Editorial Reviews

Force of Gravity

 

5 STARS from Southen Belle Book Blog

 

As far as romance goes, we all have books that we sorta compare others to, right? This surely isn't just me. Of course each story and author brings something different to the table and no two stories are alike, but I can't help but always wonder how they'll stack up against the books that are my favorites. You say rock star, I'm thinking Kellan Kyle. Hollywood hunk? Tina Reber’s Love series is IT. CEO? Mr. Grey, of course. And then there's the student teacher category. For the longest time, I wouldn't even try these because I didn't WANT anyone else to compete with Will and Layken. Those are some mighty big characters to follow behind, ya know? But I couldn't resist The Force of Gravity and now I find myself sitting here mesmerized by this book. It blew me away. Absolutely, 110% wowed me. I'm trying very hard to form complete sentences because in all honesty, I'd prefer to just ramble and not make any sense because I loved it THAT much. Needless to say, I have a new favorite student teacher romance.

This was the first book in a long time, with the exception of very few, that I truly read in one sitting. We use that phrase but for me, that's usually not entirely true. I get up, do stuff with my kids, etc but I say it meaning I read it over the course of one day. Not the case this time. I could not stop. Seriously. Every single page hooked me. Every interaction took my breath away. I couldn't wait for the next conversation between Elijah and Kaley. I thrived on the angst and close calls. I just couldn't flip the pages fast enough. To say that you'll be captivated is an understatement, and I can't fathom not reading it in one sitting. I think trying to walk away without knowing what was next would have killed me.

And my poor heart. The Force of Gravity took a toll on it. It has endured anxiety, heartbreak, and swoonworthy moments that made it melt. There were a few moments in the story that my heart was racing or felt like I couldn't breathe. I'm not kidding guys, this story is unreal! It'll put you through the wringer as far as emotions go. This story packs a powerful punch and leaves no emotion untouched. You'll laugh, cry, feel anger, and longing. It's all there.

The intensity of the connection between Elijah and Kaley also made the story for me. You can feel it from the moment she walks into his classroom, and it doesn't quit. You'll find yourself cheering for them from the first time they make eye contact. I loved the main characters, but I also enjoyed the entire ensemble. Everyone has their place in their world and I ended up feeling connected to them all, including even a character or two that I shouldn't have.

The writing is absolutely beautiful. The way Stevenson always knows the right way to describe the twists and turns shows that she's the real deal. She's very eloquent in every aspect of her storytelling.

Overall, I was a bit nervous and have come out more than pleased. I adored everything about this story. It's exciting, intense, and so much fun. The journey these two travel, together and apart, will definitely end up as one of my new favorites. I can't wait for the sequel and just might go start this ride all over again right now. Love loved!

 

-- Southern Belle Book Blog

 

 

 

 

 

4 STARS from Biblio Belles Book Blog

 

I am a huge fan of student/teacher romance in books. I think it’s the angst and forbidden love factor that wins me over. These books push the limits and I love that as a reader I am allowed to become so involved in the story. The Force of Gravity does not disappoint in that area. It BRINGS the angst right in your face. You begin to cheer for two people that should not want each other, but they can’t help it. It’s gravity.

Maybe I’ve been waiting to erupt like a volcano for years, and Mr. Slate is just the earthquake that set me off.

We meet Kaley Kennedy, an intelligent eighteen year old  senior high school student. She has a great group of friends and a hot boyfriend. Everything seems right in the world until it’s not. Her once oh so perfect life is slowly crumbling. She is completely thrown off her axis when she meets her new math teacher, Mr. Slate. At first she thinks it’s a simple student-teacher crush. But Kaley soon realizes that there is something else  going on. She sees it in Mr. Slate’s eyes. But he knows Kaley is off limits. He shouldn’t want her. But he does.

He has the power to completely shatter my heart into a million tiny fragments...

This is no cliché student teacher romance. It’s not light and fluffy. It’s real. It’s genuine. It truly depicts the life of a teenager who deals with real life issues with friends, her family, and of course love. You witness the growth of someone who knows what she deserves when it comes to love. Nothing mediocre. She wants the all consuming, powerful, overwhelming kind of love. And she feels that with Mr. Slate. Even with the chaos in her life, he is the only thing that feels right. 

I know I am being very vague with the story and the plot. To truly enjoy this read is to full immerse yourself in the story. Into the lives of the characters. The Force Of Gravity grabs you from the very first page. You will not want to put this one down. Slate loves Kaley fiercely, unconditionally, and with everything he has. You feel it. Everything they face is worth it. Love is always worth it. Always. Their attraction goes beyond the surface. Their forbidden romance challenges every thought you ever had about love. Especially love like theirs that should not have happened, but it did. Love doesn’t recognize barriers. It shatters them. 

 

-- Biblio Belles Book Blog

 

 

 

 

5 STARS from Love Between the Sheets

 

This may be my favorite student/teacher romance. This book was seriously fantastic. I didn’t love every character or each scene, but that’s what made it stand out from all the others. It had a realness that I think is missing in many NA romance. Snarky, supposed “best friends,” boyfriends that pressure you into sex, and the realization that your parents are people too, all played a part in this story. The Force of Gravity is the perfect mix of the normal high school problems everyone deals with and the fictional problems you wish you had.

 

The book begins with Kaley realizing she has a crush on Mr. Slade but understanding that it can never go anywhere. In fact, she’s a little embarrassed that she would even be crushing on her teacher.

 

This man is my teacher. Even if he wasn’t, he’d still be too old for me. He’s a grown man, with a grown-up life and would probably laugh his ass off if he knew what I was feeling.

 

It was hard to tell what Mr. Slate was thinking. One moment I agreed he wasn’t interested in her and the next he was toeing the line of inappropriate. I liked that I couldn’t automatically feel the pull between them. It kept me guessing, did Slate want Kaley or was it just a misplaced crush?

Kaley’s friends and family were kind of awful. Her “best friend,” Emily, was a vapid bitch. All she cared about was not rocking the boat. Emily wanted Kaley to put out and play nice with her doofus boyfriend, Tommy, because it was convenient to their group’s dynamic.

 

“ . . . you’re crazy if you think Tommy’s going to put up with it much longer. No offense, but he can get any girl he wants.”

 

Kaley’s parents weren’t much better. What kind of parents treat their daughter’s college aspirations with such disdain? They basically tell her, “We didn’t think you were smart enough to get into the college you wanted. Oh, and we’re not going to help you with student loans. So, you know, good luck with that.” Not to mention Kaley’s mother constantly pushing her to stay with Tommy (because her mother has such good luck with romance, right).

 

So who did I like? Well, one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much was Kaley’s self-awareness. That Kaley could take a step back from her emotions and rationally think about the relationship between her and Slate is something most student/teacher romances are lacking.

 

We were doomed from the very beginning.

 

I loved that where most books end and give us a happy ever after is not where Kaley and Elijah’s story stopped. Plus it gave me more time to try and understand Elijah. Oh Mr. Slate, you are one tough nut to crack. I have to admit there were many times Mr. Slate had me feeling dirty and *blushes* I kind of liked it. The tiny bit we did get to see inside Elijah’s head left me begging for more.

This book totally took me by surprise. I was looking forward to kicking back and relaxing with a good book, what I was not prepared for was staying up all night desperate to find out how Kaley and Elijah’s story would end. This is a fantastic debut from Kelly Stevenson and I cannot wait for the sequel.

 

-- Love Between the Sheets

 

 

 

 

 

4 STARS from Angie & Jessica's Dreamy Reads

 

I'm a HUGE fan of teacher/student romances. I love the forbiddenness, how undeniably wrong that attraction can feel despite how right I want to believe it is. But let's face it, teacher/student romances of late can feel cliche. At the end of the day, how many different ways can that plot line go, really? What I loved about The Force of Gravity was the effort this author made to set this book apart. In many T/S books I've read, the teacher meets the student BEFORE they ever realize that they are a teacher and a student. Romance blossoms and then there's this epic realization that "OMG, he's my teacher!," followed almost certainly by that constant uncertainty of how or when they'll get caught. Not in this story. This story literally evolves around a forbidden attraction that starts IN the classroom.... which makes this feel so much more wrong. There's no justifying to myself that this is okay because they met before school started, or when they met they had no idea how old she was or what he did for a living. No, it just feels totally inappropriate because he KNOWS she is his student, she KNOWS he is her teacher. And yet they can't look away. So despite all that wrongness, the attraction between Kaley and Mr Slate feels so right. And I LOVED that so much.

To add to the forbidenness of the dynamic between Mr Slate and Kaley, there's an added layer of wrongness that comes in the form of Tommy. Not only is this student lusting after her teacher, but she has a boyfriend, who happens to play on the baseball team that the sexy young teacher coaches! Combine that with the plethora of family drama Kaley is dealing with, her fragile relationships with her friends, the angst offered up by the other women in Slate's life, the changes Kaley is facing as she nears graduation and you have a non-stop ride of uncertainty, unpredictability and secrecy that never ends. The web of impropriety in this story is ever growing and it all makes for such a meaty story that I just couldn't put down.

The writing in this story is rather consuming. It's not often enough that a book grabs you from the very first page and doesn't let up. The writing isn't over-the-top flowery or overly descriptive at all. It just flows, feels clean. The dialogue just feels very authentic, a must in any truly great book, in my opinion. I need the dialogue to feel natural, and the dialogue in this book feels exactly that way for much of it. There's also a layer of humor and sarcasm within the dialogue and inner monologue and it just works. I have so much appreciation for writing that doesn't feel forced. This story reads like it flowed effortlessly from this author. That doesn't happen often in this writing climate and when I find it, I feel like I discovered a gem.

There are a few things that gave me pause while reading... a few minor details that initially made me think the author could have tweaked to make the characters more likeable. Emily, for example, doesn't come off as a very good friend for much of the story. She seems to side with Tommy more than with Kaley. She seems very self centered. Derek comes off as judgemental and uppity at times, always watching Kaley with looks of distrust. Kaley, herself, seems overly emotional, a little melodramatic, immature. But... and it's a big BUT... in the grand scheme of things, those personality flaws and character facets further cement to me how consistent the author actually is with her character development and story telling. These are teenagers. Teenagers are immature, they are superficial and self-absorbed. They're overly dramatic and hormonal and bratty, all of which are realistic and necessary in demonstrating just how very different of a place Kaley is from Mr Slate in their lives. Those little details, traits, nuances are all perfectly placed reminders of just how vast the divide is between Kaley and her teacher, both emotionally... and legally.

Very near to the end of the book, I made a hasty judgment that the ending may have been a little too perfect, a little too easy, wrapping up a little too neatly after everything that had transpired. I realized my original opinion was off when I was surprised with the epilogue that introduced an entire array of new problems Kaley and Elijah will surely be facing in the sequel, which I was overjoyed to find would come next! So what seemed like an easy, all-too-perfect ending is really anything but. The Force of Gravity is an unputdownable story of two people fighting that pull toward one another, knowing how very wrong it is, yet discovering it might just be the only thing that's perfectly right. I found this book as a whole to be an utterly consuming story of forbidden attraction, friendship and love and I thoroughly enjoyed this fresh take on one if my favorite literary themes. I can't wait for more to this story!

 

-- Angie & Jessica's Dreamy Reads

 

 

 

 

 

5 STARS from Who Picked This?

 

Kelly has done a wonderful job of taking a taboo subject, which I love, and turning it into something extraordinary and beautiful.  This book is not just about a teenage girl falling in love/lust with her teacher, but it’s about a teenage girl finding herself and realizing whom she is.  It’s about two soul mates meeting and fighting against the odds to be together, even when society says they shouldn’t. 

We meet Kaley during her senior year of high school, where she has a great boyfriend, the same friends she has had since junior high, and a loving family.  Within a few weeks her life turns upside down and nothing she thought she knew was the same, and yet the biggest transition she faced was her immediate attraction to her math teacher.

Maybe my attraction to Mr. Slate is just an escape for me- an escape from the reality that no longer quenches my thirst.

Kaley finds herself in a cat and mouse game with one very sexy, very charming, very off-limits older man, who knows right from wrong but seems to not care too much either. 

His self-assurance is so alluring.  High school boys seem to overcompensate for their lack of confidence, coming off as arrogant. But Mr. Slate is older, more mature.  He never crosses the fine line that divides confidence and arrogance.

But again this book isn’t just about the taboo teacher/student relationship, no this book is much more.  Kaley truly looks deep into herself, after her world explodes, and she is able to come out a better person, with the help of Mr. Slate. 

I can’t express in words how much I loved this book.  I started it one afternoon and read all 400 plus pages, in the same sitting.  The Force of Gravity is one of my all time favorite books this year, simply because Kelly was able to grip my heart and my soul with her words, make me feel for these characters, paint a picture for me, make me laugh and cry in the same chapter, and fill my heart with joy.  I would strongly recommend this book to absolutely everyone. 

My body literally aches for him. There’s no going back now.  I desperately want my math teacher.

 

-- Who Picked This? Book Blog

 

 

 

 

4 STARS from One Chick Bliss

 

I am a sucker for student/teacher books and while some of them fall flat, The Force of Gravity did not. The feelings and emotions jumped off the page from the very beginning and kept hold of me until the very last word of the epilogue.

 

Life is pretty perfect for Kaley Kennedy. She has a terrific group of friends. She’s in love with her boyfriend, Tommy, the boy all the girls’ lust after. She is incredibly smart and heading to USC in the fall. Even so, she just feels bored with it all. There has to be more out there for her, but what more could she want? She’s about to find out when she walks into her first period math class and set’s eyes on him.

 

Mr. Slate is just plain hot and every girl in the room knows it. Kaley just cannot stop thinking about him, or escaping him.  He keeps turning up and throwing Kaley’s thoughts askew. Her inner dialogue when thinking about Mr. Slate kept me laughing throughout the story.

 

Sorry, can you repeat that? I couldn’t hear over your forearms.

 

Mr. Slate is not immune to Kaley either. Every time she catches his eye, the intensity in his glare causes her heart to beat faster and the butterflies in her stomach to take flight. One of the beautiful aspects about this story is, so do yours. The writing is so fantastic that you feel each and every emotion first hand. I do think the story could have benefitted from some of Mr. Slate’s point of views. While you knew that Kaley was falling hard for the guy, you didn’t get much out him. You knew he was watching her constantly. You knew he hated her relationship with Tommy. I wish we could have seen more of his inner struggle to stay away from Kaley. The angst and longing from Kaley’s side kept driving the storyline however, and you knew it was going to come to a head.

 

“You’re worth more than that, Kaley. I want to take this slow.”

My heart sputters. “So, you want to take this somewhere?”

“I don’t think I have a choice anymore,” he whispers.

 

I loved the feels this book gave me. I wanted to call in sick and just hide under the covers and read. This book does not end on a cliffhanger, but there are a lot of questions that are left unanswered, opening up to a second book. I’ll be jumping into that one the instant it’s available.

 

-- One Chick Bliss Book Blog

 

 

 

 

 

4.5 STARS from Book-Bosomed Book Blog

 

It’s highly doubtful that Kaley is blasting 38 Special’s "Teacher, Teacher" to free her mind of the man in question since she wasn’t even born when the movie Teachers premiered in 1984. But the lyrics fit her story to a tee (yes, you must play this song at least once after you read the book). If you are old enough to remember the movie, purge Nick Nolte out of your head as Mr. Slate is your new cool teacher…

 

Kaley Kennedy is an 18 year old high school senior living with her parents in Arizona. On the surface, Kaley’s life seems perfect. She’s been accepted to USC in the fall. She’s dating the boy every girl at school wants and she’s known him since she was thirteen. Her long time best friend is dating his best friend, and they are a close-knit foursome.

 

But fun times seem to be eluding Kaley lately, and she’s getting restless with her life. Her parents are fighting all the time and they are shattering her college dreams; her boyfriend is pressuring her for sex; and her best friend is often more wrapped up in her own boyfriend and partying.

 

So when Kaley over sleeps the first Monday after Spring Break she has no idea her world is about to spin on its axis when she walks into math class late. Before her is not her old, cranky precalculus teacher but a gorgeous specimen by the name of Mr. Slate or “Professor McHottie” as the girls are soon calling him.

 

Forearms that have Kaley distracted, a body that is “cut like an equilateral triangle” and dressed like an Armani model, 25 year old Mr. Slate is mature, sophisticated, confident, refined, chivalrous, and a bit of a neat freak. Kaley feels a pull the first time she lays eyes on him. And Mr. Slate also has a fascination with Kaley.   

 

Meanwhile, Tommy Bradford, Kaley’s baseball player high school boyfriend, is largely your typical teenage boy. He’s sweet at times, immature at times, and horny most of the time.

 

Maybe I’ve been confusing my own feelings with lust. I’ve never really experience lust before—maybe I just convinced myself that my sexual desires were actual feelings for him. Maybe I didn’t know how to separate the two. I just need to focus. Tommy’s not only one of my best friends, but he and I make sense. Way more sense. We don’t have to hide; it isn’t complicated.

 

Does Tommy truly care for Kaley or does he just want to get laid?  Will he still be so enamored of her after they have sex?  Are Tommy and Kaley too young to really know what love is?  Is Mr. Slate a fantasy escape for Kaley’s troubled life?

 

Told solely from Kaley’s point of view (aside from the epilogue), Tommy and Mr. Slate’s intentions and underling motivations are a bit of a mystery, and that’s part of the page turning appeal of this novel.

 

This is an engaging story about a teen who must deal with some real adult issues and negotiate her way through the feelings she has for the boys/men in her life.  Kaley is a pretty mature individual for her age and life experience, focused on her grades and feeling the need for more substance in her life beyond parties, friends, and sporting events. But as her life starts to spin out of her control, Kaley finds herself holding secrets and lying to those closest to her while confiding in the one person that’s taboo to get close to.

 

It starts out as a bit of a love triangle. I’ll admit to initially being torn over whether Kaley was missing out on the young, carefree love in front of her and Tommy just needed to mature, or whether Tommy was hopeless and Kaley really was ready for everything that came with being involved with Mr. Slate. But then some things go down (keeping this spoiler free) and I definitely knew who I was rooting for Kaley to end up with.

 

The mystery of Mr. Slate’s character is slowly shed as more glimpses into his life are shown and his full background story is told. While they have instant attraction, there isn’t an insta-love with Mr. Slate and Kaley as nothing happens over night and realistic time is accounted for without the story dragging.

 

I appreciated that the novel didn’t gloss over everything that was at stake with Mr. Slate getting involved with Kaley —both his career and the impositions on her being kept in “the closet.”  The story has sufficient plot twists, reveals, and drama as well as deals with issues of sex, cheating, and divorce without ever feeling angsty or over the top. The pace is good and it’s hard to put down once you start reading.  It is well developed and captures the late teen years well.

 

Will Derek rat out Kaley for flirting with the teacher?  What’s the story behind the other women in Mr. Slate’s life? Is Avery after Kaley’s man?  Will Principal Bentley find out about what’s going on? 

 

A second book in the The Force of Gravity series will follow.  There is no cliffhanger, per say, but the ground is laid for the next stage in Kaley’s life and relationships. For now, Kaley has what she wants.

 

-- Book-Bosomed Book Blog

 

 

Kelly Stevenson

National Bestselling Author