The Man Test by Amanda Aksel
Marin Johns is San Francisco’s Pollyanna couples therapist. She’s months away from wedded bliss when she discovers her fiancé is having an affair. After nursing her broken heart with Kleenex and break-up songs, she adopts a new brand of thinking when she uncovers a tell-all book that proves all men are liars and cheaters who will do and say anything so they’re not found out. No exceptions.
In an attempt to convince her friends of her newfound truth, she begins a fictitious relationship with James, a do-gooder from Montana. Marin seeks any means necessary to catch him cheating from hiring a PI to enlisting the help of a fidelity tester. Will her new “boyfriend” beat the statistic or will Marin regret the satisfaction of being right?
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“My knowledge on the behavior of Great Danes was shallow, but this one was smart as hell and pain in my ass. My eyes searched his. Did he have a human soul somewhere in his oversized body? I tried to grab the computer out from under his paws, but he guarded it like it was his special bone.”
“The only thing I could ever stand for completely was love. I’m not talking about the butterflies, can’t eat, can’t sleep kind of love, but the morning breath, movie night in, grow old together love.”
This author has smarts and a dry wit, I like that. I enjoyed the story, although I didn’t always like her main character. At times I wanted to smack her, other times I was embarrassed by her idiocy. And when she finally came around – I just knew she would eventually – my heart was heavy for her. Rather than deal with her personal issues, our heroine sinks her teeth into a flawed theory, then sets out to prove it with her own brand of empirical research. However, her plan is really an awful experiment, and a horrible thing to do to another human being. Despite being a well-educated mental health professional, she is still human and fallible, and aren’t we all? I understand this hair-brained thinking as I have been also been guilty of it myself. Well – it couldn’t actually ever be MY fault… could it? But just her luck, her test subject doesn’t seem to be fitting the pattern. Despite a slow start, I found this to be an entertaining read.
About Amanda Aksel
AMANDA (ah-MAHN-dah)- Latin- Meaning lovable or worthy of love.
Fitting. I’ve always had an affinity for love.
Being born in sunny San Diego in the mid 80’s to a young military couple gave me plenty of insight into the dynamics of a romantic relationship. Somewhere between moving coasts every three years, I found myself engrossed in fairytale romances and dressing up like a bride.
My first real love was writing. By my sophomore year in a new high school in Virginia, I had a slew of short stories, songs, poems, and articles to my name. Writing was fun. It was a way to get the emotions, dialogue, and pictures out of my head, and create a destiny for my characters.
I had no intention of making a career in writing, because it wasn’t what I did, it was who I was. In reality, I wanted to be an actress. Ah, to be the face of someone else’s authored story. The plan was to move in with my aunt in L.A. after graduation, but had a change of heart. Instead, I stayed with my high school sweetheart (now husband) and attended a film school in Norfolk, VA. It was at this school that I discovered my love for writing screenplays and felt compelled to follow that path. But…as the practical girl I was brought up to be, I decided to go to a real university. While working full time, I completed my BA in Psychology in four and a half years. Becoming a couple’s therapist had always been my “backup” career and there I was on my way to solving love’s most complicated quandaries one couple at a time.
With all my new free time after graduation, I decided to turn my full-length screenplay into a novel in hopes it would help my screenplay sell. I think I was in the middle of writing chapter two when I realized that everything I had ever written was to prepare me for that moment when I knew I was a novelist. Talk about the affirmation of my life. Now my plan is to solve love’s most complicated quandaries one novel at a time.