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Monday, March 28, 2016

Advance Review: As Good As New by Jennifer Dawson + Music Selection


OMG, I loved this book! It had so much emotion in it! Not to mention some serious heat between Evan and Penelope!
Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review)
Publisher: Zebra (Kensington)
Release Date: March 29, 2016

He was the high school hottie. She was the teacher's pet. But in private, none of that mattered...

At the tender age of six, Penelope Watkins fell for her best friend's brother, Evan Donovan, future hunk. By the time they were teenagers, they were having heart-to-hearts…and hot and heavy top secret make-out sessions. All that changed when Evan's father suddenly died. Abruptly, Penelope lost him to grief—and to his true love: football. But now an injury had ended Evan's NFL career. The notorious bad boy was in a depression no one could penetrate, except maybe the one woman who still knew him best—and still wanted him most…

Penelope is the last person Evan wants to witness the wreck he's become. So when she shows up at his door he's less than welcoming—even though the sight of her brings back the same old rush of desire. As a teenager, the emotions overwhelmed him. Now, when he wanted to be overwhelmed, Penelope wasn't playing. She was telling the golden boy it was time to man up. It may have taken a concussion for Evan to realize it, but that's exactly what he wants to do—starting with her…


Evan Donovan and Penelope Watkins have a secret history that no one, not even the rest of the Donovans know about. When they were young they were friends and lovers but then Evan's father died and everything changed. Penelope lost Evan to grief and to the NFL. Now, years later an injury has ended his career and Evan is on a downward spiral. The only one who can reach him is Penelope who he is convinced hates him now. All it takes is one confrontation to set off the sparks and a chain reaction that has Evan picking himself up off the ground and trying to be the man Penelope tells him he could be.



This book was a good as gold in my opinion! Ugh, I hate to say it but Evan and Penelope have unseated James and Gracie as my favorite couple in the series. It’s true. There was just so much feeling, so much want between the two that I couldn’t help but love them and want them to get back together!

Out of all the Donovans Evan was the one that needed love the most to be honest. He kind of just coasted along in life. Football and women were a job and a hobby respectively but he didn’t have any respectability. He was a guy I wanted to dislike because of his cold attitude towards Penelope and even his family but as Jennifer Dawson gave more insight to Evan it was impossible for me to feel anything but sorry for him. He was an outsider in his own family! They didn’t understand him and he wasn’t very good at expressing himself so there was constant miscommunication between him and them. I loved the family dynamic between the Donovans, their spouses and their extended family which included sexy former SEAL Six Logan Buchanan, bar owner Sam Roberts (Gracie’s brother) and Sheriff Charlie Radcliffe. I can’t decide which stud muffin I’m interested in most so I’ll just take all three for myself. I’m greedy that way and a book boyfriend list is NEVER too full.

The ever efficient, dependable and lovelorn Penelope was completely likeable and I couldn't help but feel for her when it came to Evan. I'm glad she was a strong woman who, even though she was hopelessly in love with Evan, didn't let him get away with treating her like crap. She was persistent and stubborn when it came to helping the people she loved. She was the right combination of sharp minded, invaluable employee and vulnerable woman. Penelope turned out to be the heroine with more to her than I originally thought. I think my favorite thing about her was her love and devotion to the Donovans and how she put that love ahead of her conflicted feelings for Evan. She didn't want to risk the stable relationship she had with them unless Evan was a sure thing. To me that was a smart move on her part.





As a couple Evan and Penelope burned up the pages and singed my eyebrows once they crossed back into lover's territory! With so much emotion between them that had been building for YEARS their chemistry was just explosive. It was this potent mix of lust, pain, longing, and love. It was if they were trying desperately to make up for the time they lost and maybe even trying to forget the pain that being apart caused them. It really was something else. Those scenes, while highly erotic were also packed with so much feelings that it was impossible to deny that there was a strong bond between these two characters but the real obstacle was the fact that Evan and Penelope were very different people in the present than they were in the past and it wasn't clear if they could get past those differences in order to form a lasting relationship. As I got closer and closer to the end of the book I realized that I had heard a song that in my mind perfectly matched Evan and Penelope's journey to their happy ending. It's Little Big Town's Tumble and Fall.

As Good As New had so much going for it that the issue I had with it didn't affect my overall love of the book itself. What was that issue you ask? Well it's little spoilery so I'm hiding it. Read it at your own risk.




Okay, rant over.

For me what helped make As Good As New so good was that despite how close Penelope was to the Donovans, none of them had a clue about her past with Evan and that let them focus on each other for the longest time and it helped me see their relationship through their eyes rather than through bits and pieces in between familial interference.

But I'm not going to deny that I loved seeing all the Donovans again, especially James and Gracie who are just the oddest couple in the best way. Plus, James is my favorite Donovan. That quiet confidence and the sexy glasses just do me in every time!

Final Verdict: Evan and Penelope's second chance romance got me totally emotional at some points. This was a love that I really believed in and enjoyed. Now that all the Donovans have been claimed, I am eager to see who is next in the series since there are three eligible, VERY studly men available now. RAWR.





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