*Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review
(The Marin Test Series: Book Two)
By: Amanda Aksel
Release Date: February 4th, 2015
Publisher: Elephantine Publishing
Genre: Women’s Fiction
When a Valentine’s Day proposal doesn’t come with an engagement ring, Marin Johns begins to wonder if she and James will ever get married. As her closest friends begin to move forward with their lives, she refuses to be left behind.
Hope is restored as she devises a plan to get James down on one knee by becoming the ideal mate. Everything seems to fall into place until her college boyfriend resurfaces after a decade with his own ideas about their future. Will Marin be forced to choose between the man of her dreams and the diamond ring she’s always dreamed of?
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Marin believes in happily ever after. As a couples therapist she helps to fight for it. And she wants it for herself. In the form of the house, white picket fence, husband and two kids. And she thinks she's about to get it. After all her birthday is on Valentine's Day. Why wouldn't her boyfriend James propose after being together two years? But sadly she gets her hopes up and begins to wonder if the ring will ever happen. And when her past shows up in her present she wonders if she is walking the right path at all.
I absolutely adore the relationship of James and Marin. Their relationship is definitely one that makes my heart flutter. I'm a sap that way. In a way I'm a lot like Marin. I believe in happy ever after. I believe in the whole package and the story. In The Man Test Marin put James through the test. Yes it was a stupid test and she should have been slapped for it, but in the end it worked out. Her and James are still together.
But for some reason it just isn't enough for Marin. Being with the man of her dreams isn't enough to make her happy. She has to have a ring to prove he loves her. But Marin isn't the only one that has been hurt. James has been deeply cut by a previous marriage (one that I am sad to say we still don't learn much about), so the idea of marriage freaks him out. Yet there is no doubt that he is madly in love with Marin.
Throughout The Commitment Test he shows her that she is always in his thoughts. But with Marin's eye on the ring, she doesn't see these moments of love. Instead she sees a fear of commitment.
Then suddenly it seems that everyone is getting married and having babies. But Marin is still just "dating." Despite almost losing James over a test in The Man Test Marin goes against her better judgement and puts James through another test. This was the point where I began to shake my head. I couldn't believe that she would do this, after almost losing him the first time. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake the crap out of her. She was blind. Blinded by her desire for a stupid ring and a piece of paper that she was willing to manipulate the man she loved in order to get it. Yikes! She sounds like a terrible person when you put it that way.
But she really isn't. Although she definitely doesn't act like the 33 year old therapist that she is. Instead she acts a lot like a young twenty something bent on perfection. There were definitely quite a few times when I wanted to smack Marin in The Commitment Test, especially when someone from her past came back into her life. Oh my gosh, I wanted to smack my head on the wall, repeatedly. Amanda Aksel did good bringing that one in. But man it really pissed me off. Marin was definitely acting like a spoiled brat.
Luckily she has amazing friends, Telly, Holly, and Rachel and they told her that was exactly how she was acting. Go friends! All I can say is that if romantic, sweet, funny, cute, and generous James wasn't good enough for Marin then I would take him. Trust me you'll want to take him off Marin's hands too. James is definitely a keeper.
Amanda Aksel did a great job following up the story of James and Marin giving me exactly what I yearn for in a love story. I felt their love leap off the pages and it was as if I was watching their story on the big screen. I actually imagine The Commitment Test being the sequel to How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
The Commitment Test was an excellent story of love and life. Being courageous and taking steps to be happy. No matter the choice. Overall it had a great message. Not that love conquers all, but courage does. It takes courage to make decisions and move on. To go after what you want. And it was courage that set Marin free.
I really enjoyed the second book in The Marin Test. Amanda Aksel definitely hit it out of the park with this one. I enjoyed it more than the first one. This is definitely one that you need to read for yourself. It's fun and adorable! Great combo.
Amanda Aksel is an author with an affinity for love. Becoming a couples therapist was her “backup” career, and after completing her BA in Psychology she was on her way to solving love’s most complicated quandaries one couple at a time. Now she plans to solve love’s most complicated quandaries one novel at a time.