Pub. Date: June 20, 2017
Summary: Garrett Strickland is unapologetically country, fiercely loyal, and perfectly happy with his job at the Hotchkiss Co-op. Garrett is all about living in the present and not dwelling in the past—even if he was once on his way to a lofty agricultural sciences degree that would guarantee the brightest of futures, only to end up back home when his old man died, leaving behind a debt-ridden family farm that was impossible to keep afloat. After that, it was easy to see why dreaming big wasn’t worth the heartache. And until he crosses paths with a city girl who’s hell-bent on kick-starting her own future, he’s sure that good enough is just that.
Cara Cavanaugh is ready for more from life, even if that means changing everything; including dumping her boyfriend of ten years, turning down a lucrative job at a major newspaper, and leaving behind the upscale suburbs of Chicago where she grew up. Now, she just has to pray that temporarily relocating to the middle of nowhere in Colorado will be the first step in building a career as a freelance journalist—all she has to do is prove she’s got what it takes to make a name for herself. Unfortunately, her tony country day school is as close to “country” as she’s ever been. But when a goodhearted guy who looks like he just stumbled out of a country music video offers to help, she ends up falling hard…and discovering that the perfect story is a love story. And it’s theirs.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
When Second Chance Season showed up at my door I was more than intrigued: I’ve been eager to read more contemporary romance novels and this one featured one of my favorite tropes, a couple that are total opposites in every way possible. I all but threw aside the other novel I had been reading just so I could dive into this one!
When Cara Cavanaugh gives up her cushy journalist position to go freelance, it naturally comes as a surprise to her parents. When she breaks up with her politically powerful boyfriend-almost-fiance and moves from her plush life in Chicago to middle of nowhere Colorado to write a piece on the changing agricultural business, her parents think she’s completely lost her mind. Even still, Cara throws caution to the wind and piles her belongings in a storage pod to be shipping to her new home sweet home for the next eight weeks.
Although Garrett Strickland is a country boy through and though, he wanted to make something of himself and was well on his way to earning his degree when he received the news that his father passed and left him with a horribly rundown farm – and a massive debt. While the thought of selling the family home was crushing, Garrett knew what had to be done and now makes a living working at the town co-op. It’s far from the life he envisioned for himself but Garrett’s content. That is, until a Lexus hybrid with out-of-state plates rolls into town.
I’m going to keep this one relatively short: I loved this book. A lot. As in tore through it and when I wasn’t reading it I was counting down the time until I could get back to it. Prior to Second Chance Season showing up in the mail I had never heard of Liora Blake before and now that I have…look out! She has a sizable backlist (along with another Grand Valley novel – Second Chance Season is actually the second in the series) and I couldn’t be more excited!
I’ve noticed that with a lot of New Adult and contemporary romance novels the actual plot takes a backseat to the bedroom. That isn’t so with Second Chance Season. Liora Blake created an amazing cast of characters who feel totally true to life (even the gun-toting, ex-military, backwoods survivalist nut who only appears in one scene). From the locals in Hotchkiss to the socialites in Chicago, these characters felt real. Grand Valley itself also felt incredibly authentic with its mix of generations-old farmers and ranchers living alongside new up-and-comers who gave up their high profile (and high paying) careers to try their hand at wine or beer.
Don’t let my praise of the setting fool you though – there’s definitely romance here. While it’s not exactly instalove, I’d say there’s certainly instalust between Garrett and Cara and I couldn’t wait to see their relationship unfold, knowing all the while that Cara’s time in Hotchkiss was finite. Once her story was written she’d be on her way home. Initially they both accept that this fun summer fling has a deadline – and that’s okay – until they realize they’re truly falling for each other.
One thing I want to point out is the fact that Cara is older. She turns 28 in the novel and Garrett is 25 – being older than Matt, I absolutely loved this detail!
Blake’s Grand Valley series is one where each book follows a different couple. I’m dying to go pick up a copy of the first book now! The couple in that novel is heavily featured in Second Chance Season and they were among my favorite characters, so I’m super interested in seeing their backstory! At the end of Second Chance Season there was an excerpt from the third book and UGH the wait for it will be an absolute killer. It seems to take place at pretty much the same time as Second Chance Season and I’m curious to see how much of a presence Garrett and Cara have.
There are times when it seems publicists know my taste in books better than I do. I wouldn’t have come across Second Chance Season on my own and am thrilled it reached my door. I’m totally hooked and can’t wait to read, not only the first book in the series, but the rest of Liora Blake’s novels! Second Chance Season is by far one of my favorite books I’ve read this year and once I’ll be revisiting often. If you like true, authentic settings and a beautifully crafted cast of characters, do yourself a favorite and pick up a copy.