Title: Alaska or Bust
Author: Rhonda James
Release Date: October 26, 2015
I needed this storm to pass through me like a flash flood, reminding me of all that I had lost, while preparing me for all I had yet to gain. ~Gracie Madison
Meet Tucker and Gracie. Two people whose lives were forever changed in the blink of an eye. They set out on a journey to fulfill a promise made to the ones they'd lost, expecting an adventure, instead they found each other.
Losing a loved one can be the hardest thing in the world. So why does losing someone you've just met, but have come to depend on, hurt twice as much? Join Tucker and Gracie as they embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, as they find their happiness in a world once filled with pain.
Gracie Madison and Tucker Winslow are both trying to nurse their hearts through tragic losses when their lives are thrown together on a cross-country road trip. They start as two strangers sharing a vehicle, but their connection is instant and bolstered by a mutual love for 80s music and kitschy tourist destinations and, before long, the two form a meaningful and devoted friendship.
If I had to categorize this romance somehow, I'd call it a friends-to-lovers romance because ultimately, that's exactly what it is. A great deal of time and attention is given to the friendship these two are building and while the timeline—in the beginning—is a quick one, it never feels rushed or like anything develops too quickly. In fact, Gracie and Tucker are both so instantly likeable that it's not hard to imagine how they would have connected so quickly. Their road trip is filled with flirty banter and adorable quirkiness. It was fun to read about their adventures, and watch their hearts begin to heal, while their feelings for each other deepen.
This story doesn't fit neatly into the friends-to-lovers box though—it's just so much bigger than that. It's a story of loss and learning to live and love again. A story of trusting your journey and keeping your heart open, even though it means you may get hurt again. It's a lovely, richly layered, deeply emotional story. My heart ached and my eyes watered, and I was just completely enchanted with Gracie and Tucker's story.
I don't want to give the impression that this is a sad book. I was wary of reading a book about loss, and while it is a story about loss and healing, it's not a sad book by any means. I spent the vast majority of this book with a big goofy smile plastered on my face. Tucker Winslow is sexy as hell and charming for days and Gracie has a ton of pluck. Their story is masterfully told in a way that doesn't trivialize their losses or their grief, but also doesn't get bogged down in angst and drama. It's just beautiful, nearly perfect.
I loved it. I loved every cheesy 80s song reference, every kitschy stop on the road trip, every flirt, every heart-wrenching moment and dear God, you guys, the epilogue(s)—so freaking good. This felt like the sleeper hit of the year for me. I had no idea I was getting such a treat when I picked this one up, but I'm so SO glad that I did.
~ Review by Shelly
Rhonda James is an Amazon best-selling romance author who strives to create a book boyfriend for all her readers. Rhonda is married and lives in Michigan with her family. In her spare time you can find her talking to readers, cooking some new creation in her kitchen, or just spending time with her family.
Some of her guilty pleasures are mastering such things as Twitter and indulging in chocolate, she may do one more than the other.
Come find her on her social networks and don't be afraid to say Hi!