Happy Monday evening, all! Tonight, I bring you yet another series, and it’s a wonderful one! I’m a massive fan of J. Daniels, and I’ve had this series of hers sitting dormant in my iBooks for longer than I’d like to admit. Anyway, “the time has come”, as the walrus says, and I FINALLY got around to enjoying the Alabama Boys!
Benjamin Kelly destroyed me in the best way possible!
The first in the series, Where I Belong, is where this crazy gaggle of friends begins. Mia is visiting her old friend, Tessa in Ruxton for the summer. They have so much fun together and have amazing plans for a solid three months. There’s only one problem. Tessa’s brother Ben hates Mia, and the feeling is mutual. The trio grew up together, and before Mia had to move to Georgia, her and Ben butted heads non-stop. Now that Mia is back in town, will the bad blood remain?
The dislike is there, and it’s palpable. Mia’s summer is not off to the most ideal start. Aside from the stranger in an Alabama bar she gives her V-card to, she winds up back in Ben’s life (and in the weirdest way possible). Hatred turns to to sexual tension which obviously leads to a whole lot of “yummy”. Yeah, that’s the expression I’m going with, so don’t judge. Experience this couple for yourself and then come talk to me about them.
This book was an emotional roller coaster, but it was worth every single minute. I adored Ben and Mia together more than I can say. She’s a very lucky girl to have such a great guy.
I’m not even super crazy about kids, but little Nolan had my heart melting within seconds. I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for this little gang!
My Final Rating: five out of five stars
In book two, All I Want, we focus on Luke, Ben’s partner on the police force, and Tessa, Ben’s sister. Their tale is not one of warm and fuzzy feelings like book one left me with.
In all honesty, it just about broke me entirely. Luke and Tessa were constantly at each other’s throats, and while I wanted to hate each of them for their own insanities, I also sympathized with their reasoning for their actions. For the most part, everything they said and did was justified, but I just wish they would talk to each other instead of jumping to conclusions every five seconds.
Tessa adores Luke. The sun rises and sets with him, but she’s so angry with the fact that he never lets his guard down. He won’t let her in.. Let her love him.. So for that, she resents him. I’m not even adding up the drama they went through in book one with their prior relationship and some of the scares they encountered in the beginning.
Luke loves Tessa, maybe even more than she loves him, but he’s petrified because he’s spent the last 12 years of his life so neglected, so alone. Aside from his rescue dog, Max, Luke can’t show or accept affection. This is the couple’s ultimate downfall.
Their back-and-forth was infuriating. They wasted so much time arguing and throwing fuel on the fire when they could’ve been supportive and loving. When you think they FINALLY get there, Luke throws the curveball none of us wanted him to throw.
The end is what makes this story worth its 4 stars. They had to hit rock bottom before they could attempt to bounce back and finally get on the same page. The emotional struggle of a journey was beyond worth it just for the last page alone.
Also, the Ben and Mia post-baby bonus had me squealing in delight!
When I Fall, book three, introduces us to the total lady-lover of the group.
Reed, Reed, Reed… What a total and utter sweetheart. On the surface, he seems like such a womanizer (and he is, there’s no denying that), but once you realize where the source of his pain comes from, you not only understand why he flits from girl to girl, but also know that he deserves true happiness with his soul mate just like the rest of his friends.
Beth is awesome. She’s a perfect mix of vixen but shy and mellow girl next door. She not only adds to what’s best for Reed, but also fits in perfectly with the circle of Ben, Mia, Tessa, and Luke. She’s had her own rough patch in life, and it was amazing to see how quickly Reed stepped into her life and did everything he could to defend and protect her, regardless of the fact that it went against all of his instincts.
I’m so in love with this gang of friends.
Where We Belong, the little novella, brought every couple’s story to their next stages and ended way before I wanted it to. I’m sure J. Daniels has more up her sleeve with these characters and I simply can’t wait!
I couldn’t help but chuckle while also sighing in frustration for poor Ben and Mia. They’re blissfully happy, but ready to burst at the seams if they don’t get a moment alone.
Reading their adventure definitely had the tension building up. I’m glad they still remain a team and tend not to let less-than-ideal moments together make them distant. It’s easy to let love and chemistry die, so I’m ecstatic that they choose every single day to continue being close and remaining a solid team for each other as well as their boys.
I also adored seeing where Luke and Tessa and also Beth and Reed are at this point in their own adventures. Seriously, more, more more!!