Cover Image: Before I Let Go

Before I Let Go

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Member Reviews

“I’ve learned to tame grief, though, so it doesn’t run wild and ruin my life. It’s in these unguarded moments that the pain hisses and growls, a rabid beast with its face pressed to the bars. But I hold the whip and chair. I keep the lock and key.”

Before I Let Go is hands down one of my favorite romance books of all time now. I’m blown away. Flabbergasted. Gagged, if you will. 

In this book, we follow Yasmen and Josiah, college sweethearts who now find themselves co-parenting and co-owning their dream restaurant after a divorce two years prior. Despite everything going well on the surface, the many things left unsaid and repressed regrets start to poke through the seams of their “comfortable” lives apart. 

Here, we get a vulnerable and raw look at what life after loss looks like and how we can weaponize our pain when we don’t know any other way. This book is a such a beautiful story of being broken down and getting back up, second chances, and what it looks like when we really, really communicate. This book conducts conversations around grief and mental health so wonderfully, I think my cold little heart warmed up by 10 degrees. I loved seeing black people in therapy and seeing black therapists in a book. As someone who’s a budding therapist, I frequently get very frustrated at the way many books portray therapy. You can almost always tell when the author is basing the characters off of Dr. Phil and not what counseling really looks like. But Kennedy Ryan does an amazing job of showing the true work that goes into uplifting and guiding clients. I don’t want to say more but I will say look up trigger warning for this one. It’s lovely but I think it can be heavy with some difficult subjects. Overall, thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read this amazing book. 

This was my first Kennedy Ryan book but it certainly won’t be my last!
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Whew I will suggest tissue because this book will pull on all your heart strings! 

I’m not going to lie as a married woman it’s hard for me to read books like this, books about the after, books about marriages and what happens when forever isn’t always forever! They scare me so I’m cautious but the gorgeous cover grabbed my attention and the synopsis pulled me in! 

This story was such a cathartic journey! It resonated with me on so many levels and I am beyond grateful that Kennedy takes on such challenging issues and presents them in ways you can’t help but love! 

Josiah and Yasmen have my whole heart! What these two endured and healed from just WOW! Wow wow wow! As I sit and think on how to describe it all I’m left with wow! They have been through hell and back. Through the pain seeing especially Yasmen rise from the ashes stronger and more confident just had tears rolling down my face! 

Be ready for it all, be ready for emotions to pour out of you but ready to fall in love with love!
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This book has my soul smeared on the page, messy, raw, and a beautiful work in progress. To say I saw myself and my friends in these characters is an understatement. The losses, the depression, the long road through therapy back to yourself, the hard work of staying together is something we don’t often get to see in romance and I am here for it. For anyone who has sat in the bottom of the pit and wondered if you had the strength to pull yourself out this time, you’re not alone and seeing our struggle on the page is a gift. For those who’ve never experienced it, you probably know someone who has. I hope reading Yasmen’s journey gives you a glimpse behind the veil. This book has all the lush lyrical prose characteristic of Kennedy Ryan’s work, all the spice, and a group of supportive girlfriends whose stories I will anxiously anticipate. Another slam dunk!
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Thank you Netgalley and Foreverpub for allowing me to be an early reader. 

This book is A-FREAKING-MAZING! 

Kennedy Ryan is a brilliant writer. She writes in a way that allows you to really 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹 what her characters are going through, so much so that you hurt with them, laugh with them and cry with them.  (Y’all, chapter 13…wow! I felt that!) 

I love the way they parent their kids but especially Josiah’s role as a Black father who is active in his children’s lives. I also love the positive message this book brings towards therapy being a useful tool since it’s such a stigma in the Black community. 

There are some books that are full of steam & lacking the depth but this book, ohmygoodness, it had the depth, top-notch character development & great steam. The story is rich, the love is passionate and magnetic- you can’t help but not to get butterflies while reading it! I am committed to checking out Kennedy Ryan’s backlist now because she can WRITE!! She is a definite auto buy author for me now.
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This was one of the best books I’ve ever read. I knew I was gonna love it when I started crying in chapter 2 and didn’t stop till the next chapter hahaha. Yasmen and Josiah are everything!!!! 🥰🥰 

This book was not what I expected at all, I love a book that will keep me on my toes in regards to where the story is going and that’s exactly what this book did. It was filled with so much emotion that I feel it’s impossible to not feel it. I would literally get up, in the middle of reading, and do a happy dance when certain things happened to the characters. The growth between of both the MCs and their children throughout this book was really honestly inspirational to see. She really does not hold back when talking about the realities of how low a person can get when they are depressed and the benefits of therapy and communication in a relationship. 

We all knew I’d talk about it so let’s get into it… the spice was spicin’ 😂😂 the tension was everything I needed and more! JOSIAH?! Yeah that man is… 🥵😮‍💨🤤🫠 that’s all I have to say haha

One final thing to say, Yasmen’s friends?! Oh yeah I need me some friends like hers because they were funny, loving, caring, close and everything I’d want and need in my life. I hope they get their own books especially Soledad because she’s such a good woman with the kindest heart. This book was amazing!!! I got an Arc from NetGalley thank you NetGalley and thank you Kennedy Ryan for writing this book.
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I swore this was my first ever KR book, but took a peek,  and I listened to one other book on the Read me Romance podcast!!   Her writing is amazing-flows perfectly even with flashbacks!  Love books that flip from past to present, or vice versa, to build the story!  We got glimpses of the past, and definitely felt the anguish and pain which led the couple, Yasmen & Josiah (and their kids) to the present.  The second half of the book was my favorite!  I SO needed a HEA!!! I hope some of my fav secondary characters will get books!!!  

FAV QUOTES:
“I wondered if this—-finding someone you can laugh with when everything hurts—-was the stuff happily ever afters were made of.”

“Funny how the words he doesn’t say can sting more than the one he does.”

“Sometimes the people who are always keeping things together are the least prepared when they actually fall apart.”

“And I think I’m most grateful for time, which doesn’t always heal all wounds, but teaches us how to be happy again even with our scars.” 

“…but I want to stop what-iffing my life.”

“There are some days when memories feel more real than those who remain, than the joys of this world.” 

****thank you to Net Galley for a copy of the ebook for my honest review****
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This is the best book I’ve read all year so far. Kennedy Ryan has such a way with descriptive language that, if I were a writing or literature professor, I would assign this book. BEFORE I LET GO is rich and full and so mature. The challenges seem real and the pleasures are *steamy*. I will be talking about and recommending this book for a very long time. Just incredible.
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I loved this book! A divorced couple, continuing their restaurant business, raising their two kids, and still in love with each other after 2 years of separation!

My heart truly aches for Yasmen and Josiah. They made mistakes. They are far from perfect and they are just trying to move on. But that seems harder now than ever.

I feel like I know these people.  Their traumas, their struggles, resentments, regrets, and pain. I have been through a divorce myself and this brought back a lot of feelings. Good and bad. They gave up their marriage and they didn’t fight enough to get back together. Before the story starts, Yasmen lost her baby and Josiah’s aunt who was like a mother to her. She became depressed and failed herself and her marriage.

Josiah still loves his wife, even though he starts dating another woman who works at their restraint Grits. Kennedy Ryan created this amazing couple and this genuine, realistic, poignant, angsty story with a great perspective of the anatomy of marriage, love, second chances, and growing up together.

This is so intense, heart-wrenching, beautiful, and deserving of 5 stars. Honestly, I might need time to process this. my emotions are all over the place and I can’t describe what i was going through while reading this powerful masterpiece.
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I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy and I'm so glad I did. This is her best book yet.  I . Loved. IT.
All the feels. It speaks to your soul. Loved it so much.
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I'm so glad Kennedy Ryan has a long backlist because after reading this, I know I'll never get enough of her writing. There's something about it that's beautiful, lyrical, and that straight up punches you in the gut. 

I felt so much for our main characters Yasmen and Josiah and everything their family has been through. The tension between them was so visceral and raw, I couldn't help but root for them from the very beginning. It was also very refreshing to read about characters with children, it's not something I see in a lot of the books I pick up. I loved seeing the relationship they had with their kids, both separately and together, as well as how their family complicated the very real feelings Yasmen and Josiah still had for each other as a divorced couple. Yasmen and Josiah's "platonic" dynamic in general was so interesting to read about, even as I kept turning the Kindle pages waiting for them to jump each other's bones lol. 

Also, I LOVE how much therapy was in this book! There's so much I love about this book. I can't wait to get my hands on a physical copy when it comes out, and I'm looking forward to reading more from Kennedy Ryan!
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Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan is the best romance novel, I have read all year. Second-chance love is quickly becoming a favorite trope of mine.

Before I Let Go follows Yasmeen and Josiah as they navigate life after divorce. It's not the life they imagined for themselves, but they are doing great co-parenting and running a business together. Dating has now reared its ugly head, and both Josiah and Yasmeen start to think about "what if." They explore the possibility of basically being friends with benefits, but is that what's best for the both of them? Or do they want something more? Follow along as Yasmeen digs herself out of a depressive episode following tragedy and lose, and Josiah as he learns to open up and explore his past tragedies. 

What Did I like: 
Everything! Yasmeen and Josiah felt so real to me. They could truly be a couple that I know in my real life. The discussions around therapy and depression were well written. There needs to much more literature about mental health, therapy, and seeking help in the black community. I feel like Ms. Ryan did amazing portraying that in this novel. When Mark first came to pick Yasmeen up at the house...I loved that scene. The descriptions and emotions were raw and so realistic. Chapter 32 was just perfection! I loved everything about it; so many gems of knowledge were dropped there. On page 329, when Josiah is exploring Yasmeen's body; in her moment of insecurity, he provided her affirmation that she was all he needed. "This body gave me my children, and it will always be beautiful to me." And finally, the symbolism of the wheel! And how Yasmeen and Josiah came "full circle."

What I Did not like: 
There wasn't anything I didn't enjoy about this book. I didn't want it to end. I wanted to savor every moment in this book. To think I'll never be able to read this book for the first time ever. 

I will recommend this book to everyone. Even if you don't enjoy romance, read it because it explores mental health. And not just mental health, but mental health in the black community. I promise, as a woman, you will find yourself in the characters in this book. And you know a Hendrix, Deja, Josiah, and Sol. 

Definitely a 5-star read for me. I haven't read any other books by Kennedy Ryan, but this will not be my last.
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Ryan has been a dynamic force in the romance genre, but it seems as though she has really garnered the well deserved attention with the sudden boom of TikTok. 

Honestly, I’m not usually a fan of second-chance romances, but this was a stellar re-introduction into the trope. Yasmin and Josiah were so dynamic and the chemistry was perfect. Their love for their children stole the show for me. 

An excellent Ryan novel, though these days I know to expect nothing less!
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What does a reader expect from Kennedy Ryan?  I’ll tell you. They expect REAL. Before I Let Go is just that. It deals with a divorced couple who still love each other but are trying to move on while co parenting their two children.  Why they divorced is a huge part of their story.  The how/why/when is heart breaking, but necessary for them to get to where they belong. 

I love Kennedy Ryan’s writing. It’s poetic, sad, funny, interesting and keeps the reader glued to the book. I also learn from reading her books. I highly recommend this book as I do all of Kennedy Ryan’s books.
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I don't even how to start this review because there is so much I want to say about it. Let me start with the fact that, true to her books in the past, Kennedy Ryan does not disappoint in this one. The best way I can describe it is this book has an old soul. There is love, loss, laughter, sadness, redemption, and renewal.  

Yasmen and Josiah lose almost everything to discover any time you love someone, there's always a risk of losing them. No matter what shape that love comes in. I loved the themes represented in the story. Overcoming depression, seeking out professional help, and owning it when you mess up. I ESPECIALLY love how Ms. Ryan uses food, particularly soul food, to demonstrate the bond between the characters. I mean the restaurant they own is called Grits! It just doesn't get any better than that. LOL 

If you are already a KR fan, you will love this work. If you are new to her world welcome, have a seat, and get the tissues because this one is going to get you.
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Before I Let Go by K. Ryan, published by Forever Publishing, is the first stand-alone in the Skyland Series.
Josiah and Yasmen are a couple full of love, hope, plans. But life comes in the way and years later they're parents of two, business owners and divorced. What a ride that is.
Raw and gritty, emotional, heart-wrenchingly beautiful gives this book all the feels, leaves the reader changed too.
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4.75⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I am lucky enough to review an ARC of this extraordinary story provided through NetGalley. 

Kennedy Ryan is an epic storyteller. continuously writes unique, intriguing, and poetic love stories which shine a light on very important issues. You can absolutely tell that Kennedy has poured her heart and soul into this story.

Yas, Si, and their family are a part of an emotionally complex journey of the deepest feelings of pain, joy, and love. The range of emotions I felt throughout this story are so powerfully raw and real. As someone who suffers from severe depression, I appreciate how Kennedy handled this topic and all of the parts regarding mental health in this story.

I couldn't recommend it more and I can't wait to do a reread while listening to the audiobook when it releases in November! 

CW: stillbirth (off page), loss of loved one(off page)/grief (adults and children), major depression (with discussion of suicidal ideation), & divorce
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Before I Let Go is the first book in the Skyland series by Kennedy Ryan. When you marry, the love is supposed to last forever. But when life delivers blow after blow, death after death, grief over understanding, it all becomes too much to save a marriage.

Yasmen and Josiah (Si) Wade tried. Now they are finding a new rhythm in co-parenting two kids and running Grits, their third baby which is a thriving restaurant. Working and living so close together makes them wonder if they truly should have let go. Like magnets, Yasmen and Si are drawn together then one kiss leads to another...and another...and more until old wounds reopen and joy is in jeopardy. 

Let's address the book cover first. Shall I say it is FLAWLESS?! How can you not stop and be intrigued as to the contents within? Then add the book title (a nod to Frankie Beverly & Maze and Beyoncé Homecoming stans). Award-winning, bestselling, "powerhouse" author Kennedy Ryan couldn't have packaged this any better. 

Did I judge this book by its cover? Damn right I did! And I was not disappointed. The supporting characters played a backseat but just enough to garner interest in their own personal stories (perhaps later on). There was the perfect amount of family drama with a heavy dose of healing and genuine love told in smooth alternating points of view. 

I am assuming the next books in the series will focus on different residents of Skyland. Perhaps Yasmen's friends and the Grits chef. Either way, I am excited and looking forward to what Kennedy Ryan has planned next for the new Skyland series. So well done!

Happy Early Pub Day, Kennedy Ryan! Before I Let Go will be available Tuesday, November 15.

Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins.

~LiteraryMarie
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I am so freaking thrilled this is the start of a series because I need to know what happens with Soledad and Hendrix!!!

Wait, back to this book. Here comes Ms. Kennedy blasting through my heart and all of my preconceived notions about second chance romances. Normally I’m not a fan…I usually find them unrealistic. This one though? When I say I was sobbing… 

This book has heartache and pain and hurt done to each other and themselves. But it also has joy and happiness and growth and (heck yeah!!) THERAPYYYYY!!! Have I mentioned I love when people who are hurt or traumatized get therapy and learn how to cope and let go and hold on?? Because that is my JAM!!! I loved everything about this book, even when my heart was breaking.
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This book was dragging for me for the first 55% of the book. The last 45% was really good. I feel like this book had all the components for a great book but I was not personally attached to any of the characters. I do believe the book was more of a 3.5 but I couldn't round up to 4 on here. I would definitely read more by the author. I just wish it was condensed. This is the prettiest cover I've seen this year so far!!
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I read this story more than a week ago and still have a hard time finding the right words for my review. I’ve started at least five review statements. I want to write one quote but I fear it will be a spoiler. Kennedy’s words always have me rereading, soaking in the wonderfulness of some sentences. This one was no exception.

My parents divorced after many years of marriage, and their grown children knew they still loved each other. This story resonated theirs numerous times for me. All the emotions are within the chapters: heartbreak, devastation, blame, depression, survival, understanding, healing, forgiveness, trust, love; but the greatest of these is love. 

“He holds me like forever was never promised and like nothing is inevitable.”

Read the story. It is amazing. Thank you, Kennedy, for another amazing read.
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