dolls_behaving_badly_proofReviewed by Krystal Larson

Carla Richards is no one but herself. Her character is out-going, personable, loud, and brash. For extra income, she creates erotic dolls, an activity that will be a source of amusement to the reader, guaranteed. Her life is hard enough with just her own problems to consider, but try adding in a pregnant sister, a random teenager, and a bright son. She signed up to take care of one person, not three and the father of her son doesn’t even pay child support. Carla is always living on the edge, teetering on the precipice just before she completely loses control. However, she doesn’t even seem to panic much and her humorous personality keeps her sane among all her problems. What’s a woman to do when she’s pushed to the limit?

Carla Richards is one of the most “real” characters I’ve come across in a long time. Full of personality, she manages to infuse Dolls Behaving Badly with good humor. I found myself laughing at Carla’s antics and interactions with other people. Carla develops a rather interesting, if not straight-up unusual, love interest later on in the book that adds the “romance factor” that enhances the plot. Her son is intellectually smart and an easy character to like. He “puts up with” his somewhat eccentric mother and aunt in a way that I really admired. Carla’s sister has a pregnancy scare…and one that she decides to keep. The book lightly touches on the “should I keep the baby or have an abortion” topic, but not too heavily and left me with questions to consider. The teenager adds another different perspective to the book; it must be difficult to grow up when your life is changing around you. These characters, taken together, make up an unusual family unit, but a family unit nonetheless.

The plot itself is terrific. Cinthia Ritchie knows how to grab and hold the reader’s attention. It might seem strange that a plot concerning a somewhat typical lifestyle could be so interesting, but reading this book felt a little like watching episodes of Gossip Girl. Once the reader becomes invested in the characters’ lives, it is very difficult to stop reading. Anyone who enjoys contemporary novels must pick this book up!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Krystal is a young college student who loves meeting new authors and finding great books! Her favorite place to read is the Botanic Gardens.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Grand Central Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.