Heels Over Head was such a good surprise! I have this thing for sports stories in general, but I’m definitely a sucker for sporty romances. On top of that, I’ve never read anything about divers so basically this book plucked all the right heartstrings. Even though I had no proof the story was good, I had to request it anyway.
Then, as my review date grew closer, I started to second guess myself. I’m really not an impulse requester. I went down that road long ago and it didn’t work out well for me. Now I only request the authors I know I’ll like, or I stick to favorite publishers. Whenever I do impulsively request I always second guess myself, and if I’m being honest, I frequently find I was right to doubt when I end up not liking the book.
Guess what?! I loved Heels Over Head! As I try to pull my thoughts together, wanting to give you guys a coherent review, I’m arguing about whether or not this one should be 4 stars or 5 stars. I truly can’t decide. Right now I’m sticking with 4, but I reserve the right to up it to 5 in a month or so (if I’m still this enamored). It’s the very best feeling when you anticipate you won’t like a book, only to be surprised when you love it!
Right off the bat I should admit I have zero critiques. None. There were things I thought I’d struggle with, which I’ll get to later, but in the end I loved everything about the story. The only reason I’m rating it 4 stars, for now, is because I need to see how long this one stays with me. I’m a little nervous my adoration is going to fade with time, in which case my 4 stars is suitable.
Am I rambling? I feel like I’m rambling.
-Reel it back in, Birdie-
Anyway, the book… Heels Over Head is definitely a story with a high level of angst. (See, here’s the first issue I thought I’d have.) I hate angst in books. Usually it’s unnecessary and it drives me insane when the two characters could have just talked to each other. In Heels Over Head it worked because the reasons they weren’t talking seemed both logical and understandable. Both Jeremy and Brandon had so much baggage, and it hindered their ability to be open with people, particularly Jeremy. Which brings me to another thing I think helped with the angst: Brandon never ever tried to rush Jeremy into something he wasn’t ready for. That’s a big one guys. Coming out, or any form of opening up and being vulnerable, should always be on our own terms. So, when a love interest shows patience and compassion I gobble it up. Brandon was so wonderful. Jeremy was a very lucky man.
And Jeremy… I was sure I was going to hate him. He was such an asshole in the beginning. (Second issue I thought I’d have.) I was ready to rip him apart in my review, and instead his character arc was so beautiful. This book takes place over two years. There’s a lot of time jumps, and I thought choosing to write it this way was brilliant. Over the course of the two years we got to watch Jeremy open up, see things differently, and become the best version of himself. I’m going to get cheesy here, but it was like watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly, emotionally.
I also enjoyed Val, Jeremy’s best friend. It was a particularly nice change of pace when there wasn’t anything between Jeremy and Val other than years of friendship. I also loved how she very nearly accepted Brandon from the beginning. I liked that even though she was Jeremy’s best friend, she allowed herself to become close with Brandon too and it was a separate friendship, one that wasn’t about their connection to Jeremy. For me, it helped Heels Over Head stand out from the crowd.
Whew… I actually feel out of breath…
Anyway, Head Over Heels was incredibly romantic, with solid strong characters that are well rounded and fleshed out. I was so sad when it ended, especially because I needed just one more scene to get everything I’d hoped for, yet I also loved how it ended leaving us to imagine all the goodness still in store for this beautiful couple.
To summarize: Amazing story, brilliant characters. I was a fan.
Thank you to Riptide Publishing for providing a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.