Saturday, August 12, 2017

My Review: Just Look Up

"It won't change anything for me to worry about it.  We'll do what we can do, and it will be enough." - Ryan Brooks

After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back homea quaint tourist town full of memories she'd just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on worksomething her eclectic family doesn't understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren't ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can't find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he's found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all alongif only she'd just look up.

About the Author:
Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theater director, and playwright. Change of Heart is her fifth novel and is set in the same town as Paper Hearts. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category.

My Review: 5 stars!
As this is my first book by Courtney Walsh, I wasnt sure what to expect.  I knew it was contemporary romance, but would I like her style?  Would it be a new take, or the same old thing?  Id heard so many excellent things and one of my friends very highly recommended it, so I decided to give it a go.  And Im so glad that I did!  I immediately found myself drawn into this story, pulled into these characterslives and wishing I could take a trip to Harbor Pointe, MI.  I have definitely found another favorite author, whose books will be finding a home on my keeper shelves.

The story line itself, intrigued me.  A character that hides behind her phone, keeping it as a shield between herself and the world.  It is so fitting for the time, where electronic devices are everywhere and so many seem so attached to them.  I was curious to see how Ms. Walsh would tackle this subject and I have to say that I think she did an excellent job!  I felt as though every time someone admonished Lane Kelley to look up,they were also speaking to me, challenging me to pay attention to the world around me.  I loved that!  I found this story to be a journey, both for the characters and myself.  The further I read, the more I found myself pausing to really see the people around me, wondering what Id been missing.  I also loved how Ms. Walsh took care to describe the world around Lane, placing emphasis on the things she was missing by always running, going full speed ahead.  
I have to confess, when I first met Lane Kelley, she didnt impress me.  She seemed selfish and stubborn, unwilling to bend.  But, as I got to know her and saw beyond the cool facade she showed everyone, I found someone I would love to have as a friend.  Shes spent most of her life feeling as though she doesnt belong, doesnt measure up.  My heart broke for her, for the lies shes believed, for how hard shes worked to attain something that was always right in front of her.  I loved watching the transformation her character goes through, learning to love and allow herself to be loved in return.

What do I say about Ryan Brooks?  So many things . . . . first, he is SO swoony!  Not only is he nice to look at, but hes got a great sense of humor, doesnt always take life too seriously, knows how to have fun, focuses on the important things in life, and is willing to drop everything for a friend in need.  Oh, and he has a chivalrous streak a mile wide, which just adds to the swoony-ness.  I loved getting to know him and seeing his heart for Lane, despite her standoffish behavior and sometimes cranky attitude.  And their romance was so sweet!  There were definitely several *sigh* worthy moments, a couple where I just wanted to Gibbs slapthem, and the great just have to smileending.

Overall, I would highly recommend reading this book, whether romance is your genre of choice, or not.  I loved being challenged by the message with this story and would happily give it more than 5 stars, were that an option.  

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my review!  There's a chance that while you were reading this, I was at the Christian Fiction Reader's Retreat in Cincinnati, OH!  I might do a blog post with some photos and stories about the awesome people I'm hoping to harass while I'm there!  I haven't decided, yet, but I am super excited about it!

Anyway, hope you have a wonderful day!  As always, purchase links are below, and I really hope you'll check out this book!

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