I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Fostering Love #2
Published by Forever on September 6, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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They've spent their lives pushing each other away, but what will happen when they need each other most?
Anita Martin doesn't expect much from life. Growing up on the street, bouncing from one foster home to another, she learned to rely only on herself. Even after she finally found a loving family to take her in, she was still an outsider—something Abraham, one of the family's older sons, never let her forget.
Abraham Evans doesn't know how Ani always manages to get under his skin, only that's she's been doing it since they were teens. She is—and always has been—undeniably gorgeous. But he's never met anyone as pissed off at the world as Ani.
For fifteen years, Ani and Bram have agreed on exactly one thing: they can't stand each other—until one night when their anger gives way to passion. Yet even as Ani and Bram begin to secretly seek comfort in one another's arms, they remain emotionally worlds apart. When Ani's life takes a dramatic turn and she realizes she needs more than Bram can give, their fragile, no-strings relationship unravels. One way or another, Ani is determined to survive. But when Bram finally admits his true feelings, he may discover Ani has moved on without him.
As an adopted child (and proud of it), sometimes I get a little leery of books where the characters are adopted because not everyone handles the issue positively. So when I learned that Nicole Jacquelyn’s Fostering Love series featured fostered and adopted children, I was intrigued but cautious. And it’s such a breath of fresh air when I dove into book 2, Change of Heart, which just came out this week, and emerged smiling, because it turns out I didn’t have to worry about the issue at all. Better yet, it left me feeling good about the world, which was something I desperately needed, what with all the raging I’ve been doing about local and international headlines recently.
But before I talk about the family that provided the soul for this book, I need to talk about the heart—that is, the couple who come together in this romance. Change of Heart‘s heroine is Anita Martin, a woman whose heart is very obviously soft as a marshmallow, even as she displays her sharp claws, teeth, and tongue. She’s a fighter with the heart of a mama bear—she’s had to be, considering that she was tossed from foster home to foster home all throughout her childhood, before she joined the Evans family and learned about love from them. I really liked how, through the course of these novels, Ani refused to be your typical romance heroine. She didn’t run from the fact that she’d fallen in love with the hero, Bram, and neither did she throw herself into the frenzy of feels. And when forced to make tough decisions, she made them quickly but with forethought and feeling, but left the door open to compromise, if Bram would only meet her halfway.
Abraham “Bram” Evans, on the other hand, is Ani’s foster brother, having been adopted into the family that fostered Ani as a teen. He and Ani have always rubbed each other the wrong way—until one night, they rub each other the right way and suddenly find keeping their hands to themselves is a tall order. I don’t know what it is about guys and flannel lately, but he’s the latest in a bunch of heroes I’ve suddenly wanted to rip the flannel off of in the hopes of eyeing abs in my imagination. He’s steady and sweet and good with kids, which is why it baffles me how well he mimics a donkey’s behind when it comes to Ani. And I’ll be frank and say that the only reason I gave this book four stars instead of five was because he made some remarks that were just, woah. I mean, seriously, you don’t go there. But he did. And I don’t know how Ani forgave him for it, but he didn’t suffer enough or grovel enough to get rid of the bad taste his remarks left in my mouth.
The thing that really won me over with this novel, though, was the large but close-knit family the characters share. Seriously, they are funny and annoying and nosy and loving—all the things a family should be. And it comes out that they seem more appreciative of that family because, with so many of the characters being fosters or adoptees, they know how easily they could’ve missed out on what they have. So when they get blindsided by hard times, it pulls them together and shows their mettle, but I couldn’t help crying along with them, a little.
I’m not really sure what else to say about Change of Heart except “Read it.” And on that note, I think I’ll go get book 1 and reintroduce myself to this family all over again.
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