Source: Received an eBook copy from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review
When my mother remarried after thirteen years of being a widow, I had to move to a new town and enroll in a new school. Suddenly thrust into an entirely different kind of life, I just wanted to go home. I didn’t want to meet new people, didn’t want to leave my old friends, didn’t want to become a third wheel to my mom and her husband….and I really didn’t want to see Ryder Yates again. Ugh, I still don’t know why I turned down that too-good-to-be-true boy who flirted with me when we were attending separate schools.
But honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was worse.
Who knew becoming lost in a new life could help a girl find her true colors?
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5 stars - An emotional journey of self-discovery & love
So, I've read Linda Kage before. She wrote The Stillburrow Crush, a book I really enjoyed. One thing I've noticed after reading two of her books is that her books always have a lot of depth. She's not afraid to confront difficult topics and to show the incredible that strength her characters have.
Grace is shy, a member of the nerd herd, but she's also comfortable in her own skin. When she runs into Ryder at the basketball game, she knows from one look that he is out of her league. So, despite the obvious attraction, she resists his advances. But Ryder is not what he appears. So when Grace ends up attending the same high school as him, she may be in for a few surprises.
While I was so happy to see that Grace is already a strong, confident young women, I was so happy to see that she grew and even discovered who she really was as she went through some of the hardest struggles of her life. You see, Ryder is not the only guy interested in her and that's really an understatement. I don't mean there's a line of guys after her, no, but I can't really tell you more without spoiling things. AND from these interests, Grace is forced to find the strength to make the right choices for herself and the ones she cares about.
Of course, I loved Ryder the best. He is the most perfect teenage boy I have ever read about. He's popular but doesn't really care if he is. He's talented but doesn't throw it in your face. He's competitive and hates to lose but does so with grace. (Hmmm....pun may be intended there). He's willing to risk to do what's right. He thinks and cares deeply. He's super protective and backs that up with force if necessary. AND he has the most amazing GREEN eyes! His only flaw is that sandy blond hair of his. But I'm gonna forgive him for it. He goes through some struggles too and I was surprised how his weakness make him even more male in my eyes. I would have loved to read from his point of view. I can just imagine it. I think the reason I can hear him so well is that he didn't hold back when he talked to Grace. We knew how he felt for a long time. He was bold with her. I just loved that.
I saw the big issue coming in this book but not how Grace would react to it. I loved that she surprised me there. I did want to smack her a couple times when she pushed Ryder away but ya know she had to learn something, right?
SO, this one got me in some trouble. Started reading it and thought, oh yeah I can stop and go to bed in a couple of hours. WRONG! Stayed up way to late on a night I had to work bright and early the next day. Yeah, let's just say I slept through the motions that day.
This one's worth it, peeps! Pick it up for sure.
Need some more to convince you? Well check out this excerpt I have for you!
“Hey, get out of the way!”
I looked up just in time to see a dozen purple and white uniforms charging straight toward me.
To say the least, I didn’t get out of the way in time.
Losing my grip on my camera, I tumbled backward against the padded wall mat, landing on my rump. The camera fell and skidded across the hardwood floor with a sickening thud.
“Oh, no!” I gasped and began crawling on hands and knees toward it as the visiting team streamed by, dodging around me. One size fourteen shoe tried to pulverize my fingers; I snatched my hand back just in time to save all five digits.
Only a single player paused. “Are you okay?”
“The camera,” was all I could croak. The yearbook teacher would kill me if I broke a piece of school property.
The Southeast player crouched next to me and picked it up since he blocked my way of reaching for it myself. I caught sight of his purple and white jersey out of the corner of my eye, but the rest was pretty much a blur because I focused all my attention on the Nikon.
“Thanks.” I snatched it from his outstretched hand and made cooing noises as I turned the lens this way and that, checking for cracks, scratches, and bruises.
Lingering at my side, the boy asked, “Is it broken?”
I was finally able to let out a relieved breath. “No. Thank God.” Thank God, thank God, thank God.
His hand, the same that had rescued my camera from the floor, flooded my field of vision as two fingers reached for the camera’s neck strap and gave it a wiggle to get my attention. “You know, this thingy here,” he said. “That’s to put around your neck so you don’t drop your camera when you get jostled.”
He was teasing me. I could hear it in the timbre of his voice. The jerk was trying to make light of my near camera-death experience.
I frowned and muttered back, “Really? And here I thought that was its carrying handle.”
Instead of turning as huffy as I had, he laughed. And, sweet mercy, that laugh went straight through me, tingling up the back of my spine and running along my nervous system to come out the ends of my fingers and toes. Its tone, its mere melodic quality, had me lifting my head so I could see its owner’s face.
As soon as I saw him, I jerked back and landed on my butt. Yeah, again.
His beauty was unreal. I had to blink repeatedly to make sure my fall hadn’t jostled my eyesight. But every time my lashes flickered open, I saw the boy clearly, in faultless, spectacular detail.
Still grinning over my sarcastic crack, he pushed to his feet and held out his hand to help me up. I glanced at his fingers, gaped as if I had no idea what they were, then shifted my gaze up to his face again because, well really, I couldn’t stop gawking at those stunning features.
He had the greenest eyes I’d ever seen, a pale, sparkly, jewel-kind of green, like the birthstone for August. Peridot. Yeah, he had peridot green eyes. And his smile was absolute flawlessness—flawless full lips, flawless teeth, flawless laugh line wrinkling the corner of his flawless mouth, which was framed in wider cheekbones with a slimmer jaw. He had the longest lashes known to humankind and fixed his silky-straight, sandy-colored hair in a fashionable manner with the shaggy bangs pushed to the side just far enough to see out from under them. His eyebrows were a shade darker, which only seemed to highlight his peridot eyes with a vivid intensity instead of detracting from his overall looks. He had to be flawless inside and out.
He was all things handsome and unattainable.
And way out of my nerdy league.
Have to say that one of the BEST lines ever comes not far after this little excerpt ends. BUT I will never tell, must read it for yourself!