My rating: 4 of 5 stars
THEME: Romance, New Adult, Military
REVIEW:I’m usually not one to read military romance novels, but I am a military wife and after reading some great reviews, I couldn’t resist. I’m happy to say I’m glad I tried this series out, A Beautiful Distraction is the third in the Hard Feelings series and can be read as a stand-alone. Now that I’ve read this one I’m definitely going to be reading the previous two.
A Beautiful Distraction follows Fallon Kelly, whose life at a young age changed and her parents decided to cut ties. A former ballet dancer, she now dances and owns her own club that was left to her, a burlesque club with class and high profile guest that visit. After what her parents did she only lives and breaths her career and not looking for a relationship. That is until Rafe Murano a first Sergeant home from deployment steps into her life. They both have past and current problem that they need distractions from and together they help each other and learn that maybe there is a chance to move forward.
Fallon is a tough as nails women whose had a lot of lows in her life. But now that she has her own club and employees to take care of she feel content, and wasn’t expecting to meet someone. I really liked Fallon’s personality; she is protective and caring when it comes to the girls who work for her. Her love for dancing and excitement of being on the stage is what she enjoys most. I liked how she’s always straight forward how she felt, any person that got in her face; she always put them in their place. Fallon also knew how to handle Rafe, he is emotional like her, but also she understood what he was going through. It made me like them even more together, because they just fit, they got each other.
Rafe is a man who has been through many deployments and seen a lot of loss, but he’s also had to deal with having his heart broken. The women he was with wasn’t good for him, she being married and breaking his heart made him turn to drinking and set off his temper. But then he meets Fallon, who sets a fire to his heart and distracts him from all the pain and heartache. I loved this guy, he was protective of innocent people, even if he didn’t know them, he loved his family and cared for Fallon the moment he met her. It’s an emotional roller coaster with him, but Fallon seems to be the only one to heal his wounds.
Overall this book happily surprised me, the story is about healing, finding love, and coming to terms with the past and letting it go. Both characters are very damaged and don’t expect to find happiness, nor think they deserve it. There are secondary characters such as Jade Fallons co-workers and Graham Rafe’s friend, who I liked and am hoping we get a book on. The story was paced well and was a journey from both Rafe and Fallon’s side of the story. I’m looking forward to continuing this series and reading more from Leverich.
RECOMMENDATION:This is a new adult romance story with some mature content. Fans of the Sea Breeze series by Abbi Glines and Wait for You by J. Lynn will love, Perfect Opposites by Zoya Tessi.
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GUEST POSTWe, as women, are judge-y creatures by nature, especially when judging ourselves, and each other. Although we may try to rein in our superficial tendencies and our catty abilities, sometimes they manage to find a way to seep through the cracks. That’s okay, I’ll let it slide.
But let’s talk about the way we judge the female characters in books. I’d say (in my opinion) the female characters are judged more harshly than the males. Would you agree?
Picking out flaws seems to be bred in us, like a sixth sense, or a latent ability that only surfaces while we are breathing. And I’m not just talking about physical attributes being picked out, because more often than not, it’s the personality characteristics that get the brunt of our judgment. Too whiney, too bitchy, too naive, too blah, blah, blah…
But flaws are what makes a character unique, even the annoying quirks. Let’s pick apart the main ladies in my novels as examples, shall we?
Let start with Ronnie Clark, the heroine in my novel, THE VALENTINE’S ARRANGEMENT. Ronnie is a razor-tongue, tell-it-like-she-sees-it bombshell. As a tattoo artist, she is covered in beautiful ink from a sleeve on her arm, to a full back piece, to artwork on her thighs. Her nearly black hair is long and full, and she is never without high heels and red lipstick. Good so far? Are we judging yet?
But…Ronnie doesn’t get along with women much. Whoa, hold on, let me finish before the claws come out, she’s got more flaws, I promise!
You may not love that Ronnie can’t stand the female gender, but that’s just her. She chills with big hairy men and can hold her own doing so. She’s crass and rude and her favorite word starts with an “F” and rhymes with truck. She’s a hard-ass, and a lot of the decisions (both good and bad) are because of this.
Don’t like this about Ronnie? That’s totally okay, in fact, I expect it. It’s what is brilliant about writing, what’s so much fun about creating characters—they become real people in our minds. And everyone can’t like everyone, right? Where would the fun be in that?
But while reading, I challenge readers to pull away from the habit we as women tend to have to snub the female characters who make decision we don’t agree with. Because we are not them, they are their own uniquely created character, with their own traits and flaws that drive the choices they make, which in turn, drives the story.
Okay, let’s move on to Meagan Mitchell, the heroine in my novel, FEEL THE RUSH. Meagan represents the girl next door, friends with everyone, and can hang with the guys and curl up with the girls. She’s a strong woman, fun and easy-going. Not bad so far?
Well…she is about to turn thirty and her desire to settle down starts rearing its ugly head. I know, I know, thirty is young, you say. She has all the time in the world to settle down, you say. But what is important to some may not be important to others. And while some women might not understand a woman’s yearning to have a family, and they might even find this annoying, to others, it just might be their ultimate dream.
Just like Ronnie, Meagan makes decision throughout the novel based on her desire to settle down. They are not choices I would make myself, but nonetheless, they are not mine to make (even though I created them!), they are Meagan’s.
So the next time you are reading and the heroine rubs you the wrong way or does something that generates an exaggerated eye-roll, retract the claws and take the bad with the good. Try to appreciate the character that was created, flaws, bad decisions, emotions, and all. It’s okay to disagree and dislike; hell, that may even be the way the author intended it to be.
I’ll leave you with a glimpse at Fallon Kelly, the heroine in my upcoming release, A BEAUTIFUL DISTRACTION. She was my favorite heroine to write, and I hope you all enjoy her and her beautiful flaws as much as I do!
Kelsie Leverich is the New York Times bestselling author of The Valentine’s Arrangement as well as other contemporary romance titles. Kelsie grew up in the small town of St. Joseph Illinois before getting married and following her husband from one Army post to another. After eight years, they finally settled down in Avon, Indiana with two adorable knuckleheads that are better known as her kids. Kelsie's life revolves around her family (to include three dogs and a cat) and most of the time, actually all of the time, it’s a crazy mess—but that’s the way she loves it! When Kelsie’s not writing, you can usually find her snuggling on the couch with her kids and a good book or out on the lake with family and friends. Kelsie is not a morning person, has a soft spot for animals, loves musicals, hates seafood, and thinks laundry is the source of all evil.
Represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
You can find Kelsie on Twitter and Facebook, or visit her website at www.kelsieleverich.com