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Madison Square #2

Choosing Happy

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Madison Buchanan’s life has imploded…

Her husband left her for his nineteen-year-old intern, leaving her alone and faced with starting over in her forties. With the help of her feisty best friend, Madison reinvents herself, armed with a new look and open to new possibilities.

Sean Taylor is gorgeous, fun, and young—very young…

He hasn’t had the best of luck. Sean’s track record with women is less than stellar, but when he walks into The Den one day, he just can’t help but be captivated by a dark haired beauty with the sad eyes and killer legs. She’s a little older, but he doesn’t discriminate. More than anything, he wants to be the one to make her smile.

Sean personifies the only thing that has eluded Madison all of her life—joy…

It was meant to be a fling, something fun, with no strings and zero drama, but Sean wants something more, and Madison is just not ready. She’s lived by the rules her family, her friends, even her boss have laid out for her, but her new life is not what she expected. Being with Sean opens feelings she never thought she’d experience.

The demands of her family and her job throw her boring, simple life into chaos, and Sean is no exception…

Madison is left with a choice. Give in to the expectations of the world around her—or choose to follow her heart and be happy.

But choosing happy is so much harder than it seems.

388 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 13, 2016

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About the author

Samatha Harris

15 books175 followers
Samatha “Sam” Harris lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband David and daughter Ava. Born in Florida, she migrated north which most people agree was a little backwards. She has been an artist all of her life, a Tattoo Artist for more than ten years, and a storyteller since she was a kid.
Sam has a slightly unhealthy love for Frank Sinatra, classic movies, and Jazz and Blues music, but her first love will always be reading. From Romance, to Thrillers, to Historical Fiction and everything in between, she loves to become a part of the story. As a writer she tells the stories that she would want to read.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 49 reviews
Profile Image for Tpagirl Loves Romance.
1,620 reviews130 followers
November 16, 2018
Choosing Happy was the second book in the Madison Square series by Samantha Harris. It was my first book by the author.

Maddie and Sean met at a local bar. He was thirteen years her junior. He was known as a playboy and she had just settled her divorce from a cheating husband. Sounds like the perfect match for a no strings relationship but that wasn’t exactly how it progressed. The sparks flew and Sean wanted it all, but Maddie ran at every turn.

I liked the story but I grew to dislike Maddie as each chapter progressed. She had no backbone. I understand the age difference but that was minor and had that been the only issue, I could have liked her. However, she didn’t have a backbone about anything. She was a doormat to her family, her ex and her job. By the time the book was near the end, I was done with her. And I really liked Sean so although the book was well written, well developed and intriguing, it just wasn’t my preferred direction for the storyline. I also needed an epilogue since it ended rather abruptly. It was more of a Happy for Now, versus a Happily Ever After ending. It will appeal to others though, so don’t hold back because of my current mood. Based on the ratings, it appealed to many and it may appeal to you as well.
Profile Image for Tanya (Girl Plus Books).
1,001 reviews76 followers
September 26, 2016
Madison Buchanan is where she never thought she'd be. Forty-two years old and single, thanks to her husband of sixteen years who left her for a nineteen year old girl. She needs a fresh start and best friend Margot is determined that she gets it. Convinced that a makeover and a fling is just what she needs, Margot has a hand in setting up both for Madison. Meeting Sean at a local bar has Madison considering some no-strings-attached fun but the obvious age difference is giving her pause.

At twenty-nine, Sean Taylor has had his share of hard knocks, both personally and romantically. But despite his past he has a love of life that is evident to anyone. A chance meeting with a gorgeous but slightly shy older woman has him wanting more ("I don't discriminate when it comes to beautiful women."). When Madison agrees to a date Sean turns on the charm and is determined to show her that age really is just a number.

One kiss and this woman already had me completely tied in knots. I didn't just want her, I craved her.

First things first: I adored Sean! I mean, what's not to love? This guy was sweet and kind and funny and heart-stoppingly sexy. And sooo thoughtful! The dates he arranged, the attention he paid to Madison... hello new book boyfriend! I loved his patience and his willingness to be so open about his feelings and what he wanted from Madison. This was a guy who wasn't afraid to say what he thought and what he felt and put himself out there.

Madison was a little trickier in that I empathized with her and was frustrated with her in equal amounts. She was dealt such a shock with the end of her marriage and that is something that would send anyone into a tailspin. But Maggie's people-pleasing ways and refusal to stand up for herself had me desperate for her to show some backbone. Between her mother, her ex-husband, her employer (and even, at times, her best friend) Maggie was surrounded by people who bulldozed right over her. It was so rewarding to watch as she came into her own. I have to admit, I also grew frustrated with some of dealings with Sean. She gave mixed signals, she was hurtful - and to someone who was nothing but open and honest and encouraging. I tried hard to empathize with her at those time but my heart truly hurt for Sean.

"You can be happy, Madison. You just have to choose to be."

Choosing Happy had a wonderful cast of secondary characters that I thoroughly enjoyed. Sean's friends Alex and Drew (the protagonists from Something In Between), Madison's assistant , Sean's grandmother... I loved them all. Another of my favorite elements of the novel was the humor which is there in abundance. Sean's easygoing banter was full of teasing and fun and Madison's best friend and assistant (Margot and Jeremy, respectively) had an epic relationship.

I highly recommend Choosing Happy (and Somewhere In Between!) to anyone who enjoys contemporary romance that is smart, fun, and sexy. Choosing Happy is guaranteed to leave you wanting more from this talented author.

Choosing Happy is the second book in the Madison Square companion series but can be read as a stand alone.

Note: I was provided an advance copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changes my opinion of the book or the content of this review.
Profile Image for Cassie C.
631 reviews61 followers
September 21, 2016
Review to come!

Update 9/20/16:

See more reviews on my blog Novels and Necklaces

This is a fantastic sequel from author Samatha Harris, and I'm incredibly excited to check out more from her in the future! Choosing Happy is the second book in the Madison Square series, and while I didn't like is as much as I liked the first novel, I still enjoyed this one a great deal. Ms. Harris has an amazing talent, and is definitely an author to watch. I honestly didn't want to stop reading this book because I was invested in how Madison and Sean's story would end. This was such a refreshing read, with fantastic lead characters and wonderful writing.

Madison, who is in her early 40s in this novel, is a newly divorced woman after her husband left her for a much younger woman. Obviously, this sends her into a tailspin and she makes some dramatic choices. She lets her best friend completely make her over giving her a drastic new look, and then becomes involved in a hot and heavy relationship with a younger man. The one thing I greatly enjoyed about this story was how well written the relationship was between Madison and Sean. What started out as something fun for both of them, turned into something more. You could tell from the moment they met that Madison and Sean were meant to be, and you'll be cheering for them from the get go.

This was definitely new territory for me since I never read a book before where the female lead is older than the male lead, but it worked beautifully in this story due to Ms. Harris's fantastic writing. I know other stories where authors tried to attempt this, but reviews weren't so great. But don't worry at all about this story because what made this book work was how Madison had a constant struggle over whether or not to actually take a chance and explore the relationship with Sean/ To me, it seemed like a very realistic approach, and that made the book a much more enjoyable read.

Madison herself is such a strong main character, and while there were times she got on my nerves a bit because of some decisions she made, it was all apart of her learning how to choose/love/live for herself and "choose happy." Sean definitely is there to help her with this discovery, but it truly is all her. I loved her attitude at the end of this book because it showed how far she came since the beginning. Honestly, Madison's character development throughout the novel was one of the best I have seen. All of this makes the title of this book absolutely perfect.

Sean was someone that I loved and wanted to know more about after reading the first book, Somewhere in Between. I'm so glad that we got to see inside his brain because we see how amazing of a guy he is...much more than the fun jokester that he portrays to everyone around him. Both Madison and Sean have a lot of baggage that they bring to their relationship, but they have a nice balance and help each other through things...supporting each other where they need it most. And that's exactly what a relationship should be.

There is a bonus chapter that I highly recommend reading. It adds a lot to the story, and while I don't want to give away any spoilers, it is a bit of a difficult read because it gives us insight into Sean's childhood. My heart broke for him, but it made the story come full circle, and I appreciated that the author included it.

I highly recommend checking out this series because it's a simple, fun, sexy read that will sweep you away and leave you wanting to read more from this author!

Happy reading :)
Profile Image for Laura Hampton.
641 reviews35 followers
September 20, 2016
Choosing Happy is the first book I have read by this author and I loved it. What appealed to me the most was the fact that the lead female character was right around my age. It isn't often that authors write about forty-year-olds. I know I generally am reading books with twenty to thirty something year olds. So, to say this was a refreshing read, it definitely was!

Madison's husband has just left her for a younger woman and she finds herself wondering why it all ended the way it did. In a quest, so to speak, she reinvents herself and walks the path of self discovery along the way. When she attracts Sean, a much younger man, she has to wonder if what they strike up will be a fling or something more meaningful. But will she be able to get past the 13 year age difference? Madison was raised to look for certain types of men to have relationships with and Sean definitely is not what she should be going after. But, he brings a side of her out that she never knew was there. The biggest struggle that Madison has is learning to live for herself. She has always been one to do what others want in order to make them happy. So this title, Choosing Happy is so fitting. For once Madison needs and wants to choose herself.

Both Madison and Sean carry plenty of baggage from their pasts. Can Madison find a way to move past her husbands affair and move forward in a way that will allow someone else to possess her heart for good or will those walls she has built up around her heart take more than the charms, love and security that Sean has to offer, to tear down?

I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing read. I loved the authors writing style. Choosing Happy is a relatively quick, sweet, and very sexy read. I loved the fact that I could live vicariously through a character that I could relate to age wise for once. I look forward to reading more of this authors work in the future. If you get a chance down load the bonus chapter!

4 Refreshing Sexy Stars
Profile Image for Kati.
458 reviews23 followers
May 23, 2017
Choosing happy follows Madison and Shaun. Madison’s life seems to be on track until her husband confesses he is cheating on her with a nineteen year old and then gets a divorce. Madison utilises her friends to help her bounce back. In the process she meets Shaun, a friend of her brothers. Madison though the book is often overpowered by the will of others characters whether it is her boss or her ex-husband. While she was an enjoyable character I was waiting for the time where she would stand up for herself.

Shaun’s character complements Madison perfectly. The relationship the two start up is clouded by the fact that Shaun is younger than Madison by fifteen years. This is brought up often as a reason Madison should not be in any relationship with Shaun. I liked Shauns personality and charm. The way he treats Madison has her off guard, no one has put her feelings before theirs and this sends Madison into a spin.

A lovely contemporary romance book where the development of the characters are a result of the other person in the relationship. This is a fun contemporary romance with plenty of drama. A great follow up to Somewhere in Between.
Profile Image for Tina Morgan.
916 reviews10 followers
June 2, 2017
Another amazing book by Samatha. This one has the goofball Sean. Whose always cutting up and happy and joyful. But he's also been through a lot in his life and he hides pain and suffering with jokes. You just have to know him and look in his eyes to see the difference.
Then we meet Madison she's lived her whole life making everyone else happy. First it was her parents, then it was her husband. When it all fell apart anyway she was lost for a bit and who else is a girl to call but her best friend. When her and Sean meet sparks fly but Madison has a lot to overcome on her own and keeps running. For so many different reasons but one big reason,well what she considers big. The background on Madison is spot on and you understand exactly how she is feeling. This book is all in the present. There is some secondary characters that you will adore and some you will want to smack the fire out of. You learn so much more about Sean and the more you learn the more you fall in love with him.
There is some laughs,there is some tears, there is some surprises. I again read this book so fast I just had to know what happened. Now I'm on to the next. I definitely recommend this book.
Profile Image for Liz Gavin.
Author 106 books737 followers
September 22, 2016
5***** Breathtaking yet realistic love story

**I read this book with my KU membership**

I decided to read Choosing Happy when I first read its blurb because I immediately related to Madison's situation. Having been involved with younger men myself, I know too well the hardships and pitfalls. So, if on the one hand my personal experience made me a good judge of the plot, on the other hand, it also made me a harsher one.

But Samantha Harris didn't disappoint me in the least. Her characters are realistic in their insecurities and flaws. For the average reader of romance, Madison may even seem too indecisive. However, this kind of reader is most likely exposed to impetuous your female leads, whereas Madison is a forty-two-year-old character. She's got emotional baggage, and a heavy one at that, she's got a career, friends and family to take into consideration when making decisions. In my opinion, though, what makes her more realistic is her refusal to follow her heart because at this stage in life we tend to follow our head. That doesn't mean we make better decisions.

As for Sean Taylor, he's also a realistic character in the sense that his behavior is coherent with his attitude towards life. In spite of his painful past, Sean's got a joyful, optimist take on life, which is the first thing that attracts Madison to him; but is also what keeps him going. Also, he's profoundly caring nature is endearing and you can't avoid rooting for him.

That's why I was a little mad at Samantha Harris at a certain point of the story. I don't do spoilers so I'll be cryptic here. The only part of the plot that made me roll my eyes was one that Madison compares to a 'daytime soap opera' and I agree with her, by the way. I felt bad for Sean; then, it dawned on me, it was so powerfully moving because the writing was great. Otherwise, I either wouldn't have cared or wouldn't have gotten so far into the book. That's when I decided to keep the 5 stars rating because I don't think one should rate the qualities of a book based on the fact that he or she agrees with it or not. I mean, no one can say they agree with what happened to Romeo and Juliet, still we don't knock off stars because they die, right? Okay, I went too far with my analogy. There's no tragedy in Choosing Happy, don't worry. I'm just saying I don't agree with the plot 100%, which doesn't make it any less realistic. On the contrary.

Harris does a great job with the secondary characters as well. From the too meddling best friend Margo - seriously, who doesn't have that annoying best friend who ends up making a total mess when all she wants to do is help, right? - to the too friendly assistant Jeremy, to the to-die-for little brother Liam. These are only on Madison's part. On Sean's, fans of the first book in the series will have a chance to revisit with Alex and Drew, plus get to meet Gran and Em.

Finally, the love scenes. As a writer of erotic romances, I know just too well how difficult it is to find the balance between steamy scenes and a coherent plot. Samantha Harris does it and then some. Readers will find their share of mouth-watering action and it's completely interwoven in the story line, which guarantees that the love scenes are essential to help move the story forward.
I can't recommend Choosing Happy enough. So I won't even try. I'll use the author's own words through Sean's point of view. He says about Madison, "I don't know how to breathe without her."
Profile Image for Cyndi Becker.
1,350 reviews9 followers
September 29, 2016
I chose to read this story because I love the concept. You can “Choose to be ___” ( fill in the blank). Unfortunately for Madison Buchanan, she knows very little about making choices for herself which becomes the core of this story line. The very premise of this is how Madison gets to a place where she knows what makes her happy and where she is brave enough to make a decision that will lead her there.

Madison is a very likable character, in fact I liked her immensely and it’s easy to sympathize with her situation. When the story opens she’s actually hit her breaking point and decides she is going to make changes that will help her to finally get over her ex husband. This brings the younger and delightful man that is Sean into her life. From here on out we see Madison conflicted by her identity and who she is. She’s been conditioned to play a “role” and even her friends seem to tell her how to feel.

We get the story from both Madison and Sean's point of view, but with Madison it’s her life we see, and with Sean it’s his time with and without Madison (thinking about Madison). This man is smitten from the go and unaware what he’ll be facing. Sean is the change agent Madison so desperately needs.

Harris does a great job putting Madison in various situations where she is tested and even throws in a twist (or two) that I didn’t see coming at all. There's a plethora of secondary characters affecting the possibility of Madison and Sean, interfering and creating chaos and conflict that drive Madison to find her way. At times it makes for an heartwarming read and at other times I wanted to throttle Madison and her naivete. Again though, I did like her immensely and understood that breaking lifelong habits and expectations as to who you are, what you believe are hard after so many years of conditioning. Harris completely tapped into the emotional state of a woman facing change but not being prepared for it. Madison must be brave. She must make decisions that make her heart happy no matter what anyone else thinks.

Harris’ writing is fluid, letting the characters to develop through the story line. It made this an effortless read and I tore through the book wanting to see how Madison and Sean would fair. I deem this a 4 and a half Star read and I recommend this in contemporary romance/chick lit genre.
Profile Image for The Book Junkie Reads . . ..
4,861 reviews138 followers
October 6, 2016
Big shouts out to Sean. He is the man. Young or not. He knew how to charm a woman and not sound lame or fake or like the goal was only one thing. He got a girls ego lifted and maybe a little soaring.

Madison had a lot to learn since life with her ex ended. She has a life to find since before she lived to make others happy no matter how it effected her. In her life comes Sean and he gives her a whole new outlook on life and how it should be lived.

There were a lot of things that both Sean and Madison had to overcome or at least find a realistic way of coping with. I was drawn in to the fun of the way life presented around the younger man. I was compelled to finally live free, happy, and for yourself through Madison's growth.

Choosing Happy was a turn of life for a woman that felt things were never to get better and life was just down hill or monotone from this point on out. Madison had her own set of issue and as typical she took a lot of that out on the other person, Sean. The interference of family and friends put a little hitch in the spice and extra piece to the puzzle of how they were to work things out.

Harris gave me a fun read on how choosing to make ones' self happy can come at a price that's not so easy to pay.
Profile Image for Nikki Cook.
81 reviews2 followers
October 6, 2016
Madison has always done what was expected of her. She was never given choices, someone made her decisions for her and she would go along with it. After her husband leaves her for a girl not even half of his age, Madison chooses to make some changes. She just wants to be happy.
Sean has had a rough go at life, but chose to not let it keep him down. He keeps his life as care-free as possible, and enjoys his simple life. Sean thinks he is happy.
When Sean sees Madison, he knows there is something special there. With a little help from Madison's friend, Sean is able to make Madison break out of her controlled life and try something different. Together, Sean and Madison choose happy.

Samantha Harris writes a romantic story of a couple who are very different, and not just because of age. Honestly, the age issue is really only an issue in the minds of a few characters. What would typically come up as an issue between two people with a 15 years age difference is not mentioned - maybe because the characters are just meant to be together. This works well as a standalone. It would be a great book to take by the pool with a nice fruity drink.
Profile Image for Isabelle MBTL .
748 reviews58 followers
September 23, 2016
review by


Romantic; mouth-watering hero; hot!!!

This kiss tasted of possibilities, of a future filled with ups and downs and choices, but as long as we were together in the end then we'd always be choosing happy above all else.



review 1



This is a good cover. You could guess is a contemporary romance. After reading the book you could see the couple. The title is perfect and very pertinent to the book.
This book has a great plot. It was fast-paced, kept me guessing until the end and I've ended wanting more.  It was well written, with no typo mistakes that I can remember, everything was relevant to the story and perfect cohesive. Several sub-plots here, with one great twist at the end.
This is a romance story that doesn't try to be anything else. The main focus is on the relationship of the couple and their dynamic into each other's world.
This is a pretty steamy romance with a lot of sexy scenes, but they were all fitting to the story's mood. Some great descriptions with a few panty-wetter scenes.
Seth is perfection!!!!! No joking, from Alex & Drew's book I couldn't have guess that he would be so amazing. Totally book boyfriend material!
I was totally addicted to this book. In fact, I'm addicted to the series. I read both books on the same day. I couldn't let go, and even though I know we will have more, I was sad that I didn't have more to read NOW.
This is the series that we can see going on and on and on. Really, the setting Ms. Harris has created with the strong group of friends that feels like family, it has a lot to go on. I believe we are going to see Liam's book next. Can't wait! But I would also love to see Emily and Bridget getting a book.
After reading both books of the series I have to say, Ms. Harris knows how to write fantastic heroes! Really, they are all book boyfriend material!!!



Review 2



I have to say it, because freshness/creativity is one of my review criteria, it was a pretty predictable story. I also would like to say, that this type of story, doesn't need to be totally different or new. A romance needs to be well written and to have readers feeling characters's emotions. This was done perfectly here, so the predictability didn't bother me at all.
This is even strange, it doesn't usually happen to me... I have loved the book, but I've hated the main female character. Usually I need to connect and relate with characters to throughly immerse myself into the story. Well, I guess this was one of those I love this, in spite of the heroine. I guess Seth was so perfect, that I didn't care for Maddison at all. Seth would be a 5 star character for me, Maddison would be a 1 star, it ended in the middle with a 3 stars. I started liking Maddison, but as I kept reading the book, she became worst, until the end I wanted to slap some sense into her.
Maddison: She is my age, I should have connected and related to her instantly. She was a pain in the arse. She loved to talk about the age difference between her and Seth and it felt like she was the child of the relationship. She was always crying and into pity parties. She was a doormat to almost everybody, but Seth. She made some bad decisions that in my opinion were low very low.  I also hated Margot, her best friend. Really, my generation of women (that are in the 40's) was badly represented in this book. I also have to point out that hate is really close to love, I was never indifferent to Maddison, which would be worst, much worst. This character did affect me in her own way.


No guy wants to be sweet. Hot, sure. Sexy, definitely. Ruggedly handsome, well, that's a given, but sweet is just female code for I'm never gonna sleep with you.



You MAY buy this book because you have read the first of the series; you SHOULD buy this book because you love a good romance; you MUST read this book because you want to meet one of the most amazing guys ever!!!

This review was originally posted on More Books Than Livros
Profile Image for Danielle's.
Author 1 book140 followers
May 20, 2017
Choosing happy is book two in the Madison Square series. It can be read as a standalone. However, I would recommend you start with book one as the main character in this one is Sean (Drew's roommate from Somewhere in Between and you'll want to know his story).

Madison's husband has left her for a younger woman. She has her career, but her personal life just took a strange turn. She now finds herself open to the idea of having a little fun.

Sean is friends with Madison's brother. He may be 15 years younger, but that doesn't stop him going after what he wants. These two are sassy, dirty and perfect for each other. What starts as a hot fling could become so much more.

3 stars out of 5. This one was okay and had its funny moments. They had good chemistry for each other and were a good match. Just like the first instalment of this series this book is free for Kindle Unlimited readers.

This book is intended for an adult audience (U.K. 16+).

*I am taking part in the book tour for the latest addition to this series and will be reviewing book 3; Chance at redemption on the 2nd June. This fact did not influence my review*
Profile Image for Theresa Alberts.
838 reviews6 followers
May 18, 2017
Madison's life changed in the blink of an eye when her husband left her for his intern. Determined to no longer wallow in her sadness, she enlists her friend Margot for a complete make-over. Loving her new look and having a confidence that she didn't know she possessed she meet Sean, a confident, gorgeous guy who is in his twenties. Believing that he is too young and all she needs is a fling, Madison tries to go in with no strings attached...but does that mean you heart doesn't get attached?

With pressure from her bestie and from herself, Madison continues to push Sean away until the unexpected happens and with the damage done there may be no coming back from this.

Will Sean and Maddie make it as a couple? Or are they truly just a fling?

3.5 stars
91 reviews3 followers
October 6, 2016
I received a copy in exchange for a honest review.
Choosing Happy is a story of second time loves. It contains swoon-worthy romance with a message that happiness is a choice one must make and age doesn't define us. I could have read for days Sean and Madison's story.

Remember Sean from Somewhere In Between. He is best friend of Drew's. This boy did not have a serious bone in his body. Then he meets Madison and his world goes full tilt. The only problem is that Madison feels too old for him, but Shawn doesn't care on iota about age. Can he convince Madison of that?

It was fun seeing the characters continue from Somewhere In Between. If you haven't read that book, I suggest you read it at some point. It is fantastic. It is a story of best friends and forgiveness. Having Sean get his story finally was a real treat. He needed someone to get his attention and hold it for a while. Madison definitely does that.

Madison is a woman who is brought up by snobby parents. She married a man who seemed to fit her right, until he did her wrong. She is learning to trust herself as well as others. She starts off with certain expectations of what should happen after a divorce. The problem I saw with her is that she looked upon other's expectations too much. I was really rooting for Madison and Sean to get a happily-ever-after. I just didn't know if it would happen.

The plot of the story is pretty steady. Madison's indecision seems to be one of the main conflicts of the story. There are a few other surprises thrown in, but hey it wouldn't be a surprise if I told you.

Samatha Harris creates another great novel that will help keep you swooning from a young romance story.

Happy Reading!!!
Profile Image for Sarah Fischer.
Author 10 books105 followers
September 21, 2016
Sean is the typical goofball/ladies man. His smile will make you weak at the knees and his jokes will leave you in stitches. The only problem is that he is alone and can’t seem to make a relationship last. That is until he meets a woman with legs for days and a sad smile. Suddenly, it becomes his mission in life to do whatever he can to make her happy… And I must say, I quite like several of his methods.

Maddie spent most of her marriage trying to please her husband. That was how she was brought up, and that was what she thought she wanted. That is until one nineteen year old with perky boobs and a fiesty attitude changed everything. Her husband divorced her and Maddie was left a little lost. What was she going to do now that she didn’t have someone to cater to? Yes, she had the big powerful job with a fabulous assistant but was she truly happy?

Maddie gets a makeover and begins to try to find out exactly what she wants in life. A young man with fire in his eyes and a bright smile on his face seems to be the answer. That is until emotions begin to cloud her judgment and Sean wants more than just a good time.

She has always done what’s right and what her family expects. Now that someone unexpected has lot a fire in her, will she let it die out because that’s what she should do, or will she feed it and let the blaze burn down her old life?

Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way. Sean is a lot younger than Maddie. I don’t let age bother me because I firmly believe it’s just a number and shouldn’t effect relationships, but I know some people have an issue with that.

However, I fell in love with Sean in the first book and I was really excited when Harris announced this book. I desperately wanted him to find someone to treat him right. He is a lovely character and he certainly knows how to please a woman.

I had mixed feelings about Maddie. On the one hand, I definitely understand the demands your family can force on you, if you don’t believe me then just ask anyone about how crazy my mother and grandmothers are. But I wanted Maddie to have some fire in her belly. I felt myself waiting for her to explode and I was a little let down. On the other hand, she was such a sweet and lovable character that I almost didn’t mind.

The world that Harris has created is fun, sexy, and real. Sometimes I feel like romances have crazy characters that couldn’t exist in the real world, however I feel like the Madison Square world could exist. If it did, I’d love to live in one of those apartments and have a beer at The Den.

This is a sexy book with sexy scenes. After all, Sean and Maddie start off their relationship with a no strings sexual experience. I don’t think she crossed the line to erotica though so they are enjoyable and only a slight blush may fill your cheeks if you read this book in public. But isn’t that part of the fun?

Profile Image for Laura Roberts .
90 reviews1 follower
September 29, 2016
The synopsis to Choosing Happy really captured me and made me want to read this book. That and the fact that I am a sucker for anything romance. I have only read one other Contemporary Romance before where there has been a significant age gap between the characters that was a big issue for one or both of them, so I thought hey……let’s give another one a go, and I adored Choosing Happy.
So we start off with Madison Buchanan getting drunk to the point of passing out whilst she stares at her divorce papers. Madison’s life couldn’t be further from where she ever thought she would find herself. Her husband, Michael, has left her to be with his 19 year old intern, that he also slept with behind Madison’s back. After 16 years with her now ex-husband, Madison doesn’t really know how to live life by herself. She has always lived her life how her husband and mother wanted her to. Now she is free to be and do as she wants. Calling upon her best friend Margot’s help, Madison prepares to be transformed. When new look Madison is complete, the two ladies head out to The Den to celebrate the start of her new life.
Sean Taylor is the life and soul of every party. He is a joker. He doesn’t take life too seriously. But now, all of his best friends are pairing off around him. Settling down and starting families. This is the furthest thing from Sean’s mind. Until he spots the two ladies at the bar. Tits (Margot) and legs (Madison) talking to the new bartender Liam. After heading over and discovering that Madison is Liam’s sister, Sean’s interest is piqued in her. He knows Margot would be the easy choice but Madison and her blushing is the one he wants. After being warned off by Liam, Sean is super chuffed when Margot secretly slips him Madison’s number.
Madison is incredibly flattered that Sean is interested in her. Who wouldn’t be?! He is gorgeous and young. The young is the problem. Sean is 13 years younger than her. What would people think of her? What would her mother say? So Madison decides to have a no strings, no feelings, purely fun and sexual relationship with Sean. Realistically though, how long before one or both develop them feelings and then what is to happen next for them both?
Well…..all I have to say after finishing this book is, if you don’t love Sean Taylor once you hit the end, then I think you are crazy. Right from the very beginning he grabbed my heart and ran away with it. I loved his cheeky chappy attitude and then with the way he pursued Madison, SWOON! He knew what he wanted and was patient, knowing that Madison had her reservations. You had to admire his determination and chase. He was enchanted by her. It’s not often that its the way of the female wanting casual and the male wanting more, but I loved it in Choosing Happy and it was such a pleasure to read.
It was understandable why Madison would be reserved and scared to move on again and start anything with anyone after what her ex husband did. The way her character developed throughout the story was evenly paced in comparison to the story line and its progression. It was played out in a mature way, but was still fun. There was a time or two when I did want to grab her and shake her, there was just a time too many when she backed off from Sean due to the age thing. I kept thinking “he is done this time, he has to be done this time.” But Sean was just to damn sweet and hung up on her.
Choosing Happy is written from the male and female point of view with a very realistic story line when it comes to age differences and realistic thought processes and reservations about moving forward after being hurt by someone so unexpectedly. It coasted just very slightly in the beginning but it soon kicks in.
All of the secondary characters in Choosing Happy are very entertaining and are very involved in the story. They also made me one click book #1 Somewhere in Between. I think I may of found another series that I will enjoy reading over and over again.
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 5 books99 followers
October 3, 2016
I read this well-written, contemporary romance in one sitting. In a genre that most times buries us up to our necks in May/December romances where the male is old enough to be a parent to the female, it was good to see the role reversal…and she wasn’t even old enough to be his mother!

Age difference isn’t the problem in this story, ‘acting your age’ is.

Madison Buchanan is a forty-two-year-old executive vice-president for an investment firm for startups, who acts more like someone half that age who’s been locked in a bell tower all of her life.

Her husband dumped her, her mother’s a shrew, her father could use a spine, and her boss is the lost King of the Douches. These are not the people who guide or even influence Madison…they are the people who manipulate her. And, she allows it. Did I mention she’s FORTY-TWO?

Enter twenty-nine-year-old Sean Taylor. After a few brief encounters, Sean asked Madison out. Of course, the first response is, “I’m too old for you”, and that’s fine. Had that been her final answer, then it would have been solely up to Sean to change her mind. But nope! She hemmed and hawed, and listened to her BFF, Margot, who did what? Manipulated her into going out with Sean, then several chapters later, manipulated her into going out with someone else because Sean was just a “rebound fling.” The people both Madison and Sean considered “friends” seemed anything but at times. *Exhales* But I loved Madison’s brother, Liam, because he loved his sister and only wanted her to be happy. No mind games, no manipulations.

I also loved, loved, loved Sean! He was open, honest and genuine. Madison…wasn’t. To be fair, maybe she didn’t know how to be, considering the type of mother she had (oh my god, her mother!), and the type of man (THIS guy!) she married. There are flashes of confidence and individuality in Madison, but they’re either 1) when she lets her guard down with Sean, or 2) when she’s angry…and drinking. An angry, drinking Madison is a force of nature and blows down everything in her path. Only problem is the regret she feels when she sobers up.

Sean has his demons and past issues too, and some he’ll have to deal with during the story, but he’s focused on Madison and determined to not let anything deter him. At some point, I wanted the same for him from Madison. Every time they took one step forward together, she would take three steps back…running, drinking and crying. It was maddening. Sean gave one hundred percent. Madison changed like the breeze…just depended on who the last person was she talked to. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and man…in this story, they did not mind sharing them. Only problem is their opinions quickly became Madison’s guidelines to “what should I do?’.

For all the heartache and confusion Madison caused Sean, the ‘ending’ was anti-climactic FOR ME. While the last family dinner scene is fantastic – it’s a scene Madison has starred in before. While the apology to Sean is more than well-deserved by him – it’s an apology Madison has given before, and it made the ending feel rushed. Personally, I needed more accountability from Madison. I needed a personal epiphany with the heavens opening and a choir of angels singing as Madison looked up and the knowledge of self was revealed to her.

Okay, I didn’t get that. And while it may sound as though I didn’t like this book…nope, I loved it! Because it DID reel me in and made me read it in one sitting; because it DID anger me and had me yelling at my Kindle (insert raised eyebrow look from husband across the room); because I was totally invested IN the story and cheering Sean on the entire way. The whole plot line with Bryan? Never saw it coming! Kudos to the author! One click this one today!

Profile Image for Katherine Paschal.
2,156 reviews57 followers
September 23, 2016
After Madison's husband of 20 years dumps her for his 19 year old intern, Madison decides she needs to change herself, outside and inside. After letting her best friend Margot give her a makeover, she feels more like who she was meant to be. On a night out to show off her new look, she meets flirty Sean. Sean is 14 years younger than her, gorgeous and fun, and surprisingly, completely into her. Madison is looking for a fling before she settles down with the right man, but Sean is looking for more, and it will be a fight for Sean to get Madison to that something more.

I have wanted to read the first book in the series, Somewhere In Between, for a long time so I jumped at the opportunity to read this story. Each book is a standalone, but characters from the previous book pop up all over the place. That being said, I think that this was not really the kind of plot that I personally like to read, with an older woman who has already lived one life trying to start over. That in no way makes this a bad book, it just was not as appealing to me as a first time love would have been (sure this is probably more realistic in today’s day and age). This was a solid contemporary romance about a woman trying to find herself again and the cute spunky guy who shows her she was never lost.

The book alternated chapter narration between Madison and Sean so the reader got insight into both characters, which I love in my romance books. I was instantly drawn to Sean (just like Madison was) because of his charisma, easy personality and confidence (without being cocky…well, too cocky). He was such a straightforward, sweet person who would do anything for the people he considered family. I loved how mature he was about coming to decisions and his feelings, and age and others opinions did not hold him back. Madison, on the other hand was a difficult character for me to like. She had no real personality, mostly conforming to other’s ideas of what she should be. Sure she had a new look, but that was due to what her friend choose (which luckily Margot has good taste) and at times stood up to people, but hardly ever did what she wanted without weighing others opinions. She was so emotional about everything and had a hard time just being honest and going for what she really wanted. I honestly felt that Sean was the more mature of the two, despite him being younger (and her hang-up on his age).

Overall this was a sweet love story that had a really good ending, as well as a large amount of angst and turmoil to get to the happy I love. There are a ton of side characters thrown in this book, so I am really curious who will find love in the next book in the series.

I received this title from the author in return for my hones review.
For more reviews visit my blog at http://smadasbooksmack.blogspot.com/
Profile Image for Jules.
1,378 reviews78 followers
September 24, 2016
It wasn’t until after I finished the book that I found out that Choosing Happy is the second book in a series. It can easily be enjoyed as a standalone.

Madison is a smart, successful, good -looking woman who should be strong and confident. However, she is anything but that. Her life is ruled by her family, friends, boss, and her ex-husband. Most of these people make her miserable with their expectations and not-so-fabulous advice, but mostly, it is her decision to placate these people and put their expectations ahead of her happiness that makes her unhappy. The shining light of this story is Madison’s growth. It takes the entire book, but she blossoms and decides to live for herself and to choose to be happy.

What does it mean to be happy? For Madison, it is having a career and not sticking with a philandering and patronizing husband. It also means a stylish hairstyle that is the antithesis of everything her mother believes to be feminine. Most of all, choosing to be happy means being with a man who loves and supports you--regardless of his age and regardless of anyone else cattily referring to you as a cougar. Funny thing about that age difference…when the tables are turned, you hear a lot fewer comments about a man dating a woman who is 10-15 years younger.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading a light romance about a mature woman; it was refreshingly different than the usual twenty-something, new adult romances that are popular currently. After all, love and romance don’t end when you turn thirty! The plot is well paced, and the story is told from both Madison and her love-interest’s POV. For the most part, it is a nice, starting-over romance with the little angst provided mostly from Madison undervaluing herself. My one criticism is the extensive descriptions of each outfit Madison wore; I didn’t feel it added much to the story to have a full description of the daily clothing choices. Overall, Choosing Happy is a light, quick read with a nice message about leading a life that makes you happy instead of miserably trying to meet others’ expectations for your life.

3.5 stars (an extra half-star for the mature heroine)

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Visit Book Junkie Reviews for more reading recommendations: https://abookjunkiereviews.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Miriam.
661 reviews44 followers
September 22, 2016
Age really is just a number. I know it's a huge hangup for some, but it really is just a number for me. My husband is five months younger than me. Not much of an age difference, lol, but he likes to tease me that I'm so much older than him. Yeah. Whatever. But I know couples who have fifteen years between them, some even twenty! I used to wonder, "How does that work?"

I honestly don't know because I'm not in their shoes but I do know that it just does. The heart speaks a language that only another heart that's attuned to it will understand. The differences that matter to the rest of world matter not to the hearts that are completely enraptured with each other, including age.

But for a woman like Madison, who lost her husband to a younger woman, it made sense that she struggled with her attraction to Sean. He was, after all, essentially the same age as the woman her husband left her for. How was this okay? Was this okay? Could she not only be okay with this but learn to accept it?

Most May-December stories are gender reversed. Older man meets younger woman type thing. This story is a sweet break in a genre dominated by older men. One aspect of this genre that is undeniable is self-discovery, usually in the older main character. Madison was no different and gained a world of perspective by being with Sean. He made her see things differently, act and react differently, feel differently. A good thing? A bad thing? Hm... Depends on how she wanted to see it.

There was no denying the attraction between Sean and Madison. Despite the baggage they carried, emotional and mental, their attraction burned bright and true. Giving into what they shared, acknowledging it was worth having, pursuing it with everything they had, made their love story beautiful.

Received from author for an honest review
Profile Image for Maria Vickers.
Author 63 books374 followers
September 20, 2016
Choosing Happy by Samatha Harris will send you on an emotional roller coaster, and before I forget…there is a bonus chapter that you can download after you finish he book. DO IT!! I warn you now, the extra chapter gives you a glimpse of Sean as a child and when things started to go wrong, and it is hard to read. Can I slap his father now?

Madison has been left by her husband for someone a lot younger than she is. Down and out, she meets Sean at the bar and decides to have a fling, but he brings something out in her that no one else has ever managed before.

For Sean, the older woman is so much more than she believes, and he wants her for more than one night. They both have baggage, but he wants to make her happy. The problem is, she listens to everyone and everything else, allowing them to control her life. Sean wants more for her and from her. Will they find a way to make it work? Will Sean show her that being happy, “choosing happy”, is better than the way she has been living? You have to read to find out!

Let me start off by saying that I liked book two of the Madison Square series more than the first book, but I liked that one too. LOL. The story is well written, and I liked how Samatha wrote the relationship between an older woman and younger man. I’ve seen other authors attempt and it is not always successful. The story itself and some of the topics it delved into made me feel slightly uncomfortable, but that is because of the feels and emotions it makes you go through. The writing is good and the story pulls you in. And did I mention the bonus chapter? Read it. Sean is a good guy that wants to make Madison happy. Madison is a woman that really doesn’t know how to live for herself. It is a story worth reading. 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Kali McQuillen.
1,717 reviews34 followers
September 20, 2016
Madison is a people pleaser. Always trying to make everyone else happy even if it makes her unhappy. When her husband leaves her for a younger model she decides she's going to do something to make her happy. She gets a makeover with the help of her friend and is amazed at how she looks. It gives her swagger. She likes what she see's when she looks in the mirror.

But do you know what she likes even more? Sean...She see's Sean while visiting her brother, the bartender at the bar where he works. It seems the attraction is mutual BUT he's so young. She doesn't think he would be interested in her. She's in her 40's and divorced, why would he be is her thoughts.

With the help of her friend, she begins a fling with Sean. Oh Sean, you seem to be the real deal and brings the playfulness out of Madison. Showing her what it's supposed to be like when you actually like the person you're with. Trying new things, just spending time with someone means so much more. Will it be enough for Madison to choose being happy or will she choose to make everyone else happy as she's been doing most of her life.

The author did a great job portraying the emotions, the struggles that Madison is going through. I was pulled into the story and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
684 reviews34 followers
September 27, 2016
Madison Buchanan's life has imploded. Her almost 20 year marriage to her cheating husband will be over as soon as she signs the divorce papers. Hurt, angry and weary Madison finally decides to take her life by the horns with the help of her vivacious friend Margot. One make over and shopping spree later she feels like a new woman. And when Sean Taylor, a gorgeous younger man sets his sights on her, Madison her life with change in ways she never expected.

I usually really enjoy an older woman, younger man story. I liked Sean, a lot, he was everything you could want in a book boyfriend. I understood Madison's turmoil over dating a younger man, having to deal with her overbearing and unsupportive family and an ex husband from hell. But, towards the end of the book a twist is thrown in that I didn't see coming. And, didn't like quite frankly, it made this believable story a bit unbelievable. I also had problems with how Madison treated Sean. I thought she was very unfair to him. And he was completely head over heels in love with her, but it didn't seem like she felt the same way. And then the ending was sort of lacking. All in all this is a good book, it just wasn't quite my cup of tea.
Profile Image for Jamie  Zishka.
803 reviews10 followers
September 20, 2016
Choosing Happy is the second book in the Madison Square series, but it can be read as a standalone.. I would suggest reading book 1 Somewhere in Between because it will help set a better background on Sean and give you insight on the other characters because they are mentioned in this book as well. I would give this book a 4 stars and highly recommend to others.

Madison was brought up to be a certain way, act a certain way and only date certain men, when she finds herself in a divorce and trying to finally find a life for herself.. she doesn't expect to find love again so she is set to focus on her career....

Sean has a great life, but he feels he is missing a piece.. all his friends are married or getting married having babies.. and he is the perpetual bachelor....

What happens when sparks fly when these two meet? Can Sean break down Madison's walls of insecurities or will he find himself hurt.... Can Madison let go of her fears and finally choose to be happy?

Get to one clicking to find out what happens! I am truly hoping there will be a next book in this series and for it to be Liam's book!
Profile Image for Melissa Miller-Mattern.
489 reviews9 followers
September 21, 2016
Reviewed for A Wanton Book Lover Blog

At 42, Madison seemed to have it all. The perfect job, the perfect husband, the perfect everything until life became not so perfect. Madison’s husband leaves her for his much younger assistant. Looking to make a change and “get back out there”, she allows her friend to give her a make-over. Sean is younger; 13 years younger than Madison but a chance meeting at a bar has peaked his interest in her. What is supposed to be a one-time fling suddenly turns into more but with their age-gap, her mother’s pressure, and figuring out what her new life will look like, Madison is not sure what her and Sean’s relationship should look like, even if, anything at all.

Choosing Happy is book 2 of the Madison Square series. It can be read as a stand-alone. Although for me personally, relationships between older women and younger men isn’t my cup of tea, Choosing Happy was well-written. The story flowed smoothly and the relationship portrayed between Madison and Sean was sweet. Choosing Happy is about taking chances and living for yourself; not by what society or your family thinks is acceptable.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
2,042 reviews17 followers
September 21, 2016
3.5 stars - Worth a reader's time

Madison reinvents herself after a painful divorce and she meets a much younger Sean. She's looking for a fling while he thinks he's found the one.
Both Madison and Sean are interesting characters, even though I have to admit to being "team Sean" through the ups and downs of their relationship. I had a little bit of a hard time relating to Madison and how much she let the people around her influence and control her actions.
The author makes a big deal about Madison's age, but to be honest she didn't behave like a woman who was in her early 40's. I didn't have an issue with her being older, but her behaviors didn't seem to line up with someone that mature.
I enjoyed watching Madison take hold of her own life and start to make her own way. Sean is truly one of the good guys and it was nice watching him get the ending he deserved. A great supporting cast rounds things out and adds a sense of humor to situations that could be tense.
I've now read both books in the Madison Square series and will definitely be back for more.
Profile Image for Irene.
748 reviews
October 4, 2016
3.5 stars

This book was alright for me. Yes there was drama but you thought you were reading about high school students not adults.

Madison or Maddie as her friends called her was a people pleaser. She did what others wanted her to do. Her parents, her husband her best friend. When it came time to divorce her husband she turned to her best friend Margot and decided to make a new start on life.

Maddie goes out and starts a new life after a divorce, she starts to date. However the guy is younger. Nothing wrong with that. You would think with Maddie being older she would be the mature one, and know what she wants out of life. She grew a back bone and put her parents in their place, her ex husband. Why is it when it came to Sean she can't seem to find those hidden feelings?

Maddie reminds me of the Katy Perry song Hot n Cold, she breaks up, makes up, then breaks up again. There was drama but really not enough to keep me interested. Like I said instead of reading about adults, at the end you thought it was high school teenagers.
Profile Image for Cheryl Whitty.
904 reviews14 followers
September 19, 2016
Choosing Happy is a nice, easy book to read.
Even though we have the love interest with Sean, and him being younger than her.
The real story was more about Madison learning to live her own life after her divorce.
Madison’s husband left her for a young intern,
and the final divorce papers have arrived and she feels old and washed up.
Her friend Margot takes her for a makeover to give her a boost.
Looking in the mirror afterwards she feel like a new women.
While in this state of mind she meets Sean at the pub where her brother Liam works.
We see a real struggle for Madison has been she always tries to live her life for other people.
Madison struggles with her parents, employer and even her best friend.
We see Sean hurt many times, he seems more mature than Madison at times.
Overall if you want a nice romance with HEO this the book for you.
I received this book for an honest review.

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