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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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3.9 out of 5
5 Stars
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  • Fabulous debut novel!

    What a fantastic debut novel by Ms. Ellis! I will surely be stalking her (in a healthy fangirl way)! This is the story of Zora and Nick and what a heartfelt, swoony and rich story this is. Zora is a woman on a mission, a true wonder woman! She wants to make her world a better place but at what cost?  She has packed her bruised and broken heart away for years, and her job is her reason for surviving. Nick, oh my me, this man is everything a swoony alpha hero should be! It's taken him a lot of years, but boy does this man come back into Zora's world with a vengeance! The long history between Zora and Nick makes their chemistry so real and believable.  They are true soulmates, it just took a lot of years to get there. Ms. Ellis has a magic to her words, the world she creates within the Green Valley setting is beautiful.  I could "feel" and "see" what her words describe and that is a true talent.  The research she put into this story is remarkable.  You can tell she was really knowledgeable in what Zora was so passionate about. Congratulations on a stellar debut novel! I cannot wait to read what comes next from Ms. Ellis! She has a bright future ahead of her!

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  • Strong start, pacing didn't quite work for me...

    3.5 stars — This one started off as a solid 4 star, and I was really intrigued about what went down that caused Nick to leave, and how their reunion was going to go. Both characters seemed solid and likeable. I loved the ownvoices aspect to Zora. And I’m always down for a book with smart/nerdy characters. It wasn’t more than 4 stars because something about the writing just wasn’t capturing me…it isn’t something I can articulate, I just know I was very distracted while reading it. My distractedness got worse as the book went on, and part of the problem is that the pacing didn’t quite work for me. The story dragged on longer than I liked, and there were definitely parts that felt repetitive. A part of me wonders if the ARCs that got sent out were earlier copies than intended, because there were more typos/consistency errors/etc than I normally expect. I think the story would definitely have benefited from some condensing in places. Sort of related to that is that while I liked both Nick and Zora, that was about it. I didn’t really connect with either of them, and I didn’t always understand their emotions and choices. I appreciated the way the end worked out, and that they both had room to grow and forgive, but by that point I was kinda tired of the push and pull. While on some level I understood where Nick’s controlling tendencies came from, it really didn’t make him a very likeable character. But I also had a hard time connecting with his shrewdness and ambition… His love of power and influence just wasn’t something that drew me in. I did appreciate the emotional moments we got to share with him as he confronted his past, and started to understand what drove him and what he was looking for from life. And then we have Zora. She’s described as this awkward nerdy woman, but she wasn’t what I was used to in that vein. Which doesn’t make it bad, but I didn’t connect with her kind of awkward. I had a hard time making a connection with her most of the time, and I honestly don’t know why. I didn’t get the dynamic she had with her family (though I enjoyed the fun moments with Walker), and I didn’t quite understand all of what she was struggling with in her search for funding. I did LOVE learning about what she was doing, and seeing a higher level perspective of what motivated her, what she wanted to improve. Strangely enough, Jackson actually humanized Zora the most. I loved their crazy friendship and their bantering. They felt like good friends, and I appreciated their weird dynamic. I enjoyed Nick and Zora together, but I wasn’t super duper swoony in love. And again, I don’t know why. I guess I just didn’t always feel the chemistry personally. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, just that I didn’t connect with it. As for the rest of the side characters? I didn’t really connect with many of them. I didn’t always understand the bits of humour that were here and there (like stuff from Zora’s Mom) — they went over my head. So yeah. This book started off strong, but in the end just wasn’t quite a match for me. There were definitely some great moments (hence the extra half star), but I just had a hard time connecting in the end. Ah well.

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