Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My review: From the Start

Isn't this cover so adorable?  I love their expressions!  It makes me smile back. :)
Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn't kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays...until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley.

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend's hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he's lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he's never really done normal before.

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it's like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn't part of the plan, but could it be the best thing that's ever happened to them?

About the Author:
Melissa Tagg, author of Made to Last and Here to Stay, is a former newspaper reporter, current nonprofit grant writer, and total Iowa girl. When she's not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever. She's passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings. Melissa blogs regularly at www.melissatagg.com.

My Review: 5 stars
Why did it have to end?!
Very few books receive a full five star rating from me, but Melissa’s books definitely rank up there with some of my favorites. She is, in my opinion, an excellent writer, and her stories seem to jump off the page and right into my heart. I was engrossed from the very first page and didn’t want to put it down! For me, this book equaled late nights and work days with too little sleep. Even when I would put it down, the characters would stay in my thoughts and I couldn’t wait to get back to them.
I simply adore Melissa’s writing style! Her descriptions make me smile and bring the story to life. I rarely read books that pull me in so immediately and don’t let go. I often had to remind myself that it wasn’t real and no, I couldn’t call Case and ask him a question (you‘ll understand when you read the book). I so wish I could visit Maple Valley and all of the quirky people who live there! It sounds like a wonderful place, somewhere I would love to live. This is one of those books that I raced to finish, but then I didn’t want it to end.
Kate Walker is the heroine and I fell in love with her immediately! She is so easy to relate to, what she struggles with, her questions, her fears. I also loved that she is a romance writer who is looking for something meaningful to do with her life. It is something that really hit home for me. I also enjoyed watching her grow and change throughout the story, as she becomes brave and makes the decision to step out and take chances.
Colton Greene is a fantastic hero! He definitely has the brooding thing going on in the beginning, but he was so strong, as well as being kind to Kate, I just had to love him! I loved following his story as he figured out how to go forward and just where he wanted to end up. Seeing him become part of the town before he even knew it, challenging Kate, learning what it meant to have family . . . (sigh) it was wonderful! And the dialogue between them! I could probably go on and on about it! They had me laughing out loud, grinning like a nut, and making the people around me question whether or not I should have been allowed out alone!
I was very ill-equipped to deal with the assault Colton, Kate, and all of the Walkers would lay on my heart! I felt like I needed some sort of forewarning, because they just stepped right into it and I’m not sure they’ll ever leave! I fell in love with every one of them, from the patriarch Case, to little sister Raegan, to Logan and Charlie, Beckett and Seth. They feel like family now and I don’t know if I can let them go. Case’s advice to Kate and Colton often felt like he was speaking directly to me. Logan is a great big brother, razzing them both, while also watching out for them. Raegan is awesome, too! She was the surprise, the one I wasn’t expecting, but she snuck right into my heart while I wasn’t watching. I can’t wait to read her story and see her finally get her “happily ever after.”

The romance was so sweet and undeniably sigh-worthy. It is definitely similar to the old movies Melissa so adores and I have a strong urge to go dig up a pile of them now! I really enjoyed the fact she was able to so seamlessly incorporate many quotes and references from them. Even when I didn’t completely understand them, they made me smile. I loved Kate and Colton’s relationship, which started out as a simple friendship then slowly became more. Knowing they would end up together in no way negated my enjoyment of following them as they discovered that for themselves.
The spiritual side of the story is flawlessly woven throughout. I appreciated how the story continually pointed to God without His name having to be mentioned. He was there as a main character that you may not always see, but you know is there just the same. One of the themes is one of trusting God’s leading and being willing to step out of your comfort zone. It really hit home with me and challenged me. As much as I love to laugh, I appreciate even more a story that encourages my faith. Finding both in one book is awesome!

I honestly can’t think of a single thing I didn’t like about this book. From the writing, to the story, to the characters, to the romance, everything came together into an excellent book! I’m so excited that this is the first book in a series, because I’m so unprepared to tell Maple Valley and all of the wonderful characters there, “goodbye.” This book will definitely have a place on my keeper shelf as I eagerly await the release of the next one!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves romantic comedy with heart and characters that become like family.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read my review!  I hope you enjoyed it!  Today is actually release day for this book (yay!), so if you'd like to go check it out, maybe consider purchasing a copy, here are some links to get you started!


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

Thanks, again!  I hope you're having a fantastic day! :)

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