Short and sweet the second time around: three novellas about second chance!
What was the book about?
Still Not Over You is a collection of three novella-length stories, each featuring a second chance romance.
My Forever Girl by Jenny Frame
Brayden and Faith had a picture perfect love, but were torn apart in the midst of tragedy. My Forever Girl picks up four years later, and Bray and Faith have not seen each other or spoken since their divorce. Their (very meddlesome to be honest) best friends conspire to trap them together on a cruise (my personal nightmare), and the reader is along for the ride.
Double Jeopardy by Carsen Taite
Katie James and Emma Read were a day away from getting married the last time they saw each other. Katie ran out on Emma, and runs into her again eight years later while waiting in line to get another marriage license. This time, there’s a lot less love and a lot more obligation involved, and Emma throws a bit of a wrench into Katie’s plans to go through the motions and make her new merger happen.
On the Rocks by Ali Vali
Preston Maxwell Cinclair is a master distiller in the family whiskey business in New Orleans, and Hayley Wyatt is heir to HER family’s business – an advertising firm in New York. They were college sweethearts with a deep connection but also a couple of notable secrets, and haven’t seen each other in 8 years, since Hayley left after graduation and seemingly never looked back. They’re thrown back together when Hayley’s firm is pitching a new ad campaign for Cinclair whiskey.
Second chance romance, reunion romance
Novella-length stories and second chance romances are both my JAM, so I was quite excited to pick up this collection. On top of that, I’ve enjoyed novels by each of the authors featured in Still Not Over You – Jenny Frame, Carsen Taite, and Ali Vali. Each of the stories captured that emotional component that you’re looking for if you like a good second chance romance – the pain of years lost as the original relationships are described, the angst of the reunions, and the push and pull of the relationship building when there’s a solid history between the characters to draw on. Each novella had its own strengths as well:
In My Forever Girl, Jenny Frame really did a great job of building the pain of the initial breakup and the longing each character felt for the other.
In Double Jeopardy, Carsen Taite spun an intriguing tale. Trying to guess what had gone wrong in the first place or what was going on with Katie’s current relationship had me on the edge of my seat – I couldn’t put the book down until I finished.
In On The Rocks, Ali Vali wrote a story that had me wishing for a full-length novel. Even in the novella format, the characters had depth and the relationship was believable and exciting. The writing also made this story fun to read, as every scene picked up with a similar thought or line from the end of the previous scene.
I found all three novellas to be just on the far side of “sappy,” especially when it came to dialogue. As an avid reader of romance, I expect a healthy dose of sappiness in my media. That said, I found myself taken out of the story in each of the three novellas featured here at some point or another. When reading My Forever Girl, I found myself longing for more show and less tell. There were far too many descriptive details that didn’t add to the emotion of the story, causing the story to drag at times. I truly enjoyed the premise and intrigue in Double Jeopardy, but felt the character development to be lacking. I didn’t fall in love with Katie or Emma enough for the characters or their arcs to stay with me through my next read. It could be that the novella length contributed here – that a longer story would provide more time for that development. And finally, On The Rocks. I do think the last novella was the strongest of the three. I would absolutely read a full length novel if Ali Vali ever decided to flesh this one out a bit more. The one weakness I will mention here is that it felt like the dialogue and even scene work toward the end were slightly more disjointed, especially when compared to the rest of the novella, which did slightly hamper the emotional connection to the Max and Hayley’s relationship climax.
I felt the chemistry of all three pairings featured in Still Not Over You. If I had to rank the chemistry, I think that Vali’s Max and Hayley had the best chemistry, followed by Frame’s Bray and Faith, and finally Taite’s Katie and Emma (Double Jeopardy is told solely from Katie’s perspective, which I do think makes it more difficult to build chemistry, especially in a shorter format).
On The Rocks
Still Not Over You is a lovely collection of novellas, all featuring one of my favorite tropes: second chance romances. Fans of Jenny Frame, Carsen Taite, and Ali Vali will inevitably enjoy this collection, as will anyone looking to dip their toes into a couple of great romantic stories without committing to a full novel’s worth of your reading time.