5-STAR REVIEW ALERT ~ GYM OR CHOCOLATE by Stuart Reardon & Jane Harvey-Berrick

Gym or Chocolate? A feel-good romantic comedy from the authors of Undefeated and Model Boyfriend, Stuart Reardon & Jane Harvey-Berrick,
is releasing 13th September, and today we’re delighted to be
sharing our 5-Star Review with you!

#gymorchocolate

Now available for pre-order, Gym or Chocolate will be in  KindleUnlimited

Career girl and radio host hotshot Cady Callahan has never met a chocolate she didn’t love. She has curves and doesn’t care.

She’s shocked when a raffle ticket bought to support a veterans charity means she’s won a year’s membership to Body Tech, an exclusive Manhattan gym, where all the top athletes train and all the A-list actors go to get in shape for their action roles. She’s also won a personal trainer in the shape of far too tantalizing Rick Roberts.

Rick is less impressed when Cady’s arrival leads to a media circus. The retired British rugby ace runs a serious training facility, and he definitely doesn’t have time for anyone who doesn’t want to work hard.

When curvy Cady challenges him to train her to run a marathon by the end of the year, it seems a solution to both their problems. If … when she drops out of training, his gym will go back to normal.

But Cady isn’t planning on losing the bet—she just wasn’t counting on any complications. And surly Rick is very complicated. And as tempting as the tastiest treat.

Pre-order your copy of Gym or Chocolate? or read in KindleUnlimited in release day, 13th September!

Amazon: Universal | U.SU.K

Amazon Paperback: U.S | U.K | CAN | AUS

Add to Goodreads

Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse at KFF

Writing duo, Reardon and Harvey-Berrick have pulled out the stops and delivered a gem of a rom-com which had me in stitches and got me hooked from the first chapter. So, Gym or Chocolate? It’s the perfect title but in reality, not an easy choice to make if you’re lacking in willpower like me. I have to confess that as I read on, Cady Callahan with her extra pounds and sassy comebacks quickly became my kinda woman. And Rick Roberts, gym entrepreneur, trainer and owner of an elite fitness club certainly gave me food for thought. No pun intended, but who hasn’t had a sugar craving at one time or another and not felt guilty? There’s so much more to this delicious story than just getting hot and bothered and sweaty in the gym though.

“Baby steps, Rick. Baby steps— that’s what you told me and I’m sticking to it.” 

Rick encourages us to take a look at our daily habits and what we’re doing wrong. He explains why we should look after ourselves and regardless of whatever handicap we may have, staying fit enhances our lifestyle and eating healthy food matters. Well, he got the latter part right ‘cause that’s something I make sure I do. However, this grouchy guy wiggled his way into my heart at the same pace as the book. Fast! I felt sorry for him on different levels. Firstly, he’s trying his utmost to keep his top-notch clientele satisfied, not doing what he really loves as an injury put a stop to his sports career and then Cady struts into personal space as big as life. She’s not what he bargained for, but seeing as she’d won the prize of a year’s membership to get her body in shape at Body Tech, he has little alternative but to get on with the job. The other reasons Rick saddened me I’d rather not mention but I’ll just say that his sensitivity melted my heart.

“And what is it with you and donuts? That is not the right thing to eat before a run. It’s probably the worst breakfast you could have!”

“Oh don’t worry, I ate a bar of chocolate earlier. I’m good.”

Cady frustrates the pants off Rick, and even though he won’t admit it, she’s a pleasant surprise and manages to make him smile. How could she not? She’s hilarious, adorable, generous of heart and spirit, and the fact that she showed me how headstrong she is when her downfall is lemon sugar-coated doughnuts, made me realise that anyone can make the best of a bad situation if they want to. I really liked how she took the bull by the horns and not just with her own hang-ups. Not one to hold her tongue, she prods Rick into confronting his issues head-on. Ooh, and he blushes, ladies! Rick is a tad naïve as far as the opposite sex is concerned and Cady being Cady either pulls his leg about it or tries to guide him in the right direction. I tell you, she’s the total package!

“… Sometimes he swaps his glare for a scowl. And then he frowns. I’m not sure if that means he’s moody or whether I irritate him,” 

Rick and Cady are like chalk and cheese. She’s outgoing and boisterous, he’s out of his element when not training. Understandably, his words don’t flow nearly as easily as hers, so what do they have in common? Both of them are honest, hard-working and kind-hearted folk who gradually gain each other’s respect and build a special friendship. Innuendos intermingled with off the charts banter, chemistry that simmers until it reaches boiling point and a feel-good storyline result is the perfect end of summertime read. I adored how Rick was there for Cady when the going gets tough; yep, he’s a true Yorkshire gentleman I literally swooned over!

“Are you going to get yourself a sports bra now?”She glanced sideways and grinned at me. “No way! I’m having far too much fun watching your face—it takes my mind off what we’re actually doing.” 

Of course, every good story needs a baddie or two and in that respect, the authors gave me a couple I’d have gladly strangled with my bare hands. The majority of the secondary characters are totally likeable. Rick’s best mate, Vin, had me in fits, swears like a trooper and dishes out dodgy advice like hotcakes and Grace, Cady’s bestie is lovely.

‘Was that an ab under the flab? I fingered my stomach tentatively. Could a person have just one ab? Didn’t they usually come in pairs, like a salt and pepper set?’ 

Written from a dual perspective in past is my fave narrative technique. You get to hear both sides of the story and listening to both Rick and Cady’s inner thoughts was a privilege. Gym or Chocolate? is a must-one-click I can’t recommend enough. Bravo Reardon and Harvey-Berrick!

EXCERPT

© 2019 Stuart Reardon and Jane Harvey-Berrick
All rights reserved.

Rick

I was supposed to be keeping Cady at arms’ length because she was a client … and then I’d begged her to come to dinner with me. Vin was going to be on a date with the woman he’d picked up on Tinder but had never met. I loved the guy, but he could be such a knob.

My stomach tightened—it would definitely like a double-date. I groaned. This evening had disaster written all over it.

Vin wandered out of the bathroom, naked as jaybird, his todger swinging in the breeze. It reminded me of locker rooms at the rugby clubs I’d played for so it didn’t bother me, but I was glad I didn’t have company. He scratched his manscaped balls then pointed at some plastic covered clothes hangers resting on the sofa.

“Called in some favors, mate. A designer friend of mine sent them over. I can’t have you making me look bad—I have my Instagram profile to think about.”

Then he caught sight of himself in my mirror, gave a cheesy grin and slapped his own arse.

“Lucky, lucky ladies,” he smirked as he sauntered back into the bathroom.

Shaking my head, I studied the clothes dubiously, but was surprised to find a tailored pair of charcoal slacks and crisp white shirt that would fit over my shoulders and biceps without billowing out around my waist. I had to hand it to Vin—the guy knew clothes.

My eyebrows rose as I noticed the clothing labels—Armani. Blimey!

I showered and trimmed my beard, tied my hair back and gelled the curls and wayward strands into submission, then dressing quickly. Vin had even been in my closet and pulled out the jacket and shoes he wanted me to wear. He’d let me choose my own boxer briefs. Thank God.

Vin was a couple of inches taller than me and a handsome bastard, so I have to admit that we attracted more than our share of attention as we waited for our ride to negotiate the evening traffic and make a U-turn outside Body Tech to pick us up. I’d hired a town car for the evening as we were going to need the extra room.

Vin loved it and sent a few exploratory winks to a group of women before the car pulled up to the curb. I gave the driver Cady’s address and leaned back in my seat as Vin posed for selfies, quickly posting them to his IG account.

“Your girl live alone?” Vin asked.

“She’s not my girl, she’s my client,” I reminded him irritably.

Vin just smirked. He was a hard guy to annoy, unfortunately.

“You’re taking her out for dinner, you’ve told me hands off, so tonight, she’s your girl, right?”

“Yeah, whatever,” I said grudgingly

“So, does she live alone or has she got a hot roommate?”

“Bloody hell, Vin, you’ve already got a date for tonight!”

“Yeah, but I’m free tomorrow night. Doesn’t hurt to have a spare.”

Stuart and Jane’s Fitness Journeys

MORE ABOUT STUART

I’ve had four major surgeries as a result of my rugby career—three operations to repair torn Achilles tendons, and a torn rotor cuff in my shoulder that ultimately ended my professional rugby career.

Coming back from injury and surgery is a long, slow process. Keeping a level of fitness during recovery isn’t easy, and rehab after is tough. So for me, exercise and working out at the gym is more than just getting fit, it’s a way of life.

And then there’s the completely different issue of getting lean for a photoshoot like for this cover—especially when your co-author is a bad influence and travels everywhere with chocolate. I really enjoy a good quality dark chocolate, and yep, I had to cut that out to drop a few pounds for the cover shoot. Feel my pain?!

Connect with Stuart

Website | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | Twitter

Stay up to date with Stuart and sign up for his newsletter

 

MORE ABOUT JHB

For years (decades), I told myself that I didn’t like gyms and even though I joined several with the best intentions, I stayed away. I lived in London and walked four miles a day to and from Tube stations, so that seemed like enough. I often had an aching back and shoulders, and sometimes sciatic pain, too. I put it down to having a desk job, even though I was only in my twenties.

When I moved from London to live by the ocean, I began a love affair with swimming—and there’s nothing like swimming in a cold ocean! I walked my little dog every day and felt better, but with turning to writing full-time, there were still a lot of hours spent at a desk.

Then I got really sick. The death of my father was a stressful time, as you can imagine, but it became worse when it triggered Rheumatoid Arthritis in me. Suddenly, I was using walking sticks to get around, sometimes a wheelchair, and often crippled with pain. All the usual drugs helped, and I began to regain mobility slowly. But the turning point for me was joining a gym, and realising what I’d been missing out on all these years.

Nothing happens overnight, and it was a process of simply keeping going two to three times a week to feel the benefits—and I did. I was happy, my family was happy, even my doctor was happy.

Exercise doesn’t cure RA, but it certainly helps.

Connect with Jane

Website | Facebook | Facebook Readers Group | Instagram | Twitter

Pinterest | YouTube | Goodreads | BookBub | Amazon U.K | Amazon U.S

Stay up to date with Jane and sign up for her newsletter

 

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