a freakin’ motorcycle.

There’s no way I’ll let him turn my life completely upside down. Absolutely no way. 

The question is…
How long can I keep pretending that I’m happy with my life being right-side up?"

To say that I enjoyed this book would be an understatement. It took me through a whole range of emotions. I laughed, I cried, and I fell in love. 

Right off the bat, you fall in love with Alex and her girls. As a mom, you can absolutely relate to the stories about her morning mishaps (seriously, who hasn't had the unfortunate time where you are wearing a black shirt and your kid gets toothpaste all over it?) and everything else going on with her girls. How many times as a mom have you thought, "seriously, the death stare needs an upgrade...mommy death stare 2.0 maybe." You can relate to her overwhelming desire to do right by her girls and the guilt that comes along with being a mom. We can all relate to the times that we make a decision that we feel is best for our kids and hope that one day they will understand. The pain she talks about when she lost her husband cut straight to my heart. I cannot imagine that. L.B. Simmons did an amazing job of developing that story and making it feel real. The way Alex managed her grief felt so realistic that I often forgot that it was just a story.

Enter Harlow. Everyone needs a Harlow in their life. She was a straight shooter and knew just the right times to tell Alex how things needed to be. One of my favorite times that Alex talks about Harlow is when she begins talking about their business and says, "You see, Harlow and I started our own staffing firm right out of college - Prestige Staffing. We started our own business so that we could smoke in our office all day long, consume adult beverages during work hours, and do nothing but giggle and gossip all day."  She loved Alex's girls like they were her own and it was absolutely hilarious and adorable. I really need to find a friend like Harlow to start bribing my kids to clean our bathroom. I could totally get on board with that! She and Trace seemed like they were absolutely smitten. I'm hoping to get more of a glimpse of their relationship in the next book! There was a point in time that I REALLY wanted to be angry with Harlow. And I was. I was so mad at her, but the way that chick deals with conflict is hilarious and I quickly forgave her.

And Blake. Ah Blake. I don't know if there was anything about him not to love. I'm pretty sure I could love his "stupid perfect jeans and his stupid perfect shirt, with his stupid perfect hair." Blake waltzes back in to Alex's life and just wedges his way in to it. He doesn't wait around and play a game, but he gives her the space she needs. He is the perfect hero without being perfect himself. Blake and his stupid perfect self is beautifully imperfect.

When you need a book that makes you laugh, fall in love, and have just enough make your heart ache without being ripped to shreds... this is it. L.B. Simmons nailed it with this debut novel. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series!

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