Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen OakleyNarrator: Candace Thaxton, Jonathan Todd Ross, Kirby Heyborne
Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Format:  e-ARC (366 pages)
Published By: Gallery Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & Noble •  Books-a-million iBooks Indiebound

One time a boy kissed me and I almost died…

And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a young woman with a rare and debilitating medical condition: she’s allergic to other humans. After a humiliating near-death experience in high school, Jubilee has become a recluse, living the past nine years in the confines of the small town New Jersey house her unaffectionate mother left to her when she ran off with a Long Island businessman. But now, her mother is dead, and without her financial support, Jubilee is forced to leave home and face the world—and the people in it—that she’s been hiding from.

One of those people is Eric Keegan, a man who just moved into town for work. With a daughter from his failed marriage who is no longer speaking to him, and a brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son, Eric’s struggling to figure out how his life got so off-course, and how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. Then, one day, he meets a mysterious woman named Jubilee, with a unique condition…

An evocative, poignant, and heartrending exploration of the power and possibilities of the human heart, Close Enough to Touch is perfect for fans of the emotional novels of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes.

three-half-stars

This book had a really interesting premise but it took me two-thirds of the book before I truly got invested in the characters. It was written well but there just wasn’t a connection with the main characters for most of the book. The beginning was like 2-3 stars and the second half was 4-stars.

As a three year old toddler, Jubilee Jenkins developed a rare skin allergy that made touching other humans deadly. Her mother went to specialist after specialist before abandoning her to marry some rich guy in another city. After a kiss in high school almost killed her, Jubilee grudgingly acknowledged that her life was meant to be different from others and without skin to skin contact.

When her mother died and her step father withdrew financial support, Jubilee was forced to find a job to pay for her own bills. She got hired at the library which placed her around people. Once Jubilee saved a little boy Aja from drowning, Jubilee was introduced to Eric Keegan, Aja’s father who slowly opened Jubilee’s heart to a future of happier possibilities.

I like that Eric Keegan wasn’t this hero that made everything better. He had his own messed up situation and was trying to figure out his own life. Eric’s drama made everyone including Jubilee made her face some things from her past as well as make some decisions about her future.

I like how the author used the library and reading as vehicle of communication to allow the characters to understand each other. I felt the most for the young boy Aja. He was clearly in pain and I just wanted to hold him so tight. It was after Aja and his X-men comments that I truly plugged into this story.

Colleen Oakley didn’t write a clean, smooth, cheesy story. It was a slow burner where the individual journey overshadowed the romance, which was okay with me. The writing in the first half dragged but the second half was more touching (pun intended). Overall, it was a good read.

*Special Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via Netgalley for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

Ezi

The Baller (A Down and Dirty Football Novel #1) by Vi Keeland

The Baller (A Down and Dirty Football Novel #1) by Vi KeelandSeries: Down and Dirty Football #1
on 2016-01-18
Pages: 300
AmazonB&NNarrator: MacKenzie Cartwright, Sean Crisden
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
 The first time I met Brody Easton was in the men’s locker room. It was my first interview as a professional sportscaster.The famed quarterback decided to bare all. And by all, I don’t mean he told me any of his secrets.No.  The arrogant ass decided to drop his towel, just as I asked the first question.  On camera. The Super Bowl MVP quickly adopted a new hobby—screwing with me.When I pushed back, he shifted from wanting to screw with me, to wanting to screw me.But I don’t date players.And it’s not because I’m one of the few women working in the world of professional football. I’d date an athlete. It’s the other kind of player I don’t date. You know the type.  Good looking, strong, cocky, always looking to get laid.Brody Easton was the ultimate player.Every woman wanted to be the one to change him.But the truth was, all he needed was a girl worth changing for.Turned out, I was that girl.Simple right?Let’s face it.  It never is.There’s a story between once upon a time and happily ever after…And this one is ours.

Author's note
- The Baller is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
three-stars

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This one was a big meh.

Delilah Maddox was a sports reporter and she just got the assignment of a lifetime covering the football team The New York Steel. On her first day, she met star quarterback Brody Easton and there was an instant attraction. Brody immediately began making passes at her (pun intended). Delilah resisted his charms for awhile, but eventually gave in. They have both been in love before and are afraid to be hurt again. Delilah and Brody are extremely cautious about giving their hearts to someone else again but Brody was just hard not to love. He was funny, he managed to turn everything into a sexual innuendo and his loyalty gave him depth as a man.

When Brody’s old flame Willow returned to town, Delilah felt threatened. It was clear that Brody cared about Willow and that made Delilah unsure as to whether Brody’s past relationship was truly over and resolved. Who did Brody want for his future?

First of all, the pace of this story was slow! It took a while to build up to where the author was going and then the author made a non-isssue an issue. The narrators did what they could but the issue was the story.

What I loved most was Brody because it was like seeing your college boyfriend. While he was a grown man, he was all boy too. Everything, and I mean everything related back to sex for Brody. I found myself chuckling a lot. On the surface, it just seemed like Brody was about sex, food and football, in no particular order. But Brody was actually more complex as a character. On the other hand, I found Delilah’s character to be flat.

Delilah Maddox’s success as a reporter, would require her to be observant and Brody was pretty much an open book. Yet she didn’t see the most obvious things about him nor did she learn them about him after they had spent so much time together.

I blame the author for making Delilah slightly pathetic because the author spent time developing Willow even more than Delilah. I was rooting for Willow because while she made mistakes, there was a lot of growth in her life. I thought how the author mishandled the Willow, Brody and Delilah situation. I don’t like manufactured conflict and the drama was so forced to extend the pages. It was slowly built up and then the resolution happened as an afterthought. It was never a true triangle.

About Vi Keeland

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. With more than a million books sold, her titles have appeared in over fifty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twelve languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.