Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Review and Blog Tour: The Circle of Friends Book V: Heather by L. Diane Wolfe

It is an honor to be a part of the blog tour for L. Diane Wolfe's latest installment of her Circle of Friends series.  Here is a summary of the book:


When confidence turns to frustration…

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…

My Review:
This series of books is considered to be part of the YA fiction genre, but they seem to reach into a place in my heart every time that I read one of them. I have only read a couple of YA fiction novels, not really sure if this is a genre that I want to continue with, but I know I can never go wrong with one of Wolfe's novels.

Although this story is about Heather, I believe that it is just as much about Mark and his problems and how they come together to work things out as a team.  These two strong and independent people had to reach deep within their souls to realize that they had something special to offer to other people, rather than only selfishly considering their personal well being.  

Heather has always had a strong relationship with both of her parents, but when her father becomes ill she thinks that she has to be the one to take care of everything for her mother.  Since Heather lived in Clemson where she worked as an assistant basketball coach it became very frustrating for her to not be able to be there for her mother at all times.  So she would find herself having feelings of anger towards her younger sister Dawn when Dawn would not step up to the plate and take on the responsibility that Heather could not fulfill when she wasn't around.

I found myself very upset with Heather's attitude toward Dawn throughout most of the book.  As an older sibling that no longer lives at home, I think that you automatically expect the younger sibling to take on more responsibility without taking into account the fact that they are still young and everyone deals with grief differently.  I finally let up on Heather about halfway through the book when I realized that I probably treated my younger sister in a similar manner years ago.  As the book proceeds and they deal with their relationship issues, I found that I couldn't stop the tears from flowing.

Mark is another strong-willed individual that happens to be a workaholic so he never seems to have much extra time for leisure.  From the moment that Heather walked into his office at the car lot that his father owns, that attitude slowly chips away.  Mark also has a very strong anti-marriage attitude since his parents divorced when he was quite young, so the last thing that he expects is to fall in love with Heather.  Since they both have very demanding work schedules and sometimes they can only see each other once a week, falling in love seems to be a very unlikely scenario so he considers their relationship to be a matter of convenience.

I loved watching Mark and Heather grow emotionally throughout this book.  As they dealt with the problems that arose, they found that they could count on each other for strength rather than trying to go it alone. This book was full of surprises that will keep the reader engaged both mentally and emotionally.    I also want to stress that just because this book is part of a series it really does stand alone quite well.  I have only read one other book in the series and I had no problem becoming immersed into the pages.  With themes of love, grief, and forgiveness I think that this book will be loved by not only young adults, but anyone looking for a touching story.  

My Rating: 4/5

Disclosure:  This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Author Information:
L. Diane Wolfe
Professional Speaker & Author 

Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” Wolfe is a member of the National Speakers Association. “Overcoming Obstacles With SPUNK! The Keys to Leadership & Goal-Setting”, ties all of her goal-setting and leadership seminar’s information together into one complete, enthusiastic package. Her YA series, The Circle of Friends, features morally grounded, positive stories that appeal to both teens and concerned parents. Ten years associating with a motivation training system and experience as a foster parent gave her the in-depth knowledge of relationships, personality traits and success principles. Wolfe travels extensively for media interviews and speaking engagements, maintains a dozen websites & blogs, manages an online writer’s group, and contributes to several other sites.

You can view a list of the entire blog tour here.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you Jo-Jo!

Darlene said...

I've never read any in the series but it certainly sounds good.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thanks, Darlene. As Jo-Jo observed, they don't need to be read in order, either. Dive in at any point!

Creative Chronicler said...

Great review. You really captured the book.