Cover Image: Husband Material

Husband Material

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This was my Christmas travel read. I should have finished it on the one day trip to see Teresa, but it didn’t speak to me at all. The description attracted me with the idea of developing a new dating app to help her find “The One.” Only, she was looking for an exact replica of what she lost even though it took her the whole book to realize that. The character’s grief was well expressed and is what may attract a few people to this one. I can’t argue she did her research, which she thanks those that helped make that part authentic at the end of the book. Kudos for doing that. Many times we see the Thank You overlooked in favor of starting the next project.

Several seemingly random things all build up to uncover secrets towards the end of the book. So don’t let yourself ask the questions before she’s ready to tell, because it’s aggravating. Like why would Decker’s best friend from college be so close to his parents after five years with no explanation of the relationship the two friends had with them? It goes on from there. How can you just pop right over in LA?–Have you seen the traffic there?

To finish up I’m only giving this a 3 of 5 because the story formatting made it hard to read, it took me 5 days (unusual for me), and the story kept making me feel like she would never answer all the questions I had. The text messaging is in the same font as the rest of the story so it is hard to tell where texting starts and stops and what is a thought versus a text. This story is a slow peel, kind of like a kiwi…hard to get the skin off and many textures and flavors going on. So if you like a read that keeps you in suspense for the answers you know should be there, then this one’s for you. Otherwise I might leave it for the middle of a series you just need a little break from. It will definitely make the next one look better.
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I went into this one thinking that it would be a light-hearted rom-com based on the blurb, but that's not entirely accurate. The author definitely tackles some pretty heavy topics such as loss, grief, and trying to move on with life as a widower. This book was alright, but definitely not one of my favorites.
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Very cute, light read. I wanted more at the end, some type of resolution. But nonetheless, an enjoyable read.
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Charlotte Rosen has a great career and is on the lookout for a great relationship. Her desire to find the right man—the perfect man—is what led her to creating a dating app she believes will knock all other dating apps out of the water.

But, Charlotte has a secret. Charlotte has already been married. She already had the perfect husband. And when he died, her world was turned completely upside down. And it's about to happen again.

A fire threatens the mausoleum where her husband's remains have been housed for the past five years and so the company has shipped said remains back to Charlotte for her to rehome. Which means revealing her widowed state to those around her. And also means facing her husband's death once again. But when a secret surfaces in the middle of all this upheaval, Charlotte has to face the fact that her life may not be as perfect and organized as she thought.

Emily Belden's latest is sweet and charming, but it's also a bit all over the place.

Charlotte works crunching data at a company that builds companies. Basically, they hire influencers to attend parties, grand openings, and other events to post about said events, and create buzz about businesses. And Charlotte is the one who puts all the data together into a package any layman can understand.

She loves data. So much so, she uses it in her dating life, creating an app that will collate online activity to help her find her perfect mate.

But then her husband's ashes arrive out of the blue. And Charlotte has spent so much time trying to hide the fact that she's a widow that she clearly has never really dealt with some of the impact of being a widow in the first place.

It affects her friendships. It affects her job. It affects everything around her.

The subplots of the book are where the story gets tangled a bit. Fortunately, Belden had built a main character interesting enough to carry the plot along even when it starts to feel like it's straying into even more unfocused territory.

And it does all come together in the end.

Overall, Husband Material is a cute rom-com-ish read that will pull at your heartstrings.
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This was my first time reading an Emily Belden book and it did not disappoint. Husband Material follows widow Charlotte as she deals with receiving her husband's ashes unexpectedly five years after her husband's untimely death. I was expecting a little more romance out of the book but still enjoyed watching Charlotte deal with her grief and learn to move on finally. Overall it was a solid read and a quick one at under 300 pages.
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There are parts of Emily Belden’s Husband Material I really enjoy. The first-person narration is approachable. The general premise—of a young widow thrown for a big loop when her husband’s ashes are returned to her after his death five years earlier—is interesting, and her attempts to process that and to grow from the revelations she learns are admirable. And finally, around the time the hero Brian appears I flipped through the pages quickly and looked forward to finding out what happened. 

But I ended up being overall disappointed with the book because I didn’t see the payoff I was hoping for. In the end I had major problems with the characterization of both leads and I doubted their romance.

Charlotte, the widow, is dealing with a lot but she often seems selfish in her dealings with others, even in the novel’s final chapters. 

My first impression of Brian—through an anecdote Charlotte tells—is not flattering and he never really opens up about how and why his personality has changed so much since then. He also did something that I think is unconscionable to Charlotte and his explanation/grovel isn’t really sufficient for me. 

And finally, I just didn’t buy any real chemistry between them beyond friendship. While I suspected where their relationship might be heading, there was very little evidence for my suspicions for much of the book. Most of their interactions seem jocular only, like they’re pals. 

This book just wasn’t for me. 

2.5 stars

I received a complimentary ARC of this book from Netgalley but all opinions provided are my own
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Thank you for the early copy!

I did not connect with the writing style and also I have learned this is not a genre for me.
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*sigh* I really wanted to love this book, I did.  I tried.  Let me give you a synopsis of the book and then I'll tell you what really irked me about this one.

Charlotte is a widow...no one knows it. No one at work, her roommate, no one.  She works at an influencer firm and runs/designs programs that are data driven to help provide companies with real time information.  She has also created a program where she has created an algorithm to find herself the perfect match.  I mean, she's only been on 70ish dates and never had anyone go past 2 dates, so...

There is drama with her late husband, her late husband's family, and her late husband's best friend.  That is all I can say without giving anything away.  There's drama with her roommate too and rightfully so. 

Here's what irked me THE MOST.  The voice of Charlotte was not consistent (at least not in my eyes or within my inner monologue while I read).  In the beginning I thought maybe she was quirky or possibly a character on the autism spectrum.  Then I felt like she was completely normal and not weird or quirky at all and then she would change back and it was like...wait...the voice just went all over the place for me and I didn't enjoy that.  Maybe it's just me, but sometimes she was scatter brained and lost and other times sane and level headed.  Then there were times where she just didn't care about anyone else and that was that.  *shrugs*

2 stars. I know.  I will say the ending comes along with a little boop and it's kinda like...that's it.  This is how we resolved everything and so quickly??  We went from 0 to 60 to hey let's all hang out now...just odd.  I also was not a fan of who Charlotte ends up with...at the end of the day I'm not mad I read this, I just wish there was a little more to it.  At the end of the day it just wasn't my style.
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“As time goes on, things change. And real life has an arc to it, remember?”

This book was an ARC given to me from the publisher and author through NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you for this opportunity, and know that all thoughts are my own and do not reflect the author or publisher in any way. 

Well, this review is about a month too late… I’m so sorry that I missed finishing this book before it’s publication date, but the holidays were busy and I finally had time to sit down and read this book. I am so glad that I made time to enjoy this stunning story about Charlotte learning how to be herself and find joy after the death of her husband. 

Title: Husband Material 
Author: Emily Belden 
Publication Date: December 30, 2019
Rating: 3.5* (I almost gave this a 4…)

Unspoilery Blurb

Charlotte runs her life like a computer program. After suddenly losing her husband a year after getting married, Charlotte deals with the unpredictability of life by attempting to control every piece that she can. Five years later, Charlotte is writing codes for an up-and- coming social media analytics company and lives her life in black and white. That is, until her deceased husband’s urn is suddenly sent to her house- disrupting her new life where no one knows that she is a widow. Needing to deal with an issue that no algorithm can solve, Charlotte embarks on a struggle with that past while trying not to jeopardize her future. However, with all the secrets and feelings that she uncovers, Charlotte will need to choose if she wants to follow the numbers or trust her heart. 

Husband Material tells the story of struggling through grief and learning how to carry on with life after a detrimental loss. This book focuses on taking chances and following your heart, and I really enjoyed the premise of this story. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a sweet, contemporary book that deals with loss in an uplifting, heart-felt way. 

Unspoilery Review 

I enjoyed reading Husband Material, although it was not totally for me. I appreciated the huge topic that the author attempted to deal with, but I was slightly disappointed by the ending. Personally, I would have preferred for Charlotte’s story to conclude differently, and I believe a plot point in the second part of the story was kind of pointless. That being said, the book was well-written and I found myself invested in the story and the characters’ journeys. 

I hope that you pick up this book if it sounds like something you’re interested in! It was a special book that I feel like could have an immense impact on some people’s lives. 

Happy Reading
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A decently charming novel, filled with cute moments and endearing sweetness. I personally can't relate to much going on, but I feel like this will mean a lot to someone else.
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When Charlotte Rosen opens the package that was delivered, she wasn’t expecting to find her husband’s ashes. Charlotte hasn’t told the few people in her new life that she’s a widow, and just getting his ashes in the mail was a huge shock. It’s been five years since she’d last laid eyes on the container and now has to figure out what to do with it. That means having to get back in contact with her mother-in-law and Charlotte’s definitely not looking forward to it one bit. 
Now only has her husband’s ashes come back into her life, his best friend has as well. Now a pediatrician at a nearby hospital, he attempts to help her deal with everything. 
Charlotte’s pretty much cut herself off from all emotions since her husband’s passing and has used her ability to calculate data to create an app to find the perfect mate. Data crunching has become her way of life and tamping down her emotions has led her to the precipice she’s at today. 
Charlotte’s story is full of many emotions for someone who really didn’t want to feel them. The sudden loss of her husband has created a chasm she hasn’t been able to fill. When a secret from her husbands past comes out while she’s dealing with everything else, she realizes she needs to learn to open herself back up. 
Ms. Belden wrote a truly moving work of fiction. I couldn’t stop reading once I started and when I finished, it put me in a book funk that took me 2 weeks to get out of. I would’ve normally read about eight books in that time and all I could think about were the characters and plot of this story. Well done. 
**I received an ARC from Netgalley and this is my honest and voluntary review.
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I enjoyed this author’s book Hot Mess so I was looking forward to this one. This book is marketed as a romcom which it is and isn’t. There are a lot of light hearted romcom moments here but there are a lot of serious moments as well. Charlotte is a young widow that has surrounded herself with a controlled environment. She works with numbers and algorithms so there is no ability for chance and she chose her roommate with the same care. Her well constructed world comes apart when her deceased husband’s ashes unexpectantly show up at her door. What follows is Charlotte coming to terms with her life and how she plans to move forward. There are some surprises along the way and Charlotte’s roommate Casey really adds to the story.
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I think this book description and cover was a little misleading for me. I expected a romantic comedy but this is definitely a women's fiction. If I was more aware of the content, I probably wouldn't have picked up this book. It just wasn't for me.
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This was a good women's fiction book - i think that the cover is a bit deceiving in that I thought it was going to be a romantic comedy.
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Charlotte Rosen is a Twenty-nine-year-old widow. This is her secret, and nobody knows about it. She tried to forget her past, moved to California and started working for an influencer marketing team, building and reviewing analytics.
Charlotte is a smart, beautiful young woman who is available to meet new people. She starts to make some changes in her life and starts dating. she uses the analytics of the dating app she is developing with her roommate, to find herself the right husband.
All these change with a sudden twist of fate. When five years later, she returns home from the wedding, a package is waiting on her doorstep. The mausoleum where her husband Decker's ashes belong to burned during a wildfire. There is a letter come with the urn declares that the company is no longer in business and now it is her responsibility to decide what she wants to do with them. and now the urn with his ashes are in her apartment. This is the time that she has to face her past and reveal the truth. 
There are other wonderful side characters like: Char’s roommate, Casey, who is constantly forcing her to do things that is pushing her out of her comfort zone.
Brian, who has a wonderful character and is Charlotte’s sweet and kind ex-husband best friend who is a doctor.
Zareen, is her soft typical boss and Monica, the co-worker/bestie. Both ladies are determined and focused, but also care about Charlotte. 
This was the first book I read by @semilabeled and I enjoyed it very much. There is a little bit of suspense and twist behind this novel.  It is a story of joy, love, friendship and forgiveness.

Many thanks to #NetGalley and # HARLEQUIN - Graydon House Books (U.S. & Canada) for the ARC.

You can see full review on my blog: https://bookoholicscafe.blogspot.com/
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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The romance was cheesy but still very good. I didn't love it, but I did like it quite a it. 
The cover does not match the type of book this is and I felt a bit deceived by the cover art. 

Thank you so much to the author, the publisher, and netgalley for this review copy.
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There were a lot of thing I like about this book: great writing, interesting plot, quirky characters, but overall I just didn't really connect with the main character and didn't really buy the love interest. It was a cute story and served its purpose as a lighter read between heavier ones but overall I didn't really love it. I did like the authors style though so I intend to check out her other works.
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2 Stars / 1 Steam Fans 

This book cover is very deceiving! I went into this book thinking I was going to read a romantic comedy, and what I got was a woman's fiction story about a woman that has a bunch of secrets. Charlotte lost her husband and is trying to get past the grief but is unexpectedly thrown back into her past. There were a bunch of secrets tangling a bunch of characters together that didn't make any sense. Most of my time reading this book, I was hoping it would just get better, which it didn't. 

Video review available in Week 3 Jan 12 – 18 weekly book reviews. 

For other video book reviews, check out my YouTube Channel: Steph's Romance Book Talk.
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Husband Material by Emily Belden ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 

Charlotte is a widow who has handled her grief by essentially shoving it under the rug and hiding from everyone in her life who knew her when she was married to Dexter. Then five years later Dexter (in his urn) shows up at her door and she is forced so face the reality of being a widow. She needs to decide on a resting place for the ashes (while taking them almost everywhere with her in the meantime in fear of Dexters mom trying to kidnap them). While trying to decide she uncovers some other big news related to her late husband which makes her ask “did I even know him” 

Belden was able to make this novel have more depth then I was expecting and it definitely made me shed a few tears! I could not imagine losing my husband at such a young age. I also laughed and smiled at the quirky characters and I did enjoy the underlying romance that was going on as well. I love books that make me feel all the emotions! I definitely recommend this book to all my fellow romance fans! 

Thank you to Emily Belden and Harlequin - Graydon House Books for a copy of this book.
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Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she’s a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she’s faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it. 

Yet Charlotte’s algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband’s ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband’s best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not. 

But when her quest reveals a shocking secret, Charlotte is forced to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at a new life arises, she’ll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.” 

 
The beginning of this was a little bit slow for me but once I got into it I really enjoyed it! Although Charlottes grief is a main part of the story, it actually is a really light read. I was a huge fan of  Brian until about the last 60 pages or so. I feel like the ending was a little abrupt when there was so much more to unpact with the turn of events! Overall I did really enjoy this story! 
 
Huge thanks to Harlequin Books for choosing me to be apart of this Blog Tour! this title Publishes December 30th!
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