Start Again – Book Review

Title: Start Again (Start Again series #1)

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Author and 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 had the perfect life. Then an accident took everything I loved.
After two years of barely getting by, I need to get away from here.
My plan? Drive across the country until I find a new place to live. There is just one problem with that. I have to take an old family friend along for the ride.
At first, I don’t know what to make of Ryan Grant or the way it feels like he can see through me with those gorgeous green eyes of his. He’s got secrets. And he’s definitely holding a lot back.
But wow, there’s so much more to him than I expected.
Not that it matters really, my heart and mind are trapped in the past. 

I’ve never had the perfect life. And lately work seems to be my only focus.
Probably because I’ve been betrayed a time or two by people I thought I could trust. By people who were only after me for one thing. So I’m moving west from Philly to Seattle.
There is just one problem with that. I don’t fly. Ever.
So when Katie Taylor offers to drive me across the country, how can I say no? She is my dream girl after all. Always has been.

But is her tragic past too much for her to overcome?

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


When I came across J. Saman’s novel Start Again, I was excited to break up my reading. I had been reading a lot that wasn’t in my genre of reading, so I was eager for a light-hearted, easy book. But that’s when my stereotype was proven wrong. In the past, the romance novels I have read are quick, fleeting, and easy books to get through.

Well, J. Saman proved herself immediately in the prologue. I was hooked. When I started reading the book, I had approximately ten minutes before work and an insane weekend where I knew I wouldn’t have time to read. In just those ten minutes, I wanted to cancel my entire weekend and finish the book–she had me in tears and I was holding on tightly to Kate. Needless to say, I found myself thinking about Kate and the future of the book the entire weekend (and I was at Disney).

Start Again isn’t just a book about romance. It’s a book about friendship, heartbreak, grief, and of course, starting again. Kate has a past and a future life and currently she is stuck in the middle. The book takes place two years after a tragic accident took everything from her.

J. Saman has a captivating and truthful way of writing, where you are rooting for Ryan and for Kate’s happiness, but you sympathize with what she is going through. This book deals with the tough obstacle of death and learning how to overcome and love again. It isn’t an easy feat to tackle in writing. To get Kate’s emotions on point, to have her internal struggle, to show that you should and will be rooting for her to be with Ryan. Her struggles are realistic and while I can’t imagine what her situation must have felt like, I could still grieve and hope with her.

Often times, I feel romance novels are rushed romances. That’s why I feel they are easy going and fast reads. Sometimes they are unrealistic, but it’s okay because that’s exactly what you want when you read a certain book. But romance doesn’t have to be that way. It can be hot and steamy, yet heartbreaking and difficult. They can have realistic time spans and even if you found your soul mate, that doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself in the relationship. You’re allowed to stand on your own two feet as well. I think this book captures that perfectly.

It isn’t just about Ryan or Kate finding love that’ll last a lifetime, it’s about them both finding themselves individually and what that means for their relationship together … even if that means they may not be able to be together.

My only complaint about this book is sometimes it became repetitive and I would have loved to dive deeper into each character when in their point of view. I get there are things hidden from each character and those are also hidden from the reader. With that said, this book has more depth than I would have anticipated and I appreciate that so much.

Written in the point of view of Kate and Ryan, J. Saman is able to not be repetitive in scenes that the other character has gone through–which in my experience is hard to find in a book. Often times, I find myself skimming books that have two different point of views because I find they go through the same information. J. Saman’s planning for each character was well thought out. She is also able to quickly bring you back into each character’s style of thoughts and writing, which is important for that quick connection!

I would highly recommend this book! And the rest of the series! Check back on Monday for the review of Start Over (Start Again series #2).

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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  • COMMENT (1)

    1. Start Over - Book Review - Chelsea Lauren 25th August 2017 at 3:51 pm -

      […] 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!  […]


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