Thursday, December 10, 2015

Blog Tour + Excerpt + Review: Freefall (Santa Cruz Skydivers #1) by Joanne Efendi

Title: Freefall
Series: Santa Cruz Skydivers #1
Author: Joanne Efendi
Genre: Romance. Contemporary.
Publish Date: October 6, 2015
Review Source: eARC
Twenty-five year old professional skydiver Levi James has a troubled past that he just can't seem to leave behind. The main cause of his problems—his father. The billionaire Australian publishing magnate, who after being MIA for most of Levi's life, has decided Levi needs to start playing a role in the family business, whether Levi wants to or not.

Andi LaRosa, a twenty-one year old Costco cashier, comes from a loving, if somewhat suffocating, traditional Italian American family. With no direction and in a deep depression, she often seeks solace in Valium and the bottom of a Vodka bottle. That is until see meets Levi and instantly falls for his Aussie charm.

The daredevil skydiver makes her feel alive and gives her a sense of direction that she so desperately craves. But can their fledging relationship survive Andi’s personal demons and Levi’s meddling father, who refuses to his son go?

 This was one heck of a novel. I have not heard of Joanne Efendi prior to this novel, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. A soft romance - not too heavy on the steaminess, but just enough romantic angst that keeps the reader engaged - I gave this novel a 5 bar review for multiple reasons. I will place a warning here though; while this was a soft romance, the ending turned, quickly, to a dark subject. If you have a trigger, proceed with caution as this novel will gut you by the end of it.

Levi is happy with his life...for the most part. Of course his overbearing father, and the controlling ex-girlfriend being out of his life would make his a lot easier. One wanted everything for Levi; wealth, the name, everything that they thought would bring him happiness. The other just wanted to see him do what they wanted. He never wanted any of that. He was happy with being himself. With working as a skydiver instructor, and being there with the people that enjoy his company, and him theirs. When Andi makes an appearance in his life, it just turns the tables a little more in his favor than everyone else's. 

Andi is fed up with her life. Her dead-end job is getting her nowhere. Her non-existent boyfriend is exactly that; non-existent. When the reader first meets Andi, you think nothing of her drinking problems, or the medications that she insists she needs.The thought wouldn't cross your mind that something deeper lies under her girl-next-door exterior. But as I said, the novel takes a turn I was expecting. At all. Everything in her already mundane life came crashing back down to Earth in a startling confession that comes back to haunt Levi.

As I said, I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. It was nothing that I thought it to be, and I enjoyed it. Ms. Efendi did a wonderful job bringing these characters with their issues to life, and it was a pleasant reprieve from many romance novels that you find, and read that just seem to follow characters that have nothing but heartache, and sorrow in their lives. Levi and Andi had much more than that throughout this novel, and it was a great, easy, suck-you-in type read that I will pick up and reread at some point.


“I think I might just go kill myself now and be done with it,” I complained to Char as I picked off the pineapple on my cold, stale pizza.

Depression had kicked in, as my romantic lunch didn’t manifest like I had visualized. I only had a few minutes remaining before my break finished, and Ben hadn’t shown up for his yet. Much to my disappointment, I hadn’t set eyes on him since our parking lot conversation, despite me finding numerous excuses to walk down to his department. Stalker alert.

I kept attacking the pizza. Who put fruit on a pizza anyway? Lili did, that’s who. It went against every fiber of my Italian heritage to put fruit on pizza. Next time, I wouldn’t let her order. Besides, I was the one who always paid.

With my appetite completely gone, I re-wrapped the cheese and fruit flavored cardboard pizza in its aluminum foil wrapping and pitched it in the trash with a loud thud.

“You’re just in a rut, that’s all,” Char said, trying to break through my depression. “We need to get you rutless.”

“Is that even a word? Rutless?” I scoffed. I wasn’t in the mood for a pep talk right now, and I certainly didn’t feel like finding a solution.
Joanne is a lover of books and the written word. It had been a life long dream of Joanne’s to write and publish a novel. A dream that she finally fulfilled in early 2014 after writing YA Paranormal Romance Illuminated Darkness for close to three years. In 2015, her NA Romance ‘Freefall’ was signed by Evernight Publishing.

Joanne grew up in sunny Queensland in Australia and currently resides on the Sunshine Coast with her husband and two sons. She has always had a passion for writing and is a former radio announcer and journalist. Currently she works in her other passion- teaching children the vital life saving skill of learning to swim. In her spare time she likes to drink coffee with her friends and train and compete in triathlons (very badly).

Joanne is currently writing a sequel to Freefall, and a YA Contemporary novel that may or may not take another three years to write. She also has plans to write a sequel to Illuminated Darkness, that will be titled Darkness Enveloped.


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