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Going the Distance

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  449 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Olivia Clarke’s fall from pretty, perfect and popular happened in an instant. With her life in tatters, she impulsively accepts a teaching job in the small city of Lazhou, China. Three months in, she’s ready to admit she made a huge mistake. She doesn’t speak Mandarin, the teachers at her school refuse to include her in anything, and she spends her nights watching counterf ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published January 27th 2015 by Omnific Publishing
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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  449 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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I guess Julianna Keyes's books aren't for everyone.
From my experience so far, her love stories tend to be a little more edgy than your usual fluffy romance. Complex yet intriguing characters, complicated relationship dynamics, frustrating but oh so sweet nonetheless.
That's probably what makes them so appealing to me: they feel real, genuine.

The funny thing is, this book's blurb didn't even appeal to me and I'm still not sure why I picked it up in the first place. Maybe because Keyes has been a
Sam (AMNReader)
I noticed on the shelf books like this a bunch of older romance and Anne Stuart comes up.

It's probably appropriate.

Look it's taking me weeks to finish books. I think this might be the first one in a couple (aside from the audio). I always wanted to come back to this with its particularly flawed and asshole hero, its lovely heroine (who I would've liked to see more of in a sense) and its unique setting. It's another commitment-phobe but in a really, really realistic way that is sometimes hard to
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copy
☆ I received an RC via Irresistible Reada in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ☆


Going the Distance was an aesthetically pleasing, exotic, yet contemporary romance that really captivated me from the very beginning.


Imagine two people, in a strange world, trying to escape pangs of their pasts and make a go in a foreign country. What they did not expect to find, was themselves, closure, and everlasting true love.

I was honored to have been given the chance to have exposed to this work by
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
(3.5 stars) Olivia Clarke is a pretty young American elementary school teacher at a temporary job in a school in the provincial Chinese city Lazhou. She speaks no Mandarin, has no friends in Lazhou and knows only a few fellow expats working for a small construction company building a travel agency there. And Olivia has a secret. She's running from something in her recent past.

Jarek McLean works for that construction company. He's gruff, taciturn, doesn't do friendly, isn't interested in relation
Michelle [Helen Geek]
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone. A solid, very enjoyable read!
03/29/2015 --

I'll review this later. Another really good book from a "new to me" author. Enjoyed this one immensely. When you read the synopsis it may not appeal -- it really didn't to me, but she did such a nice job with "Time Served" that I wanted to see what she could do with a story that didn't appeal to me as much. I was impressed.

A bit edgy. I'm getting the feeling this is to be expected from Ms. Keyes. I'm so down with that!!

More later, but a solid 4 Stars.

Happy Reading!
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This book was really good! I couldn't put it down once I started it! Olivia is in China teaching English to kindergartners. She's kind of lonely, doesn't speak the language and has no friends there. Jarek is working as a carpenter in the same village Olivia is in and sees her working out at the gym. Jarek isn't looking for a girlfriend - he doesn't do girlfriends - but there is something about Olivia that catches his eye. I loved the relationship development between Jarek and Olivia. Jarek ...more
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not much to say, other than it was a reread and it held up. Compelling protags, interesting relationship dynamics, great setting, really liked the writing. Still think the ending was a bit rushed. It's a pretty great contemporary romance, though.
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful story about two very flawed, very lonely people in rural China who come together as a means to get some human contact, and then choose each other again when their isolation is removed. This is what a contemporary adult romance should be like. I'm all for the fantasy of billionaire CEOs and disguised princesses (sometimes), but nothing beats this - real people with real problems and real reactions, who supremely mess up, embarrass each other, have ugly fights, and are still ab ...more
RachelW (BamaGal)
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars. I really liked this story, but not as much as the 'Time Served' books. Part of it was the lack of a strong secondary storyline like that series contained; another part was that Jarek was an unrelenting asshole right up until the end of the book. It was hard to find much empathy for him. Also, the reason behind Olivia running away to China I found a bit weak and not particularly realistic.

I did enjoy the read, however; and recommend it to fans of Keyes work.
Pamela / SpazP
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I just glommed the author's backlist and eagerly await any future releases. LOVED this one!!
The characters, the plot-line, the writing nothing really clicked for me and I didn't feel the romance.
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another one from this author that I really enjoyed. I just wish there was a little confrontation with certain individuals to clear the air.
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it
The book was very well written, atmospheric true to life in China as an expat.
As a romance it didn't work for me though. The H was emotionally stunted, as an ex-army interrogator who used torture in his job and even liked it, plus terrible parents, he had every right to be messed up. I truly believe this was a guy meant to be one of the single ones till the end.
Honestly while the H/h were good in bed together and the h challenged him and didn't take any of his crap, they didn't have any fun toge
Alex Gomez
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pleasantly surprised

I had read this author's previous book and liked it and out of curiosity looked her up to find another book recently released. I was a bit confused in the beginning, I thought maybe I missed a prologue or something,but then I got the hang of it and it added to the mystery of why she was in a foreign country. I loved Jarek. When she described him as one of her students, it fit perfectly and you couldn't help love him a little more for it. Great story, I just wished for an epil
Diana Ouma
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much. I honestly can't explain how much.
Maggie Boyd
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Two wounded souls find love while working abroad in this modern day twist on Beauty and the Beast.Olivia Clarke had it all - love, looks, livelihood and lots of likes on Facebook and in real life. She lost it when she made a moral but unpopular choice. Now she's alone in the small city of Lazhou, China teaching an ESL class, hiding from her problems in a school where none of the other teachers welcome her. She spends her nights eating solitary dinners and watching corny DVDs on her laptop.

Julianna Keyes has wormed her way into my heart as an author who can deliver on all fronts, especially with the sort of characters that I love and can relate to. There are no magic solutions to problems that exists between the characters in her stories. Which is perhaps why I find it all so very realistic and convincing. Real life seldom sends your way the variety of men who one tends to encounter in most modern romances. Some of the heroes I encounter makes me want to take out a bodice ripper j ...more
I liked this a lot, but not quite as much as the first Julianna Keyes book I read, Time Served, for reasons I'll detail at the end.

Premise: Olivia (late 20s) is spending a year in China teaching kindergarten to a room of 6-year-olds who don't really understand anything she's saying. She left a breakup and a life that had suddenly gone spectacularly sour to come to China, thinking that she would reinvent herself, be a strong single lady, and generally increase her awesomeness, but instead she ha
Malisa (RomanceBookAddict)
I received an RC via Irresistible Reada in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I really enjoyed this book, I loved the location of this book, I have never traveled outside of the United States so this was a nice change of scenery.

So we start off with Olivia Clarke, she moved to a rural town of Lazhou, China. She was running from her past, literally running when she meets dark and brooding Jarek Mclean. He had questions he knew this pretty kindergarten teacher must be running from somethin
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book and is my first 5-star book of 2015. The characters felt very real and the evolution of the relationship between Olivia and Jarek was paced just right. Not really an adventurous person, Olivia took the plunge and took a teaching job in a small, rural city in China to escape. In China, she was not really accepted by the other teachers and felt lonely. Jarek was a damaged person who viewed himself as heartless and emotionally unavailable. However, he felt a connection ...more
Enjoyable read. This is my second book from this author and while I find her very talented, this book wasn't as impactive as Time Served for me. It was a more subdued romance with a strong story told at slow and steady pace. I really liked the elements but the story just seemed to simmer and never reach full boil for me. It did have intermittent intensity, and Olivia's back story was really good, I just felt it maybe peaked a bit too early and closed a little soft to be as meaty as I would have ...more
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.25 stars

This is the second book I've read by this author. The first being Time Served which I finished yesterday. I really enjoyd this book and literally burst out laughing spontaneously throughout the whole book. [Try doing that at 3am while covering your face with your pillow so you don't wake up your husband lol.] So so good. I just love her voice, writing style and sense of humor. Gahh..i feel like she is in my head.

Would I have enjoyed an epilogue? Sure. But I'm greedy like that. All in
Dec 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this author! I loved Just Once and was so excited to see she had two more gems coming out and this book did not disappoint. Great realistic characters, great chemistry, awesome and interesting plot plus the steam factor good grief how couldn't you love this?? I can not wait to read her next book she comes out with. I'm hooked! :)
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't understand how this book hooked me. I started out annoyed with the characters, especially Jerek, then I get to the end and I'm freaking crying! Somewhere in the middle I started to care, I wanted a happy ending. So, yeah, this book snuck up on me. And I guess I kinda liked that.
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hot-hot-hot
4.25 stars.

Julianna Keyes is becoming one of my go-to authors now
Jaime Arkin
Apr 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
3.5 stars - full review to come
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Wow, I never really expected this would be such a lovely read.
So happy I came across this gem. This was one of the rare books, that you want to savor, not rush to the end. The writing was enthralling. It might come as a surprise, but the writing style somehow reminded me Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. I loved everything about this book: glimpses into Chinese culture, kindergarten theme, the play, unhurried but somehow intense pace of it, absolutely splendid cast of secondary characters. I loved both main characters, and how they changed and developed as st ...more
I bought this book because a) I like Ms. Keyes writing and b) it is (mostly) set in China. And although it does have a boy meets girl, they fall in love, HEA, it didn't feel like a romance to me. It was too detached. I didn't feel close or sympathetic to Olivia or Jarek. And really, there is very little emotional growth. It was fun to read about their experiences living in China. I could relate to a lot of it.

Bought from kindle
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a good one

Ok, I have to admit that reading a romance novel in the third person took a bit of getting used to, but it worked. I sometimes feel like this style can get exhausting but it worked here just fine. This was a very enjoyable book. I read it in a day.
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Julianna Keyes is a Canadian writer who has lived on both coasts and several places in between. She's been skydiving, bungee jumping and white water rafting, but nothing thrills - or terrifies - her as much as the blank page. She loves Chinese food, foreign languages, baseball and television, not necessarily in that order, and will go to her grave swearing that 'ain't' is not a word. She has volun ...more

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“I have to make some signs for tomorrow,” she said, sitting down on the edge of the coffee table as she laced up her sneakers. “I’m going to turn my desk into a store, and let the kids come shopping.” “Yeah?” Jarek found his own shoes and put them on. “What are you selling?” “Oh, the usual. Toothpaste, tissues. Bananas and pencils. Whatever previously learned vocabulary items” 0 likes
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