Chat Review: Grip Series by Kennedy RyanStill by Kennedy Ryan
Series: Grip #2
September 24, 2017
Genres: Romance
Pages: 434
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

**STILL is the conclusion of Grip & Bristol's emotional journey. You must read FLOW, the prequel, and GRIP, book 1 before beginning STILL**

I'll be there.
Through thick and thin.
Ride or die.
You can count on me.

The promises people make.
The vows we take.
Assumptions of the heart.
Emotion tells us how we feel, but has a way of plunging us in boiling water, burning away our illusions, testing our faith, trying our convictions.
Love floating is a butterfly, but love tested is an anchor.

For Grip and Bristol,
Love started at the top of the world
On a Ferris wheel under the stars
But when that love is tested, will they fly or fall?.


Technically, we will be chatting about the entire GRIP series: Flow, the prequel novella, book #1 Grip and book #2 Still. We can’t really tell you what’s going to happen here, this was an unexpectedly emotional series and our black hearts are just going to bleed all over this page. 


Q. Three words to describe the Grip Series?

Ali: I have three words. One for each book. Flow is the BONES of the series, the foundation. Grip is the BLOOD. Still is the HEART, the key to making it all of it work. Okay, fuck this. I have so many more words than just three. THIS IS THE MOST RELEVANT ROMANCE YOU COULD BE READING RIGHT NOW. And…you should be reading it. Not only for the romance, for the brilliant perspective on racial tension and stereotypes, or for the heart stopping words Ryan writes in regards to healing, or for the absolutely poetic way she has written these three books. But, for all those reasons combined. You will learn something from these books and hopefully it’s something you can take with you and teach someone else. 

Tiffany: How am I supposed to follow up to that?! Ali you legit just went Iz on me and I’m like stuck on stupid right now trying to pull up the dictionary! Lol. But okay three words let me try… POIGNANT because so many scenes throughout the entire series moved my emotions and forced them to exist outside of the space I gave them.  CONSEQUENTIAL because every action had a consequence whether it be hurtful or helpful, it proved how we all need to be more accountable in this world.  And lastly I think I am going to have to say LIFE, this book is real life with the added benefit of romance.  Grip and Bristol lead a LIFE we should aspire to have, their ever present awareness and curiosity in all facets of life are awe inspiring.  

Ali: You are so right. We should all aspire to live a life as full as them!



Q: Flow while just as vital as Grip and Still set up a foundation and possibly a tone for Bristol and Grip’s relationship, how did you feel going into Grip? 

Tiff: I was excited and oh so nervous.  I felt like from the start Bristol was this unknown of sorts. Grip saw her as this powerhouse and curious soul from the start and I loved that but I think he was the only one. Her parents and even Rhyson (at the time) for a lack of better words just didn’t get her or her motives. I don’t even think I answered this question properly but going into Grip after the many years later I felt “READY” well I thought I was ready, till Kennedy Ryan was like SIKEEEEE.

Ali: Same. For those who originally met Bristol in the Soul series, she was a mystery. She was intriguing, for sure, and you couldn’t help but be curious about her relationship with Grip. But, unknown, she was. As was he. So, Flow was essential reading to get that background and it made me so excited to see how things would shake out in Grip.

Tiff: I just finished the first the first book in the Soul Series, like half ass obsessing is not something I am capable of… I know though, I’m late to the game!


Q: Quick question, on a scale of 1-10 how much time do you want to spend on a rooftop with Grip? 

Ali: 10×10. All day. Every day. No questions asked. That man is sexy. And fucking sweet. Sexy sweet!

Tiff: The answer is infinite, I would like to spend an infinite amount of time with him up there while he reads poetry and does dirty things.  He is filthy, AND I LOVE IT!

Ali: Filthy is so true. His sniffing…fuck. Who would have thought that could be so fucking hot?

Tiff: FIRE! He was so dirty, I couldn’t even deal!


Q. Did Still go in any of the directions you anticipated?

Ali: Hell to the no, man. Nowhere even close. To be brutally honest, I expected more of what we got in Grip. Celebrity and racial prejudices getting in the way of a #gripstol happy ever after. I DID NOT SEE WHAT HAPPENED COMING IN A MILLION YEARS. And even though it was so emotional and I cried (and cried and cried), I loved that Kennedy went there. Brilliantly went there.

Tiffany: FUCK NO!! I am in total agreement with you, while they still battled racial prejudices I was still expecting that to be the main war. WRONG. I loved that you cried as much as I love the book!  You are greedy with your tears so basically it’s like Kennedy won a grammy. The direction she went set her apart from so many books right now, and it wasn’t just the direction but the execution. As hard as it is, I could live in that rawness with them time and time again, that’s the kind of s*d I love.  <- Is that a spoiler? I put an asterisk in the word… HAHHAHA.

Ali: Hahaha, like she won a grammy!! Her execution was genius. No other word for it.


Q: Racism and reverse racism were not issues that Kennedy shied away from in the least and the way she portrayed each side was so relevant.  But she also softened it for us and readers to understand and process it. Was there any one quote that spoke to you directly?

Ali: So many, but the one that stood out for me, is the one Bristol used to make a very important point. “Too many of our American systems are built on bias. The irony is that these biases are often inextricably, if unconsciously, connected to our own sense of superiority. The very biases that make those in power feel stronger, better, actually weaken them. Our biases are our blind spots, and we need others to guide us in the darkness of our own ignorance.”

This spoke so true to me. But, I also loved that when Kennedy was guiding one character with the words of another – it was done with patience and understanding. We see people, in real life, so easily write off ignorance with insults and more hate. It’s no way to change someone’s perspective. Kennedy showed it can be done with rational conversation and I loved that.

Tiff: “…Ignorance is a naturally occurring state. It’s not what you feel guilty about, it’s what you do something about. We are born not knowing, and our experiences feed us information. You limit your knowledge and understanding of not only your place in this world, but the place and plight of others by doing what you’ve always done and knowing only what you’ve always known. Position yourself socially and intellectually to know more, to understand beyond the scope of your experiences. That is how we evolve as individuals and as a society.”

That spoke to my soul and while I know so many of us do what we can we have to do more.  We have to try harder, we have to progressively move forward even if we are doing it singularly at first.  There are so many truths I feel this book will impart on us, I know it opened my eyes and heart even more.  I’m not blind to the injustices of the world but this passage truly made me dig  deeper within myself.  These words I am grateful for.


Q. Final thoughts?

Tiff: Quick to the point… Life and death do not care what color you are, what God you do or do not pray to, the amount of money you have or do not have.  We all enter and leave this world the same way. The first breath in and the last breath out, we may get there differently but it will all happen the same. Love who you want and be who you want, but DO NOT hate anyone for doing that. This book is powerful, something everyone could benefit from reading whether you are a romance reader or not. Also when can we read it again, because I want to see Ali cry! Hahaha!

Ali: Now I’m not sure how to follow that. This series is further proof that humanity needs to adjust our perspectives and opinions of others, but it’s also proof that we CAN. It may not stick the first time, or the fourth time, but eventually…we can learn and evolve. Society may struggle with this time and time again, hopefully in lesser and lesser forms. But as long as we have people willing to teach and to love, indiscriminately, we’ll continue to grow.

Gah! This is all so deep for a romance review. Then again, this is much more than a romance.





About Kennedy Ryan

Kennedy Ryan grew up in North Carolina, but loves living in Atlanta with her husband (tall – check, dark – check – handsome – check), and her handful of a son. Though she knew, like writers often do, that she was supposed to tell stories, the road to fulfillment has been paved with “some of everything” jobs that kept her family eating and living indoors. With her degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Tar Heels!), she has focused on writing for non-profit organizations and even doing some non-fiction ghost writing. Only in the last few years did she start telling stories again.

In addition to being a devoted wife and mom, she’s also passionate about serving families living with Autism. Her son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two, and she has made it her mission to help as many families as possible find the resources and services they need.

I am just as passionate about the REAL LIFE stories I tell as I am about the worlds I build in fiction. Some of these use my given TINA DULA and some are written under my pseudonym KENNEDY RYAN.

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