Surviving the Rachel by Aven Ellis

Nothing screams "I'm a woman ready for change" like an entirely new hairstyle.

Title - Surviving the Rachel
Author - Aven Ellis
Publication Date - 20th December 2015
Publisher - Soul Mate Publishing 
Format - eBook (Provided via author)

The blurb

Life after college graduation is not at all what twenty-one-year-old Bree Logan expected. Unable to find a professional communications job, dumped by the guy who was THE ONE, and stuck with a pricey city apartment she can't afford, Bree ends up moving back home with her parents in the suburbs and working as a cocktail waitress at a posh Chicago hotel. 

In a desperate attempt to get a fresh start, Bree goes to a hip salon and requests that the first available stylist chop off her long dark hair. Alarmed when the stylist suggests "The Rachel," after the famous haircut from the show Friends, Bree is hesitant, but decides to go for it when she is assured it will be a "fresh, modern adaptation" of the infamous 90's cut. Unfortunately for Bree, it turns out to be exactly the same cut, but with horrific heavy bangs added to it. Hideous doesn't even begin to describe it. Bree is convinced nothing will ever go right when she meets neighbour Jack Chelten, a twenty-five-year-old German translator. Not that Bree is looking to date anyone, but there's something quirky and intriguing about his freckle-splashed face and blue eyes. And suddenly Bree finds herself seeking out different opportunities and challenges... as well as the boy next door. 

In her new adult life, Bree learns that sometimes you have to go through crises to get to where you need to be. And if you can survive The Rachel, you can survive anything, right? 

Becca's thoughts 

In true Becca's Books' fashion, I'm going to begin this review by saying a very special thank you to the fantastic author Aven Ellis, for providing me with a copy of her gorgeous latest release Surviving the Rachel. Sadly, it's been a while since I've read one of Aven's books, and I so missed her unique style and engaging, lovable characters. Back in 2014, I had the pleasure of reading Connectivity (my review is here!) and Waiting for Prince Harry (my review is here!), both of which I absolutely adored! And so, I could not wait to finally dive into another of Aven's books, after spending such a long time away. So, Aven, THANK YOU for kindly providing me with a copy to review, you are a star! 

I won't lie. When my blogger buddies began reading Surviving the Rachel back during the publication date in December, I was incredibly curious as to what the title meant. I am a firm Friends lover, owning a boxset of every single episode and knowing most of them off by heart, but I did not know that there was actually a hairstyle known as 'The Rachel'! After googling it and finding an image, I was then able to picture Aven's heroine Breeanna Logan perfectly. Once I realised what the title meant, everything fell into place in my mind, and I bloody loved it! The framework of Surviving the Rachel is built upon this hairstyle, and the fact that when Breeanna Logan walks into the hairdressers, and then steps back out as a new woman (with The Rachel!), everything changes. At first, Breennna felt that her world was coming to an end, but in fact, quite the opposite was about to happen! 

When Aven introduced me to her heroine Bree, I loved her instantly. She was given a past that was a lot less than perfect, and I always find myself drawn to these characters, the ones that have had a hell of a lot to deal with, yet still manage to make me smile! Unable to find the job that she graduated for and being bailed on by her ex-boyfriend, Bree had no choice but to head back home with her parents. Not the ideal situation of course, but desperate times call for desperate measures! The very first time we meet Bree, she's feeling that it's time to take action, and in Bree's case, that's a haircut! Written in first person, and from Bree's point of view, Aven allows us to read every little thought that goes through Bree's pretty head. It's obvious from the beginning that Bree isn't the type of girl to sit and mope about her dire circumstances. I became aware of a fierce determination in Bree's character, to go out there and get what she wanted, and I was SO ready to cheer her on. One thing that became apparent to me once I'd finished reading, was how far Bree had managed to come. In the beginning, she had no idea what she was doing or where she was going, but by the end of it... Well, I won't ruin it for you! Breeanna was genuine, down-to-earth, and just so easy to connect with. Of course, Bree doesn't come as a one-woman package! Moving back home means that she's living with her parents once more, and that adorable little set-up includes her mother's yappy toy Pomeranian Diva, who just happens to the very reason that things begin to look up for Bree! I loved the warm, cosy atmosphere that enveloped me whenever Bree was at home. There was such a heartwarming, family feel, and Bree's mother made me giggle repeatedly, especially regarding Diva's lifestyle and care routine! (Trust me, you will laugh out loud!) Not only do Breeanna's parents appear in the story, but there are also characters from Aven's previous books included too, AND IT MADE ME SMILE SO MUCH! This includes the social platform which we're first made aware of in Aven's book Connectivity! Bree had a great circle of friends, all of whom added a pleasant tone of friendship and happiness to the plot which warmed me right the way through!

Of course, wherever there's a heroine, you can usually find a hero. and in Surviving the Rachel, that hero is Jack Chelten, also known as the boy next door. Before Jack even makes an appearance in the plot, we're finding out about him from Bree's mother, who is definitely eager to set Bree up with Eric, the younger brother! But (and I LOVED this part), it's not Eric who Bree falls for, but Jack. Let me tell you readers, if you're into bad boys then Jack probably won't be the kind of guy for you, but if a true gentleman is what you like, then look no further. Aven created the ultimate Mr Nice Guy with Jack Chelten. I'm talking the kind of guy who holds open doors, pulls out seats, calls you beautiful and who isn't dying to take it to the bedroom. Aven's descriptions of Jack created such an attractive, well-mannered man in my mind, with his reddish-brown hair and navy blue eyes, and I fell for him exactly when Bree did. Despite Bree being determined in not wanting to get tangled up in a relationship, those walls come tumbling down, and she's charmed by him immediately, and I do not blame her in the slightest! 

Ultimately, when Bree meets Jack, Surviving the Rachel truly takes off, and it was a romantic whirlwind where Breeanna Logan realises that she has to get through the bad stuff to get to the really, really good stuff. I adored the message behind Aven's writing. It was moving, incredibly sweet and made me realise that we all need to take the bad with the good, and in Breeanna's case, the hairstyle that she absolutely hated turned out to be a very important part in her beautifully written story. The ups and downs of life, love, careers, and every tiny incredible thing in-between. You will fall in love with not only with Mr Jack Chelten, but with the fantastic Chicago setting, the dramas, and the downright delectable heartfelt dialogue that moved me almost constantly. 

Becca's Books is rating Surviving the Rachel by Aven Ellis with FIVE GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! I fell head over heels with Aven's stories last year, and now I am, once again, hopelessly head over heels in love with Surviving the Rachel. It was magnificent, and I cannot wait to read more from Aven! I really, truly can't!


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