Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: Chance of a Lifetime by Jodi Thomas

Chance of a Lifetime by Jodi Thomas
published by Berkley in January 2013
Emily, the local librarian, has started a writing group, but as the group stumbles through both the fiction and reality of their lives, they’re learning much more than how to write. But Emily suddenly has other things on her mind when a friend from her past shows up in Harmony's library. Now she must deal with a secret she’s kept for fifteen years—a secret that changed her life and threatens to shatter her future.

Meanwhile, new lawyer Rick Matheson thinks he’s in charge of his world until accidents start happening all around him. Just when he realizes someone is trying to kill him, he meets a beautiful U.S. Marshal named Trace Adam. Now that the marshal has given him an even stronger reason to go on living, he must learn to take a chance on life to dream bigger—and love better—than he ever has before...
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Harmony, Book #5

The Story: The are two storylines in Chance of a Lifetime that are kind of happening in parallel. The first is about Emily Tomlinson,  Harmony's librarian, who lives a quiet life. She grew up with Tannon Parker and they used to be best friends, until a tragic event during their high school years changed her life and torn them apart. Their distance has not stopped Tannon from keeping an eye on Emily... And when Tannon's mother's illness worsens, Emily gives him a hand and the two reconnect. Is it too late for the two of them or were they handed a second chance?

The other storyline centers on the town's new lawyer, Rick Matheson. Rick is your typical nice guy, trying to make a living in a town that doesn't really need a lawyer. One day, he falls down the stairs and injured himself severely... However, it was no accident as the step was sawed. Very soon, it becomes apparent that someone wants Rick dead and he has no idea whom he's angered so much... Thanks to a family friend, Rick gets protection from U.S. Marshal Trace Adam who needed a break from her job. Before Rick knows it, he has one more reason to stay alive.

And in the mix, we also get more of Beau Yates, Harmony's next superstar. Everyone knows Beau has a gift and he'll go to the top, but perhaps it's time for Beau to believe in himself...

My Opinion: If you've been following this blog for a while, you know that I'm a huge fan of Ms Thomas' contemporary romance and therefore, the Harmony series. I just love her writing, her voice... as I've said countless times before, there's just this gentle quality to it that makes it unique. So of course, I was looking forward for the newest installment and as soon as I came back from Europe, I headed to the bookstore to pick up Chance of a Lifetime :) Now, let see if I can write an objective review :P

Overall, I enjoyed Chance of a Lifetime. As usual, the feel, the atmosphere was gentle and worked for me. It also really suited Emily and Tannon's romance which is the storyline I enjoyed most in this book. Their storyline about two best friends being in love with each other, but were too young, who drifted apart and later came back to each other was simply sweet and touching. It really felt to me like Emily and Tannon belonged together and personally, if that event hadn't occurred, I'm sure they would have made it as a couple. Speaking of the event... I wished we'd have more details about it - the why and the who - but at the same time, I liked that Ms Thomas left it open. If they've suddenly found clues to elucidate the case, it would have seen too coincidental, like why now? Because the heroine is about to be happy? Also, while it had marked both Emily and Tannon, I think it's something that they came to term with and doesn't need to be stirred up. So in that respect, Ms Thomas took the right decision because the event really served its purpose. As for Emily and Tannon, I liked that the re-discovered each other and how they had to forget, forgive and learn to trust each other once again. In any case, a really sweet story.

As for Rick's storyline... Hmmm. There was some good and some bad about it. The good is that I liked Rick's character. He was just a nice guy, trying to make a living, figuring out what to do with his life. Also, I thought he made a nice couple with Trace. What didn't work so well about his storyline is the reason why someone would be after him. It just seemed a bit far-fetched, especially once you find out who the villain is. I know some people are imbalanced, but in this case, it seemed a bit extreme. Also, the whole feel of the case just didn't really gel with the feel of the Harmony series.

Something that I liked in Chance of a Lifetime is that it followed different characters. I love Reagan and Noah as well as Tyler, but I admit I was getting a bit fed up of reading about them in each book. Simply because it was getting a bit repetitive. So it was a nice change to read about Beau and his roommate, Border. I'm really curious what Ms Thomas has in store for Beau... everyone knows Beau is going to be a superstar in the future, but that future seems to be very far away for the moment... and I wonder how he is going to get there. I have to say though, for now, his storyline is a bit weird with the mystery girl. Wonder how Ms Thomas will turn it around. Oh and by the way, I hope Ms Thomas goes back to Ronnie's story very soon! And I hope her love interest is still the same man :)

My Grade: B. All in all, Chance of a Lifetime was an enjoyable read. Not the best book in the series, but still a very solid installment that seems to be opening the door to new characters :)