Monday, April 11, 2016

My Review: Like Never Before

"Besides, half the time crazy is just another word for bold.  Or grand.  Or adventurous."
- Case Walker

Choosing just one quote to use for the opening was so hard!  But after reading through the ones I'd saved, I settled on this.  Some days, we all need a little "crazy" and someone to remind us that's okay. :)

Maple Valley became Amelia Bentley's haven after her heart and her dreams of a family were shattered.  But when the newspaper she runs is in danger of closing, she pins all her hopes on a story that just might convince the new owner to keep the paper running.
After his biggest campaign success yet, widowed speechwriter Logan Walker has the chance of a lifetime: a spot on a presidential campaign.  But first he has to return to his hometown to sell the newspaper he's suddenly inherited.

But instead of a quick sale, Logan finds himself helping Amelia chase her story.  She's scrappy, but wounded.  He's dependable, but lost.  And working together to break the story on Maple Valley's unsolved mystery is just the start of the sparks that fly in the office and in their hearts.

About the Author:
Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant-writer and total Iowa girl. She’s also a multi-published novelist. Her latest book, Like Never Before, was named by Publisher’s Weekly to their spring 2016 “Religion and Spirituality” Top 10 list. Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as retreats and workshops. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever–not that she’s biased–watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa loves connecting with readers at and on Facebook and Instagram.

My Review: 5 stars (be forewarned - fangirling will now commence)
Oh my goodness! I don’t even know where to start . . . .maybe with a really loud, “I loved this book!” all in caps! I came to adore Melissa’s writing when I first discovered her blog 2 years ago, I think. Then I fell in love with her books and she immediately became one of my very favorite authors! I wait all year for another of her books and then cheer when it arrives. They are always incredibly sweet and funny and witty and little heart wrenching all at once. She can take me from laughing, to almost crying, and back again. I reread her books when I’m having a rough day, simply because they make me smile, and this book is definitely no exception.

Like Never Before is the second book in Melissa’s Maple Valley series and I was so excited to return to this delightful town full of quirky people and sometimes odd festivals. I loved getting to visit with these characters who have become like family and meeting new ones to fall in love with. I don’t know how I’ll say “goodbye” to Maple Valley when the final book comes! I’m really hoping that there are two, or three, or maybe [insert number] books, before I have to deal with that.

The writing is exceptional, as always, and her details and descriptions still just blow me away! How she can create such beautiful scenes and bring every setting so fully to life within my imagination is one of my favorite things about her books. I love the mental images her words evoke and the uniqueness of how she describes even the smallest details. I also adored the dialogue between the characters! I was cracking up time and again at the witty comebacks and the situations the characters sometimes found themselves in the middle of.

Melissa creates such amazing characters, bright and colorful and full of life, and Amelia and Logan are perfect examples of that! Amelia is delightfully quirky and staunchly loyal to her people. She is sweet and stubborn, and curious and I just adored her! She’s found a home in Maple Valley, among people that recognize her, but she slowly realizes don’t truly know her. I immensely enjoyed getting to know her and see behind the mask she so carefully crafted. And Logan (sigh). I don’t even know where to start with him. He is incredibly swoony and I entirely understand the author’s major crush on her character now. If you’ve read the first book, then you may remember him a bit, though he wasn’t in it a huge amount. He is the steady sibling, or so it seemed. But the more I got to know him, the more I discovered who he really is - a great single father, a man trying to make decisions that pull him in so many different directions, and something of a lost soul. I loved how real he is, how open he forces himself to be. He’s trying so hard, but finally begins to realize that he doesn’t have to be strong every moment of every day. He is definitely making my mental list of all time favorite heroes!

There are so many quotes from this book that I’d love to share and do further fangirling, but I’ll stop here. I don’t want to take the chance of possibly spoiling something for someone, so I’ll stop babbling. My final comment to add is that I loved the wisdom woven through several of the conversations. It made me stop and think and so perfectly fit things going on in my own life. I greatly appreciate the fact that though this book is a work of fiction, it’s real. The words, the truth found within the pages touched my heart and I know this is a book that I’ll be reading again.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romantic comedies!

Thank you SO much for taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it, fangirling moments and all.  If you haven't read any of Melissa's books before, then we really need to do something about this horrifying deficiency if your life. 

If you'd like to find out more about this book and Melissa's other ones, there are links below.  Thanks again for stopping by!   Have a delightful day!


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book  


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