Check out this fabulous review from Christina at Love Between The Sheets!

Pretty Instincts Cover

Christina’s Review – 5 Stars

If I could use one word to sum up this book, it would be simple. Serendipity.

Serendipity– /ˌserənˈdipitē /noun – The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. A fortuitous happenstance, or pleasant surprise.

Liz leads a life much different than any other young 20-something you may encounter. She is the legal guardian of her older brother Conner, whom, after an accident, has been left with challenges. She is also the lead singer of the band See You Next Tuesday. She lives on a tour bus with Conner, as well as Rhett and Jarret, her two best friends from childhood and band mates and their driver, her uncle Bruce. But there is also Cami, the bassist who thankfully doesn’t stick around long because honestly, she’s a bitch. They’re all better off without her.

Liz & Conner’s mother died seven years previous and she is estranged from her father, the only contact with him being when she shuttles Conner back and forth for his court ordered visitation. The details of her mother’s death and Conner’s accident have always been sketchy and Liz has long suspected that her father was present and foul play was involved. However Liz is unwilling to sit down and speak with her father to come to terms with the questions from her past and simply prefers to keep him out of her life. 

Not wanting to just drop Cami off in the middle of the freeway out in the BFE (regardless of just how rude she is to Conner), they wait until they find a rest stop where they can unload her and she can be on her way. The band is faced with the sudden need to fill the vacant bassist position. At that same rest stop, Liz finds an incredibly hot guy, a bag at his feet and a guitar slung across his chest, looking like he’s in no particular hurry to get anywhere.

“Are you a deranged serial killer and/or rapist?”

I like to open subtly.

“No, are you?” 

Meet Cannon Blackwell. Cannon was left at the rest stop by his psycho-bitch of an ex-fiancée with only his bag and guitar, not even a cell phone. After hours of sitting waiting, it becomes abundantly clear that she’s not coming back for him, so when Liz approaches the “handsome hitchhiker”, it all seems a pretty clear cut case of, you guessed it, serendipity.

Bland, disappointing, and heartbreaking is starting to slowly but surely morph into “huh, maybe there’s something to this clusterfuck called life after all.”

What results is an emotional journey that will have you laughing, crying, and just feeling like your faith in humanity has been restored. I can’t even begin to describe the characters that Ms. Hall has crafted in a way that would do him justice. You just can’t help but fall in love with Conner. At the age of twenty-seven and over two hundred pounds, he has the self-control of a child, so he gets incredibly excited and most of the time doesn’t realize his own strength. He also has exactly zero filters, so he is possibly the most honest character that you will meet. He truly is a beautiful soul and it is easy to understand why Liz is so protective of him as she is (nearly to a fault). Rhett & Jarret make for a whole lot of comedic relief given their roles as essentially Liz’s older brothers. The love between them is palpable and tender. The dynamic you see between them all is that of a family by choice and consequence, not necessarily by blood. They are all fiercely loyal to each other and the dynamic is amazing.

So needless to say, when Cannon waltzes in (of course after passing all of the requisite background and drug checks) and there is an instant attraction between him and Liz, tensions are high between the men on the bus. I’ve read other reviews about this book that have been critical of the “instalove” between the two characters and the fact that at one point in the book, they even call out the idea of it. But that’s the thing…the type of relationship that begins between Liz & Cannon is felt on so many different levels. The whole “making a point about the instalove” is exactly the point. In the movies, in fiction, it’s easy; yet in real life, does it really exist? (And yes, I know, we’re still talking about a book here…)

“Low class is keying cars and begging your way back when you’re not wanted. And a lesbian wouldn’t have sat on his face, screaming around his big dick in her mouth while she came. Guess what I did this morning, Twinkle Toes?”

Of course Liz’s history, being what it is, (forced to grow up far too quickly, saddled with the responsibility of her brother) she’s not looking into starting a relationship with Cannon, and Cannon…well, he was just engaged. She’d just be a rebound, right? When Cannon’s ex finally shows up, jealous of the attention he’s been getting, things get catty in a hurry, and we find where Cannon’s priorities lie. 

But it’s not just a story of romantic love. It’s a story of forgiveness, healing, and familial love. The evolution Liz is able to make from the beginning of the story to the end is phenomenal and to see all of her relationships flourish is heart warming. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of resentment to get through along the way, but the journey that she makes is transforming, and Ms. Hall was able to chronicle it perfectly.

I’ll have the corny with a side of corny please.

I really cannot express how much I loved and enjoyed this book. Let me put it this way, if Cameron Crowe were to write books instead of direct/produce/write screenplays for movies, this would be the type of book he’d write. If you’re not familiar with Cameron Crowe, he is responsible for Say Anything, Singles, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Elizabethtown…all movies that elicit strong emotional responses, both highs and lows, engage the senses and most importantly, have kickass soundtracks. That is how I can best sum up this book.

I’m pretty sure it goes without saying that this was a five star read for me. This is the first book that I’ve read by Ms. Hall and definitely not my last; but I’ll say this, she has some pretty high expectations to fill in my book. Pretty Instinct spoke to me. Maybe it was in some ways reminiscent of my own relationship, I’m not sure but I enjoyed the story immensely and feel better, knowing that a story like this exists. I didn’t really know what to expect when I picked it up and started reading it, but this one is going to stick with me. Thank you, Ms. Hall.