Just Look Up
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Just Look Up

Tyndale House / 2017 / Paperback

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Product Description

Lane Kelley is an interior designer working for J B Sweet & Associates in Chicago. Now in her seventh year, she highly focused on her goals and hopes to land a promotion as a Creative Design Director at her firm. Ryan Brooks grew up with an abusive alcoholic father and a mother who abandoned him. The Kelley family took him into their home when he was a teenager. He is now putting everything he has into developing twelve vacation cottages in hopes that it will encourage more tourists into the struggling town of Harbor Point, Michigan. Lane’s world turns upside down when her brother is in a motorcycle accident and ends up in a coma. Now she must decide what is important in her life. 

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 384
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 1496421485
ISBN-13: 9781496421487

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Publisher's Description

After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home—a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work—something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along—if only she’d just look up.

Editorial Reviews

Walsh (Paper Hearts) competently addresses issues of self-worth, shame, and redemption in this sweet, well-paced story. She lapses into preachiness at times, particularly when lamenting the ubiquity of mobile electronics, but likable characters and the strong message of discovering what truly matters carry the story to a satisfying conclusion.
This novel features a deeply emotional journey, packaged in a sweet romance with a gentle faith thread that adds an organic richness to the story and its characters.

Lane is an easy character with whom to identify: a smart, “I-glued-my-brokenness-back-together-myself, thankyouverymuch” workaholic whose strength finds too much of its foothold in the rightly earned bitterness of having been bullied as an overweight child and teen. Ryan is the guy who could have been broken by his abusive childhood, but he wasn’t. Instead, he found help, self-worth and direction among some of the very people who contributed to Lane’s feelings of being on the outside of her family, looking in. Their romantic pairing is a perfect blend of patience, discovery and sweet acceptance that goes the extra mile.

Highly recommended for fans of clean contemporary romance, late coming-of-age stories, family drama and inspirational fiction, Just Look Up is definitely one for the keeper shelf!
Growing up with the nickname “Pudge,” Lane Kelley always felt out of place in the resort town of Harbor Pointe. Now a beautiful, slim, and brilliantly successful interior designer at a prestigious design firm in Chicago—and on the brink of an important promotion—she receives word that her brother, Nate, has been in a serious accident and is in a coma.

Returning to the family who betrayed her brings back old memories, and she can’t wait to return to the city. But when Ryan Brooks re-enters her life, she realizes that not all the memories were unpleasant.

Walsh captures the essence of Lane’s angst with the perfect blend of mystery, humor, and delightful word pictures. In this beautiful story of disillusionment turned to healing, Walsh brings about a true transformation of restored friendships and love. Highly recommended.

Product Reviews

4.8 Stars Out Of 5
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4.1 out Of 5
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  1. Katrina
    Western Ky
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Just Look Up
    August 16, 2017
    Katrina
    Western Ky
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    What a wonderful story about a family crisis, forgiveness, second chances and love. This story introduces us to Lane Kelley. She moved to Chicago shortly after suffering a heartbreak. She has not forgiven nor forgot the hurt, instead she has focused on her career. At present she is working for a prestigious designing firm, JB Sweet & Associates, in Chicago and in the middle of a presentation that could secure her a promotion to the new creative director position which she had worked so hard to achieve. The phone call from her mother had the potential to change her entire world with the news that her brother had been in a motorcycle accident and she needed to come home. Harbor Pointe was the last place she wanted to go because that meant facing the past and the very people who had hurt her so deeply.

    Ryan Brooks came to Harbor Pointe after his last tour of duty. I have to tell you that I fell for him immediately. This character grabbed my heart immediately. He had a rough life growing up, but always tried to be the best person he could. His best friend Nate and his family had been his saving grace. "Brooks" along with investors bought Cedar Groves, which are run down vacation cottages. He plans to renovate them and and has been trying to get them ready for his deadline which is the tourist season. Brooks' injuries have the potential to put him behind schedule, but he's determined not to let it.

    This is a sweet story that weaved it's way into my heart and soul. There were moments it brought a smile to my face, but it also tugged on my heart strings. I loved the characters. Lane showed her strength of character in so many ways. This story has elements of a family crisis, second chances, forgiveness, inspiration, and love. This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone.

    I received this book from the publisher via the author. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
  2. BookLover
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Definitely one for the keeper shelf!
    August 10, 2017
    BookLover
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    As this is my first book by Courtney Walsh, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew it was contemporary romance, but would I like her style? Would it be a new take, or "the same old thing"? I'd heard so many excellent things and one of my friends very highly recommended it, so I decided to give it a go. And I'm so glad that I did! I immediately found myself drawn into this story, pulled into these characters' lives and wishing I could take a trip to Harbor Pointe, MI. I have definitely found another favorite author, whose books will be finding a home on my keeper shelves.

    The story line itself, intrigued me. A character that hides behind her phone, keeping it as a shield between herself and the world. It is so fitting for the time, where electronic devices are everywhere and so many seem so attached to them. I was curious to see how Ms. Walsh would tackle this subject and I have to say that I think she did an excellent job! I felt as though every time someone admonished Lane Kelley to "look up," they were also speaking to me, challenging me to pay attention to the world around me. I loved that! I found this story to be a journey, both for the characters and myself. The further I read, the more I found myself pausing to really see the people around me, wondering what I'd been missing. I also loved how Ms. Walsh took care to describe the world around Lane, placing emphasis on the things she was missing by always running, going full speed ahead.

    I have to confess, when I first met Lane Kelley, she didn't impress me. She seemed selfish and stubborn, unwilling to bend. But, as I got to know her and saw beyond the cool facade she showed everyone, I found someone I would love to have as a friend. She's spent most of her life feeling as though she doesn't belong, doesn't measure up. My heart broke for her, for the lies she's believed, for how hard she's worked to attain something that was always right in front of her. I loved watching the transformation her character goes through, learning to love and allow herself to be loved in return.

    What do I say about Ryan Brooks? So many things . . . . first, he is SO swoony! Not only is he nice to look at, but he's got a great sense of humor, doesn't always take life too seriously, knows how to have fun, focuses on the important things in life, and is willing to drop everything for a friend in need. Oh, and he has a chivalrous streak a mile wide, which just adds to the swoony-ness. I loved getting to know him and seeing his heart for Lane, despite her standoffish behavior and sometimes cranky attitude. And their romance was so sweet! There were definitely several *sigh* worthy moments, a couple where I just wanted to "Gibbs slap" them, and the great "just have to smile" ending.

    Overall, I would highly recommend reading this book, whether romance is your genre of choice, or not. I loved being challenged by the message with this story and would happily give it more than 5 stars, were that an option.

    *My thanks to the publisher for my advanced copy of this book! I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
  3. Just Commonly
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Don't miss this one!
    August 2, 2017
    Just Commonly
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    "Maybe what she's looking for is right in front of her - if only she'd just look up.." (back cover)

    If you've never read any of Courtney Walsh's books, you're missing out on some great stories with soul and messages that hits home. Her latest, Just Look Up presents to readers a message of simply looking up from what you're so focused on, and see the beauty and life around you. It's perfect for today's tendencies to fixate on our phones and tablets, or even careers and little details and miss the big picture that's always around us. Life is on the move, you don't want to miss what matters. Plus, the romance is quite lovely for all us romantics out there.

    "Just think about it. But remember the greatest benefit of the whole project is the countless hours you'd get to spend with me.." (163)

    Cocky, confident and knows exactly what he wants, Ryan Brooks is one worthy hero in my book. I really had fun getting to know him and the fun banters between Lane and him.

    "He smiled, then leaned down and kissed her . . . she got lost in it . . . she loved kissing him. Why hadn't she realized it sooner.." (310)

    Talk about swoon worthy kissable kisses! Now I took out a lot of the good parts since I don't want to ruin your initial experience with it, but the romance is smokingly sweet, hot AND what readers will appreciate, clean.

    ". . . yes, she was always amazing . . . she just didn't know it for herself.." (260)

    The characters were fun to get to know, along with their back stories. Development for our main characters truly allowed readers to get to know them, and be able to immerse in their emotions. The supporting characters all gave a great performance. You'll like the ones to like and dislike the ones that are meant to be disliked. From Lane's hurt to her tendency to push herself gave us a character that we can relate on many fronts. Sometimes it's just about not knowing who we really are or what we really want. I love how the author gave us someone that is just as flawed as we are, and be able to learn from. Not necessarily as a mirror but understanding how insecurities can hinder and anger disengage.

    ". . . you've got something really great - you just don't realize it. . . I don't want you to throw away everything good with the bad.." (268)

    There are so many themes and messages in Just Look Up, by the end of the book, my copy was filled with little page flags, marking all the lovely quotes you see here and more. (If I'd share more, I might have infringe on some copyright issues??)

    ". . . nobody gives you a guarantee that it's going to be easy. Giving up would be easy. Leaving would be easy. Sticking it out - that's a lot harder.." (302)

    "You never know what you're missing when you're focused on that phone all day.." (87)

    Even with the different messages, Just Look Up runs like a well oiled machine, giving us readers a wonderful story of heart. If you had to choose one thing to take away from Courtney Walsh's Just Look Up, it's to 'just look up' and enjoy what's around. Maybe it's time for us to do just that.

    Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

    Please note, all quotes are taken from ARC (essentially an uncorrected proof). Please do not share quote or if do, please make note that it is taken from an ARC.
  4. Karen R
    WA
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A heartfelt contemporary romance with a lot of depth!
    July 31, 2017
    Karen R
    WA
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    A driven career woman gets an urgent call to come home when her closest brother is in a terrible accident. This is a satisfying read that touches on difficult subjects like alcoholism, betrayal, dealing with bitterness and childhood traumas.

    The characters were well developed, each with their own set of struggles rooted deeply in their childhoods. I found a lot to relate to in Lane as she finds herself back in her hometown, fighting off her insecurities and coming face to face with people who wounded her; finding the need to continue to prove herself "worthy" by striving so hard in her work. "She had no idea she was loved just the way she was." Her family didn't seem to help much, guilting her and criticizing. No wonder she left! I fell a little in love with Ryan, how he continually extends kindness and friendship to Lane, seeing the best in her, though she doesn't easily reciprocate. He was a positive to her negative. Truly a fixer-upper kind of guy just like his work projects. "He loved finding beauty in what others discarded...a metaphor for his own life." A good example of forgiving just as Christ forgives us.

    Recommend to readers who enjoy Christian contemporary romances with realistic issues. 4.5 stars

    (An ebook was provided by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.)
  5. joyful334209
    FL
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    to be with JESUS just look up/down/all around
    July 27, 2017
    joyful334209
    FL
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    This review was written for Just Look Up - eBook.
    Just look up is full of abundant life. It is a story of redemption, forgiveness, trust, healing of pasts and facing trials and tribulations. Lane ran away from her past by running away years ago who has to now come back to town and face her past and let GOD heal her. She once loved and was close to Brooks who had a past of his own 0 who needed his own healing 0 he also needed GOD to move in his life. Do they let GOD move in the lives? What happens with the two of them? Are they able to forgive? I have received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher and NetGalley; all of the opinions expressed in this review are all of my very own.
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