September 17, 2017

Book Review: First Step Forward by Liora Blake

First Step Forward (#1) by Liora Blake
Length: 358 pages
Genre: Adult Romance
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: I received a free copy from the author through Xpresso Book Tours. Thank you so much! This did NOT affect my honest review.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My Rating:
Goodreads Summary: Pro-football player Cooper Lowry is off the field and into some trouble—in the form of a very alluring, very free-spirited apple orchard owner named Whitney Reed—in the first installment in Liora Blake’s all new Grand Valley series. After eight seasons playing pro-football, Cooper Lowry knows all the right answers. Is he stubborn, short-tempered, and impatient? Yes. Are jersey chasers more trouble than they’re worth? Absolutely. Has he ever imagined a life beyond the game? Nope. Cooper has built an enviable career—the result of staying focused, working hard, and keeping his head on straight—even as his body takes the brunt. So when a hard hit during a Sunday home game leaves him in a dazed heap on the field, it’s nothing more than another day at the office. The only thing that’s different about this Sunday is a chance encounter with a certain fascinating, beautiful free-spirited woman. And some sternly-worded instructions from his coach to take a little time off and give his body the TLC it craves—before he does lasting damage. Whitney Reed is a few months away from losing the organic fruit orchard she bought three years ago in the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado. At the time, she was just looking for a place to get lost. Instead, she found a home, somewhere she could finally put down roots. Now foreclosure is knocking on her door—along with a grumpy, gorgeous football player who might be just what she never knew she needed.

My Review

First Step Forward in Three Words: Football. Apples. Swoons.

First Step Forward is a charming romance set in the wonderful state of Colorado. The author's descriptions of the setting really pulls you in, and with the help of its two interesting main characters, it is even easier to get lost in this delightful story.

Cooper has been a pro-football player for years, and it's starting to take a toll on his body. After losing her father, Whitney is trying to start over with a small fruit orchard, but she soon discovers that it is harder than it looks to stay afloat. On a chance meeting in Denver after a rough football game, we get to see their amazing meet cute from the male's POV. Cooper is the best part of this story. He is strong, can be cranky, is sweeter than sweet, and loves football. Whitney is stubborn, organic, and determined. They make a unique pair that made me smile. Although I would have liked a little more time with them, I enjoyed the fascinating minor characters as well.

The plot of First Step Forward is of your standard romance variety, but the important big romantic scenes are perfect. They will make your heart flutter. The only major complaint I had of this book was the pacing of the plot. It just seemed off from the start, especially when looking at how soon these characters seem to genuinely care for each other even though they are strangers. However, I was able to look past this flaw and enjoy its football scenes and romantic gestures.

The Final Verdict: First Step Forward is a sweet story. I recommend reading this book in the fall. It will leave you on the hunt for some delicious apple butter. I would read more books by this author.

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