Cover Image: Husband Material

Husband Material

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Member Reviews

I liked Emily Belden's book Hot Mess better than this one. This was just ok for me. There was also a glaring error - when Brian talks about his Tesla, he mentions how many miles it gets tot he gallon. Teslas don't take gas at all!
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I was provided with an ARC of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Charlotte is a young widow. But she keeps her widowhood a secret even from those closest to her. And then she received an unexpected package that opens up all of her wounds. 

She has buried herself in an obscure search for the perfect formula for happiness.  She is the algorithm for a dating app designed to deliver a marriage that won't become a divorce statistic. 

This is a lovely story about re-discovering who you are, the ways that grief can shape and mold our behavior and why it's so crucial to experience our sorrow rather than compartmentalizing it.
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Thanks to NetGalley for sending me a free ARC of this book.  I have not read this author before.  This book was not one for me.  Started with a good premise but did not finish strong for me.
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Husband Material is a contemporary fiction novel that had a great balance of humor and relatability. I really appreciated how the author Emily Belden built detailed characters that have a level of depth that doesn't always happen in this genre of writing. Because of this, I was really able to connect with the storyline and follow these characters on their path of grief and the process of moving forward. We met Charlotte who is a young widow that is trying to rebuild her life. 

I appreciated the discussion of death and loss, especially for younger characters who are still on the path of finding themselves while at the same time dealing with this huge loss. I am so glad I didn't judge this one by the cover alone because while the cutesy cover might let you think this is just another "rom-com" I really found this to be so much more. 

*My full review will be up on when I am a part of the Husband Material blog tour this winter. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Graydon House Books for an advanced copy.
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This is the first book that I have by this author. I thought that it was hilarious in some parts of the book.
Charlotte is a loveable female lead she works at a social media influencer firm. She thinks that she has it all figured out until one day. She is a widow that has dived into her work and has no desire to get into another relationship. That is until her husband’s ashes arrive on her doorstep, five years after his death.
I had a little bit of an issue with this book. I had a hard time connecting to Charlotte even though I did find her lovable and annoying at some points. The romance was a little bland for me. There were some moments that I did enjoy but there were others where I just wanted to skip.

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *
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**Review will be posted on my blog on December 16, 2019, closer to it's publication date.**

Thank you to Graydon House and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

I will say off the bat that if you are looking for a light-hearted rom-com story, this is not it. The cover of this book is misleading, you think it’s going to be cute and fun. Well…stop right there, because this story about a widow, Charlotte, is at times heavy with grief themes. Oh she comes off as so put together, working in L.A. for a social media company and she’s smart too. She made a career being a coder and is developing her own dating app. Charlotte is driven, analytical and doesn’t come off as very nice but she’s hiding a secret. She’s a widow and barely anyone in Los Angeles knows this except her ex in-laws. So what happens when one day the urn of her late husband makes it to her apartment and the past comes back to haunt her? Will Charlotte stay in her controlled, put together life, or will she shatter?

What I Liked:

*The reason I love this book is purely personal. I felt like I was reading about my life. I was Charlotte but just shy of my 30th birthday when I lost my first husband. So the more I was reading this book, it kind of scared me…I had red flags in me waving “TRIGGER!” But you know what, the author wrote about Charlotte and her grief so well and respectfully. I saw in the Author’s note section in the back that she thanked a few women she interviewed about grief and losing their spouse. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 I love that she did research because I felt it-way deep inside me. For me this book was a like a friend who knew me.

*Though Charlotte doesn’t come off likable, I understood her. And I liked her strong voice. Her trying to control things in her life, I got it! She’s developing a dating app but she’s only used herself to test the app. She takes all these elements of dating and put them into an algorithm so she can predict the outcome. It’s scary to want normalcy again knowing at any moment you can get a phone call and have to be making a serious decision, especially when you marry someone thinking it’s forever and finding the ugly truth that it’s not. But Charlotte has lots of dreams about the future and she has focus, sometimes obsessively so. Charlotte is strong, sometimes too strong but I get it. I get Charlotte.  

*I loved Charlotte’s roommate Casey who is so different from her with her artistic style, and tell it to your face attitude because Charlotte was spiraling and needed a reality check. Thank you Casey for stepping up and being unique and snarky. ☺️

*This is a mild romance story, the romance isn’t a focus, it’s about Charlotte and the past haunting her. She needs to come to terms with some secrets that are revealed to move forward again and I will say there is a happy ending and I was relieved for her and everyone involved. But this story is deeper than a romance novel so keep that in mind if you are looking for something that is all romance. This is not.

*Speaking of romance, I liked her relationship with Brian, it felt non-threatening and easy going, from like a friendship than anything else. It’s a slow burn, for sure.

*Grief therapy scene was really good. I never did go to one but I wish many times I did but I also wanted to be alone too…so…it’s a great scene and glad it was in the book.

Things That Made Me Go Hmm:

~This story is more of Charlotte’s self journey to letting go and moving on than a romance novel. Did I want more romance? Yes…totally because the title said Husband Material, I wish they would change the title to something else, it’s misleading.

~Brian Jackson is her late husband’s best friend. Now…I’m not usually into that trope, but I know that happens, so I rolled with it.

~Charlotte isn’t super likable. I liked her because I understood her but I can see how she’s not the most pleasant person, defense and coping mechanisms maybe? We don’t get to know how she used to be before she became a young widow.

~Triggers: grief, losing a spouse, memories of the day of death — this book took me to a lot of closed places in my mind. But thank God I can say…I was okay, it’s why I kept reading.

Final Thoughts:

Was I expecting more romance in this? YES. Obviously there was an attraction to Brian and I wanted more of that but it’s a slow burn because Charlotte has a lot going on in her head. I was misled by the cutesy cover and the title of the book. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Overall the writing was great, I got a sense for Charlotte right away and her journey was emotional. This is more of a heartfelt and heart-breaking story through a widow’s grief than just a regular rom-com.
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So cute! Emily Belden's writing is fantastic! Right up my alley as a millenial romcom. Would definitely read Belden's work in the future!
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I found this book difficult to enjoy. The main character, a widow, who basically, five years after the death of her husband, comes to terms with her decisions.  I found her singularly selfish and a little pathetic. This story is her running around making a mess of things. Not a top read for me.
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Such a cute love story, little slow at times but I still liked it. Charlotte, a widow is faced with what to do with her husbands ashes when they unexpectedly delivered to her 5 years after his death. 

Thank you NetGalley for this ARC.
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I really enjoyed this book. It’s a very modern story that is relevant and interesting. The story is about a girl (Charlotte) who is an excellent computer coder and has created her own dating app where she can scour a guy’s social media, enter all the data into her program and find out if they are a good match. But, Charlotte has a past that she tries to pretend isn’t hers and one day the past comes back to haunt her- literally! Charlotte then has to figure her life out. The book is well thought out, has excellent characters and is full of fun, funny, romance, friendship, mystery and growth! I highly recommend this lighthearted book if you’re looking for something modern and sweet!
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After finding her late husbands ashes in a package she thought was a new hard drive, Charlotte Rosen is taken back five years.  She comes to find out the mausoleum he was in was evaluated because of the wildfires.  Her roommate has no idea her had a husband, and neither does her work or her friends.  She fought hard to move on and put Decker in the past.  However she is forced to tell her mother-in-law about the ashes who insists she should take them. Charlotte fights hard on that one.  Her mother-in-law send in her sons best friend Brian and he is more than she can handle.  This book is filled with romance, secrets and the past coming back.
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I was totally in need of a feel-good warm and fuzzy contemporary and this was perfect. I loved the character development and the steamier moments. I can't wait to have a physical copy of this one on my shelves.
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I found this to be a charming book. Yet, it still has more potential to be more. If it had not been for the event of her getting her dead husband's ashes sent back to her; I would have found Charlotte to be just a "plain Jane".
As the story progressed I did feel for Charlotte. Than there is Brian. He is Decker's best friend. He is affected by Decker's death as well. It was nice to see a man struggling as much as a woman. Both Charlotte and Brian had to learn to be themselves again. They kind of lost their identities with Decker's death.
This is a slow progressing story of love, loss, friendship, and second chances.
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 Thank you NetGalley for the advance copy of this book in exchange for my review! 

I was all over the place in trying to decide how to rate this book, so I landed in the middle.  I read the book mostly in one evening, so it obviously had me invested; but the end of the story was lackluster.

The premise of the story had real promise.  Charlotte is a young widow who has not adequately dealt with her husband's death 5 years ago.  She has compartmentalized everything to an extreme - her co-workers and roommate do not even know she was ever married.  She is a coding wizard and a numbers geek.  She sees life now in black or white, yes or no, 0 or 1.  If you have this input, you get that output.  Her "perfectly" structured life gets thrown seriously out of balance though when a box unexpectedly arrives bearing an urn with the ashes of her husband.  Through having Decker's ashes, she is forced to confront relationships from her past and present, consider what she wants her life to be going forward, and finally start to deal with her loss.  

The bones of the story were there, it had potential, but the actual story was underwhelming.  More than anything, I just needed MORE.  The book didn't seem to know what it wanted to be, which led to everything feeling unfinished.  It started out feeling like a comedy/rom-com, and while it had some comedic moments, it really wasn't a comedy.  It was categorized as a romance, but the romantic story line was a very minimal part of the story.  When it did come up, it was very rushed and unremarkable.  The central theme of the story - dealing with grief and learning to move on even fell a bit flat.  We got a few glimpses of Charlotte's life with Decker, which was nice, but a little additional spent in the past would have given the reader a clearer picture of who Charlotte was before tragedy changed her, and helped us understand why she was the way she was.  Charlotte was a pretty unlikable person, at least to me, for most of the book.  I know that Decker's death was a large part in shaping that, and I know the author tried to show that she was moving past her issues in the end, but again, it was so rushed that you don't really get to see the progression.  One way or another, I'd have liked to have seen who Charlotte really was without all of her issues hanging over her - whether it was from the look-backs or expanding on the story at the end.  There was a plot twist about 3/4 of the way in that honestly felt a little silly and unnecessary.  The time spent on that arc of the story could have been much better spent putting more attention into the other pieces of the story.

Basically all of my major issues with this book could have been resolved by extending the last 20% or so of the book by a few chapters.  A little more development on the relationship front, a little more insight into Charlotte coming to terms with her grief, and a little more personal evolution for Charlotte would have taken this book from a 2.5 to a 4 for me.  It isn't a bad book, I don't the time spent reading it, I just wish it had been more.
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I wish I liked this book more. I truly do because the idea of a young widow trying to rebuild her life isn’t something that is written about that often, especially in this gere, but this book dragged on and on in parts and at times I just wanted to shake the main character. I’m ok with unlikable characters, but she wasn’t interesting and was just one dimensional self-consumed being. It was a quick read and had some good moments, but overall I felt it was lacking in places where it could have shined.
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Great read, I could not put it down! Love how the characters really meshed.  I was in love with them.
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Charlotte Rosen is a 29 year old widow, who works as a social media analyst.  In her spare time, she is working on perfecting a match making program that she hopes to market.  All is going well, until her husband's ashes are delivered to her apartment.  A fascinating look at a woman dealing with memories, surprises and getting on with her life.
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Charlotte Rosen has talent. She is a whiz at writing algorithms and crunching data. She uses her talent to its fullest in both her professional and personal life. She is content with her life, controls it very carefully and is focused on applying her computer skills to finding the perfect husband. Not a bad life, she believes, until the arrival of a package that turns her life upside down. That event dissolves her outward demeaner, and those around her discover Charlotte has a startling secret. Emily Belden's book Husband Material discloses the plot carefully, develops the characters, and resolves in a very satisfying manner. Initially the writing is a bit contrived -- a little bit too Southern California (SoCal). This might be used as a means of showing the superficial life that Charlotte has constructed for herself. As the story continues, however. the writing becomes increasingly palatable and the characters become more complex and relatable.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin-Graydon House Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. 
This book was so easy to read. I wanted to keep reading and reading. I feel like I got to know the 2 main characters and I really liked them. It is a women's feel good book but on a different scale. It doesn't really have all that mushy stuff that most feel good books have. I really liked this book alot.
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A really good idea for a book and although I enjoyed parts of it, I found the main character hard to connect with.
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