Reviews: DELILAH GREEN DOESN’T CARE and FULL FLIGHT

 

Hey fellow book lovers! I hope you all had a nice weekend and were able to get in plenty of reading time.  I had a pretty good weekend. We’re in a lull right now between winter and spring travel soccer so we didn’t really have anywhere we needed to be so that was nice.  Today I’m back with my last two February review books, just in time for their publication dates tomorrow.  I’ve been trying to do a better job of getting my ARCs reviewed before the publication dates this year. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep up with it, but so far so good.  Anyway, on to the reviews.  One is the adult debut from one of my favorite YA authors, Ashley Herring Blake, and the other is a YA contemporary from Ashley Schumacher, whose first novel Amelia Unabridged was a big hit in 2021. I didn’t review it on the blog but I did read it and thought it was wonderful.

 

Reviews: DELILAH GREEN DOESN’T CARE and FULL FLIGHTDelilah Green Doesn't Care (Bright Falls, #1) Goodreads

Author: Ashley Herring Blake

Publication Date: February 22, 2022

Publisher:  Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Ashley Herring Blake’s adult debut Delilah Green Doesn’t Care follows Delilah Green, a young woman who is in New York following her dream of becoming a professional photographer.  She is finally getting noticed professionally and she’s also content with her personal life, which is filled with fun casual hookups, basically a different woman in her bed most nights.  Having been burned in her last serious relationship, Delilah has no interest in falling in love again.  She also has no interest in returning to Bright Falls, the town she grew up in.  As far as she’s concerned there’s nothing there for her. Her mom died when she was very young, and although her dad remarried, he died as well, leaving Delilah with her stepmother and with a stepsister, Astrid, who clearly doesn’t like her. For reasons Delilah cannot fathom, however, Astrid begs Delilah to be her wedding photographer and offers to pay her $10,000 to do it.  Short on cash, Delilah reluctantly agrees and mentally steels herself for a painfully awkward visit home.

Claire Sutherland is a single mom raising an 11 year old daughter.  The dad is partially in the picture but is unreliable and seemingly not up to the task of being a full time dad. In addition to all of her parental duties, Claire also runs a bookstore in Bright Falls.  For Claire, raising her daughter is her number one priority and everything else comes second, and that includes romance.  On a rare night out with her best friends, one of whom happens to be Astrid, Delilah’s stepsister, Claire’s friends tease her mercilessly about her lack of a love life and dare her to get someone’s phone number before she leaves the bar that night.  When a sexy tattooed brunette dressed all in black struts into the bar, Claire decides to make her move, not realizing that the woman she is about to hit on is none other than Delilah.

Oh goodness, where to start with what I enjoyed about this book!  I of course loved Delilah and Claire. They’re both strong women trying to make their way in the world. I also loved their chemistry, but even more so that it’s not a straightforward insta-love situation.  Instead, it’s actually super awkward, which felt so much more realistic to me.  Any attraction between Delilah and Claire is hampered not only because of Astrid and Delilah’s strained relationship, but also because Astrid’s whole circle of friends, including Claire, completely ignored or made fun of Delilah while they were growing up.  They were some of the main reasons why Delilah couldn’t wait to leave Bright Falls.  Is there any way Claire and Delilah can move past that and make a fresh start?

I loved watching Delilah and Claire navigate this journey, but even more so, I was completely engrossed by the relationship between Delilah and Astrid.  I’m a sucker for a sibling story, and man, theirs is a good one with lots of layers.  I have to admit that I kind of hated Astrid and a couple of the ladies in her circle early on in the novel, but by the end of this journey, they won me over.

With its combination of fully developed characters, riveting family drama, fun wedding antics, a lovable found family, as well as a sexy steamy romance, Delilah Green Doesn’t Care has it all.  4 STARS

 

Reviews: DELILAH GREEN DOESN’T CARE and FULL FLIGHTFull Flight Goodreads

Author: Ashley Schumacher

Publication Date: February 22, 2022

Publisher: Wednesday Books

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Don’t let that beautiful swoony cover fool you, Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher packs an emotional punch that will make you ugly cry.  It’s a heartbreaking but beautifully written story about feeling like you’re missing half of yourself, until you finally find someone who makes you feel whole, and what happens if you were then to lose that someone…

I was drawn to this book because of its focus on high school students in the marching band.  I didn’t personally play an instrument myself but I was in the color guard when I was in high school so I felt a kinship to this entire group of kids.  The main characters, Anna James and Weston Ryan, are both members of the band, and are assigned to play a duet together.  Anna is new to the band and struggling with her half of the duet, so she begs Weston to help her since the band director is threatening to give her part to someone else.  Anna and Weston have never so much as exchanged a single word with one another prior to Anna’s request for help so it’s awkward to say the least.

Weston is the character who intrigued me the most, mainly because he just has so many layers. He has somehow earned the reputation of being a weirdo and a troublemaker, even though it doesn’t appear to be who he really is at all.  Aside from a small circle of friends, most of his fellow students don’t really have much to do with him and he feels very much out of place and alone, with music as his only solace.  Because of his reputation, he’s absolutely shocked that Anna wants his help and at first tries to push her away.

I loved Anna, not only because she was stubborn and persistent enough to finally convince Weston to help her, but also because she flat out did not care about what other people thought about Weston.  She thinks he’s a great guy and that’s all that matters to her. She makes it her mission to make others give Weston a chance, including her parents who judge Weston very harshly when they find out their daughter is associating with him.

I really enjoyed watching Anna and Weston connect, both in the practice rooms as they worked to perfect their duet, and in their personal lives as they first become friends and then realize they feel more than just friendship for one another.  Watching their first love blossom was just so sweet and endearing, which made the tragedy that brought it all crashing down that much more heart-wrenching.   I don’t want to spoil anything but you might want to have some tissues handy.

My absolute favorite part of Full Flight is a reference to the Kauai O’o bird that runs through the entire book.  On the brink of extinction, this bird was the last of its kind and still called to its mate, ever hopeful that its mate would respond.  Weston did a school report on the bird when he was younger and felt that it was a kindred spirit.  The way the author ties this bird to Weston and Anna’s story was beautiful and heartbreaking and yet still somehow filled with hope, just like Full Flight itself.  This is a story that is going to stay with me for a very long time. 4 STARS

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