Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ripple Effect Romance #5 - #6: Second Chances 101 by Donna K. Weaver + Immersed by Jennifer Griffith

"Like a pebble tossed into calm water, a simple act can ripple outward and have a far-reaching effect on those we meet, perhaps setting a life on a different course—one filled with excitement, adventure, and sometimes even love." Ripple Effect Romance 

Genre: Women's Fiction
Age group: Adult
Publication Date: February 18th 2014
Series: Ripple Effect Romance #5
Pages: 144
Format: Mobi/Kindle
Source: Provided by author for review

Thirty-seven year old Francie Davis, a recent widow and empty Nester, gets to attend college at last. She’s sure her luck has changed when she also lands a job on campus that will pay her tuition, as administrative assistant to a history professor. When her handsome new boss yells at her on the first day of work, Francie worries she will never be good enough.

For Professor Alex Diederik, life is going downhill fast. Not only is his bitter ex-wife trying to poison their only daughter against him, but now his one place of solace—his work environment—is being complicated by his attractive new administrative assistant. She drives home his feelings of failure as a husband and father, and Alex wonders if hiring her was the right thing to do. 

Francie will have to put aside her hurt and insecurities or risk her dreams, while Alex must look outside himself if he’s to mend the breach with his daughter. And, perhaps, find someone who can help heal his pain.

Second Chances 101 is about exactly that. Second Chances. There's nothing I love more than a second chance romance but this one was a little different. Where most Second Chance stories focus on a couple trying to reconnect this one brings together two people looking for a second chance at life and love having suffered through some bad past experiences romantically. Alex and Francie meet when she takes a job as his assistant at the University he works at. Their first meeting is slightly rocky after Alex bites her head off and nobody holds a grudge better than Francie. Both are attracted to the other but will interoffice policy against dating coworkers stand in their way?

Francie's character was introduced to me in the last book Lost And Found. I didn't really pay too much attention to Francie because I was so absorbed in the budding romance between Lydia and Blake and for some reason I thought, with a name like Francie, that she was...well...old. I must have glanced over the fact that she was a young single mother so I was happy I got another chance to get it right. Francie is coming off a difficult time in her life after the death of her cantankerous husband Greg. Now that he isn't around to hold her back and her son Rafe is heading to college she can focus on going back to school and getting her degree. I loved the tenacity in this woman. She managed to raise a kid with a spouse who verbally abused her almost daily and helped get him into a top college for her efforts. Francie sacrificed so much for her son that she's having to live off her home grown garden in order to eat everyday. Her survival instinct and her personality were what I loved most about her. She wasn't too hard and she wasn't too soft. Francie was a great balance of down to earth and assertive female.

Alex is a divorced father to daughter Samantha who is going through a goth phase since he split with his ex wife. Aside from the fact that his ex is a complete PITA who gives him hell at every opportunity, he's also dealing with budget cutbacks at the university he teaches at which causes him to share an assistant with his sleazeball coworker adding to his frustrations. I found myself really loving Alex throughout the story even though he seemed to have a little bit of an anger issue at first. It wasn't hard to understand the stress his ex wife always seemed to put him under especially with his worries of her turning their daughter against him. Alex was a devoted father and a hard working professor who loved teaching and seeing how his ex brow beat him about his passion really brought home the fact that Alex deserved to be angry. More and more I wanted to see him happy because he was just a decent, good guy who deserved a break. What really sold me on his character was how MUCH he loved his daughter. I'm a sucker for a dad who puts his children first and the fact that Alex was a pretty buff borderline nerdy guy was perfect for me. His relationship with Samantha was difficult at times but he always put his feelings aside to mend fences with her.

The romance between Alex and Francie was slow growing at first mainly because it took them forever to get out of their own way. Alex's initial gruff personality to Francie didn't help her general assessment but I was glad to see they moved past that. Office romances especially in a school setting with all the scandals in the forefront are considered to be frowned upon now. Despite their growing attraction, another office coworker makes it harder for them to enjoy anything with his constant meddling. Alex's daughter Samantha turned out to be a surprise player in the game and I really enjoyed seeing the bond between her and Francie grow stronger with every page. What started as Francie befriending the troubled girl quickly became a bond Francie couldn't live without after experiencing empty nest syndrome most parents go through when their kid leaves home. Samantha had a surprising role in not only Alex and Francie's relationship but a side story involving the sleazeball that worried me at first but soon had me cheering the goth diva.

Second Chances 101 just might be my favorite in the Ripple Effect Romance series. A series that started off by introducing a set of characters and who interacted with a particular secondary character who would then get their own story. I have to say I have loved the idea of this. How one author builds the character and passes them off to another author who then nurtures and cares for them. Each one has done an outstanding job of making sweet and tender romances seem believable and deep within a few short pages. As sometimes happens with novellas for me I was bitten by the "More" bug. By the time this story came to a close I was not ready for the story to end. I loved these characters so much I could absolutely see myself enjoying a full length novel with them and where they are after. Second Chances 101 was a fantastic quick little read with a great hero and heroine that will resonate with readers both younger and older. If you love a good second chance love story and don't have much time to devote to a full novel then grab this one asap!


Stepping back so he could see where she sat, Alex watched Francie work. What had happened to make her so happy the last couple of days? Had she met someone? An unusual sensation swept him, and he frowned. why would it rub him wrong that she might be seeing someone? He didn't care. Mobi/Kindle 47% 

"Do you think there's ever a second chance for people like us, Francie, with all our scars?" 
He lifted his hand and brushed a strand of hair from her face, leaving his palm on her cheek. She reached up and ran her fingers down his cheek, rough with nearly a day's growth. A light smudge of dirt ran down one side, probably from when he had wiped his face while on the roof.
 "There has to be, Alex." 
This time, she was the one to lean closer, touching her lips, feather-light, to his soft, warm ones. Mobi/Kindle 66%

About The Author:

Author of adventure romance series Safe Harbors (A Change of Plans, Book #1; Hope's Watch Short Story, #1.5; and Torn Canvas, Book #2 (coming 2014) & Ripple Effect Romance Novella #5, Second Chances 101. Wife-mother-grandmother-Army veteran-karate black belt-Harry Potter nerd.


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Lisette Pannebaker speaks five languages and has a brilliant business plan—personal language immersion. Clients can hire her to shadow them and speak all day in any language they need to learn for business or travel—whatever. But there’s a major hitch: she’s far too pretty. Clients with less than honorable intentions sign up just to have Lisette at their side. Solution? A make-under. Way under.

The bad wig, icky makeup and puffy sweaters work like a charm. None of her male clients show her the least bit of interest. Lisette’s totally relieved.


Erik Gunnarson is charming, kind, and smart—everything she’s ever looked for. Every day as his tutor is making her fall for him more. Even though he seems to have a secret, and she’s sworn she'd never date a client, Lisette is tempted to shed her disguise—although it could mean jeopardizing her career.

What would you do if you were so beautiful that you had to make yourself UNDER just to be taken seriously? I'm not sure about you but I have never had this problem but Lisette Pannebaker does. After graduating college with a degree in business specialising in languages Lisette opens up her own business that will allow her to travel with her clients and teach them the language needed in order to better help their business dealings with foreign investors. Her only goal is to make her business a success so she can make enough money to pay back her student loans and the debt she owes to the CEO of her family's company. Unfortunately nothing is easy for the gorgeous blond with a bubbly personality as client after client misunderstands what her job is and crosses the line of appropriate with her therefore terminating their contracts.

Lisette is a character I found myself loving and rolling my eyes at. She's absolutely gorgeous so you would think she had no reason to whine about anything. Cry me a river, right? For a woman who wants to set out on her own and make something of herself I could understand why she felt the way she did. Lisette didn't want anyone giving her anything solely on her looks because they either didn't see past the beauty into the person she really is or sort of dumbed her down and made her into the "Little Woman" and that's a quick way to get slapped, guys I'm looking at you! Meeting up with Lisette fresh out of college her poor little heart was broken by a guy she thought she wanted to marry but he played a pretty nasty joke on her that has left some scars on her love life. With some help from Samantha, a character I loved from book 5 Lisette goes throw a De-transformation to make herself look frumpy and unattractive. This was a genius move on her part because her business took off and left her not having to worry about anyone crossing the line. Of course with this new appearance and her working so much her love life suffers, until Erik Gunnarson comes into the picture.

I have to take a minute to gush about this guy. I loved him so much I want to run down the street naked with a tambourine. Erik comes to Lisette from Iceland in need of some help polishing his English skills and their six week contract should do just that. A self made millionaire before he was finished with high school Erik had the brains but he wasn't your average nerd. All that delicious brain power was wrapped up inside a yummy package any woman would drool over at first glance. His charming heavy accent that made me laugh while he was learning how to speak American English was an adorable character trait. I loved seeing Lisette's reactions to how he mispronounced words and phrasing attempts. There was something special about Erik that I picked up on early on. He was a cheeky little guy and the fact that he wasn't bothered by Lisette's appearance in the lightest had my inner sleuth coming out of hiding. Erik was different from all the other guys that have hurt Lisette because he put her well being ahead of his own several times and proved how much of a gentleman he was repeatedly.

Lisette was a hard working young woman filled with determination and high hopes that often times seemed bleak at best. Fighting against a rooked business man who held power over her family nearly crippled her hard work but she pulled through and salvaged her dignity and I loved seeing that for her. The relationship with Erik was adorable and the connection between them made my heart flutter with joy. Of course they hit some a rough spot that was just a misunderstanding but Erik was such a great guy and Lisette a somewhat rational female was able to see past what she thought she saw and work through her issues. Erik and Lisette were one of those couples that I fell in love with right along with them and enjoyed their journey. If you want some guilt free romance with an adorable hero and heroine then give Immersed a shot.


She wanted to ask him all about his life there, his upbringing, his family, his plans for a family of his own, and could she please be the mother of his children? Mobi/Kindle 22%

What a sport. And he smelled like cedar and citrus today, blast him. She hated it when men smelled as good as they looked, especially when they looked as good as Erik Gunnarson. Mobi/Kindle 42%

She did not date clients. She did not ride in clients' helicopters. She did not date clients. Oh, what should she wear? Mobi/Kindle 68%

About The Author:
Jennifer is a wife and a mom of five weathering the chaos by writing escapist fiction. She was raised in Idaho on a farm and now lives with her family in rural Arizona. (There are scorpions.) Jennifer has no plans to write the Great American Novel. She’d rather compose what someone would read on a rainy afternoon with a cup of cocoa, or sitting on a beach chair while the waves crash. Light, frothy, gone. She lived for 1 1/2 years in Japan during college, during which she never, even once, sumo wrestled.

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  1. Oh, five stars! This looks like such a great series! I think I would adore Alex and Francie so much. Thanks for the reviews!

  2. Thank you so much, Amanda! You have a hilarious turn of phrase. YOU ought to write some cute little novellas of your own!


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