Thursday, April 18, 2013

...on Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery

Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery
Series: Fool's Gold #1
Published by Harlequin
Publish Date: April 27, 2010
376 Pages
Source: Library

Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N 

Welcome to Fool's Gold, California, a charming community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There's lots to do and plenty of people to meet, especially women. Because there's just one tiny problem in Fool's Gold: the men don't seem to stick around. Maybe it's the lure of big-city life, or maybe it's plain old bad luck, but regardless of the reason, the problem has to be fixed, fast. And Charity Jones may be just the city planner to do it.Charity's nomadic childhood has left her itching to settle down, and she immediately falls in love with all the storybook town has to offer--everything, that is, except its sexiest and most famous resident, former world-class cyclist Josh Golden. With her long list of romantic disasters, she's not about to take a chance on another bad boy, even if everyone else thinks he's perfect just the way he is. But maybe that's just what he needs--someone who knows the value of his flaws. Someone who knows that he's just "chasing perfect." -(summary from Goodreads) 


Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery

My Thoughts:  I've been wanting to branch into the world of Adult Contemporary Romance for a long time now, but gosh it's so overwhelming when you see how prolific some of the authors are! PLUS I'm one of those people that always wants to start a series at the first book - I never like to jump into a series in the middle, even if it is a companion series.

I've seen some names pop up time and time again on some of my favorite blogs, and Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series seems to be a big hit among some of my reading friends. On a recent trip to my local library, I impulsively grabbed the book and basically devoured it. (I read late into the night until my eyes were burning.)


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The first thing you need to know is this
Charity Jones is new to town. She's looking for a place to call home.
Fool's Gold has that perfect small-town vibe.
Charity has just taken a new job as the city planner and she has a big job ahead of her. Fool's Gold has a little problem, see: the number of women outpopulate the men by...A LOT. Charity's job is to spiffy up the town a little bit, bring in new businesses, that sort of thing - in effect, she needs to bring the men to Fool's Gold! 

Now, there is one man in Fool's Gold that all of the ladies seem to have their eyes on - retired cyclist Josh Golden. Dude, he is so hot. He has that body. Those eyes. He even has perfect hair. Charity is amazed that all of the women in the town seem to talk about Josh like they have some sort of weird ownership over him - they talk about who he's been seen with and who he may or may not be dating - they even have pictures of him as screensavers on their computers! Surely this guy can't be that much of a stuck-up player, right? Charity doesn't want any part of his womanizing games. She's in Fool's Gold to do her job - settling down and finding a man will have to come later. 

The second thing you need to know is this:
Seriously, though, he is really good-looking. 
And he DOES seem to show up everywhere Charity is -
wait, is he interested in Charity?
Charity realizes all-too-quickly that her meddling boss-of-a-mayor seems to be trying to set the two of them up: she arranges it so that Josh drives Charity around the city to show her around. Another coincidence? Charity's hotel room happens to be directly next to the hotel room Josh lives in (that's right - he lives in a hotel). The more time Charity spends around Josh, the more she is attracted to him. The more she is attracted to him, the more she thinks about him when she isn't with him. The more she isn't with him, the more she wants to be with him. 

Pretty soon, Charity kind of likes Josh. And it's pretty obvious that Josh likes her too. (dim the lights, Marvin Gaye on the stereo...okay, I'm kidding...)

The thing is this: since Josh is a retired celebrity, anybody that he steps out with in public becomes a news story or at the very least, town gossip. Charity, being new in town, isn't ready for all of that attention. So will they decide to see each other anyway? Heck yeah, they will! But it's how everything unfolds that is so much fun. 

The third thing you need to know is this:

There IS actually more to this story than Charity and Josh.

Josh is retired but longs to race again - but for reasons, he just can't make himself get up on that bike anymore. Ahh, Josh has some professional demons to tackle. Also, Josh's former-best friend still lives right there in town and BOY is there ever a story there! And the mayor? Yep, another big story behind that meddling lady. In addition, the entire town seems to be bugging the mess out of Josh to open up a school for young people that want to learn how to professionally ride bikes. If Josh can barely hop up on a bike himself, will this ever happen? Seems pretty unlikely. 

There is also a town full of...women. And a few other guys. They ALL have stories. Like with any small town, not only do all of the people know each other, they all know everyone else's business. This person did this, this person did that. This person, that person, all the people! I kind of loved them all, actually. (I moved away from a small town like that on purpose when I was younger, but reading about this one was actually quite nice.) 

I think Charity found exactly the kind of town she was looking for when she said that she wanted a place to call home. 

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Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery was my first taste of adult contemporary romance and BOY was that fun! I'm SO GLAD I picked this book to start with because 1) it was perfect 2) I can't wait to spend time with the rest of this series and 3) I WANT MORE books like this. 

Charity Jones was the typical female main character that is escaping something - in this case, she needed to get away from her past, a less-than-perfect past with her mother - and just start somewhere new. As she had always wanted to find a place to call home, a place to belong - she applied for a city planning position in Fool's Gold, California and ended up getting the job! It wasn't until she ended up getting hired and had already started the job that she found out that the town was (for some reason) lacking men, but Charity was determined and focused, and she got to work immediately with planning and strategizing to make the city what the citizens wanted and needed it to be. 

Charity didn't initially expect to take much time getting to know the area and the people of the city, but she found that as she began to learn the area, to meet the business owners and the regular people out on the streets - she couldn't help but get to know them. Unlike the people of her past, these were the type of people that would strike up conversations with her - they asked open-ended questions and genuinely seemed interested in her responses. Kind and approachable, they all seem like they're great neighbors to one another. She's thinking that she'll really like it here once she's able to get past some of her first big projects at work. 

And then there's Josh Golden. 

Good gracious, Charity can't stop thinking about him. She doesn't really want to get involved with him because she's a little bit turned off by the way everyone is so obsessed with him. But he's so charismatic and he doesn't seem to care that everyone makes a big deal about him. Josh actually seems interested in her. While it is against Charity's better judgment to get involved in a relationship so soon, she kinda-sorta just can't help it.

I think I just about fell for Josh as much as Charity did - he's that guy with the thing in the back of his mind, the thing from his past that he just can't shake - then along comes the girl that hopefully can help him through it. Sighhhh, oh this guy

I love Charity and Josh. They're fun together and Josh is super-swoony. I think this first installment of the Fool's Gold series is so much fun and even though the town itself is a total cliche, I enjoyed the heck out of reading it and will absolutely 100% be back for more. There's not much else to say. 

I WILL BE INCORPORATING MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS 
INTO MY DIET FROM NOW ON. 

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Chasing Perfect will appeal to fans of:

Adult Contemporary Romance/ChickLit
Romance: Slowly Developing, No Triangle.
Small Town Setting

Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery
is currently available for purchase.

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Have you read any of the FOOL'S GOLD series?
Or anything else by this author?

Please recommend some more
Adult Contemp Romance titles/authors to me? 


Thank you!! 



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20 comments:

  1. This sounds like a lot of fun. My mum loves a good Adult Contemporary Romance and as I'm always looking out for ones that sound amazing, I'll definitely be recommending this one to her! So glad you enjoyed this as much as you did and that you're now a huge fan of the genre and series! It's always awesome when you branch out and are rewarded for it. Awesome review, Ash!

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    1. Thanks Rebecca! I did love this one - it was so much fun to read and I'll certainly be continuing with the series. It looks like the author is still adding to it, which is really exciting. It's always nice to find another genre to enjoy. :)

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  2. I think I might enjoy this book! ;) As for recommendations, I don't think I can make any. The only Adult Contemporary I've read were some Nora Roberts books. :(

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    1. Oh please pick this one up! It's a great book - I liked it a lot! I've never read any Nora Roberts although I've seen her name a ton of times!

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  3. I haven't read anything by her yet but between you and Jess it looks like I need to. As for recs, I'm reading The Friday Harbor books by Lisa Kleypas and I'm loving them.

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    1. I really loved this one! And I've been checking into the Kleypas books today and will keep looking them up. Looks like they have them at one of my libraries! Thanks!

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  4. you should definitely try the Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis. I love the Fool's gold series, but I like Lucky Harbor better (my favorite is Head Over Heels, the hero is HOTTTTTTTTT). It's funnier, for one thing. also, right now I'm reading a new-to-me author, Jennifer Bernard, the book is part of a series, but this is the first, The Fireman Who Loved Me. It's very funny and cute. ~daphne

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    1. I've heard about Jill Shalvis but never read any of her books before, of course. I'll have to also look up Jennifer Bernard - thanks for that recommendation! I love finding new authors and books to read. :)

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  5. I felt this way over the Christmas holidays. I picked up a contemp romance (On Dublin Street) devoured it in single sitting and wanted, no, NEEDED more. That's when I found Wallbanger by Alice Clayton, which is STILL my fave contemp. romance so far. I've also read some Jennifer Crusie (Bet Me) and have heard great things about Sarah Manning's Ad. Cont. Romance (like Unsticky.)

    So I am right there with you, A! And Fool's Gold sounds like it is a lot of swoony fun. We girls need that sometimes:)

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    1. Oops, sorry, I guess the book's name is Chasing Perfect:)

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    2. Yes, this book isn't like the New Adult books - this was a different type of romance but I loved it just the same. There was certainly swoon in it but there was a different kind of maturity to it too. Or something. I don't know. But I did love it to pieces and will be continuing with this rather larger series, just not back-to-back. And I am reading a book by Victoria Dahl now that I'm loving too. More swoon and a little steamier. Loving adding some of the big kid books to my reading.

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  6. YESSSS! I love this review and it totally made me miss this couple. I remember having the same feelings of falling in love with all of these characters and the town. Wait til you read the former best friend's story! It's a doozy! :D WELCOME TO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF ADULT CONTEMP ROMANCE!!

    I've mention these authors to you already, but in case others on your blog want the recs: Kristan Higgins, Shannon Stacey, Jill Shalvis = Fave Contemp Romance authors right now. :)

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    1. THANK YOU!!!! IT'S SO GOOD TO BE HERE!! I'm actually probably mostly reading these books because of you and a few others, so seriously - thank you. I loved this one and am reading to devour the rest of them. And a bunch of other ones. I have a Kristan Higgins by my bed here and I'm currently reading a Victoria Dahl (LOVE IT). I have a ton of Shannon Stacey on my kindle and I've heard I need to fill up on the Shalvis. These are GREAT recommendations I've been getting today! Thank you!

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  7. No recs from me! I'll just have to wait and see what other people like, because I'm not all that familiar with this genre either. Nice review!

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    1. Thank you!!! I've gotten some great recommendations from some of these other commenters if you want to check these comments above, and I recommend this book if you want to give romance a whirl. It was wonderful! I'll be reading the rest of the series for sure!

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  8. I am so glad that you gave Susan the good old college try. She's fun, isn't she? I really like how so many of those romance novels are set in a great community. Of course, it makes it easier for the author to connect everyone but it also makes me want to move somewhere just like that. Everyone seems to have each other's back. I have a book to read by Susan soon and I can't wait to dive back in! It's always such a welcoming feeling.

    I am so proud of your reading! I feel like you have beat me in adult reads this year and now I must go cry in a corner or just read more. haha One or the other. WE GET TO HAVE A BEER SOON.

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    1. Let's get a drink for all the adult books! I loved giving Susan the ole' college try! Now I want to complete the series.

      READ SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK.

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  9. I'm so happy you liked this one, your first adult contemporary romance! It does sound like a good series, and I may have to check it out. I don't read a lot of contemporary adult romances (I'm more a historical romances girl), but I think I'm going to like this one.

    P.S. You might want to try the Travis Family series by Lisa Kleypas. That's a good one too!

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    1. Someone told me the other day that I would enjoy Lisa Kleypas! I need to give her a shot. I've never tried the historical romances because the covers make me laugh and I don't really understand what dukes and rogues are, but perhaps I should try those as well? But MAN OH MAN, I just loved this one something special. I'll be continuing with this series.

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  10. Too fun! I'm Susan Mallery's assistant. I posted a link to your review (and a blurb from it) on the Reviews page on her website: www.susanmallery.com/reviews.php

    She really is spectacular! Glad you enjoyed Chasing Perfect. I forwarded the review to Susan because I know it's going to make her smile. Thank you, Asheley!

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