Cover Image: Before I Let Go

Before I Let Go

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Member Reviews

3.5 stars

I am a HUGE fan of Kennedy Ryan. Like, she is on my top 3 favorite authors of all time, and I'll read and recommend anything she has written/will write in a heartbeat. I am also a huge fan of the marriage in trouble trope, so it was safe to say this book was going to be a hit for me, right? Well, unfortunately, something about this one just didn't work for me as much as I would've liked. 

Now, I do want to say that I absolutely loved the focus on therapy in this book. i feel like in a lot of books, the love between two people suddenly and miraculously heals them of any trauma they might've had in the past, and I just find that very unrealistic. I love that in this book both characters first have to seek therapy and work on THEMSELVES for their relationship to every work again. I thought that was absolutely beautiful to read, seeing them work on the trauma they faced and learn to better communicate with one another first. Kennedy (as usual) did a fantastic job navigating writing about depression and loss with a lot of care and research, which is why she remains one of my favorite authors of all time. 

Now, the romance just didn't work much for me. I tend to compare this author's books to my favorite one of her, Hook Shot, not because I want them all to be like it, but more in the sense of "did it make me feel half of what Hook Shot made me feel when I read it for the first time?" and this one didn't. Although It is not my least favorite book by this author, it also wasn't close to my favorites by her. Something about the romance was missing for me to fall in love with their love. I just didn't feel the chemistry and a lot of times it felt like what they wanted for each other when they got back together was more about the sex than the emotional connection that they had for one another. A lot of their love was more told than shown and it made it hard for me to believe. I do love how much they grew by going to therapy and working on themselves, the change in how they talked to each other and talked about their past and their present and how they feel and felt. That was definitely a positive!

I absolutely rooted for Yasmen from beginning to end but Josiah also wasn't a favorite for me. There were a few things about his POV that bugged me a bit, and although he did go through what was probably the best character development in this book, he just wasn't a favorite for me. 

Overall, this was a bit of a disappointing read by one of my favorite authors. I would still recommend it because Kennedy Ryan is just that good at writing the emotional aspects of her books, but i don't think it would be my first recommendation for anyone who has not read the author's books before.
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A beautiful second chance love story! I really appreciated that this book was so well-rounded; it had the hot and sexy aspects of a traditional romance novel, but it also had a lot of substance and real world elements that made this feel like a uniquely believable story - something romance can never seem to do - ha! Kennedy Ryan is a genius, and dealt with sensitive subjects in a delicate manner. I'll definitely be recommending this one to everyone I know!
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‘Before I Let Go’ is a contemporary romance following a divorced couple in Atlanta, who own a restaurant and are raising two kids together. The story unpacks the reasons for their divorce and if they can overcome their trauma and come back to each other. 


I did appreciate the inclusion of depression, the value of therapy, and grief — especially in connection to motherhood. 

I could not connect to either character or really care for their marriage. Chapter 1 they get engaged and in Chapter 2 they are divorced. We saw nothing of them actually in a healthy marriage but we are supposed to root for them but I could never get there. 

Now, I would be remised if I didn’t talk about how this is supposed to be a Black love story. To keep it short, it honestly didn’t feel like it. If you changed the names and the setting to a different city, it could be for any random couple which I think is my real problem. 

I really wanted a romance story I could feel invested in and connected to, but this was not it for me. I am sorry.
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My heart!!!! 😭 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐀𝐍𝐆𝐒𝐓!!!! 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐏𝐀𝐈𝐍. 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐋𝐈𝐍𝐆. 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐆𝐑𝐈𝐄𝐅. Ugh. 𝘐𝘵 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘩𝘶𝘳𝘵𝘴!!! When Kennedy Ryan announced this book, I already knew it was going to hurt, but man I was not ready for it. 𝐓𝐨𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐟𝐞𝐥𝐭. Truly a 𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘯𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦. ⁣
Josiah and Yasmen loved each other so much, but they went through some situation that changed their marriage. 𝐋𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡. 😭 Now they are co-parenting after their divorced, and working together for their restaurant. It's been a few years, and Yasmen finally started to feel like herself again. But Josiah felt that it's time to move on. 𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐞𝐥𝐬𝐞? 😭 ⁣
And can I just say the scene when their daughter told her why she's so mad....😭😭 𝐈 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐝!!! I loved it so much though. I 𝘧𝘦𝘭𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘪𝘯!!! And one scene in particular, I won't mention it, but man. I feel for Yasmen. ⁣
This is is 𝘴𝘰𝘰𝘰𝘰 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐚 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲. It's about healing, loving oneself, mental health, suicidal, depression, and family love. ⁣
I 𝐇𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐋𝐘, 𝐇𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐋𝐘 𝐑𝐄𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐌𝐄𝐍𝐃 𝐓𝐇𝐈𝐒. Read it if you haven't. But do check trigger warning.
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I need to read more Kennedy Ryan ASAP. I do not know how to add to the stunning things that have already been said about this book with any level of nuance. I will just say that this was so unique and so well done. I am currently running to look for my next read from Ryan.
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BEFORE I LET GO, written in first person dual POV left me feeling obsessed and undone over a divorced couple slow burning their asses back into a marriage.
Ryan introduces Josiah and Yasmen Wade a divorced couple who are also business partners of a soul fusion restaurant, GRITS located in Atlanta, GA. "Girls Raised In The South." (If you know - you know)

The story moves you from pain to humor. One minute I'm crying, mad, and frustrated. I found myself thinking of my dear IRL Aunt. I have a need to just hold her in my arms and give her comfort. But moments later my toes point down, my girly parts twinkle like fairy lights over the words "THIS IS MINE"   Whoa, hold on a minute...

Their children, daughter Deja, son, Kassim, and proud pet parents to Otis. We have a "Sheldon Cooper" son and a "Beyonce" content creator daughter of hairstyles, trends, and tutorials on social media. Together they create a beautiful and hilarious family dynamic.  One of my favorite moments was Thanksgiving dinner.  

“We always go around the table and say what we’re grateful for,” Deja tells everyone.

“Glad you remembered, Day,” Yasmen says, linking her hands under her chin. “You want to start?”

“Oh, sure,” Deja says. “I’m grateful for all my new followers. You can find me at Kurly Girly on the Gram and TikTok.”

Ryan includes a cast of fabulous secondary characters best friends Hendrix and Soledad.  Everyone needs a Hendrix in their life:

“Wasn’t prepared to see your ex quite so moved on?” Hendrix discreetly glances over my shoulder. “Well, get more prepared. They’re almost here, and she does not get to see how much it bothers you. Right now, ma’am, I need you to find your happy place, go there, and bring a bad bitch back.”

It's giving a voice.
It's giving culture
It's giving confidence
It's giving beauty
It's giving a sneak peek into my POC life. 
It's Giving…

Before I Let Go reads as a screenplay bought to life or a tv series. The pages paint a picture of a beautiful household with such great details of sadness and joy alongside a restaurant in the stages of rebirth. You will laugh and cry and turn the last page with joy.

Basically, ALL THE FEELS
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Yasmine & Josiah. Divorced. Second Chance. 

This story is full.This story is complete. 
These two meet in college fall in love and start a life together, marriage, a business, children & family. Then life happens and they get divorced. They still work together and they raise their children together. Its been almost two years of their new normal that they haven’t quite adapted to yet but they’re  trying, which is why Josiah is dating. Which is fine cause they’re divorced , but WHY is she in my living room?

This is a divorced couple that are doing divorce in a way we’ve never seen before. There’s no fighting, bitterness, or hostility. Yasmin and Josiah are friends. They love each other. Now you’re probably wondering why they are divorced, you’ll have to read the story to find out why. However, I will tell you that the journey that led them to get divorced was what I consider an act of self care. 

While I was reading the e-ARC I was full of emotions, namely anxiety, then there was the anticipation, the confusion, then more angst, and finally relief. 
There is friendship, family, grief, love and Otis. I fully enjoyed the ride this book gave me. The writing is great. The story and the characters are people you know and love. I wanted nothing but happiness for everyone in this book they deserved it no matter how difficult it was to reach ,but when they arrived it was chef’s kiss. Now there were a few moments that I gave a side eye to, but that just means that it’s a well written story with some complexity to it. I appreciate how the subject of therapy and mental wellness was an important part of the story but not the focus, it was written with care and thoughtfulness. 

I recommend this book especially if you are like me and are not usually a fan of second chance romance(‘cause what we need to circle the block for🤣) this will story happily surprise you.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Forever for the ARC in exchange for an honest review

CW: stillbirth (past, recounted), death of parents (past), death of a loved one (past, recounted), grief, suicidal ideation (past), depression

I would recommend if you're looking for (SPOILERS)

-m/f contemporary romance
-second chance romance
-mutual pining
-bang it out of our systems
-this is definitely just a hookup

Kennedy Ryan knocked it out of the park again. She handled such heavy topics deftly, all while balancing an epic romance. This was one of the best written second chance romances I've ever read. Deftly handling the complexities of grief, how love doesn't heal all wounds, living in the grey areas, and just so much family.

Yasmen and Josiah in a lot of ways seem like the perfect couple, but when life smacks them down, rather then lean on each other they handle their grief very differently. Now they seem like the perfect divorced couple, with simmering sexual tension and a lot of healing that needs to happen. I adored how both Yasmen and Josiah clearly grew throughout the book, dealing with their communication issues, the impact their choices had on their family, and just how hard it can be to trust to love someone again after deep hurt.

This book is messy in the way that life is messy and just painted things with honesty in the grey areas. I really appreciated how therapy was reflected.

Gosh the sexual tension and passion between these two. You just keep turning the page trying to figure out how they are going to get their HEA, and they do after it being well earned. This is a heavy angst filled book, with a gorgeous journey. I truly hope Yasmen's friends get their HEA, I adored their girl group and just all of their vibes.

Kennedy Ryan is just a powerhouse.

Steam: 3.5
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This book was great. This couple went through so much  and it was a rushed story. The different paths grief can take people. It almost tore this couple apart. I was rooting for them all the way. 

I’m a mom on teenagers as well and i loved seeing the family dynamics and how open this. Ok was about therapy.
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What an exquisite piece of literature. Stunningly written, emotionally tense and dynamic, indulgent and tender and painful and beautiful. I loved this book!!
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This book was incredible though bittersweet at times, Josiah and Yasmen are a divorced couple working through co-owning a restaurant and co-parenting their teens. They are also still very much in love with one another.  Not a lot of 🌶️ scenes in this one however Kennedy Ryan sure knows how to write 🌶️🫢😏 the scenes were 🥵 and this whole book was amazing!
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Phew... this is an emotional rollercoaster of a romance read that's got best of 2022 written all over it. 

Trope: Second chance
Heat level: 4/5
Content guidance: on page depression, complicated grief, still birth, passive suicidal ideation
Overall rating: 5/5
Publication date: out now!

I thank Forever and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy.
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Before I Let Go is the first book in the Skyland series by the fabulous Kennedy Ryan. In true Kennedy fashion, this book is heartbreaking, heartwarming, sexy, full of emotion and makes you think. Yasmen and Josiah are divorced. Co-parenting and running a business together. It's not easy, but they make it work. Over the course of their story, we learn what tore them apart. How they each dealt with it and how they got to where they are now. It's been a long time, but neither of them every stopped loving the other. They just thought they had to move on. That it was the right thing to do. But after a steamy kiss, the right thing to do is hold on. Try to get past all the anger, resentment and see if they can still be the couple and family they always wanted to be. After all they've been through, they are actually better people now. Different, changed, but still have that soul deep love for each other and their family. Did I want to smack a few people? Hell yes. Did I want to hug them and rock with them and wipe their tears. Also, hell yes! It's impossible to read this epic love story between Yasmen and Josiah without looking at your own life. Your own losses. Your own love. It makes you want to let go of the guilt of your past and hold onto the ones you love. You never know how much time you have so why not spend every day with the people who make your heart sing? Who light up your body and soul? Life's too short, go after what you want. Yasmen is strong, capable and knew when to ask for help. She had to let go to save herself. Josiah is something else! Sexy, serious, but loving. He had to learn about himself to understand Yasmen. To feel! Even after all they went through they are couple goals! Their love was jumping off the page and heating me up. Overall, it's one of the best books of 2022! I cried big fat tears, laughed out loud and enjoyed the entire journey.
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This book was so much more than a story about love, this is a story about life. 

Personally, I didn’t love this book, however I can absolutely appreciate that it is going to be a favourite amongst book lovers - Yasmen and Josiah’s story is surely to resonate with many and I think that is something extremely beautiful all in itself.
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I love Kennedy Ryan and I loved this book. It was just what I wanted from her. Her writing and characterization is so good and I wanted to spend more time with all the characters.
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This book is stunning.  I am all for a lovey dovey romance with a happily ever after but I also really enjoy reading about couples that represent the struggles of every day life.   Sometimes you don't know what you have until it's gone and you can see it further out of reach which is what I think happened with Yas and Si.  
Everything that ended their marriage was through the lens of grief and depression.  Kennedy did such a good job of detailing what it was like for Yas after the stillborn death of her baby.  I could feel the hurt myself.   
Si really showed some self discovery and growth throughout this book.  He started with an absolute No on therapy to really embracing it.   I'll be honest though.  I wanted to throw my kindle a couple of times when he started dating again.  In my mind, logically.. there was no reason to be upset but I was pissed.  I could really identify with Yasmen's feeling on that.
It was definitely interesting watching them co-parent.  There were some struggles with the kids that they had to navigate and there wasn't always agreement.
Lastly, I would like to say that it was an absolute thrill to see a story with African American Representation receive such high praises and I hope we get more of this.
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This book was absolute perfection from beginning to end! This was my first Kennedy Ryan book and it definitely will not be my last! Her writing style is so addicting!
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I don't think I've ever read a contemporary romance about a second-chance at love for a divorced couple. This one packs an emotional punch with some serious triggers like a stillborn birth, intense depression/grief, and obviously, divorce. 

You'll feel what the characters are feeling and you'll just want to give them hugs multiple times throughout. 

It also gets VERY steamy at times so you know, if that's not your thing, you've been warned. 

I'm looking forward to reading more from this author and it appears this might be a series according to Goodreads?? If so, sign me up.
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Second chance romances are my go to romance trope.. 

…throw in a more sophisticated and seasoned divorce couple on the brink of reconciliation – I am here for it. This book comes with a punch of tough emotions and TW; grief, depression, postpartum depression, divorce, suicidal ideation. My heart broke for Yas and Josiah, who divorced after losing their unborn child at 36 weeks with a stillbirth. 

But don’t worry though, you’ll also be overjoyed with happy emotions as well. Once these two realize they are meant to be together……..the steam starts a steamin’ (I’m not spoiling – it’s in the synopsis LOL). It looks like this is the start of a series so I am here for Yas’ friends to be next in the series. 

Overall, I loved Ryan’s writing and can’t wait to read the rest of them to come! 

Highly suggest if you enjoyed:
-Seven Days in June
-You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty
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This book is one that will remain indelibly inked in my memory. This is the heart-rending story of Josiah and Yasmen. How they came to find themselves divorced and trying to move on, but still reeling from so much loss and bone deep grief. This is a book about grief, about how we handle it when life breaks us, how we can break each other while trying to hold on to ourselves. And most of all, this is a book about finding the help and healing and finding your way back through the darkness. This book tore my heart in two and put it back together in the most beautiful way.  This is truly one of my top reads of all time.
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