Friday, September 23, 2016

Review: Everything Unexpected by Caroline Nolan

Can a man and woman be JUST friends?

Shane Carlisle and Leah Kessel think so. They’ve been the best of friends for years—and quite content being just that; it’s their friends who don’t believe it. None of them can understand how two gorgeous, non-committed adults have never thought about crossing that line. Until a night of celebration, too much tequila and new found curiosity makes it impossible for Shane and Leah not to think about it. So together, they cross it—promising themselves and each other that nothing will change and that yes, a man and woman can STILL remain just friends.

That is, until everything around them begins to spiral out of control.

Plans they had once formed, vanish. Promises they once made, are broken. And their once easy and effortless friendship turns into…the complete opposite. Coming face to face with the consequences of their actions, Shane and Leah are once again challenged by the same question.

Can a man and woman be just FRIENDS?

Not when everything unexpected is thrown their way.

4 stars
Review by Jen Skewes

I love Caroline Nolan’s first book This is Love and could not wait to read more from her.  At the time I honestly didn’t realize that it was her debut novel because of how well it was written.  So of course when I saw that she had another book releasing I couldn’t have been more excited.  Everything Unexpected is a bit different from her first novel but that’s what I loved.  This is a friends to lovers romance but I think with a bit of a twist.  It was a sweet and fun read

Shane and Leah met in college and instantly formed a bond.  They have been best friends for over 5 years now and while there is a little bit of an attraction between them it is not something that either of them have acted on or even really admitted for that matter.   One night out with their friends, these two are thinking about why they have never crossed the line of friendships.  Throw in some tequila, a close cab ride home and these two are on their way to one night of passion.  A night that they may not have expected to end in the way that it did, but something that they both really want.

The next day isn’t so easy though.  They both agree that it was a one time thing and that nothing will change between them.  But a few weeks later the unexpected has happened, completely rocking their world.  And this is the part of the book that I loved.  Because at this moment there is so much that these two need to think about and to discuss.  They are so unsure of what happens next, how the other feels about each other and most importantly will this bring them closer or tear them apart?  I loved watching them go through the doubts, the fears and the struggles.  For me it is what made this “friends to lovers” romance quite different from those that I have read before.  It is also what made it feel real to me.  Everything was not perfect and happy.  They had their struggles to work through.  What will happen in the end?  Will they both be able to admit that they are falling for the other? Will they be able to make it all work?

I really enjoyed this book.  It was sweet and fun and had just the right amount of drama needed.  I loved Leah and Shane together.  From the moment they met I though they had a connection.  At times Leah may have frustrated me with her decisions or maybe I should say her indecisiveness when it came to certain things but at the same time I completely understood where she was coming from.  Plus add to that the pregnancy hormones and that can make any woman a little crazier than normal. 

The supporting characters were a wonderful addition to this story.  I know that Eddy and Holly are already together but I would love their story to see how they met and got to where they are today.  And then there is Bryan, the best friend and roommate who made me laugh.  I want his story and to see what happens with him and Kendall.  I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the chemistry between Leah and Shane.  And while Shane may have made a few mistakes he is one of those characters that you will love.  You can see how much Leah meant to him.  She was his everything, the most important person in his life and the one woman that he loved and would do anything for.  He was sweet and caring and the two of them were perfect.  I am looking forward to more from Ms. Nolan. 

The elevator doors open with a ding once we reach my floor.  I extend my arm, letting her exit first.  The words “to your left” almost escape my lips.  But then I remind myself I don’t need to tell her which apartment is mine.  She’s been here too many times to count.
      I follow her to my door where she waits for me to unlock it.  I fish out my keys from my pocket and let her go in first.  She walks down the short hallway, flicking on the light switch from behind the kitchen counter, knowing exactly where to find it.  It feels surreal, bringing a girl home who already treats this place like home.  Knows where everything is, doesn’t take the time to wander around, mentally assessing all of my belongings.
      Girls almost always stop in front of the far wall where six large, framed, black and white photographs hang, interested in what they are and where they were taken.  Most are from my parent’s vacation home in Georgia.  One is of the abandoned barn acres away from the main house.  Another of a broken wooden fence, carvings of random numbers etched into it.  Beautiful hidden spots I’ve found walking around the property.
      But Leah doesn’t even glance at them.  Why would she?  These are pictures she’s already seen thousands of times before.  She’s even been to these places in person.
      I rub the back of my neck, trying to acclimate to this new setting.  Usually I’d ask if they’d like a tour, show them around the loft before eventually leading them towards my bedroom.  But this time I’m completely out of my element.
      “Do you want something to drink?” I ask, pointing over to the kitchen, which is really just a long counter with a small island separating it from the living space.
      Leah drops her bag on my gray sofa, next to the blue throw she bought to have here for when we watch movies.  She turns and faces me.  “No.”

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