Absolutely five-stars!!! Best book of the year so far (yeah, I know, we’re still early), but this one was just soooooo good that I KNOW it’ll be in my end of year favorites list… and my forever one, too.
I connected to everything about it right off the bat, didn’t experience any issues “getting into” the book and not once did my attention wane. True… I didn’t stay up all night to finish it, but that’s ’cause my cold-medicine kicked in and knocked me out before I could. But I didn’t want to finish it that fast anyway, and what better way to start my day then to continue reading a book I’m already so into?
I loved these people, and I absolutely loved the pacing. Gradual and tentative, but constantly progressing and always had me brimming with anticipation. Everything made sense. It was EXACTLY as I think it would play out in real life.
And just look at how many loved it as much as I did!
Maryse’s Book Blog: I couldn’t resist and just started “Archer’s Voice” and OMG I’m already feeling it. Great writing and I’m getting the impression he’s very… hermit-y. Why oh why do I love a tortured hero-hermit? LOL!!! Great reading awaits me, I can tell.
Paula: This book is fabulous! I finished it earlier this evening. 5 stars! It just gives you that “feeling” that your are reading something great! Loved it.
Book: Oh you’re in for a great read..
Jamie: Simply beautiful!!!!
Rebecca: AMAZING book! Read it in one sitting….and did not sleep a wink but Archer Hale was worth it. It blew me away.
Janet: I just finished it about 30 minutes ago. It was beautiful!!!
Molly: Just finished it this afternoon. I can’t even describe how much I loved it. ♡♡
Tatiana: Read it yesterday and it was so good!
Ashley: It’s was an amazing read!
Bridget: Another great one Maryse! Enjoy!
Sherry: Those tortured guys NEED US!!! That’s why!!! <— side note to Sherry: I’m right there with ya, Sher!
Tiffany: Ok I’m going to have to get this book! I keep hearing good things about it!
Michelle: 20% in and I love it. Heroine is sweet and strong (a combo you don’t see too often) and I live Archer!
Andrea: Another amazing book by Mia Sheridan! Maryse you have to read Leo and Leo’s Chance.
Heather: Reading it now and loving it!!!
Sara: It’s SO good. Like, TSOT good.
Bobbi: I loved it!! I love Archer.
Sarah: It is a phenomenal book!!!! Love Archer!!!
Jill: Finished it this morning. I love this series. Maryse, you will love Leo. My favorite of them all. Sticks with you. All of these books are standalone Shanda and no cross over characters.
Wendy: Just finished it – great book!
Maryse’s Book Blog: Yep… I’m falling in love with Archer.
Kristy: Just finished it, gave me a book hangover, lol!
Tammy: Just finished it – it was awesome
Renate: Mia Sheridan writes awesome male characters….you just have this need to care for them! It was an awesome book…Archer….(sigh).
Jody: I’m reading it now and LOVING it!!!
Melissa: I am completely in love with Archer!!!!! Definite swoon factor…he feels everything with such honesty….be still my heart!
Maryse: Loving it!!! Perfectly paced, perfectly detailed… He may not be a bad boy but I am in love! Awwwwww! The folded chips… No pretenses, no games, no overly melodramatic self-punishment… Just life as it happens with the drama of it occurring naturally. I LOVE it.
Renate: the folded chips…..so so sweet!!!!
Diane: I think what sets her apart is that she also writes likable female characters
No insta-love, no innuendoes, no flirtatious yet haughty, sarcastic banter (although if done right, I can enjoy those things, too).
This was about two “damaged” people (<— I cringe using that word, as it’s sort of become a “usual” – maybe even a cliché in our genre), but this story had an incredible richness to it. The author did not fast-track us through the story and interactions just to get to the “good part”. There was no rushing, because each step of the way was integral to our bond with the characters (and their bond to each other). Important for what we, and they, were about to experience.
So what’s it about?
Bree is on the run from a trauma, and travels to another state (one that gave her comfort as a child when her family would vacation there). Renting a cottage on the lake, and getting a simple waitressing job at the local “country” restaurant, she’s also getting her bearings back, and trying to find her way again. Maybe even one day, rid herself of her PTSD that haunts her every day.
Maybe going out with people who weren’t so acquainted with my tragedy would be better-after all, wasn’t that what this road trip was all about? A temporary escape? The hope that a new place would bring new healing? And then I would have the strength to face my life again.
Making friends and loving life again is coming easy to her, but the one strange (possibly handsome) guy behind all of that scruff and hair that she keeps running into is confounding her. Intriguing her. And despite all of his attempts to rebuff her “friendliness” and chatter (I LOVE her!!)…
I laughed a small embarrassed sound, but then grimaced slightly. “You know, it would really help me out if you would speak and put me out of my misery here.” I grinned at him, but immediately went serious as his face fell, his eyes shuttering and a blank look replacing the warmer one I had sworn was there moments before.
He turned and started to walk away.
“Hey, wait!” I called starting to step after him. I stopped myself though, frowning as he moved away from me, his body moving with grace as he started to jog slowly toward the street. The strangest feeling of loss washed over me as he crossed and walked out of sight.
… she won’t leave him alone. ‘Cause every once in awhile she notices a slight lip tilt. A possibly amused “smirk” if you will.
The town people all have a roundabout gossip story about his past, who he is, and what his problems are (he doesn’t speak to anyone, so many suspects various impairments), but the consensus is… don’t bother trying.
But Bree is drawn to him, and doesn’t let up. Which pays off… when he finally allows her in. Sort of.
He held up his finger to indicate he’d be just a minute and walked inside. When he came back out a couple of seconds later, he had a pad in his hands and he was writing something on it. I waited, and when he turned to me, in very neat, all upper case letters, it said:
YES, I UNDERSTAND YOU.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU NEED?
My eyes darted up to his and my mouth opened slightly to respond, but I snapped it shut before answering his question. Kind of rude question, by the way.
“Do you want to get a pizza or something?” I blurted out, my eyes widening. I hadn’t exactly decided to go there, I just had. I looked at him hopefully.
He stared back like I was an advanced math problem he couldn’t interpret.
He frowned at me and then brought his pen to the pad, never breaking eye contact. Finally he looked down as he wrote and raised the pad to me:
I couldn’t help the laugh that erupted. He didn’t smile, just kept looking at me warily. My laughter died. I whispered, “No?”
A brief look of confusion passed over his face as he watched me and he picked up his pad and wrote something else. When he held it up, he had added a word under his first one. It now said:
Ahhhhhh you guys are in for so an AMAZING treat, ’cause the rest is so much fun to read from there on out. Actually it was perfect from the very start. There are so many highlights in my book, I just couldn’t stop myself, because it was all meaningful. It was all my favorite.
So many awesome parts.
Some that tugged at my heart…
I guessed this was an apology? Or… a gesture of friendship? What exactly did it mean? I groaned. This man!
I laughed out loud, hugging the candy bars to me and then standing there grinning like a fool some more. Awkward boy. Sweet, silent Archer Hale.
… some that gave me butterflies,
We communicated a thousand words, without a single one being spoken.
and the steam. Ohhhhhh the steam. And so much better when it finally comes through in a story like this. Very tangible, very real, and not gratuitous.
They may be of “new adult” age, but it had a mature feel to it (incredible writing!), was stunningly profound, charming, funny, and had my heart soaring. And at times, crying.
It almost had a “Defying the Odds” <— misunderstood loner in a small town (with the whole “small town” family feel) crossed with a The Sea Of Tranquility feel (Sara, thank you for that comparison… I get where you’re coming from with that!).
But! This story stood out on it’s own, had it’s own incredible backdrop and cast of characters that lived and breathed as if they truly existed. And like Sherri said above, I can’t help myself when it comes to a handsome, yet brooding “loner” hermit of a male. The kind of person that appears so indifferent, shunning what others expect of him, but yet has a story so heartbreaking that lead him to live that kind of life. And that one person that he lets in… even for just a moment. Oh how I love living that moment. And maybe getting to live an entire book of that? Sign me up! You get it, with this one.
The obvious disinterest, lack of communication, personal space issues and mistrust, to an eventual (yet cautious) friendship. An eventual bond, a deep connection and potentially so much more. But there’s always that one step forward, two steps back issue, and I’m a delighted sucker for it, when it plays out like this one did!
But like I mentioned above in our reader-chat, this book isn’t loaded in a kind of angst that feels forced simply to drive the drama. Okay yes, the “drama” is somewhat inconceivable in terms of how crazy the circumstances were, but crazy like this has happened before (in real life). But what mattered most, to me? I believed the story as it was told. Because of the way it was told.
No manipulation or pretenses… just life. Past, present and plausible future playing out in a very natural feel. New experiences unfolding, secrets being revealed and the sweet, sad, scared, angry, raw and innate reactions that are the result of those realizations.
This book had me grinning from ear to ear, sighing in sweet satisfaction, and wanting to cuddle my iPad just to “osmosis” my love to them. <— tee hee I know. I didn’t say that right. But you get me, right? From silly sweetness to intense hurt and jealousy to sorrow and heartache (and not necessarily in that order), this story has it all. And this author does it right!
It just came out Tuesday and already has 66 five-star reviews? Then go ahead and throw mine in the mix!!
What’s on your happy list?
This. THIS BOOK is on my happy list. And my love list.
P.S. @Jill: Leo is your favorite in this series? Even after this one!?? Oh my… I don’t know if my heart could take an “awesomer” character than Archer, but you know me… I’m game for more intense love! And I’m a Leo too, so this should be fun!
P.P.S. Here is the “Sign of Love” Series Reading Order - although I hear they can be read as standalones (no character crossovers).