Alright, I figured that I need to add this book to my postings since I have read it a few times now. (Once with my mother.) She and I never like the same things so shout out to Avery Flynn again for something else that I can debate with her about. If you have been keeping up with my book reviews… I am still stumbling through all things Avery Flynn. I am sad that I a bit behind reviewing all of the things that I have read up to this point but I promise that I will get better. Anyways let’s get to it.
Muffin Top is book 2 in the Hartigans series. Thank Goodness that these are standalones because I have just been reading her books any kind of way. Flynn is amazing at using backstories to show why people are they way that they are. But in this story, she tackles that childhood perceptions may not always be how events actually happened and what happens when you have been living your life based on these perceptions only to find out that it isn’t the whole truth.
The story starts off introducing us to Frankie Hartigan. He is the oldest of the Hartigans 7 children. (If you read my blog post about Tomboy, then you know he is Fallon’s older brother.) He lives with his twin brother to Finn (Finnian) and works as a fire fighter in what seems like the family business if you don’t count his brother Ford (being a police officer.) Frankie loves his job but being in such a stressful and dangerous job requires firefighters to take downtime for their well-being (a week every a year) and our hero hadn’t taken his required paid time off in 3 years. He is forced off work for 3 weeks. He has no clue what he will with time on his hands. He and his brother Ford are talking about it at Marino’s Bar when he notices Lucy Cavanaugh being given a hard time.
Lucy Cavanaugh has had a hard week at her job. She is the PR Rep for the Ice Knights and she specializes and crisis communications. Her biggest nightmare is Zach Blackburn. (See Tomboy post). All she wants to do is enjoy her food in peace but no. That is not in the cards for her since some bum wants to comment about her weight. It is a pretty lengthy scene in which the guy walks up and tells her that losing weight… eating less will help her get a man. She will move from a 4 to a solid 8. Now some people will say this is too far fetched but I have been on the receiving end of unsolicited advice from men that want to help me catch a husband. Usually men that hold no sort of attraction value themselves but I digress. The scene made me and my mother want to run him over with a bus.
“If one more person told Lucy that she’d be so pretty if she just lost some weight, she was going to set them on fire.”
Frankie shows up and of course none of the nonsense Mr. Know It All was spouting to Lucy before comes out of his mouth when Frankie is around. It was satisfying to see the dullard leave with his tail between legs. I want to order a Frankie Hartigan to walk around with me and be my bodyguard. I loved it.
Frankie’s dilemma is two fold. He is a great lay and has gotten around. But as the waitress at the bar tells him… He is not long term material and every girl in Waterbury knows it. This news hit him like a ton of bricks but there is also the realization that at 32 he is hasn’t had one fulfilling relationship. He is at that age where he does some self inspection about why he can’t seem to foster a real relationship with the opposite sex. He decided to clear his mind by taking a sexual sabbatical to sort out his thoughts and feelings. Super noble. But Frankie has got to be my favorite character. He’s confident, charming, competitive, and fun. He stood up for Lucy on several occasions whether she is there or not. It was beautiful. It is done because he genuinely cares and not out of pity. He may not think he is relationship material, but I can see how much of a family man he is with his own siblings. He is the protector and will go to war for any of his sisters and brother
Frankie’s solution to his boredom is to accompany Lucy to her upcoming high school reunion. Lucy is a big girl. Size 20 and from her response had no intention of returning to her hometown to relive the hell that was high school. ( I hated high school and did not attend any reunions. I am definitely good on that. So I understood the sentiment.) I can understand that the torment takes it’s toll but it was hard listening to her beat herself up chapter after chapter. Frankie genuinely likes and cares for her and is attempting to show her that. Lucy has walls up higher than the Great Wall of China. (My mother was screaming by the middle half of the book. It was glorious to watch.) But seriously, let someone in… everyone isn’t the douchenozzle at the bar. Lucy tried to use the fact that Frankie was on a sexual sabbatical as reason to keep him at arms length or blame him or not being attracted to her. Well that didn’t work. Lucy tries to use her defense mechanism of calling herself fat to keep other people from doing it. (Which Frankie totally calls her on.) But for all her spunk that really got on my nerves. UGH.
“I appreciate what you did. Seriously, I am going to hold that memory tight for the next time some a**hole decides that he or she needs to impart unsolicited advice about my body, but you don’t have to eat with me. I’m a big girl. Obviously.”
Avery Flynn knows how to write a good sex scene. They did not disappoint. The great thing about these scenes were that our heroine didn’t shy away from flaunting her body. She was who she was and was loud and owned it. The other great thing about this story is that she is allowed to fall in love without changing herself. She doesn’t get “skinny” to win a man. And Frankie doesn’t want her to.
I am just going to say that as is the case with Avery Flynn’s books…. the break up is HEARTBREAKING. I had to put the book down because I mean really. (Something about listening to people acting out made it way to real. I couldn’t handle it.) It was like a train wreck that I couldn’t stop listening to. In a good way. But the guys in the family help Frankie put himself back together. They talk and sort things out. REAL COMMUNICATION. I am here for it. Same for Lucy and her girls. These character do not have friends or family that just agrees. It is about getting to the real and I loved that.
Muffin Top is a Rom Com that had me laughing and crying. (My mother too and we never agree.) I found that I was invested in the characters pretty quickly I wanted to know how things were going to turn out. I enjoyed the switching of POV’s which not all writers can do well. As most of you know, I listen to these on Audible and what makes or breaks books for me is the narrators but Savannah Peachwood and Brian Pallino are fantastic and they heighten the experience for me. So if you have a chance to get in on Audible. Definitely do so. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. So check it out… tell me your thoughts. I always want to know if people agree or not.