Husband Material by Emily Belden @Harlequinbooks #review #romanticcomedy #fiction #romance

Husband Material : A Novel 

Emily Belden

On Sale Date: December 30, 2019

9781525805981, 1525805983

Trade Paperback

$15.99 USD, $19.99 CAD

Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy 

304 pages


Told in Emily Belden’s signature edgy voice, a novel about a young widow’s discovery of her late husband’s secret and her journey toward hope and second-chance love.

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 soon a shocking secret surfaces, forcing Charlotte to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at new love arises, she’ll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.



Charlotte just received a surprise package at her doorstep. It is not what she expected…AT ALL! It is her deceased husband’s ashes. This just brings all kinds of emotions and old hurts to the fore front of her mind. She eventually realizes she must deal with these issues before she can move on with her life.

Charlotte is not my favorite character. I just did not feel a connection with her like I did the other characters in this book. However, I did feel some sympathy for Charlotte. She is dealing with a lot of neurotic issues which really bring about some funny circumstances. This keeps this novel moving along.

This is a quirky, fun, palate cleanser. It is a heart warming romantic comedy. This would be great to read on a trip…except you might laugh out loud in some places and people might stare!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.




Advance Praise for Husband Material

“Tackling thorny questions of widowhood and dating after trauma, Belden’s second novel is witty, full of heart, and blindingly au courant. Packed with pop-culture references, it will appeal to fans of Sophie Kinsella, Rosie Walsh, and Plum Sykes. Belden writes twists and turns to keep readers hooked.” Booklist

“Charming.” Publishers Weekly

“Sensitive, thoughtful, and touching.” —Library Journal

“In this touching, witty, and timely book, Emily Belden deftly explores the complexities of human relationships in our increasingly tech-obsessed world. By turns heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny, Husband Material beautifully demonstrates that you can’t reduce love to a bunch of 1s and 0s.”

—Kristin Rockaway, author of How To Hack a Heartbreak

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Twitter: @emilybelden

Instagram: @emilybelden

Q&A with Emily Belden

Q: When you begin writing a love story, do you know how you want it to end? Or do you decide as you develop the plot?

A: I generally have an idea of how I want things to wrap up, but what I always struggle with is that final sentence. How do you know you’re REALLY there? I often ready my theoretical last sentence out loud, followed by saying “The End”, and if it feels like it has a certain “ring” to it, then I can shut the laptop. If not, then I know it’s not my stopping point. Wrapping up that final thought with a bow on it is super important. It’s what I want when I read a book, at least.

Q: How was it to write about grief, pain and love for the same character?

A: It was new. That’s really the best word to explain it. HOT MESS has so many autobiographical elements to it (i.e., restaurant industry know-how, dating an addict, etc.) but HUSBAND MATERIAL was all unchartered territory for me. I realized right away that in order to write about the grief of losing a spouse/partner, I had to curate a focus group of real-life women like Charlotte and really learn from them to bring the level of authenticity and nuance needed to successfully write the book.

Q: What type of love stories do you like? Or were there ones you looked to as you began writing Husband Material?

A: I like really unexpected love stories. In today’s literary landscape, there’s certainly a formula that is pretty common. So it’s the books that break or stray from that formula that really do it for me. I like stories where it’s not innately clear who the protagonist is going to end up with. Even with HOT MESS there’s a moment where (I hope) the reader is like “OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING” insofar as Allie’s love story goes. Same with Charlotte in HUSBAND MATERIAL.

Q: Do you prefer to write by planning ahead (ie outlining, etc) or just go with the flow as inspiration hits?

A: I prefer to go with the flow. My general writing pattern is banging out 1-2 chapters at a time and then ending my work with a bulleted list of what I think needs to happen next. That way, when I open up my laptop and start to write the next 1-2 chapters, I’m not totally lost or forgetful of where I left off. It helps me figure out what would make sense in the flow of the pages.

Q: When did you know you wanted to become an author? What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR list?

A: It’s been my only god-given talent since I was a little kid. It started with really creative letters to Santa or the Tooth Fairy. I won a contest to be a kid reporter for the Chicago Tribune when I was 12 years old and after that, my fate was sealed. I knew I wanted to write at the highest level I could! I am currently reading a book called Lulu’s Cafe by an author who is also repped by my agents, Browne & Miller. I really love it and can picture it as an adorable Hallmark Movie. 

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

A: I heard a news story on the TV when I was doing dishes at my (former) home in San Diego. It was about a developer who wanted to buy the land a mausoleum was on so they could tear it down and build luxury condos overlooking the ocean. I thought, how crazy if your loved one’s ashes just got mailed back to you one day and the resting place you thought was final, wasn’t. It wasn’t easy, but turned that general premise into a light-side-of-heavy rom-com.

Q: What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

A: Over all, that second chances at love take all different forms. You never know the circumstances someone has found themselves in, so be kind. For Charlotte, I intentionally wrote the first few chapters as if she was divorced–talking about her “first marriage”. Then you find out “Oh, sh*t, she’s a widow,” and all the sudden your emotional connection with her changes. I also find it interesting writing about death. We don’t talk about it in society, especially not in contemporary women’s fiction. A tragic, unexpected death is the crux of this book. Let’s dig in!

Q: What drew you into this particular genre?

A: I saw there was room to carve out a spot for someone like me who writes unexpected, voicey, edgy, authentic women’s fiction and so I went full steam ahead with the help of a great agent to make it happen.

Q: If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

A: I would sit down with Charlotte. I’ve met the “real life” versions of her when doing my focus groups for research, it would be my honor to meet her. I’d ask her if she wanted to team up and develop a dating app framed around people’s dogs. 

Q: What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

A: Instagram. I feel like I’ve become friends with people I’ve never met in real life. They cheer me on and I’m humbled by it. I also find other authors on Facebook in certain literary groups. This has been fun and has helped me grow my TBR list with books I otherwise wouldn’t have heard of.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

A: Be patient. Be patient with the process – success as an author is fluid and can mean many different things. Nothing happens overnight. It’s a process. And be patient with yourself. If you aren’t vibing your writing, don’t put pressure on yourself to tap keys just because you said you were going to do 1,000 words tonight. There are times two weeks go by and I haven’t opened my Word doc once. But then when I am vibing it, I can cruise for 10K words and absolutely rock it. There’s an ebb and flow, for sure.

Q: What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

A: I am working on a third novel at my own pace right now. I’m very excited about it and just exploring where the plot takes me. I would love to work on a film/TV/podcast adaption of any of my existing works as a next step, too. I also got married nine months ago and am enjoying life with my soulmate, Matt.

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The Best of 2019! #wrap-up #review #5starreads



Pretty much how Peanut looked at me!

She is not a fan of excitement!

Except I was asleep! I swear…I can’t stay up past 10 pm! OLD AGE HAS KICKED IN!

Well! I hope everyone has a fantastic New Year! I hope 2020 brings everyone prosperity and good reading!

And just a little FYI…WORDPRESS is getting on my last nerve.  I cannot comment after my last picture at the bottom of this post. So I am just going to say right here…THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!

Now on to the good stuff! Here are my 5 star reads for 2019! LOTS OF GOOD ONES ON THIS LIST!

And these are in no particular order.


The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff #review #5starread #historicalfiction #releaseday

The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib #review #fiction

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald #review #suspense #fiction


Cemetery Road by Greg Iles #review #fiction #suspense


Woman 99 by Greer Macallister #review #historicalfiction


The Girl He Used to Know by Tracy Garvis Graves #review #fiction #women #womensfiction


Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly #review #historicalfiction


The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman #review #fiction #historicalfiction #5starread


The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry @berkleypub #review #fiction


The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin @berkleypub #review #historicalfiction #5star


The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess @henryholt #bookwhisperer #review #5star

lake of learning_300dpi_fnl

The Lake of Learning By Steve Berry and M.J. Rose #review #fiction


This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger @atriabooks #bookexpo2019 @wmkentkrueger #review


All the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio #review #historicalfiction @randomhouse @sarahjio


Journey by Heather Morris #review #historicalfiction @stmartinspress


The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell #review #suspense @AtriaMysteryBus @AtriaBooks @lisajewelluk


The Kill Club by Wendy Heard @wendydheard @harpercollins #review #thriller


Our Better Angels by Jonathan Reckford @JReckford @MacmillianUSA #review #nonfiction


Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison @thrillerchick @harlequinbooks #mirabooks #5starread #thriller


All That The River Holds by Louis Hillary Park #thriller #suspense #review @authorhouse


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My December Reads #wrapup #reviews #5starreads

I  hope everyone had a WONDERFUL, MERRY CHRISTMAS!



I am more of the Grinch myself! Don’t roll your eyes you Christmas elves…bah humbug 😂🤦🏻‍♀️


But….I do have an have a lot of work to do in JANUARY! DIETING….UGH!



Cowboy Christmas Redemption by Maisey Yates @HarlequinBooks #christmasromance #review



The Kill Club by Wendy Heard @wendydheard @harpercollins #review #thriller


All That The River Holds by Louis Hillary Park #thriller #suspense #review @authorhouse


Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison @thrillerchick @harlequinbooks #mirabooks #5starread #thriller

Reviews are coming soon on these below.



What did you read in December? I would really love to know!

Thanks for stopping by!

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My Audible Reads for December #audiobooks #audible #audiblebooks

I had a really great Audible December. All of these are great listens!

What were you favorite listens for December? Inquiring minds want to know!

The Last Time I Saw You

The Giver of the Stars

The Lying Game

Thanks for stopping by!

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Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison @thrillerchick @harlequinbooks #mirabooks #5starread #thriller


J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new psychological thriller examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to in order to protect their secrets.

Goode girls don’t lie…

Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond.

But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.

In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder.

When a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.

But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.

Don’t miss this fast-paced suspense story from New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison!


The Goode School is a prestigious place for very rich and prominent young ladies. It is a boarding school set in the mountains of Virginia boasting of traditions and honor code. But, it also has secret societies, hidden rooms and scandal. When Ash Carr arrives in a cloak of secrets, several deaths soon follow.

Ash is a young lady just wanting to get an education. Or is she??? She instantly creates an animosity between several of the young ladies. She is tall, pretty and the faculty likes her. When Ash is tapped for one of the secret societies, complete discord takes place.

Talk about ending the year with a bang! This book is completely wicked and twisted and psycho and MORE! I was hooked from the first page. I swear…I had no idea how this book was going to end up. This story is full of great characters, turmoil and intensity.

Need a fast paced thriller….THIS IS IT!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

Good Girls Lie

Author: J.T. Ellison

ISBN: 9780778330776

Publication Date: 12/30/19

Publisher: MIRA Books


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Author Website

Twitter: @thrillerchick

Facebook: @JTEllison14

Instagram: @thrillerchick




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All That The River Holds by Louis Hillary Park #thriller #suspense #review @authorhouse



In the summer of 1969, men walked on the moon; Holly Lee Carter returned home in a wheelchair to save her family legacy from the Klan; and my best friend fell passionately, dangerously in love. Little did we know that first July morning when she hurtled into our staid, small town lives and gridiron dreams that nothing in who we were or what we were to become would be the same after her. And that Cattahatchie County – the last segregated one of its kind, even in Mississippi – would be transformed by fire and blood and snake venom, hard truth and desperate need, and by all other things that the river holds. – Nathan Wallace, narrator.

“Park’s gripping debut novel, an unconventional love story, unfolds in KKK-controlled Cattahatchie County, Mississippi, during a violent 1969 civil rights struggle. … the author’s ability to turn a phrase, capturing, in a few words time, place and atmosphere, is a joy. Solid character portrayals, personal melodrama, a murder mystery, and unrestrained violence propel this page-turner to its explosive conclusion. … an addictive read with some final surprises.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Louis Hillary Park is one of those rare authors who spins an intelligent story driven by complex, believable characters with heartbeats a reader can hear.” – New York Times bestselling author John Ramsey Miller, author of THE LAST DAY.


Holly Lee returns to Mississippi to keep her family newspaper business from collapsing.  She is hit with problems on every turn.  Little does she know, it is just going to get worse.

Oh my! Holly Lee is a character I truly admire.  She is unstoppable!  She is intelligent, determined and tough.  Holly Lee is also not going to stand for injustice.  This is a tumultuous time and she does not back down, despite violence and threats.

This is actually a rewrite of Wolf’s Run. Let me just say…I loved both. I did enjoy Wolf’s Run better, most likely because I read it first. It is also a more concise version and a little less wordy.  That being said…they are both so well written.  This is a tale set in Mississippi during a stormy and violent time and Mr. Park does not hold back! You get so caught up in the action and the story, there is no way to stop!



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An Alaskan Christmas by Jennifer Snow @harlequinbooks #review #christmasromance


In Alaska, it’s always a white Christmas—but the sparks flying between two reunited friends could turn it red-hot…

If there’s one gift Erika Sheraton does not want for Christmas, it’s a vacation. Ordered to take time off, the workaholic surgeon reluctantly trades in her scrubs for a ski suit and heads to Wild River, Alaska. Her friend Cassie owns a tour company that offers adventures to fit every visitor. But nothing compares to the adrenaline rush Erika feels on being reunited with Cassie’s brother, Reed Reynolds.

Gone is the buttoned-up girl Reed remembers. His sister’s best friend has blossomed into a strong, skilled, confident woman. She’s exactly what his search-and-rescue team needs—and everything he didn’t know he craved. The gulf between his life in Wild River and her big-city career is wide. But it’s no match for a desire powerful enough to melt two stubborn hearts…


Erika has been ORDERED to take a vacation. A vacation is what she DOES NOT want. So, she is determined to make the best of a bad situation. She contacts an old friend, Cassie, and heads off for an adventure in Wild River, Alaska. And an adventure is just what she finds, along with something she was not looking for…love.

Reed is Cassie’s brother. He runs a search-and-rescue team. He and Erika knock heads a few times, but it just leads them to discover what they love about each other. I enjoyed Reed. He is tough, smart and HOT! What’s not to love. He and Erika make a great pair!

Give me a book set in Alaska and I am hooked. This is a sweet holiday romance with an edge. Check it out today!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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