I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Benjamin. Kelly. Where have you been all my life?! No seriously. Where have you been? And whyyyy haven’t I started this series sooner?!
“Do you feel that? That’s what you do to me. Every fucking time I’m near you.”
Oh I feel you Ben Kelly. Mia Corelli does too. But not right away. Why? Because Ben is a jerk. And that’s putting it nicely. He is the brother of her best friend, Tessa. He teased her relentlessly about everything. He is a big part of insecurities as she grows up. Years later, after Mia has moved away, she returns to Alabama to spend an entire summer with Tessa. And she is pretty much reassured that Ben will be nowhere to be found. As an adult Mia is NOT the same awkward girl Ben used to make fun of. This girl is bold, strong, and beautiful. And she pretty much is the opposite of every insult Ben has ever thrown her way.
“I don’t know what the hell I did to ever deserve you, but you’ll never take another breath without knowing how special you are to me.”
When Ben finds out who Mia is, he is determined to get her attention. But the problem is that despite what happened between them, Mia wants nothing to do with Ben. But the attraction between them? It’s strong. You can feel it. Through the pain, the banter, everything, their connection is intense. It’s powerful. You know the butterflies you get in your tummy? Well it surpasses that. Ben felt alive the moment he was with Mia, and you felt the very moment that happened. While Mia has changed, so has Ben. He is no longer the boy he once was. He is a man in every sense of the word. Not only is he undeniably sexy, but he is an admirable man as well.
“Feel it. This is how I love you.”
Ben Kelly made my heart beat. With his words, his actions, he never gave up on Mia. Wait. Let's talk about his words. Ben is a man of his word. He speaks with conviction. His voice is strong and confident, and you WILL fall for every single word. Although stubborn, you could feel every time Ben would slowly chip away at the walls that surrounded her heart. Mia didn’t easily give into Ben. Ben had to earn her trust. Mia had to truly let go and forgive to allow herself to truly fall for Ben. Their love is beautiful. Ben loves Mia with everything. With his entire being. This intense story of love, forgiveness, and second chances gives truth to the fact that love always ends up where it belongs. It never fails.
“I want all your words, I want to be filled with them so when I go home, I’ll never forget how I made you feel.”
Oh J. Daniels. You made me feel. You made me feel the passion between Ben and Mia. The author is a new favorite of mine. She belongs on my buy anything she writes shelf. She created funny, witty, and lovable characters. Even more so, the secondary characters added so much to the story and I find myself wanting to dive into the rest of the series. She effortlessly weaved a raw and genuine story about falling for the person you never thought you could ever love. No matter how much, Mia tried to ignore it, she gave Ben her heart the minute she set her eyes on him when she was back in town. Their love shattered their past and gave light to a new future.
“When she looked at me, she saw me. My hopes, my fears, my future that for all intents and purposes, belonged to her.”
Where I Belong is the first in the Alabama Summer series and I WILL be reading the rest. It was such a sweet, sexy, and fun read. I didn’t want to put it down as I laughed and swooned. Sometimes at the same time. I absolutely fell in love with the characters and cannot believe I didn't read this sooner. Ben Kelly you have stolen my heart.
First of all, I have to say how excited I was to have the opportunity to read Where I Belong. Before I started, I heard such amazing things from other readers, and it had me that much more anxious to finally start. I'm happy to say that I was not disappointed one bit! Ben and Mia's story was everything I hoped it would be, and I loved every minute of this book!
Ben and Mia shared an unfortunate past. Since Mia's best friend growing up was Ben's sister, Tessa, they saw plenty of each other in their younger years, and most of those interactions were extremely painful for Mia. Ben teased her about her weight (and other things) mercilessly, and never had a kind word to say to her. Such treatment can weigh heavily on a young girl's self-esteem, and Mia was no exception. She harbored a strong dislike and distrust for Ben all the way into her adult life, long after she had moved far away from her childhood home. When the opportunity arises for Mia to spend the summer with her still best friend, she reluctantly agrees. She's hesitant to leave her sick mother, who she had been caring for (and who is now on the mend), and she's loathing the idea of ever seeing Benjamin Kelly again, something which might happen during her stay.
She is happy, however, to be reunited with Tessa after nine long years apart, and I couldn't blame her! Tessa was a character that I absolutely loved! During the few glimpses into their childhood together, it was clear right away that Tessa was an amazing friend to Mia, always standing up for her with her brother, always ready with a witty comeback and smart remark. This didn't change as Tessa grew up. She was funny and supportive. She was a bit of a handful, but I loved her more for it, and I'm hoping to see more of her as I continue on with this series. All around, this author writes fantastic supporting characters, and they bring so much to the story on their own, that you can't help but fall in love with them too. I know each book in this series focuses on a different couple, so I'm excited to see more of these characters that I grew to love.
As for the main characters, they were written beautifully, and their reunion sure is an interesting one! The struggle between Mia and Ben, as she tried to look past the hurt he caused all those years ago, that was still affecting her after all this time, was palpable, and my heart ached for the girl she used to be. Although her feelings of self-worth really did take a hit when she was younger, it was clear that she took those experiences and used them to make herself stronger. She was blunt and demanding when needed, she could quickly bolster her confidence, and she learned to go after what she wanted, no matter what. She was no longer the little girl that sat back and let herself be mistreated. She was braver, she was bolder, and she had turned into a strong woman. In addition to that, she was compassionate, understanding, and very sweet. She was a great character, and I loved the way she was written.
With Ben, we slowly get glimpses into his life as the story progresses. While I savored every detail and looked forward to learning new things about this character, there were rare occasions in which I felt a little blindsided by certain information. He was a mystery-- from his home life, to his job, there were a few surprises thrown in there, for sure. I had mixed feelings about the way his story was revealed initially, but then I realized that we were getting to know this "new Ben" just as Mia was, and it became a non-issue for me. He was a mystery for her, as well, and completely different from what he used to be when they knew each other all those years ago. I felt for Ben, also, who had to spend so much time making up for the stupid kid he used to be. But not that bad, because he really was horrible to Mia. I was happy with how much effort he put forth to try to redeem himself, and that he did genuinely feel awful for what he put her through. People don't realize, especially when they're younger, just how hurtful and long lasting insults and criticisms can last, and that really did come across well in the way Ben's story was portrayed. He was determined to make her see that he wasn't that insensitive kid any longer, and how strong his feelings for her really were.
I absolutely couldn't put this book down. It grabbed my attention from the very first page, and held it all the way through. This was a pretty quick read for me, and was such a fun story. The chemistry between Ben and Mia was off the charts! He is so very dreamy, I promise you'll fall in love with him just as I have. This book started off hot and just got better as it progressed. The steamy scenes were just that, super steamy, and we were given just the perfect amount throughout the story to keep things interesting without being bombarded with them. Mia and Ben were such a great fit for one another, and when Mia finally decided to let Ben in, it was a beautiful thing. The author really pulls you into their story, and you'll be rooting for them the whole time. Where I Belong is a wonderful story about second chances-- at friendship, and at love-- and is filled with captivating characters that really will worm their way into your heart. It has its fair share of tear-jerking moments, but it's fast paced, and has a sugary sweet ending that ties things up perfectly. I can't wait to continue on with this series.
***I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ***
When I heard of my Co-bloggers wanted to read Where I Belong (Alabama Summer #1) by J. Daniels I was intrigued. What is this book that she desperately wanted to read. So after having a quick look at the synopsis, and I knew I wanted in on it, and I’m so glad that I read it as I loved it.
A summer of fun with her best friend Tessa was what Mia Corelli wanted; all she had to do was steer clear of Tessa’s brother. Ben Kelly was the person who she hated for good reason with a passion. However, fate had other ideas and one unforgettable night changes everything!!!
“The boy I once wished never excited was now the man I wanted to spend every second with”
“The girl I once couldn’t get far enough was from had become the woman I couldn’t get close enough to”
I loved the storyline; it was such fun, easy, engaging read. Mia Corelli and Ben Kelly Where not were both such entertaining characters, and I love getting to know them. I enjoyed the connection, the sexual tension, the foreplay, and the hot steamy moments between them, but also the sincere moments.
“Do you feel that? That’s what you do to me. Every time I’m fucking near you…… I don’t’ say anything else. I just let her feel it. You own this part of me just take it”
“My brain is screaming at me to say way from him, but the way my body reacts in his presence is becoming harder to ignore”
Mia was sweet sassy selfless character and one of those girls you really want to have as a friend. And Ben Kelly oh wow!! He was just so swoon-worthy I couldn’t help but fall in love with him. Loved the way he wanted to prove to Mia that he was not the asshole she knew nine years ago.
“I’ll do anything for her forgiveness. Hell I’ll do anything for her. I see my future with her and I’ll stop at nothing to get her there with me”
Told from dual points of view, which is always a favorite of mine. It was done well, and I think that’s why one of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the back and forth banter between not just Mia and Ben but all the characters. Love Ben’s sister Tessa who is a riot and whose mouth seems to have no filter. I laugh out loud so many times while reading this book, but also just smiled.
“I can’t imagine loving her any more than I do right now. But I know I will. Because every second I’m with her, I fall harder.
This was the first book I have read Of J. Daniels, and I have to say it won't be my last. I enjoyed her writing style it just felt effortless. Loved whole hook up, first time scene/ chapter. It may not be everyone’s choice, but hey you can’t argue that isn’t how you want your first time to be fun, exciting, amazing and unforgettable. And I loved that I didn't want to put this book down, and for the most part I read it with a smile on my face. I’m so looking forward to reading the next two books, which are happily sitting on my Kindle.
Where I Belong is a well-written cute, humorous and heartwarming love story. With a great plot, and lovable characters about second chances and forgiveness.. I recommend you one click today.
J. Daniels is the NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author of the Sweet Addiction series and the Alabama Summer series. She loves curling up with a good book, drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee, and writing stories her children will never read. J grew up in Baltimore and resides in Maryland with her family.
Web - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Amazon