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on August 20, 2013
The heroine isn't a silly young thing - after all, she's Thirty Twelve. I like that she's more mature that a lot of heroines and has life experiences. She's easy to relate to. I really enjoyed this book and own in in print as well as Kindle editions.
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on January 12, 2014
Reviewed by Betty Fokker

I'll start off by saying that although I have never met Sandy James in real life, we "know" each other through a mutual group of Facebook friends who are authors. Nevertheless, I will not sugarcoat the review. I have to tell you my honest opinion, even if it makes things socially awkward.

I thought this book was great.

TURNING THIRTY-TWELVE is a bit like a Payday candy bar: yes, it's sweet, but there is more substance to it than one might expect. The heroine, Jackie, faced with her newly emptied nest and a not-so-distant divorce from her first love, allows her friends to fix her up with a widowed cop, Mark. Everything gets more complicated when two of their children start dating.

Although the story acknowledged the really crappy things that can happen to women who are no longer spring chickens, it didn't dwell on them. Instead it, like the heroine, boldly went forth to find happiness in the empty nest. Okay, the heroine was dragged forward kicking and screaming, but still. There was character development and truisms in all that brouhaha.

Moreover, the novel elicited reader emotion. I snorted with mirth or even laughed out loud in some places, and actually cried fat tears in others. Sometimes on the same page.

The book also broke traditions in ways I think matter. It was focused on love, trust, and companionship over the sparkly rock on the third finger that's supposed to guarantee happily ever after. The hero was less afraid of commitment than the heroine. Teens weren't plot moppets.

Although there is significant humor in many of the situations Jackie experiences, even the occasional slapstick, there are also moments of high drama and sincere depth. The plot revolves around the problems with emotional risk, family, and circumstances that the couple must overcome to be together, and it deals with them in realistic ways.

I will definitely be reading more by this author.
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on July 18, 2013
Second book I have read from this author and I loved this story more than the first. And I really really liked that one. Not your typical 25-30 yo heroine - Jackie is "thirty-twelve", divorced high school teacher facing empty nest syndrome and serious self-esteem issues. What's not to love?? I laughed, winced, and cried - great story!
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VINE VOICEon February 19, 2010
Jackie and David have two college age boys. David had an affair with his secretary and divorced Jackie a year ago. Jackie teaches high school biology. She feels rejected and undesirable. Her friends set her up on a date with Mark, a police detective. Mark's wife Elaine died of cancer. He is raising their two daughters. His youngest daughter Carly (age 14) is in Jackie's biology class. Mark and Jackie hit it off, but he doesn't call her afterwards. Jackie accidentally runs into Mark six weeks later.

This is real life drama about dating again after 40. I loved the character Carly. She had great judgment, knew what was best for everyone, and took good action. Mark was a neat character. Mark and Jackie were both wounded in different ways. Jackie had low self esteem and too often put herself down. At one point, I was tired of her put downs. Just after her wedding ceremony she is thinking "Now that he's got you he doesn't have to try anymore. He'll get bored and discard you just like David." Self-doubt before the wedding I understand, but after the wedding? They both knew they loved each other. It just rubbed me wrong. Other than that I did like the story.

Story length: 195 pages. Swearing language: moderate. Sexual language: mild. Number of sex scenes: 4. Total number of sex scene pages: around 8. Setting: current day Evansville and Bloomington, Indiana. Copyright: 2009. Genre: contemporary romance.
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on October 1, 2014
I've been a fan of Sandy James's since I read "Rules of the Game," so I loved this book, too. Both Mark and Jackie have issues, which made them very relateable to me. Mark lost his wife to cancer and I lost my husband to cancer, so I understood when he first thought things were happening too fast with Jackie. Jackie has low self-esteem because her ex-husband, David, continually put her down. Luckily, my husband was very sweet and had the ability to know what I was thinking and kept me from digging too far into my cacoon. I have had other some people in my life who have made me feel pretty low and sometimes I did have the "what if I'm not good enough" worries that Jackie had. I still have them now, sometimes, and I'm thirty eighteen (and haven't found a Mark)(although my late husband would be a tough act to follow).

I loved Mark's two girls as well as Jackie's two boys and Jackie's support group of friends.

This was another winner for me!
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VINE VOICEon February 3, 2015
Jackie is 42 (she calls it Thirty Twelve), divorced from a selfish twit who abandoned her and her two sons when he got his secretary pregnant. Jackie, a biology teacher, suffers from massive insecurity and low self-esteem as a result of his abandonment. She wonders if she's good enough for anyone. When the book begins, the youngest of her sons is off to college, leaving her an empty-nester ready for a new start, if she can get it together.

Mark is a few years older, a cop and a widower whose wife died of cancer two years previously. His eldest daughter has just gone to the same college as Jackie's sons. The younger is in high school, where she takes Jackie's freshman biology class.

These two are set up on a blind date but meet cute in Staples beforehand and are instantly smitten with a strong mutual attraction. But there are going to be obstacles along the way. Jackie's son will start dating and sleeping with Mark's daughter. Mark is a neanderthal type of father where his daughter is concerned. Jackie's ex-husband drunkenly wants her to take him back. Her elder son doesn't like Mark. His elder daughter doesn't like Jackie. Oh my goodness me, what a situation!

When you delve down into it, Jackie's chronic insecurity starts becoming a problem for the reader as well as for her. Nobody roots for a person who is not rooting for themselves. As for Mark, there is a strong sense of rebound about him. He was happily married -- and he wants to be happily married again. He's ready to propose after a few weeks -- and she's ready to accept.

I won't play the spoiler and divulge the rather obvious crisis that quickly threatens to unravel this rather precarious love affair between these two flawed and needy people. Suffice to say that I wasn't convinced that this was a match made in heaven. The reader convinced me that these two definitely wanted to sleep together -- but not that they were ready to commit to each other unconditionally and live together through all of life's ups and downs.
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on January 11, 2015
Turning Thirty-Twelve by Sandy James was a delightful book. What is it about Sandy’s books that appeal to me so much? Is it the humor mixed with stories that we all can relate to in one way or another? Is it the loveable characters? Probably all of the above.

Jackie Delgado doesn’t like the word “forty.” She has decided to refer to herself as thirty-twelve years old. Jackie is divorced with two grown sons. Patrick is a senior in college and Nate is just leaving to move into his dorm for his freshman year. Hello empty nest syndrome. Jackie’s husband left her for his twenty year old secretary, after getting her pregnant. Her self -esteem is non-existent. I think there is even more to that story than we are told. Jackie’s parents are mentioned a few times and I believe they also contributed to her low self-esteem. Through it all, though, Jackie is a fun, strong woman who teaches high school biology.

Jackie’s friends have tried before to fix her up unsuccessfully. But they aren’t giving up. They set her up on a blind date with a widower they are sure will be a good match, Mark Brennan. Little did they know that Jackie and Mark had already accidentally met at an Office Max and Mark was the father of one of Jackie’s freshman students.

“He could sell water to a drowning woman.”

Mark, “sigh,” is a thirty-eighteen year old police detective and sexy as heck. When I first met him in this book, I believe I actually swooned. I want to say here that I so enjoyed that this book was about middle aged, sexy characters. Mark was a widow, having lost his wife to breast cancer. He has two daughters, Kathy who is also a freshman at the same college Jackie’s boys are at, and Carly, a fourteen going on forty year old teenager. Carly stole this book. She was the sweetest thing with wisdom beyond her young years.

Jackie and Mark do instantly hit it off, the physical and also emotional attraction off the charts. But, these two are thrown more obstacles than the law allows. Mark is struggling with guilt over having these feelings for someone other than his late wife. Jackie just can’t accept that someone is actually attracted to her, that she is desirable. Not to mention her trust issues. Her humor and Mark’s ability to break down her walls help them to begin to build a relationship.

But what about bringing together their children? This is almost like a Brady Bunch situation, blending the two families. Jackie’s sons are over protective. Mark’s daughter Kathy is not receptive to a replacement mother. Carly is the only one supporting these two. But, this isn’t the only obstacle they are given.

“Mark was right. He wasn’t David, and judging Mark as the same type of man was an insult. I would never make that mistake again. Ever.”

While away at college, before they knew their parents were dating, Kathy and Nate met, and of course, became involved. Jackie’s ex-husband decides he doesn’t like his ex-wife dating. And just when I thought I knew where Sandy was taking this story, she completely surprised me and threw in a couple new obstacles.

The chemistry between Mark and Jackie is off the charts, the sexy scenes steamy and perfect. I loved that these two were far from perfect and the situations they were forced to deal with all real. But, Jackie was so much fun to get to know. Her humor and inability to filter her words hilarious. And Mark, well, he has a bit of a temper, but when this man loves, he loves with all his heart. One of my favorite things about this book was the way differences were resolved. Both between Jackie and her friends, and between Jackie and Mark. They might get angry, say a few things they maybe shouldn’t have, but the bonds stay strong and they talk it out and resolve their issues.

So, yes, I loved this book. It was fun, sweet and just wonderful. So, Sandy, you’ve done it for me again and left me with a warm heart and a smile on my face.
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on July 28, 2013
I really enjoyed this book from beginning to end...It started off great & kept me interested all the way through...I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a light read.
Turning Thirty-Twelve
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on May 24, 2014
Fabulous. I couldn't stop laughing and crying. I was so sad when I finished reading the last page. I just wanted it to go on for another one hundred pages. One of the best books I've ever read. Thank you Sandy.
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on February 28, 2015
This book took me by surprise as I am usually hesitant to read books written in first person. This time I'm glad I put that aside and gave it a shot anyway. This book will pull you into the story and keep you there until the very last page. The characters are very realistic and the chemistry between Mark and Jackie was fun to read. The dynamic of the 2 sets of kids also took this book to another level of greatness. Would highly recommend this book or any book written by this wonderful author.
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