4 reflective Stars
Philosophers, writers, actors, poets and many others throughout history have said that if something is meant to be, it’ll be effortless. Easy. Everything will come together as it should. All you have to do is show up. But life proves them wrong every day. Life proves that you have to work for what you really want. And that includes people.
Awful things happen to good people every single day. What really matters is how those people respond to those awful things. Whether they allow those experiences to devour them whole or whether they walk away from them, changed but undaunted. It takes immense work and strength to emerge from that kind of pain. And it takes equal strength to love someone who has.
Alex Donovan is broken and lost. He’s a man tripping through life trying halfheartedly to figure out which way is up. He’s spent years living for his cousin, Ryan, trying to keep him on the planet. But when Ryan falls in love, gets his life together and walks through his own fire, Alex is left untethered.
Zoe Stone works in a tattoo shop as a piercer and apprentice tattoo artist. She comes from the whitest of white-collar oil families in Austin but has never fit. She’s got the soul of an artist, the mouth of a burlesque dancer and a heart and soul woven of absolute compassion. And she’s been in love with Alex since high school.
When Alex stumbles into Zoe’s shop in a haze, trying to figure out where to go next and what to do with his life, they are both irrevocably changed. Alex finds himself wanting to try. Wanting to figure out how to live again. Zoe finds herself willing to risk it all for Alex.
Marie Hall has a way of writing that reaches right into your heart and squeezes at just the right moment. Taking you completely off guard because you just don’t expect to care so much. You don’t expect to become so completely entangled in her characters. But you are. I found myself yelling right alongside Alex as he confronted his demons, crying with pride right alongside Zoe, laughing out loud as they got to know each other. Hall is an emotional ninja with her ability to write books that at first glance feel like relatively simple happily ever afters. They are anything but simple. She writes stories with incredible depth, multi-faceted characters and intense emotion that take my breath away every single time I pick one up.
This series is not for the faint of heart. It’s turbulent and dark. The lows are devoid of light and suck all the hope out of you. But the highs, the highs are jubilant and suffused with so much life that you can’t help but be swept up in it all. This series is life. It’s a mix of work, joy, loss, success, and so many other things that can all happen in a heartbeat. A Moment. Right Now. Forever. They’re all the same thing – life – big, glorious, saturated in love – if you’re willing to work for it.