Read Close to You by Kara Isaac Online


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 notA 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?...

Title : Close to You
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781501117329
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 373 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Close to You Reviews

  • Rebekah Rodda
    2019-03-30 10:34

    An utter delight to read. Witty, romantic and heart-felt. I even laughed out loud reading it, which is unusual for me. I loved the costumes, the Lord of the Rings references the characters and the repartee. Just fun to read as well as moving. The faith-mentions are well-woven in and gentle. I'm glad I read this.

  • Staci
    2019-03-26 14:16

    This debut was super cute! Among the humor were two hurt souls finding love even though they were definitely not looking for it. And the a sweet, sweet ending.The author writes with a great deal of humor and I found myself laughing out loud several times. For readers that are familiar with or fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, you will enjoy this novel even more than I could with having zero knowledge of the novels/movies. Likely, this would have been a five star read if I would have gotten all the references. But please don't let zero knowledge of Lord of the Rings/Hobbit scare you away. The novel is fantastic even if you know nothing about the Tolkien novels.I look forward to reading other works by this author. I recommend this debut to fans of My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade.

  • Chantel
    2019-04-16 14:12

    After reading this book I just want to stare off dreamily and remember all of the awesomely great parts of this story!"Close To You" was a delightfully fun rom-com adventure. I loved every minute of it! Kara Isaac writing is quick, hilarious and heartfelt. I love how this story was centered on "Lord Of The Rings"! Whether your a fan of the books or movies or a don't really know much about them( ahem! Like me). The excitement that the characters had on the 'Lord Of The Rings Tour" tour was just down right contagious. It was entertaining seeing crazy situations Allie and her eclectic tour group would get into. Plus the fact that it's in beautiful new Zealand doesn't hurt either! Kara's beautifully descriptive writing about all the sites just makes you want to pack your bags and go on a tour yourself! I loved the opposites-attract-chemistry between Allie and Jackson! I was a fan of them going in because I read " Can't Help Falling first ( another awesome book btw) but it was entertaining see how they first met. I found myself giggling with all the back and forth banter Jackson. But honey-child... this story also had the drama and emotional feels as well! Let just say I couldn't enough of this book!! 5 stars!!

  • Rachel McMillan
    2019-04-18 10:40

    I am going to review this one closer to its pub date! But what a refreshing, sparkly voice, unique setting and relevant subject. I loved that it taps into the world's obsession with Tolkien and I loved that it featured a strong-willed, intelligent grad student as its lead. Hilariously winsome.

  • Shantelle
    2019-04-07 12:20

    3.5 starsClose to You by Kara Isaac wasn't exactly what I expected. (I was thinking it was YA, when it is, in fact, about two adults.) But I still enjoyed! It was fun, quirky, and filled with details about J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle-Earth. Also included, were faith matters and some deep struggles.A novel about a used-to-be Tolkien fan who's now a guide in a Tolkien tour, with a client who doesn't know the least bit about this author and his famous fantasy books, is a novel that cries out for me to open it! Allison Shire and Jackson Gregory don't have much in common, unless you count their betrayed hearts and shattered futures. When they are thrown together in a Tolkien-esque part of New Zealand for a few weeks, things are about to get exciting ... and complicated.It was an interesting and fun journey. From the first page, you're pulled into this contemporary, yet intriguing, setting. And there's plenty of action and humorous moments.I did have a couple complaints. One, I would liked to have seen Allie's faith grow more. Two, there were a couple incidents that bordered on inappropriate. Nothing obscene, but I just felt some characters weren't exactly living out their Christian walk with all purity.But, overall, it was quite real. There was character growth. Things developed slowly. Even the romance, (though when you count the actual days they were together was rather fast,) felt like it took time to happen. There was no immediate kissing and declarations of love. The characters held themselves back from certain actions - knowing deep down the time wasn't right. I really appreciated that. Past immorality was confronted. Wrong choices weren't excused. So even though some of the themes felt a little edgy compared to what I usually read, everything was dealt with. Right choices were made. Characters decided to wait on God. There was a lovely bit of faith that echoed through Close to You.One of my favorite aspects of Close to You was the Tolkien theme. Hobbits, elves, dwarves, and orcs! I learned new tidbits about J.R.R. Tolkien and The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books/movies. And even The Silmarillion! It was all so fun and delightful and interesting. I felt like watching all the movies over while reading this book! And though old books intimidate me, I think I must give at least The Hobbit a try. So that was really cool. Great job, Kara Isaac!Now I'm so excited about picking up a copy of Can't Help Falling! I'm ready for a Chronicles of Narnia-esque contemporary novel from Kara Isaac! *grins*

  • Kathy * Bookworm Nation
    2019-03-28 15:31

    4.5This was an unexpected surprise! Allie lives in New Zealand where she is a Tolkien tour guide. She takes enthusiastic Tolkien fans on tours of where The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were filmed. Being a fan of the movies and books I was looking forward to this fun and unique setting. If a tour like this is real, it is definitely one I'd want to go on.Allie has loved everything Tolkien since she was a young girl. When her life come crumbling down around her, she signs on as a Tolkien tour guide to hide out until she can get her life back together. After two long years, things still aren't moving along as quickly as she'd like. Then her new tour group arrives and with it one Jackson Gregory. Sparks fly from the beginning with these two! Neither probably makes the best first impression, but they have to put up with each other for the next three weeks. Neither expected for their feelings of animosity to quickly grow into something else entirely. I really liked Allie, she's smart and her obsession with Tolkien was endearing. Jackson knows nothing about Tolkien or his books. He only agreed to this trip to try and win his wealthy uncle over as an investor and to try and fix the financial mess his life is in. He takes some time to get the chip off his shoulder, but then he just becomes a real guy who is surprisingly really nice underneath all his arrogance. I loved the scenes with these two. They have great chemistry and some of those embarrassing moments they share had me laughing out loud. I liked that this wasn't just a fluff read (not that there is anything wrong with those kind of books, I quite enjoy them), but both Allie and Jackson have a lot of personal things going on in their lives that really affect how they treat each other. I liked that they both grow as individuals throughout the story and how they help each other heal without even realizing it. Overall, I thought it was a really fun escape. Ms. Isaac paints a picture of New Zealand that made me want to hop on the next plane and visit the beautiful country and of course go on a Tolkien tour. I thought it was well written and other than it being a tad long, I thought it was paced well. Kept me engaged and wanting to see how things would end up. Definitely worth reading. Can't wait to read more from Ms. Isaac, I love finding new authors!!ContentRomance: Clean (wouldn't have minded a few more stolen kisses!)Language: NoneViolence: None-very mildReligious: Mild, not preachyOther: Don't have to be a Tolkien guru to enjoy! Although, I will admit after reading this it did make me want to watch the movies again. hahaSource: Review copy

  • Amanda Geaney (Christian Shelf-Esteem)
    2019-03-22 10:26

    Someone needs to turn this book into a movie! Close to You was the funniest and sweetest little romance story I've read. The Tolkien geekery was totally fantastic and Kara has left me with a strong desire to visit Middle-earth (New Zealand).

  • Madison
    2019-03-25 13:37

    This is a standout contemporary novel, hilarious, touching and enjoyable right to the very last page. Allison Shire is working for a Lord of the Rings tour company. She is perhaps the most over-qualified tour guide ever, but this is where she must stay until the courts can annul her marriage to a charmer who was only after her money and citizenship and just happened to already be married. Jackson Gregory went from entrepreneur and businessman success story to disaster when his girlfriend stole his company's secrets and gave them to his top competitor. Now he has been dragged to the bottom of the world on a trip that sounds like a combination of everything he finds ridiculous. But he must impress his uncle with his Tolkien knowledge (which is actually less than nonexistent) and good character if he wants his uncle to invest in his latest scheme and hopefully save his family's farm and pay back what he owes to disappointed investors. Both Allie and Jackson have been severely burnt by love and life, but they can't deny the feelings that spring up on their trip through the great New Zealand scenery (although those feelings are mainly frustration and irritation). It just might take a miracle for these two to survive the trip with their hearts intact.Close To You flips from charmingly amusing to downright hilarious. Everything that could possibly go wrong does, from falling into mud pits or getting lost in the rugged New Zealand wilderness. The interactions between Allie and Jackson are magic. From the you're-driving-me-crazy moments, to the ones where something lingers under the surface, I loved every minute of it. It's been a while since I've read a contemporary that is so well paced. It felt long. And not in a this is boring, hurry up way, but in that it felt like the relationships developed naturally. Nothing is rushed, the characters are able to express a whole range of feelings, and the time it takes for Allie and Jackson to move from deep dislike to something more (with maybe a few twists in the middle) felt realistic and worthy. Both are determined to stay away from relationships. I love how their feelings sneak up on them. I also loved how this never happened in a way that was all 'I've given up on love but two seconds later I'm totally head over heels'. They both fight the slowly growing attraction each step of the way and there are plenty of arguments, sweet moments, hilarious stunts and pure frustration. Despite Jackson's initial arrogance I couldn't help feeling a little bit sorry for him. He is clearly out of his depth. And Allie makes a great heroine, smart and brave but very weary after everything life has handed to her. While I've seen the movies, I'm not a die-hard Tolkien fan. I had to look up a few references while reading, but both main characters are well and truly sick of all things Hobbit most of the time, so everything is approached with a blend of respect and humour, as well as a whole lot of disbelief, cynicism and eye-rolling. Perfect and very amusing.The writing style is flowery, with plenty of metaphors, but it works it this rolling tale of love, literature and adventure. Aside from all The Lord of the Ring references there are many other cultural references to books, movies and TV shows.Faith doesn't play much of a role in this book until later in the last half. Allie is a Christian, but feels distant from God due to her bad choices. Jackson's family are Christians and he was raised as a Christian but he hasn't had much time for God in between his business deals and past relationships. God is only mentioned in passing a few times in the first half of the book, but this increases towards the end of the book, where the characters find themselves turning back to God, choosing to follow his direction and ultimately trusting in his love and plans. It's a great balance, never preachy or overdone but nor is it lacking in any way for a light, Christian feel.The end is absolutely perfect - a wonderful moment (and all the moments leading up to it). The characters worked so hard to get to this place and they totally deserved every minute of it. I loved how it was paced, how it wasn't easy or assumed or cliche or anything but brilliant.I love that this is set in New Zealand. I love the abundance of pop culture and literature references. I love everything about all the Lord of the Rings aspects, from the fan devotion, movies, books, locations, quotes, characters and storylines, but especially that the book is not afraid to make fun and tease, never taking itself very seriously while still remaining respectful and authentic enough to please any fan.The humour is what makes it a five-star book for me. It's a book I will go back and pick up when I'm down and needing something fun, making it a perfect Christian contemporary. The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Find more reviews on my blog Madison's Library.

  • writer...
    2019-03-25 17:14

    Can.not.wait. has become Do.not.miss.5+*s and <3 s One of the most FuN Romantic Comedies I have read,Kara has a unique ability to capture time and place of her characters, yet keep them relating to readers across the globe. The feisty Allison Shire, English phD wielding Dr. turned Tolkien Tour Guide,has more life twists and turns than a road trip.Her nemesis? Dark and brooding, Jackson, deviously planning a financial coup of his Great Uncle Louis' wealth.All in the name of Tolkien fandom.{In name only - Not in reality}The things he'll do to get in Louis' good graces!All things that make for the most comedic interactions between Jackson and Allie...And sound counsel from Louis.*Laugh out loud funny, Kara's writing is creative, quirky, and humourous. Story setting is unique and inviting for travel loving readers.New Zealand is explored from North to South with gorgeous parks, sights, and coasts in between.Movie buffs will doubtless enjoy Kara's knowledgeable descriptions of Hobbit and Lord of the Rings tour activities. CLOSE TO YOU whets the appetite for NZ!*~ I've created a sampling of sights and highlights ~ HERE*Characters authentically drawn. Gritty life issues and choices, actions and reactions; I missed them when the final page was turned. Though I certainly was pleased they finally got life heading in the right direction, there were some fun adventures getting them to that point!*Highly recommended, I'm delighted Kara Isaac has debuted her gifted writing creativity for our reading pleasure and benefit. I look forward to her next release with equal anticipation.A new favourite on my shelves!Thanks, Kara! and Simon and Schuster / Howard Books for publishing this bright star.*Thanks for Celebrating CLOSE TO YOU with FHC today ~CONGRATULATIONS! Kara .Review original to Faith Hope & Cherrytea blog*Appreciation to Howard Books/Simon Schuster for providing the ecopy to read and review without cost or obligation. It has been my pleasure.

  • Angie H
    2019-04-01 17:15

    I knew I was going to love this book right from the start. This book had me literally laughing out loud. I loved the banter back and forth between Allison and Jackson, not to mention the shenanigans they got themselves into. This book was about two very broken people who picked up the pieces and grew both personally and spiritually along the way. I absolutely adored this book, and I am not even a Lord of the Rings fan, and can't wait to read another book by this author.

  • Grace Mullins
    2019-03-25 13:19

    4.5 rating. If you know my taste is fiction, I don't very often venture into the contemporary set books. But this one just looked so interesting. I mean, guys, it's a romance that twists in elements of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Who knew such a thing would ever exist? Well, I'm here to say that yes, it does, and yes, I found it pretty awesome. It's like a Hallmark film meets Tolkien, giving you part romantic comedy with flutter feelings, and part Middle Earth geek feelings that warm the heart with fan-love. Add in that it has points of Christian faith, giving it depth, and it's just one of the most lovely little reads I've experienced this year. The author's voice, shown majorly through her main characters, is also very entertaining. The book, while serious in some aspects, abounds with humor that is sure to warm hearts as it did mine. And to top it all off, the book had such a different setting from most Christian fiction. I don't think I've ever read another book that takes place in New Zealand, with a heroine from there, and that just made the story all the more wonderfully unique. So yes, I overall enjoyed this book. The only thing I did not fully care for is that there was one scene where I felt the romance had a bit too much touch-feely. But other than that, nothing else begs to be complained about. In conclusion, I think "Close to You" by Kara Issac is a winner, and one to add to your TBR if you like contemporary romance and Middle Earth. I give it a rating of four and half, and recommend to mature teens and adults. But, please note, this book does not release until April 2016.*Thanks to the publisher through Netgalley for a free electronic advanced uncorrected proof copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

  • Melanie
    2019-04-01 11:23

    Let me start off by saying that I am not a Tolkien fan...just never got into those books or movies, but you don't have to be one in order to enjoy Close to You. The characters are endearing and the hero doesn't know much of anything about Tolkien (although he's trying to pretend that he's a true fan to his great-uncle throughout the story); so if, like me, you're not a die-hard Tolkien fan, you'll be able to relate to him. :)I liked the setting and the whole aspect of the tour. I can see how it would be really fun to do something like that. The writing was very good and the ending was satisfying. All in all, Close to You was a great read. I really enjoyed reading it and recommend it if you enjoy contemporary romance...and if you are a Tolkien fan, you'll probably love that aspect of the story.*I received a complimentary eBook copy of this book for my honest review. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*

  • Beth
    2019-03-27 18:19

    I'm so glad I finally took the time to read Kara Isaac's debut. I loved her two follow-ups, so I was eager to get to this one. Close to You is humorous, poignant, and a bit whimsical. I immediately warmed up to Allison, but Jackson was not so quick to get on my good side. I felt for Allison and the poor dynamics in her family and also related to Jackson's desire to make up for past failures. Yes, the romance is endearingly sweet, but their personal growth and development caught at my heart as well. The secondary characters are a flavorful bunch, and I especially liked Jackson's uncle. I also like how Isaac connects the story by characters - I recognized one from one of her other books, and I daresay, she deserves a story of her own one day.Kara Isaac has become one of my favorite contemporary authors, joining the ranks of writers like Melissa Tagg and Becky Wade. I eagerly await whatever story comes from her next.

  • Catherine
    2019-04-14 10:25

    A delightful romantic romp through the breathtaking backdrop of New Zealand, a dream come true for any LOTR fan! Bonus, this wonderful read is full to the brim with romance and humor and Tolkien. A handsome hero, a slightly off-kilter clumsy heroine (who is simply lovely) and a charming Santa Claus-type grandfatherly figure to push them together. I couldn't wait to get to the end and I was rather annoyed when my iPad ran out of charge 3 chapters from the finish!! And now I have savored the last word and with a satisfied smile, say Bravo, Ms. Isaac, on a cracking debut novel. Better than second breakfast. :)

  • Gretchen
    2019-03-21 12:27

    This was an amazing piece of art! I cannot believe this is Kara Isaac's first book. I can say that I will be reading all of her future books. The characters were really intricately written and they had so much character and I truly enjoyed getting to know them. I loved learning about New Zealand and the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Series(although I haven't read any of them). I loved how you never suspected was what coming next and it was impossible for me to tear myself away from this book.I would definitely recommend this book especially if you are a fan of J. R. R. Tolkien books.

  • Rebekah Brown
    2019-04-08 17:30

    I lost count of the number of times I laughed out loud while reading Close To You. I lost count of the number of times I found myself wishing I payed closer attention to The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy my husband made me watch with him. Kara's Issac's debut novel is witty, sweet, thought provoking, and downright interesting. More Kara Issac novels?...yes please!The amount of Tolkien references Issac provided was just enough to keep any Lord of the Rings fan happy, while not highly confusing non Tolkienist. Issac's two main characters Allie & Jackson have purposeful connections to both Fans of the Lord of the Rings (Allie) and Lord of the Ring novices (Jackson).Allie & Jackson's bantering back and forth made this novel a 5 star read for me. I also highly respected both character's restraint and maturity when it came to many aspects but especially their relationship. We live in a fallen world where most would say a married man or woman that is separated can date and do as they please. Even though Allie was hardly married at all, she made vows and felt conviction to not commit to anyone else before things were officially dissolved. Even when she realized she had fallen in love with Jackson, she showed restraint and checked her morals, and surprisingly not at the door. In contrast, instead of acting on his temporary feelings Jackson gave her space and the opportunity to work things out before perusing her. This ladies and gentlemen is classy behavior, and it's what we all should aim for!Can we talk about the ending?!? Well I guess we can't due to spoilers, but let's just say this is one ending that does not disappoint. Now I'll just sit here and wish for the sequel....

  • Jerry
    2019-03-23 13:28

    I enjoyed this one, especially the Tolkien references.

  • Fiction Aficionado
    2019-03-23 12:22

    Oh my goodness! I don’t know where to start. There were so many things to love about this novel. I feel like I’ve been through an emotional wringer, and yet I can’t remember laughing so much during a novel for a long time. This is a debut novel you don’t want to miss.Allison Shire and Jackson Gregory are strong characters who are just a little (or perhaps a lot) tangled up in the aftermath of some poor decisions they have made. For almost two years now, Allie has been waiting on the High Court decision that will determine whether her ‘marriage’ to her fortune-hunting bigamist husband is valid or not. In the meantime, she has a PhD in English Literature from Cambridge University that is gathering dust while she leads luxury ‘Tolkien’ tours around New Zealand. When it comes to getting her life back on track, she can’t help feeling that Frodo Baggins had it easy by comparison.Enter Jackson Gregory, a Tolkien illiterati who is about to spend three weeks pretending to be anything but as he accompanies his great-uncle on a luxury Tolkien tour. He desperately needs funding after his girlfriend left and wiped him (and his investors) out by handing his most fiercely guarded commercial secret to his biggest competitor. He hopes bonding with his exceedingly wealthy relative on this trip will gain his good will, not to mention a fat cheque. When the tour guide has him pegged as a fake before he even leaves the airport he is determined to get her on side, but somehow he always manages to rub her up the wrong way. And then he discovers just how much fun rubbing her up the wrong way can be...Boy is there some chemistry between these two – and the sparks aren’t always pretty fireworks! The tour is a delightful mixture of misadventure, mischief, and sparring, but with enough genuine moments to prevent the story becoming farcical. The story flowed very naturally and the characters’ observations and attitudes often had a dry humour to them, which always appeals to me. I also loved that I was so often surprised at the direction a scene or conversation took. There are some scenes in this book that will definitely stay with me for a while (the mud, the boat, the hike, and the pizza delivery all come to mind!)The spiritual content was relatively unobtrusive, and yet it is a driving factor in some difficult decisions for Allie and Jackson as the tour reaches its conclusion. The one point that gave me a little bit of unease, particularly as the story drew closer to the climax, was the issue of Allie’s marriage. I was pleased that Allie fought against acting on her attraction to Jackson while she awaited the Court’s final verdict on the validity of her marriage, but it did get me questioning where the validity of a marriage really stems from, Biblically speaking. Is it the approval of a civic authority or the speaking of the vows? Allie’s specific situation adds yet another dimension to the question and I think it would provide the basis for an interesting discussion. In any case, I was glad that Kara Isaac resisted making the resolution too quick or neat, because I think it really showed how Allie and Jackson had matured as a result of their difficulties.I could say so much more about this novel (like mentioning the great secondary characters, for instance) but the bottom line is this was a very satisfying read. It was fresh, sparkling, and yet surprisingly serious at times. Although there is obviously a physical attraction between Allie and Jackson I really felt as though it was their emotional connection that drove this novel (not to mention their emotional friction!) and they’re always the more satisfying romances for me. I strongly recommend you put this on your TBR list for 2016. In fact, I think I might just sneak it back into mine and pretend I haven’t read it yet!Thank you to Howard Books for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  • Kara
    2019-03-30 10:37

    This book, my dear readers, is one to have on your radar. I have two words for why: Because. Reasons. ;) No seriously though, it is completely adorable and fun and cute and any other adjective you can think of! It really is. I had been anticipating it for months prior to getting a copy and let me tell you how not-disappointed I was. I sighed, I laughed, I shook my head in exasperation, I loved every minute! And I think you will too.Firstly, the setting. Oh the setting! Are you a fan of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies? If so, there you go. Read no further in this review and just go order the book and devour it once it arrives. That's it. Trust me.Because it takes place in New Zealand and we get to travel with our fellow enthusiasts on a Tolkien tour. And let me just say that there are some real enthusiastic fans traveling along! (A little too obsessive perhaps? But then again, it is a tour created for just those sorts, isn't it?) I enjoyed getting pictures in my mind of each place and Ms. Isaac swept me into the majesticness and awe-inspiring views of the countryside. As someone who'll likely never visit such a place, I really enjoyed getting to experience it vicariously. All the literary Tolkien references made me grin, only I'm positive I missed half of them (having only read the books for the first time last year).But it's Jackson and Allie who grabbed my heartstrings and kept me turning pages. Their antagonistic attraction is simply too hilarious and adorable! I wanted so badly to bash their heads together in exasperation one minute, and then swooned over them the next. Simultaneously sweet and annoying, Jackson kind of had to grow on me, like he did for Allie. But she, on the other hand, I loved her immediately! And wished I could reach through the pages and made everything all better for her. Neither character is perfect, both have made poor choices in their pasts and now have the scars and consequences with which to live.That's where the meat of the story came in, the hard things they had to handle. They weren't quick and easy fixes. For all the cuteness between them, there's quite a bit of growing both need to do. Yet they challenge each other! Sometimes unknowingly and sometimes quite on purpose. Their individual trajectories were every bit as compelling as the romance developing. I got hooked into each of their plights and quickly turned the pages hoping good things were on the horizon. Of course, good things do come! But not without some heartbreak and difficult choices.Allie and Jackson felt real to me. Their doubts and fears were understandable and I could no more figure out what they should do than they could for themselves. On the other hand, there were definite moments where I clearly knew where I wanted them to go and when they refused, I had to sigh in frustration. Don't you love it when a story brings out your emotions? The feels arrived with pomp and circumstance and I happily relished every bit of it!This is, simply put, a wonderful adventure. And I look forward to reading more stories from this author in the future! If you're a fan of romcoms with adorable leads, this one is definitely to be added to your library. :)**I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

  • Megan Besing
    2019-03-20 16:13

    On a scale from Allison to Jackson of my knowledge on all things Tolkien, I’m far closer to Jackson. Translation: Tolkien + Megan = I know there was a ring and some big, hairy feet involved…However, my lack of familiarity never stopped my desire to read Kara Isaac’s debut. Close to You seemed to be something different, very intriguing, and the fact that the cover was eye catching helped some too. And since I’m still smiling over the growth of the characters, I think it’s safe to say: I REALLY LIKED THIS BOOK. If you ever need a Tolkien for dummies guidebook, just pick up this story. Never once did I feel lost in a Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings reference. Because one, Jackson had to learn right along with me, and two, because Ms. Isaac wrote in such a way for me to catch on and yet not overburden those who actually knew what an Uruk-hai was. But I must warn you. You may want to read in the safety of your home, unless of course you are prepared to laugh out loud in public. Seriously. Kara Isaac did romantic comedy correctly. You have been warned.Both of Allie and Jackson’s pasts were things that I haven’t seen a lot of, especially Allie’s situation. And it worked! The romance built well based on chemistry and a love/hate type relationship. They seemed to bring out the best in one another, making the pairing realistic, humorous, and cheer worthy. Supporting characters held engaging and distinctive characteristics that added depth to the couple’s storyline.The spiritual thread may have been lighter in the beginning, but grew to something solid and meaningful by the end, not just something thrown in randomly to be able to slap an inspirational label on the story.(book quote: “You can’t mess up God’s plan. He’s a whole lot bigger than that.”)Even though I didn’t totally understand the need for the time gap near the end. I mean, sure, I could wrap my head around it from the plot point of view, and it made for a more theatrical ending, but since that’s my only complaint…then there’s really nothing to complain about. Especially when the happily-ever-after has so (sooo!) many sigh worthy words in there that I wanted to quote for you pretty much the whole entire last chapter…and I’d imagine that would be frowned upon. So instead, I highly suggest you read Close to You for yourself, so we can discuss all the awesomeness after. :)Close to You + Readers = “My Precious”

  • Meagan
    2019-03-27 14:30

    There's a lot that I liked about Close to You. It's set in New Zealand, on a Lord of the Rings tour, which is the kind of quirky setting that you don't see every day. The heroine is an academic whose career is hampered by personal problems, and I liked seeing how this capable, bright woman dealt with everyone else regularly underestimating her. I liked the hero's great-uncle and all his machinations.What I was less excited about was how much the conflict of the love story relied on bad communication. Anyone who follows my reading knows that nothing drives me crazier than the Big Misunderstanding in a romance novel. If everything would turn out fine after one difficult conversation, that doesn't cut it for me. I need a real obstacle to overcome. And I need a hero who doesn't sulk every time one of those obstacles rears its head. A cute book, and not something I see every day especially in the Christian romance subgenre. Worth reading for fans of cute, quirky Christian romance, but not without its flaws.

  • Rose Dee
    2019-04-14 14:29

    Do you love romantic comedies? Then this is the book for you. It’s great fun. The characters are endearing, the drama perfectly timed, and the rocky road of romance, sweet. I also loved the setting. Word pictures of New Zealand made me want to visit. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings stories feature heavily in this book. I have not read the books or seen the movies – but you don’t need to in order to enjoy this book. My only criticism is that sometimes the story gets bogged down in telling. I would have liked to see some of the explanations set out in dialogue. At times I wanted to skip through it to the next character encounter. But this didn’t take away from the story too much. This is one I enjoyed immensely. Come on Kara – get that next story out. I want to visit the ‘land of the long white cloud’ again.

  • Jen
    2019-04-02 18:20

    Unique setting, engaging story, totally relateable characters, and a pair of Hobbit feet--yes, I said, Hobbit feet. You don't need to be a die-hard Tolkien fan to enjoy all of the references and cosplay Close To You offers, just a fan of faith, family, and second chances.

  • Connilyn Cossette
    2019-04-15 10:27

    I adored Close to You! Such a fun new voice in contemporary romance and a unique premise that kept me hooked, and laughing, from page one. I cannot wait to read Kara's next book!

  • Jessica Kate
    2019-04-11 14:27

    Loved it! Funny, sweet, and with a setting so unique I was intrigued from start to finish! Made me want to watch Lord of the Rings again, loved learning tidbits about the movies. :)

  • m a r y l i z
    2019-04-18 12:28 thoughts are pretty jumbled at the moment, but I think I liked it? Maybe I'll get to writing an actual review at some point, but for now, I'll just leave it at that. XD

  • Kristina
    2019-04-03 12:40

    I chose to read this having never heard of it or the author because it was nominated for a RITA Award by Romance Writers of America for Best First Book as well as Best Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements for 2017. Knowing that I was getting an opportunity to go to RWA this year (my first BIG book convention) I decided to read as many of the RITA Nominees as I could before I went. I was not disappointed by this title. First off, I'd recommend this book to any lovers over Christian or spiritual romances. The themes brought up were ones we all struggle with; "Am I good enough?" "Am I doing the right thing?" and simply the patience to be able to wait on God's timing and listening to that still small voice when He is speaking into your heart. Secondly, I would recommend this book to romance fans who aren't intimidated or annoyed with spiritual elements in a story. The romance here is funny, sweet, and a tricky. With complications like corporate espionage sized bad break ups and marriages that may or may not be legal, the complications for romance are there, but the sparks keep flying nonetheless. Lastly, I would recommend this book to Tolkien/Lord of the Rings fan who like a good romance because this story is infused with more Tolkien references than even I understood. Allison, a tour guide for an expensive tour of New Zealand covering many sights and experiences of the Lord of the Rings films, also hold a PhD with a strong emphasis on Tolkien's work. Jackson however is pretending to love the Lord of the Rings series to try to impress an distant uncle to invest in his next business idea. Shenanigans, rivalries, and sparks ensue. Considering that this is a first book from this author, I am seriously impressed. I enjoyed the book immensely and have already requested her next book (Can't Help Falling) from my local library. I'm watching you Kara Isaac...

  • Natalie Walters
    2019-04-15 15:22

    Oh, my, word. Love. Love. Love this story. As I write this review I have another tab opened up on my computer searching for the first flight I can find to New Zealand. Close to You is Ms. Isaac's debut novel and probably the first novel in its genre that I am head-over-heels in love with (And yes. It's perfectly acceptable to fall in love with books!).Ms. Isaac introduces us to an incredible cast of characters who literally charmed their way into my heart the minute I started reading their story. Allison Shire is a heroine I can truly admire. Her spit-fire personality drew me to her immediately. And Jackson Gregory, although infuriating at first, is the kind of hero I can believe in. Together, they and the unique secondary cast, weave a comedic story layered with romantic tension, frustration, and had me turning the pages like I would with a thriller.On top of a great cast, Ms. Isaac celebrates the beauty of her homeland, New Zealand, bringing me deep into the lush landscape created with vivid details that left me wanting more--and not only that she introduced me into the world of Hobbits, Orcs, and Wizards with a delicate balance of all things Tolkien.Truly, this is an outstanding novel with a unique voice that I could NOT get enough of. I did not want to turn the last page and yet I couldn't help it. In fact, my son tried to sneak a sip of my Starbucks Iced Green Tea just to grab my attention from the book. In his words, "It was the only way I could get you to stop reading."I cannot wait for more of Kara Isaac's books and I recommend this novel to anyone who can read and for those who cannot--find a friend who'll read it to you! You do not want to miss out on this hilarious, fun, quirky, romance. It'll leave you smiling ... and looking for a flight to New Zealand.

  • Kav
    2019-04-08 14:38

    Seriously, how can anyone resist a heroine with hobbit feet? I certainly can't! A delightful mix of comedy and drama in the exotic (to me) locale of New Zealand.I'm not a huge Tolkien fan -- don't speak Elvish and wouldn't know how to outsmart a troll under the direst of circumstances. I read The Hobbit in my teens but never could get into the Lord of the Rings and...gasp...I haven't seen the movies! BUT I still loved this book. I think the media has played a huge role in keeping Tolkien's imaginative realm in our minds and hearts all these years. So I was never floundering during this read. Even if I didn't get the reference, I understood it in context. All that to say no worries if your aren't familiar with Tolkien's works or the movies. You'll still love this story. Because of my lack of true Tolkien fervor I completely related to poor Jackson. His circumstances are already dire and then to be thrust into the midst of true Tolkien fan-atics...well, it's no wonder he's out of his element. Delightfully grumpy and disgruntled as a matter of fact. :-)And then there's Allison -- a wee bit jaded, running from her own unhappy problems while dealing with the eccentricities of an eclectic tour group. She might just be a tad short on patience and quick to judge when Jackson steps off the plane. Jackson and Allison settle into a "mutually disdainful relationship" that works well for them until some tour hijinks begin to change their point of view. Sparks vie with pure hard-headedness and culminate in an incredibly funny and poignant (and at times infuriating) rollercoaster of a read. This is one book that I would really love to see made into a movie!

  • Aimee (Getting Your Read On)
    2019-04-05 11:38

    3.5 starsSo, the summary above is very long and pretty much tells you the whole book! If you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit books and movies, you will probably really love this book because it has a lot of references and trivia. Almost every scene is set somewhere related to Lord of the Rings in New Zealand. I will admit to not being such a big fan and I still enjoyed this book. :) I'd sure love to go to New Zealand!Jackson is a bit of a jerk in the beginning. He is rude and not very nice at all. It's a good thing that first impressions can be changed! By the end of the book I liked him much better. The ending really sealed the deal for me. Ending = Jackson fan.Allison is a nice girl. A smart girl. And kind. All the best attributes to have. Just because she is all those things doesn't mean she lets Jackson walk all over her. Because he does kind of try to do that in the beginning but Allison hands it right back to him on a platter.This was a slow growing build kind of book. It took the whole book to get to a connection place for Jackson and Allison (yeah, I mean a kiss). Even then I had to wait longer. It was a titch frustrating but there were so many great scenes with chemistry and funny moments that I was appeased. This is a new author for me and I'm happy to add her to my author's to watch list! I'll be looking for her next book!Content: CleanI received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.