The Do Over by A.L. Zaun
Release date: May 20th, 2013
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours
Purchase on Amazon: The Do Over
Life doesn’t look like it’s supposed to for Daniela, aka Dani. After a painful break-up with Rick, Dani decides she doesn’t want to deal with the hassles of relationship.
After almost two years, Dani’s friends stage an intervention, forcing her out of her holding pattern and back into the real world of dating.
Liam, a down to earth firefighter, may be just the person to show her she’s still worth something. Their chemistry is instant and electric. But will Dani be able to trust her patched-up heart with him?
And what will happen when Rick decides he’ll go to any lengths to get her back?
The Do Over is a book about getting second chances, trusting in love, and taking risks. At first glance, I thought this book was going was going to have the predictable plot of two men battling to win the heart of one woman they both love. However, as I read this book, I was pleased to see that Zaun deviates from the typical love triangle plot by depicting less than perfect characters whose lives have become stagnant. Each one is looking for that special someone to add the spark back into their lives. The central question in the book is whether they are looking in the right direction.
Three main characters dominate this story: Daniela, Rick, and Liam who provide their own point-of-views to enrich the storyline and advance the plot. Daniela Ruiz known as Dani has experienced a crushing heartbreak over her breakup with Rick Marin, an egotistical jerk who didn’t deserve the commitment Dani was willing to give. I have to question though whether Dani really loved Rick or whether she was just in love with idea of being in love. Unfortunately, two years later Dani still hasn’t moved on with her life. Instead, she escapes into a fictional world where book boyfriends may come and go, but her heart remains safe. I love how she describes her reading obsession:
“I would dive into my stories and become distracted in their dramas, falling in love with the romantic heroes each and every time. My love affairs with my book boyfriends were short lived. I was a book slut.”
Fortunately, Dani has two amazingly loyal friends, Candace and Macy, who decide to intervene when they see that her reading habits have become a deterrent to her social life. Dani, however, likes the safety of her comfort zone until she meets one very sexy Liam Lucas, a lieutenant with the local fire department. Liam’s instant attraction to Dani and his flirtatious comments rival those book boyfriends that Dani keeps close by, and she begins to rethink her reclusive lifestyle. Hmm…maybe she should take a chance again, and Liam certainly turns her head.
Liam is almost too perfect to me. He definitely meets Dani’s criteria of the ideal book boyfriend brought to life. However, she is still reluctant to put her heart out there. Liam, too, has had his share of heartbreak but finds in Dani, what he hasn’t felt in a long time: “When I first saw her eyes looking up at me, she was an unexpected surprise. Now with her in my arms, I knew she was a gift I had no intention of letting go.” The genuine feelings Liam has for Dani are heart melting and downright swoon-worthy!
Before I can sigh and think this is the HEA they are both looking for, Rick decides he’s tired of his playboy lifestyle. When he sees Dani again, he begins to regret letting her go, and he wants her back. She was good for him, the right kind of girl that should be by his side. However, he knows he needs to change if he wants to earn her forgiveness and get a second chance. Rick forges an unlikely alliance with Madison, a woman who guarantees she can help him slowly break down Dani’s defenses so that she will reconsider getting back together with him. Yet, it becomes obvious early on that Madison isn’t helping Rick out of the goodness of her heart. She has her own motives for whipping the selfish, egotistical Rick into becoming a better man. Madison appears to be a tough, no-nonsense type of woman, but behind that façade is a woman filled with pain. Unfortunately, Madison’s story never gets told, but I found myself really looking forward to the interactions between the two. Madison knows the real Rick and still is willing to be there for him, but she refuses to put up with his arrogant, self-serving attitude.
As Dani and Liam grow closer, Rick’s scheming and manipulative actions begin to slowly chip away the confidence Dani has in her relationship with Liam, who treats her with love, kindness, and respect that all women deserve. Rick does his best to show Dani he’s changed and that he wants her back, and gradually she begins to fall back into a comfortable, although platonic pattern of spending time with him. She hides her secret meetings from her friends and from Liam but not without guilt that eventually overwhelms her.
By developing the story from the three main characters’ point-of-views, Zaun gave me plenty of opportunities to analyze each character’s real motivation behind their actions compared to their supposed feelings. Even though Rick and Dani’s secret meetings are seemingly innocent, both are drowning in denial, and it is denial that serves as the catalyst building to a painful climax where the truth is revealed.
Some aspects of the plot were predictable, and the outcome was what I expected. On the other hand, there were several relational aspects that I felt were left hanging without any clear foreshadowing of what to expect, and there are minor cliffhangers waiting for a resolution that is yet to come. I hope this means there will be a sequel at some point in the future. Overall, the book was well-edited, except for a few minor proofreading errors that need correction in a future revision.
I’m glad I read this book and appreciate the complex, flawed, but redeemable characters Zaun has created that make this story a worthwhile read.
I received a copy of this book via AtoMR Tours in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
A.L. Zaun graduated from Florida International University with a degree in English Literature a long time ago. A degree she didn’t use at all in her professional endeavors. She loves to read, write and take pictures. She walks around with her camera, and most importantly she has her e-reader available at all times. Healthcare Management by day, Mommy in the evening and most nights, you can find her sitting in front of her laptop with a bottle of Diet Pepsi, bringing the voices in her head to life on the pages of her debut novel, The Do Over.
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