When life hands you the unimaginable, you can either have a breakdown or a breakthrough.
Paisley who is a successful psychologist runs a thriving practice in downtown Knoxville. Her career is her top priority and she’s proud of all she’s accomplished. Her designer wardrobe and penthouse condo would agree. When Paisley has an encounter with a patient late one night, it forces her to face her past, a past that she has kept hidden from everyone. Answers come easily for her except when it comes to her own life.
Rae is a strong paramedic with a heart of gold who wants more than meaningless hookups that everyone around her seems content with. She’s happy with focusing on her career, running, and tinkering with her vintage collection of cars and motorcycles. She appreciates all she has.
In the wake of a tragedy, the women are thrown together by chance and struggle with the attraction building between them. They’re both aware of the dangers of trauma bonding, but the pull between them is too strong to deny causing Paisley to question who she is and Rae to question every interaction with her.
Can these two women overcome the challenges they face or will Paisley’s inability to break through leave them both broken beyond repair?
Paisley’s Breakthrough is powerful, moving, informative, and heartbreaking and Amber Perez has completely blown me away. Perez did her due diligence by first including content guidance, followed by a powerful acknowledgment, and then providing a moving quote from Laverne Cox. I appreciated all of this because I felt more prepared to handle what was to come in Paisley’s Breakthrough. With that being said, this story includes several traumatic events both past and present which are difficult but Perez handles everything so delicately. She took care to ensure that despite the difficult topics, this book doesn’t get weighed down with negativity.
The alternating chapters are told from both Paisley and Rae’s points of view which allows readers to get a really good sense of who both women are, their feelings, emotions, and actions firsthand. Both women have clear voices, views, successes, and struggles.
The information and insights into the Cherokee culture and heritage play an important role in readers learning about who Rae is at the core. Her love for her people is woven throughout her being profoundly. Paisley’s curiosity is adorable and much appreciated by Rae and her family. Rae’s tattoos (gosh those tattoos) all hold significant meaning for her and are as important to her as her beloved vehicles.
Perez uses small details that really pack a punch such as Paisley’s ringtone for her lawyer, an alternate use for K-Y, Allie and Shay’s swoony reaction to seeing Rae (I was right there with them) for the first time, Allie and Shay’s dogs’ names, and a moving song at the end.
Pros And My Favourite Parts
Paisley Abernathy is one of the most layered characters I’ve encountered in a long time. She was a peripheral character in Perez’s previous books and due to Perez’s brilliance was elevated to a whole new level. Events from her past have caused Paisley to keep details about herself close to her chest, even with her best friend. She’s spent years worrying about other’s opinions of her so she’s chosen a career where the focus is off of her and she can help others. She’s a hard-working, compassionate, honest therapist with a full client list, living in a pristine penthouse until it all comes crumbling down around her through (honestly) no fault of her own. As she’s facing outside forces, a mirror is held in front of her and she’s forced to come to terms with things about herself that she kept hidden for years. As I reflect on her character, I’m in awe of her strength, courage, and resilience. No matter what’s thrown her way, she doesn’t break but instead breaks through.
I’m going to be completely honest here, I’m a little bit in love with Rae Yellowhammer despite being ridiculously jealous of her run times. Not only is she aesthetically pleasing (who am I kidding, she’s drop-dead gorgeous), but she’s humble, selfless, compassionate, dedicated, and incredibly good with her hands. She’s the perfect combination of strength and softness. Rae’s patience and steadiness are exactly what Paisley needs during this trying time. Paisley’s pain became her pain and her support was unwavering. And while Rae is supportive, she also challenges Paisley like she’s never been challenged before. I love the way Rae loves with her whole heart and conveys that through glances, touches, and words.
I took my time with Paisley’s Breakthrough despite wanting to tear through the pages. I was so glad I pumped the breaks because I was able to sit with these characters, their backstories, and their present circumstances which gave me a comprehensive sense of all of the dynamics in this multilayed book. Despite the events happening around them, Paisley and Rae falling in love is the backbone of the story. Their connection is palpable and intense and I felt their emotions. Being a part of that journey was truly special.
Suicide (scene), conversion therapy, religion, homophobia, and reference to childhood sexual abuse are all topics in this book. Amber Perez also welcomes readers to reach out to her with any concerns before, during, and after reading this book.
Paisley’s Breakthrough is the third book in the World’s Apart series and can easily be read as a standalone. However, I do recommend reading Shay’s Gamble and Lexi’s Cup of Tea because they’re both fantastic books.
Paisley’s Breakthrough is a beautifully written story that delves into difficult and important topics. Despite the heaviness of the topics, the story doesn’t succumb to negativity but instead shines a light on persevering in the face of adversity. My heart shattered into a million pieces and then was so carefully pieced back together by Amber Perez. I’m grateful that Amber Perez shared this story; it gave me a new perspective and really made me think. This story shows that traumas don’t define a person. It’s a story about resilience, reflection, acceptance, and at the core, hope. It’s about finding love in the most unexpected places, leaning into vulnerability, and learning that strength comes in many forms. Paisley’s Breakthrough is a story that I will revisit again and again. It’s one that I highly recommend to those looking for a story that will shake you to your core, make you think, and help you fall in love with love.
Excerpt from Paisley’s Breakthrough by Amber Perez
“Do you mind driving? I don’t think I’m up to it.”
Paisley held her hand out to Rae. She was waiting for an answer, but Rae couldn’t focus on anything other than the sports car purring in front of her.
Rae swallowed hard and finally turned her gaze toward Paisley. “Drive? Me?”
Paisley gazed at Rae, confusion causing an adorable smile to light up her face. “Yeah, I mean, do you mind?” “Do you mind?”
Rae gulped. “This car is…”
Paisley waved a hand dismissively. “Oh, yes, it’s my new convertible. You’re fine.”
“Paisley, this is a BMW M8 Competition convertible. I would dare say you paid more for it than I did my house.”
“Huh, I didn’t really pay attention to the price. It’s a pretty blue, isn’t it?”
“She says it’s a pretty color,” Rae mumbled under her breath as she let Paisley into the passenger seat. She rounded the car, staring at the sleek lines and details, then lowered herself into the leather-bound driver’s seat.
Rae ran a hand over the seats in awe. “Doc, is this Merino leather?”
“Umm… it’s white and blue.” Paisley shrugged.
Rae laughed heartily and shook her head. “Oh, there is so much I could teach you, Dr. Abernathy.” She shifted the performance sports car into drive and smiled as the engine responded. “But for now, where are we headed?”
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Series: Worlds Collide
Lexi’s Cup of Tea
Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 979-8873047383
Publisher: Indie Author
Audiobook Publisher: Alyson Root
Narrator: Megan Elliott
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