In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister

inneedoftherapy

Note: Cover image leads to a universal amazon buy link.

What they say: Lending a sympathetic ear and dispensing sage words of advice is all part of the job for psychologist Pilar Alvarez, and she’s everything a good therapist should be: warm, compassionate, supportive. She listens, she cares, and she has all the answers, but how’s the woman everyone turns to in their hour of need supposed to cope when her own life starts to fall apart?

While working hard to make a success of her recently-opened practice in trendy South Beach, Pilar must also find time to cater to the demands of her boisterous Cuban family, which includes younger sister Izzy, an unemployed, navel-pierced wild child who can’t stay out of trouble, and their mother, a beauty queen turned drama queen who’s equally obsessed with her fading looks and getting Pilar married before it’s “too late.” Although she’d like to oblige her mother and make a permanent love connection, Pilar’s romantic prospects look grim. Her cheating ex, who swears that he’s reformed, is stalking her. A hunky, but strictly off-limits, patient with bad-boy appeal and intimacy issues is making passes. And the sexy shrink in the suite across the hall has a gold band on his left ring finger.

When a series of personal and professional disasters lead Pilar into the arms of one of her unsuitable suitors, she’s left shaken, confused, and full of self-doubt. With time running out, she must make sense of her feelings and learn to trust herself again so that she can save her business, her family, and most importantly, her heart.

The review:I had heard a lot of good things about this book, but was very nervous about reading it, because I know Ms Banister from social media, quite a big thing when you’re a blogger. She introduced me to and is one of the organisers of an amazing chick lit author and blogger group I’m a member of, and frankly I was terrified in case this wasn’t my cup of tea (a silly phrase for me to use in this case because I’m an anomaly, an irish person who doesn’t actually like tea!) Anyhoo, I needn’t have worried because I really enjoyed this and have in fact held off on reviewing because I wanted people to add it to their Summer reads list.

We begin with a report on a patient, a girl who suffers from abandonment issues,and so looks to romantic partners for the love that she missed when growing up. These reports were repeated with a variety of patients throughout the book, and it was a satisfying little quirk that I hadn’t seen done before. The patients were a nice mix, some of who crossed over into her personal life and I enjoyed all of  her sessions.

In fact, all of the characters were chick lit perfection, Pilar, a Latina tower of strength, well educated and able to steer others in the right direction, yet feeling inadequate with herself and her family’s problems, Izzy, whose devil-may-care attitude and unconventional dress sense and choices in males flummoxed Pilar. Then there was the overly dramatic, extremely well-to-do mother whose english would lapse into Spanish when she just couldn’t take any drama presented to her, and her ex, Victor, a man on a mission to get her back, no matter what. I loved the banter between the family, with their wealth providing the perfect setting for dinner party battles. I also loved that the book wasn’t solely romance and am always a sucker for work issues that add to the pile on a lead’s plate and these were done brilliantly, with Pilar trying to figure out how to grow her business, which was floundering. This, coupled with  the other main character, Ford, that provided a sounding board and a shoulder, was done very nicely. A special mention for the epilogue that tied things up perfectly. All in all a brilliantly witty, over the top, fun yet intelligent romantic comedy which ticked all the boxes for me. Definitely recommended for Summer and roll on a forthcoming sequel centred around her sister, Izzy. Can’t wait. (Phew).

Rating: 4.5/5

 

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Short story: The Summer I Met You by Victoria Walters

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Amazon UK

Amazon US

What they say: Escape to the West Country and meet the characters of Talting in this gorgeous short story: the prequel to Victoria Walters’ debut, THE SECOND LOVE OF MY LIFE. “Brilliant and superior women’s fiction” Heat

It wasn’t love at first sight. It was a summer of love…

When Emma leaves her Cornish hometown of Talting for a summer in Devon, the last thing she dreams of is falling in love.

But sometimes the people who affect us the most come along when we least expect it.

As the summer comes to the end, will it herald the start of something that could last for ever?

Review: It was a given I was going to go for this book wasn’t it? I mean, just look at that cover! I’d also read some great reviews and so I was excited to get going and I did, beginning that very night (unusual for me, book goes on my Kindle and there’s generally a lag between purchase and reading) and I wasn’t disappointed.

‘It wasn’t love at first sight. It was a Summer of love. But we had no idea what would happen once summer ended.’

Yes, that’s how it started, contained in a chapter simply named  ‘Now’ and I was IN! Emma is returning to her home town of Talting after three magical summer months in Devon with John, a Summer ‘fling’ who’s not, he’s so much more to her and she to him. I warmed to them both instantly as I did to the story in general. I loved how beautifully we were shown the Devon countryside and how expertly her past was divulged. I’m not a fan of having large chunks of background thrown at me and so this was a treat.

I loved how they met, in a way that was that little bit different, and then their date, which were described in a chapter described as ‘Then’ as we were introduced nicely to John who was well set out as the good guy. I’m afraid I may be using the word ‘nice’ a bit much here, but that’s what describes it the best, a nice story about two people who are in love and yet it’s that bit sharper than your usual romances that swirl around two young people. The flips between ‘Now’ and ‘Then’ is really well done as we contrast thoughts back then with a nice (I’m so sorry) touch of subtle comedy that hit the spot. The romance and the two leads were so lovely and innocent and it was all so cute, but in a non sickly, non immature way. The setting, descriptions and side characters were effortlessly catching and I have to admit Victoria Walters is now firmly on my ‘authors to keep an aye out for’ list. At only 65 pages, and with a Summery premise and cover and costing less than a pound on Amazon how could you go wrong?

Rating: 4.5/5

Note: By the by, at the very end there’s an extract for The Second Love of My Life, which follows on from this but is a full length novel. The premise broke my heart after reading this story and I bought straight away, and without giving anything away … okay, I’m sorry but the book was even better (ie go get both – it’ll cost less than an unhealthy snack and will satisfy you so much more)! Review to come tomorrow.