I received this book for free from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.What Were You Thinking, Paige Taylor? by Amanda Ashby
Published by Entangled Publishing LLC (August) on November 12, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Source: Entangled Publishing
After her carefully ordered world imploded, Paige Taylor cracks up. On her tenth self-help book, it seemed like a good idea at the time to reinvent herself––move from Manhattan to the tiny beachside town of St. Clair––and take over the local bookstore.
But instead of discovering her spiritual Nirvana, she’s neck-deep in a floundering business, the locals treat her like a plague victim, and her mom’s suddenly decided to visit––with no end in sight––and keeps coming home with one surprise after the next.
Added to that pot of crazy, the one guy who sets her pulse racing has sworn off women forever. He’s got a Samsonite filled with baggage, but damn he looks good hauling it down the street. And giving her those sexy half-smiles. And tempting her to take him for a test ride.
Soon Paige discovers that reinventing herself takes more than just a change of address and a pithy quote on Instagram. She needs to face the truth about her life, and that’s something she can’t do alone.
A recent breakup sends Paige Taylor across the country, packing up her entire life and moving from Manhattan to a tiny little town in Oregon. Her plan isn’t very well thought-out, as we discover later in the book that she literally bought a used and falling-apart book store on a drunken whim one night, but she still goes through with the move.
She gets a bit of a mixed welcome from the town when she gets there; apparently the previous bookstore owner was disliked, and now that she’s gone, the town has decided that Paige must be terrible, too. Which didn’t make a lot of sense, but there you go. Part of the reason the town is anti-Paige is that they’re tired of outsiders coming into town, sticking around for a while, and leaving again, but it seems like one surefire way to get her to leave is to treat her like crap because a woman she never even met was unpopular. But, hey, that’s just me.
But Paige is determined to make it work. She looks up videos on YouTube to figure out how to make the extensive repairs that are needed in the bookshop while still saving money, and she does everything she can to make the townspeople like her, including cleaning a metric ton of bird shit off of a beloved town statue. And it works, for the most part. She starts to make friends, and sales at the bookstore start to improve, even if she’s not actually turning a profit yet.
There’s one notable exception. Luke Carmichael doesn’t care how pretty Paige is. He’s not going to fall for another outsider and end up with another broken heart. He’s going to put all of his focus on his daughter, and she’s all that matters.
I was looking forward to this book because I wanted to check out Entangled’s new August line, which specifically features characters over 30. I love stories with older characters (though I really hate that 30 is considered “older”), and this one was…. fine. Honestly, it was fine. Amanda Ashby is a good writer, and I liked Paige’s just-get-it-done attitude. I thought Luke was a bit of a wet blanket, though. He was perfectly nice, but their romance was just a paint-by-numbers affair, there wasn’t anything memorable about them.
Paige didn’t want to date Luke because the self-help book she read told her she should say No to everything until she got the life she wanted. Luke didn’t want to date Paige because he wanted to put all his energy into his daughter and couldn’t see any possible way to raise her while also dating. They decide to give it a go while keeping it a secret, a crisis that isn’t really a crisis makes Luke realize he was right all along, so he leaves her, then there’s another crisis-that-isn’t-a-crisis, and they end up getting back together. It’s all familiar, and comforting, in a Hallmark-Christmas-movie kind of way.