I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.How to Change a Life by Stacey Ballis
Published by Penguin on 2017
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Humorous, Romance, Romantic Comedy
A dare between friends leads to startling revelations and simmering tensions in the latest novel from the author of Wedding Girl.
Eloise is happy with her life as a successful private chef. She has her clients, her corgi, and a recipe for the world's most perfect chocolate cream pie. What more could she need? But when her long-lost trio of high school friends reunites, Eloise realizes how lonely she really is.
Eloise, Lynne, and Teresa revamp their senior-class assignment and dare one another to create a list of things to accomplish by the time they each turn forty in a few months. Control freak Lynne has to get a dog, Teresa has to spice up her marriage, and Eloise has to start dating again.
Enter Shawn, a hunky ex-athlete and the first man Eloise could see herself falling for. Suddenly forty doesn't seem so lonely--until a chance encounter threatens the budding romance and reveals the true colors of her friends. Will the bucket listers make it to forty still speaking to one another? Or do some friendships come with an expiration date?
Readers Guide and Recipes Included
Before we go to deep in this together I feel it is fair to warn you that this book is not christian fiction. I’ve reviewed mostly christian and/or Amish fiction predominately for several months but I’ve stepped outside that for this book. It’s still a romance so I have that making it hard since I’ve read one too many romances here lately. But it’s not just romance. Back to mainstream fiction. There is language, not offensive to me but could be offensive to some. There is also sexual content, a lot of sexual content as a whole, but it leaves basically everything to the imagination. So unless the illusion of this bothers you then you are cleared to read.
You know how I mentioned this book was a romance but not just a romance. Truth is I was sorta confused as I read through trying to figure out what the other was. The food descriptions were overwhelming and off putting. I don’t need to know every single ingredient and how to make every single thing that was consumed by every character. It felt like a Nano novel where words mattered more than content and that ingredient lists and step by step directions were key. It took away from the novel feel of the book and interrupted to story flow. I feel like, in a book like this, there was a place for it just not in the story flow.
The characters, for the most part, were well developed. Their interplay and relationships were intriguing. I was sold on the rekindled friendship and even how the years had clarified personalities and highlighted both the flaws and the positives. I related to the idea that childhood friends don’t always hold the place of lifelong besties. I felt like the interracial part of Eloise and Shawn’s relationship was put in for shock value that truly was irrelevant to the story as a whole. It created some conversations points but was actually so anticlimactic that it was a distraction from what could have been a more in-depth story. There were opportunities to create a better flowing story but what I read was still pretty good all on its own. Good enough I’m interested in reading more of this author’s books.