Craving Perfect

Craving Perfect

by Liz Fichera

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A Life Less...Hers

Grace Mills craves being perfect almost as much as she craves raspberry scones. In fact, her life would be perfect if only she could lose ten more pounds, if only the pastry café she co-owns with her sister would turn a profit, if only the hottest guy at the gym would look her way...

And then "if only" comes true. Grace is suddenly straddling two lives: an alternate reality where she's a size two, weathergirl celebrity and being chased by the hot guy. Only Mr. Gorgeous isn't very nice, and she doesn't get to eat...anything, much less bake!

In her other life, she's starting to realize her sister is less than happy running the family café, and hunky Carlos, the gym's janitor, seems to have a secret crush on her. Maybe there's more to him than meets the eye...

Grace is living two lives and it's beginning to cost her. Is there a way to pick one...that's perfect?

76,000 words

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426891939
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: 07/25/2011
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 847 KB

About the Author

Liz likes to write stories about ordinary teens who do extraordinary things.  Born in Park Ridge, Illinois, Liz moved to the American Southwest after college, never expecting to live more than one year among cactus and people who'd never seen snow.  She was wrong.  To learn more, please visit

Read an Excerpt

"Grace, can you hear me?"

They say your life is supposed to flash before your eyes right before you die.

But what about when you're spread-eagle at the bottom of a stair-climber at your local gym, wearing an oversized T-shirt and spandex shorts that were designed for women lucky enough to wear single-digit dress sizes? What then? What should flash before your eyes when you're dying of embarrassment?

Four faces knelt over me.

Somehow death seemed less painful.

"Grace, please! Say something!"

Just my luck, only two of the faces showed genuine concern: Kathryn, my older sister, and Kathryn's boyfriend, Eddie Cahill. Kathryn kept stroking my cheek and urging me to speak while Eddie adjusted a towel behind my sweaty head. The third face, the one that belonged to the bleach-blonde, overly Botoxed, ridiculously thin Alexandra Summers, was only concerned that my round torso blocked her ability to use the stair-climber. In Alexandra's defense, there were only three of these sadistic contraptions in Goldie's Gym, and they were popular at six o'clock in the morning.

But only the stunned expression on the fourth face mattered. It was my reason for living. It was the reason I dragged my tired body to the gym each morning before work, and the reason why I'd sworn off onion rings and lattes with whipped cream and starved myself to lose ten whole pounds.

The fourth face belonged to Max Kramer.

His face melted me. Even the hint of his smile made my knees wobble.

Max was also the reason why I had tumbled off the damn machine.

I'd been fantasizing about him as I did every morning whenever I watched him bench-press 250 pounds. Each glorious purple vein and arm muscle bulged magnificently with every lift, and I wondered what it would be like to squeeze his biceps or brush my fingertips across his sculpted chest. His sleeveless, black T-shirts were always the perfect combination of too snug and dreamy. And don't get me started on what I believed existed beneath his shorts. I drank him in each morning, top to glorious bottom. Max Kramer was the best-looking thirtysomething I'd ever seen. Unfortunately, I was a twentysomething with absolutely no nerve and another ten pounds to lose.

Well, better make that fifteen, to be safe.

I even adored Max's faint Philadelphia accent, not that he'd used it much on me, although one morning he did say "excuse me" over my head when he accidentally elbowed my ear as we both reached for a clean towel at the front desk. That single moment lifted me for a whole week. I couldn't stop thinking about it, analyzing it, replaying it in my mind and remembering how the sunlight from the front glass doors had spilled across his golden head like caramel sauce. For one, glorious moment, he'd been all mine. It didn't matter that he'd snatched the last towel and I had to wait ten minutes at the front counter for the next clean batch.

I played this little game with myself each morning, a game I knew I'd win most of the time. If I spotted Max at the gym, I'd reward myself with one of the raspberry scones I made at the Desert Java, a small café in Tempe near the university I owned with Kathryn. And if Max didn't show for his morning workout, I'd force myself to run an extra fifteen minutes on the treadmill. Truth be told, I would much rather enjoy Max and a raspberry scone, in that order. Stat.

Now that I'd fallen off the stair-climber, Max looked at me like someone studying a beached whale. That was why I'd have given anything to curl up and die and pretend my fall didn't just happen in front of his size twelve Nikes.

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Craving Perfect 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
lildirtydesigner More than 1 year ago
Grace Mills is an average gal looking to loose an extra ten pounds so the gym hunk will ask her out...not only does she fantasies about him, she idolizes him. Who she not who he finds "attractive". In reality, she is a baker and co-owner of a cafe with her sister. Not only that, she has just started seeing a great guy who sees her as who she is, not who she wants to be. What she wants is what she can't have...or can she? You need to watch out for what you wish for. At one moment she is Grace running on a treadmill....the next second she falls and wakes up as her ultra ego Callie. Callie is not only beautiful but has it all including the dream guy from the gym. Which life does she go with? Is what you have perfect or is craving more better? This is a cute, typical chick-lit made for a seat at the pool or a raining night in. It is also comes with recipes including a raspberry scone and soapapillas....which is good because you are craving them throughout the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun, fast-paced read that kept me guessing. Loved it.
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Review by Shannon: Not sure how to review this one, as I'm still scratching my head over it. Don't get me wrong, it was a cute if you don't delve too deep into what's going, but how am I supposed to review that? Then we have the story told in multiple points of view (which isn't always my favorite format) where one of those points of view may or may not be real. Confused????? Well, I'll give it a whirl. Grace Mills runs the Desert Java cafe with her sister Kathryn and wishes for 2 things: that she was the perfect female (who has blonde hair, a rocking size 2 body and unrealistically small size 6 feet) and that Max Kramer will notice her. As our story unfolds, she's managed to get one of those things...he's noticed her all right, as she takes a massive crash off the treadmill at the gym. The one person who does notice her is Carlos Flores, law student, part-time fighter and janitor at the gym. With some coaxing from his sister, he finally works up the nerve to ask Grace on a date, certain that she is "the one". Callie Collins is apparently the perfect woman. She has gorgeous blonde hair, a fabulous size 2 body, marvelous size 6 feet with which she can wear wonderful stiletto shoes and the object of every woman's desire as a fiance, Max Kramer. Just one problem, Callie is really Grace in disguise. By some means of mythical treadmill transportation, Grace gets transported into Callie's body and not must deal with Callie's annoying personal assistant, Alexandra Summer, her job as a newscaster and the feeling of being less perfect than she was before. That's where I get hung up in this story. Did Grace really need to jump back and forth between her and Callie to really realize that she was worth more as a person that what she looked like on the outside? I would have thought a few more dates with Carlos and maybe Max showing his true colors at the gym and Carlos sticking up for her would have gotten us to the same place in the epilogue. The parts of the story that I enjoyed the most were the Grace and Carlos chapters. Could have done without all the rest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ReaderMary More than 1 year ago
A fun read! This is the type of book that I want to tell all my friends about. Sweet love story, relatable characters and heart warming and believable messages. Loved it!!
SmittenWithReading More than 1 year ago
My Review: This was a fun little story with an interesting twist. Grace is dissatisfied with her life, but through the twist of a magical treadmill, gets to see that life isn't always better even when it looks perfect. The way that this book is written is pretty original. Each chapter is written from a different point-of-view switching between Grace, Carlos, and Callie (who Grace becomes when she gets on the treadmill.) What was interesting to me was the Callie/Grace story line. When she gets on the treadmill, Grace ceases to be that alternative reality, Grace never existed. Instead she becomes Callie- someone who actually exists and has the "perfect life." Grace simply takes over her body with no memories from Callie's life. I think that I personally would have preferred that the alternative reality would have featured just a different version of herself, but that's just me. I think the fact that she didn't know anything about Callie's lifelike it a whole lot more difficult. Grace is constantly trying to lose another 10-15 lbs. Callie is a tanned, perfect size 2. Grace's main incentive for working out at the gym isn't actually to lose's so she can ogle Max (a hottie that doesn't know she exists.) Callie is engaged to Max. Grace's measure for perfection is Alexandra. In the alternative reality, Alexandra is Callie's personal assistant. While Grace is obsessed with Max, she starts to develop a friendship with Carlos, the janitor at the gym. He's also a part-time fighter and full-time law student, so he has a lot going on in his very busy life, but he finds himself becoming more and more drawn to Grace. The best part of this book was Carlos and his sister Ellena...and even their extended family at Mario's. Great characters...all of them and I really enjoyed the scenes in the book that were spent on them. Overall, this was a fun book. It kept me entertained and riveted enough that I read it all in one sitting. It would make a GREAT beach read...
booksandlaundry More than 1 year ago
Craving Perfect is the perfect fun beach read. I enjoyed it, though the whole time traveling/warped alternate life thing made no sense. Amazing how writing and story is great that you throw out and ignore the obvious. Grace is warped into her alternative life where she is Callie, a news anchor who happens to be dating her secret hunky crush. She becomes Callie while exercising at a fast speed on a treadmill at her gym. Yeah, that's where the question marks start coming up. We get no explanation how this happens, but I just went along because I liked where Liz Fichera was taking me. In her real life as Grace she has gotten the attention of Carlos, the janitor at her gym. He seems like such a genuine lovable nice character, though he might be a little to romantic considering he said I Love you too quickly for my liking. A bit unrealistic, especially these days when being a commitment-phobe is ordinary and expected. So not 2011, if you know what I mean. I really enjoyed the lessons Grace learns during these time warps. Her mind is opened to so much, and she sees things clearly when in Callie's shoes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JudyKobrzycki More than 1 year ago
Liz Fichera's new book Craving Perfect is a MUST read this summer. Just when you thought you knew the drill for contemporary romance, Liz shows off her writing skills in Craving Perfect. Her creativity will keep you interested! I could not put this book down!! This book is a guilty pleasure without the guilt! The story is enchanting AND has a great message that applies to us all. It is a great get away book that you feel good about reading. I wish I was a writer right now so that my words would convey properly to you how good this book is! Enjoy!!
Nas-Dean More than 1 year ago
CRAVING PERFECT by author Liz Fichera is a fantastic escape! I was completely blown away by Grace Mill's run on the treadmill and she went to the gym just to ogle Max's hot body! Well a girl has to have an inspiration to lose weight. Imagine a girl rewarding herself strawberry scones after a vigorous workout. But she was craving the perfect body and the perfect man. And when she got her perfect body she found out that she could never eat enough. Her favourite occupation of baking was not of use to her after getting her perfect body. Guess what? She also found out that Max was not so perfect after all. Craving Perfect is a lovely story of sisterly love and responsibilities and of getting what you crave for. Liz Fichera did a fascinating job with this story. It is liberally spiced with humor, pathos and heartfelt emotion. It is potrayed with vivid atmospheric details. I felt myself in the Java Cafe Grace ran with her sister Kathryn and could almost taste the coffee! I liked this authors style. Her use of witty dialogue brought the characters alive!
HMGardner More than 1 year ago
Craving Perfect by Liz Fichera has all the ingredients for a great contemporary romance. Beautiful women, handsome men and delicious pastry. Fraught with poor self-esteem issues, but a strong personality, Grace Mills is a character I can really understand and root for. Carlos Flores isn't your typical cookie-cutter alpha male. He oozes charm and intensity but he's solid and dependable. I really enjoyed this very unusual novel. An important lesson about the grass not always being greener on the other side. Craving Perfect is the perfect way to treat yourself to a charming love story. Bring it on vacation or to your favorite coffee shop and don't forget to order the raspberry scones. Or you can bake them at home because Ms. Fichera graciously included the recipes for the delectable treats she writes about in the back of her book.
DorthyN More than 1 year ago
An inspiring tale of finding yourself, living life and letting go. Liz Fichera sure knows how to draw you in and keep you glued to the page. Especially in Craving Perfect, her new release due out July 25th, 2011. The heroine of this enchanting adventure, Grace Mills, is disillusioned about her life and wants "the perfect life". For her this is weighing 10 pounds less, having more success and being noticed by the buff hunk at her gym. Suddenly Grace finds herself in an alternate reality where she has all that and more, and its perfect, or is it? Follow Grace as she jumps between these two completely different worlds trying to figure out which one really is her perfect life. In one she is just plain Grace Mills baker extraordinaire who no one seems to notice, well except maybe Carlos the hunky janitor at her gym; in the other everything is perfect, she is the stunning news woman Callie Collins who is noticed and beloved by all and nothing could be better, or could it? This book earned all 5 stars that I awarded it. Once I picked it up, I didn't want to put it down. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it had me cheering for the heroine from beginning to the end. Its hard finding the perfect life, but someone has to do it. FAVORITE QUOTE: "I was alive, unfortunately. Today wasn't my day to die. No dear departed relatives would welcome me into a white light. It was just another day to be humiliated. Typical."