I had the perfect life. Beautiful and loving husband. Three gorgeous little girls. Successful career. The only thing missing was the white picket fence. I really wanted that fence. Three years ago, I lost that life. I lost my husband. And I lost myself. But, eventually, I found my way through the darkness. I’ve made peace with my new life. I have my girls, and that’s all that matters. They are my world. I have no illusions of ever falling in love again or getting whisked away on a white horse. But then he came back into my life. On a freakin’ motorcycle. There’s no way I’ll let him turn my life completely upside down. Absolutely no way. The question is…How long can I keep pretending that I’m happy with my life being right-side up?
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
My rating for Running On Empty (Mending Hearts, #1):
Running On Empty is a quick, delightful story about the bonds of friendship and love.
Alex is a widow of three young children and although her best friend and work partner Harlow wins the BFF award of the year for the helping hand, shoulder to lean and cry on, and comic relief she's provided Alex since her husband passed away three years ago, Alex is still living a hollow life.
Enter Blake, Alex's childhood friend. His arrival to town stirs up old memories and with his blunt attitude toward her and her loved ones constanting pushing her at him, she's already sick of him. Or is she?
In Running On Empty, Alex learns not only is it okay to accept help, but that it's okay to admit to needing help. She learns to trust, love, live, have hope, and take chances again: all firsts for her since her husband's death.
I love Alex. She's such a loving mom who just wants to get through the day without finding tooth paste in her hair towel or having to play the copy game with her youngest angel. She had so much to gain in this novel and I love what L.B. Simmons did with Alex.
I love Alex's girls: Nycole, Kyndall, and Rylie, all whose personalities strongly showed through in Simmons writing and I LOVED that! Apart from the books where the main character is a child, children aren't typically written as being profound, complex, or with strong (and sometimes adult-like) personalities. Writers will just portray children the way society as a whole thinks of them, but thanks to Simmons own experience with her three daughters, she was able to nail the personalities of these three little girls on the head! The little things they said and did made me smile countless times.
Oh, Harlow. I feel like writers almost always give the best friend of the M.C. spunky, outgoing, or crazy characteristics so it didn't exactly thrill me or surprise me to find this story was no exception, but it doesn't bother me in this one because I enjoy reading those characteristics on a thirty-something year old, instead of a teenager like I typically do. Harlow is a fun, well written character and I think her personality actually was a large contribution to the sanity of Alex and her girls, so I enjoyed her presence.
I absolutely adore Blake. He's handsome, sexy, caring, gentle, compassionate, awesome with kids, and has a deep connection with Alex. He was also very single. ;) He isn't the “bad boy” type of guy--although he does rides a motorcycle! He was just a fun guy with character and THAT is much more realistic than the swoon-worthy bad boy. Major kudos to Simmons for creating a hot love interest who doesn't fit that stereotype!
This novel is fast in the right parts, slow and detailed just where it needs to be; the characters and the plot are well developed; the romance moves at just the right pace; it is really just the perfect balance of everything a good story needs! You can't go wrong with Running On Empty.
Side note: I love when I'm reading a novel and the reason behind the title becomes clear to me. I especially love titles that are phrases or a couple words such as Running On Empty is. When the double meaning behind the title was pointed out in the book, it made me love the book that much more.
“He reminds me every day that when you’re running on empty, you won’t ever get where you need to be. Both in Life and Love. (And sometimes Suburbans…) -Alex"