Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte:
Jenny & Gitte: 3.5 Stars
Gitte: So I was so excited upon starting this book. It had fantastic promise. The two POV’s, the characters and the premise was brilliant. I immediately realised this was going to be a slow build love story, that in itself was the beauty of it. Our main characters, Kay and Chase struggled with the pitfalls in life through addiction and guilt borne out of tragedy. It was really quite heart-breaking.
‘As I stand before you, judge me not.’
I felt for them both during their journey and championed their friendship first and foremost as it was obvious they gave each other the support and strength needed to overcome their struggles.
‘Kay is a sandcastle on the beach, and I’m a fucking hurricane.’
‘I Stand Before You’ is one of those stories that had the potential to be something pretty fab but just fell short for me at the end making it a good read instead.
Jenny: We were certainly grabbed by this book and the premise of the story was indeed a gripping, add to that the fact that you could feel this author was going to slowly build the intensity of feelings between Kay and Chase, my expectations were high and I was really looking forward to exploring the nitty gritty of Chase and Kay’s characters, both had such sad pasts, both had made mistakes and both had suffered and both understood each other.
‘When you’re thirteen you think you can have it all. Life hasn’t roughed you up so very much…..yet.’
This did have all the trappings of a really good story but sadly, it fell a little short for me also towards the end of the book and it really pains me to say that. I’m putting it down to the repetitiveness of some lines (which I know you will cover further into our review) and the fact the author did a lot of “telling” as opposed to allowing the characters to engage me and let me “feel” their story through dialogue and interaction, though this is a personal thing and it may not bother another reader.
Gitte: Chase our hero has not had it easy at all. He’s turned into the resident bad boy after having experienced a huge change in life, added to that, the loss of his father. He turns to alcohol, drugs, fights and girls. Then sadly one night changes everything for him when he gets caught and ends up in prison. How refreshing!!
‘Everyone has a dark side, but mine has the power to consume me…’
Four years later gorgeous tattooed bad arse Chase tries to piece together his broken life and find an anchor to keep him sane. Yes, Chase is a bad boy in the true sense of the word not the romanticised version. I loved this fact, and I loved that we had a guy who’s so damaged and messed up that he actually gets what’s coming to him. I loved his journey on trying to sort himself out and I loved that he struggled in doing so. Chase knows he wants to better himself, his life and he works real hard to achieve just that. I really enjoyed hearing his voice and his tattoo, well it sounded so beautiful and poignant!
‘A couple of feathers fall all the way to my lower back. The falling feathers are there to remind me every day that my wings are damaged and broken.’
I just wish we’d seen more of his struggle rather than the quick glimpses we saw instead. What did you think of Chase, Jenny?
Jenny: I loved Chase. When the story started, the introduction to Chase was raw and had me eagerly anticipating what was to come and I was glued to my Kindle.
‘Maybe the person I was a long time ago would’ve had a chance, but the damaged man I’ve become doesn’t deserve someone good and wholesome like that.’
I wanted to know all about him, about his fall from grace as it were, and what made Chase the gritty, damaged bad boy he was. I did love his voice but again, I wanted to, “feel” his pain, “feel” his love, “live” his story, but it felt as though I was told everything, making me a spectator rather than a participator. Chase certainly was an intriguing and complex character and I would have loved to have seen him fleshed out a little more.
Gitte: Kay is our broken heroine who has also suffered the loss of a loved one and feels an overwhelming guilt complex. But not only that, she’s lost her Mother’s love and her father’s presence in her life. However, Kay hides this well behind a prim and proper good girl façade. Kay is adorable and such a do-gooder and I mean that positively. Everyone loves Kay, but no one knows the loneliness and the state of her broken heart. I really felt for her and rejoiced when some tough girl came out.
‘I face Chase Gartner. The man who has a tattoo that reads: As I stand before you, judge me not. But on this night I am the one who plans to hold a life up – my life – for him to judge. I am the one who intends to spread my sins before him.’
If only she’s applied that tough girl attitude towards her Mum. How did you feel about Kay and her struggle Jenny?
Jenny: This girl had certainly been put through her paces G and my heart did go out to her. Kay really did put up a facade and become something quite different to how we found her in the beginning of the story and her relationship with Chase really was beautiful to watch as it unraveled.
“Baby, if you allow me, I am going to be so fucking good to you.”
I did enjoy this one and I did follow it through to the end because I had to know how it all eventuated, and I really did love the journey the author took us with Chase and Kay, but there were a few grating issues within the story and the “my girl” and “my boy” that you will elaborate on Gitte, really did pull me out of the story which was a shame. I would have loved more dialogue between all parties instead of hearing in hindsight or even reading the internal monologue about what was happening at a certain point. It was at those times I wanted to feel the characters engage one another in dialogue, I wanted to feel the responses and be part of their conversation as it were.
………..”because I am broken.”
Overall I did enjoy this story and the characters, and Kay and Chase showed us that forgiveness truly is divine and that healing, even in the most hopeless of situations, is possible.
Gitte: Now, my issues for why I just cannot give it a higher rating, despite enjoying the story is the frequency of “My girl” and “My boy”, sometimes with the added sweet, cute, bad, beautiful etc. It grated on me so bad I started counting how many times this phrase was used. On just one kindle page I counted six. Now, talk about repetitive, it actually took me out the story and I had to skim over bits because it annoyed me so much. My other issue was the fact that the story was built beautifully as we learnt of why Kay and Chase needed each other, why and how they found their redemption together. BUT the tying up of loose ends was so slap dash that in five sentences we’d solved 90% of the story and it wasn’t very convincing, especially in terms of Kay! This may sound harsh, in fact I know it does, but for me it just had such a huge impact on a story I was really enjoying. If you can look past issues like this, then truly, underneath there’s a beautiful love story with the importance of forgiveness and the power of hope just begging to be heard!!! There is a book #2 but I wouldn’t say this one ended in a cliff-hanger as such.