Author: Shelly Hickman
Type of Review: Requested (I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review)
Kara's Rating: 4.5 Kicks to the Heart
Blurb: When approaching life's problems, Sophie sees in black and white. That is, when they're someone else's problems. So when it comes to her sister, Sophie is sure she has all the answers, and offers them without hesitation. If only her sister would listen.
Then, through a series of chance encounters, she meets Sam, who is witty, kind, and downright unflappable. Sophie has the overwhelming sense that she's known him before, and as a relationship builds between them, odd visions invade her mind. Though she tries to dismiss them, their persistence will not allow it.
As someone who is quick to judge others, she is intrigued by Sam's ability to accept people as they are. She begins to see him as a role model, but try as she may, his accepting nature is difficult to emulate.
Will Sophie ever be able to put her hasty judgments aside and realize not every problem has a simple solution?
Kara's Review: This was hands-down one of the best self-published books I've read in a really long time. Grammatically it was perfect. The formatting was flawless and overall it was just a very "clean" book. Reading it was easy and quick.
The relationship between Sophie and Sam was written very well. It progressed at a nice easy believable pace. The chemistry between them was great and really hot at times! However, there didn't seem to be any tension or problems between them. I, for one, like to read romance because of the relationship between the hero and heroine and because I like to see what obstacles they have to overcome. I also like to wonder (even though the outcome is usually the same) if they will in fact overcome their issues and be together. I didn't feel like I got that from Sophie and Sam. Sure, they had a few little spats here and there, but it wasn't anything major. It wasn't anything that made me fear for their happily ever after. And if I don't fear for it, I don't root for it. Don't get me wrong, I liked Sophie and Sam a lot and I'm thrilled that they ended up together forever, but I felt it just came too easily for them.
The relationship between Sophie's sister, Evie and her husband, Christian, though, that was fantastic! I was more emotionally involved in Evie and Christian's story than I was in Sophie and Sam's. The real life issues Evie and Christian had to face were so believable and really tugged at the heart strings. I honestly feel as though Evie & Christian could have their own full-length story. They were wonderfully written, vibrant characters.
I did have two small issues with this book: (MILD SPOILERS AHEAD)
1. Sophie starts to have visions and begins to believe that she and Sam knew each other in a previous life. I had no trouble with that. What I had trouble with was that this part of the plot wasn't ever really clarified at the end of the book. Did Sophie continue to have these visions? Did they go away? Where did they come from?
2. There are 3 chapters in the book that I felt were not needed. Two of them were set in the past with characters that I assume were Sophie and Sam (with different names) in their previous lives. Normally, Sophie's visions were handled via short flashbacks so when I cam upon the two full chapters it was a bit jarring. It totally took me out of the story and I had to grasp to get back into it. If those same chapters had been handled as dreams, maybe it wouldn't have been so jarring. And the fact that it was only done twice was a bit confusing. Why only twice? Why only those specific scenes?
The third chapter I felt was unnecssary was one told from the POV of a student that had done something pretty rotten to one of his classmates. The chapter shows the kid at home, thinking about what he'd done, regretting it, and finally deciding to tell his mom. Even though it was a great insight into the boy's mind and very interesting, I was left wondering why? Why did we need to have that information? If it had been left out it wouldn't have taken anything away from the rest of the story, in my opinion. As it stands, it was just something that took focus from the main story: Sam and Sophie.
Overall, it was a great read with wonderful characters. I couldn't stop turning the pages because I just had to know what was going to happen. I highly recommend this book. You can grab your copy at AMAZON.