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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Heartwarming Contemporary Romance

    Have you ever read a story so good that you were unable to forget it weeks after you finished it? I have! From the Start is just such a book that struck a chord with me and whose engrossing story and delightful characters drew me in. It is the first book in Walker Family, Melissa Tagg's newest series. Kate Walker & Colton Greene, the central characters of the story, are each going through a rough patch in their lives. Colton, a former NFL quarterback, has been permanently sidelined by an injury and hides away in Kate's hometown. Kate, a movie screenwriter, is also seeking some respite and heads back home after news of a natural disaster. But, from the start, God had a greater plan for their lives. One that, incidentally, throws them together and forces them to turn their lives around and trust in His will for their lives. It is my honest opinion that this book is the author's greatest work yet and quite possibly one of the most heartwarming and evocative books that I have ever read. I found myself relating to Kate and, by the end of the book, I had grown so attached to everyone that I did not want to say goodbye. If there was an idea that the author wished you to take away from it, I believe it would go something like this: "When life sidelines you, trust in God to guide you on to the next step in the future that He has planned for you." Although I have enjoyed every book by the author, there is something inherently different about From the Start that sets it above all the others. It was so subtle that I nearly missed it. It has a depth that I have rarely seen in others of its genre. Even the romance itself was extraordinary and I was so caught up in the emotional journey of Kate & Colton that I forgot that I was reading a book. I laughed, cried, cheered them on, and even enjoyed the football. For me, the most wonderful part was the warm, close-knit family and small hometown community. There is certainly nothing pretentious about the author's writing style. Instead, there is the sense of this unassuming, down-to-earth writer with a personal story to tell. From the Start may well have been the author's hardest story to write, but that is because it came from deep within the heart. It is books like these that are the ones that we cherish and may often become dog-eared because we have read them over and over so many times. In conclusion, I really must say that I absolutely loved this book and I would definitely recommend it, especially to those who enjoy reading riveting, contemporary Christian romance. While it many not be in the genre that you normally read, it is still a refreshingly good read and would not be a waste of your time. Even I, an avid reader of historical fiction found myself hopelessly hooked. I received a complimentary copy of From the Start from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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    From the Start

    From the Start is the first book in Melissa Tagg’s Walker Family series, and is also the first book I have ever read by her. Well, I halfway take that back, I did read her e-book prequel to this series—called Three Little Words—but I’m not entirely sure that counts since it was only a hundred pages. But still… oh my word. That’s all I have to say about From the Start. That’s my entire review, the end, I’ve already hit the fainting couch once again. Seriously though, I loved this book. Loved it, loved it. There was so much raw pain, witty humor, and passionate love that I couldn’t feel anything but adoration for Melissa and this novel. I absolutely melted my way through this fabulous story, and I cannot wait to read more of Melissa’s work. She does a wonderful job of weaving together all of the wonderful aspects of the story I just mentioned, as well as just the perfect amount of spiritual themes and realizations by each of the characters, and that just goes to show how extremely talented she is. One of my favorite things about Kate Walker is the fact that she is an author, and a romance author at that. Since I’ve written quite a bit in my lifetime—though I’ve never really finished anything—I love reading about other writers who have made the transition to author, whether real or fictional. On top of that though, I really love the fact that Kate is able to come up with such funny quips, and I adore her relationship with little Brayden (you’ll meet him later). Though she struggles with the walls around her heart and what she’s going to do since she’s facing another wall in her career, she’s still able to really be there for her family and for Colton, and that is the biggest thing that I admire about her. That’s one thing about these types of books that makes them all that much more my favorites; sometimes they teach you how to really love. Speaking of love, let me talk about Colton Greene for a moment. If anywhere there’s a swoon waiting to happen, it’s not anywhere near Colt because you would have swooned long ago. At least once. Even though he does have his rough patches, who doesn’t love a broken hero, and he is by far one of the sweetest heroes I have ever encountered. He does so much to help Kate’s dad get his depot back on its feet, and on top of that, he does so much for everyone else that I can’t help but finding myself wonder if men like him really exist, because if they do I’m pretty sure everyone would be running to snap them up. And those of you who are regular readers here on my blog would know that I am a HUGE football fan, so that aspect of this book made it all the more likely to end up on my all-time favorites list. Let me take just a moment to talk about Three Little Words. I feel like I didn’t really do more than mention it in passing, and since it isn’t going to get its own review, it deserves more than just a sentence. That prequel was the perfect way to start off this series, and I highly recommend reading it before jumping into From the Start. It focuses on Kate’s cousin Seth Walker, and Ava Kingsley, who went to college with him. It is a super cute and sweet story, and after reading it I knew I would enjoy reading the full length books of the series. Well, if you haven’t figured it out by now; I’m giving From the Start all five bookshelves for being an outstanding novel that I really enjoyed, and I’ve already added it to my all-time favorites list. Melissa is definitely a super talented author, and I give her a huge round of applause for putting together this wonderful example of a good Christian fiction novel. I cannot rank this book any higher; I implore you to give it a chance. Start with Three Little Words, read this novel, and then look out for Like Never Before, which comes out in early April (sooooo not soon enough).
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    Hilarious and heartwarming!

    From the Start by Melissa Tagg is an absolutely delightful Contemporary Fiction novel. It is both heartwarming and laugh out loud hilarious. I already adore the entire Walker family from small town Iowa. In this first book of the series, we are introduced to the entire Walker clan, but the focus is on Kate Walker and former NFL star, Colton Greene. The dialog throughout the book between these two characters is insanely witty and I loved it. Kate Walker is the author of a mediocre novel and some successful screen plays. She resides in Chicago but heads back to Maple Valley, IA after a tornado rips through her hometown community and injures her father. She also needs to regroup and make decisions regarding her stagnant career. Colton Greene is Logan Walker’s (Kate’s brother) best friend and he makes the spontaneous decision to go home with Logan to Maple Valley, IA from CA for a few days in order to get his mind off of his recent NFL career ending injury. From the Start accentuates the wonderful benefits of small town America. The small town community of Maple Valley works together to rebuild after the tornado and faces other catastrophes as a team. The story is fun and captivating. I read the entire novel in a couple of evenings. I highly recommend this book and it easily earns 5 stars from me. I can hardly wait to find out which Walker’s story will be next. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review.
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