Release Day Review: When the Chips are Down: Beth Rinyu

When the Chips Are Down (Three of a Kind #1)
Beth Rinyu
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Expected March 14, 2015
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Melanie Hanson's life didn't go quite the way she had planned. Her cheating ex-husband traded her in for a newer model and she’s in over her head dealing with the drama that comes along with raising her twin teenage daughters.

The last thing she is looking for or needs in her life is a man - or is it?

Ben Wilder is the boy that Melanie loved to hate throughout high school, the boy that all the girls loved and the boy that didn't give Melanie the time of day, unless it was to tease her. When she runs into him once again she realizes...he’s not a boy anymore. Older and wiser, she’s determined not to fall for her secret crush from all those years ago. But sometimes our heart has different plans than our head. Will she finally get her happily ever after with the man she least expected to have it with?

Take a humorous journey with Melanie and her daughters as their lives begin to parallel and they discover that although they may be separated by a generation their struggles are still the same.

I tried my best to ignore him, but I could feel his eyes settling on me. I took a deep breath when he got up and sat next to me. “Well, at least I know your real name now.” I shook my head, still trying to avoid eye contact. “So, how’s your ass doing?”

“What!?” I finally turned my head and looked directly at him.

“From your fall the other day.” I looked away. “Was I really that much of an ass to you during high school that you are still carrying a grudge all these years later?”

“Don’t flatter yourself. It has nothing to do with you.”

“Oh, okay. So, are you bitchy like this to every guy you come in contact with?”

“Yeah, maybe I am! What’s it to you?”

He held his hand up in defense. “Doesn’t matter to me one bit, sweetheart, but you’ve clearly been shafted by a guy a time or two to have an attitude like that. I mean, don’t get me wrong. The bitchy ones are better in bed with all that pent-up aggression.” He smirked and took a sip of his beer.

“Oh, you are such a pig, you know that? You are the same arrogant ‘I’m so in love with myself’ jock you were back in school! Well, reality check. Despite the fact you may have never grown up, most women have. So your good looks, perfect body, and smooth talking will no longer work.” He chuckled loudly. “What’s so funny?”

“I think you just admitted you thought I was good-looking and had a perfect body.”

“No. That’s not what –” He had me feeling so flustered. “I meant MEN, in general!”

“Whatever you say, princess.”

“My name is Melanie! Oh, wait. Maybe you’ll remember Smellanie better!”

His grin widened. “Ahhhh, now I remember you! You were that cute little blonde girl who used to sit in front of me in French class. You were the little goody two-shoes who always knew exactly how to respond in perfect French to the teacher, while the rest of us struggled to maintain a D average. You know you really didn’t smell, right? That was just a nickname for you.”

“I know I never smelled, thank you very much!”

“Well, Smellanie, can I say that you are just as cute now as you were back then?”

“No, you may not!”
This book centers around a thirty-seven year old divorcee Melanie Hanson and her two seventeen year old daughters, Gia and Carrie and it is told in all three of their points of view.

Melanie has always been the good girl, dutiful wife, and mother. Now she is the wronged wife and is raising her twin teenage daughters on her own. She is sassy, sarcastic, and a bit of a mess. Her non existent sex life gradually starts to liven up with encouragement from her crazy best friend, Jodi. When Melanie is suddenly reunited with her old high school crush/nemesis, Ben Wilder, sparks fly. They still have an antagonistic dynamic, but also a push and pull and mutual attraction. 

Gia is her wild child daughter. She is doing her best to drive her mom crazy with boys, bad grades, and even worse behavior. She is the typical know-it-all kid. But her choices end up having long lasting repercussions on her social life. And as she deals with new situations, she has to figure out who she can count on and what is really important.

Carrie is the sweet, smart, good girl. She has a crush on her hot teacher, but also just started helping a popular HS jock, Jason. Her social world dynamic begins to change*  through their association.

Ben Wilder is hot, sexy, sarcastic, alpha, and a complete commitment phobe. He and Melanie start out at odds, but soon channel that passion into the bedroom. But they are also compatible, enjoy each other's company, and understand the obligations they each have. But Ben is scarred by his past and has such fears and insecurities that he constantly distances himself emotionally. And Melanie is not a woman used to just fooling around without any hope of a future. And she is not used to having to deal with dating under her daughters' watchful eyes. I really liked them together, but Ben made me want to smack him with my kindle at times. He is so stubborn and so anti-relationship.

I enjoyed seeing how all of their lives changed and in ways they stepped out of their comfort zones, while in other ways they retreated back to safety of people they could really trust. There were relationships formed and tested. It was both about a mature romance with obstacles and histories that affected their choices. And also the trials and tribulations of  high school, friendship, young love, bullying, and parental/child relationships.  I liked how their stories intertwined and the three points of views kept the story moving. The side characters not only added humor, but also more depth and drama. I loved her fun, quirky, outspoken best friend Jodi and her son, Cam. I adored his sweet, protective son, Jason. And Gia's friend, Daniel was cute too. There were also definitely some antagonists that were easy to dislike and stirred up lots of issues.

It is told in Melanie, Gia, and Carrie's points of view which I found to be unique. I am so used to female/male dual point of view.  I was not sure about it at first, but the way their three stories were woven together, it really did work. It truly was about each of the woman's lives and  how they paralleled each other. And not having Ben's point of view helped make him more of an enigma with his closed off demeanor and fear of voicing his feelings. So we were at a loss to figure him out at times, just like Melanie was.

It was an engaging story of life, lust, love, and growing up(no matter what your true age). This was not super angsty, but there were various dramas, jealousy, secrets, omissions, and some complete lies. It was refreshing because it was more of a slice of real life with some complications, drama, and humor thrown in. The characters, their relationships, and their struggles were realistic. And just like real life, it is messy, chaotic, and ever changing. But if you can stick together with your family and friends, and learn to trust people that are worthy then sharing that crazy life is just more meaningful. I am looking forward to Carrie 's book Two of Hearts and Gia's book Wild Card.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Carrie's story

Gia's story

Ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed Creative Writing. There was always something about being able to travel to a different place or become a different person with just the stroke of a pen - or in today's world a touch of the keyboard. I am the author of The Exception To The Rule, An Unplanned Lesson and Drowning In Love (releasing July 2013) I am currently working on a sequel to An Unplanned Lesson....stay tuned!

My life is not as interesting as my books or the characters in them, but then again whose life is? I was born and have lived in New Jersey my whole life. I'm a mom of twin teenage boys, a teenage stepson, a crazy Border Collie and a cat with an identity crisis! I guess you can say writing is my form of Calgon! I am married to a wonderful guy - but we'll keep that between us, I don't want him getting a big head! 

Thanks for taking the time to learn about my books and me! If you decide to read them (and I hope you do!) please be sure to go on and review it for me - yes, even if you don't like it!


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