Monday, July 17, 2017

Random Review: Heels Over Head by Elyse Springer #Review #Giveaway

Author: Elyse Springer
Book: Heels Over Head
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Publication Date: May 29, 2017
Length: 366 pages

Reviewed by Erin


Jeremy Reeve is one of the best divers in the world, and he’s worked hard to get where he is. He intends to keep pushing himself with one very clear goal in mind: winning gold at the summer Olympics in two years. That medal might be the only way to earn his father’s respect as an athlete.

Brandon Evans is everything Jeremy isn’t: carefree, outgoing, and openly gay. With his bright-blue eyes and dramatic tattoos, he’s a temptation that Jeremy refuses to acknowledge. But Jeremy can’t ignore how talented Brandon is—or that Brandon has no interest in using his diving skills to compete.

They’re opposites who are forced to work together as teammates, but Jeremy’s fear of his own sexuality and Brandon’s disinterest in anything “not fun” may end their partnership before it begins. Until a single moment changes everything, and they help each other discover that “team” can also mean family and love.

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Slow burn romance? Check. Enemies to lovers? Double check. A story about Olympic divers? Yes please and thank you. If any or all of this ticks your boxes, then you'll be wanting and needing to check out Elyse Springer's fantastic Heels Over Head ASAP. Like, really, do it now. If you're like me and I'm sure millions of other people, every four years when the Summer Olympics roll around, the diving competitions keep me glued to my TV. The events are captivating, the skill is breathtaking, and thinking about the commitment and sacrifice it takes to compete at that level is mind boggling... and awe inspiring. I felt all of this reading Heels Over Head, the story of two very different men with very different approaches to the sport and to life. 

Jeremy Reeve has wanted to dive for as long as he can remember. He literally eats, sleeps, and breathes nothing but diving. If he's not in the pool honing his skills, he's in the gym working out. He watches every morsel of food he puts into his mouth. He's so focused on achieving his goal of getting an Olympic gold medal that nothing ... and no one...will keep him from getting what he's always wanted. He's got no time for fun, for friends, or for anything that is not a part of getting him to the Olympics. When newcomer Brandon Evans shows up at Jeremy's training pool, a huge, life-sized wrench gets thrown into Jeremy's carefully constructed plans. Brandon is everything Jeremy is not. He's friendly and outgoing, he's got a bubbly, sunny personality that draws everyone to him, and more than anything else, he's openly gay. These two are as opposite as can be and there is no love lost between them, though it's more Jeremy than Brandon. But these two clash like nothing else. 

The slow burn between Jeremy and Brandon from tentative friends to careful lovers was so achingly sweet. There are steps forward then back. There's awkwardness and then blunt, almost painful confrontations. There's vulnerability then walls steel strong to get through. Jeremy is so private, so self contained that's is almost painful to witness his softer side coming forward. You can feel his fear of opening up, exposing himself when he's trusted and relied on no one but himself for most of his life. And Brandon, for all his openness and carefree attitude is harboring his own pain and his own past. Seeing this two get to know one another and get closer was quite wonderful. This is a slow, SLOW, burn for sure, but the story never dragged, it never felt like things weren't moving forward. Elyse Springer does an excellent job in keeping the reader completely engaged. 

Besides the captivating plot, there are other things that I really liked about the book. I loved how it spanned over two years as Jeremy prepares for the Olympics. Nothing is rushed, and we get to fully experience the highs and lows, the anticipation of competitions, the anxiety before meets, injuries, etc. I'm also a huge fan of dual POV's so it was really great to be inside both Brandon's and Jeremy's heads seeing as how they're so different from one another. Their thoughts and feelings, their outlooks and approaches to life were fascinating in their differences. I loved Val. She was such a good friend to Jeremy and later on to Brandon. I would have really liked a more firm HEA rather than an HFN, though and after investing so much time and interest in hoping and wishing for Jeremy to achieve his dream of Olympic gold, it would have been SO satisfying to see if this happens. Other than that one little complaint, there's nothing else about the book I'd change. Great writing, captivating plot, likable and genuine characters, and a swoon-worthy romance made Heels Over Head a wonderful book and one I'd highly recommend.


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