Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

Source: TLC Book Tours and William Morrow
Paperback, 368 pages
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Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich pushes the envelope from the perfectly sculpted Logan Montgomery — personal trainer to the sports elite and their friends who is so worried about his image he never gets too close — to Holly Brennan, an overweight woman who is literally weighed down by her grief and troubled self-esteem.  Mix in Amanda and Chase, a power couple in baseball with a kinky side, plus a dozen or so of Logan’s super model exes, Evanovich has set the stage for an outrageous time once a chance meeting occurs.

“The image on the screen was an amorphous blob.  Flesh stacked upon more flesh oozing all over the couch.  The neon yellow and green from the top of the Funyuns bag between her legs was reflected with unsettling clarity.  She squeezed her thighs together tightly and heard the crunching sound of the Funyuns being pulverized.  Holly leaned her head back on the couch and sighed.”  (page 31)

Holly takes charge of an initially unwelcome opportunity to train with Logan at his private gym, and while she wasn’t prepared for the harsh routines he puts her body through she does little complaining.  True to her strength, she plows through the latest challenge, having learned early on that life is not anywhere close to easy.  Even though his image is illustrious and he is self-absorbed, she falls into a banter that is relaxed and even fun.  They fall into a friendship that leads to new gym-related terms, like swamp ass and Balzac, but it soon becomes apparent to Amanda and Chase that their relationship is deeper than that.

“Logan shot her a look that spoke of extreme tolerance mixed with fatherly reproach.  ‘Telling me I set the incline of a treadmill on Mount Kilimanjaro is not talking.  Asking me if I can see the baby’s head yet when you’re doing abdominal crunches is not meaningful conversation.'” (page 79)

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich is laugh-out-loud funny, except for one early sex scene that may be a bit too graphic and too early on.  Holly Brennan is a strong woman who for a time loses herself in her new body and her new romance, but once she uncovers some dirty secrets, she has a choice to make.  Logan, on the other hand, is so concerned with maintaining his image, he grows even more uncomfortable with his romance and how it upsets every preconceived notion he held about himself and his relationships with women.  Body image plays a large role in this novel, but Evanovich handles the theme with delicacy and wit.

***Another great find in the book is the list of when you need to put on your own big girl panties.***

About the Author:

Stephanie Evanovich is a full-fledged Jersey girl who attended New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts, performed with several improvisational troupes, and acted in a few small-budget movies, all in preparation for the greatest job she ever had: raising her two sons. Now a full-time writer, she’s an avid sports fan who holds a black belt in tae kwon do. Connect with Stephanie on Facebook.

6th book for 2014 New Author Challenge.

Mailbox Monday #246

Mailbox Monday (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch.  November’s host is I Totally Paused!.

The meme allows bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received:

1.  Brady Needs a Nightlight by Brian Barlics, illustrated by Gregory Burgess Jones for review.

This book is a Mom’s Choice Award Recipient.  Is your child afraid of the dark? Are you having trouble with bedtime? You are not alone! Even those least likely to have a fear of the dark may have a story to share. In this book you will meet Brady, a bat who oddly has a terrible fear of the dark. This poses quite a dilemma for a creature that sleeps in a dark cave and comes out to play at night. Learn how Brady discovers a creative way to solve this problem…with a little help from some special, glowing friends.

2.  A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith for review.

The United States Congress in 1929 passed legislation to fund travel for mothers of the fallen soldiers of World War I to visit their sons’ graves in France. Over the next three years, 6,693 Gold Star Mothers made the trip. In this emotionally charged, brilliantly realized novel, April Smith breathes life into a unique moment in American history, imagining the experience of five of these women.

They are strangers at the start, but their lives will become inextricably intertwined, altered in indelible ways. These very different Gold Star Mothers travel to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery to say final good-byes to their sons and come together along the way to face the unexpected: a death, a scandal, and a secret revealed.

3.  Still, at Your Door: A Fictional Memoir by Emma Eden Ramos for review.

Sabrina “Bri” Gibbons has only a few short minutes to pack her things and help her sisters pack theirs before running with their mother to the bus that will whisk them away from Butler, Pennsylvania, an abusive relationship, and a secret that none of them wishes to acknowledge. She was not prepared, though, for her mother to drop them on the streets of New York with the promise that she would be right back. Haunted by the sight of her mother running back to the cab, Bri, with Missy and Grace in tow, settles in with their grandparents. Thoughts of her present and her future collide with memories of her past, her dead father, and her mother’s bizarre episodes. She watches her sisters struggle with school and acceptance, all the while knowing the lack of any sense of security will make it impossible for them to carry on as ‘normal’ children. She finally lets her guard down enough to allow someone else in and sees a faint glimmer that her dreams might be attainable. Disaster strikes again, this time targeting her sister. Is it possible for Bri to find that balance between her dreams and her family’s realities?

4.  Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich for review.

Holly Brennan used food to comfort herself through her husband’s illness and death. Now she’s alone at age thirty-two. And she weighs more than she ever has. When fate throws her in the path of Logan Montgomery, personal trainer to pro athletes, and he offers to train her, Holly concludes it must be a sign. Much as she dreads the thought of working out, Holly knows she needs to put on her big girl panties and see if she can sweat out some of her grief.

Soon, the easy intimacy and playful banter of their training sessions lead Logan and Holly to most intense and steamy workouts. But can Holly and Logan go the distance as a couple now that she’s met her goals—and other men are noticing?

5.  Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson for review.

Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford wants to travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love. But in 1914, the stifling restrictions of aristocratic British society and her mother’s rigid expectations forbid Lilly from following her heart. When war breaks out, the spirited young woman seizes her chance for independence. Defying her parents, she moves to London and eventually becomes an ambulance driver in the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps—an exciting and treacherous job that takes her close to the Western Front.

Assigned to a field hospital in France, Lilly is reunited with Robert Fraser, her dear brother Edward’s best friend. The handsome Scottish surgeon has always encouraged Lilly’s dreams. She doesn’t care that Robbie grew up in poverty—she yearns for their friendly affection to become something more. Lilly is the most beautiful—and forbidden—woman Robbie has ever known. Fearful for her life, he’s determined to keep her safe, even if it means breaking her heart.

6.  The Scribe by Antonio Garrido, translated by Simon Bruni, which came unexpectedly.

The year is 799, and King Charlemagne awaits coronation as the Holy Roman emperor. But in the town of Würzburg, the young, willful Theresa dreams only of following in the footsteps of her scholarly father—a quiet man who taught her the forbidden pleasures of reading and writing. Though it was unthinkable for a medieval woman to pursue a career as a craftsperson, headstrong Theresa convinces the parchment-makers’ guild to test her. If she passes, it means access to her beloved manuscripts and nothing less than true independence. But as she treats the skins before an audience of jeering workmen, unimaginable tragedy strikes—tearing apart Theresa’s family and setting in motion a cascade of mysteries that Theresa must solve if she hopes to stay alive and save her family. 

What did you receive?