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

Slave to the Rhythm by Jane Harvey-Berrick

 

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.

28964054Slave to the Rhythm by Jane Harvey-Berrick
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Pages: 291 • Format: eARC
Published By: Harvey-Berrick Publishing
Purchase Links:
AmazonKobo • iBooks

DANCE. Guns.
MUSIC. Bullets.
RHYTHM. Pain.

Music in my head, dance in my body, the rhythm of my heart.

How far can you fall in just one month? How quickly can the human spirit be broken? Where does evil hide in plain sight?

Ash wants to dance. Needs it. To leave behind a life of expectation and duty, to set his soul free.
But life is never that simple. Every step is a journey on a new road.

For every action, there is a reaction.

Every choice has a consequence.

And when you meet the wrong person, all bets are off.

Laney tolerates her limitations, pushing quietly at boundaries. But when Ash crashes into her world through rage and violence, it sets off a chain reaction that neither of them expected.

 

two-stars

Sighs, there was not one redeeming quality to this story. I had to exhale when this book ended. I did not enjoy anything except for Laney. She was resilient, and kindhearted. That’s about it. I loathe Ash. I couldn’t deal with his split personalities. I hated it. Either he was a victim or a super douche bag to Laney. I didn’t like that she put up with him when he decided to treat her wrong with his tantrums. My biggest issue with this story was the concept of the sex slave trade. I feel like it’s so overdone in the genre that if the author was going to do it that it should have been more realistic. I found it really hard to believe that it was happening that way the author portrayed it. Now I’m not saying it couldn’t be true but she didn’t make be believe it. The first half of the story is such a different tone from the ending. It didn’t mesh well with me.

I actually didn’t see any difference from Ash as the victim in this story different from the women in other stories just like that. All the author did was change the gender to me. He didn’t try to help himself enough for me. I think Ash accepted his life up until the point of meeting Laney. For me Laney’s disability didn’t add anything to the story. It didn’t make her better emotionally, or mentally. It seemed very filler-ish to me. I thank the author for creating a woman who is kind, and too trusting. Now I did question Laney’s judgement. My first reaction would have been to call the police, not drive this man cross country to my dad who is a police in another city. I think that’s where her naivety came into place. But this time that worked out for her. She found someone she to fall in love with. She decided to stay by his side through all his trauma, anger, frustration, and love. I did enjoy Ash in his element with dancing. I liked how he perceived the lyrics to certain songs. I also thought they whole telling his story was a great thing, not just for him but his friends that were in the same horror as him. I liked the writing of the story alot, but the execution did not work for me.

About Jane Harvey-Berrick

I love to write.

I was born on the 13th, which explains a lot.

I write every day and get twitchy on the days when I’m prevented from writing.

I live by the beach, so you’ll find a beach scene in all of my books sooner or later.

Hobbies include ogling hot surfers.

Writing is solitary but that doesn’t make it lonely. My FB and Goodreads friends are very important to me. My writing buddies are A. Meredith Walters and Devon Hartford—lovely, kind, generous people.

I carry a notebook EVERYWHERE. I never know when ideas will come to me. I even write notes to myself at night in the dark. Hopefully I can read the scrawl I’ve written in the morning.

There’s a little part of me in every book I write. The philosophy from ‘Playing in the Rain’ is that you have to make the most of the life you’re given—choose to be happy as much as you can and look for the positive. I don’t always make it, but I do try.