Review: From Alaska With Love by Ally James

Posted May 4, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 48 Comments

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: From Alaska With Love by Ally James
From Alaska With Love

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Genres: Contemporary Romance, Military Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on March 3, 2020
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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The Delight

A correspondence romance, military hero, and the promise of Alaska for a setting were all it took to hook me into trying a new to me author standalone.


Review

From Alaska With Love opens with overworked-underappreciated Sara going out on a limb and writing a letter to a military service personnel as part of a correspondence project.  Her letter reaches dedicated career soldier, Major Gabe Randall, who usually passes off the letters to those under him, but there was finally enough in this batch for him to get a letter of his own.  Sara’s upbeat, fun letter hits the spot for Gabe and a correspondence between the two begins through email and onto face time.

Gabe is plans to finish his career out and settle in his Alaska home.  He is eager to meet Sara in person and get all his dreams.  He surprises Sara in person and that’s when he discovers that all is not as it seems.  The sparkle is gone and Sara isn’t who he thought- she’s been playing a part.  Sara can’t believe how it all miserably fell apart and knows she needs to get a backbone and start standing up to demanding family if she is to ever get back her chance of happiness.  First stop- Alaska!

This book was all I was hoping in many ways.  I recently enjoyed a slow burn correspondence- military romance so I was primed for this one.   But, it ended up being one that I had mixed feelings over.  I could see some complications on Sara’s side as she acted her own Cinderella part in her family as nanny to her own sharp-tongued niece and user sister as well as whipping girl for her self-absorbed mother and on Gabe’s side- he was quick to action and not a lot of tenderness and letting his guard down.   So a doormat and the Great Wall of China between the pair. About half-way, the wheels fell off and it got messy.  The tone of the story changed when they both started floundering.  I really wanted to see them weather it after the idyllic distance romance they had together.  It was a struggle. I even skimmed a few times.  Nearer the end, it got onto solid ground again.

The handling of Gabe’s military background rang true and the Alaska setting was all I was looking for.  Their emails really captivated me.  Sara’s family were a real sour note as was the pathetic way she let them get away with it.  Happily, I never hated her and wanted her with Gabe more than ever- though yeah, I wanted to boot her in the butt a few times.  When Gabe went all stone soldier I wanted to shake him, too.  I get his thing a bit more because I didn’t like that she basically lied to him and caused him to wonder if any of it was true bringing his withdrawal on herself.  I know that she didn’t do it on purpose and got carried away especially in the beginning when it was just an escape from her dreary life. Like I said, mixed feelings.

All in all, if I balance the first half with the last half, I’d call it moderately good.   Those who enjoy a slowburn romance crossover women’s fic featuring a correspondence courtship and military hero should definitely give it a try.

My thanks to Berkley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


Challenges Met

COYER Quarantine #25
New Release #50


 

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Nadene
2 months ago

Sorry this one did not meet your expectations. Loved your analogy of the characters. Great Wall of China meets door mat.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Nadene

Yeah, I think I was pushing hard for her to just tell him the truth and tell her family off before he had to discover it for himself and I also wished he’d stuck around a bit longer to get her reasoning for what she did. I felt some of the mess could have been done much sooner. Oh well. 🙂

Melliane
2 months ago

Even if it wasn”t more it looks ok

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Melliane

Yes, it was probably a little better than okay all said and done. 🙂

sherry fundin
2 months ago

so cute. i love books that take place in alaska
sherry @ fundinmental

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  sherry fundin

I’m a sucker for them, too, Sherry. Put your story in Alaska and I’m there. 🙂

Carole Rae
2 months ago

I’m glad it evened out to be at least okay.
OMG that cover is so dang cute!

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

This was definitely cover love and location love for me, too. 🙂

They did eventually get back on a good footing which was great to see.

Ethan
2 months ago

I can see how that middle section could be hard to get through. The crumbling of the things you fell in love with is hard to stick with, but I’m glad it got better in the end!

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Ethan

It was one of those things I saw coming from a long way off and hoped the fall out wouldn’t be too awful. They ended up having to pretty much start over with hurt feelings and distrust tripping them up. But, yes, they worked hard and got back on a good path. 🙂

Jenea’s Book Obsession

Sorry to hear this wasn’t as good as you were hoping. I like a slow burn romance but sometimes slow burn is a little too slow for me. So I can understand your issue with this one.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

Yes, it was the having to start all over in the middle that got to me. LOL It was also pretty cute around that part. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
2 months ago

I do like a slow burn romance. This sounds good.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

The way they got to know each other through letters and Facebook was really neat.

Anne - Books of My Heart

I thought about reading this one for many days but read a iffy review and decided not to get it. I’m sorry it wasn’t a favorite.

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

I had it before any reviews were up, but I probably would have went for it anyway b/c it ticked off so many boxes for me. It wasn’t terrible just not as great as I was expecting.

Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

I enjoy epistolary romance, and it sounds like the characters romance while they were emailing ione another was good. Too bad things fell apart a bit mid way though. I can see where you’d get frustrated with the two of them having to start all over again. I would have been frustrated with the female lead’s family treating her so badly, and would want her to stand up for herself as well. I’m glad you enjoyed the Alaskan setting, and that everything evened out in the story. Great Review Sophia!

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

Yeah, it was sad to see what they had fall to pieces like that and that she just let her family be so awful. It righted in the end which was even better b/c of it, I think.

Rachel @Waves of Fiction

I was really disappointed with the way Sara let her family walk all over her! Even her niece got on my nerves. I think you liked this one just a little bit more than I did. Oh well, onto the next great read! 🙂

Sophia Rose
2 months ago

Her niece was a pill. I did skim so I probably didn’t get as angry as I could have. LOL Yes, onward to the next one.

Debbie Haupt
Debbie Haupt
2 months ago

Ah this one gave you the grrrs LOL great review my friend

Sophia Rose
2 months ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

It sure did. I was muttering a lot when I got to the middle of the story. 🙂

Carole's Random Life in Books

Darn, this sounded really promising. It is too bad that the story kind of fell apart in the middle especially after having a good start. Great review!

Sophia Rose
1 month ago

Yeah, I thought he over-reacted and she didn’t react soon enough so it was tough, but it was her family that really put me off. They were just over the top selfish.

Lindsi
1 month ago

As a rule, I tend to avoid books with a military aspect/angle. I don’t know why, really. Military and cowboys, haha. I’m sorry this one was a better read, Sophia! It’s hard when the characters refuse to talk and be open with one another. Always frustrating!

Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Lindsi

LOL, just not your thing. I tend to gravitate toward them and away from city and urban romances without really hating them.
Yeah, it was overblown and that was what was tough to handle. Oh well. 🙂

Greg
1 month ago

Glad this one was moderately good- sounds like it definitely had some good points. The Alaska setting sounds great! Something about Alaska haha

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Greg

Yes, Alaska calls me each time. 🙂

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

I enjoyed this one and rated it similarly. I loved the concept and how their relationship developed.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago

Aha, twinsies! Yes, the correspondence romance really grabbed me, too.

Lover of Romance
1 month ago

I am so sorry to hear that this book didn’t work out for you, sounds like these two just didn’t have the right strengths for each other. I do love an Alaskan setting.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago

Yeah, her family was being over the top ugly, but I also felt these two blew up their own chances and it was hard to get past all their messy stuff. But, Alaska… sigh. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
1 month ago

Well at least it was still good even with the problems you had with it.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Oh yes, it wasn’t all bad and the things I picked it up for were great.

ShootingStarsMag
1 month ago

Sounds like Sara’s family are a bit tough to handle, but I’m glad it never made you hate SARA. That’s always a plus. It has a cute premise – sorry it wasn’t quite as amazing as you’d hoped though.

-Lauren

Sophia Rose
1 month ago

They were just so selfish and over the top that I was itching for her to let them have it. 🙂 I was glad when she went after what she really wanted.

Lola
1 month ago

What a cute cover this one has with that dog. Sounds like a fun premise how they start off with writing letters to one another. Such a shame the book went downhill after that first spark they had and their romance becomes messy. The setting and the military aspect both sound well done.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Lola

Yes, that cover totally coaxed me even though I probably would have wanted the story anyway with the correspondence romance and military hero. It was so frustrating reading about her family and then their messy relationship for a while. Glad it righted after a while.

vvb
vvb
1 month ago

Interesting that Alaska is the appeal for this one. Wonder why it is just as romantic a place as Hawaii?

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  vvb

Well, I can only go by my own opinion, but I’m not a hot and tropical fan like I am a cold weather-beauty type. LOL I love to look at pictures of Hawaii and love to hear about people getting to go on trips and even read stories there, but deep down, cold weather settings grab me more maybe because that is what I gravitate toward. 🙂

Lorna
Lorna
1 month ago

Um no. Not for me I think. I do love books set in Alaska though and a slow burn. Glad it ended up better in the end.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Lorna

Yeah, it was tough going over the middle ground. 🙂

Sarah @ All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

I so want to visit Alaska some day.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago

Same here! 🙂

Sarah @ All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
Reply to  Sophia Rose

I am from Minnesota, so I love all things ice and snow. I could not live there though, not with no sunlight for so many days out of the year, even if not in total darkness in southern Alaska. But I think it would be great to visit. And the history nerd in me wants to travel the trail the mushers took in 1925 in the serum run to Nome, when there was the terrible diphtheria outbreak in Nome.

Sophia Rose
1 month ago

Ha, yeah, my idea of living in Alaska would probably be Anchorage not Nome. But, yes, I would love to visit so many of the place. I loove stories about the history. Balto the sled dog was one of my favorite stories as a kid and I’ve actually watched the Iditerod when they cover it on TV. 🙂

Angie Elle
1 month ago

I’m sorry this one wasn’t as good as you’d hoped, but I’m glad you were able to enjoy it anyway.

Great review!

Sophia Rose
1 month ago
Reply to  Angie Elle

Yeah, it was going along so well at first, but I had hints that it was all going to come crashing down. I just wish it hadn’t come apart quite the way it did. Oh well, it ended strong. 🙂 Thanks, Angie!