Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Review: How We Fall by Melissa Toppen

Title: How We Fall
Author: Melissa Toppen
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Adult
Series: None
Publisher: Daft Empire
Format: ebook via Buoni Amici Press
Rating: ✺✺✺
SynopsisIt’s not always about how we fall- it’s about where we end up once we land.

I remember the very first time I laid eyes on Cole Lincoln. It still feels like yesterday when he stumbled into my life with his messy brown hair and dark eyes. Even though I was only ten years old at the time, I knew right then and there that he was going to change everything.

From that point on Cole and I were always together—inseparable—and I naively believed we’d be best friends forever. But forever didn’t last nearly as long as I expected. 

We grew up and grew apart, life driving the distance between us, but my love for Cole never faltered. Even long after he moved away, leaving me and our little town behind, I still carried a piece of him with me every single day. Because Cole wasn’t just my childhood best friend- the boy who knew me better than anyone else in the whole world. He was also my first love- a part of my very core.

When a tragic death brings us face to face again after six years, every single memory comes rushing to the surface. Only this is not the boy I fell in love with all those years ago. The man before me is hardened, intimidating, and so damn sexy I practically melt when those dark eyes meet mine for the first time in six years.

And like the first time he walked into my life, I know with complete certainty that everything is about to change.

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

Chances are sweeter the second time around.

Image result for second chance gif

Melissa is about to bury one of her longtime friends and his death has brought several people from her past back into her life. One of those people is Cole, her best friend and first love. All it takes is one look at the man in front of her and she's back in high school all over again, pining for a fraction of attention from Cole, despite the fact that she's in a two year relationship with a man she loves.

Cole never thought that losing a good friend would be what brings him back together with Melissa again. She's his one biggest regret of his life and he's starting to understand how fragile life is and how easily time can be cut short. Because of this, he doesn't want to waste any more time. He wants Melissa by his side and he'll do anything to prove to her that she's the one. She always was the one.

But no relationship is perfect and theirs has some pretty deep emotional scars. Not to mention, Melissa has a serious boyfriend and she's not sure if leaving the safety of her current relationship is worth the risk since Cole has let her down in the past. If this doesn't work out with him, she can't imagine having her heart shattered for a second time.

I really looked forward to this book because second chance romances are one of my favorite themes. This one seemed to have everything I was looking for: second chances and childhood friends that turn to lovers. For the most part, I wasn't disappointed. There were a few things that I think could be improved on, though.

First, I must commend the storytelling skill that this author has. The story is woven with flashbacks and reminiscent conversations, visits to old haunts, and deep memories brought to the surface. In a second chance romance, it's everything I hoped for. A story built on shared life experiences that forged a strong bond between our characters. Our couple's love really was one I rooted for from the beginning.

But one thing I kept thinking while reading this story is how easily Melissa forgave Cole for the years he pushed their friendship aside for other girls. Not to mention the fact that he was absent for six years and never once made contact with her. I could have understood if they drifted apart due to differences, but they both held a torch for one another. Yet, Cole made some pretty bad choices. I understand people make mistakes. I just wished they'd have learned from them.

However, Melissa fell right back into an old familiar pattern with Cole a little too easily. I wanted her to have more backbone, especially since it's been six years and she has had to undergo some tough trials while Cole was away. She was a changed woman but didn't really question the sudden shift in Cole. I mean, if Michael hadn't passed away, would Cole have even bothered to reconnect with her? Ever? She should have questioned his motives further to make this more believable for me. And out loud. Not just in her head.

I didn't really mind the romance being sticky sweet for most of the story because some couples are like that and this was one of those couples. I was also indifferent to the fade-to-black love scenes, though I don't really know why the author chose to go this route. The passion was there in spades so why did it have to end at kisses? It might have given more balance to the story to have steamy love scenes to counter the overly-sweet romance brewing.

In closing... 
In all, a nice story with a lovely childhood friends-to-lovers element. Four suns!

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