Author: Jennifer Comeaux
Narrator: Emily Stokes
Length: 308 pages/9 hours & 5 minutes
Falling hard never felt so good.
Pair skaters Courtney and Mark have one shot left at their Olympic dream. They vow not to let anything get in their way, especially not Josh and Stephanie, the wealthy and talented brother and sister team.
The heart doesn’t always listen to reason, though…
The more time Courtney spends with sweet, shy Josh, the harder she falls for him. But they are on opposite sides of the competition, and their futures are headed in opposite directions. Will their friendship blossom into more or are their paths too different to cross?
After you finish the book, read the bonus epilogue here! http://bit.ly/1nGYTO0
Protagonist: Courtney begins this book with everything she wants seemingly far away and nearly impossible. After failing spectacularly at a competition which would decide how many spots America would have to send pair skaters to the Olympics and being dumped by her long-distance boyfriend, saying she hit rock bottom was a bit of an understatement. However, she never really let that get to her, in fact she took all the news in stride with a only a bit of disappointment. While I had hoped for a bit more emotion from her, I later found that she wasn't really that emotionless, but just a strong character that doesn't let a few missteps bring her down. I really enjoyed her character and seeing how she handles what she goes through. It's all very grounded in reality and down to earth.
Romance: So I usually have a rule about when I want the word "love" tossed around with the romance I'm reading in a series. Usually I think that the best time for that to come up is in second installment of a trilogy or larger series. This is because I believe that love is something to be built and earned and isn't something that can just magically appear, even in a paranormal novel. However, when "love" is tossed around for Courtney's feelings about Josh, though not necessarily out loud, after they've been dating for a while, I had no problem with it. They have a very grounded, mature, and kinetic relationship and by the time love was ever brought up I felt that they had truly earned it.
World-Building: So this book is the first in a series, not a companion novel series where the next book will focus on another character from the book, but once again around Courtney which is the first I've actually seen of a contemporary novel. This book has a real Rom-Com feel and given a few tweaks here and there could have been a stand-alone, but it really didn't need it as it expertly sets up the first in a series and I'm actually looking forward to an expanded story for Courtney and seeing what's going to come up for her in the future.
Predictability: With the Rom-Com feel of the book I thought I knew what was going to happen through the story, though the foreshadowing that was brought up that would be very indicative of a Rom-Com turned out to be very misleading. Honestly at first I thought it was kind of cool, but then after a while when things were brought up that seemed like they were indicating something was going to happen related to that tidbit in the future and then never really brought up again started to annoy me. I think the author was trying to go for a real life feel, where things get brought up and nothing comes of it later, but felt like there were loose ends, however small, throughout the book.
Ending: I actually really liked the ending of this book. There was a lot of drama that all comes to a head towards the very end, leading into a couple more chapters to wrap up the biggest loose ends of the book and introducing new road blocks for our heroine. When it ended I had a very satisfying feeling as there was no cliffhanger yet it felt as if there was still much more story to tell. Then the epilogue ruined it. Normally I love epilogues, but the one that's referenced in the synopsis felt like a hangnail that this book needed to be rid of. The content of the epilogue was compelling, but it felt sloppily tacked onto this book, instead of something that helped bring this book to great conclusion. While I have no idea what the author plans to do for her characters in the next installment, the epilogue really felt like something that could have been woven better in the next book then pushed onto the end of this one.
Audiobook Notes: Normally I don't talk about an audiobook when I listen to it as they never really influence my rating, which is the same here, but since I was to do an audiobook review I thought I'd at the very least add a section about it. First off, the editing together of the book was fairly well done, though there was one moment about an hour and a half through the book that didn't seem to edited since the reader had to very obviously start over sentences. The narrator of the audiobook was also pretty good. She did amazing little kid voices and the voice of the old lady that gave Josh and Court nudges that they should be together, despite that though there were a few times when her other voices seemed to blend together and it was hard to figure out just who was saying what.
I really enjoyed this book and it was a fun and light contemporary which I don't really read that often. I did have a few problems though like feeling that there was false foreshadowing and the epilogue that just felt out of place and not much like an epilogue at all, but more like a deleted scene.