I enjoyed the book, but felt that it lacked some in depth. The characters were well developed. The plot was intriguing. It is the type of books that I will let my daughter read and know that she will enjoy it. I would highly recommend it to readers she 14-25. That being said, I would recommend it as a fun light read for anyone.
(4.5 Stars I LOVE re-tellings, especially when a story takes a life of its own, exactly as this one did. This modern version takes on characters belonging to two different religions, which I found fascinating.
Emily steps in as a parent when her parents die and deals with all kinds of drama, from an older half-brother kicking them out of their home, to a difficult younger sister, to a spunky little brother, to a forbidden love interest, to a new job opportunity. To be honest, there were enough little changes that I had to second guess the outcome.
The characters are strong and solid, which really adds to the flavor of the tale. There's plenty of tension, romance, and excitement as Emily and her family, co-workers, and friends navigate their way through the ups and downs of life. I love characters that are easy to relate to, especially when they have such inspiring ways to deal with their challenges. The plot moves swiftly, yet is believable and I felt that I was a part of things, which made it all the more fun for me.
My only complaint--the ending was a little rushed and I wanted an epilogue or something to tie the thing off with a nice, tidy bow.
Content: mild romance (clean kissing), mild-moderate religion (nothing preachy, but rather informative)
*I received a copy from the publisher. A positive review was not required and all thoughts are my own.*
I was blown away by this book! I really loved the whole thing. It's pretty much the perfect contemporary romance.
I loved Emily. She's really unselfish. When her parents died, she gave up her job she loved, her condo and pretty much her whole life to take care of her two younger siblings. But now it's been 9 months and her older half brother has decided to get married and that means that Emily, and her siblings Annie and Bryce, will no longer have a place to live. I loved the way that Emily's main concern was that Bryce have a place to live in the area so that he could finish out the school year, and that Annie stay in LA to work more on her acting career. So unselfish.
I loved the way she met Joel. Joel is Jason's fiance's brother. Joel is going to be remodeling the kitchen for Jason and Rachel because they are Jewish, and they need to have a Kosher kitchen. I loved Joel, he's amazing with Emily's younger siblings. Emily and Jason have a huge connection, but Emily knows it can never go anywhere because she wants nothing less than a Temple marriage. She knows just how much work Joel would have to go through to convert.
The plot of this one takes you all over, from life in busy, crazy LA to life on a ranch in small town Utah. There are tons of conflicts going on, making the plot come to life and almost jump off the page. I loved the way they were mostly resolved, but some of them left me wanting more. I'm really hoping for more to find out just what happens to Emily and Joel and Annie and Bryce!
I loved this book so much! Go grab this one and read it for yourself!
Sense & Second Chances was an enjoyable read. I will admit I was a little thrown when the main characters were suddenly dating. It seemed like that was mentioned before they'd really gone out. I felt like I'd skipped a page or something between where they met and talked to being an item. But, other than that I enjoyed reading about them.
It was interesting seeing how Emily hurt so much by sticking to standards, but then seeing it turn out really well in the end. That was important. Sometimes we may think that it's not worth it, but this was a good demonstration that although we might not be immediately blessed for staying strong, in the long wrong it will be good.
Seeing Annie have a moment of weakness where she let her standards slip really had some devastating results. It was also important to see how judging played into the story. We all do it, but sometimes we really judge unrighteously. It isn't up to us to determine someone's intentions. Of course we need to be careful, but "casting the first stone" is important to keep in mind. I know I often fail at that.
This was a clean and entertaining read.
I enjoy Jane Austen adaptations for the most part, except when it follows the original story and dialogue too closely and just changes the setting. Fortunately, that was not the case here, and the details of the story felt new and original while giving a nod to the plot it was based on. Instead of wealth and social class being a hindrance to the romantic relationships of Emily and Annie, it is a difference in religion that prevents Emily from pursuing Joel, while Annie is dealing with the dynamic of having high moral standards and a spotlight on her acting career when Drew sweeps her off her feet. I liked that the ranch Emily inherited provided a way for her to be self-sufficient, even though she had to leave L.A., and it was the renovation projects there that kept her interacting with Joel. The grief Emily and her siblings are still dealing with brings a depth and poignancy to the emotion of the story, and I connected with the feelings of the characters as they navigate the new circumstances they find themselves in. The special friendship Emily shares with Joel is complicated by their chemistry and attraction for each other, and even though I was frustrated with her choices about their relationship, I was glued to the pages to see how everything would come together in the end.
This is an LDS fiction novel, and it was definitely written with a Mormon readership in mind. Readers who appreciate clean romance may also enjoy it, but might not understand the significance behind Emily's conflict over starting a long-term relationship with a man of a different faith.
(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)