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The Ballad by [Pullo, Ashley]
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The Ballad Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 288 pages Word Wise: Enabled Discography (2 Book Series) to The Ballad

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 951 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gimlet Girls Publishing (1 Dec. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #286,264 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition
Sometimes, just sometimes it takes a simply action to catapult something straight out of the ball park and Ashley Pullo obviously did just that when she first determined how she wanted to portray the characters in this book, because starting at the end and working backwards was an absolute stroke of genius !

The story is beautifully told, richly descriptive and completely engaging.

Each chapter a chance to regress with Chloe and Adam, to the most pivotal points in their lives, the ones that brought them together and has given them the life that they have now.

Chloe is like a thousand women before her, talented, happy go lucky and determined to live her life to the full.

Life is what you make of the events that happen to you on your journey and with Chloe, I could have been reading a diary of any friend that I have, she was just that down to earth – I loved her.

Adam was Chloe’s strength and protector. His love for her was so complete it was beautiful to read. The man was everything that I would look for in a hero and to Chloe he most definitely was her hero. He loved her implicitly and without expectation. The connection between the two of them was just magnificent (oh and did I forget to say it was seriously hot!)

The Ballad will sing to you, it will carry along on its lilting tune and deposit you smiling and replete at the end.

This is a rare find, a book that is as honest as it is reverent.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8fa18840) out of 5 stars 31 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fbc6900) out of 5 stars Someday we'll find it... 3 Dec. 2014
By Christina - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Complimentary copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I thought Ms. Pullo was speaking to me in the first book, The Album. Little did I know, she could capture another stage of my life so eloquently with her latest release, The Ballad.

"I, Chloe Ford, am the target audience for wrinkle cream, weight loss, and poorly written romance novels. I might as well prepare for my move to one of those Adult Retirement Communities…spending my golden years in rayon pantsuits and bragging about my collection of tiny porcelain frogs."

"And that’s when I realize – thirty-five is ten years better than twenty-five."

The Ballad opens with Chloe, about to celebrate her thirty-fifth birthday. She really takes a look around her to inventory her life in the here and now. She has two beautiful children, a successful husband, and an understanding that while she may not be the young, hip girl she once was, she has underwent an evolution to become a different person, one whose life choices have made her the person she is. She couldn’t be the person she is today had she not experienced all of the challenges life has thrown her way. All of those decisions have influenced her relationships with others and each birthday becomes a celebration of those changes, rather than a chance to mourn the loss of youth.

"Closing the door, I step on a g--damn Lego for the hundredth time."

"And there’s my gift, the red, bulls-eye Mecca for every woman in her thirties…Target!"

What can I say? Every parent knows that feeling and Pullo’s use of the familiar again lends an air of authenticity to the book. The characters are real. There are no housekeepers, or drivers, or nannies; they are real people and their experience resonates with the rest of us. This alone makes their story more relatable. I know that I read a lot of romance novels that deal in fantasy, whether it is a rock god or a Navy SEAL, so it is refreshing to read a story that again could easily be my own. Both of the books in this series, at least in my eyes, should be elevated above the “romance” or “chick lit” labels. Labeling them as such seems to discount the ways in which the books reflect real life.

"I tell him about all my crazy French Club adventures and how I always wanted to come back to Paris with my husband – and then I realize, experiencing Paris with the man I love is nothing in comparison to sharing my life with the man I love.
Jokingly, Adam squeals and claps his hands. “Let’s take a picture!” Pointing to the bed and lowering his voice, he adds, “And then we should f--k.”"

In addition to evolving as an individual, our relationships with our loved ones evolve as well, especially our spouses. We fall in love with not only the idea of love itself, but also with a person that we tend to idealize, and when the patina begins to fade as the relationship changes, we are faced with the true test. As we move along the so-called journey of life, we see life through different lenses. First as children and adolescents, then as young singles, then as newlyweds, then parents, and so on. The way that we view things changes over time and the way that we react to those changes can mean the beginning or end of relationships. People come in and out of our lives for different reasons, but it is our responsibility to work to make those relationships we hold dear stand the test of time.

"However, no amount of planning or first-hand horror stories can actually prepare a hormonal pregnant woman for the devastating news that chld birth is an endorphin-induced what the f--k just happened cerebral experience that spans over several days kind of party."

"Before I was given my wonder drug injection, I was examined and cleared by the dreaded latex hand, again. At that point, I didn’t consider myself modest, but did there really need to be seven people in there looking at my v---na? Should we’ve called in a few bored people from the waiting room to have a look-see while we’re at it?"

"Natalie, standing in horror behind Dr. Wong, mouthed dramatically, “Your beaver is huge.”
“Nat, I love you, but get the f--k out!” I yelped in embarrassment."

"“Oh s--t, he has a tail!” I screamed.
“It’s the umbilical cord, babe.” Adam assured me with a smile."

Have I mentioned Pullo’s use of familiar to really tell the story? The story of Chloe and Natalie and their birth stories are quite frankly, hilarious. It’s easy to look back on those times ten, twelve years later and laugh, but when you’re in the thick of it, it is all so ridiculous. Pullo’s use of humor is amazing and the dialog in the book is brilliant. She manages to capture those candid moments and express them with ease.

"“How’s the intimacy? Are you both finding time to connect sexually like we discussed?”
She looks at Adam, and I swear her lip is quivering. I smile and dramatically kiss Adam’s hand, preparing my wicked response to her provoking question.
“Yep, we f--k a lot. And it feels good.” As soon as my vulgar words hit the air she frantically writes in her notebook with a deep frown. Adam lowers his head and snorts."

While The Album left me feeling nostalgic for my 20s heyday, The Ballad is a reminder for us, as women especially, to embrace the here and now. As soon as we get married and start having kids we start to leave a piece of ourselves behind, which is exactly what we see with Chloe and Natalie. We can no longer throw caution to the wind knowing that there are other humans, the tiny ones especially, that count on us for their welfare. We can no longer drop everything and go to a show, or step on a plane for a new adventure. Not only do we lose that freedom, but we also lose parts of our identity. One of the greatest expressions of our sexuality is the birth of a child, yet it is that act alone that also strips us from our identity as sexual beings. Pullo managed to capture that exchange perfectly with Chloe and Adam’s relationship. Like most Americans these days, therapy, either individual or couples, is a way of life. We need to employ others in order to deal with our emotions and that is the case even in Chloe’s fictional world.

"The first few days on medication are okay, and I’m doing a nice job moving through the daily tasks. It’s all about regulating my emotions, and I’m doing it. Almost instantly, my morning dosage of Zoloft changes my fear to nothing. My sadness turns to nothing. My happiness dissolves into nothing."

"When the fear governs the anxiety, it’s time for another pill. The cycle repeats itself until I’m huddled up in my room, dry tears rolling down my face, Sophie wailing and Will whining, and I hate myself. But mostly, I f--king hate Adam."

Real life isn’t pretty. Real relationships aren’t all hearts and flowers and there is nothing that expresses that better than Chloe’s battle with depression. Again, her experience is real and raw and is told in a way that is very genuine.

While the bulk of the story is about Chloe and Adam’s relationship, I would be remiss to not discuss Natalie and Chris. Natalie too undergoes a transformation from single, to newlywed and finally to mother. We also see her come to terms with Zach’s death and how she is able to carry on his memory without being weighed down with the guilt of moving on. In the first book it was Zach that set off the water works and it was Zach again that affected me so greatly. The way Natalie came to terms with her past was so innately human it is easy to relate. Natalie comes across as the loud, confident, woman in control but as she begins to evolve we see her letting down her guard and showing her vulnerability, a sign of maturity.

"“Sometimes life can make you pause without warning – a crossroad of choices, a brush of fate, or a dose of reality. But in the end, it’s simply a journey. And if we’re lucky, one to be shared with friends and family.”"

"Because every great story can be told again and again."

The Ballad begins with Chloe and Adam in the present day and starts a reverse narrative to the night that they meet in the bar. The next part of the book picks up with present day Natalie and moves a little ways into the future. The use of the reverse narrative is incredibly effective with this story. Each landmark moment in Chloe and Adam’s lives is deconstructed so that we find out what decisions were made and what emotions they felt leading up to that event. Pullo again manages to capture all of the emotions; fear, elation, happiness, sadness, and it culminates in a crescendo, a testament to living life on your own terms. The Ballad, much like The Album have taken a special place in my heart as they were both able to elicit both emotion and reflection. If I were to write the story of my own life, Ashley Pullo would be the first I would call. Her use of passion, emotion, humor and pop culture references make this story familiar. Again Pullo knocks it out of the park. From the moment you pick up the book you will be drawn in and won’t want to put it down. You’ll fall in love with the characters all over again. Thank you Ms. Pullo for taking us lovers and dreamers on the journey of a lifetime.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fb3d5f4) out of 5 stars A Love Story - In Reverse 5 Dec. 2014
By ilovebabyblue - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This is one of those times when I'm not sure anything I say about this book will be good enough. I have never read anything like it!

I was hooked in the very first chapter, when a woman celebrates the Fourth of July (which is also her 35th birthday) with her parents, husband, and children. It's a perfect day by all and as the family watches the fireworks from the Brooklyn Bridge, everything is right in the world. This is their happy ending. Except it's at the BEGINNING of the book!

The next chapter goes backward a year. And the chapter after that goes backward again. The story is told in reverse! She shows you the happy ending FIRST, then tells you some of pieces of their story to show how they got there. One of my favorite quotes in the beginning was "We've grown into a whole - we're not just tiny episodes of good and bad." And that is how this story is told. Going back in time, to see the tiny episodes that created their love story, some good, some bad, all uniquely theirs.

I loved this story and I loved the love. It was real. It was sweet. It was true. No abuse, no fist fights, no secrets, no cutting, no damaged souls here. Just two people who fell in love. Oh, and their wacky, but endearing group of friends and family. And what's better than that, really?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fbb40d8) out of 5 stars Gorgeous, Heartfelt, Emotional read!! 14 Jan. 2015
By rebecca wheeler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
A re-read of a 2014 favourite, back when it was called The Bridge. This wonderful story has since had a prologue, extra chapters, and an epilogue added, which ties it in beautifully with the release of The Ballad, which needs to be read first.
A palette cleanser, a departure from billionaires, bikers, fighters and rockers, this is simply a wonderfully lyrical story about a married couple. It starts with a happy picture of a couple in their mid thirties, with children, celebrating her (Chloe's) 35th birthday. Only each chapter goes back in time, and you learn that their happiness today, has been fought hard for, through difficult events and stages through the years. You are effectively peeling back layers to reveal the places that they have come from: normal everyday events like children, births, depression, family, death, wedding, engagement, etc. it has been a wonderful mystery. There is no created drama, everything is incredibly real.
Underlying it all, is this incredible passion and romance between Chloe and Husband Adam. Hot, hot delicious sex scenes, I spent a lot f time admiring and swooning over Adam!! He is such an incredibly strong character, who's strength carries Chloe through some of her dark times.
I'll never forget this story, I highly recommend this series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fa04e4c) out of 5 stars A book to treasure and read again and again! 2 Dec. 2014
By Teresa M - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
One of the things I love about both The Album and The Ballad is that you can read them over and over and over again, and you'll find new things to connect to each time. This is why these books are worth every cent! How many books do you feel like you can re-read over and over again and never grow tired of and/or find new meanings each time? With the Ballad, in which the story of Adam and Chloe is told in reverse, I could imagine re-reading it in chronological order and gaining a whole new appreciation for their story. Or I could re-read one favorite section when I need that feeling of being back with favorite characters once again. It's like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story!

Both books are just about life and all that happens in between. In so many ways, I connected stronger to the books and the characters because of that. Their stories never end. I know them more because I've seen snippets of their lives at various stages over 17 years. And this time, I got a deeper understanding of Adam and Chloe's beautiful love story. Plus a whole new epilogue that feels like a vacation special with all my favorite characters!

I'll never get enough of Adam, Chloe, Natalie, Chris, and Zach!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8fb42be8) out of 5 stars "Every great story can be told again and again." 5+ stars!! 1 Dec. 2014
By Michele - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
"Sometimes life can make you pause without warning - a crossroad of choices, a brush of fate, or a dose of reality. But in the end, it's simply a journey. And if we're lucky, one to be shared with friends and family." ~Adam Ford, The Ballad

The Ballad is the story of Chloe, Adam, Natalie, and Chris. Told in reverse narrative (which I loved!!!), it truly is a journey. Babies and marriage, death and life, happiness and sadness. This book has it all. As I read, I felt like I was reminiscing with old friends. Filled with music and pop culture references, The Ballad will take you on an emotional rollercoaster, through all the ups and downs in the life of an ordinary couple and their friends. I laughed. I cried. I fell in love with these characters.

Author Ashley Pullo's writing is unique, hilarious, and yet heartwarming. The Ballad should be read after The Album - and these books should be added to your must read list immediately!!

"Darlin', our story has no before or after - no sand. And our story is my favorite."

"Because every great story can be told again and again."
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