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Review: Hot Mess by Anne Conley

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Synopsis: Sam is a single dad trying to get over the death of his ex-wife, and help his daughter move on from the loss of her mother.

Rachel is a single mom with a secret of her own that has kept her out of the dating scene for years.

What happens when this drop-dead gorgeous firefighter moves in across the street from the reticent woman with a past?

Sparks fly as the heat level rises in this new novel of Serendipity.

Review: Where do I begin? Hot Mess is a one of a kind book that grips your heartstrings from the very beginning. Here is a story of two very real individuals who deal with the prejudice and misperceptions that go along with being HIV positive.

First, we have Sam who is a charming father, struggling to bring up his daughter in a safe and stable environment. Throughout the book we watch him stumble a little bit into this relationship with his neighbor, Rachel Fairchild, a mother living with HIV. Sam, like many people, is misinformed about the condition and he let’s his fear take over his actions. I thought Ms. Conley did a wonderful job really appealing to readers with Sam’s wonderful, but flawed character. It’s obvious that Sam is a good man, but his ignorance on the subject often gets him in trouble – but makes for great drama.

Second, we have Rachel who is struggling with issues of acceptance, intimacy, depression, and discrimination because of her HIV. I loved that right from the start Rachel came off as a strong woman and a loving mother. As a reader, I was able to really get to know who Rachel is. I thought it was great that Ms. Conley eases the reader in into Rachel’s past. I know that the story revolves around a woman who lives with HIV, but Ms. Conley stayed true to Rachel’s character and the story wasn’t just about her disease. It was about love, acceptance, being a parent, taking chances, and growing.

I think one of the parts that really touched me was seeing Rachel’s frustration with dealing with her parents and her brother. She just wanted them to see her as their daughter, not a disease. I teared up a bit in this section because I feel like that’s a powerful message that often gets lost.

I have to throw in and say that damn there were some steamy scenes. Sam is just the right kind of mix of a dominant, but tender man. He’s definitely my new book boyfriend. Plus who doesn’t like firemen? ;)

Overall, I felt like this was one of the most powerful stories I’ve read in a long time. There were several sections where I was afraid Ms. Conley was going to let me down by wrapping things up with a pretty bow, but then she surprised me with another twist and turn. I have to say, I love stories set in small towns and I definitely think if you’re a fan of “Nicholas Sparks” type books without the depressing/predictable endings then check this one out!

Reviewed by: Vanessa

Rating: 5/5 DIAMONDS!

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