Second Chance Sunday – Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Today’s Second Chance Sunday is brought to you by Trish Doller and her amazing debut Something Like Normal. Before I post the review let me tell you one thing: I read this book originally on Netgalley but loved it so much I went out and bought a copy just so I would have it always. You’ve been warned.

Second Chance Sunday – Something Like Normal by Trish DollerSomething like Normal by Trish Doller
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Published: June 19th 2012
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five-stars

When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.

Amazing!!!! Simply put this book was amazing! The story is told in such a way that it dragged me immediately. I wanted to be friends with Harper, hang out with Travis’ mom and date Travis. I wanted to be right in the middle of the action and at times I felt like I was.

Basically Something Like Normal is about Travis, an active Marine home on leave from Afghanistan for a month, and the adjustments he has to make to life back in the states. Before joining the Marines Travis was not the best of kids. He smoked pot, butted heads with his father over his lack of love for football, and had a girlfriend that was no good for him. Now back and bogged down with nightmares and guilt, Travis has to put the pieces of his life together. His once happy parents are anything but and his girlfriend is now with the last person Travis expected. Unsure where he stands in all of it or how to fit in Travis runs into the one person that could get to him. He runs into Harper, his first kiss and the girl he destroyed. Harper has the potential to make nothing the same for him again or to make him feel something like normal.

What I really liked the most about this book is the fact that it is told entirely from Travis’ point of view. I had read a military book previously that was told from the prospective of the female character and what happens while he was away. With Something Like Normal I got a look at what I really wanted to know, what happens when you come back, even if it is for a short period of time. Travis gave me that glimpse into what it is like to have everything feel off kilter and not to know which end is up. And it was done with humor and heartache and uncertainty. It is difficult to get the voice right for a guy. If you go too crass you can make the character come across as sounding, for lack of a better word, douchey. But Doller managed to make Travis sound genuine and loveable. No wonder Harper couldn’t stay away. I don’t think I could either. He kind of had a way about him that could just melt your heart.

Really, it is very rare that I will willingly give up sleep to finish a book in a full day, but this one I did and I don’t regret one minute of lost sleep. Doller’s debut novel is wonderfully done and should be praised. This one is definitely a keeper and I look forward to reading more from her in the future. Oh and how do I get a Travis of my own?! ♥

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Second Chance Sunday – Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

In honor of Super Bowl Sunday Second Chance Sunday is brought to you by:

Second Chance Sunday – Catching Jordan by Miranda KenneallyCatching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Published: December 1, 2011
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five-stars

ONE OF THE BOYS

What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?

To say I was excited for this book is an understatement. A book about football and cute boys? Sign me up. I mean how could you go wrong with two of my favorite things! And Kenneally didn’t let me down. She took what could have been a typical story of finding out what you wanted may not be what you need and made it into more than that.

Jordan is a funny, sassy, tough QB of her high school football team. She has the respect of all the guys on her team and her coach. She isn’t a girly girl or a primper. She is a tomboy that loves the game of football and wants nothing more then to play college ball and to gain the support of her NFL pro father. She has worked hard for this, her spot in life and doesn’t want it to be taken away. And then comes Ty. Ty literally flips Jordan’s whole world around leaving her feeling like she was sacked in the end zone, changing everything she thought she knew and wanted and complicating things.

Complicating things even more is Henry. (And in a complete fan girl moment I must admit I am head over heels for him. LOL). Henry has been Jordan’s bestie for ten years. The two of them are closer then close and when he starts acting weird Jordan is left grasping for something to hold on to. He backs off and Jordan freaks out because Henry is everything and I can’t say I blame her.

I have to say my favorite part of this book was the friendship between Jordan and Henry.
I loved how they were with one another. It is very rare to find a friend that is your soulmate and I truly think these two were that for one another. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every character in this book. From the other guys on the team to the cheerleaders, to Jordan’s parents. Every single one of them added to the story, but Henry and Jordan were the shining light.

Miranda Kennally’s debut was an amazing mix of smiles and tears and laughter and yearning. Add in a Tom Brady and a Nomar Garciaparra mention and this girl is sold! Awesome awesome book. Can’t wait for more from her.

 

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Second Chance Sunday- The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

truth

Title: The Truth About Forever[Amazon]
Author: Sarah Dessen[website]
Publisher: Penguin Group, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: borrowed/paperback
Stars: 5 out of 5

Publisher Description:
That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.

But sometimes unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

My Thoughts:
It’s hard to capture the amazing feeling I got from reading this book. It was just pure, complete, total love! I hated to see it end but I didn’t want to put it down. There was something about every single character that you just ended up connecting with and finding endearing. Macy was so real trying to be in control of everything after loosing one of the most important things in her life and not having the chance to do anything about it. She felt that being perfect would keep her world together and she did everything in her power to do just that. She needed order and structure and that was how she lived until she met the best people to come into her life. The 5 people that worked at Wish catering were the exact opposite of the neat structured monotony that she had been living in over the last year and a half and it was just what she needed.

And what can I say about Wes…WES! Le sigh. The boy was hot and perfect and the perfect companion for Macy. The build of their friendship may have been the absolute best part of the book. They were real and honest with each other and in the process vulnerable without even realizing it. Wes is the kind of boy you dream of. Perfect with his imperfections. I really hate to see him go.

Seriously out of all the books I read this year, this was one of the most well told stories. I would mind reading it again and again and see once again how everybody grows and changes. And I would absolutely recommend it to others for sure. Highly great read!

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Second Chance Sunday – Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Over the past few years I have read some really greats books that I have reviewed over on Goodreads. Wanting to share the love I am starting Second Chance Sunday. Second Chance Sunday will consist of a book I have read, loved and gushed about and think it deserves a second look-d-lou so I can share the love.
And what better way to start off Second Chance Sunday then with none other then Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson:

summer

Title: Second Chance Summer [Amazon]
Author: Morgan Matson [website]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Purchased/Hardcover
Stars: 5 out of 5

Publisher Description:
Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

My Thoughts:
Some books reach you on such an emotional level that they quickly become a part of you. Second Chance Summer did exactly that. It was by far one of the most exquisitely written stories about love, loss, and second chances. It is a story of hope and trust and opening yourself up to the unknown even when it gets scary. It’s a story of growing up.

I was immediately pulled in by the story of Taylor. Since she was younger the one thing Taylor was good at was running when things got hard. A middle child with a genius older brother and a ballet protege younger sister, Taylor never really found her place in her family. She felt like the let down, the disappointment, of the family. The only place she ever really felt like you fit in was at the lake house her family went to every summer until she was twelve. With Henry her first crush/boyfriend and Lucy her best friend, Taylor knew she belonged. But in her 12th summer, the last year they went to the house Taylor did something that split them apart and instead of sticking around to fix things she ran and never saw them again. Fast forward 5 years and Taylor’s whole world is coming in on her. Her father has been diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and only has the summer left. Wanting to spend time with the whole family they pack up and go to their summer house. Now Taylor is not only faced with the memories and people she once left behind with no explanation, she now has to face the fact that in a few short months she will no longer have her father there for her. In a summer of second chances and making memories Taylor has to decide flight or fight.

I really don’t think I have the words to describe how much I not only loved this book but how it touched me in a way others books haven’t. Pancreatic cancer has been a huge part of my life. I’ve lost someone very close to me to it and I know how devastating it can be to a family when it is not caught in time(which is the case quite frequently with this disease). Morgan Matson used this in a way that was both true and emotional and I could totally put myself in Taylor’s place. It’s a scary disease and it works fast and that was captured perfectly and in a way that I had never seen in a book before. One second Taylor’s dad was fine and in the next he was in such pain he couldn’t even talk. It was heart wrenching in a very very real way. That alone made me love this book in a way that I haven’t loved anything else really.

Then there was Taylor herself. She was so terrified to get hurt, to live her life and own up to her mistakes that she constantly wanted to just run. She wanted to run far and she wanted to run fast. She had been doing just that all her life until her father, without knowing it, made her stand still. He made her go back to the lake house and face her demands and the people she had hurt in the past. Without meaning to her father taught Taylor to grow up and to learn that nothing was unfixable. Nothing was broken forever if you didn’t want to be. And with Henry and Lucy there showing her that people deserved to get a second chance Taylor grew in a way that I never would have imagined.

I bawled my eyes out for about the last 30 pages of this Sarah Dessen meets Jenny Han book and it was by far worth every tear I shed. It was deep and funny and a real coming of age story. Morgan Matson hit it out of the park with this book and it was completely worth all of the good things I heard about it. One of my favorites of 2012 and I look forward to for from them EXTREMELY talented story teller!

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