Thursday, January 5, 2017

Book Review: The Keeper by Jillian Liota

Soccer goalie Rachel Jameson is in her final year at Glendale College on academic and athletic scholarships. It’s quite the achievement for a young woman who grew up in a home filled with drunken abuse, who barely made it out of high school alive.

But she’s smart, dedicated, and has her eyes set on that cap and gown next spring. Nothing’s going to get in the way of a hard-fought battle for the freedom and independence she’s so desperately craved.

Until she meets Mack.

He stumbles into her world with a flirty smile and warm eyes – a man that pushes Rachel out of her comfort zone and into his arms. Their chemistry is swift and undeniable, and soon after meeting the two recognize the depth of their connection.

But an unfortunate circumstance forces the two to abandon their romance before it has truly begun. Rachel’s carefully planned life begins to shake like an unstable house of cards, and when she risks losing Mack completely, she has to decide what’s more important.

Her future.

Or theirs.

When author, Jillian Liota, first approached me about giving her book a read, my initial reaction was a resounding HELL NO. Was it because of the author? Nope. Was it because of the cover? Negative. Was it because of the blurb? Not entirely ... I saw the word "soccer" in the blurb and my stomach started to turn. Weird thing to refuse a book for a word, right? Well of course it is. Unless you decided to play soccer when you were around 10 years old and it was the most horrific two weeks of your life. Horrific may be a stretch. But it was bad. Anyway, I actually asked Liota how much soccer was actually in the book - everything hinged on that answer. Luckily, she said that it was just a small smattering of soccer nonsense (my words, not hers) and that I could easily replace those soccer moments with softball moments (my preferred sport) instead. So that's what I did and dude. Couldn't be happier that I made that decision because I found a new author to book-stalk! 

If I'm completely honest, those few soccer moments weren't too difficult to digest because of how talented of a writer Liota is. She made me forget my intense hatred of soccer and just enjoy the book. I didn't think that would happen. The story was engaging from the very first page and I soon found myself not wanting to do anything but read because I couldn't wait to see what would happen between Rachel and Mack. 

Those two ... man. I loved their story. I liked the push and pull between them that Liota created in this taboo relationship. This story is much deeper than just a romance - there are hurdles that Rachel has in her life that are heartbreaking and it's a bit difficult to read about. Not because it wasn't written about well but because it was written TOO well. It was realistic and absolutely plausible. This was the case with all of the characters and situations throughout the book. The characters burrow themselves into your heart and they soon feel like old friends. I liked all of the secondary characters almost as much as I loved Rachel and Mack. Fine. Mostly Mack. Because well ... he's Mack. You'll see. 

Everything really seemed to play out like a movie as I was reading, nothing was lagging or long winded and the story moved along at the steady pace that I love. Because of all of these things and about a million more, I had an awesome reading experience and I can't wait for the next Liota book.

This was just a great story. One that I won't soon forget and I believe that this is Liota's debut novel. If that's the case, holy crap. I can't wait to see what the next book is like because if it has just a smidgen of the spark that this one had, it's going to be amazing.

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

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