Hero by Samantha Young

  • Hero (Feb3)Title:  Hero
  • Author:  Samantha Young
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  February 2015 – NAL
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Alexa Holland’s father was her hero until her shocking discovery that her mother and she weren’t his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.

Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.

Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they’re on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again….  (publisher)

My take:  Hero by Samantha Young (the first book of hers I’ve read) is the story of Alexa and Caine – two very wounded people who’ve survived on sheer determination.

Caine is motivated to be successful in spite of his history. Alexa wants to live her own life and hopefully one day apologize to the person whose life was changed forever because of her father. I really liked these two characters. Young’s story was as I would expect for the two made even more enjoyable by their constant push and pull at work and outside of the office. Everything went up a notch about 75% in the novel and moved the plot forward in a way I wondered what the heck would happen next.

The epilogue had me smiling as I turned the final page. Hero is a steamy and addictive read and I look forward to exploring Young’s backlist the next time I need to escape into a good contemporary romance.

You Were Meant For Me by Yona Zeldis McDonough

  • you were meant for me (Oct7)Title:  You Were Meant For Me
  • Author:  Yona Zeldis McDonough
  • Genre:  Contemporary/Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  October 2014 – NAL Trade
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  What do you do when you have to give up the person you love most?

Thirty-five-year-old Miranda is not an impulsive person. She’s been at Domestic Goddess magazine for eight years, she has great friends, and she’s finally moving on after a breakup. Having a baby isn’t even on her radar—until the day she discovers an abandoned newborn on the platform of a Brooklyn subway station. Rushing the little girl to the closest police station, Miranda hopes and prays she’ll be all right and that a loving family will step forward to take her.

Yet Miranda can’t seem to get the baby off her mind and keeps coming up with excuses to go check on her, until finally a family court judge asks whether she’d like to be the baby’s foster parent—maybe even adopt her. To her own surprise, Miranda jumps at the chance. But nothing could have prepared her for the ecstasy of new-mother love—or the heartbreak she faces when the baby’s father surfaces….  (publisher)

My take:  You Were Meant For Me is a fast-paced novel about love – love of a child, a partner, a parent, good friends. The novel starts out with the probable suicide of the baby’s mother. Lucky for the baby, Miranda discovers her on a subway platform and makes sure the baby is taken to the authorities. Over the next few months Miranda steps forward to foster and then adopt the baby. A local writer interviews Miranda for a newspaper column which starts a chain reaction of events that will upend Miranda’s plans and happiness.

I thought it was an interesting premise and overall I enjoyed the novel. I liked it but had a tough time with almost every adult character’s self-centeredness at one time or another. Even Miranda dropped the ball a time or two. However, the author brought everything together at the end and I felt a bit better about the growth some of the characters experienced. I especially liked the direction Miranda’s life was headed.

This would be a good book to take on vacation. It’s a page turner, has attractive and affluent characters and some romance. I would definitely read more books by the author (this is my first). Included at the end are a Conversation with the Author as well as Discussion Questions.

When We Fall by Emily Liebert

  • when we fall (Sept2)Title:  When We Fall
  • Author:  Emily Liebert
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  September 2014 – NAL
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Ready for a fresh start, Allison Parker moves back to her hometown in the suburbs of New York. While she’d once savored the dynamic pace of city life, sadly, it lost its allure after her husband’s untimely death. Now, ready to focus on her art career accompanied by her ten-year-old son, Logan, Allison doesn’t anticipate that her past will resurface. When the wife of her husband’s best friend from summer camp takes her under her wing, things begin to spin out of control.

At one time, Charlotte Crane thought she had it all—a devoted husband, a beautiful little girl, and enough financial security to never have to worry. But behind her “perfect” facade lie a strained marriage and a fractured relationship with her sister. When “new girl” Allison arrives in Wincourt, Charlotte welcomes the chance to build a friendship. Before long, Charlotte begins to see her life through Allison’s eyes, and the cracks in her seemingly flawless existence become impossible to ignore.

As Allison heals from the loss of her husband—even wondering if she might be ready to date again—Charlotte feels more distant from her loved ones than ever before. The emerging friendship between the two women appears to be just the antidote both of them so desperately need…until everything falls apart.  (publisher)

My take:  Emily Liebert’s new novel is about the possibility of friendship – between women and women and men. It’s about forgiveness and having the courage to begin again. Overall, I enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed how Liebert tells a story! There were times when the grown up “mean girls” got on my last nerve but that didn’t stop me from reading. I’ve heard stories about these mean school moms but I couldn’t relate.

What I liked most was Allison’s story. Her courage and sense of what is truly important in life made her stand apart from some of the women she met in Wincourt. She and Charlotte were so different from each other that I wondered if they’d be friends a year later. Charlotte wanted her husband to see that she could be friends with a quality person like Allison instead of her usual superficial friends. She was so insecure and knew she was losing her husband but couldn’t seem to stop herself from sabotaging her marriage. I also enjoyed the support characters of Elizabeth, Charlotte’s sister and Dempsey, a handsome guy from Allison’s past. They added a lot to the story.

When We Fall would be a perfect book to take on vacation. It’s a page-turner in that I didn’t want to stop reading because I had to see where things would go for Allison and Charlotte. I look forward to see what Emily Liebert writes next.

At the end of the novel there is a conversation with the author as well as discussion questions.

The Never Never Sisters by L. Alison Heller

the never never sisters (June)

  • Title:  The Never Never Sisters
  • Author:  L. Alison Heller
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  June 2014 – NAL Trade
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Sometimes you just need to get away….  
Marriage counselor Paige Reinhardt is counting down the days to summer, eager to reconnect with her workaholic husband at their cozy rental cottage in the Hamptons. But soon a mysterious crisis at Dave’s work ruins their getaway plans. Paige is still figuring out how to handle the unexplained chill in her marriage when her troubled sister suddenly returns after a two-decade silence. Now, instead of enjoying the lazy summer days along the ocean, Paige is navigating the rocky waters of a forgotten bond with her sister in the sweltering city heat.
 As she attempts to dig deeper into Dave’s work troubles and some long-held family secrets, Paige is shocked to discover how little she knows about the people closest to her. This summer, the self-proclaimed relationship expert will grapple with her biggest challenge yet: Is it worth risking your most precious relationships in order to find yourself?  (publisher)

My take:  I love reading about family dynamics and marriage. I think L. Alison Heller did a great job with both and found myself relating to a few things. All of the characters are interesting and real. When I say that I mean I know people who are similar. They are believable.

The story wasn’t predictable and I enjoyed where she took her characters as they grappled with small and large issues. I wasn’t sure what impact their actions/decisions would have which, along with Heller’s engaging style, kept me reading almost nonstop.

The Never Never Sisters is a novel about love, truth, and trust between family members, spouses, and new friends. I enjoyed it and recommend you add it to your summer reading list. I’ll be adding the author’s first novel The Love Wars to my list.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 L. Alison Heller grew up in Connecticut and attended Bates College in Maine. After graduation, she wandered dreamily authorPhoto L Allison Helleraround the eastern seaboard, temping and interning and shelving books before landing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she enrolled at the University of North Carolina School of Law. In 2000, she graduated from UNC with honors and moved to New York City and toiled in several law firms, growing increasingly nostalgic for those days of dreamy wandering. Alison opened her own family law and mediation practice in 2006 to help couples divorce with their sanity intact. Alison currently lives in Brooklyn NY with her family. Alison is the author of THE LOVE WARS (Penguin NAL). Her second novel, THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS (Penguin NAL), is scheduled for June 2014.
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Purchase The Never Never Sisters:

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
BAM
INDIEBOUND
GOOGLE PLAY
POWELL’S