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Chubby & Charming (Big & Beautiful) (Volume 1) Paperback – December 1, 2015
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About the Author
Mary E. Thompson grew up loving to read, like a good little girl. Many nights she would fall asleep with the flashlight still turned on as she hid under the covers trying to finish the last few pages of a book. As an adult, the light from her ereader means she doesn't need a flashlight, but she still stays up way too late to finish a book. When Mary's not reading she's playing with her two kids or living out her own romance novel with her hubby. She has a weakness for chocolate, especially when it's paired with peanut butter, and has been known to have a bad day just because there's no chocolate in the house. Mary grew up in Buffalo, NY and swears she's the only local to never ski or snowboard. Soccer was always her sport, with a couple adventures in white water rafting and skydiving to keep things interesting. Mary moved to South Carolina for college but missed Buffalo every day. Yeah she thinks she's crazy, too. She somehow convinced her South Carolina born and bred hubby to return to Buffalo to raise their kids and live out their lives. He’s still not sure what he was thinking.
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The first few chapters of this novel were amazing! Mandy was interesting and different as the main character. Enter Xander, the hottie who wants to meet her. There's tension. There's excitement. What will happen?! Then they meet and like each other a lot. The rest of the book is about them being together and the only point of tension is Mandy's insecurity about being with such an attractive HWP male. It's hard to build a story around that. I kept waiting for the complication to settle in and the story to pick up. Even the climax was all in Mandy's head and a complete disappointment and letdown.
Halfway through the book, almost every thought Mandy had was on sex and how hot Xander is. We get it. Mandy likes Xander because he's sexy. There are paragraphs and paragraphs devoted to her thoughts about his body and I ended up skimming through most of them after the first couple. Mandy spends so much time thinking about herself, Xander, and her worries about her weight that there is no time left for subplots or plot points.
I was disappointed in Mandy and her lack of character development. She is shown as a woman who's trust has been broken in the past regarding men and relationships. Great place to start, but she doesn't change. Throughout the book she drops her trust of Xander any time he remotely seems like he might be pointing out the fact that she's overweight and that he's not. Mandy never gets over this fear. She never gains confidence in their relationship.
Mandy acts and thinks like she's very much in lust/love with Xander and all it takes is something small for Mandy to lose confidence in Xander. Does she really love him, then? Mandy and Xander breakup over nothing (just a miscommunication) like they're teenagers in high school. The climax scene at Xander's friend's house was very high school. There were even fat jokes!
Xander was unrealistic every time he showed up and said or did anything. I wanted more realism from him, not a Stepford Wives boyfriend! Only in his initial pursuit of Mandy did he seem authentic as a person.
Anyway on to the story. I really like the story between Xander and Mandy. Mandy reminds me of myself in a way that has me cheering her on and ‘face-palming’ myself at the same time. She has a take no prisoner attitude but also likes to keep her distance because she is afraid of getting hurt but who can blame her with her past.
Now, Xander. *fans myself* He is hot alright and he knows how to make Mandy hot and bother too. He makes me smile although there wasn’t much meat to the character. Xander also has a take no prisoner attitude and I love the fact that he does let Mandy brush him off. He tells her how it is and I love him all the more for it.
The first meeting between Xander and Mandy had me laughing out loud and face-palming. Bet Xander didn’t see that coming. I would had loved to see his face but I can only image it. Still funny.
Great job Mary!!
So here's the run down on Chubby & Charming! Many works for a company as a customer service rep. She sits at a desk answering phone calls so the people that she talks with don't know exactly what she looks like. She's on the bigger side. She deals with body issues. At work she has another customer service rep that picks on her. Outside of work she spends her time with her 3 best friends. One day she answers a call from Xander. Xander is trying to get a bill taken care of and Mandy is just the one to help him out. Xander asks Mandy out and she agrees to meet him at bakery, where her best friends and her meet every week. Mandy assumes that Xander is just like every other guy and wouldn't be interested in a bigger girl. So Mandy and her friends find a new place to hang out (they start hanging out at a new bakery in town "Bite Me") so that Xander wouldn't find her.
That's all I'm going to say. It has love, sex, and a whole lot of laughs. It's about a woman finding out who she is and a gentleman who's there to help her.