She's always had that fire in her. She just needs to find it again.
Strong-willed Adri Rivera nearly achieved her goal of being a professional mixed martial artist, but then she fell in love with a man who knocked all the fight out of her. When their abusive, tumultuous relationship finally comes to a head, Adri flees with their young daughter to her small hometown in the mountains of Pennsylvania. There, she must face the people she left behind and put her broken life back together again.
A hardened Max Lyons can't believe Adri is back in town after abruptly cutting him and everyone else off years ago. Despite the distance that grew between them, he feels compelled to help her regain her independence and offers her a job at his gym. But regaining each other's trust is another matter, made even more complicated by the lingering spark between them. As Adri dares to pursue her dream again, she trains for a big tournament with Max's help, but they'll both have to confront their own doubts in order to rise victorious.
"Anyone who has watched a sports movie knows that the underdog will prevail, romance readers know that love wins, and Christian fiction readers know that God is bigger than any problem; Schober's debut novel is unique for being blend of the three."--LIBRARY JOURNAL
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 18 members
I really enjoyed this book and it gave me a well needed lift to my day. The insight and humour spoke volumes about the experiences and challenges that we were guided through as the audience. I am very glad I read this book and would highly recommend..
AFTER SHE FALLS by CARMEN SCHOBER is a really great read, full of action, memorable characters, and a Christian message of redemption as we see how Jesus transforms those who look to Him and how reconciliation with Him “can lead to reconciliation with people”. I like the cage fighting theme and the loyalty between the fighters and their coaches. I also like the reference to broken people being put back together. Adri Rivera and Max Lyons are two such people, meeting again after six years during which time Adri has had a daughter and married Owen Anders, who abused her physically and emotionally, and Max has opened a training gym in their home town of Sparta, taking over from his late father. There are other interesting characters such as Roman Rivera, Adri’s uncle, who took her in when her mother abandoned her, saw her passion for the sport and trained her to fight from the age of eight. We also see, on the opposite side of the spectrum, bullies and manipulators amongst the fighters and coaches. It is really a lovely read and I do not want to spoil it for you by telling you any more. I am looking forward to more novels from this author. I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Bethany House Publishers. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
Oh my. So very good. I enjoyed every last little page. I didn't want it to end though so that made me kinda sad. But I don't regret a minute of it. Definitely will be reading again.
This sports novel celebrates mixed martial arts, redemption, and romance. Adri returns to her hometown with her daughter to flee an abusive spouse. She is lovingly welcomed back by her widowed Uncle Roman (refugee from Cuba and champion ex-boxer). Max, whom she had a “friends to romance” relationship with as a teen, is resentful of her return, but hires her on to be an instructor at his gym. The first half of the book shows Adri balancing single motherhood with work, as she begins to heal and grows stronger in her faith. Then her dormant desire to return to MMA competition is realized. Faith is connected to the story in conversations, prayers, and times of extreme emotions. Adri and Max meet an ex-fighter/coach and christian nicknamed “Boom”. He adds humor and realness to the story. The author includes glimpses of Adri’s Cuban family traditions in mentions of food, decor, and language. The writing is in third person point of view and you are given access to the thoughts, deep feelings, and doubts of Max and Adri. As a romance, the physical side does not cross certain boundaries, while there are feelings between Max and Adri that resurface while she is waiting to legally end her marriage. The writing mostly maintains a linear timeline with some significant flashbacks to the past. The action scenes of training and cage-fighting are some of the most compelling and agonizing. There are villains among the competitors and they add drama to the entertainment side of the professional fighting culture. This one-of-a-kind novel will appeal to romance lovers, sports fans, and those who love a “prodigal” story. tw and cw: on page and flashbacks to physical, verbal, and mental abuse; mentions infidelity, physical and attempted SA (on page), due to the sport there are details of fight scenes and injuries Thank you to Bethany House and NetGalley for the e-galley. My reviews and ratings are my own.
4.5/5 -- Adri is a young mother with a background in MMA fighting. At the beginning of the book, she leaves an abusive relationship. She picks MMA fighting back up, and this is a wonderful way for her to heal relationships from her past and make a future for herself and her young daughter. I loved watching her gain independence and strength as she trained. She’s the underdog in the MMA world, but the story builds to a major fight in Las Vegas with the top-rated fighters in her category. I know next-to-nothing about boxing and fighting, but I felt invested in every move Adri made during her fights. As the book neared the end, my heart was beating faster and faster, hopeful for the outcome that I wanted. This is categorized as Christian romance but I would go further to call it sports romance because there is a subgroup of readers that enjoy sports-themed stories. Another thing I loved about this book: one of the characters goes through this wonderful transformation from a non-believer to a churchgoer, then to someone who is actively growing his new faith. It is a beautiful representation of what gaining new life can be! I loved this character’s true development over the course of the story, and I loved that he asked a lot of questions and was vulnerable about his doubts as his faith began to grow. Felt very real. There are great themes of forgiveness in here but I think the best thing about the story is watching Adri blossom into a woman with strength and self esteem. Once I started reading, I really didn't want to put this book down at all. Congratulations to the author on a wonderful debut! I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley. I wasn't required to write a positive review. Thank you, Bethany House!
I loved this book! All Adri wanted to do since she was little is to fight in the ring. At 17 she left her small town for bigger and better things but ended up pregnant and married to a fighter. Owen becomes abusive. She decides to leave with Eva and go back to her hometown and her uncle who used to train with her. Max, her childhood friend, is a trainer. She would love to train with Max, but he is still getting over the fact that she left him for someone else. This book is about love of family, friends, and God. It is faith that carries Adri through and allows her to suffer all the punishment to her body to reach her goals. I loved her Uncle Roman, Max, and Eva. Each time she tried to give Owen the benefit of the doubt and allow her daughter to see her dad, I feared for her. As Max worked with Adri, trying to keep his distance, I hoped he would forgive her. The grueling training and boxing matches kept me glued to the pages. A very different book with wonderful characters and the will to power through to reach your goals.
𝘼𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙎𝙝𝙚 𝙁𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙨 Carmen Schober 𝙍𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜- 💙💙💙💙💙💙/5 (yes I did give it a six star because I couldn't help it!!) 𝙁𝙖𝙫𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙌𝙪𝙤𝙩𝙚- When Max takes Adri’s hand and raises it a final time, she feels that soaring feeling again and gives God a silent thank-you, aware that it’s much more than just a win or her name filling the arena. It’s the sound of a broken dream being put back together. 𝙍𝙚𝙫𝙞𝙚𝙬- Adri fell in love with Owen when she was an eighteen year old who was new to the world of ᴍɪxᴇᴅ ᴍᴀʀᴛɪᴀʟ ᴀʀᴛs what she didn't know was that he also liked hitting women and beating her was even more thrilling to him because she was capable of fighting back but chose to submit to him Every. Single. Time!! It's been five years since she's been in her hometown at uncle Rowan's house but now she has nowhere else to go so she takes Eva and runs back home. Max her old friend and flame owns a mixed martial arts gym and has a position vacant but the way ahe left him still hurts so it's better not to talk to her or talk about her but Rowan and Yvonne have other plans.... Watch the tango of hearts and souls as spirituality hinders the joining of hearts but when it's God's timing everything fits perfectly ain't it😉 The author has written about serious issues that people often don't understand "the WHY?! " I mean it's a tough feat to accomplish and talking about spirituality and beliefs is hard but somehow she fit it all inside a neat masterpiece and made it a book!! The writing and plotline is so beautiful that it's hard to believe that this is the author's debut novel!! I mean where have you been my entire life!!!!! The characters are all in sync and the way she takes her characters through tough situations is mesmerizing! So I really hope you don't miss out on an amazing Christian romance it comes out on 2nd November so don't miss it!!
Adri Rivera finds herself in a church for the first time in years. Out of hope, out of the will to fight, and struggling with a mountain of regrets. A Bible verse reignites a spark of hope, lighting the way to her next step—leaving her abusive husband before he kills her. Adri escapes to her hometown in rural Pennsylvania, where the uncle who raised her and taught her to fight welcomes her home. Adri’s dream of one day earning a championship title in mixed martial arts fighting gets reignited, too, despite her five-year leave of absence from the sport. She struggles with learning to live out her faith when dealing with her husband, the community she left behind, and especially her high-school sweetheart. Max Lyons made a name for himself in the fight world, but after his father’s unexpected death he wants nothing more than to retreat from the glamour and glitz of the fight scene. He invests his money in rehabbing the old community center and turning it into a gym his hometown of Sparta, PA will take pride in. When the only woman he’s ever loved shows up in town with her young daughter, Max offers her a job at the gym. After five years of silence, he doesn’t know how to pick up the friendship with Adri “La Tormenta” Rivera. If only she hadn’t rejected him, things wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable now. But Adri’s back in town, and although clearly beaten down by life’s circumstances, Max can still see champion’s spark within her. Will she learn to believe in herself again? What I Loved About This Book I did love this book, even though I’m not a Rocky fan, and have never watched anyone fight (whether boxing, MMA, or wrestling) in my entire life. My previous knowledge of fighting comes from reading Louis L’Amour’s books where hardened outlaws and cowboys duke it out in the bar. Add glitz, glamour, and a fight cage, and you’ll have a fight scene from After She Falls. But don’t let the fight scenes turn you off or turn you away. Schober builds a believable world where sin is strong, but grace is stronger. I grew up a sheltered Christian, but I loved seeing the saving power of Jesus working in people’s lives—even if they didn’t grow up just like I did. A lot of inspirational fiction features middle-class white women like me, giving the illusion that Jesus is only for tidy, middle-class white people. Adri and Max remind me of my own sinful state (different sins, but equally sinful) and how true victory comes from surrender to the One who knows us best. Trigger warnings: relationship abuse, near-rape, and a scene with cruelty towards an animal.
After She Falls by Carmen Schober is not the type of book to which I would normally be drawn. I’m an equestrian, not a fighter. One of my coworkers trains in mixed martial arts, but I know nothing about it, beyond the fact that people punch each other. Tackling opponents to the hard surface of the ring is a very useful tactic when you are seeking victory. But…that’s about it (sorry, coworker Mason). I may have little understanding of MMA, but my parents raised me on sports—football and baseball especially. Maybe the romance aspect of After She Falls tugged at me, but a sports-themed novel? Sign me up. Carmen Schober’s debut novel is a pleasant and easy read. She blends romance, redemption, and second chances in a way that flows like watercolors. Red, blue, and white to create a lavender. Adri Rivera gave up her dreams when she had her daughter, fathered by an abusive man. She takes her daughter and runs, returning to her hometown of Sparta. Max, an MMA fighter himself, was her best friend, training partner, and first love. When she shows up in Sparta, he struggles to trust her—and to overcome his anger—after Adri shattered their close relationship. But Adri needs him, as a coach and as a friend. She may be unknown in the world of professional MMA, but no one should underestimate the underdog. Max is hard-hearted and critical of her being a Christian now, because what God could put her—and him—through their lives’ hardship and heartbreak. In a way, After She Falls by Carmen Schober reminds me of David and Goliath. Adri faces doubt, taunts, and other barriers, both literal and figurative. Max’s soul is as impenetrable as stone. But they face their respective giants and take readers along on their journeys. With that explanation, you can correctly guess where the story goes and how the novel ends. Little in After She Falls is surprising. For me, anyway, it had no shocking moments. I knew its direction from the beginning to the final page. The predictability, however, did not take away from the novel. After She Falls isn’t about the excitement, though of course the book features fights. Schober’s book centers around perseverance and forgiveness, salvation and victory. Each and every character is developed and believable, and they make me think of people in my own life. I loved After She Falls by Carmen Schober, and I can’t wait to read more of her work in the future.