Start Over – Book Review

Title: Start Over (Start Again Series #2)

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Author Bio:

Author: J. Saman

Hey everyone! I’m J. Saman and writing contemporary romance books that have a bit of an edge is my thing. I’m a lover of picking at old wounds and second chance romances. I write smart, strong women and sexy alpha (slightly nerdy) men who have a softer side.

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I like to play by the rules.
But when I get coaxed into crashing a party, I run into the last man I ever thought I’d see again, my one and only one-night stand, Luke Walker.
It’s been ten years since we’ve seen each other, but our chemistry is just as palpable as it was that night so long ago.
Only problem is, I’m leaving in one month for a pediatric fellowship across the country.


I like to keep everything close to my chest.
But when I see Ivy Green again, the woman I was never able to get out of my mind, I want her.
It doesn’t matter that my dark past and dangerous present mean I can’t keep her. That my secrets would destroy any shot at a real future.
After all, she’s leaving in a month.
What’s the worst that could happen?

Can be read as a standalone novel.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.


J. Saman has done it again! Start Over is the second book in the Start Again series. While this book can be read on it’s own, I recommend reading Start Again as well. But just because it’s amazing! It will help you connect further with the characters in Start Over too because there are some overlapping characters. However, J. Saman does a great job at integrating the old characters for new readers that isn’t repetitive for people who already know about them. It’s a nice refresher, if anything!

I enjoyed Start Over more than Start Again. This won’t be a comparison about the two, but I found myself loving the strength of Ivy and Luke more, but not by much because Kate and Ryan are amazing. Here’s more on them! 

J. Saman has a way of developing strong, independent women. Her novels aren’t what I normally peg romance novels to be like, and for that, it’s a breath of fresh air. Each novel I’ve read by her has depth and strong characterization.

In this novel, we have a resident doctor, Ivy, and a computer hacker, Luke, who has a dark, secretive past. I feel nowadays we can mix up the passion of falling in love and needing someone so deeply that you are speechless with the notion that you need to be strong and independent. I find these can work together. Just because someone has found their person, does not mean that they forever live in the shadow of the other person.

J. Saman makes sure that none of her characters take the back seat in this and I appreciate it so much. 

Ivy and Luke met ten years ago, having a one night stand, that left them both pining for each other over the years. Luke up and left the night of the one night stand when Ivy fell asleep and has lived with the guilt the entire time. So naturally, when Ivy walks back into his life, he cannot let her go a second time. The catch? Ivy is about to do a fellowship across the country. She leaves in a month.

This, however, doesn’t stop the two of them from getting to know each other further.

The thing about romance novels that I find, is sometimes the romance is unrealistic. Or it doesn’t make sense. But J. Saman creates such profound back stories for every character, that you are left analyzing every aspect of the relationship–from both point of views. This love exists and it’s real. She also makes it a point that each character has their own life and path and even if those lives merge, they refuse to settle for anything less than they should.

As someone who has felt and experienced this love and mine didn’t have a happy ending, I find myself connecting further to Ivy and Luke, as well as Kate and Ryan. You want them to have the happy ending. Especially because up until that point, they have had anything but a happy ending. This love doesn’t come around often and when you find it, you have to hold on as tight as you can. J. Saman writes heart-wrenching scenes where you doubt how the ending will actually go. You wonder if it’s possible for these characters to be happy, especially the character Luke, who has a past that many may not be able to forgive, yet J. Saman, gives your opinions a run for their money.

I highly recommend this series. It has you questioning between settling for love in a normal stance or pushing through and finding that passionate, head over heels love, even if it comes with some baggage.

The biggest takeaway is to always see all sides of the story. If your gut says to trust and hear someone out, do so. Everything is not always what it seems.

Needless to say, I am anxious to read the rest of her novels! The third book to this series, Start With Me, comes out October 16th! So check these two out now and you’ll be ready just in time!


Chelsea Lauren

Chelsea Lauren is addicted to drinking coffee, writing in cafes, and walking the beach. A New York native, she recently moved to Melbourne, FL and found having conversations with her character’s on the beach is the perfect cure to writer’s block. To learn more about her, check out “About Me.” Her debut novel, Underneath the Whiskey, is now available on Amazon.

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