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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Review: Second to None by Nancy Herkness

Not a bad intro to a new author and a new series. The romance felt pretty rushed but overall I liked it.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: September 12, 20017

Billionaire chemist Max Varela is selling his company and leaving New York for good when Emily Wade bursts into his office, desperate for his help in funding her program for disadvantaged kids and shelter dogs. Seven years ago, he fell in love with her when she was married to another man. To fight the unbidden attraction, he cut off all contact but he’s never forgotten her.

Ever since her husband died, Emily has poured her heart and soul into the after-school care center. Seeing Max reawakens the pain of her loss, but it also brings unexpected hope for the future. As emotions thought long gone resurface, they begin a passionate affair that seems destined for a fairytale ending.

Until Max reveals that he’s moving to Chicago in a matter of weeks and wants Emily to uproot her daughter and her life to come with him. If a second chance at love is possible, someone’s got to give.

What’s it About? Billionaire Max Varela is a brilliant chemist but when Emily Wade storms his office asking for his help for her program he realizes just how lonely he’s been. Seven years ago he fell in love with Emily while she was happily married to his friend and in order to keep his sanity he cut off all contact with her. Now she’s a widow and in need of his help. Seeing Max again brings back the pain of losing her husband but it also brings an awareness of Max that Emily didn’t expect.

Overall reaction to the story? Second to None was my introduction to author Nancy Herkness though I’ve heard about her books from other readers. I enjoyed this novella quite a bit though I will say that the romance felt rushed and a little forced for the circumstances the characters were in. I think there was a little too much going on for such a short story that I felt a bit short changed on almost everything. That said, I am keeping in mind that this is a novella and most of them do feel rushed. That didn’t take away from the fact that I liked Herkness’ style and her characters. I’m definitely hopping on the fan train for this author.

Describe the hero in five words: Lonely. Mysterious. Kind. Intelligent. Determined.
Did you like him? Yes.
Why? Max pretty much stayed a mystery throughout the whole novella which was frustrating to me because I wanted to get to know him as a character and I wasn’t able to because Second to None is a novella. However, there were some things about him that stood out and gave me a little glimpse into who he was and I liked what there was. He was an honorable man who was caught in a difficult situation back before he became rich. I loved how he acknowledged his feelings for Emily but also knew that she was married at the time and he respected that. I liked his quiet admiration and kindness towards Emily and towards those who needed help. Max was so smart and so successful but he had the incredibly normal problem of being lonely. I found that part of him made him more reachable as a character. He wasn’t just another jerk billionaire with a god complex. He was just lonely and a little clueless.

Describe the heroine in five words: Loving. Stubborn. Clever. Selfless. Lonely.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Emily could have easily been boring. She had all the makings of a goody two shoes character but I liked that the author made her vulnerable and kind but also a person who would cross lines to do what was right. That’s what kept Emily from being a disappointment. I think Second to None gives readers more of an insight into who Emily is as a character than Max. A lot of the scenes focus on her and what she does for others so I felt that I got to know her better and I liked her kind but strong heart.

Let’s talk about the romance: The connection between Max and Emily was pretty intense on Max’s part, he’d loved Emily for years but Emily was happily married. Now that she’s a widow, she wasn’t used to or prepared to feel anything for Max but I liked how that was handled. The romance was rushed though. I think all the emotional baggage that Emily had and the guilt that Max mentioned feeling at one point for wanting his friend’s wife was too quickly and neatly put aside in favor of the happy ending. I think I needed a little more convincing with these two but the almost insta-love was sort of backed up with their history together. Still though, I wanted a bit more development of the romance and for them to deal with the past and Max’s guilt.

How about that supporting cast? Emily comes with quite the group of friends and her daughter Izzy. I liked them all as brief as their appearances were, they all added to the picture being painted of Emily as a woman who cared for those around her, not just her daughter.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. Second to None may have been really quick with the romance but Nancy Herkness’ style of writing is easy to follow and easy to like. I can’t wait to try a full length novel of hers.

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