Author: Sharla Lovelace
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (326 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
In the small river town of Bethany, Dani Shane never fit in. Being different pushed her to the fringes of society, and even leaving town for two decades didn’t stop the talk. Now, with her sixteen year-old daughter Riley in tow, Dani is back in Bethany looking for a fresh start. Too bad her plans for staying under the radar are about to be thrown out the window.
Mischievous and sexy, Dani’s old friend Alex still has the power to rock her world, but there’s a big obstacle standing in their way–Alex has been dead for forty years. With a ghost popping up at inopportune moments and sparking conversations with her teenage daughter, Dani scrambles to find solid ground and get a grip–both on her sanity and her heart.
What VampBard’s talking about:
The Reason is You, Sharla Lovelace’s debut novel, transported me to a small town, complete with small-town drama, a slight Southern feel, and a whole lot of love-triangle action! It was easy to identify with Dani, our protagonist, as she’s in her early 40’s, has a 16 year-old daughter named Riley, and is dealing with many of the same issues with her daughter that I have had to broach with mine. The relationships within the story are complex and fleshed-out, enabling the reader to be in the moment with the characters. Great debut, Ms. Lovelace!
Alex, a corner of our love-triangle, has been dead forty years. Dani ‘met’ him when she was sixteen. Seems that Alex has been around her entire life. He made himself seen when Dani was in trouble. There’s some complications regarding Alex that I won’t divulge (spoiler-free!), but watch for these about 2/3 – 3/4 of the way through! Alex is utterly and completely in love with Dani. There are several touching scenes involving them, and this dynamic makes the book well-worth the read.
Jason, another corner of the love-triange, is Dani’s boss at the bait & tackle store where she is employed. He’s purchased the long-standing business, and after his own drama, has moved to this little Podunk (as Riley titles it) town to start over. On the outside, he appears to be rich, driving a Beemer, owning a business, and living on a houseboat. While he maintains this outward appearance, I feel is is a facade that keeps him just out-of-reach with regard to building interpersonal relationships. Jason is HAWT, though! Ms. Lovelace’s descriptions put him in the male model category, for me, and definitely create more interest throughout the story.
Dani, our forty-year-old ‘child’, has had to move back home with her Dad. She brings with her a U-Haul of her, and her daughter’s, possessions as well as a lifetime of martyrdom. Dani was always thought of by her peers as ‘weird’. She can see and speak with ghosts. Cue Alex. He’s been absent from her life since she left Podunk and moved to Houston to lead the corporate life. She’s never learned the basic skills necessary to build and maintain friendships, due to her ‘uniqueness’, as her home-town cast her in the strange freak role. Her best friend, from the time she met him, was Alex, a ghost. As our story builds, the love interest with Jason grows, develops and evolves in a wonderful, sweet way. Watching Dani grow as a person, from the insecure, introvert that moved back home with Dad, was one of the high points of the story. As she learned more about herself, through wonderfully crafted conflict, Dani became the person she should have been all along.
Riley, Dani’s sixteen-year-old daughter, is blessed with the ability to see the undead as well. Dani learned this when Alex reappeared after their move and Riley was talking with him. Riley is an opinionated, self-assured young lady, and as such, she pretty much takes in-stride the fact that she has a unique ‘sight’. To make things even more interesting, Riley’s got a love interest of her own in Grady. Love this girl!
Two other characters of note: Miss Olivia, an unmarried woman from the small town, had been Dani’s friend and confidante through her childhood. I see her as a ‘mother-figure’, as Dani’s mom died shortly after birth. This spit-fire provides straight-shooting opinions that cut to the heart of most any matter. She’s known about Dani’s talents since she was young, and believes that she’s no different from the rest of the population. Staying with Miss Olivia for the summer is her great-great nephew, Grady. He’s Riley’s love-interest. Grady’s been a bad boy, and he’s been relegated to assisting the spinster aunt for the summer. Meh. It’s a good thing he’s there, though. I think Riley would have driven me crazy if she hadn’t had something going on besides the drama.
While The Reason is You had a lot of great description and several nice plot arcs, I said, “called it” many times when the plot climax was presented. This title was an easy read, and I finished it in less than 24 hours. It kept my mind occupied, and although I wasn’t compelled to sit and read it (I had to, as my review was due in 30 hours!), I found I didn’t mind the story. Were there subsequent titles to this, I’d probably read them. In future installments, I’d hope to see less predictable conflict resolution as well as development of minor characters in a way that gave them the ‘friend back home’ feel versus merely supporting cast to the major characters. I would have liked to get to know Dani’s dad a bit more, and I feel that even though Dani’s mom was dead, we could have learned more about her than we did. There’s secrets lurking somewhere, and the answers are ripe for the picking!
Liked it, but I had some issues – recommend (B)