22 January 2014

Noela Nancarrow reviews DARE TO LOVE AGAIN by Julie Lessman

Dare to Love Again
Dare to Love Again
by Julie Lessman
Revell (January 7, 2014)

Reviewed by Noela Nancarrow

~5 Stars~ ***** 


Brilliant right to the end!

This is one of those stories! The type of story that adheres you to its pages, shackling you as its willing captive. The type that invades your thoughts and your heart with its arresting characters, the rousing and invigorating plot, and  the faith-building, inspiring voices within. And the type that has you exclaiming upon reaching the end, “Wow, now THAT was an incredible story!”

High-spirited Allison (Alli) McClare is fighting two battles. She desperately wants her independence regardless of the neighbourhood dangers; and after having her heart utterly broken by a money-hungry fraud in the past, she’s been in a fight to guard her heart over the last two years. That is, until the handsome yet surly Nick Barone comes into her life and unintentionally into her heart. Nick has some monumental secrets however, so if Allison dares to love again, can she survive yet another heartbreak if these secrets were to unravel?

Dark-haired Nick Barone (must be said with a long 'e'!) is a grouchy detective that is holding a massive grudge for the rich socialites of the community. Allison seems to fit into this mold, so when Nick is forced to teach her self-defense and see to her safety that she may have some independence, he is furious! In time, Nick sees that there is much more to this little spit-fire than he originally thought and soon this begrudging relationship, sparks and all, grows into something much more intense. Nick has plenty to overcome for this to work. Will the secrets of this angry and vengeful detective kill their hope and future before it even begins?

This is a not-to-be missed Julie Lessman masterpiece! In this second book of the Heart of San Francisco series, the lively characters we all fell in love with in the first, are right there along with Alli and Nick, providing extra scintillating dialogue and a powerful heartfelt subplot. I’m truly in awe of the author’s ability to create not only the most engaging and animated conversations that have razor-sharp wit and discourse so raw and believable, but she also manages to generate romantic tension so passionate and spring-loaded that you’re left breathless!

My only grievance with this story was that it came to an end. I wanted more as I wasn't ready to give it up. The good news is – there'll be more coming in this amazing series. The bad news is – I will have to wait. However this highly recommended story is easily read again in the meantime and most likely will be!

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GIVEAWAY: We have a new paperback of Dare to Love Again, a gently used paperback and an e-book copy to give away this week!! 
Please include e-mail address for contact purposes.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: A lesson learned the hard way by some of the characters was that ‘fear distorts wisdom every single time’. Have you experienced this yourself and/or what are your thoughts on this phrase?

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Dare to Love Again can be purchased from Amazon, CBD, Bam, and your local bookstore.



55 comments:

  1. I never know what to say about your reviews anymore, NOELA, b/c they are always so awesomely awesome! Just like this book!! :D

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    1. You're right about this book being so AWESOME, DIANA!!! ;)

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  2. NOELA what an amazing review, I always hate to post mine when I read yours and Diana's. :-) Wasn't this book just out of this world? JULIE is one outstanding author!

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    1. YES I agree, this book is out of this world, TERESA!!! And so is JULIE Lessman!! :) It's been a while since I enjoyed a book as much as Julie's!

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  3. I just finished the first in this series today! I'm a devoted Julie Lessman fan, the last year was just a little crazy for me.

    dawncrandallwritesfirst at gmail dot com

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    1. It's hard NOT to love her books isn't it DAWN? ;) If you enjoyed the first in this new series, wait 'til you read this one Dawn!!

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  4. Noela, great review! Julie's books just keep getting better, don't they? I'm right in the middle of DTLA and taking it slow, savoring every minute, because like you said, it will all end to quickly and then we have to wait...AGAIN! No need to enter me since I have my copy. :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by to say G'day ANGI... Even though you're not entering, it's always lovely to chat to you!! Enjoy and savor the book as much as you can while it lasts my friend! ;)

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  5. While I had some bouts with anxiety, I learned about "cognitive distortions" and how irrational thoughts can hinder our judgement. Just being aware of what they are helped me identify when my thinking was based on fear and then I was able to use some strategies to overcome/replace the distortions.

    Thanks for the giveaway! I'm so looking forward o starting this series!
    colorvibrant at gmail dot com

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    1. You've got SO much to look forward to with this series HEIDI! All the best in the giveaway!

      Isn't it amazing how powerful and convincing our thoughts can be, even when irrational?! Being aware of this can really help us to take a step back and see things from a different perspective. That's so great to hear that you've overcome those distortions. I've had to overcome in those areas also!

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  6. Hi, Ladies!

    "Fear distorts wisdom every single time" - I think many people are confronted with fear (often, of the unknown) that overrides wisdom, at some point in their life. That's where, I've found, trust comes in - the closer I am in my relationship with God, the less fear in unknown/new situations.

    I SO agree with you, re: Noela's review, Diana! I find it hard to know what to say about ANY of the OWG reviews from you ladies anymore - they're ALL wonderful!

    The same goes for Julie's books - I've run out of new adjectives to describe both Julie AND her books! I fell in love with her writing with the first book I read, and in love with her as a funny, sweet, caring, giving, inspirational, sister-in-Christ - before I ever read the first book! Months ago - she laughed at signing ALL her books I had purchased - before even reading one - and said, "how do you know you'll even like them"? I KNEW I would LOVE them - she puts SO much of her heart and soul into her books, to love her is to love her books and vice versa. God works through her writing in an extraordinary way, to inspire with her "passion for a purpose", and I'm inspired to be a more godly person after each book I read! She is a master at her craft, and I can't wait to read "Dare to Love Again"!!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com
    OWG

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    1. BONNIE, that was very well said, thanks! So often our fear IS of the unknown, that is so very true, and in those cases, we really DO need to put our whole trust in God, and trust that He has our best interests at heart, AND understands us... often more than we even fully understand ourselves! :)

      Thanks for your kind words to all of us here at OWG, we really appreciate you and all our readers/friends! And yes, I'm surprised myself that I was able to come up with an original review to express how I felt about this new book of Julie's LOL, but I do love the way you described JULIE and her books above.... You my friend, sure do have a way with words yourself!!! :) I don't have to say 'enjoy' Dare to Love Again when you read it, I KNOW you will, lol!! :)

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  7. What a fun book to read, would love to win this one!

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    1. It sure is a fun book BECKY, even though it does tug at your heart too!! All the best in the competition Becky! :)

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  8. I've been eyeing this book recently. Would love to win a copy!!

    a.f.washburn(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. I hope you get your chance ALYSSA!! But just in case, let me tell you it is SO worth getting anyway!

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  9. A wonderful review, as always, Noela! I am so eager to read this series!!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks BRITNEY, and I sure can understand your eagerness to read this amazing series because it truly is an exemplary series!!

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  10. I would love to win. Sharma Darby rdarby@roadrunner.com

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    1. Well then I wish you ALL the best SHARMA!! Blessings!

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  11. Loved your review Noela, always do. I think fear does distort our views on things many times. I know that I have sometimes let fear get to me. Hey the good thing is the story isn't over and yours truely gets to be in the next book ! Julies books are awesome and the story is awesome. I love reading others takes on them as I am reading them myself.
    Hugs to you and to Jules !
    Linda
    faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you LINDA, oh and it's not only a good thing that there's more and that you're going to be in the next book, it's a GREAT thing!! How wonderful for you Linda!!! That is such an honor to be in one of JULIE'S incredible stories! :)

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  12. NOELA!!! You quoted Logan's logic with "fear distorts wisdom every time," and I am learning that FIRST-HAND with DTLA because I always think -- what if the OWG gals don't like it as much as I hope?? How can they possibly like every thing I write and if they don't, I don't want them feeling badly because nobody bats a thousand, right???

    And then you guys go and literally BLOW ME AWAY with the most incredible reviews, making me both cry and grin like an idiot because the opinions of the OWG gals are THAT important to me!!

    LOVE this review, my friend, and talk about "brilliant to the end"!!! Thank you SO much for not only taking the time to read DTLA, but for taking the time to bless the socks off me with a truly beautiful review!!

    I absolutely LOVE you guys, and because our tastes are SO similar, your reviews are some of the most important ones out there for me, because I know if you like it, I've stayed the course with something I like too. :)

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

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    1. JULIE, somehow I think in your case you could bat to a thousand and MORE!! I go into books never truly knowing what to expect, although with yours I have a pretty good idea lol, but then you go and WOW me again each and every time! I admit I was a little surprised with DTLA because it went WAY above and beyond my expectations, which were pretty high mind you, and what I wrote in the introduction in my review is God's honest truth!! I not only said that to myself but to everyone who was around at the time, lol!

      We really do LOVE you so much too JULIE!! We're also humbled that you regard our reviews so highly. Thank you and thank you so much for your very kind and sweet words... and for always making OUR day! :) :)

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  13. Okay, now I'm bright red as well as crying and grinning!! Just went back to read all the comments and HOLY COW, I hope I can get my head through the door!!! You guys are WAY too nice to me and WAY too liberal with your compliments for a CDQ with a penchant for passion and drama.

    And I gotta tell you it's absolutely KILLING ME not to be able to respond to all comments, but I promised my hubby I would pull back and only comment on actual interviews, of which I have a ton going on right now through to the end of the month, so the man does have a point. :|

    PLEASE forgive me for not responding to every individual comment, but PLEASE know how much I appreciate every single one and think you guys ROCK big time!!

    Love you guys, each and every one!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. JULIE, you're a very good wife lol, and a very WISE one too!! I'm sure everybody wouldn't want to see you get burned out and drop from pure exhaustion! We love you too much to see that happen! I was even thinking last night after I'd gone to bed that I shouldn't have tagged you in the review link, because I know how busy you are atm! We all know you and know you would comment if you could and I can imagine how much it's killing you not to respond, lol! Especially with all these beautiful people that come by and say the sweetest things. Like BONNIE for instance when she says "she puts SO much of her heart and soul into her books, to love her is to love her books and vice versa. God works through her writing in an extraordinary way, to inspire with her "passion for a purpose", and I'm inspired to be a more godly person after each book I read!" Wow, I just loved the way she put that... Could not have said that better!!
      God bless & big hugs from everyone!!!

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  14. Noela, once again you make us want to rush out and grab it. :) Yes, I think fear distorts our wisdom - in the fact that fear distorts our thinking and thus we aren't thinking correct when we need it the most. That is how I take it and I know fear definitely impairs our thinking.

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    1. Cool, SUSAN! Lol, I sure do hope everyone rushes out to grab this book because it's such a fabulous book!!
      Thanks for your thoughts on that quote. It really is such an important lesson for us all to learn and to be reminded of often. I like the way you said 'and thus we aren't thinking correct when we need it most.' Absolutely true!!

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  15. This looks like a wonderful book/series. Would love to read. Thank you for the opportunity.
    Blessings
    Katrina
    eppersonkatrinaatyahoodotcom

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    1. It really is KATRINA, and I sure hope you get to read it soon and be as blessed as all those who have read it are! :) God bless you!

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  16. It would have to be wonderful, all of Julie's books are!

    missionwife AT hotmail DOT com

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    1. MELODY, in this case, it is more than wonderful, lol!! Definitely one of my favorite Julie Lessman books!!! Hope you get to read it soon!

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  17. I really think do think fear distorts wisdom every time applies to me . I react out of the fear and try to do things myself instead of being wise and asking God for the wisdom I need. I make a mess when I do it on my own.
    Love Julie's books and look forward to reading this.
    Thank you
    mcnuttjem0(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. JACKIE, I think that is true for most of us! But we are learning all the time. And I love that amazing books like JULIE'S can serve to re-reinforce the message of trusting God and not allowing our fears to dictate our actions.
      Enjoy Dare To Love Again when you get to read it... as I'm sure you will!! ;)

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    2. JAckie, you are our second winner. Look for an email! congrats!

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  18. I agree that fear distorts wisdom, though I don't know if it would every single time. We usually can't think very clearly if we are fearful.
    I've read all of Julie's books so far and am looking forward to reading Dare to Love Again. It would be super to win a copy!
    Thanks for the good reviews this week and the giveaway.

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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    1. Very true, PAM, thanks for commenting! All the best with your entry in winning a copy of Dare To Love Again!! And thank you for your kind words regarding the reviews this week... You've got Diana Flowers awesome review to look forward to tomorrow!! :)

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  19. Noela,
    Isn't Julie just one of the most fabulous writers. I am relatively a newbie of Julie's. I have read ALITW, and am reading APMP now. I cried through ALITW, in several area's of the book. She does grab you, and you fall right into the story itself. You asked about the quote "fear distorts wisdom over time", if we had felt this, experienced it. Yes, I have and yes, it does. But, I truly believe that we have the chance to learn new things all of the time. Many choose not to. I found Julie and her books, at a time in my life where I was feeling very alone, empty, and full of anguish. But after reading her book, I now know I am not alone. And, to be able to be one of those lucky enough to call her a friend, let's just say I don't think I will ever feel that way again. B

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    1. BABBIE, first of all, a thousand YES's to Julie being one of the most fabulous writers. It took me a while to get around to reading her books but once I did, I devoured them all, and then began eagerly awaiting her new releases like everyone else lol. Ohh APMP is amazing!!! I'm pretty sure you'll be crying in that one before too long also. ;)
      Amen to what you wrote about experiencing fear. And that's the beauty of it... whatever our failures, if we are open to it, God will use these experiences to teach us through them all! B, remember, you are never alone! And we'd love to have you become our friend too!! :) Blessings!

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  20. When you live in fear of something, no matter how minor it may seem to others, it can change the way you think about things, your actions, and how you interact with others, that is what I think anyway.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Hi WENDY, thanks for coming by to check out Julie's book and also for sharing your thoughts! I tend to agree with you on that... If we're living in fear, it's bound to affect our lives in some way or other. Bless you!

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  21. Hello Noela. Another great review. You are great girl. As is julie. She has some great books. And is a very well liked lady from all I hear. I think we do let fear get in the way of wisdom at times. Altho when I had a baby who choked while nursing, I was so scared but handed her to her daddy and told him to breathe in her mouth I called the doctor. I called him and he told us what to do and stayed on the phone while hubby laid her on bed by me, and talked to me until she got pink again. I was so scared. My mother was there and said if I could always wait till something was over to break down would be a great help. Loved her for that. Would love to win Julie's book. Thanks, Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com
    Hugs to all of my OWG sweeties. Keep warm. :)

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    1. Hey there MAXIE, how are you? Thanks for your sweet words to both Julie, and myself! :)
      Some people, like yourself, are way more calmer in tense situations than others, and that is a great attribute!! Praise the Lord that everything worked out well for your baby! I think I would've broken down afterwards as well, ONCE I knew everything was alright! :) Very scary experience for you Maxie!
      I wish you all the best with your entries too, and BIG hugs back to you from all of us!

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  22. Good review! I wonder what secrets Officer Barone may have ... thanks for the chance to win! I've never been disappointed by a Julie Lessman book!

    jafuchi7[at]hawaii[dot]edu

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    1. Thanks LADY Dragonkeeper! :) I guess you'll just have to read it to find out lol, but it is an interesting surprise!! :)

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  23. Great review! I would love to read this book. Yes, fear paralyzes our faith, for sure. rmaney@firstarpchurch.org

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    1. Thank you REBECCA, and I hope you get your chance to read this fantastic book!
      When we allow the fear to overtake us, we're not trusting in God and we are permitting that fear to control us, or as you put it so well, paralyze us! Thanks for your input!

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  24. yes, fear distorts wisdom. I have learned(and keep learning it!) this many times! I remember being a new Christian and so fearful of what people would think of me and what I did not know. I was paralyzed to go to a small group or anything like that. My husband basically had to force me to go, and praise God he did! They have been huge blessings in my life and I realized that I am not expected to know it all!
    Can't wait to read this book. Loved the first one in the series!
    candicervaldez at gmail dot com

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    1. Fear of the unknown can be one of the biggest fears we often allow to distort our wisdom in such matters, but I'm so glad your hubby 'encouraged' (lol) you to take that step! That's wonderful to hear you've been so blessed since! All the best with your chance to win this amazing book CANDACE!!

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  25. Hallo, Hallo dear OWG ladies & Ms. Lessman!

    I am finally able to drop by properly once again! I had to work out some tech issues with my computer between the holidays and now! I've been catching up via email, as I subscribe to the OWG feeds!! :) Imagine my happy surprise in seeing 'who' the special guest was this week! I want to congratulate Ms. Lessman on the honour OWG bestowed on her a bit earlier already as well! I must say, she deserved it as she is always so very giving with her time for readers & responders alike! I wasn't a bit surprised that she became the *first ever!* OWG Angel Heart Award!

    I think the lesson behind 'fear distorts wisdom' is in knowing the time in our lives where we allow our own personal fears and concerns of the unknown nestle into our subconscious to the brink that serenity gets tucked out a bit more than necessary! If we always allow ourselves to focus on what we do not yet understand or know of (in general) we do a bit of a dance of uncertainty which doesn't help us in the long run. The hardest part of faith is 'blind faith' in surmounting our own personal fears and trusting in the One who can bring us the greatest peace in the most adverse times in our lives.

    Its a multi-layer question to propose and I am sure for each person who responds there will be a variety of answers! :)

    Thank you for this lovely bookaway!
    (inkand-bookaways(at)usa(dot)net)

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    1. JORIE, what a blessing to come back to check on my review responses to see your always interesting and wonderful comment here!!
      Yes, our Prince of Peace is the one who can give us the greatest peace in those most unsettling times of our lives when we are powerless to do anything else, not knowing what tomorrow brings! We all have no doubt allowed fear at one time or another to creep into our lives and distort our usual and mostly (lol) sane mind and thoughts, but what a victory it is to know Jesus can bring peace beyond all understanding, to us!!
      Blessings Jorie!

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  26. Hmm, you always make us think with these questions. I think that I am one of those similar to an earlier poster, who manages to 'hold on to it', during the fearful times, and then break down after it is over with. However, when I DO make a decision during a tense time, before taking time to think about it, I do sometimes make the wrong decision. We must all remember to remember to pray that God replaces our fears with His wisdom because fear is not of God, but of a Satan.

    I have read the first two books about the O'Connor family and enjoyed them, but all the reviews you OWG gals have written about this new series, make me excited to read it too! Here's to hoping for a win for me on one of her new books! Looking forward to some more Julie time!
    Vicki

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    1. Lol, sorry VICKI... answering is always optional, but I do enjoy your very thoughtful answers!! You are spot on, fear is NOT of God, and but is of the father of lies... which just goes to show you we shouldn't listen and act on our fears, but to bring our concerns to the Lord!
      Here's to a win for you so that you can begin enjoying Julie's new and wonderful book series! :)

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  27. This sounds like an awesome book, and I'm so glad to find some fiction without swearing and smut! If you donate to me, I will send to a library in the Philippines that was part of Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayan Islands after I am done reading it. Visiting from http://www.heartofaphilanthropist.com God Bless!

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    1. Thanks for reading about Julie's wonderful new book KIM. Winner's are usually picked by random.org but of course if you win it, you may donate it wherever you like! God bless!!

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