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Monday, August 24, 2015

Acts of Creation by Elisabeth Staab (Review)

Title: Acts of Creation
Series: Evergreen Grove #2
Author: Elisabeth Staab
Released: August 18, 2015
Format: Ebook received for review
Pages: 300 pages per Goodreads

He’s living a lie.

Dante Ramos: Champion. Ladies’ man. Party animal. Women want him, and men either want to be him or put his lights out for sleeping with their girlfriends. It’s all an act. Inside, he’s so full of self-loathing he’s on a fast-track to self-destruction.

She’s living in the shadows.

Meeting Michelle at a support group for assault survivors shows Dante a new world of possibilities. Finally, someone in his life might understand him, and she creates in him a fierce need to protect. Trouble is, Dante lives his life in the spotlight, and the only thing Michelle wants is a place to hide.

Acts of Creation was a beautiful and awesome book that created big dreamy sighs in this reader.  Elisabeth Staab definitely delivers the story of the athlete and the artist to perfection. I know I said I wanted to move to Evergreen Grove before in Cassie and Jake's story, but let me cement my answer now by saying I'm already packing my bags!



I love that this book wasn't just fluff.  Staab deals with some very real issues of rape and abuse, and not just with females.  I think she did this so elegantly and beautifully, I couldn't have been any happier while reading about Dante and Michelle falling in love.  The athlete and the artist, an unlikely couple if ever there were one, and I don't think I could ever picture them with anyone else.  True soulmates.  They overcome hurdles - both of them, and they come out stronger in the end.  Do I dare say that I like them even more than Cassie and Jake??

Michelle is withdrawn.  After being raped, she's moved from her hometown and started college. Hello Evergreen Grove!  Things look as if she is taking back her life, but her baggy clothes and skittish behavior suggest otherwise.  I bleed for this girl, because it's like her douchebag ex came along into her life and forever changed the course of who she could become.  And she knows this.  But Michelle is not the sum of her experiences, and her metamorphisis in this book is nothing short of amazing.  You see her start as shy and meek and turn into the beautiful creature she is meant to be.

If he weren't, like, six feet tall, I swear I'd want to pick him up and carry him home.  He's like a trapped wolf who needs love and care, but thinks he needs to look strong so the pack won't reject him. 

The guy who helps her do that is Dante. Sigh, this man.  This beautiful, determined, broken man.  He's proof positive that women aren't the only ones who have to deal with sexual violence.  Dante feels like his whole life is a lie, and that he is dead inside.  Michelle comes along and breathes new life.  As it turns out, she isn't the only one who grows by leaps and bounds. His heart of gold and caring nature cement him as a book-boyfriend to love.

I can't say enough about these two.  They start as strangers, move to friends, they gingerly test the waters, and they fall in love.  And you get to see every step.  The author does such a great job feeling these two out, that when the book was over I wanted to cheer for them. Dante and Michelle were so terrific from page to page, that I don't think AJ could even steal their thunder.  If you want a contemporary romance that mixes a boxer, a college student, and a welcoming small town, you must read Acts of Creation.  But start with At The Stars.  They could both be read standalone, but At The Stars really sets up Acts of Creation, and gives us perfect introductions to Dante and Michelle.  Go on now, do it.
Elisabeth Staab loves passionate stories and happy endings. Her books have been called “emotionally delicious,” “action-packed,” and “gloriously snarky.” When not writing romance, she enjoys date night with her husband, reading Harry Potter with her kids, and marathoning her favorite books or TV series.


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