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Saturday, March 29, 2014

ARC Review: 8 Weeks by Bethany Lopez

I can tell you right off that this book will not be for everyone. It deals with the very serious subject of cheating, and that can definitely affect how the reader feels going into a story. I would suggest that before reading this book that you read the blurb and a few reviews and really get a feel for what you are in for. That being said, this book was one that I thought was really good. I will do my best to avoid spoiling anything, but I think that this story is one that is worth the read even with the heavy subject matter. 8 Weeks is the first book in Bethany Lopez's Time for Love Contemporary series, and I am really looking forward to continuing on with this series. I can't wait to see what she has in store next.

Cal and Shelly have been together since they were juniors in high school and met at a pep rally. They got engaged on the night of their graduation and have been married since they were eighteen. Now six years later Cal is in Vegas for one of their friend's bachelor party. He wakes up naked having no idea what happened the night before or how he got back to the hotel. Then a blonde that is not his wife walks out of the bathroom naked. Cal knows that he can't keep this a secret and decides to tell Shelly as soon as he gets home. Shelly leaves him and tells Cal that she wants a divorce. Cal convinces her to give him eight weeks to show her why she should give him another chance. One date a week for the eight years they have been together. Cal tells her that at the end of the eight weeks if she still wants a divorce he will sign the papers and walk away. As Cal and Shelly go on their dates, they realize that their relationship wasn't as perfect as they had both thought and even if they do decide to stay together they cannot go back to the way things were before.

I felt a lot of things about Cal, and honestly I wasn't ever really decisive when it came to my feelings on his character. I both liked him and had issues when it came to him. I will admit that I was rooting for him the whole time though despite everything. He was really sweet and thoughtful and did a really great job of showing Shelly just how he felt about her. I loved the dates that he planned for them, and I liked that he was able to remind her of their past as well as show her how their future could be. Shelly was also a character that was harder for me to really make up my mind on. I understand that she was hurt by everything that had happened, but I felt that she didn't really give Cal a chance right off to explain. She also ran a bit hot and cold, and it sort of confused me. I also didn't understand why she thought that she couldn't do certain things she wanted to before with Cal and then did them after they separated. I think that she was a little bit immature as far as that kind of stuff went, and she should have been able to talk to Cal about the things she wanted. I think that part of that was her age though. They had started their relationship and marriage at such a young age, that I think they were a little afraid to really be completely open and honest and they seemed to have let things get a bit too comfortable and complacent. I liked learning about their connection though, and it was clear that they both really loved each other. They also had a lot of chemistry together.

There were a few things that didn't work as well for me and are the reason for my drop in rating. I thought that this story might play out like other similar stories in that over time we would get to see bits and pieces remembered of the lost night, and find out what happened. We are never given that. I think that this story was a bit cheated because we never actually find out if he was unfaithful or not. So the readers and the characters are left making assumptions and life altering decisions based on a what if. At least if we had known definitively, we could all sort of deal with it and either forgive and move on or just move on. I felt like even though Shelly had every right to be upset and have strong feelings about it that she was basing a lot off of what could have happened but may not have. There is the chance that Cal was faithful and she was willing to throw that all away before he talked her into the eight weeks. Not to mention that she never really seemed to stop and think of how Cal was feeling in all of this. Imagine waking up in that same situation and having to tell your spouse and love of your life that you have no idea if you actually cheated on them or if it just looks like you did. Either way Cal was going through a lot as well, and he knew that he had to be honest with her regardless of if it would drive her away forever. The other issue I had was that during the eight weeks Cal and Shelly have sex and don't use a condom. They have no idea if Cal was unfaithful and yet neither one of them suggested that he get tested first or use a condom to protect themselves? I understand the heat of the moment and testing taking time, but the least they could have done was use protection. It might sound small, but that really bugged me.

Despite my few issues though, I really did enjoy this story. I loved watching as Cal and Shelly really got to know each other for the people that they had become. They had not realized that their relationship needed work and I liked that they started to see where they could improve. I also like that they did things that took each of them out of their comfort zone and really pushed them to take a chance and open up. I also really loved their friends. I thought that they were all really great characters and I found them likable and interesting. I can't wait to get to know Scott and Gaby better! They seem absolutely perfect for each other, and I really hated Victoria like TJ and Cal did. I am also really interested in seeing what happens between Sasha and TJ. I just know that one is going to be explosive! Overall, this book was really more about the journey between Cal and Shelly and about growth and healing as well as moving on. Sometimes things aren't always perfect in a relationship, and I always find it really interesting to see how couples deal with the hard parts as well as the easy. This book was a really great story and I think that the ending was really well written. Bethany Lopez did the characters justice and was able to write an ending that was satisfying and fit not only the story but also the characters. I look forward to reading more from her in the future and getting more of this series.

**ARC provided by Inkslinger PR**

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  1. Thanks for reading and reviewing 8 Weeks ~ I loved hearing your thoughts!