A Review by Wendy
4.5 Letting Love In Stars
* * * * 1/2
* * * * 1/2
Totally Spoiler Free!
Why is it the most wonderful experience we can have...can also cause us to feel so much pain...It must be the universal question because in Real life as well as in Fictional Life...having experienced Love, leaves the biggest mark on us all.
When it is glorious... wholehearted and fulfilled... the ripple effect on those who experience it is something to amaze. The recipients will be bighearted, welcoming of others and open to share this feeling easily with the freedom of knowing It Is A Good Thing.
But when Love has been given then taken away or withheld...the lessons taught are much more complicated. The depth of pain can cause the desire to protect oneself from ever experiencing this loss...to overrule the innate need we have as humans to love, to connect on that level. They become distant and controlling, thinking this will protect them from any pain.
For some, that might work...But oh, the experiences, the thrills, the warmth and joy, they will miss. In Managed (VIP #2) by Kristen Callihan, we are taken on a ride which touches all of this... and it is oh so very good!
This is part of a series and although I did not read the first part, I never felt lost. I did see how compelling the premise was and plan on going back to see how it all came together...but this can be read as a stand alone without issues.
Let me just say... This was so enjoyable. Both main characters were equals in how they interacted...We never felt they compromised or rolled over out of weakness...This dynamic made the reading strong...and thoroughly captivating. I did not want to stop reading... and practically didn't.
It had American Sophie, this woman who had gone through a darker period in her life and was reinventing herself. She had all of the necessary tools to do it. She came from an amazingly loving family; supportive, free with letting her know she had self worth and examples of how two people can fall in love, remain in love and be there for each other and their children.
Sophie came from all of that ... and it gave her an understanding about what was possible. She had made a detour in her life and fell prey to a man who took advantage of her...who used her talents and the experience taught her an important life lesson...She could change her path and decide what she wanted to do. She would only do work which brought her joy ... pleasant times and never to make herself feel less than. As an accomplished Social Media person/photographer, she became in demand and was on her way.
Gabriel Scott is a British self made man out of necessity. His family life was not something to wish for...the happiness he experienced briefly with his mum and dad was short lived. The father was not a man who there and solid... he didn't work and provide...and his mother, the main source of affection and caring, was stricken with cancer. He saw the pain and difficulty his mum went through... and when she decided enough was enough...Gabriel was left mostly on his own at 15.
He was a smart lad and was given a scholarship to one of the Boarding schools of the Upper Crust. It was there he learned what he needed to do to fit in and not be abused by pompous arses...and it was during a fight he met all of his future mates...the boys who became the band, Killing John. Those boys who became men are his family now...but he learned, oh so long ago...to never allow anyone, not even them to get too close.
He would watch out for them, make them wealthy and protected... be there every step of the way, ensuring things ran smoothly...But he would never let his guard down...that is when you could get hurt...
These two are brought together on a plane ride...Sophie being bumped to first class and Gabriel discovering she is in the seat next to him. This is not what Gabriel expects...He always purchases both adjoining seats so noone is ever in his personal space. It is this circumstance which puts these two together for hours...and there is no escaping for Gabriel.
The joy in reading this book is the quick, sharp, extraordinary fun dialogue which happens immediately. It is not just what they say to each other but also what they are thinking in the moment. We are give both POV's and as the tale builds...all of it just works. The chemistry was off the charts and the slow build was perfect. The quotes from their banter, inner thoughts will be plastered all over other reviews...they were that good!
Even the plot points, which I knew were coming, worked...Because let's face it, all stories need some conflict and at least they weren't drawn out for too long. They showed the need for both characters to see their weaknesses and admit them. Both were up for the challenges.
This read is strong and all of the characters have purpose and tease. More VIP's will be coming and it is only a matte of time for us to find out which band member/team member it will be about...all are intriguing.
A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review
About Kristen Callihan
Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she'd rather be. She is a RITA winner and three-time nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer's Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine's Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher's Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.