Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Review: Somewhere Along the Way by Jodi Thomas

We got our first snow of the year! I don't really like snow, because it's cold and creates traffic jam, but I won't complain too loudly... because it's nothing compared to what Kristie is getting. Apparently, Kristie's region is getting a meter of snow! For you Americans, that's 40 inches! So yeah, not going to complain :)

To fit the weather outside, I thought it'd be perfect to post up my review of Somewhere Along the Way... See the cover? That's pretty much how it looks like near my house :)

Somewhere Along the Way by Jodi Thomas
published by Berkley in November 2010

In the two years since she claimed Harmony, Texas, as her home, eighteen-year-old Reagan Truman has found herself drawn to others who have made their way there, too. Gabe Leary, for instance, whose plan to hide out in Harmony is dashed when he becomes the town hero. Then there's Liz Matheson: Vulnerable and fresh out of law school, Liz has never been needed by anyone - until an unsettling encounter with Gabe changes everything. And there's Liz's brother, volunteer fire chief Hank Matheson, who's starting to wonder where the town's sheriff, Alex McAllen, will ever set the date to marry him.

As for Reagan, who's been shaped by the loneliness she's know most of her life, she's finally found a place she belongs - and doesn't want anything to get in her way. But when her life is put in jeopardy and the whole town comes together to save her, she'll discover that trusting the love that's come into our hearts is the greatest gift of all?
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Harmony series, Book #2

The Story: The book takes place two years after Welcome to Harmony. Reagan has settled in Harmony and she loves it there... but things are changing. First, her uncle is pushing her to go to college, but she wants to remain at his side as he is aging. Then, her and Nathan - her best friend - seem to be growing apart. While she is replacing Edith at the diner, Reagan meets Gabe Leary, the reclusive man who is rumored to be a murderer...

Gabe left Harmony and enlisted in the army as soon as he could. He loved that life... till he was caught in a bombing and some people plotted to silence him. That is when he returned to Harmony and is now living a reclusive life, hiding behind his art as a comic book author/artist. However, his peaceful life is perturbed with the meeting of a woman... Liz Matheson.

Liz has always been considered the flimsy one in her family, but those days are over. With her lawyer degree in hand, Liz opens an office in town and hopes it will become successful. However, as clients are scarce, Liz becomes curious with the man - Gabe Leary - who rents the other office... and she is more intrigued than ever after meeting him...

My Opinion: I'm going to start this review by saying Somewhere Along the Way was a great read and I enjoyed it immensely. You don't know how happy I am to be able to write that LOL. It's no secret that I love Ms Thomas' contemporary writing - there is just something about it... I think it's the calmness that it brings to me... However, I was a bit disappointed with Welcome to Harmony and when I found out that Liz Matheson was "the heroine," I started to worry because I didn't know how Ms Thomas could make me like her... but I should never have had doubts ^_^;

Let's address Liz character first. Why did I say I wasn't sure I could like her character? Well it has to do with the events in Welcome to Harmony. To keep it short, there was a fire and the whole family was evacuating... Liz was in charge of her niece, Sarah, who was 5 years old and handicapped. When Liz didn't see Sarah, she assumed that Sarah caught a ride with someone else and therefore left. As a result, Sarah was left behind and almost died. All I could think about about Liz character was how irresponsible and selfish she was! Seriously, how was I going to like this character? In the end though, Ms Thomas did a great job writing it. It helped that Liz acknowledged the mistake and felt horribly about it and also that Sarah has forgiven her. It also helped that Liz admitted to being selfish... however, what I realized reading Somewhere Along the Way is that there are different kind of selfish. Yes, Liz thought a lot about her situation, wanting someone to love her, wanting her independence, but she was never narcissist or egoist. In fact, upon getting to know her character, I didn't dislike her at all. Plus, I think that after the events of Welcome to Harmony, she matured a lot. All in all, she felt real and I ended up really appreciating her :) I also really enjoyed her romance with Gabe... It was simply really sweet. Two different persons being attracted to each other and simply wanting to spend time together to get to know each other. I liked the dynamics between the two, how different they were and how Gabe was sometimes annoyed by Liz talking so much. Still, he couldn't fight his attraction and it really brought him out of his shell. I thought Gabe was a great guy as well. He did what he needed to stay alive and lived his life peacefully. Still, it didn't stop him from pursuing his dreams and becoming a comic artist. He was the quiet and strong type, the one that you can really rely on and he proved it.

Liz and Gabe were the two main additions to the Harmony cast and they were great addition. I also liked catching up with previous characters though such as Tyler. I really like Tyler's character. He is such an unusual character, but at the same time, he feels real. Also, his tenacity is admirable really. I hope he gets his lady soon, otherwise, she is a fool! The romance between Hank and Alex still doesn't do much for me, but it's undeniable that they are key people to Harmony, one as the fire chief  and the other as sheriff and as such, it was nice to see them :)

Then, there's Reagan. Somewhere along the way, Harmony has become Reagan's home :) LOL, okay, that was cheesy, but I couldn't help myself because it's the truth. I really liked Reagan because she does not take anything for granted. She's finally found a home and a family and she doesn't want anything to change... but unfortunately for her, she's at an age where things are bound to change. I was so sad to read that Reagan and Noah were not dating... then, there was the addition of Brandon. At this point, I guess the romance can go either way and we'll have to continue reading the series to find out. However, I'm definitively rooting for Reagan and Noah.

A lot happened in Somewhere Along the Way; however, the book never felt rushed or too loaded. Everything came together well and it was really a comforting book :) I think Ms Thomas did a great job with the stories and the characters, but also with balancing everything :) The Harmony series actually reminds me a little bit of the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr, but a bit less focused on the romance and a little more subdued. I think a lot of people should enjoy it :)

My Grade: A-. I really enjoyed Somewhere Along the Way and revisiting Harmony :) I love Ms Thomas writing and the feeling this book gave me, very soothing and comforting :) Definitively looking forward to the next book! :)