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Review: Close to You by Kara Isaac

Purchase on  Amazon  and  Barnes and Noble

Purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

About the Book

A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.

Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.

Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.

When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for? 


I’ll admit, when I first saw Hobbits and Lord of the Rings, I almost put the put down because I’m not a fan of either. Well, lucky for me, I decided to give this book a chance and so glad I did. It was such a pleasant surprise! 

Allie, who you just can’t help but love, is gorgeous, smart and unfortunately like many of us gals, got burned by a loser. After getting the shock of her life in the middle of one of her lectures, not only was her academic career in ruins but her so called marriage. Trying to pick up the pieces by running away from her problems, she lucked out by getting a job doing something that she was absolutely passionate about. She nabbed herself a job as a Tolkien elite tour host. It’s amazing how many of these types of movies attract this sort of interest. The job definitely has its benefits, especially for her being such a big fan and giving people access to some of the exclusives from the movie, it definitely helps keep her problems at a distance until her latest tour where she meets Jackson Gregory. Little does she know how much her life will change. 
You know how everyone else knows a secret but you. That’s how I felt about when Allie and Jackson meet. Not a big fan of Jackson as first but he definitely made the book interesting when he entered Allie’s life. You can tell right off the back the chemistry between them, even though love definitely wasn’t at first sight, more like an annoyance. Their back and forth really gives some spunk to the book that makes you definitely want to tune in to see what comes next between the pair. Who’d thought two broken hearts could come together but you’d never know when you first read but I will say the way the relationship develops in the book will definitely something worth waiting for. 

Us ladies are always talking about woe is me when it comes to getting our heart broken but we forget guys get their heart broken too. Jackson had a rough go around in the love department. Getting reading to make it big with his company, not only did his girlfriend cheat but she took his secret formula with him. Guess what? She gave it to her new guy which happened to be his biggest competitor. Not that his life could get any worse but investing all of himself, his savings and the help of others, watching what he worked so hard to build go down the drain really took a toll on him. Leaving him with debt and frustrated investors, especially the potential loss for his parents, burdened with guilt, a blessing in disguised came when his great uncle needed an assistant to accompany him on a three-week Tolkien tour. Not the least bit interested in anything of the sorts, he saw this as an opportunity not only because of the job but he had lots of money that could solve his problem. He could really turn his life around and help his parents. He has to impress his uncle with his Tolkien knowledge and character, then he will invest in him. A piece of cake…right? Wrong. The only problem is, he knows nothing about Tolkien life. Doesn’t have a clue! His little cliff notes and movie watching can go only so far especially when you encountered people who are the ultimate fans. How is going to pull this off? Little does he know how his life will change.

Overall, I loved the book. It really presented an engaging story that was definitely fun to read. My only criticism is it was a bit lengthy for the theme but no worries because it doesn’t take away from my feeling about the book. The author gave us some awesome characters that you really can dive right into and who just make you want to follow them all the way until the end. You follow them internally and their relationships with each through its natural rhythm which allows you to experience the ups and downs and gives them more of an authenticity to connect with. I’ve never been to New Zealand but really am excited by the great visual you experience in the book. It definitely makes me so excited to want to visit but not to take one of those tours. Not offense to the Tolkiens fans. For those who are into the Tolkien thing, I’m sure the references will be fun because you will connect with that. There are elements through the characters’ lives that mention their traditional faith. Not meant to be preachy but as how it is incorporated into the lives through their decisions. Kara really had me on pins and needles for a while wondering what was going to happen. Trust me, that is a good thing when you get deep into the book because there aren’t two characters that I've read in a awhile that I’ve wanted to reach the end of the rainbow more than these two. It wrapped up beautifully and I can’t wait to read her next! I’d definitely recommend putting on this one on the reading list.


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