Cover Image: Just The Way You Are

Just The Way You Are

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Member Reviews

This ARC was provided to me via Kindle, Boldwood Books and  by #NetGalley. Opinions expressed are completely my own. 


A novel about a woman seeking independence from an emotionally abusive and controlling mother. Well done.
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The story 
Ollie is nearly 30, living with her emotionally abusive and controlling mother. With the help of her supportive best friend Steph, Ollie decides to move out and buy a tiny cottage for herself in a rural village on the edge of the forest. Ollie works for an adult literacy charity, helping adults and coaching others to teach. Ollie wishes she had found the Dream Man to complete her Dream List, but Steph convinces her to tackle the Dream List items by herself and manless. But what about Sam the solicitor turned Forester is everything Ollie wishes for in the Dream Man? 

My thoughts 
This is the second Beth Moran story I have read, I noticed it had a similar vibe to the first story. Ollie’s character has so much grace. She accepts the situation with her mother calmly and rationally and plans to leave home in a safe way that will cause the least pain to her mother. When her mother oversteps boundaries, she shuts her off until she feels like the response she gets is more reasonable. I love the way Ollie befriends her neighbours in such a gentle and kind way, the other characters from the village and shows her kindness in looking after others in need. I felt like the pace of the story was calming and the interactions between Ollie and Sam were really sweet. Such a happy read!
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This is a brilliant book about love, friendship and family although mainly about friendship and family. It's about setting boundaries and gaining independence.
I wont deny that there are a couple of emotional bits but over all its a brilliant book. I fell in love with the character's particularly Ollie and Nesbit. I hope there is more to come from these character's in future books by this author.
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I was a little concerned at times that perhaps there were a bit too many topics in this book: controlling parents, grooming, relationship problems, illiteracy, mental illness, lonely neighbours, physical illness, drug and alcohol abuse…I was debating if it was all needed, but in the end, I felt it gave a good cross-section of the good and bad of humanity, but it is a fine line.

I do feel Beth ripped into my soul and wrote my life story. Okay so it’s not all true, my mum isn’t as manipulative as she is and I don’t have a hunky forest ranger for a neighbour, but I am a 29 year old, single woman liv with mother, desperate to move out and into a quaint little cottage, and find that perfect someone to spend it with. 

I’ll admit, I didn’t feel as strongly about the characters as I would have liked to, they felt a bit so-so, but there were definitely one or two I explicitly disliked, regardless of any redeemable scenes.

It is a sweet easy-going rom-com. It is light hearted but touches on difficult topics. I think there were some subplots that were weaker than others, and some I’d have liked more focus on, but that’s personal preference. Overall though, it is enjoyable, comforting and easy to read in front of the fire with a large glass of wine.
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The perfect novel about a woman’s journey to independence and living for herself for once. I could totally relate to these characters and loved how character driven this entire story was. Bravo! So well done.
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I enjoyed this story a lot, it was the feel good read I needed right now and Ollie was a character i cared about so much. I know I just said "feel good" and this book is that but it is also so much more. It's about overcoming an abusive past, coming into ones own and making new friends. It is also has a romantic vibe but I don't think this book is a romance in the traditional sense and I liked that about it. 

This book made me laugh, cry and sigh...the type of book you hug when finished. The characters were so relatable to me and I felt connected to them and cheered them on. Even though the main character basically looks at life through rose coloured glasses the book deals with some hard hitting topics as well. I connected with Ollie and was so pleased to join her on her journey of self discovery.
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Having reached her wit's end with her overbearing mother, Ollie decides to move out and forge a life for herself. In the pursuit of the completion of her Dream List, she makes a no-man pact until the task is through. 

The writing is absolutely beautiful and there's no denying Beth Moran's talent! She teases out the intricacies of the mother-daughter relationship in a way that tugged hard on my heartstrings and I also loved the subplots with Joan and Ebenezer. However, I began reading expecting more of a lighthearted and fast-paced rom-com -- which this work is not. The romantic relationship itself is actually not a prominent plotline. I found myself deeply invested in little Joan and though I loved the characterization of everyone and sweet, homey descriptions of Ollie's new home and community, it simply was not what I was looking for or expecting at the time. 

Many thanks to Beth Moran, Boldwood Books, and NetGalley for this ARC!
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This book just wasn't for me. The writing was fluid, the characters were well-developed, and the story was detailed - however, it was missing that *spark* that made me want to read and re-read. Although the story was nice, there wasn't much to keep my interest - no major storylines or climatic plot elements and it felt like it took a very, (very!) long time for Ollie to finally reach her happy ending. 
Thank you to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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This one is SO CUTE! THE COVER, the story, and everything in between! I absolutely love it. I highly recommend.
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The story of Ollie, who moves out of home in the run up to her 30th birthday. She is determined to complete her Dream List on her own, without a man. Will that change when she meets Sam?

A great read  - I liked all the characters, especially Joan!
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As someone who just turned 30 I really resonated with this book! Just the way you are is a story about taking back control of your life. Ollie Tennyson wrote a "dream list" as a teenager, only to realize none of her dreams came true, mostly in part to her manipulative mother. Ollie decides to move out and take matters into her own hands. Along the way we meet a cast of characters including a handsome forest ranger. Can Ollie create the life she not only wants, but deserves? I thought this book was sweet and charming. The characters were relatable and fun to root for. 

3.5/5
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Ollie Tennyson wrote a Dream List when she was sixteen, fourteen years later none of her dreams have materialised because her manipulative mother won't let her have a life. Every time Ollie tries to go on a date, or on holiday with friends, her mother fakes a panic attack, or heart palpitations or some other illness to keep Ollie firmly by her side.

But when Ollie discovers her mother has ransacked her bedroom drawers, opened her diary and dug out her Dream List, proposing the two of them do many of the things on the list for Ollie's impending thirtieth birthday, something snaps and Ollie decides to move out.

Ollie's best friend has her own burdens (I assume she had her own book) and challenges Ollie not to swap catering to her mother's very need to do the same thing for a man, persuading her to sign a Man Ban until Ollie has completed all the things on her list (many of which she dreamt of doing with her dream guy) solo.

Ollie loves into a tiny end of row cottage, her two neighbours being an elderly, bad tempered, man and a single mother with a pre-teen daughter. Oh, and there's a hunky forest ranger who patrols Sherwood Forest which extends just beyond the cottage's shared garden.

Can Ollie become her own woman without a man?

This is a sweet, fun, contemporary romance. Ollie's Pollyanna-like charms soon help her befriend her new neighbours, foster romance between her adult-literacy clients, and melt the heart of the prim and proper local librarian.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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This was such a delight to read. I went in expecting a light romance/women’s fiction about Ollie completing her Dream List after moving out of her manipulative mother’s grasp, and while this story was that, it also delved much deeper into harder-hitting themes which I greatly appreciated,

Ollie’s work for the charity ReadUp, helping people learn how to read and write, is one of the central points of the story. I loved that this book furthers awareness of this important issue. It also did a great job in portraying the diverse group of characters that sought help from ReadUp and made them an integral and fun part of the story.

Ollie’s relationship with her mother was another deeper theme of this book. I really liked that their story didn’t just end with Ollie moving out and that it showed their progress and set-backs in trying to develop a healthier relationship with each other.

What I enjoyed most about this book though was Ollie’s relationship to all her neighbors, especially to Leanne and Joan, as well as Ebenezer (whose reluctant helping and communicating through notes really cracked me up a few times). A lot of important points about friendship and found family were made here, and I really liked that Ollie found a way to stay true to her personality of being a helper while also developing healthier boundaries.

While I did like Ollie’s romance with Sam, I sadly found him to be one of the lesser fleshed out characters. But I still was invested in their relationship.

All in all, I found this book to be really insightful into many different types of relationships and I loved reading about Ollie’s journey towards becoming a more independent person. 

TW: I would issue some trigger warnings for toxic relationships, manipulation and abandonment. Also, if you suffer from medical anxiety or have similar triggers, please be aware that at one point a side character is hospitalized for a pretty serious illness and that this is a part of the plot.

(Thank you to NetGalley, Beth Moran and Boldwood Books for providing me with an eARC for this book in exchange for my honest feedback. All opinions in this review are my own.)
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I received an ARC of, Just The Way You Are, by Beth Moran.  This was a nice story.  I loved Ollie, starting over is never easy, and never without pitfalls, but she just went with the flow.
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Ollie Tennyson is twenty-nine years old, and she has never lived on her own. With a controlling and manipulative mother who guilts Ollie into staying in a toxic environment, Ollie finds it difficult to make the jump towards independence. However, when her mother foils a Valentine’s date, Ollie decides she’s had enough. She purchases a home, moves out, and blocks her hounding mother, determined to complete her bucket list before getting involved with anyone. But then Ollie meets her neighbors, and she soon realizes that her journey has only just begun.

Ollie is such a dynamic and likable character, and her story is relatable and interesting. The book focuses on Ollie taking control of her life and learning to live on her own without the destructive influence of her overbearing mother. Emotionally controlled for her entire adult life, Ollie makes some major changes and puts herself first for the first time in her life. It’s great to see her embrace life, learn what is important to her, create boundaries, and cultivate new and fulfilling relationships, which stands in sharp contrast to the toxic relationship she has with her mother.

The story touches on difficult subjects, including death, toxic and abusive relationships, mental illness, physical illness, money issues, and more. Faced with so many new experiences and new relationships, as well as some concerns regarding said relationships, Ollie is lucky to have a great support system in place. Her long-time best friend, her aunt, and others prove encouraging and supportive of Ollie’s new life and act as strong sounding boards. Moving away from a parent can be difficult at any age, and when you have a manipulative and abusive mother like Ollie’s, I would imagine the feelings are very complicated. I thought the author addressed these conflicting feelings well – the relief and guilt, the sadness and happiness, the sense of freedom and fear of being alone. There’s so much to unravel, and Ollie learns a lot about herself throughout her journey.

The relationship Ollie develops with Joan is one of my favorite parts of the story. I think both Joan and Ollie learn a lot from each other, and their connection is so sweet and lovely. They have a shared love of reading, which is the kind of neighbor I would love! Ollie also develops a great friendship with Joan’s mother, as well as several other people in the story. Ollie has a way of breaking down others’ walls. From Joan’s cynical mother to her introverted and curmudgeonly neighbor to the people she helps with literacy struggles to the ornery and unwelcoming librarian, Ollie sees past the surface and tries to befriend these seemingly friendless people. I think Ollie learns what it means to be connected to people without being manipulated and burdened by relationships. She also learns how to set boundaries and stick up for herself, which is fantastic! And these secondary characters are great (except Ollie’s mother. She’s a troll.). Each character is layered and dynamic and has a compelling story to tell. I could easily see a sequel that focuses on several of these interesting people.

The love story is another wonderful part of the story, though it did not dominate the plot. The story focuses more on Ollie’s transformation, which, in turn, contributes to the development of new relationships, including her relationship with Sam. It’s too bad she has a no-man mandate because this ranger is hunky and sweet! He has such a great personality, and he is so calm and patient. He and Ollie both have complicated relationships with members of their families, and it’s interesting to see how they each deal with these issues. I like how their relationship slowly builds, and I rooted for them to find happiness together despite the obstacles in front of them.

A story of self-discovery, self-acceptance, and finding love when you least expect it, Just the Way You Are is a heart-warming and thought-provoking read that I would most definitely recommend to readers of contemporary fiction or romance.
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Just the way you are is a story about a woman who has to learn how to live on her own. 
Ollie is 29 and suffers from smothering mother syndrome. When enough is enough and she has to spend another Valentine’s Day with her mum who so conveniently always gets sick when Ollie has plans outside of home, she decides to move out and get it together. 
With the help of her best friend Steph she starts to fulfill things on her bucket list. She buys a house in a small village, befriends her neighbours and step by step learns that not only that she doesn’t have to burden herself with other peoples’ worries but that the things on her bucket list can be done in different ways than she imagined. 

I’m going to say this first: I HATED Olli’s mother. I will never understand why and how you can treat your own child like this and then make a surprised pikachu face when that child leaves and blocks you. And the guilt tripping, oh my lanta. What a c u next Tuesday. 
I loved the description of Ollies cottage and I will try to build it in the sims lol. 
Ollies support system was so likeable and I loved that they were so patient with her. The neighbours were adorable and it was predictable how those relationships were going to end. 
The love part was also nice. Not too fast, not too slow, just right. 
But I was kind of disgusted at how dirty Ollie was. How can you go outside without showering for so many days? Urgh. 

I hope this story opens the eyes of other people with overbearing family members because just because they’re family doesn’t mean that you have to put your own life on hold for them.
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Wow!, what a fantastic read, I thoroughly enjoyed this, tue best book I I’ve read for a very long time.

I would recommend this to all my friends…. A must read!!
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“This world is crazy, that’s why I prefer books, because they make more sense”.

What a happy little story! 

Synopsis:
Ollie has spent her entire life under her mother’s thumb. Smothering mothering, as her best friend Steph would say. In this gem of a story, we will follow along as Ollie breaks free from the restraints to find herself. By completing her ‘dream list’. A list she created when she was 16 years old full of things she wants to accomplish with the man of her dreams. But nearing 30, there is no man. So she sets out to accomplish these on her own and learn how to depend on herself for happiness. 

My thoughts:
A book for everyone. A reminder that our own happiness lies within ourselves. No one else. Relating with Ollie was easy. As an only child, I have never ventured far from my parents, knowing that I am all they have. 

The characters are all lovable (except maybe her mom). Ollie is strong, brave and so kindhearted. Her relationship with 11 year old Joan is beautifully displayed. The story behind Joans’ life, heartbreaking. Ebeneezer, the the elderly gentleman next door, his own story to tell. Sam, the handsome ranger who sweeps in at every turn. Irene, the local Library Lady. This is a very character driven book and it was done wonderfully. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Boldwood books for my E-Arc of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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I've really enjoyed a couple of Beth Moran's previous books and so I was excited to get this ARC, it felt like the perfect antidote to the New Year January blues, and it really was. It was funny and sweet and empowering and charming. I loved Ollie's bravery in breaking away from her toxic relationship with her mother, but I also really appreciated how deeply she still loved her, and how the book showed her repeatedly stating her boundaries and holding to them. It wasn't as simple as walking away, but the ongoing relationship between them was really satisfying to read. I also adopted Joan, and the cast of village characters, it was such a delightful book. My only downside was that I would have like some more time developing the romance, but I did really love all the development of the various friendships so I was happy to take that instead! All in all a delight to read.
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A lovely story about discovering yourself what ever your age. I have enjoyed a couple of Beth Moran books and wasn't disappointed in this one. Loveable characters relatable plot, an enjoyable book.
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