Saturday, March 7, 2015

REVIEW: Start Me Up by Nicole Michaels

22293523Start Me Up by Nicole Michaels
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Book Description: 

Why do Do-It-Yourself...

Single mom Anne Edmond can handle—and hand-make—just about anything. From table settings to party favors, floral arrangements to nursery décor, there is no project her creativity and a glue gun can’t tackle. But dating? That’s a whole ’nother story. Case in point: Mike Everett. He’s a gorgeous mechanic and known car-whisperer, a man who can work with auto parts like nobody’s business. And he has thrown a monkey wrench into Anne’s carefully-crafted life...

When you can do it together?

One look at Anne is enough for Mike to know that she’s no fixer-upper. She’s perfect just the way she is—and the chemistry between them works like a charm. Mike’s always been a no-strings kind of guy, but Anne’s impressive self-reliance—and gorgeous exterior—gives him pause. This time, a fast joyride just doesn’t seem like enough. But first he has to convince Anne that he means to take her all the way...

This is such a feel good book. Not extremely complicate, just a nice love story about two extremely likeable characters.

Mike is such a stand-up guy. He initially comes off as a commitment phobic playboy but all that changes when he meets the right woman. The one that makes him want more than just sex. As soon as he met Anne, he knew she was it for him. Sure, he was in denial initially, what guy in a romance novel isn’t? But once he made up his mind that he wanted her, and only her, he went after her to show her that she was it for him. That’s not to say that there weren’t issues, because they were, but there was never a moment when I doubted Mike’s love for Anne. I also need to say that I loved the way Mike was with Anne’s daughter Claire. He was so sweet and he just clicked with her immediately.

I really liked Anne and I loved how much her blog meant to her. I love it when author add stuff like that in their books. My biggest complaint about Anne was that it took her forever to talk to Mike about her blog. It was a huge part of her life and she didn’t share about it or tell him about it. I get that she had lingering doubts and issues related to her ex and his complaints about the blog, but Mike was always 100% supportive.

The biggest issue with the characters is that they never actually talked about their relationship. Yes, there were a few times when something was said, but the characters were never 100% clear with each other as to the status of their relationship and what they wanted out of it. Consequently, there were some misunderstandings, hurt feelings and confusion as to where they actually stood with each other. They didn’t finally talk, clearing the air about their personal issues until 96%.

The one other issue…the age difference. There really wasn’t one. She was 32, he was 29. That’s not that big. But with the way Anne kept going on about it, you would have thought she were 10 years older than Mike. There was no issue. It’s not like Mike was out every night partying or like he wasn’t up for being the man Anne needed him to be. That was all he wanted. He had a stable job in owning his own business, he was close with his family and he’d overcome his past mistakes. Heck, I want a Mike of my own!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was just what I needed. I can’t wait to read more from the author and I hope to read books about Anne’s blog friends. :)

Start Me Up (Hearts and Crafts, #1)

That first big party that Anne had thrown for Claire had been a total success. All of her and Scotts friends had been blown away by her creativity and style, and shed wanted to showcase it. That evening shed loaded all the photos onto the internet, giving a few how-to de- tails, and My Perfect Little Life blog was born.
She continued to share ideas for parties, crafts, and repurposing found items, and within four months she had reached a thousand followers. Shortly thereafter it re- ally took off like wildfire. Companies began contacting her to try their products out for free if she blogged about them, and even paying her for advertising space. Two months later a reporter for the Kansas City Star inter- viewed her for the Home and Hobby section, which had turned into a recurring Sunday column about home and entertaining. The more time she put into her new career, the more resentful her husband became.

He tried to blame it on her nefound attachment to her imaginary Internet friends, also known as her commenters or followers. But they both knew better; their marriage had been suffering long before Anne had taken to the web for companionship. He often accused her of not being happy with who he was, said she wanted things to be perfect and that she wasn’t fun anymore. It had shocked her.

The irony was that while the blog made to showcase her happiness wasnt the cause of their divide, it had pushed them farther and farther apart. What may have started as a way to try to save her family had turned into her escape. Those online relationships gave her some- thing she wasnt getting in her “real life. The women who visited her site were kind and encouraging, told her how creative and special she was, made her feel valu- able as a human and a mother.

The day Anne walked in her bedroom to find Scott cheating on her, it had been hard to muster any emotion at all except anger . . . and relief. The divorce had come quickly thereafter, and the thing shed hated most was that shed failed.

Unknowingly, her faithful blog readers had supported her through her divorce, a move, and the start of her local party planning business. Those same women from all over the world had also embraced the addition of each contributor as Anne one by one added the two other women. Each brought her own creative strength. First came Callie with her baking, and then Lindsey and her upcycling and repurposing design expertise. The thing Anne had in common with these women was that they all just wanted to make their lives a little more lovely and meaningful, and she had thrived post-divorce with their friendship and support. She didnt regret any of it. Not the blog, not the separation, not the hard work.
Sadly, she sometimes still longed for a man in her life, a man who would appreciate her desire to make things special, a man who wanted her, a man who would make her feel beautiful anddare she asksexy. Shed starteto feel a little bit sexy today when Mike looked at her across the patio. But now she wasnt sure. She was prim and proper Anne; why couldnt she just loosen up and be the kind of woman a guy desired?

Callie came inside after taking out several bags of trash, bless her. “Okay, Ill send Claire down to say bye. Ill text you when were on the way home so you can put your vibrator away. Callie grinned and ran out of the kitchen before Anne could vocalize her disgust.
After giving Claire a quick kiss good-bye, Anne pulled herself together, and decided to use the alone time to get a few things done. She downloaded some photos from her camera, put up a teaser blog post about the partygood publicity for her growing businessand considered the full post she would do tomorrow. Her readers would pin the photos for ideas, and that would draw in even more unique hits. The beauty of a web- based businesses was the way it all happened so organicallyif you did it rightas each post and bit of metadata drove up the reader base, therefore increas- ing the revenue from advertisers. She loved the process and the freedom it afforded her to work from home so she could be available for Claire.

Within another hour Anne emptied the champagne bottle, ate the cupcake, and allowed herself to become a prune in her old claw-foot tub, an indulgence she didnt partake of often enough. She was making some tea to take out on the patio with a good book—and probably another cupcakewhen her phone dinged. Okay, so they were on their way home early. She could barely blame Callie; Claires constant talking was only charming for
so long. She picked up her phone and read Callies mes- sage.

CALLIE: Youll NEVER believe who just drove by the park as we were leaving.
CALLIE: Uncle Mike.

Barnes & Noble:

When she's not writing, cooking, or hanging out with her husband, NICOLE MICHAELS is a portrait and wedding photographer. She enjoys writing love stories with happy endings and lives outside of Kansas City with her husband and three sons. Visit her at


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