Thursday, March 18, 2010

Circle of Friends: Heather + Guest Post

A new beginning awaits Heather Jennings. The position at Clemson means she will finally realize her dream of coaching basketball. Heather is ready to focus on her duties, using sheer force if necessary to prove her independence. Sadly, her triumph is hampered as her father and greatest advocate lies dying of cancer. Battling her grief, she must also deal with a sister who appears incapable of responsibility or achievement. And once basketball season begins, a talented but cocky player who resembles her in every manner challenges all that remains of Heather’s patience.Heather’s life changes when she encounters a man capable of handling her bold and feisty attitude. Straightforward and smug, he entices her to date him, and despite his gruff nature shows a great capacity for compassion. However, the last thing Heather needs is a serious relationship with a man equally fixated on work and opposed to marriage…

I can't quite pin-point my exact feelings about this book; possibly because it covered quite a bit of stuff on relationships. It's a touchy subject for everyone–teen and adults–and this book is a perfect example. Heather is a strong-headed girl who, at the beginning of the book, has a lot on her plate: a new job as a junior coach's assistant and a father who is diagnosed with cancer. With all this responsibility and adjustment starting, who would think Heather would get involved in a serious relationship with her best friend's brother, Mark. At first I couldn't stand Mark, I kept hoping Heather wouldn't fall for his somewhat-false interest in her; but she didn't. When they stared seeing each other more I began to feel like maybe they were meant for each other. After awhile though, Mark's true intentions were revealed and that really turned me off, especially when Heather didn't see it. I did enjoy reading the first half of the book, I just couldn't enjoy the rest because I don't care for Mark.
One other thing I must point is I think this book (or even this series) will appeal more to young adults that are older, maybe even in their college years. All of the characters are in their twenties and are married, except Heather. I don't mind this much, but I can't really relate with to them simply because I'm not married nor are my friends having babies.

Heather was an good read–still not liking Mark–but a heartwarming story overall. I didn't agree with how Heather and Mark took their relationship "to the next step", but I did appreciate the positive approach to marriage and friendship. It took some getting used to with the 3rd person narration, but smooth writing style all in all. Again, teens younger than 16 might not find this book very interesting, so I would only recommend to older teens.

|Pages: 275|Year Published: March 2010|Publisher: Dancing Lemur|
|Genre: Contemporary fiction, romance, friendship|
|Age Group: YA, ages 16 - adult|Buy/Borrow? Borrow|
|Content: Sensuality and language|
|Part of a Series: Circle of Friends, Book 5|
|Enjoyed It: 3/5|Content Rating: 3/5|Cover: 3/5|

Guest Post with Diane Wolfe

I’m very happy to visit Books and Literature for Teens today! Let me describe the series before diving into my current release.
The Circle of Friends is a Southern-based, YA series that follows a group of friends through relationships, school, and into their early careers. The stories intertwine as the characters learn that with belief and encouragement, they can overcome their challenges. Meant to inspire as well as entertain, these books have been described as “Encouragement Personified.”
This series has been a wild ride! Who knew a dream-inspired story would blossom into five books? It’s difficult to believe the end is approaching. I’m ready to bring the story full circle, though. I possess an outline for a sixth, but right now, it ends with Heather’s story.

Book V is the most unique of the series. It was certainly the most difficult to write. Heather was not my favorite character. I found it challenging to enter her head and write from a perspective so different from my own. Some days, I wanted to kill her! She’s so ornery, stubborn, and mean. Heather has many issues, and the supporting characters add to the challenges in a big way. From the feedback of early reviewers though, I think those struggles produced a really strong story.

Readers will experience no problems diving into Book V, even if they haven’t read the others. All five books in this series are stand alone stories. This book has the added distinction of beginning a few months after Book IV ends, so everything about Heather’s story is fresh and new. Fans of the series will certainly find a few surprises, while new readers will be thrust into the story right away.
For those ready to enter Heather’s world, be prepared! She’s tough and demanding. However, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger…

- L. Diane Wolfe, Professional Speaker & Author
Thanks for posting with us!



L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thanks, Morgan!
Interesting that you liked Mark less in the second half. I'd presented him as a little bit shallow in the beginning and gradually allowing him more depth as the story prgressed. He grew out of his shallowness as he realized he truly cared for Heather and finally forgave his mother.
Neither character was my favorite! But ironically, this is the best reviewed book of the series, so they resonated with a lot of other people.

Unknown said...

I think Book V – Heather, was fantastic!

I find it interesting that you say that "at first" you couldn't stand Mark. It's apparent in your wording that you never got past the initial, deliberate portrayal of his character. Just as Heather grew in leaps and bounds in different areas of her life, so did Mark. He went from being egotistical and your stereotypical male, to someone who realized that there was more to life. As he grew more and more fond of Heather, witnessed the relationships of his brother and his father; he realized he needed and wanted to change – for Heather – but more importantly, for himself.

I think it's a wonderful testament to how people can and do change

Related Posts with Thumbnails