Thursday, February 1, 2018

Release Blitz & Review: Landslide - A.R. Hadley

(The South Beach Connection #1)

A.R. Hadley
Published: February 1, 2018
Genre: Contemporary, Romance

One summer has the power to change everything.
One night, one choice, can alter life’s trajectory — cause the heart’s debris to slip and slide down the mountain.

After graduating college, rising photographer Annie Baxter relocates to South Beach, Florida.
A new start.
A chance to leave behind her anxiety, her grief, and prepare her photographs for display in an art gallery. Annie is determined to mend her heart in the sand and breathe, commune with the stars and beach and old friends.
Then Cal Prescott steps in front of her lens — a man twenty years her senior. An understated, sexy puzzle who may not wish to be solved. Cal is quiet. Strong. Eyes like the tides. Coming in, going out. Pulling her under.
They meet at a party.
The chemistry cannot be denied.
But they only have the summer.
One unforgettable connection.

But every June, July, and August must come to an end.

4 Stars

A.R. Hadley weaves an impassioned story about that first big emotional connection and the struggles that come with an affair that can't be left behind in the rumpled sheets. Annie is the girl with her head in the clouds amongst the castles in the sky, while significantly older Cal is held steady by numbers and work, only giving bits of himself away during his trysts with Annie. Both feel a draw between them, as though one another is intrinsic to their individual summers. Annie and Cal's interactions, at least those that are within the pages of Landslide, are filled with lust and intent. Readers are treated to glimpses of dialogue and simple interactions, with A.R. Hadley choosing to give this book a headier, more tempestuous driven plot. Annie and Cal communicate in looks during their dalliances, the serious Cal leaving Annie guessing at his thoughts beyond the look his mask does not cover. Annie, however, highlights her naivety in her looks, her emotions always teetering on the edge of calm and out of control. There is a very obvious magnetic field pushing these two together, but the connection they feel beyond lust is not apparent to anyone looking in from the outside. I enjoyed the push and pull between the two and Cal's natural dominant role over Annie, with or without their ages in mind. The book is definitely sexy and written in such a melodic way that I found myself floating in the currents of the ocean as I escaped real life for the coast of South Beach.

"There was no safe distance from her."

I am not a huge fan of omniscient third person narrative when switching in a single chapter and with the use of it in Landslide I found myself struggling to connect with the characters. It created, for me, a surface level relationship and took away from either character really owning the position of "main" character or narrator. I think I would've had more luck had each chapter been in a third person limited format, focusing on each character and their thoughts and emotions, rather than changing the focus within the chapter several times. It took away from the relationship between Annie and Cal, the chemistry lacking, because I never really felt like I was present in their exchanges. That said, it lent itself beautifully to the setting. Landslide may seem wordy, but A.R. Hadley uses every opportunity to describe the town, the homes, the small details that play into interactions between the characters. It works very well with Annie's career as a photographer.

"The commands. The surrender. The net she fell into under the tightrope.
"He would catch her."

I will finish this review by highlight what several other reviews have noted, there is indeed an abrupt cliffhanger that closes out this novel. I was unprepared for it and left feeling unsatisfied, but I was also left wanting more, so much more. There is obviously so much left to this story than we have been told and this first novel promises a trilogy that will entice and entertain. There's history to be uncovered, a relationship just waiting to be discovered, and definitely some climatic answers to be revealed.  A.R. Hadley's first non-World release is one worth taking a chance on, romance lovers everywhere will enjoy her poetic, more literary style and fans of the drama will delight in the secrets that have yet to be uncovered.

"And it was too late to stop now, anyway. It had been too late the night he'd met her. It couldn't be stopped."

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