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on April 29, 2016
Wow. I don't usually go for contemporary romance, but I'd read good things about Sarah Mayberry so I decided to give her a try. This book, about two people dealing with grief and moving on, was just beautiful. Deeply emotional and yet hopeful. I cried-- four times. The characters and the conflict seemed real, you can understand where they're coming from, why they're scared of admitting to their feelings. And can I just say, it was SO refreshing to read about a hero who loved his wife, who loves his kids, and who is just a nice (if grieving) guy. Michael's fundamental decency was totally sexy. Angie was very sympathetic too: quiet, but also warm and caring with a lot to give. They worked really well as a couple-- it wasn't just about attraction, they had a real connection. You really wanted them to be together.

I don't think Mayberry writes epilogues a la Julia Quinn and the Bridgertons, but oh how I would love one for this book. The ending was romantic and hopeful, but also a wee bit too short. As they themselves realized, Michael and Angie were definitely going to face some challenges: raised eyebrows from friends and family, growing pains with each other. My hope (however far-fetched!) is that Mayberry will write a short story that narrates how they Angie and Michael navigate the emotional terrain around one of these challenges. I'm sure she could make it emotionally compelling and sexy and romantic.

Anyways, if her other books are even half as good as this one, I'll be going on a Sarah Mayberry binge!
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on March 14, 2013
I always enjoy Sarah Mayberry's books; I've read several, but Within Reach is my favorite so far (Her Best Worst Mistake & Suddenly You were pretty terrific, too). She has a talent for creating believable, sympathetic characters, for generating heartwrenching conflict, and for putting words together so effectively on a page that you feel like you're right there, living the story yourself. Her characters make sense, and Michael and Angie are no exception.

While shopping around, I read some of the earlier reviews by those who thought the angst element a little overdone. Personally, I think an author walks a fine line there, but in my opinion, for this story, it needed to be. Chapter One opens less than a year after the sudden death of the hero's wife. To not acknowledge both Michael and Angie's lingering grief and loyalty to her memory with heaps of emotional self-flaggelation would have been a gross misstep. That's part of who they are, part of why we love them so much.

Now, with that said, I honestly wondered how she would take two characters who'd never had the slightest romantic notion about the other and bring them together in a passionate, believable, satisfying way. But Sarah Mayberry did it, and she did it well. Five stars for a well-written book and many thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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on December 20, 2012
REVIEWED BY SUNNY

Michael, a 35-year-old architect, unexpectedly becomes a widower and is left alone to raise his two adorable children Eva and Charlie. Angie, a talented jewelry designer, finds herself lost when her best friend dies. Billie, Michael's deceased wife and Angie's best friend, is the common thread that pulls these two well-developed characters together in WITHIN REACH. Sarah Mayberry takes special care in building a beautiful healing friendship between these two grief-stricken characters.

The plot takes a while to thicken as Angie (also Eva's godmother) spends more and more time helping out Michael and the kids. But boy does it pick up! A difficult situation with Angie's career leads to a decision that changes everything. I could feel how pivotal this event was to the book and indeed it caused a big shift in the story! I truly enjoyed the time it took for feelings between Michael and Angie to grow. It is such a vulnerable time for each of them as they learn to move on after Billie's death. Once they realized their chemistry was building, I was occasionally frustrated with how hard they were on themselves, but the frustration on everyone's part led to steam-filled scenes that were very well-written.

WITHIN REACH is a story with difficult subject matter that may be hard for some to enjoy, but I really appreciated how Mayberry took a chance and found a way for her hero and heroine to move beyond their despair.

BOTTOM LINE
WITHIN REACH is a wonderful story with strong characters and a beautifully constructed plot. If you like books where friends turn to lovers, this is a must read! If you are looking for an emotional read or a book on healing, pick up WITHIN REACH. You won't be disappointed!

RATING: B (4 stars)

Note: I received a review copy of this title courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley.
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on January 23, 2014
I had finished reading "The Other Side of Us" and there was a preview for "Within Reach" at the end. I was intrigued to find out what happens next so I purchased it. This was by far the BEST LOVE STORY I've ever read. Sarah Mayberry has a great way of writing. I absolutely loved the way the relationship between Michael and Angie had evolved. They were both dealing with the loss of someone they loved, which caused many mixed feelings between them. It kept me on my toes as I read on. I could not put the book down! Initially when I bought it, I read half the book but had to force myself to go to sleep knowing I had to get up for work super early the next morning. My day at work dragged forever because I just wanted to go home and finish reading. Sure enough, as soon as I got home I finished the book and loved every page. It truly was a great read! Definitely recommend it to other readers.
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on December 29, 2012
I must say this book pulled my heart-strings. As you read this, the scenes play out and you think... finally true emotions. If you lost the only true best friend in the world, you would be broken. Then you would try and pull it together for the children. But what happens when you find yourself with feelings for your only best friend's husband? Is it wrong to feel this way? Should you walk away? This is Angie 's struggle.

Get up. Put on clothes. Get kids ready. Make it through the day without remembering. Your wife is gone, deceased. Until, your wife's best friend gives you a kick and makes you start living. You've got to pull it together for the kids. She makes you start living life. But what happens when your wife's best friend starts making you feel? Are you betraying your wife? She's gone, but is it okay? This is Michael's story.

This is a great story of how they move on after losing a wonderful wife, friend, and mother.
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on March 15, 2013
4 1/2 stars

Within Reach by Sarah Mayberry was a very emotional story that captured my attention right from the beginning. I read it in one day simply because I had to know what was going to happen with the characters. Great writing, real characters and a perfectly paced storyline all make this book fantastic. Angie was a wonderful heroine---caring, compassionate, giving and generous. She did so much to help Michael and his children get through a very traumatic experience in their lives. Michael was a total hottie who was a great husband to his late wife and a wonderful father to his children. As in most romance novels Angie and Michael's road to their happily ever after was not an easy one. There were sensitive circumstances that made it very difficult for them to accept their feelings for one another. I absolutely loved both Angie and Michael. I loved how honest they were with one another. There was no BS here or game playing.

The author's writing was so incredibly vivid; I felt each and every emotion with these characters. I really liked how we got to hear not only what Angie was thinking, but Michael's thoughts as well. This book was a solid 4 ½ stars for me. I would have absolutely given this book a 5 star rating if not for the ending. We thankfully do get our happily ever after, but the book seemed to end rather abruptly for me. I would have loved an epilogue where we got to see how Angie and Michael were doing in their new relationship.

Overall, Within Reach is a beautifully written story about two unlikely people finding love after experiencing a tragedy and I highly recommend it.
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on September 17, 2012
This story of recovery from grief was good and it was light and didn't require too much suspension of disbelief. I think I would have felt more comfortable if a bit more time had passed between Billie's death and the action in this story, even though the timeframe in the book is over a year. Both H and h are sympathetic characters but I was disappointed not to get more of their story together, as opposed to just the guilt/lust part -- it made it hard to believe in the HEA. That said, Sarah Mayberry is a master at the friends-to-lovers story line and is one of the best writers of the genre. She definitely stays on my automatic "buy" list, even though this one book didn't quite hit the mark.
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on November 18, 2013
I love the way Sarah Mayberry writes. Her stories are real life situations that are complicated and evoke complicated emotions. The characters are believable, likeable people, who find themselves in difficult circumstances. Mayberry delves into the psyche of each, exposing the reader to their deepest thoughts and desires in a very thorough yet engaging manner. She explores each character thoroughly as the story unfolds. I cried often during the reading of this book, which seemed appropriate as I felt the characters were my friends and I felt for their loss and pain.
I recommend this book as well as her other book, The Other Side of Us.
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on July 13, 2015
I thought it was a very beautiful and touching story. Angie was Billies best friend and the last thing she expected after Billies death was to fall in love with her best friends husband. I thought it was beautifully written and it was a very touching story of how two people who weren't looking for love, only to help each other through their grief end up finding love and happiness for themselves.
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on April 21, 2013
I loved this book! I've read some of Sarah Mayberry's Harlequin Super Romance novel before, but "Within Reach" simply blows the others away. I thought the plot was intriging. I didn't want to put it down. I bought it for my kindle two days ago, and I've been re-reading the thing all weekend! This novel is the best I've read in a few months. I would recomend this novel and author to anyone who enjoys a great plot, as well as Harlequins!
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