Friday, January 31, 2020

Shall We Dance? by Shelley Shepard Gray

Shall We Dance? (The Dance With Me Series Book 1) by [Shelley Shepard Gray]
Greetings!  Can you believe it is the last day of January?  This month has gone by swiftly.  Shall We Dance? by Shelley Shepard Gray is the first novel in The Dance With Me Series.  It is a spin-off of The Bridgeport Social Club Series which featured Kurt, Ace and Jackson.  The book in that series are Take a Chance, All In, and Hold on Tight.  
Arthur Murray Ballroom Dance Studio Marlton, NJ- Ballroom Dance ...
Shall We Dance? By Shelley Shepard Gray has Shannon Murphy and her two newly discovered sisters moving into the loft above her new dance studio in Bridgeport, Ohio.  Two months later in January, Shannon is welcoming her first private client, Dylan Lange.  It seems that Dylan, a police officer, lost the fantasy football league pool and now must take five dance lessons.  Dylan did not expect his instructor to look like Shannon turning his penance into a reward.  While Dylan is enjoying his time with Shannon, he worries about his younger sister, Jennifer.  She was attacked over two years ago and has finally started to venture out into the world.  Then Jennifer finds a threatening note inside her locked car.  All of Jennifer’s hard work could be derailed by this stalker.  Dylan and his new partner (& one of Shannon’s sister), Traci Lucky set out to track down the man frightening Jennifer.  Dylan is tightly wound which has him to saying some hurtful things to Shannon.  Will Dylan and Shannon’s relationship be over before it has barely begun?  Will Jennifer retreat from the world once again?
Silhouettes Of The Pairs Dancing Ballroom Dances. Tango. Royalty Free Cliparts, Vectors, And Stock Illustration. Image 8834187.
Shall We Dance? By Shelley Shepard Gray is the first tale in The Dance with Me Series.  It is an extension of The Bridgeport Social Club Series, but Shall We Dance? can be read on its own.  I found the story easy to read thanks to Shelley Shepard Gray’s writing.  The story moved along at a swift pace and I quickly finished it.  I love the setting of Bridgeport, Ohio.  It seems that a friendly town especially with the addition of Shannon Murphy and her two sisters, Kimber and Traci.  Shannon took a DNA test and was shocked to find she had two sisters.  After the three of them connected, Kimber and Traci agreed to move to Bridgeport with Shannon who is opening Dance with Me.  The three sisters are sharing the loft apartment above the studio.  Shannon opens her dance studio and Dylan Lange is her first private client.  It turns out that he lost the fantasy football league pool which forced him to perform a penance (Shannon really did not appreciate that word).  Dylan must take five dancing lessons.  I believe his friends expected the teacher to be an older woman with white hair and thick lensed glasses.  When I began reading Shall We Dance?, I felt like I was dumped into the middle of an existing book.  I kept wondering if there was a prequel.  I liked the main characters (Shannon, Kimber, Traci, Dylan and Jennifer) who are friendly and relatable.  I wish the author had taken more time to establish the characters.  As this is only the first book, I am sure we will get more details on Traci and Kimber in their books (I am curious to Kimber’s last name).  While we do learn about Shannon, I felt details about Dylan were missing.  The romance between Dylan and Shannon started off nicely, but then it was shoved aside when a threating note was left inside Jennifer Lange’s (Dylan’s sister) car.  Jennifer went through a horrific incident about two years ago and it devastated her as well as her family.  She is finally venturing out into the world by visiting a local bookstore, Backdoor Books which has a fabulous cookbook section.  I loved the descriptions of the cookbook area of Backdoor Books (reminds you of a 1950s kitchen).  I felt for Jennifer and I like how she handled the situation.  Jennifer’s story, in my opinion, should have been a novella on its own.  I felt the dancing and romance aspects of the story were neglected.  The parts of the romance that I wish were featured were left out (spoilers).  I did appreciate the epilogue that nicely wrapped up Shall We Dance?  I enjoyed the quotes on dancing before each chapter. There is humor sprinkled throughout especially regarding the sisters’ inability to cook.   There is also a puppy named Harvard who provides amusing and tender scenes.  It was nice to see the sisters connecting and establishing bonds.  They were getting to know each other after a lifetime apart.  I thought it was sweet and touching.  Shall We Dance? is an emotive story with revealed relations, a serious stalker, whirling waltzes, bibliophile bliss, racy rumbas, and scrumptious culinary creations.
Incredible niche cookbook store
There is a preview of Take the Lead which is the second book in The Dance with Me Series featuring Traci Lucky and Dr. Matt Rossi. Take the Lead releases September 8, 2020. Shall We Dance? is available through Amazon*.  Shelley Shepard Gray recently released The Protective One.  It is the latest novel in The Walnut Creek Series.  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am participating in the Celebrate Lit Tour for God Hears Her:  365 Devotions for Women by Women.  I hope you will join me.  May the rest of your day be a joyful one.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Dancer in bookstore, reading while dancing. From "Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday," by Jordan Matter.
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