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Thursday, March 31, 2022

Review: RACHEL, OUT OF OFFICE by Christina Hovland

Rachel, Out of Office
Author: Christina Hovland
Mommy Wars #1
Publisher: Entangled Amara
Publication Date: January 25, 2021
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Single mom Rachel Gibson seriously needs a break. Between an absent ex-husband, rowdy twin boys, and running her own work-from-home business, her candle isn't just burning at both ends, it's a full-blown puddle of wax. She's the go-to girl for other entrepreneurs, handling all the tasks they dread. Social media posts? She's got it. Website updates? She's on it. Light bookkeeping? She loves it.

Thank goodness Rachel's about to get a reprieve, as her former in-laws plan to whisk her boys away for a summer of fun at the family lake house. But when her ex backs out at the last minute, she finds herself in a pickle. Even though she's drowning in to-dos, she's horrible at saying no—especially when it comes to providing some stability for her kids.

Once Rachel arrives at the lake house, she struggles to keep up with work and balance the demands of family, all the while fending off pesky new feelings for her ex-brother-in-law. Which makers her wonder... is falling for her ex-husband's brother just one more messy complication added to the dumpster fire of her life? Or is anything possible when she's out of office...?
"Limits don't mean you're weak... They actually mean you're strong enough to 
recognize the importance of the other things in your life."

Where do I start?? I loved this book very much! It's one of my favourite reads of 2021. Rachel, Out of Office featured many of my favourite tropes including single parent, second chances, close proximity and the biggie "you picked the right sibling this time" (does this count as a trope? anywho..). More so than the romance which was so darn sweet, I greatly enjoyed and related to Rachel's character development. You go, Rachel! I'm rooting for all the people struggling to balance work and family (and self-care). We are in the same boat.

I love stumbling across new-to-me authors and finding a winner. This may be the first single parent romance book I've read where the "absent" parent is not deceased... or outright terrible and actively sabotaging the main character's life. I enjoyed how Rachel, Out of Office portrayed a cordial relationship between exes. Sure, Gavin made some decisions in the book that had me raising an eyebrow, but I got the sense he genuinely cared for Rachel as the mother of his children, and as a friend. Thank you to Ms. Hovland for the wonderful family emphasis in this book. A+++!

Rachel, Out of Office had me smiling and giggling the entire time. Rachel was incredibly likable and when a main character is likable, I am destined to love the book. That's just how I roll it seems. I'm not going to lie though, about 50% of my enjoyment was also in thanks to swoony Travis aka the ex-brother-in-law. Their chemistry was undeniable. Their banter and dialogue were superb *chef's kiss*. I loved that Travis was such an amazing uncle to Rachel's twin boys. I loved that despite Gavin and Rachel having been separated, Rachel is still very much a part of their family. Honestly, the family dynamics in this book were SO. SO. GOOD. They weren't just background characters, they were front and center in Rachel and the boys' life. You not only see how Rachel/the boys interact with Travis, but also with Dave (the other uncle) and the grandparents. Oh, how my heart warmed~

Rachel's impression of Travis is completely turned around after getting to know him better. She's a busy-body, while he's a take-it-in-stride kind of guy. He'll often rile her up (in the best way possible in my opinion) which makes for the best relationship dynamic y'know? Another aspect of this book that I loved was the communication between our couple. I appreciated their effort in talking through their thoughts and feelings, very much working together to well... BE together. The dual POV helped us get into Travis' mind and made it clear how smitten he really was about our main lady. Ugh, the feels. Overall, absolutely wonderful romantic "mom-edy" (mom + comedy)! I will be checking out more of Christina Hovland's novels and rereading Rachel, Out of Office often.

**ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

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