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From the Start Paperback – April 7, 2015
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From the Back Cover
"Simply adorable . . you might just fall in love with Here to Stay."--USAToday.com's Happy Ever After blog
Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn't kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays...until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley.
Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend's hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he's lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he's never really done normal before.
While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it's like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn't part of the plan, but could it be the best thing that's ever happened to them?
"From the Start embodies Tagg's best! Delightful. Endearing. And full of engaging characters and tingling moments reminiscent of our favorite films and stories. I'm thrilled this is the beginning of our journey with the Walkers and eagerly anticipate this wonderful family's next chapter."--Katherine Reay, author of Lizzy & Jane
"With her usual dose of girl-next-door charm, Melissa Tagg invites the reader into yet another witty and faith-filled story in From the Start. Though written with punchy dialogue and a colorful cast of supporting characters, Tagg isn't afraid to expand the lighthearted parts of the story to delve into some of life's tougher challenges--which she does in an authentic way. The first in a new series, I'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter from the Walker clan!"--Kristy Cambron, author of The Butterfly and the Violin and A Sparrow in Terezin
"Melissa Tagg's newest book, From the Start, is guaranteed to win the heart of readers with this delightful story of a retired football player looking for his future, and a writer trying to figure out how to pen his story--while rewriting her own. Colton is downright swoon-worthy, and this first book in this hometown series about the charming town of Maple Valley, Iowa, scores a resounding touchdown! Tagg just gets better and better."--Susan May Warren, bestselling, RITA award-winning author of The Wonder of You
"Tagg excels at creating wholesome romances featuring strong young career women, gentle humor, and an unobtrusive but heartfelt infusion of faith....Tagg depicts many different loves--sibling love, love of a child, a social worker's love for her charge, love for friends, and chaste romantic love--in this entertaining, feel-good novel with broad appeal." -Booklist
"Tagg is one of the freshest new voices in Christian contemporary romance, and brings a level of spunk and originality to a genre in which so many stories can start to sound the same."--Christian Manifesto
"Tagg writes heartfelt and humorous gentle romances with a wisp of faith woven throughout....Devotees of Rachel Hauck and Robin Lee Hatcher will embrace a promising new author." -Library Journal
About the Author
Melissa Tagg, author of Made to Last and Here to Stay, is a former newspaper reporter, current nonprofit grant writer, and total Iowa girl. When she's not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever. She's passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings. Melissa blogs regularly at www.melissatagg.com.
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Colton Greene's NFL career came to a halt with one bad play, and now he's floundering to know what to do with his life. He's under contract for a book about his upbringing, but he's hesitant to write because of his painful experiences growing up in the foster system and the memory block from the night his parents died. Deciding to tag along with his friend Logan on a trip to Iowa, Colton sees a real community in action in Maple Valley, and throws himself into helping the town recover. He also finds Logan's sister Kate charmingly reserved and equal to the task of helping him with his autobiography.
Knowing absolutely nothing about football, Kate knows writing with Colton is her chance to turn her life around. With the proceeds from this book she could finally get involved in her mother's foundation in Africa the way she's been longing to do. Colton's big personality begins making its way around the walls Kate has so carefully constructed, and soon hope for more than her writing career begins to blossom in her heart.
With opportunities being presented all around him, Colton feels restless. His agent is pushing him to go into sports broadcasting, but Colton knows that is not going to be a fit with his anxiety in front of cameras. Coaching doesn't call to him, either. But a Maple Valley teenager, gifted in football and also being raised by a foster family, tugs Colton's heart in ways he can't explain. He also begins to grow increasingly uneasy about finishing and releasing the book with Kate, but will she understand the new direction his life is taking? Can he find peace with his past and a purpose for the future?
I really enjoy Melissa Tagg's stories. She has an informal, relatable writing style that makes you feel like you're talking with your best friend while you fly through the pages. I'd recommend her books for anyone who likes clean contemporary stories which draw you in and make you forget about things like sleep while you're in the middle of them.
I do recommend reading the free novella prequel "Three Little Words" first. From the Start does stand alone and you will still love it if you don't read the prequel, but it does a great job introducing the characters and is also a wonderful 5 star story. It was at that point I fell in love with Maple Valley, the awesome little town these stories take place in. Can I move there?
I don't want to give anything away in the book, so please, take my advice and read this book. You won't regret it!!! The only negative thing I can say is that you and I both have to wait until Spring 2016 for the next book in the series.
I did not receive this book free (as I often get free ones in exchange for my book reviews). I paid for it and it was worth every single dollar.
The author does a wonderful job of bringing all the details of the town, the Walker family, and other characters to life, flaws and all. We meet different family members and townspeople as well as revisit those we met in the prequel novella Three Little Words. A lot happens in the "resilient or maybe just crazy" town of Maple Valley but I'll let you read it for yourself. I loved this book and look forward to the more of The Walker Family by Melissa Tagg!