Is it possible to love someone too much?
Always considered the beauty of the family, the youngest Brennan sister, Sarah, remains deeply in love with her husband of ten years. Boone Walker, a professional baseball player, travels almost year-round while Sarah stays home and cares for their two children. Her love for her husband is bottomless—so much so that her sisters say it will end up hurting her.
Living apart most of the time makes life difficult, especially since Sarah often wonders whether Boone is sharing his bed with other women on the road, even though he swears he’s been true to her since his infidelity three years ago. While she wants to be happy and move forward in her life, Sarah constantly fears that Boone will break his promise. Now with Boone facing yet another career change, tension rises between the two, adding more stress to an already turbulent marriage. Emotionally exhausted, Sarah can’t cope with yet another storm. Now, she must either break free from the past and forgive Boone completely, or leave him behind and start anew . . .
I have been steadily reading all the novels in the Brennan Sister’s collection, and was eagerly waiting for the third. As a lover of sports, I was curious to get a peek in on Sarah’s life, the wife of a pro athlete. It was really just as interesting as I thought it would be – the travel, the unknown, the other women, the infidelity that she and Boone had to deal with. I really did like Sarah, but her issue was clear and the focus of the book – she loved her husband so much she stopped caring about herself. It was an intense journey to read through, watching as she sunk further and further until her breaking point, and then how her family rallied around her to help her get back to being herself. It’s always interesting to read about affairs and what becomes of the husband and wife because of it. I really didn’t know how Sarah and Boone’s marriage would survive but I wasn’t sure I could see it ending either. I thought the ending of the book was great, though.
There’s another story embedded through the book, that of Lauren Summer. At first I was really confused at to what her story was about and how it had any relevance to Sarah’s journey. But as the book continued on I saw how the women’s lives crossed paths, and really enjoyed reading about Lauren’s life as well. This book was hard to put down, and I really recommend this series.
More reviews from this series:
Don’t miss these new releases for September 2013!
September means back to school, changing leaves, football and cooler temperatures. Lucky for us there are several hot new books coming out this month to keep us warm and cozy as we mourn the passing of another summer. These are some of September’s highlights.
The Good Wife by Jane Porter – September 3, 2013. This book is the final installment in the Brennan Sisters trilogy, which I’ve really enjoyed. I’m a huge Jane Porter fan. The Good Wife is Sarah’s story. Sarah is the baby of the Brennan family and she’s married to a professional baseball player who had an affair. As we learned in the earlier installments, Sarah stuck it out, but their marriage is strained. The book asks the question, “Is it possible to love someone too much?” Can Sarah finally let go of the past, or is it time to leave her husband and start over? I’m hoping that in addition to Sarah’s story, we’ll get lots of updates on the rest of the Brennan family!
Coming Clean by Sue Margolis – September 3, 2013. This is the story of Sophie, who is tired of cleaning up after her husband Greg – literally. After Sophie leaves him, Greg has no trouble bouncing back. Sophie however, finds herself facing all kinds of uncertainties at home and at work. When she begins to lose her heart to an old high school crush, Sophie realizes that shiny and new isn’t always best. Her journey of self-acceptance leads her to a place she least expects.
You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert – September 3, 2013. A friendship that’s gone wrong is the premise of this fiction debut. Katherine and Laney were best friends, but something happened long ago that severed their friendship and sent them both on unexpected paths. When Katherine and Laney receive a shared inheritance from a neighbor, they’re forced to confront their past. Will the bonds of friendship and sisterhood bring them back together or are some wounds too deep to mend? Early buzz on this one is good!
New Money by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal – September 10, 2013. This is a modern day take on the rags-to-riches story. Savannah Morgan has no direction, no plan and still lives at home with her mother in South Carolina. Then she discovers that her father, a man she never knew, has passed away. Surprise, surprise, he was a billionaire media mogul who left her a fortune. Of course, there’s a catch. To claim her inheritance, Savannah must move to Manhattan and work for his global news corporations – alongside her half siblings, who are none too happy about her existence! Life in the big city is rife with sibling rivalry, corporate treachery and a complicated love life. Can’t wait to read this one.
The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks – September 17, 2013. I was torn about whether or not to include this one, as there could be some debate as to whether Sparks is considered Chick Lit (and I’m sure he’d say NO), but the storyline sounds intriguing and it’s a bit reminiscent of The Notebook. The movie version is already in the works, with a release date of Valentine’s Day weekend 2015. The book interweaves two stories. One is the love story of a 90 year old man and his deceased wife, which is told in flashbacks. The second involves a modern-day bull rider and a young woman, who are falling in love. When the lives of these four people converge, expect lots of Nicolas Sparks drama and, of course, tears.
Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves – September 17, 2013. This is the much anticipated sophomore book from last year’s Indy princess and author of On the Island. The cover is beautiful and the early reviews have me very excited. The book’s description starts with “What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?” Doesn’t get much more complicated than that. One night a local police officer, Daniel, pulls over the married (but lonely) Claire for a traffic violation. Before long, Claire is freelancing for the police department, where she and Daniel end up spending a great deal of time together. Soon, they find themselves in way over their heads. Will they cross the forbidden line?
The Partner Track by Helen Wan – September 17, 2013. This debut novel is full of drama relating to issues of class, race and sexual politics. Ingrid Yung is an Asian-American woman trying to make partner at a prestigious “boys’ club” law firm in Manhattan. An “incident” at the firm’s summer outing spurs the creation of a “Diversity Initiative.” Guess who they delegate to spearhead the effort? You guessed it. Not cool. This takes precious time away from the huge case Ingrid’s working on, one that will secure her partnership. Soon she finds herself at odds with her colleagues, including the firm’s Golden Boy, who just happens to be her boyfriend. This one sounds awesome!
I received a copy of The Good Daughter by Jane Porter in exchange for an honest review. I fell in love with the first book in the Brennan Sisters series, The Good Woman, and was anxiously awaiting this book to land in my mailbox. This novel focuses on Kit Brennan, a Catholic school English teacher who has recently broken up with her boyfriend of ten years to find true happiness. With her fortieth birthday looming on the calendar and no man in sight (after some horrendous online dating attempts) Kit evaluates what she really wants in life – a child of her own. But will her close-knit family be open to Kit going it by herself? When Kit is on a girls’ weekend she meets Mr. Wrong – but for some reason can’t push him out of her head. When a situation at school thrusts him back into her life, Kit wonders if her normally safe route is about to be shattered.
Another 5 star book! Just like with the first, I hated each time I had to put this down. I found myself literally breathless from time to time while reading, wondering what was in store for the characters. The Brennan family is so fascinating to read about, but it was heartbreaking to watch the mother struggle in her fight with cancer. It looks like Sarah’s story is coming next with the release of The Good Wife in September 2013, and once again I will be on pins and needles waiting for that one!
I received a copy of The Good Woman in exchange for an honest review. Jane Porter is a fabulous author, and I could not wait to pick this one up. Disappointment? Not here! I loved every second of this book, and my only regret was that I was reading it over a holiday weekend and couldn’t dive into it as often as I could. What makes me even happier is that it appears to be the first in a series about the Brennan family, and I can’t wait for the next book!
While the plot touches on each of the Brennan sisters – Meg, Kit, Sarah and Brianna, the main focus in on Meg. Mother of three, a doting wife, and a career woman, Meg has suddenly found herself unfilled with life. Her lacking passion in her marriage and the feel that she is always the one keeping the family together may have something to do with that feeling. When offered to attend a work conference in London with one her bosses, Meg accepts – and it changes everything.
Like I said, I just wish I had more time so I didn’t need to keep putting this down! I loved the family dynamic, the relationships between the sisters, and getting to know Meg. It is easy to see how conflicted she becomes, and it’s interesting to watch her make decisions and get to know her inner thoughts. Porter writes with a trait that makes her characters very genuine and very realistic, and that goes not just for Meg, but her three sisters as well. I absolutely cannot wait to read the rest in this series, and suggest you pick this one up!
Shey Darcy is having a hard time adjusting being back home in Texas. After living in New York City, working as a supermodel with her photographer husband and three sons, Shey is shocked to learn that her husband is leaving her- for another man. Unsure of where else to recover from her heartache, Shey flees to Texas, back to her country roots. Life doesn’t get easier for Shey after the move though. Her teenage sons have trouble adjusting to their new lives as well, Shey’s Southern Baptist mom won’t stop hounding her about her broken life, and Shey’s love from her teenage years enters back into her life- and Shey realizes she may not have stopped loving him.
When I read that She’s Gone Country by Jane Porter focused on a mother struggling with issues within her family, I worried I wouldn’t be able to relate well to the main character- as I am without a husband or children. But Shey’s story wrapped me in and commanded my attention throughout. The love story may have been a bit too overpowering between Shey and her ex-crush, Dane, but I really enjoyed the ending for these characters. As for the motherhood aspect, even though I am not a mom, it was so easy for me to understand the struggles Shey was feeling and coping with. Porter’s writing feels straight from the heart, like Shey opened up her diary for all to read. It is because that emotion, that vulnerability from the main characters, that makes this story so fantastic. A definite recommendation from me for She’s Gone Country!
Author Name: Jane Porter
Bio: Born in Visalia, California, I’m a small town girl at heart. I love central California’s golden foothills, oak trees, and the miles of farmland. In my mind, there’s nothing sweeter in the world than the heady fragrance of orange blossoms on a sultry summer night. My parents fed my imagination by taking our family to Europe for a year when I was thirteen. The year away changed me (I wasn’t a geek for once!) and overseas I discovered a huge and wonderful world with different cultures and customs. I loved everything about Europe, but felt especially passionate about Italy and those gorgeous Italian men (no wonder my very first Presents was Italian).I confess, after that incredible year in Europe, the travel bug bit, and bit hard. I spent much of my high school and college years abroad, studying in South Africa, Japan and Ireland. South Africa remains a country of my heart, the people, the land and politics complex and heart-wrenching. After my years of traveling and studying I had to settle down and earn a living. With my Bachelors degree from UCLA in American Studies, a program that combines American literature and American history, I’ve worked in sales and marketing, as well as a director of a non-profit foundation. Later I earned my Masters in Writing from the University of San Francisco and taught jr. high and high school English.
Currently: Jane currently lives in Seattle, Washington with her three young sons.
Titles: The Frog Prince, Flirting with Forty, Odd Mom Out, Mrs. Perfect, Easy on the Eyes, and She’s Gone Country.
Bio Retrieved from www.janeporter.com
The nominees for Best Cougar Novel:
Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter
The Cougar Club by Susan McBride
The Infidelity Pact by Carrie Karasyov
Please vote for your favorite by commenting below. Everyone who votes is entered to win!
The nominees for Best Novel made into a Movie:
Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter
My sisters Keeper by Jodi Piccoult
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Please vote for your favorite by commenting below. Everyone who votes is entered to win!
Q: Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
I did. Along with being a dancer and an actress! I love the arts and loved my books and reading has been my favorite past time since I was a little girl.
Q: How did you choose the modern romance genre, or did it more “choose you?”
It chose me. I’m an emotional person and I love stories with emotion—whether its tenderness, loss, hope, passion. From Little Women to Jane APride and Prejudice, I craved novels about love, family and connection. When I first started writing I imitated the authors I liked best, and romance happened to be among the genres I enjoyed. It wasn’t long until I was trying to write my version of the 80′s Desire titles and the Mills & Boons I read at thirteen.
Q: Your latest novel, She’s Gone Country, follows a former top model moving from her wonderful life in New York City to Texas after her husband leaves her.
Where did the inspiration for this story come from?
My childhood. I’m the granddaughter of a Texan who once had three cattle ranches. After my grandfather died during an accident on the Parkfield ranch, two of the properties were sold but Parkfield remains in the family today. I spent a lot of my childhood on the ranch, riding horses, tramping through tall grass, playing in the trickling streambeds. It was an idyllic childhood and one I really wanted to revisit in She’s Gone Country…..only Shey’s three boys don’t like the ranch life as much as I did!
Q: How were you able to secure an agent when you were first starting out?
I found getting an agent was harder than getting a publisher. Agents just didn’t love my voice or stories. I probably was a hardsell–writing really strong alpha heroes but in a sweeter hearth and home setting. What’s fun is that I’m finally writing those stories now and my readers love them.
Q: Do you think it is important for aspiring writers to sign up for writing workshops?
I think its important for aspiring writers to work on craft. The best writers I know are always learning and developing their writing chopx, and its doubly important for writers to know the craft and be able to learn how to make a good story absolutely brilliant. Do you have to go to workshops to learn how to do that? No. You can read books, listen to tapes, and work with other writers, but the key is to always be open to learning and getting feedback.
Q: I saw that you are from Visalia, CA- that’s where I was born! What did you love the most about this small, central California town?
I love the simplicity of growing up in a small town where everyone knows you and you have a lot of emotional and physical security. Visalia still remains my home in my heart. In fact I’m going there for a book signing on Sept 12th and can’t wait to visit all my favorite places and catch up with old friends.
Q: I read that you had the opportunity to travel and study abroad. Do you have a favorite location you were able to visit?
I love travel, period. I work to travel. I really do. And of all places I’ve been, is there a fav? Hmmm…I don’t I have just one! The reason I like travel so much is that it makes life feel interesting and new. I will say though that Italy and Ireland have always resonated with me but its also important for me to visit new places.
Q: What is your best advice for aspiring writers?
Write!!! Write and write and write and try to get input from editors and agents on your work. Don’t be afraid of criticism. It’ll make you a better writer and develop the mental toughness necessary to survive in this industry.
Q: If you could spend six months traveling, where all would you go?
I day dream about this all the time…I’d spend months in Greece, and then head over to Morrocco and Dubai. I’d love to explore it all and have lots of time to just hang out in places and read and write and people watch. People watching is the best part of traveling.
In My Mailbox: Week of August 15th
Title: Go Small or Go Home
Author: Heather Wardell
Received: From Heather Wardell
Synopsis: When massage therapist and aspiring artist Tess begins treating stressed but attractive hockey star Forrest, her art career soars due to his gallery-owning mother, but her creativity plummets under the weight of rules and deadlines. Soon, she’s lost the freedom and joy she’d always found in art. Is having her dream career worth losing doing her art her way, or can she somehow have both at once?
Title: Vivian Rising
Author: Daniella Brodsky
Received: From Stephanie DeLuca (Gallery Books)
Synopsis: Vivian Sklar has always depended on her wise and feisty grandmother—ever since Viv’s mother took off twenty years ago. When Grams dies, Viv feels hopeless and completely alone. As she searches for something to believe in again, Viv finds hope in a most unlikely place: the cluttered second-story walk-up of Kavia, an alarmingly perceptive astrologer. Viv is skeptical—she thinks horoscopes are as reliable as fortune cookies—but when Kavia’s first reading dissuades her from taking a train that later crashes, she’s hooked. Under Kavia’s guidance, Viv begins to process her grief and rebalance her life. Every prediction Kavia makes seems to speak directly to Viv’s life, and so far, the stars haven’t steered her wrong. It’s all finally going well, until the stars tell her something she doesn’t want to hear—that the bond Viv has forged with the insightful yet guarded Len isn’t meant to last. Now, she might just have to learn to have faith in herself…
Title: Seven Exes are Eight Too Many
Author: Heather Wardell
Received: From Heather Wardell
Synopsis: The fiercely private Madeleine-Cora Spencer is the last person who should be on a reality TV show, but when she’s shunned by a friend’s new wife because “you can’t trust desperate single women” her pain and humiliation drive her straight to the “Find Your Prince” dating show’s web site. Armed with date-appropriate clothes and a detailed game plan she arrives to meet her potential loves, only to be dumped… on a remote island with seven ex-boyfriends. Seven exes! Could this be any worse?
Title: Georgia’s Kitchen
Author: Jenny Nelson
Received: From BookSparks PR
Synopsis: At thirty-three, talented chef Georgia Gray has everything a woman could want—the top job at one of Manhattan’s best restaurants; a posse of smart and savvy gal pals who never let her down; and a platinum-set, cushion-cut diamond engagement ring courtesy of Glenn, the handsome entertainment lawyer who Georgia’s overbearing mother can’t wait for her to marry. The table is set for the ambitious bride-to-be until a scathing restaurant review destroys her reputation. To add salt to her wounds, Glenn suddenly calls off the wedding. Brokenhearted, Georgia escapes to the Italian countryside, where she sharpens her skills at a trattoria run by a world-class chef who seems to have it all—a devoted lover, a magnificent villa, and most important, a kitchen of her own. Georgia quells her longings with Italy’s delectable offerings: fine wine, luscious cheeses, cerulean blue skies, and irresistible Gianni—an expert in the vineyard and the bedroom. So when Gianni tempts Georgia to stay in Italy with an offer no sane top chef could refuse, why can’t she say yes? An appetite for something more looms large in Georgia’s heart – the desire to run her own restaurant in the city she loves. But having left New York with her career in flames, she’ll need to stir up more than just courage if she’s to realize her dreams and find her way home.
Title: Love in Mid Air
Author: Kim Wright
Received: SheKnows Book Club Selection
Synopsis: A chance encounter with a stranger on an airplane sends Elyse Bearden into an emotional tailspin. Suddenly Elyse is willing to risk everything: her safe but stale marriage, her seemingly perfect life in an affluent Southern suburb, and her position in the community. She finds herself cutting through all the instincts that say “no” and instead lets “yes” happen. As Elyse embarks on a risky affair, her longtime friend Kelly and the other women in their book club begin to question their own decisions about love, sex, marriage, and freedom. There are consequences for Elyse, her family, and her circle of close friends, all of whom have an investment in her life continuing as normal. But is normal what she really wants after all? In the end it will take an extraordinary leap of faith for Elyse to find–and follow–her own path to happiness. An intelligent, sexy, absorbing tale and an honest look at modern-day marriage, Love in Mid Air offers the experience of what it’s like to change the course of one’s own destiny when finding oneself caught in mid air.
Title: She’s Gone Country
Author: Jane Porter
Received: From BookSparks PR
Synopsis: Shey Darcy, a 39-year-old former top model for Vogue and Sports Illustrated led a charmed life in New York City with a handsome photographer husband until the day he announced he’d fallen in love with someone else. Left to pick up the pieces of her once happy world, Shey decides to move back home to Texas with her three teenage sons. Life on the family ranch, however, brings with it a whole new host of dramas starting with differences of opinion with her staunch Southern Baptist mother, her rugged but overprotective brothers, and daily battles with her three sons who are also struggling to find themselves. Add to the mix Shey’s ex-crush, Dane Kelly, a national bullriding champ and she’s got her hands full. It doesn’t take long before Shey realizes that in order to reinvent herself, she must let go of an uncertain future and a broken past, to find happiness—and maybe love—in the present.
Title: John Belushi is Dead
Author: Kathy Charles
Received: From Gallery Books
Synopsis: Pink-haired Hilda and oddball loner Benji are not your typical teenagers. Instead of going to parties or hanging out at the mall, they comb the city streets and suburban culs-de-sac of Los Angeles for sites of celebrity murder and suicide. Bound by their interest in the macabre, Hilda and Benji neglect their schoolwork and their social lives in favor of prowling the most notorious crime scenes in Hollywood history and collecting odd mementos of celebrity death. Hilda and Benji’s morbid pastime takes an unexpected turn when they meet Hank, the elderly, reclusive tenant of a dilapidated Echo Park apartment where a silent movie star once stabbed himself to death with a pair of scissors. Hilda feels a strange connection with Hank and comes to care deeply for her paranoid new friend as they watch old movies together and chat the sweltering afternoons away. But when Hank’s downstairs neighbor Jake, a handsome screenwriter, inserts himself into the equation and begins to hint at Hank’s terrible secrets, Hilda must decide what it is she’s come to Echo Park searching for . . . and whether her fascination with death is worth missing out on life.