Monday, July 25, 2016

ARC Review: Roller Girl by Vanessa North

From The Blurb:
Recently divorced Tina Durham is trying to be self-sufficient, but her personal-training career is floundering, her closest friends are swept up in new relationships, and her washing machine has just flooded her kitchen. It’s enough to make a girl cry. 
Instead, she calls a plumbing service, and Joanne “Joe Mama” Delario comes to the rescue. Joe is sweet, funny, and good at fixing things. She also sees something special in Tina and invites her to try out for the roller derby team she coaches. 
Derby offers Tina an outlet for her frustrations, a chance to excel, and the female friendships she’s never had before. And as Tina starts to thrive at derby, the tension between her and Joe cranks up. Despite their player/coach relationship, they give in to their mutual attraction. Sex in secret is hot, but Tina can’t help but want more. 
With work still on the rocks and her relationship in the closet, Tina is forced to reevaluate her life. Can she be content with a secret lover? Or with being dependent on someone else again? It’s time for Tina to tackle her fears, both on and off the track.

Karen's rating:

and a QUILTBAG of stars in my heart for this one.

I read this book for two reasons. The first being I've been promising myself I'd read this author for ages now and the timing has been such that when her books came out I was busy with something else and then I'd squirrel off to something else so when I saw this one on Net Galley it was Fate telling me to get my act together because it's time and the second reason this one's not M/M so I knew it was a step outside of my comfort zone and I do like to make myself take that step from time to time.

What I didn't expect was that I was going to fall head over heels in love with this story. There was just so much about it that for me was special. So what I'm going to do is tell you my least favorite part and get that out of the way so I can babble on about the awesomeness that was the rest of this story...

Truthfully for me the sex wasn't great and I'm not even going to try and analyze why, probably because it was two girls and that's not my thing so pfft whatever, it wasn't the most important part of this book for me and in a way I probably would have found it weird if there was none because hello? Two healthy, sexually active women attracted to each other and not sex? That I would have found weird and disconcerting and while it's not my thing to me the sex scenes were still well done and interestingly enough the romance between Tina and Joe worked for me big time. Seriously, when they were together and when they kissed...well, damn I got butterflies in my stomach right along with them. It was sweet and passionate and the feelz were all over the place and that's what matters to me that I can make that connection to the relationship, that I can feel it coming off the page at me. It doesn't have to be the sex that does it.

Now comes the hard part because I really, really want to share with you how much I love this book and what an awesome reading experience it was for me. You see ironically the author used things that for me have personal meaning. So yes, I have little doubt that this book resonated with me more than it might with other readers and I'm ok with that because we're all different and how we respond to things, and in this case it's a book, is directly impacted by those differences.

First off Roller Derby, how awesome is that. One of my favorite childhood memories is watching Roller Derby with my dad on Saturday afternoons. I came from a family of 7 children so one-on-one time was premium at our house and I was the youngest and yes, I was daddy's little girl but still time was limited with that many mouths to feed. My brothers got the cars and hockey games but I got Saturday afternoons and Roller Derby. Reading this story made it Saturday afternoon for me.

One of my absolute most favorite parts of this book was Tina. In a world that's constantly trying to label and categorize people to be what it thinks they should be rather than supporting and encouraging people to be who they feel they should be, Tina to me was the epitome of courageous and I'm not even going to try and use my words here, I'm simply going to borrow from Ralph Waldo Emerson to explain this...
To be yourself in a world that isconstantly trying to make you somethingelse is the greatest accomplishment

and to me this is what Tina did, not only for herself but others as she gave them the faith and encouragement they needed to keep trying. Most of us have a Tina in our lives whether we realize it or not. Someone who struggles on a daily basis just to be themselves and have the world accept them as they are meant to be. I know I marvel at my personal Tina every day. At their courage and strength and at the love they give to a world that maybe doesn't always deserve it but needs it.

I was pretty taken with the cast of secondary characters in this book and want to know more about all of them and happily I can at least find out more about Ben & Dave (Double Up) and Eddie & Wish (Rough Road) because they're all waiting on my e-reader for me. I don't normally read a series out of order but because of a time constraints this time I had to and truthfully I don't feel like I was shortchanged for having skipped the first two books for now because there is no doubt that I will go back to read those books.

The first 70% of 'Roller Girl' was a solid 4 star read it was around there though, that this story took a serious leap for me and I was grabbing the tissues and trying to read through the sobfest because stopping was not an option. Not while Tina and Joe were shattering my heart and then I ached as I watched them try to through things...yep, I basically cried for the last 30% of this book and still there seem to be a few tears left over but hey, it's Saturday afternoon and I get to watch the derby with my dad...just me and him.

My review of this book may not be as unbiased as others that I've written, but that's only because of all the ways it touched me personally with its awesome characters and it's subject matter. Does this mean I'm a fan of f/f books probably not, I think it just means I've become a big fan of an awesome writer and the wonderful stories that she has to share with the world.


An ARC of Roller Girl was graciously provided by the publisher through Net Galley,13677190

Buy this book:

Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are.  (Mason Cooley)

Buylinks are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with this book, author or booksellers listed.

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