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friends to lovers romance

Book Recommendations

Broken Knight by LJ Shen

Book ReviewA beautiful story with many layers. It’s rare that the love stories of secondary characters take a central role in a book. In Broken Knight, the love story that had my eyes welling up with tears was not of the hero and heroine, the football player and wallflower, but Knight’s adoptive mother and father.

Rosie, Knight’s adoptive mother, battles cystic fibrosis. Knight struggles, along with his family, as she bravely fights and eventually succumbs to the disease. Some of the most heartfelt and poignant chapters in the book are written from Rosie and Dean’s perspective. Dean is Rosie’s husband, and Knight’s adoptive father.

Knight and his childhood best friend Luna share a motto for life – Ride or Die. Dean and Rosie impart heartfelt meaning to the motto inscribed on the treehouse trunk. If I ever need to plan a funeral, I’m hunting LJ Shen down because girlfriend does it right. One of my favorite lines from the book: “She wanted you to remember that she had a good life and that she expects nothing less from you.”

Knight and Luna

Both Knight and Luna suffer emotional pain from their birth mothers not wanting them. Luna remembers her mother walking away, and I believe that would pack it’s own brand of pain. But both Luna and Knight found loving, supportive, amazing adoptive mothers. Nevertheless, they both struggle with a void.

I do recommend this book, and I did enjoy it. However, some aspects of Knight and Luna’s love story I found to be a stretch. For example, I can buy maybe one or two girls lying about a guy sleeping with them when he didn’t. But fifteen or twenty? That’s not highschool girl behavior. And at some point, some girl is gonna be honest with her BFF and at the very least, there would be some suspicion on campus regarding his claims. And why lie to Luna and throw it in her face? I had trouble understanding his logic if he really was holding out for her.

In general, I’m not a huge fan of teenagers falling in love for always, and that might be part of my skepticism. I think the case could be made these two grew a lot in the book, but still would benefit from a lot more growing. But, I guess if these two can buy a place in Venice Beach where they can hear the ocean when they’re both UCLA students……well, the world is their oyster.

I do love how Luna stands strong and forces Knight to face his alcohol and drug issues. The fact she was strong enough to stand up to him and to leave him if needed, well, that’s enough to make it believable these two will share a forever love as strong as Dean and Rosie’s.

The UPSHOT

Book Review

Book Recommendations

Teardrop Shot by Tijan

Teardrop Shot Teardrop Shot threw my emotions for a deep arch and delivered a satisfying swoosh of the net at the end. I originally picked this book as it seemed like a light-hearted friends to lovers sports rom com. Teardrop Shot is so much more than that.

I’ll be honest – I wasn’t sure I was going to finish this book at first. Charlie has this annoying habit of asking random questions when nervous or anxious.  So, she says things like, “Why do we set the toilet paper vertical instead of horizontal?”.

In real life, I’m the bitch who would probably walk away making a mental note to avoid ending up at a bar with this weird chick.   And I almost closed this book. But, I didn’t.  And I’m so glad. In this book, she has friends – warm, funny friends from “camp” – who help us see she has some endearing qualities.

And then she meets Reese Forster, who is an NBA player she has a massive crush on. Which of course triggers all kinds of anxiety. I love the way Tijan handles the celebrity crush and his reaction to her and her evolution from seeing him as a star to a guy to her everything. He’s a dream guy.  He’s the only character in the book to answer her questions.  He gets her.

Watching their friendship unfold and listening as they begin to share their pain makes their love feel real.  He has an alcoholic brother and parents who couldn’t cope.  She has an ex fiance who she took care of for five years before his dementia became so severe she had to walk away.  Tijan does an incredible job of letting us feel and understand the pain from their past.

This is the first Tijan book I’ve read, and I’ll definitely be reading more.

The Upshot

Book Review