Just Give Me a Reason by Rebecca Rogers Maher

Disclaimers: while my blog post itself does not contain any sexual content, this book does. This is a review for a book that is meant for mature audiences, and therefore is unsuitable for minors.

This book was provided to me for free through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thoughts at a glance: *** (I liked it)

Summary: Tony's got a lot on his plate - he's a newly-divorced father of two girls and his business is failing, and he definitely doesn't have room in his life for beautiful Beth, who is relationship-phobic and also happens to have a baby on the way (as the result of a one-night stand).

However, neither of them can deny the intense chemistry that exists between them every time they're together, and when circumstances throw them alone together for a few days and sparks ignite, they have to decide if what they have is worth pursuing.

Thoughts: This was a fun, light read - no dark secrets, no emotionally-fraught drama, no lives in danger. Just a classic case of "Do we or don't we?", made more interesting by Beth's pregnancy, which is an important part of the story's progression.

The two main things that I appreciated: Beth is in the second half of her pregnancy when the story really picks up, and I'm glad that she is still portrayed as a strong, desirable, capable woman. In fact, as one of the other characters tells her later on (I'm paraphrasing), "You're right, you don't need a man. But it's okay to want one." Beth is vibrant and straightforward; she is self-admittedly not the motherly type; she is allowed to be a full-on human being. Pregnant women are so often portrayed as whiny or naggy or irrational, and definitely are not often portrayed as sexy and deserving of sex. PS - I can relate to a lot of the things she says about pregnancy and post-birth recovery.

The other thing I appreciated is that most of the characters are Latino, which is pretty awesome. (It also meant that I didn't understand some of the Spanish, but that's okay.) And again, they are allowed to be full-on human beings - their backgrounds are a part of who they are, but they aren't everything that they are, and I like that.

I'm going to go ahead and add a third thing I appreciated - I like Tony as well. He's a father of two young girls, he accepts his share of the responsibility for his marriage crumbling, he doesn't slut-shame his ex-wife, and he doesn't bat an eyelash at offering his love to a woman who is having another man's child (as well as offering that love to the child as well). He's an all-around good man. He's not a romance novel hero who is actually a creepy and/or abusive jerk but is romanticized to the point that he appears to be a good man - he just IS a good man. And that's awesome.

So, clearly, there were a lot of things I liked about this book, but what kept me from liking it more was just that it was a simple, straightforward story, so while I enjoyed it, it didn't overwhelm me with feels either. It was a cute, sweet story with some really great characterization, and I would definitely recommend it.