Sunday, October 9, 2016

Review: Second Half by Monica DeSimone

Zoey McEvoy is a strong, sassy, independent woman that has vowed to herself that she will never allow anyone the opportunity to determine her emotional well being again. After a battle with depression that ended in an attempted suicide she has clawed her way out of the all-encompassing darkness. Founding the Coach's Shadow Foundation in honor of her father Zoey finds herself thrown back into the life of the man that emotionally destroyed her eight years earlier. Derrick Hendrickson chose his career over Zoey and is now back to recapture the love that he so recklessly tossed away. Unaware of the devastation his departure caused, he has to reestablish the trust that he lost when he left her. With the help of their best friends and Zoey's sister Claire, Derrick has a strong chance of proving that he never stopped loving her. However, Zoey's trust issues are major hurdles that need to be crossed. Will Zoey ultimately find the strength to forgive and allow Derrick and love back into her life, proving that the Second Half can be so much brighter?


What I thought about Second Half

When I read the blurb for Second Half, I was intrigued by the depression angle in this story. So many people suffer from depression and I was curious about how this was going to be portrayed in this story. Depression isn't always easy to talk about.
The book opens showing just how happy Zoey and Derrick are together. They are making plans and promises for the future. Derrick is about to go pro and life is great...until Derrick pretty much dumps her after he gets to the pros without even bothering to talk to Zoey about it. He just disappears from her life.
The story picks up 8 years later, with Zoey running a foundation for young athletes in her father memory. When her friend Ben cancels on being a keynot speaker, he calls on Derrick to substitute for him, putting Zoey back in touch with the man who shredded her heart and head. 
I have to say that I found Derrick to be a bit of a bully when he tries to push his way back into Zoey's life. He's relentless in the pursuit of her and basically wears her down. In the process, other secrets come out that have the potential to push Zoey into another serious depression. I have to admit, I was a bit appalled when why Derrick treated her that way is revealed, and I had a hard time believing those circumstances. 
The writing had some slow spots that had me skimming instead of reading, maybe because I was more interested in the emotional aspects of this story instead of the sexual aspects. I would have liked it if the author had explored the emotional impact of Derrick coming back into Zoey's life a bit more. 
There's a very nice cast of supporting characters who helped Zoey and I really liked that about the story. 
So overall, a nice debut effort. The story could have been a little tighter and better paced with a little less sex. Your mileage may vary.
ARC provided for review.

About the Author

Monica lives in northern New Jersey with her three dogs; Sam, Reilly and Steeler. Raised by a football coach in the heart of Texas, football is a passion that is deeply rooted. Introduced to Nora Roberts by her mother at the age of thirteen, she spawned a lifetime love affair with books, all things romance and happily ever afters. Outside of writing, you will find Monica on her back porch enjoying time with her "boys", family, friends, and a really good Dirty Martini.

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