Book One of the Next Time Around Series
Freshly divorced at 40 yrs old, Chloe Zanders has few illusions left about her ability to make her dreams come true. She is never going to be thin, never going to be a famous singer, and never going to be sexy enough to keep a man like her handsome ex-football player husband from cheating. While the first two dreams might continue to flicker hopefully inside her, Chloe now accepts the last one had been doomed from the start.
All her ex ever did in their marriage was find fault with her. After learning about the latest twenty-something in his life, divorcing Aaron is just a relief because it means Chloe can finally stop trying to save a relationship so obviously not worth saving. With her friends encouraging her to move on, Chloe secretly vows to herself that next time around, she is going to look for a man who will love her just as she is.
Hoping distance will help, Chloe gladly returns to Laguna Nigel in sunny California, happy to be living closer to her college roommates slash best-friends-in-the-world. Celebrating her return with a long weekend at the 5-star rated Blue Skies Hotel and Spa seems like just the thing Chloe needs to jump start her "do over" life. How much she ends up instantly liking the hotel's sexy, 45 yr owner/manager, Jasper Wade, is a surprise though.
So is the way Jasper's unrestrained kisses send lust and renewed hope singing through Chloe. What she feels for Jasper is disturbingly too much too soon, and God knows she can't compete with his super model ex-wife. But how can Chloe turn away from a man who keeps insisting she's his every fantasy come true?
©2012 Donna McDonald (P)2013 Donna McDonald
We read to know, we are not alone ~ C.S. Lewis
Starting off with a bang, the characters and conflicts are set in rapid fire dialogue and interactions, establishing Chloe and her concerns within a few short minutes. Chloe is newly divorced after a horrible marriage: her ex-husband played on all of her insecurities and nearly wrecked her self-esteem and dreams. But, with the help of a supportive group of friends, she is starting to take back her own life, and working on herself.
I liked Chloe: we’ve all been in situations where we don’t make the healthiest choices for ourselves or our self-image. And it isn’t helped by the never-ending fascination and obsession with youth: from media to celebrity to fashion magazines. She was trying to make a marriage work, and giving more to the relationship than her husband deserved. Her willingness and determination to move past the hurt feelings and find a new life for herself.
When she heads out to California to hang out with her college friends and spend time at an upscale spa for the pampering, the connection between Chloe, Emma and Taylor is palpable: these are women who know each other’s secrets and dreams, and are determined that time won’t change the hopes or desires they held from their first meeting. While Chloe is more filled out and less California slim and tanned than her friends, they are all invested in the rebirth of the ‘new’ Chloe and are encouraging her blossoming in every way.
Jasper is the spa owner, and is instantly captivated by Chloe: her spirit, her joy and her voice. It doesn’t hurt that she is his fantasy woman come to life, with a body made for sin and a heart that he wants to cherish. Chloe is flirting with him, encouraged by her friends: but his reactions, his words, his touch, all speak to something much deeper. Hot and sexy, these two show the potential and possibilities of a second chance, and is a fun listen for romance fans who want something with future hope.
Narration for this book is provided by Anne Johnstonbrown, and as with earlier works that I have reviewed with her as narrator, her performance starts out quite rough, with character voices varying from little definition to over the top differences that can be quite jarring. Once she starts to relax into the story, however, the character portrayals start to acquire a subtle distinction that is far less distracting. The reliance on a pronunciation style that is over-reaching at best and pretentiously adopted at worst does seem to diminish as the story progresses, most accurately described as what one would ‘think’ a British accented narrator would use for a more American delivery style is the closest I can come. While I wasn’t in love with the narration, the quirkiness of the pronunciation and delivery did become less distracting as the story progressed and the overall effect was a competently performed listening experience.
I received an AudioBook copy of the title from the author via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
OMG I have a new favorite series of Donna's. I adored this book and really hope she continues this series cause I am love with the characters I met in this book. I love reading about couples my age group finding love. These women are awesome and I can't wait to read more about them. Thank you for such an awesome book Donna
The woman I met in this one
When Chloe told off her ex-husband in the lobby
yes it was
Listening to books encourages me to get out there and walk!
NEXT SONG I SING is a romance at it’s finest; sexy, funny and addictive. I love the fact that the main character is a normal curvy person, with the usual insecurities we all suffer from now and again. The characters are all very different – they’re humorous but sensitive one minute and supportive and sociable the next.
The imperfect timing when the door was being knocked on by Rayonna’s friend Lea with her perfect body and dress which interrupted Jasper and Chloe at the most inconvenient moment
Aaron and His expectant Girlfriend turning up at the hotel and waiting in the bedroom….. OMG the poor receptionist was put in a very awkward position but she was fun
Chloe accepting that her curves were very admirable to Jasper, who was gob smacked that she didn’t realise how amazing she looked to a guy.
I found that the narrators voice at first was hard to differentiate between the characters due to the same tone being used, but the more I listened the more that I got used to the voice and started to really get into it and enjoy it – I ended up thoroughly enjoying listening and can’t wait to hear the next book.
The two main characters Chloe and Jasper - they have both been hurt and used in the past
Sam, Jaspers best friend – he is very open, honest and sounds like a lot of fun!
Max, Jaspers brother and Taylor, Cloe’s friends were great the way they bantered with each other…. I can’t wait to hear what develops between them… Taylor is going to give in!
Donna McDonald genuinely cares about and respects ALL her characters—which makes it easy to continually read to get to know, enjoy and hope that they get together – Chloe is just divorced after she finds out her drop dead gorgeous footballer husband has being having an affair, not just one. She used to be a singer in her college days and when she meets up with her old pals, they persuade her to sing at the hotel they’re staying in. Chloe has been continually put down for years by her ex husband and those insecurities are intertwined into her. Her pals encourage her to move on. Chloe unexpectedly gets a kiss from Jasper and sends lust and hope running through her… but she feels things are going way to quick for her.
I liked the voices and the storyline was fabulous
I would say you can't compare but would recommend any of Donna's book
Difficult as I liked all the characters
This is the last of the Donna McDonald books I read on my Kindle after I got the first one for free. When this came out as an audiobook I was offered a great deal on it and took it since audiobooks are my first favorite, so to speak. The story isn't completely ruined by the narration but it's very distracting. It's almost as if the narrator wants to sound like an American impression of a British narrator. It's a matter of over-enunciating. Where most people would pronounce "matter" "mat-er" Johnston-Brown carefully says "mah-ter". It seems to mostly have to do with the letters T, D & P. If a word ends in t, d or p she always uses what I've heard called a "plosive". What it means is that when a word ends in a t, d or p you can make it with a lot of air, like when you say doughnut, or with just enough air to make it happen as is usually the case with words like don't. I've also heard the difference referred to as a "hard aspiration" or a "soft aspiration". I don't know if this makes any sense to anyone reading this, but listen to the sample, if you don't notice it you probably won't be bothered and it's an enjoyable story. It's easy to care about (or dislike in the case of the ex-wife) all of the characters. Their worries seem very familiar to me. They worry about their business successes and life failures and body image concerns. And, as with all romance it's going to come out well for the primary characters. I would have included beach reads and chick lit but it seems to me that those aren't always happy endings, sometimes they're more poignant than happy. I usually prefer happy, this is escapist reading after all.
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