A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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Here With You by Tori L. James: Book Review

 *Book received for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

A bachelorette party scavenger hunt. A meet-cute with flowers. A jumbo stuffed llama. A promise of a phone call and Nutella stuffed french toast. What could go wrong?

Everything, if you’re Emilie Hensley.

Pushing aside her hesitations so she can enjoy a weekend of fun with her best friends shouldn’t be too difficult. After all, stepping outside her comfort zone to prove to herself she can be spontaneous was her idea. When a simple bridal party scavenger hunt comes down to a tiebreaker challenge, Emilie is shoved into a scenario that will test her newfound boldness. As luck would have it, the challenge involves a complete, albeit handsome, stranger. If it ends in disaster, at least she doesn’t have to worry about seeing him again.

Rowan Evans just met the girl of his dreams.

Except, after having a panic attack, she disappeared without a word, leaving him to wonder if he was the only one who felt the connection. Luckily, prepping for the upcoming wedding at his family’s venue distracts him from thoughts of his dream girl. That is, until she walks in as the maid of honor.

Even if they have a second chance, will her anxiety get in the way of her happiness?

One thing’s for certain: Rowan is in it to win it. He just has to show Emilie that regardless of how she navigates life, he isn’t just here for her.

He’s here with her.

Here with You is a contemporary romance with an own voices rep with anxiety. Full of banter, sweet moments, and unforgettable friendships, this is sure to be a go-to comfort read. Readers of all spice levels will enjoy the swoon worthy romance that gives new relationship butterflies!

TORI L. JAMES IS a Caroline girl who loves Jesus, her family, coffee, flowers, donuts, and rom-coms. What started as a hobby and a love for reading books in adulthood became a Bookstagram account dedicated to honest reviews that highlight the great things that authors have written. After connecting with other amazing reviewers, readers, and authors, she learned the behind the scenes and craft works of writing and got the opportunity to give suggestions and encouragement to authors who eventually became friends. Their inspiration, along with that of her husband and therapist, helped her to embrace her love of storytelling and to use it as a platform for sharing her personal challenges. Although it's terrifying to her to put herself out there, she hopes that her books can resonate with someone and let them know they are seen and heard and stronger than they ever knew they could be. 

This book... oh my goodness! 

As someone with anxiety, sometimes reading a book with a character who deals with these issues can be tricky. On the one hand, I'm all for the mental health representation. On the other hand, reading on page panic attacks can be tough and there's always that fear that it won't be represented well. But let me just say... this story was like therapy in a book! Perhaps in part because of the on-page therapy sessions and recognition of some of the tools I've learned in therapy myself, sure... but also just in the way it comforted and made me felt understood. 

While there were on-page panic attacks, I felt they were handled well, and they did not bother me. (Admittedly, this could vary from day to day though, so it's certainly something to be aware of.) The author herself has dealt with anxiety issues, and as such did a great job of portraying it in Emilie's story. Of course, anxiety looks a little different on everyone, so this is just ONE look at this ONE character's experiences. I personally deal with general and social anxiety, panic disorder and agoraphobia (among other things), so while I saw a lot of myself in Emilie's character, there were also many differences too. Either way, those who have similar struggles will certainly appreciate the messages of this story... and those who do not might learn a little more about what it's like or how to support friends that do. 

But let's talk about the romance now, shall we? Oh my goodness, these two are just the sweetest together! I'm a sucker for a MMC who takes care of her... and Rowan does that so very well. He really was just the best... and certainly the best for her! Their chemistry was fantastic, and I couldn't get enough of them! And that epilogue!? The perfect ending for their story! 

Here With You is a closed-door romance with great chemistry but nothing beyond kisses and no language. 


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