Falling by Kris Bryant

The premise for Falling really drew me in. I don’t have a fear of flying but every single time I go through a takeoff, I hold my breath. Not my favorite thing when the plane goes at breakneck speed and launches itself into the air. Totally just shuddered. This book has so many emotions running through it. The beginning is intense and gripping. There is sorrow, pain, doubt but there is also the sweetest romance. This book is by far Kris Bryant’s best work. She nailed every aspect of this book and it is every bit worth the 5 stars of this review.

When we meet Shaylie Beck she is having a crappy day. A long meeting, late flight, sucky seatmates that spend hours making out but she is almost home. Almost. Shaylie takes a last minute bathroom break before the plane begins to descend. That is when all hell really breaks loose. You got it, worst nightmare moments as the plane begins to break apart and head for a crash landing in the forest of Colorado. Shaylie is one of the few survivors.

Piper Cole isn’t on the plane, but her heart is. Her fiance and best friend/business partner are flying home from a business meeting in New York. She lost everything that night when the plane went down. Devastated and alone, Piper trudges on with work as Yoga studio owner but she wants answers as to why the plane went down.

Piper and Shaylie meet in grief counseling and immediately strike up an easy friendship. They become a lifeline for each other. Piper is processing her sadness and pain while Shaylie is going through survivors guilt and learning how to really live. Don’t think this book is the ultimate bummer because it is anything but. While you do witness all their emotions they are both amazing characters that really become endeared to your heart. I absolutely adored their friendship and rooted for the romance the whole time. The supporting characters that are in this book are also written marvelously and really make the book extra special.

This is a story you don’t want to pass on. A fabulous read that you will have a hard time putting down. Maybe don’t read it as you board your plane though. This is an easy 5 stars!

5 out of 5 stars

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Hooked on You by Jenn Matthews

Jenn Matthews’s book Hooked on You by takes you into the world of crochet with a heavy dose of romance. One of our main characters Ollie owns a craft store that offers crochet lessons. This group comes together not only to create scarves and throws but also as a support network for people that need a friendly face. The group finds that in Ollie, a 50+ year old ex-soldier that carries a ton of baggage from her time in the Middle East, her divorce and being a lesbian.

Anna, our other main character decides to find a hobby at the request of her college-aged daughter. Anna spends all of her time working as an English teacher and her kids think she needs something for herself. She decides on crochet and that takes her to Ollie. A woman she just cannot help but be smitten with.

This one was a tough one to nail down when it comes to a rating. First and foremost the book is well written. I thought that Jenn Matthews did a great job with character development and dialogue. The secondary characters add depth to the story and really make it shine. The romance felt authentic like this book could mimic a real-life love story. What holds me back a bit is that the pace was slow. I mean really, really slow and pretty heavy-handed in the crochet department. It almost felt a bit repetitive when it comes to crochet but the romance was written well enough to make up for talks of hooks and stitches.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley

There are books out there that you love, 5 stars all the way, you read the book, you love it and depending if you are like me you will most likely read them again. There are some books though and these are the truly great ones. You know these books, The Blind Side of Love, How Sweet It Is, and And Playing the Role of Herself. The books that are truly in another realm of greatness. Outstanding books that pull emotion from you, that the story wraps you in a cocoon and all you see and hear is the characters on your page. Those books are the ones when you find them you treasure them forever. I found one!

The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley isn’t good, it isn’t great, its next level amazing. This book is exceptional in every single way. No flaws, no lags, no character misses. Nope, it is phenomenal. Yes, I used my thesaurus for adjectives. You cannot just say awesome eleventy billion times, come on now.

Anna Gale is a new dancer at the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center. She has been a ballet dancer all her life, she lives and breathes it. Coming to New York from Dubuque, Iowa to studying and dance under the greatest ballet dancer of the modern era is her dream come true. Anna embodies this wholesome rock solid nature. She’s one of these really good people that others cannot dislike because she is just a noble person. She cares for others, even when it’s in her best interest not too. She works harder than everyone else without complaint and eager to do so. Ballet literally fuels her soul.

Victoria Ford is known as the greatest ballet dancer in modern times. When she danced audiences were captivated by her skill and artistry. An injury to her knee has sidelined her from dancing so now she choreographs and runs the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center. Victoria is not an easy woman to please, she is beyond tough, she expects excellence from everyone around her and when it’s less than that you can expect biting, caustic remarks intended to sting. She is truly the emotionally detached ice queen.

This is a dialogue-heavy book, with lots of exchanges between characters. Lola Keeley takes her story and layers it. There is no skipping ahead or fast-forwarding through life moments, hell no. This author takes her time and draws out the story and the tension The sub-plots are done with craftsmanship and skill. She creates supporting characters that are distinct and authentic. The banter between Anna and Victoria, oh the banter, well its legendary and they talk like real honest to god people. The key to real-life characters is nuance. Lola Keeley could teach a class on it because her characters have it and it is glorious. As the reader I thank you.

It’s bittersweet when this book ends. This is a story that I adored, absolutely cherished. I miss it already, but know without a doubt will visit many times again. Lola Keeley made true love jump off a page like a ballerina in a Grande Jeté. Her first book by the way. Yeah, WOW and that wow is the understatement of the year.

All the stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • To Purchase: https://www.ylva-publishing.com/product/the-music-and-the-mirror-by-lola-keeley/

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Game Time (Girls of Summer #2) by Kate Christie

Okay, so did you read Training Ground yet? If not, stop here, go read it already. You do not want to read this one without the back story.

Game Time doesn’t pick off where we left Jamie and Emma. No, we fast forward ten years to 2013 and find them on opposites sides of Earth. Jamie is playing for the women’s division or Arsenal Ladies Football Club in London. Like many Americans, Jamie has chosen to cross the pond for a chance to keep playing the game she lives for.

Emma has achieved the pinnacle of success, she is a starter for the national team, multiple Olympic medals, and endorsement deals with major sponsors. Emma lives her life in the public eye, easily recognizable. Jamie, on the other hand, is still striving for her chance to be called up to play for her country. While Emma has achieved most of her professional life’s goals, she has started to see, that her life also has a major void. She wants what so many of her peers has found, that special person. She knows what true love feels like, she just hasn’t found it with anyone else.

Fate and bad luck have literally kept them apart all this time. Just when Jamie has had her chance to play on the national level disaster strikes. First a torn ACL, the second a broken ankle, and with every injury, she must go back, recoup and begin her quest again. With dogged determination, she never gives up, and she keeps striving for her lifetime goal. Jamie has the heart of a lion, and you just can’t help but root for her success. Finally, she gets the call. Jamie has been picked for a two-week residency camp in an off-year as the national team begins to find who the 21 players will be that represent the USWNT in 2015 in the pursuit to win the World Cup. Guess who else will be at camp, yup, Emma Blakely. These former best friends will spend 14 days in close proximity, and it’s time to move forward.

While Training Ground was painful to some extent, Game Time starts the rebuilding. Accepting that life, missteps, and personal mistakes all took a toll on their relationship, Emma and Jamie can find a way to be what they were first, friends. The foundation is there and with work and communication, these two find their way back to each other. Oh, guess what’s still there, yup chemistry, sizzle!

What I loved about this book is there isn’t any contrived drama. These two ladies have a lot on their plate as it is. The stressors of being a professional athlete, staying on top of your game, making one of the most select teams in the world are enough right. You will be 100% invested in the journey of these two leading ladies. My heart just about burst when they find their way back to each other, and have their chance at true love. Now I just need the third book ASAP.

4.25 stars out of 5

  • Publisher: Second Growth Books

Game Time: Book Two of Girls of Summer
by Kate Christie
Link: http://a.co/2tIzRH0

Game Time: Book Two of Girls of Summer by [Christie, Kate]

Colorblind by Siera Maley

Adorable is easily one of the many adjectives that you can use to describe Colorblind by Siera Maley. This book is at times distressing all the while being heartwarming as well. I know, what a conundrum, but a glorious one at that. This book is a balancing act of sad and happy, no worries, though. You want to read this one. For any sadness that seeps out, there is a magnificent ray of sunshine that will definitely make you smile.

Harper is cynical, jaded, broody with a perpetual dark cloud over her head. Give her a chance, though, Harper isn’t just any teenager. This seventeen-year-old has a special gift, that can only be seen as really a curse. She sees the age of death written on the forehead of each person she meets. In the way that you and I see the date of expiration on a gallon of milk, Harper sees these hundreds of times a day on people. Can you imagine how awful this would be, seeing a toddling two-year-old and seeing the number 4, or a young mother and seeing a 37? Heartwrenching! Harper knows that no one would understand, and basically think that see had seriously lost her marbles if she told anyone.

Chloe Stephens is in one word, magnetic. This character is one of those people that, you know the type that everyone is naturally drawn to. They exude fun and kindness and you cannot help but love’em. She has the wisdom of ninety-year-old, with the adventurous spirit that only teenagers have and exuding positivity all along the way.
These two meet by chance, Chloe just moving into Harper’s San Francisco neighborhood, and become fast friends. Harper is super reluctant to allow Chloe into her life, but the charming spirit of Chloe is just too much to ignore. Chloe doesn’t beat around the bush either. She lets Harper know in no uncertain terms that she is interested in a relationship because she’s cute and interesting. This was so refreshing. No long pining away, Chloe knows how to communicate!

The book is with Chloe and Harper carving out their friendship and then their romance. It’s cute and fun, Chloe makes Harper see the fun side of life and let go of her constant doom and gloom broodiness. If you haven’t read this book, you might be wondering, Can Harper see Chloe’s number? The answer is yes, she totally can, and that my friend adds to the angst of the story.

Overall, this book is fantastic. I have enjoyed each of Siera Maley’s books, but Colorblind is easily the best of her work. The book has just enough tension to keep you on edge, and when it’s finally time for the conclusion, Maley does a masterful job of finishing this delightful book. Highly recommend!

5 out of 5 stars

Colorblind
by Siera Maley
Link: https://amzn.com/B01CGR9AKU

Colorblind by [Maley, Siera]

Just My Luck by Andrea Bramhall

In the past couple of months, I have been voraciously reading Andrea Bramhall’s books. I read Ladyfish a few years back and liked it but it didn’t rock my world. Nightingale, Clean Slate and Collide-O-Scope now those are total world rockers. Needless to say, I am hooked on her stories now. So when Ylva sent me her newest book Just My Luck, I was super excited for whatever world Bramhall would take me to and immerse me in.

So what did I think you ask? Well, I never would have expected a romantic comedy. You heard me, a ROMANTIC COMEDY from Ms. Bramhall! Whattt! I am here to tell you this is one good story. Just My Luck is full of gregarious, zany characters who you just cannot help but love.

Our main character is Genna Collins. Genna is a twenty-four-year-old logistics worker who has a heart of gold. Genna takes time out of her week you teach reading to dyslexic teens and adults. She also helps raise her niece, Rosie, who has Down’s Syndrome. She offers assistance and unconditional support to both the child and her mother, Abi. Rosie’s dad is nothing more than a drunken loser, so Genna has stepped into the role as a second parent to Rosie. Total nice gal here! Genna, has a girlfriend of a few year’s but her heart belongs to another. Guess who, Rosie’s drop dead gorgeous mother, that’s who. Genna muddles on with her not-so-fulfilling relationship because she believes that Abi is out of her league and 100% in the friend zone.

Abi is also completely head over heels in love with Genna, but fear stops her from ever letting her true feelings loose. She believes her age, fourteen years Genna’s senior, is too great an obstacle to overcome. Genna’s friendship means more to her than taking a risk on love. Oh the drama that will ensue!

While Branhall’s other novels have serious plots, murder, kidnapping … this book is just more fun. These characters talk to you, the reader, and it took me a few chapters to get into it, once I did I was hooked on them. I loved being in their headspace, feeling their struggles right along with them. Genna is a doll, and it was refreshing to read a character who had issues that were like an average person. She is a little too pudgy in her mind, so self-conscious, but absolutely sexy curvaceousness to Abi. This book is all about good fun with great characters. The best part is you will laugh and giggle at Genna and her antics repeatedly. My only complaint, I wish the ending would have lasted another chapter or two.

4 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • www.ylva-publishing.com

Just My Luck
by Andrea Bramhall
Link: https://amzn.com/3955337022

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Cast Me Gently by Caren J. Werlinger

Cast Me Gently, by Caren J. Werlinger is a breathtakingly beautiful book. This book is everything a romance novel should be. It has angst, obstacles, and truly heartfelt emotions. This sometimes bittersweet story will pull you in and steal your heart.

Ronald Regan is months away from being sworn into the office as the president. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s economy is right on the cusp of bottoming out.  The number of out of work men and women is growing, along with the number is people forced to live on the street. This is the setting for our story, the early 1980s, a time of scientific discovery, but also a time when many Americans did not have the civil liberties that we do today.

Teresa Benedetto is an Italian-American that life is tied to the life of her conservative, overbearing parents. She works for them as a pharmacist in one of their three stores, as well as living at home with them. Other than her few years away at college, Teresa has never left the comforts of her childhood home. She spends her life catering to her large family, tending to their needs, all the while never really experiencing a life outside of the family. Teresa has only begun to feel in her mid-thirties that life is rapidly beginning to pass her by. She feels lonely all the while be surrounded by people.

Ellie Ryan is a teller at the bank the Bendetto family uses for their store’s daily deposits. Ellie has not had the easiest life thus far. Ellie had to face the death of both her parents at an early age, by the time she was in high school she was in foster care. As soon as she was eighteen she was living on her own, struggling to make enough money to keep a roof over her head and food in her belly. She spends any extra time and money she has handing out sandwiches to the homeless, searching the streets for her brother, Daniel. Ellie knows that she is like them, that if not for luck and the generosity of a few friends she would have ended up living on the streets as well.

Teresa and Ellie meet and almost instantly become friends. These two develop a friendship that is based upon an undisclosed attraction that neither feels safe admitting. Oh, but that current of yearning is strong.  Their journey to each other is sweet and endearing. You find yourself easily stepping into both Ellie and Teresa’s shoes. As the reader you feel their anxiety as well as their passion and strength. You cannot help but to root for each of these women to find their way to each other.

Caren J. Werlinger has written one of the most captivating stories I have ever read. This book stole my heart right from the beginning and brought me on a roller coaster of emotions. I felt Ellie and Teresa’s pain, their happiness, loneliness and despair. What a fantastic book to bring that right to the reader, this story is just brilliant. For the life of my I cannot figure out why I hadn’t read this book earlier. This is a must read!

5 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • ylvapublishing.co.uk

Cast Me Gently
by Caren J. Werlinger
Link: http://amzn.com/B01678SJDI

Note: I was given this book by the author, Caren J. Werlinger, in exchange for an honest review.