Read Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center Online


A year after getting divorced, Helen Carpenter, thirty-two, lets her annoying, ten years younger brother talk her into signing up for a wilderness survival course. It's supposed to be a chance for her to pull herself together again, but when she discovers that her brother's even-more-annoying best friend is also coming on the trip, she can't imagine how it will be anythingA year after getting divorced, Helen Carpenter, thirty-two, lets her annoying, ten years younger brother talk her into signing up for a wilderness survival course. It's supposed to be a chance for her to pull herself together again, but when she discovers that her brother's even-more-annoying best friend is also coming on the trip, she can't imagine how it will be anything other than a disaster. Thus begins the strangest adventure of Helen's well-behaved life: three weeks in the remotest wilderness of a mountain range in Wyoming where she will survive mosquito infestations, a surprise summer blizzard, and a group of sorority girls.Yet, despite everything, the vast wilderness has a way of making Helen's own little life seem bigger, too. And, somehow the people who annoy her the most start teaching her the very things she needs to learn. Like how to stand up for herself. And how being scared can make you brave. And how sometimes you just have to get really, really lost before you can even have a hope of being found....

Title : Happiness for Beginners
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781250047304
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Happiness for Beginners Reviews

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    2019-01-18 18:25

    Omg! I had such a love/hate relationship with this book but I loved it so much more! I'm so glad I read it for one of my book groups or I might have missed it! I did get this through the library Overdrive but I have since put the paperback on my Amazon wishlist. Sometimes there are just those books that get to you. It might not be the whole book, it might be bits & pieces. It was just that for me. There were parts that got to me that I want to insert into my own life. Just little bits that I can put in a notebook to help with my journey with mental illness. This book is just a novel that touched my heart in some weird way. And that's all that matters to me. Mel ❤️

  • Christy
    2018-12-23 15:38

    5 stars! “Don’t be a Helen.”Happiness for Beginners wasn’t just a story, it was a journey. This author will take you on a journey of epic proportions. It’s witty, fun, and fantastic. I wanted to amaze everybody, including myself. My own personal campaign of shock and awe.Helen Carpenter has just made the list as one of my favorite heroines ever. This thirty-two-year-old divorcee decides after a year of being alone, she needs an adventure. So she goes on the adventure of a lifetime. Forget the fact that she’s not a hiker, isn’t huge into nature and has never done anything like this before… she decides to take a walk on the wild side. To go on a retreat into the wilderness. For three weeks! She has her reasons, things she wants to accomplish and she’s bound and determined to do it. • Find a deeper spiritual connection to nature.• Push myself beyond my physical and emotional limitations.• Rise up from my own ashes like a phoenix.• Toughen the hell up.• Become awesome.• Kick the wilderness’s ass.• Earn a damned certificate.(I really, really wanted a Certificate.)Helen isn’t alone on this three-week long survival course. Nope. Her brothers best friend who happens to be ten years younger than her is going too. When she finds out that Jake will be there, she’s not excited in the least, but she comes around. Jake is in his early twenties and has had the biggest crush on Helen since the moment he met her. Jake is a wonderful hero and even though he can be a little dense at times, I still loved him to pieces. I truly loved the relationship Jake had with Helen’s brother Duncan. How he taught her to see him a different way. It was one of my favorite things about this one.“You’re going to start seeing him with kinder eyes. I know you are.”“I am?”
“Yep,” Jake said, nodding. “Once I show you how to see him the way I do, you won’t go back.”
Though there is a great love story incorporated in this book, that is not the focus. Helen and her journey and growth is the focus. These three weeks in the wilderness make up the bulk of the book. It’s a fabulous journey with some fantastically fun characters who have crazy nicknames for one another and have a heck of a lot of fun together on this crazy trip. As I finished the book and was talking to a friend about it, she mentioned how she thought this would make a great movie. I agree wholeheartedly. This would make a fantastic movie. I would love to see this story on the big screen! Helen achieves most of her goals during her time in the wilderness. I’ve got to tell you, I think she is just an epic character. She was snarky, funny, and completely relatable. I want everyone to read this book if only to meet Helen! She made me laugh and I just adored her. This isn’t the kind of book I normally pick up so I’m glad a friend recommended it and I made time to read it. I really loved it and give it a 5-star rating!

  • Katherine Center
    2019-01-22 12:29

    Okay--Accidentally clicked on the rating area and wound up giving my own book 2 stars. So then I had to go back and give it FIVE. Of course! But now it looks like I'm going around reviewing my own books. Which I guess I am--but only by accident. I DO give it five stars, though!! :) My favorite of them all.

  • Inge
    2019-01-11 12:10

    This was such an excellent and inspiring story and everything I was looking for in the previous travel books I’d bought but ended up not liking. This story was about overcoming your fears, being content with the person you are today, and finding happiness in little things. Add to that a stupidly cute romance with plenty of humour and a survival story in the middle of the mountains, and you’ve completely got me hooked.Helen was an extremely likeable protagonist. She wasn’t perfect in the slightest – she was pretty negative, for one, and managed to blame her little brother for everything – but the fact that she never stopped trying to better herself made her all the more awesome.On top of that, there was a subplot in which she and another girl, Windy, had feelings for the same guy. But instead of turning that into an excuse to hate on the girl, Windy actually became a true friend and Helen even defended her on several occasions. I found that to be so refreshing from all this girl-on-girl competition we see everywhere else. Windy wasn’t just “the girl competition”, but she was an actually adorable character who studied the science of happiness. That’s where Helen learns the technique of Three Good Things: you can teach yourself to become a more positive person by focussing on the good things each day. This is what I’ve been doing myself for about a year now, as well as keeping a gratitude journal to jot it all down, so I really connected to this girl.I loved this book from start to finish, and will definitely be looking out for more of the author’s work. Lovely!

  • [~Ami~]♥Sexy Dexy♥
    2019-01-03 11:18

    4 starsI really liked this. I thought there was quite a few 5 star worthy face grinning moments. I felt like the adventure could have been more dangerous or life threatening than hiking. A few things at the end I was a bit let down by and maybe in another book I would have been annoyed by one or two things. But in the end I really wanted them together. Helen was awesome in a funny but bitchy kind of way. I really enjoyed it and it's one of those books I'll be happy to read again.

  • Brenna
    2019-01-08 13:15

    This book completely owned me. I picked it up to read one chapter before bed to see if I was into it and it's less than 24 hours later and I cannot wipe the grin off my face. This is definitely a new top favorite!Helen is 32, has been divorced for a year, and decides it's time to get her life back. The night before leaving for a three week wilderness adventure she runs into her brother's best friend, Jake. She finds out he is also going on the same trip and he ends up weasling a ride with her. Helen thought Jake was her little brother's annoying, immature friend. But it doesn't take long for her to see she had him all wrong. That's where the story begins.Everything about this book was perfect. I am in awe of how much I loved this. It completely took me by surprise. The characters, the banter, the dialogue, the writing. It was so witty and real. I felt every emotion while reading and was hooked the entire time. I fell head over heels for Jake. I seriously could not love him more. I could read about Helen and Jake for many more books and never tire of them. I am definitely going to check out Katherine Center's other work now.

  • ❃**✿【Yasmine】✿**❃
    2018-12-23 15:14

    4 STARSGenre: Romance – age difference, adventureCover: 8/10 Writing: 8/10Heroine: 7/10Hero: 9/10Humour: 2/10Hotness: 1/10Romance: 6/10Extra book Details: Heroine POV; 1st person. Stand-alone. Happiness is for Beginners was a nice change of pace for me. It's not solely based on the romance, I'd say, 50/50; 50% romance, 50% about the heroine finding herself.Our heroine is a divorced 32 year old first-grade school teacher. After a year of wallowing after the breakdown of her marriage, she decides to kick start her life, grow some balls and go on the scariest hiking experience she can find.When attempting to drop off her dog at her brothers apartment she bumps into his room-mate, her brothers annoying and immature best friend Jake. Who's ten years younger, loves whales, and as it turns out, is going on the same hiking experience.Happiness is for Beginners includes sharp banter, adventure and risk, an amazing hero and a lot of personality. It really was an extremely good read.

  • Sabine
    2018-12-25 18:24

    5 glowing, laughing,crying, wonderful, all-time-favourite starsI loved, LOVED, loved this book so much! I had to create a new Goodreads shelf for it: all-time-favourite!I laughed A LOT...then I cryed a bit and then I laughed while I was crying. I learned to look at things a different, better way. And while I did I had the greatest time ever.In the beginning I thought, this book is kinda funny, then I thought it is really good, then I thought it is amazing and when I thought it can't get any better it did.Did I mention that I don't like books that make me cry because I want books to make me happy and not sad. This was different. I enjoyed every minute of it and I know I will come back at some point and read it again (which I normally don't do).I don't know why there is not much talk about this book - it so deserves it. Please, go get yourself a copy and read it!

  • Jennifer Kyle
    2019-01-18 12:24

    5 + “Don’t be a Helen” STARSFUNNY * ANGSTY * BUTTERFLY INDUCING * FAB CHARACTERS * JOURNEY BOOK *Straight to my Favorite Shelf this novel goes with a bullet! The price tag had me hesitant because let’s face it anything over five dollars has me nervous and skeptical to try. Somewhere along the way I became so invested in the characters that nothing could stop me from fully immersing myself in this book. The heroine is Helen Carpenter. She's a thirty-two years old bitchy-ish big sister and divorcee who lets her younger brother, Duncan talk her into signing up for a wilderness survival course in Wyoming. Duncan is ten years younger than her and she has always found him annoying and and his best friend, Jack equally so. Jake asks her for a ride to the three week wilderness course and she reluctantly says yes. Helen has known Jake for years and has always seen him as her little brother’s slacker friend. The great aspect of this story is that he has harbored an ENORMOUS crush on her for six years and counting!! ”I just wanted you. Every time I saw you, or heard about you, or saw your photo in Duncan’s room.”“And now that you’ve got me here, how does it feel?”“Too good to be true.” He said.”Both deciding that the kiss they shared before they embark on their survival course is a mistake (NO) has Helen ordering Jake to pretend he doesn’t know her once they arrive at Back Country Survival Group. Very quickly, Helen realizes that everyone in the group is at least ten years younger than her and that Jake has easily become the most popular guy there. While our sassy heroine is struggling in the back of the pack trying to make the best of the experience. Helen kicks herself for what happened between her and Jake and her self esteem takes a huge hit as the whole group sees Windy and Jake as the “it” couple. ”Who’s that?” I said, feeling transparent even as I did. “You know Jake! He’s the EMT. He fixed your knee! And your blisters!”“Oh!” I said. “I thought his name was Jack.” “Isn’t he dreamy?” she said, letting me fall behind her again. “I don’t know,” I said. “I guess.” “He’s the cutest guy here!” she said, daring me to challenge her.“If you say so.” “Can you think of anybody cuter?”I shook my head. “They all just look like second graders to me.”The banter is so point, the chemistry between Jake and Helen is palpable, the survival course experience was so vivid and Helen learns so much about herself. At times, I was laughing out loud, cringing, I even teared up several times when it came to Jake showing Helen the Duncan/her brother that he sees and the obstacles that Jake is facing in his life.”You’re going to start seeing him with kinder eyes. I know you are.”“I am?”“Yep,” Jake said, nodding. “Once I show you now to see him the way I do, you won’t go back.”Helen conquers so very much in the mountains of Wyoming when it’s time to come home I almost lost hope for our couple to get together… but have no fear this one has swoon worthy ending!”Longing for you gave me something to hope for. Even when I was hopeless.”It’s such a special feeling when you read a story and its characters feel so realistic that you truly felt like you were right there with them through every embarrassing moment, every kiss, every fall and their happy ending. ”Getting what you want doesn’t make you happy.”

  • Erin
    2018-12-26 18:17

    I'm a pile of mushy goo, right now. I need to review this book because it is one of the best I've read. Pure reading bliss!"To get stronger and toughen up. To care less. To rise up from the ashes of my existence like a really badass phoenix and give life the finger, at last."The best way for me to compare my feelings on this gem of a book is: think of being in the woods and breathing in the crispiest breath of fresh air. Take it in, and send it back out. I felt that, I felt the freshness of the book, the story of her on her wilderness trip might of had something to do with that, but trust me in that, the story is so good for the heart, and the soul. If you are a 30 something like Helen and I, I think you would really love this journey.Happiness for Beginners starts with Helen taking her crazy anti-social dog to her college aged brother. He is to dog sit while she goes off to this extreme hiking trip. Only problem is Duncan (her brother) flakes out on her. And she can only find his best friend Jake. <3 Only Jake isn't the annoying pot head kid she remembers, he has grown up, she kind of likes that, but cant let go of her past judgments, and will not give into that small voice, telling her he might be something more.Jake is such a perfect guy. He is smart, has a way to him that makes him so lovable. He sees the best in every person, no matter their flaws. And he has had a MASSIVE crush on Helen, since the day he met her, at 16. Jake always had this certain mystery to him the whole book, and it worked so well. I mean we get to know him deeply, but he just has an ora to him that people flocked to."He taught you something. He taught you how to let somebody love you a little bit. That lesson right there is enough to change your life."Hello Helen, I am in your head, sister! I was there with you at every moment in your journey. I get your type of messed up self doubt thinking.The way she reacted to life is so relatable. When she would get jealous, man I was GREEN with it. When she would hold back, and never let others see her struggles or pain, I so understood that to. And at one point when she finally has a moment of clarity, I was bawling my eyes out. It was almost cathartic for her, of course, but for me as well!“I just wanted to be good at this. And competent. And tough. And, ultimately, just: anybody but me. I was tired of being a disaster. I was tired of being a trampled-on flower. I wanted to be awesome. That wasn't too much, was it?”Not many times I've loved a book as much as this. A truly beautiful, and real story. I highly recommend this and will most likely be my favorite this year!A little note to all who are reading this, yes the price of this ebook is $9.99, but ill tell you I'd pay twice as much for it. Sometimes you get what you pay for, and this is worth every penny. Maybe check with your local library if it's too much for your budget. The library is my home away from home. Get the overdrive app too, if you don't have that yet.

  • BookLover
    2019-01-20 18:34

    SUCH a feel-good, uplifting story. Happiness for Beginners had all the elements of chic lit story but went more in depth with the characters so that it read more like fiction.We met Helen Carpenter a year after her divorce as she was about a embark on a soul searching trip of self-discovery. Why Helen chose to go on a dangerous wilderness tour I will never understand, but then I’ve never been what you would call an “outdoors-y” type. (I am giggling as I wrote that last sentence because anyone who knows me and read that description would likely roll their eyes and say “yeah, that’s putting it mildly”) Anyway, I would likely do my soul searching down the self-help isle of a book store but Helen chose this wilderness adventure, which is cool too.Jake, ten years younger, and Helen’s brother, Duncan’s best friend, was in the same wilderness tour. He was always Duncan’s annoying and bad influence friend to Helen, but on the trip, he became more of a distraction in the very important life lessons she was trying to achieve.“It was supposed to be a spiritual journey. It was supposed to signify my bouncing back after the worst year--or six--of my life. Duncan's goofy friend could not be coming, too. He was not invited."But this is something I'm doing alone," I said matter-of-factly, in a mind-melding tone that always worked beautifully on the first graders in my class."Well," he said, "it's twelve people plus the instructor, so you won't exactly be alone."Not a first grader, then. "But, I mean, alone like on my own.""On your own with eleven other people," he confirmed. "And me.”To say Helen did not fit in with her tour group would be putting it mildly. I cringed right along with her and then my heart broke for her as she faced up to some things about herself. At each misstep, my love for this character cemented itself. I laughed and cried.This was a great read.

  • Julie Ehlers
    2018-12-22 12:38

    I wanted to read this novel because its oft-used plot--a person who's been through a difficult experience decides to go on an Outward-Boundish trip as a form of renewal--has always appealed to me. I knew it was going to be some light reading, and that's what I was in the mood for at the time. What I didn't quite expect was just how predictable this book was going to be. Everything about it was so obvious--when the main character mentioned that she kept a list of all her goals tucked inside her bra, I knew that was going to become a plot point later, and it did--a very contrived one, at that. When their wilderness guide told the group never to step on fallen logs, because they might be rotted and you could fall and injure yourself, I knew that (view spoiler)[someone was going to fall and injure himself. (hide spoiler)] When the love interest indicated that he had problems with night blindness, and also had some "bad news" that he wasn't going to share just yet, I knew that he was (view spoiler)[going blind at 22 (hide spoiler)]. And that is indeed what the bad news turned out to be.This was essentially one of those books where everything happens in service of plot, even if it makes no sense at all. So the male love interest declares his long-standing affection for the main character early on, and she rebuffs him even though she likes him too ... but then spends the whole rest of the book wondering, every time his attention seems to be focused elsewhere, if he still likes her. I can't even count the number of times I thought to myself, Omigod! He ALREADY TOLD YOU he likes you! When he gave you that Pablo Neruda poem, that meant he likes you. When he kissed you and told you you were beautiful, that meant he likes you. When he told you he'd basically been obsessed with you for six years, THAT MEANT HE LIKES YOU. Not that difficult. But, of course, without this completely unrealistic fake conflict, there'd be no book at all. That's a problem.My other problem with this book was that, even though it was emphasized over and over again that this was a really difficult wilderness program and that people had died on it, we never really got to see them do anything difficult. The entire program seemed to consist of hiking uphill for about three miles every day. Not that easy if the trail is steep, of course, but hardly death-defying. A few more details would have helped a lot and would have made the plot about more than just the main character obsessing over a guy for three weeks.Finally, I really, really didn't think it was necessary to (view spoiler)[kill off the narrator's dog (hide spoiler)], although I should have seen it coming given the lengthy passage where she talked about how he'd been her best friend throughout the past difficult year, and I didn't appreciate the jokey way it was dealt with.As for what I liked about it, it was quick and entertaining, and there were some funny bits. There was also some interesting information about positive psychology and Buddhism, imparted quite awkwardly through a super-enlightened character who seemed to exist solely for this purpose, but interesting nonetheless. Also, I want to give credit where credit is due--this book was absolutely competently written, and when we're talking about chick lit that isn't always the case. I didn't have a single "How did THIS get published?" moment, and for this type of book that's saying a lot. Thus, I would recommend this for people who like chick lit and don't mind its formulaic nature. If that doesn't describe you, I would suggest staying away.I received this ARC via a First Reads giveaway here on Goodreads.

  • Myrna
    2019-01-11 14:11

    Perfect light-hearted, laugh-out-loud novel after reading some heavy and serious ones. It also has some deep moments, great plot, and character development. Loved Helen and rooted for her as she tried to put her life back together. Highly recommended to fans of Sophie Kinsella. I need to look for Katherine's other books!

  • Anna (
    2019-01-10 11:39

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE. Already gave two copies of this book and forced people to read it. They loved it too. Perfect mix of humor & personal growth.

  • Linda
    2019-01-21 16:28

    What a great book! Happiness for Beginners is the story about Helen, a thirty-something who decides to go on a 3 week hike in the woods to find herself after a really bad year. It was funny, sweet, inspiring and even a little emotional- at least for me. There were a few times that I really related with Helen and was moved to tears. This was such a refreshing read. I found it hard to put down and it kept me up late to finish. I could definitely see myself reading this again.

  • Lauren
    2019-01-02 15:12

    Posted on Life Between ReadsThe best books are the ones that completely exceed your expectations. You know, the ones where you have an opinion or assumption formed before you even read the first page, only to have those opinions or assumptions completely blown out of the water? That’s what happened to me with Happiness for Beginners.Ehhh, looks like a Wild knockoff, my pessimistic self said as I requested it on NetGalley. But you liked Wild, so you might like this one, too. Plus it’s almost spring. Hiking equals spring. I loved this book so much. Sure, it had three things in common with Wild: a divorce, a woman trying to find herself, and hiking in the backwoods. However, the differences outnumbered the commonalities.For starters, Center’s style really reminded me of a Giffin or Weiner novel, mostly in the witty, snappy sense. I really loved how she constructed Helen’s character, and I felt like I WAS Helen by the end. In fact, Helen and I were so similar, it started to creep me out.Though hiking and the backwoods set the scene and were a large part of the story, it wasn’t about the blisters, sore muscles, grueling hikes, or grime. It was a story about finding happiness. It wasn’t a story about some crazy enlightening trip—it’s truly about a shift in thinking.For the first half of the book, Helen was a negative Nancy. She suffered heavily from self-pity. She refused to believe she could be loved and she was just…so negative. I can’t find a damn synonym.So, at 57%, I posted a Goodreads status updated that said, “I loved you Helen, until you turned into a whiner. :(” because her whining was alright up until that point, and then it became obnoxious. She’s very upset that the group of hikers are all young fraternity and sorority folk, and she’s “ancient” at 32-years-old. That’s actually not ancient, but that’s okBcay. But when she complained about not being included in their conversations, a choice SHE made, I got angry.And then at 58% that thinking changed and I had to revise my update to “Nice, Helen! Total attitude change. Guess the whining was part of the self improvement process. I spoke too soon.” Because I did.The meat of the book focuses on the meaning of happiness and how we can bounce back from it. How happiness isn’t about the acquisition, it’s about appreciated what you already have. It’s about gratitude. Happiness isn’t a destination. Happiness isn’t hiking for three weeks in the Wyoming backcountry. Happiness isn’t having the perfect man, the sleek car, the big house, or the fat bank account. Happiness is taking stock of what you have and really being grateful for it.If you’re looking for a feel-good, light romance that maybe has to do with hiking, this is your ticket. I highly recommend it. I rated it a 5/5 on Goodreads.Huge thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Griffin for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

  • Tracie Payne
    2019-01-19 14:19

    I listened to this one and it was fantastic! Great story, awesome characters and quick and witty dialogue. It had everything!

  • Dallas
    2019-01-04 18:38

    I simple loved this book. It was like a warm cup of tea with a cookie on the side for good measure. Comforting, sweet, a little bitter. Perfection. I could not put it down (literally, I read it in one sitting!). My mood is lifted, my heart light. Beautiful written, great characters. Charming!

  • Chris Conley
    2018-12-23 14:35

    Wow. I loved this. The search for happiness is such a human endeavor. Helen’s own trek to figure out her version of happiness and, in the end, peace felt very real to me.

  • ♥Rachel♥
    2019-01-08 16:11

    The audio performance was wonderful and funny. Ms. Gavin did an excellent job with both female and male voices.I thought the story was cute and funny, but I wished Helen and Jake weren't (view spoiler)[at odds for most of the book even though it was clear they were meant to be together. I also could've done without the whole Windy distraction/plot, altogether. Miscommunication, assumption and withholding of information made this romance land on the frustrating side for me. I like my romances to have more couple time, but I'm happy how it all worked out in the end. (hide spoiler)]

  • Paula
    2018-12-26 13:33

    “The things we remember are what we hold on to. And what we hold on to becomes the story of our lives.”I don't even know how to express my feelings about this book. I do know that I really adored this book! And honestly, I didn't even realize how much I NEEDED to read this book until I did. It's so well written, inspiring, full of heart, beautiful and memorable. P.S. I adored Beckett and Duncan. If you've read this book already, you'll probably laugh at me. But I did! :D

  • Kathy V
    2019-01-13 14:12

    4.5 stars

  • 1-Click Addict Support Group
    2019-01-03 11:10

    Oh. Oh, WOW! I loved this book. I loved the whole experience of reading it -- the feel of the *gasp* paperback in my hands, the late night, just-one-more-chapter atmosphere, and the story. What a great story. After a hellish year -- six years, actually -- Helen Carpenter decides she needs to do something for herself. Something to improve her outlook on life, something to kick start the new Helen. And that something is a three week survival course in Wyoming. Just Helen, glorious nature, a freak snowstorm, some rutting animals, a too-young instructor, a bunch of college kids...and Jake, her annoying little brother's equally annoying best friend. Surviving the adventure is just the start. It opens her eyes, and helps her learn. And when it does, she realizes the past isn't what she remembered or made it, the future is full of possibilities and the present...well, it's survivable, especially when you focus on your happy. What can I say, except...READ THIS BOOK! It was an absolute gem. A delight to read, an unputdownable book that I simply adored. Happiness for Beginners wasn't what I was expecting, nor is it like anything I've read recently. It made me happy. I smiled big, then bigger. I chuckled, then laughed. Hell, I think I even snorted at one point. It was unexpected (the book, not the snorting, although that was a touch unexpected too, honestly).Happiness for Beginners didn't just help me find my happy though. It also made me cry, made my heart pound and made me think. I sat back and took stock -- there were some surprisingly deep and meaningful moments in this brilliantly written book -- and listened to what the characters were saying. And what they were saying made sense to me. It was like a revelation. It made me do something I was a little aghast at...I dog-eared pages, so I could remember the words on them easier. Actually, I tried to highlight many, many passages here, but um...well, it was an actual book, not an e-book, so I had to do something. And wanting to remember these beautiful, thoughtful words seemed like a damn good reason to deface a book, wouldn't you say? There was simply so much to love about this book. It's hard to narrow it down, but in the spirit of wonderful Windy and her advice to find three things from each day that made you happy, I'm going to try:1. Helen... She was a fun, funny and lovable lead. I loved her insight, her insecurities, her perseverance and her bravery. God, I wanted so much for her. I got angry for her. I got angry AT her. I wanted her to achieve her goals, to achieve them alongside her. 2. Jake... Come on, the guy was beyond amazing. Smart, unexpected and just kind of perfect. He had one line in particular (which, because of dreaded spoilers, I can't share here) that just made me love him all the more. His story come from nowhere and he was magnetic. Katherine Center absolutely nailed his characterization. 3. Pickle... The dog may not have been central, may not have been much at all, but hell, she was kind of the lynchpin. She made this story possible, she propelled it, she changed the tone of it and she was a bada**. I could probably go on, but I won't. Simply know that this is romance at its finest. Nothing dirty or over-the-top (not that there is anything wrong with those things -- I happen to love them too), just a exceptional, interesting, engaging story with a beautiful message, wonderful characters and the ability to cram ALL the feels into 312 pages. ~ Beth, 5 stars

  • Jenni
    2019-01-05 13:39

    5 Feel-Good Book Stars My three good things of the day: 1) reading Happiness for Beginners 2) Jake 3) Helen.“And I gave you Jake because you absolutely never believe in yourself – and he finds a way to believe in you every damn day.”Let me say I love a good love story but I honestly could do without all the sex most of the books I read have (crazy, right?!). As long as I get a “look” here and a “touch” there and “moment” over yonder, I’m a happy camper. There’s just something about the beginning of falling in love and the tingles that come along with it. Those are probably my favorite kind of love stories, not too much but just enough, which I think are hard to find (or I just don’t look very hard since let’s be honest, I still do love those sex scenes). Anyway, that’s why I say this book is a feel-good kind of story. It was falling in love again for Helen (with an H) and Jake (J-Dog) getting the love he’s wanted for so long. Also a big part of the “feel-good” feeling Happiness for Beginners gave was the amazing, exhausting hike they ventured on and how it helped Helen (“Holdup”) grow and change and end up giving Duncan, her brother, a chance. This was part love story, part adventure, part aspiring. He shook his head. “I just had this crazy feeling like you could save me.”I realized I’d been holding in my breath and finally let it out. “I can’t even save myself.”“But you did. You have.”It’s funny. Even though I knew the ending was going to be what I was hoping for, at 2:30 in the morning when I’m exhausted-debating whether or not to call it quits for the night but having a tough time putting the book down with only a hundred pages left, I still had to sneak a peek at the end to solidify I was getting what I wanted. That quick glimpse I took kept me going to till the very end.He shook his head in amazement. “But how? When did that happen?”I thought about it. “It might, actually, have started when you almost peed in that Evian bottle.”He smiled and gave a nod. “Works every time.”I borrowed this book from the library but it’s one that will find a home on my bookshelf so I can open it at any time and read a page here and there whenever I want. This is a story where I always want to remember it ALL. The only thing I regret is not savoring it longer, I just couldn’t put it down.Note to author: I think this would make a pretty great movie!

  • Victoria
    2019-01-04 16:36

    I’ve read and enjoyed a few of Center’s books over the years, so I always keep an eye out for her latest books. This one opens up engagingly with Helen Carpenter, heading to a three-week wilderness survival experience to kickstart her life after her divorce a year earlier. But from the start, her carefully laid plans begin to fall apart. Her younger brother proves himself too irresponsible to care for her dog and on top of this, her brother’s best friend and roommate begs a ride along with her out to Wyoming - he too will be on this course.Sparks of irritation begin to fly in a different direction, but even those throw Helen further off her plan. Through it all, though, she does emerge as a changed person from her trip - and in getting to know Jake she better understands her own brother and even herself. It’s a very absorbing read and each of the characters truly come to life - so much so that I really wish Center offered more details on the what-happens-next... I just wasn’t ready to say good-bye to any of these characters! Amongst the laughter and tear-inducing scenes, Center strikes some surprisingly profound chords too - I especially like this line: “Happiness is more about appreciation than acquisition.” It’s an emotional read, but a satisfying one, too, and I will continue to keep an eye out for more of her books, that’s for sure!

  • Kristen
    2018-12-27 12:36

    If you were to write a fun, engaging book just for me, this might be it. I just loved it. I could totally relate to Helen-with-an-H and saw a lot of myself in her. The story was fun and easy to get into. It had a gentle mix of positive psychology, a hefty dose of wilderness-as-healer, a nice helping of romance, well drawn-out characters...and writing that I really connected to. I smiled and felt totally satisfied when it ended. What more can a girl ask for?One of my favorite passages from the book:" will hand each one of us our fair share of despair and loss and suffering - and then some. That's certain. But just as certain: It will also give us slices of chocolate cake, and sunny, seventy-two days, and breezes that rustle the trees. Good things are so easy to overlook, but that doesn't make them any less there. A forgotten song will come on the radio. A stranger will help you change a flat. A lady walking by will love your red scarf. A mistake will turn out to be a blessing. An old friend will forgive you. A new friend will make you laugh."

  • J
    2019-01-22 14:22

    Great book, great writing, intelligent characters but certainly (especially the heroine) not without flaws. But her self introspection worked for me and in the end I think she totally realized what was important in life and what wasn't.Just a few gripes (my personal preferences): I would have liked a little more story about the actual day to day wilderness experiences and I wanted an epilogue about 100 pages longer. I loved Jake and wanted to know a lot more about what happens to him down the road even though I'm sure Helen was there right by his side all the way. Oh, and I would have wanted one small scene with her, her ex and Jake all in the same room.

  • Pam (YA Escape)
    2019-01-17 15:12

    Reread July 2016. If I could give this more than 5 stars, I would. I think this is one of those books that I will reread once a year. It just makes me so HAPPY.Original review below:All. The. Stars. All. The. Feels.I fell in love with this book. Happiness for Beginners is the perfect combination of romance, humor, and finding yourself. Helen is HILARIOUS and so relatable. And Jake. Move over, top book boyfriend, Jake has taken your spot.After reading it, I went out and bought every single book this author has written.READ IT!!!!For more reviews see (YA) Escape from Reality

  • Em
    2019-01-04 14:32

    Loved this. So many wonderful one liners too!

  • Heidi (Yup. Still here.)
    2019-01-21 12:27

    I am officially a fan of Ms. Center's writings. The best part of the Goodreads Giveaway process is that sometimes you discover "new to you" writers and that is what happened many moons ago when I first joined GR. At that time I was mush less picky and entered a ton of GR Giveways just to enter them and as luck would have it I happened to win one of Ms. Center's earlier books and really enjoyed it. Since that time I have read nearly all of her books and while they are not earth shattering by any means they contain a nice balance of real life drama, humor, and romance. This book was no exception and while it was somewhat predictable I really enjoyed it. This is one of the first books I have listened to on audio of Ms. Center's and the narrator did a decent job. All in all it was a nice light read and had great lessons about self discovery and appreciating the people right in front of you.