Friday, December 17, 2021

AFTER SHE FALLS by Carmen Schober, Reviewed by Rebecca and Paula

"God, help him forgive you . . . Help him understand . . .Help him trust you . . .Help him be free."

Adri Rivera has returned to her hometown as a broken shadow of herself, carrying only a few possessions, a beautiful daughter and very few explanations. She had to leave him. She simply couldn't survive another round. However, when she comes face to face with the man she left behind, life becomes even more complicated. Then an opportunity to fight again presents itself; an answer to prayer or a fast flight to disaster . . . time always tells.

Famed title fighter Max Lyons has been out of the limelight since his father died, managing an upscale training center in Sparta, Pennsylvania and living under the radar. Seeing Adri Rivera again was a shock to his senses, one that he could have certainly lived the rest of his life without. Once considered among the most talented mixed martial arts fighters in the country . . .  and she gave it up for what? Or perhaps it was who. Personal history aside, Adri needs a job, Max needs another trainer, and the fact that she's married should keep their high octane emotions in check. Easier said than done . . . for admittedly, Adri has always been Max's weakness.

So much rumbles beneath the surface of amazing debut; raw, authentic tidal waves of double shot intensity work their way into conversations and inter-actions, driving the characters both towards and away from an outcome that Max and Adri so desperately want, but don't know how to achieve. Enter the Holy Spirit--that still small voice who loves to lead a troubled soul away from self-destruction and into peaceful valleys. Becoming a new creation takes time, patience, and an hefty amount of forgiveness. Thankfully these two are ready to fight all three rounds for the victory!

Note: Due to the nature of this story, there is a certain level of violent behavior within several scenes. Alcohol also flows freely, it would be more surprising if it didn't; remembering that "greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world".
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely my own. 4.5 stars

This debut novel was a bit out of my comfort zone. I would never imagine me reading a book about women competing in Mixed Martial Arts. A few things I was not fond of: the story is told in third person present which was awkward for me. Another was the descriptions of drinking, dancing and kissing were a little too graphic for me. But the author portrayed her characters realistically. They are flawed and growing in their Christian faith. The lady knows her stuff about MMA fights and I could picture the bouts like a movie in my head.

My favorite character was Uncle Roman. He is forever loving and accepting of his niece Adri. He dispenses wisdom but does not push. “Reconciliation with God can lead to reconciliation with people, too. God does not want you to love Him and just forget about your neighbor.”

After a slow start, I wanted to continue to read to see what would happen when Adri went back to fighting and where her relationship with Max would end up.
* I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and Open Book BPH. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*3 stars and a solid faith thread.



BackCover Blurb:
She's always had that fire in her. She just needs to find it again.

Strong-willed Adri Rivera nearly achieved her goal of being a professional mixed martial artist, but then she fell in love with a man who knocked all the fight out of her. When their abusive, tumultuous relationship finally comes to a head, Adri flees with their young daughter to her small hometown in the mountains of Pennsylvania. There, she must face the people she left behind and put her broken life back together again.

A hardened Max Lyons can't believe Adri is back in town after abruptly cutting him and everyone else off years ago. Despite the distance that grew between them, he feels compelled to help her regain her independence and offers her a job at his gym. But regaining each other's trust is another matter, made even more complicated by the lingering spark between them. As Adri dares to pursue her dream again, she trains for a big tournament with Max's help, but they'll both have to confront their own doubts in order to rise victorious

Bethany House Publishing, November 2021
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