Series: The New Pioneer Series, Book One
Author: Deborah Nam-Krane
Published: March 29th, 2013
Page Count: 291
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Nineteen year old Emily wants her college diploma fast, and she's going to get it. But when the perfect night with perfect Mitch leads her to a broken heart, Emily is blind to her vulnerability. When the person she cares about the most is hurt as a result, Emily's ambition gives way to more than a little ruthlessness. She's going to use her smarts to take care of herself and protect the people she loves, and everyone else had better stay out of her way. But shouldn't the smartest girl everyone knows realize that the ones she'd cross the line for would do the same for her?
Miranda had a recurring dream. She was sleeping in a bed in a small room when her beautiful, blonde, green-eyed mother walked in and sat on the bed with her. She was wearing a black dress. They would talk for a few minutes and sometimes her mother would stroke her hair or tickle her, but she was always smiling. In the dream Miranda knew her mother was happy to be with her. As Miranda grew, the conversations were different, but they didn’t matter. The dream always ended the same way. Her mother would kiss her goodnight and tell her that she loved her, then turn off the light and close the door.
Sometimes Miranda would wake up crying for her mother, even now, although not as loudly as she used to. Sometimes she would wake up but close her eyes tightly, to try and hold onto the dream. Because Miranda didn’t remember her mother except for that dream, and she couldn’t be sure if her mother’s hair had really been that thick or her eyes that green. The only thing she could be sure of was that her mother had loved her, but that wasn’t something she remembered, it was just something she knew.
Miranda’s first real memory was a rainy day in a tiny garden. There were drops of rain on white honeysuckles. A sad older woman with white hair and green eyes smiled as Miranda put the flower to her mouth and sucked out the nectar. She remembered thinking that it was the best thing ever, and that now everything would be alright. But she didn’t remember what had been wrong in the first place.
When she was a little girl she had often asked Alex about the garden. Alex would smile and say that someday he’d take her there again. But she could tell it made him sad like the old woman, so she stopped asking by the time she was twelve. Now, every once in a while, she remembered the garden and the old woman and made a note that she’d have to ask Alex to at least tell her where it was.
Miranda’s first memory of Alex was from when she was five. She remembered that she was wearing a light beige dress with small pink flowers and a sash that tied in the back. He was sitting on a chair in a living room, across from the old woman, who was sitting on a couch. The couch and the chair had flowers, just like her dress. Those were the things you noticed when you were five.
She couldn’t take her eyes off of him. She thought he was the most wonderful thing she’d ever seen. His hair was darker back then, and he had been wearing a dark red sweater. Burgundy. She had taught herself that color, because it was Alex’s favorite, and it became her favorite on him. She loved the way it made his brown eyes stand out.
She had walked over to the old woman and taken her hand, then looked down at the floor while she talked. She didn’t remember what was said. But she did remember Alex’s voice. “Would you like to come and live with me?” he’d asked. And then she’d looked up, and she remembered that she’d smiled. He smiled too; he hadn’t been smiling before. Even as a small child, she knew that they were going to love each other forever.
She remembered hugging the old woman goodbye. She didn’t remember because she wanted to. She remembered because she couldn’t forget. It was a forever goodbye, which she knew even though no one had told her. She remembered that she cried, and that she had cried in the car. But Alex had said that she could use the phone at her new house to call the old woman whenever she wanted to, and they stopped to get some ice cream before he took her to her new home, her forever home.
Years later, she’d put it together. Her mother had died. The old woman was her grandmother, and Alex, her mother’s friend, had come to take care of her. But that wasn’t what was important. What was important was that she had loved Alex from that day forward.
Review by Renee
Emily is a stressed out 19 year old college student, that's where the normal college student part of her ends. She has a hard life, she has always had to take care of herself. She is very vulnerable, so she turns a blind eye toward some signs about people she trusted and thought were her friends. To be the smartest girl in the room, she really lack in socially and emotional situations. I just wanted to mother her and be there for her.
Mitch, really was a great guy but he had his faults. He did break Emily's heart and I kind of understand his reasoning.... but really it was just a guy being a dumb guy. He got kind of burned in return (not by Emily). Even with all that happen Mitch still remained one of my favorite characters.
Nam-Krane really did the young adult theme well. I'm nowhere near that age but I do have kids that age. I feel like she got it right, with all the stress of college and still trying to make time for a life. I enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the rest of the series.
I give The Smartest Girl In The Room 4 Platypires
Bama Love!! Roll Tide!! and Keep Reading Y'all
Series: The New Pioneer Series, Book Two
Published: September 28th, 2013
Page Count: 290
Miranda Harel has been in love with her guardian Alex Sheldon since she was five years old, and Michael Abbot has despised them both for just as long. When Miranda finds out why she wants both men out of her life for good and questions everything she believed about where and who she came from. Finding out the truth will break her heart. Without family or true love, will her friends be enough to bring her back?
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Review by Renee
The Family You Choose by Deborah Nam-Krane is a book with a lot going on with a lot of peeps! I'm glad Nam-Krane included a glossary of people to help you keep up with who is who. Otherwise, I would have had to take notes.
This was a very interesting book but I almost think you would need a second read with the glossary printed out to help keep up.
I give The Family You Choose by Deborah Nam-Krane 3 Platypires or stars!
Bama Love! Roll Tide!! and Keep Reading Y'all!!
Series: The New Pioneer Series Short Story
Published: March 7th, 2014
Page Count: 20
Annabelle Hendrickson always knew Alex Sheldon couldn’t be trusted, but even she couldn’t have guessed how far he was willing to go to get what he wanted. No one was as decent as her brother Jim, but Stephen Abbot had a kind soul behind his mischief. She could accept his reprobate father- he’d be dead soon anyway- but she would never accept his longtime friendship with Alex, her father Gerald’s ambitious employee. Annabelle knew it was just a matter of time before he stepped on someone she cared about. What a pity she didn’t realize who that person would be- and who was going to give him the opportunity.
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Series: The New Pioneer Series, Book Four
Published: March 27th, 2014
Page Count: 202
Hypocrisy, half truths and lies… Sick of being treated like she’s going to break, Jessie Bartolome is back to her old ways and calling everyone on their hypocrisy. Sheesh! One little breakdown and even easygoing Martin Shepard thinks she’s too fragile to handle their age difference. Good thing her older and equally yummy teaching assistant Robert Lester thinks otherwise…right? After spending so long cleaning up after everyone else, Jessie’s cousin Richard has never had the time to start a life of his own. However had he managed to find his girlfriend Zainab? So what is Richard going to do now that everyone else has grown up? Marry Zainab and start a family? Things have never been that easy for a Hendrickson…just ask his cousin Michael. Richard’s mother, Lucy, is one of the most powerful women in Boston… so when is she going to put a stop to the blackmail ruthless Alex Sheldon has holding over her for years? And if Richard knows more than he’s letting on, why hasn’t he gone after Alex himself? The question is, how much does he- or anyone else- really know? Welcome to the Bartolome/Hendrickson family.
Series: The New Pioneer Series, Book Five
Published: September 29th, 2014
Page Count: 186
Zainab has spent years keeping Emily from going over the edge, giving Miranda a shoulder to cry on and nursing Jessie back to health. They’ll be the first to agree that she deserves whatever makes her happy, especially after the drama Richard put her through. But did she have to choose the guy who threw everyone’s lives into the shredder? Richard knows he screwed up and he’d do anything to get Zainab back, but first he needs to make sure his company—and his loyal employees—don’t go under. (Who knew kicking your primary investor to the curb would have consequences?) Good thing his family has such deep pockets; too bad he doesn’t want to take a cent from them. Why should Zainab take him back if he can’t get out of his own way? Maybe Zainab can eat her cake and have it too—that is, until she’s given an ultimatum. The choice isn’t Lover A or B; it’s protecting her friends or letting them fend for themselves. With that hanging over her head, what’s it going to take to make sure she and everyone else can finally move on?
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