Review: “Breaking South” by Aly Stiles

Book Title: Breaking South

Author: Alyson Santos

Series: Turner Artist Rocker, Book 3

Rating: 5⭐

Release Date: September 23rd, 2020

Goodreads | (Available on KU)

Synopsis: Popstar Genevieve Fox is losing herself and while trying to find that part of her that she lost years ago, she meets professional hockey player Oliver Levesque. And his love for her and their love for each other might be the only thing that saves them both. But at what cost?

Review: I was introduced to Alyson Santos’ Turner Artist Rocker series totally by accident thanks to Instagram. And in Rising West, I met characters that I absolutely fell in love with. While I haven’t read Falling North yet, it’s on my TBR and I’m going to dive into that as soon as I possibly can. But what I really loved about Rising West and Breaking South was the music. As a musician herself, Alyson is able to take you through the world of professional music and show you how it’s done backstage, how recording is done and what the world of a musician or band is like. But also, the lyrics. Every chapter of Breaking South begins with lyrics and every set of lyrics is absolutely beautiful. I finished the book and then I went back and read all the lyrics and soaked them up. Did I find lyrics I wanted to tattoo on my skin? Most certainly.

Breaking South is an angsty, find yourself romance that features two absolutely incredible characters. The blurbs of these books give you the briefest of inklings of what is going to happen during the course of your reading, but nothing ever truly prepares you for what you’re in for when you are deep in the book. It’s a powerful book about letting go of the things that are holding you back and taking control of your life to find yourself. It’s about trusting in yourself and giving yourself a chance to love and be loved in return. It’s about being true to who you are and not letting anyone else bring you down. Like I said, it’s a powerful book and it’s a book you cannot miss.

Genevieve Fox is the world’s favourite pop star. She’s made a name for herself singing hit after hit and everywhere she goes, people flock to her. Genevieve is also gorgeous, with flaming red hair and a beautiful face. But the music she’s singing is not what she wants to be singing. Genevieve wants to write her own stuff and make music that speaks to her soul as opposed to what the label and the public wants. She’s trying to find the girl in the mirror. 

And that’s when she meets Oliver Levesque. Professional hockey player for the LA Trojans, Oliver is off the ice because of a knee injury. He’s struggling and doing his best to hold it together so he can get back on the ice and play again. Oliver has always had to stay strong, for himself, for his family, for his team – and all of that is wearing him out. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to stop working harder than necessary to be there for everyone.

“Because this woman doesn’t need to do anything to get a man’s attention. Walk in a room. Breathe the same air. Turn her head in my direction, and I was riveted.”

Oliver and Genevieve meet at a meet and greet with kids and right away, sparks fly. I loved Oliver, he was such an interesting character. You can tell that while he’s drawn to Genevieve and her beauty and all of that sex appeal, he sees beyond that to the girl that lurks beneath. But of course he’s got enough on his plate and he doesn’t have the patience or the strength to help Genevieve fix her life. Their relationship happens fast and while trying to find themselves and find each other, there are things in the world looking to destroy them too.

I got so lost in this story, in watching Genevieve and Oliver fall in love, that I forgot about the world around me for a few hours. Their love, their story is so relatable. It’s so beautiful. Genevieve’s lack of confidence shatters you and to watch this incredible woman doubt herself and her music is just heartbreaking. But then you have Oliver, who is there to pick her up and make sure that every step of the way, she’s able to find herself.

“You bring colors, Oliver. Did you know that? When I’m around you… I don’t know. Everything isn’t gray anymore. I feel like I can breathe.”

Oliver is such a beautiful character, you guys. Book boyfriend material and everything. He’s kind, he’s generous, he’s passionate, he’s hardworking and he’s so genuine. His feelings for Genevieve scare him, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to walk away. If anything, he’s more determined to help her and ensure that she finds her way. But Oliver’s got responsibilities, including getting his knee healed and back on the ice and everybody in Genevieve’s life uses that as a way to keep them apart.

You go into this book expecting a Hollywood-esque, sports romance, but it’s so much more than that. It’s such a deep book that deals with everything from self-doubt to self-confidence, and anxiety. It’s so heart wrenching and raw. Every emotion that Genevieve feels, you can feel it too. That’s just how intense this book is with the feels.

“Because the girl in the mirror is a diamond, Genevieve. She’s so full, she glows from the inside, bright enough that even the gray world around her can’t dim the fire. She may not recognize herself yet, but only because she’s never looked. Once she does, there will be no stopping her.”

Alyson Santos knocked this out of the park and I got so invested in the lives of these characters! Such beautiful writing, incredible storytelling and brilliant characters. Breaking South is joining my list of absolute favourites this year, because it has been a refreshing and stunning read that I didn’t see coming.

Thanks to Alyson Santos and Wildfire Marketing Solutions for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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