Monthly Archives: October 2013

I STAND BEFORE YOU (Judge Me Not #1) by S.R. Grey

i stand before you cover

SYNOPSIS:
When it comes to tattooed bad boys, Chase Gartner is the real deal. Partying, engaging in meaningless sex, getting into fights—Chase indulges in it all during his late teen years, thus firmly solidifying his status as a heartbreakingly gorgeous but way-too dangerous-to-trust guy in his hometown of Harmony Creek, Ohio. Then, following one fateful night of reckless decisions, Chase’s actions finally catch up to him and land him in prison.

Now, four years have passed and Chase finds himself a free man. He returns to Harmony Creek, ready to pick up the pieces and start rebuilding his shattered life.

Things are off to a promising start when he meets Kay Stanton, a young woman with a tragic past of her own. Despite a powerful attraction, Chase and Kay are naturally hesitant to become involved. That’s why friendship feels like the safest option. But when passions ignite and love blossoms, a relationship that is destined and meant to be can only be resisted for so long. When Chase and Kay finally succumb to their feelings they realize being together feels more right and true than anything they have ever experienced.

But their love is soon tested. Chase’s wild past still haunts and tempts him, and Kay is keeping a secret that could tear them apart.

I Stand Before You is a journey of hope and forgiveness, coming to terms with the past and moving forward. But mostly it’s a story of two damaged people who take a chance, open their hearts, and find true love.

New Adult/Contemporary Romance genres. First in a series.

***warning: contains graphic sexual situations, drug use, some violence, and profanity***

I STAND BEFORE YOU is available to purchase below
Amazon UK | Amazon UK

i stand before you collage

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.

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, S R Grey

SAVING ALEXANDER by SUSAN MAC NICOL

saving alexander

 

SYNOPSIS

Punishing himself for a horrific past that is not his fault, bestselling author Alexander Montgomery seeks redemption and love—and perhaps he will find it.
Famous author though he may be, Alexander Montgomery is not someone you take home to meet Mother. Seriously flawed, damaged by a horrific past, he’s trying hard to claw his way back to normality. But how can anyone respect what he truly is? His therapy involves regular sessions at Study in Scarlet, an exclusive S&M club.
Then comes Sage. Tall, with black hair and blue eyes, an up-and-coming actor with impossible charm and boy-next-door good looks, he’s the perfect choice to play the leading man in a TV adaptation of Alex’s last best-seller. Even more, he is a man you introduce to your family. Which Alex would do—if he weren’t taken by another man who offers the punishments Alex prays will wipe away the past and make him the person he wants to be. Yet, perhaps there is another path to redemption. If only the solution would reach out and touch him.

saving alexander collage

Reviewed by Jenny and Gitte

 Gitte and Jenny:  5 truly outstanding stars!

Gitte: I knew after reading ‘Stripped Bare’ by this Author that she was something special and was going to end up as a one-click for me in the m/m genre. So I was not surprised that I ended up loving ‘Saving Alexander’ just as much. The writing, the characters, the story, well this book was un-put-down-able, I absolutely loved it. It was so beautiful, emotional, passionate and suspenseful. It had me in floods of tears but it also made me laugh. ‘Saving Alexander’ was extremely well written and the depth of the characters and the storyline, well it was spot on in my opinion.

The journey our characters went on, past and present, their strength and the size of their hearts, well it pretty much did me in. It was quite horrific at times and I had to stop reading once or twice because my heart was breaking. But overall, this is such a beautiful heart-felt love story. You felt the same didn’t you Jenny?

“You are an amazingly brave man. You have more strength than anyone I have known. If anyone can overcome their demons it’ll be you. And I promise to do anything I can to help you do that.”

Jenny: I certainly did G…and then some.  I went into Saving Alexander with anticipated excitement following your enthusiasm for this authors previous work and  I have to say I was not disappointed. In fact, if anything, my expectations were exceeded because this book gripped me from the first chapter and kept me there completely enthralled until the end. I couldn’t put it down, reading well into the night and I have been thinking about it non stop since finishing it. Such was the impact the story and the characters had on me. The writing was flawless, the story was heartbreaking , evocative, passionate, sad and extremely beautiful and this author really does possess a talent for painting a picture for the reader with her words.

“Do you really want to hear all the sordid details of my little life? Remember, sometimes you get what you ask for.” – Alex
“Yes, I want to hear.” Sage

I “felt” every single moment of  the friendship,  torment, loss, love ,pain and the complexities of healing such deep emotional scars. I shared every feeling with Sage and Alex and I was there with them for each and every moment. Sage and Alex, two characters whom I will never forget.

Gitte: So we meet Alex, a famous and successful Author who comes across all mysterious, composed and polished. This façade hides a broken and damaged man who’s had an absolute tragic and horrifying life. Alex strives for normality and struggles with any type of relationship. He’s trying to overcome his past the best way he can through therapy and a man named Eric.

‘If he let the memories in he’d go crazy.’

Eric terrified me on so many occasions, hurting and forcing our lonely Alex beyond what this gorgeous, funny, sweet and passionate man deserved or truly needed. Alex’s past still very much lives in his present and despite harbouring feelings for a man who was the inspiration for his famous book character, he feels completely unworthy and knows his ‘relationship’ with Eric will always be the breaking point.

‘He was simply a paying customer with a set of rules that his “Principal”, Eric, would enforce..’

Alex hides his past well from everyone, no one knows where he came from and who he truly is. Seriously this man had my heart in his hands and I fell in such love with him.

‘I’m a fucked up human being and I’ll never be normal….”

He sure was something special wasn’t he Jenny, those eyes…sigh…?!

Jenny: Oh Gitte, I loved both these men for so many reasons.  Tortured, beautiful self-deprecating Alex who had such a horrendous and painful past and who still relives it daily and whose method of coping tore at me. This man had built up walls and his misdirected self loathing broke my heart.

“I just want to be normal.” – Alex

Alex, a man who had to overcome such adversity was both brave and inspiring.  The unraveling of Alex’s story was painful to read and had me in tears, I had to take stop and take breaths a couple of times before reading on. His recounting of his story undid me, I felt every intense and moving moment of his despondency and I cried with him and for him.

“Please don’t give up on me”. – Alex

This author enabled me to experience every ounce of the desolation and despair felt by Alex as he fought the internal battle within himself and I cherished every ounce of the love and devotion offered to him by Sage.  Don’t even get me started on Eric. I despised that man with every fibre of my being. He disgusted me.

Gitte: Then we have Sage, the gorgeous and sexy actor who’s loved and lusted after by many, gay or straight. This guy can charm the pants of the most reluctant admirer, no question. Sage is funny and kind, sweet and sexy. His heart is huge and when he falls he really falls. He pushes past even the hardest relationship boundary despite being a man who’s been hurt in the past and who’s not exactly had an easy life either, suffering a great loss as a teenager.

Sage gets the role in the upcoming TV adaptation of Alex’s books. Upon meeting Alex in person our Sage is immediately attracted and found wanting the creator of his TV character.

‘What is it about this man that brought out the man-slut in him?’

The chemistry and attraction between Alex and Gage is so intense and beautiful. I felt it and I completely understood and believed it. They were well and truly soul mates, giving each other themselves fully and completely.

“He’s driving me crazy…He’s funny, he’s pretty cute and he’s sexy as hell. I hardly ever think about anything bad when I’m with him. He makes me laugh….” – Alex

When Alex gets the guts to let Sage into his past I broke down. This man showed such trust and Sage’s reaction, well…I had tears. The tenderness and love, the compassion and understanding. It blew me away.

“You make me feel whole again….You’re my saviour.”

‘Saving Alexander’ has everything you could wish for. It’s a dangerous read emotionally as you’re taken on a scary and passionate ride where you meet some pretty beautiful and special characters and see just exactly what love is capable of conquering!

I never wanted to call ‘Chrysippus’ nor did I want to call ‘Tallulah’. LOVED this story…LOVE this Author!

Jenny:  Blushing, sexy, stoic Sage with the cheeky persona  who wore his heart on his sleeve….. I absolutely adored him. What a perfect ally this man was for Alex. This man would suppress his own feelings and hurt for the betterment of Alex.  Where Alex saw weakness and loathing in himself, Sage saw strength and beauty.  These two men complimented each other and they both completely stole my heart.

“All I see is one amazingingly strong and sexy man who just wants to make a life for himself….” – Sage

The passion, the heat, the love, the pain and the connection between these men was spine tingling and I wholeheartedly agree Gitte that  Saving Alexander was everything I had hoped for and more…much, much more. My heart was in my mouth at times as I anticipated moments I knew would crush me and the moments of suspense had my stomach in knots.

This intense, passionate, moving, sexy, and deeply emotive story is one that will stay with me. Like you G, this author has definitely earned a place on my 1Click list! Are there enough superlatives for this book? Let me try….Outstanding, magnificent, suspenseful, heartbreaking, emotional, beautiful…..superb. A definite must add for those TBR’s.

“I think I just want to hold you close and go to sleep and forget all this craziness for a while.”

 

SAVING ALEXANDER
Amazon us || Amazon uk

saving alexander

 

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Filed under 5 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, Susan Mac Nicol

SWEET HOME by TILLIE COLE


sweet home

SYNOPSIS

At age twenty, Molly Shakespeare knows a lot.

She knows Descartes and Kant.

She knows academia and Oxford.

She knows that the people who love you leave you.

She knows how to be alone.

But when Molly leaves England’s grey skies behind to start a new life at the University of Alabama, she finds that she has a lot to learn — she didn’t know a summer could be so hot, she didn’t know students could be so intimidating, and she certainly didn’t know just how much the folks of Alabama love their football.

When a chance encounter with notorious star quarterback, Romeo Prince, leaves her unable to think of anything but his chocolate-brown eyes, dirty-blond hair and perfect physique, Molly soon realises that her quiet, solitary life is about to dramatically change forever…

Mature New Adult novel — contains adult content, highly sexual situations and mature topics. Suited for ages 18 and up*

sweet home

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

J&G 3.5 Stars

Jenny:  Well, if you’re looking for a book to shut yourself away and escape into a somewhat “fairy-tale” world then Sweet Home might just be the book for you.

I say “fairy-tale” because for me, parts of the story were a  tad unrealistic and over the top, the drama was a bit exaggerated in places, but overall this was a sweet, witty, at times quite sad romance with the required angst set against the backdrop of college life in Alabama between a sweet English girl and a sometimes volatile yet loving American quarterback. Yep, if you like your romance with a heavy dose of sweet and sexy, this one is for you.

“Be patient with him, care for him, treasure him….He deserves it.”

We loved Eternally North by this author and were happy to see that  same warm humour was present in this book though Sweet Home is a lot more dramatic than North.  Do you agree Gitte?

Gitte: Absolutely Jenny. Upon starting I thought I wasn’t going to get on with Sweet Home as I’m not a huge fan of insta love and also I wasn’t quite sure or even convinced of the intense attraction and the inferred clichés. So yes, you are spot on when you use the word fairy-tale because putting aside the obvious fact that this is a modern day Rome & Juliet it was just that, a fairy-tale. It’s every young girls dream. The gorgeous prince falling in love with the ugly duckling and living happily ever after. Throw in some grit and modern day heart breaking tragedy and you have Sweet Home. I have to say I loved the setting and the sports theme. Being Danish/British, this is like crack to me as I swoon at the Southern accent and I love the rituals and passion that comes with the football.

“Hey, Mol.”

“Hey, you.”

“You gonna give up that sweet kiss?”

“If that’s what you want.”

“It most definitely fuckin’ is.”

I loved the previous work by this Author so no, I wasn’t disappointed as such as the sense of humour and the writing was yet again brilliant.

“Whatever, darlin’, you won’t be thinking of studying when your ankles are wrapped ‘round some stud’s neck as he wears you like a necklace, tickling your belly button from the inside!”

I’m not sure though that this time the story was as good, it was as you said, just that bit too unrealistic overall for me too. Saying that, I was unable to put the story down after the half-way point and had to finish it in one sitting!

Jenny: Oh that Southern accent was totally swoony and like you I couldn’t put it down either! There were so many questions I needed answered! We meet 20 year old Molly who is a delight. She lacks confidence, but has an extremely gifted intellect and pretty much keeps to herself.  Molly has truly known pain, sadness and loneliness in her life and certainly had to grow up fast.  She takes off to Alabama to attend College and this is where she meets 21 year old Romeo, the gorgeous man whore who doesn’t do relationships and has a hard time communicating his feelings. .

“Intensely fuckable! You wanna see him on the football field…Christ, it’s something!”

These two couldn’t be more opposite. Molly, the reserved brainiac, Romeo the Quarterback and town hero. Molly, who feels she’s quite ordinary, though we know there’s a gorgeous butterfly waiting to break out of that cocoon, Rome, who is  as hades. But there is an instant spark between them; a meeting of souls Romeo knocks Molly for a sixer and vice versa.  She’s smitten and the feeling is mutual.  Romeo was such an intense character. I will say I found his domineering ways a little uncomfortable at times though I did understand his reasoning and my heart really did go out to this guy who had been devoid of love in his life and had so many issues.

“I like the way you are with me. I like me when I’m with you. I feel like I could tell you anythin’, that I could bear my fuckin’ black soul. You make me feel…well…you know…You get me?” – Romeo

They have something that bonds them together, something that calls to each other deep within. They see the pain and suffering in each other and together these damaged souls seem to fit. All is right when they’re together but these two have mountainous obstacles to overcome and some are quite horrific.

Gitte: So opposites attracts, that certainly couldn’t have been clearer than in this case. I loved Molly, though I do have to say, who seriously wears orange crocs in public at her age? Molly is a pretty, sweet and intelligent girl who’s had such a tragic childhood. She has no self – esteem as such but she certainly does not lack in the strength of her convictions. She runs for fear of her heart being broken, a mark of her past, which makes her very lonely and unable to fully give herself to a person. I completely understood her issues and really felt for her. The journey she takes in Sweet Home is so bloody sad yet heart-warming too.

“I get so lonely that at times, I literally think it might kill me.”

As for Romeo, he was your stereotypical bad boy jock. He was, in the cheesy term I hate, man about campus, the guy everyone wanted to be and all the girls wanted to shag.

Rome was obviously one of those guys – a player…heartbreaker…every inch the typical bad boy. With looks like that, it wasn’t exactly surprising.’

He was passionate, protective and had a real thoughtful and vulnerable side. Despite not understanding his instant love for our Molly as the pairing is so out of left side, I did get there in the end. Romeo is INTENSE, but I got that too, once his past is explained. I wanted to cry for him and his childhood.

Molly and Romeo make sense, when you break it down and look at what made them the people they are today, you understand what they offer each other. You understand their love and the calming effect they give one another.

“I like the way you are with me. I like me when I’m with you….”

Jenny: Ah yeah, the orange crocs were an issue for me too haha.  Molly and Romeo certainly do make sense and as the story progresses you understand their love.  I would have liked a little more insight into what made Romeo tick.  This was a sweet take on Romeo and Julies with very sad undertones.  This story of boy meets girl, love abounds despite the odds, despite family interference and personal tragedy, all set against a college backdrop.

Maybe I’m not as damaged as I thought.”

It was passionate, funny, sad and swoony and provided the perfect escape.  What did you think of Sweet Home Gitte?

Gitte: Well, both Molly and Romeo pissed me off at various points of this story but overall I thought they were good characters. I would have loved to have had more in Romeo’s POV and not just the small chapter at the end. I think that would’ve made the journey even more heartfelt and intense. Saying that though, I really felt for them and it was a very addictive read once we hit that halfway mark. Yes, it was a bit unrealistic and very fairy-tale like, but for readers wanting that swoony escape I think this is definitely an easy and sweet read! Especially if you’re like me and swoon at the Southern accent and get all excited about sport themes!

“Don’t run from us. Just….don’t run.”

 


  THE SWEET HOME SERIES by TILLIE COLE

Sweet Home Series

 Sweet Home Book One : amazon us | amazon uk | our review
 Sweet Rome Book #1.5 : amazon us amazon uk | our review

  * * * *    * * * *

SWEET HOME / CARILLO BOYS SERIES by TILLIE COLE

Carillo Brothers

 Sweet Fall Book#2 (Carillo Boys #1) : amazon us | amazon  uk | our review
♥ Sweet Hope Book #3 /Carillo Boys #2 : amazon us  amazon  uk | our review
Sweet Soul Book #4 / Carillo Boys #3 : amazon us | amazon uk 

✦     ✦     ✦

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Filed under 5 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, Tillie Cole

BULLET TO THE HEART (No Mercy Series #1) by LEA GRIFFITH

bullet to the heart

SYNOPSIS

She was born to love then taught to kill. She has become everything but is no one.

Known only as Bullet she was long ago forced to shed the name her parents gave her. Changed, molded and trained to kill with sharp-shooting efficiency she is one of The Collective’s most valuable assets. In a cadre of killers, Bullet is death waiting but her time for vengeance has come.

He was loved and then he lost. He has become a hunter in search of revenge.

Everything was taken from Rand the day a bullet ended the lives of his beloved wife and daughter. He has searched for their killer seven long years and may have her in his hands. Rand has suffered but now the time has come to make The Collective pay or die trying.

Joy and sorrow are two sides of the same coin. Vengeance draws them together but before all is said and done they will learn love can either break you or make you stronger.

bullet to the heart collage

Reviewed by Jenny and Gitte

Gitte: 5 Suspenseful and Sexy Stars
Jenny: 5 What she said ^^^

Gitte: So wow, this was different….different in the most thrilling, dark, heart-breaking and sexy passionate way. Yeah, this book had EVERYTHING! What a find Jenny!! What a truly addictive fast paced story that takes the reader through every emotion possible, as you slowly break down from what’s unfolding in front of your eyes. I feel like I’ve been on one hell of an exhausting ride that had my heart and pulse racing for so many reasons. I found this to be an extremely visual story which is purely down to excellent writing and fantastic characters.

“I am nothing. No one.” – Bullet

‘Bullet to the Heart’ blew my mind and I loved every single minute spent reading, hating any interruption life threw at me. It’s very dark and disturbing and at times some scenes make for uncomfortable reading but the rawness of emotion is overwhelmingly powerful and I just could not put it down.

The heroine is so kick arse I have a serious girlie crush on her, though her story made me cry, and the hero, well he’s bloody lush. All the other characters played their part and the story was intense, intriguing and passionate. Seriously, I bloody LOVED it!

‘Let not your enemy know you. Let him feel you as you take the breath from his chest.’ – Joseph Bombardier

I know you felt the same Jenny, because we couldn’t stop talking about it!

Jenny:  We’ve certainly burnt up the phone lines discussing Bullet to the Heart that’s for sure! Gitte, I seriously don’t think I skipped one single word in this book. I was enthralled from start to finish and didn’t come up for air and yes…god help anyone who sought to interrupt my reading time! That’s why takeaway menus were invented! No way was I going to miss a minute of the suspense, intrigue, heat and gahhh the emotion. I cried a few times in this book and some scenes brought me to my knees.

‘Seven years he’d waited for this opportunity. Seven fucking years. “It would too easy, wouldn’t it, Bullet?” –  Rand Beckett

I don’t think I exhaled until I read the last word.  My stomach was in knots, my heart was racing (from the suspense and the heat I might add) Wow! And here we were thinking the synopsis knocked our socks off….nothing could have prepared us for what was contained inside!

“Tell me, are you willing to beg?”  – Rand
“I don’t beg…” – Bullet
“You will” – Rand

It had everything that’s for sure. Suspense by the truckload, a hero to die for, a heroine who was kick arse but whose vulnerability made me ache for her and every single character intrigued me.  I absolutely loved Bullet and yes…I admit to have a great big girlie crush on her too.

‘How could a woman who looked so damn vulnerable be so deadly?’

This was such a different read and hands down a real winner!

Gitte: Right, so we have Bullet our female lead. She is a detached and cold killer who has had such a tragic and disturbing life it had me in floods of tears not only for her but also her ‘sisters’. I got chills and at times I felt sick to my stomach as her training/childhood was uncovered. She was taught not to feel, be seen or heard or it would have dire consequences. Bullet does not break. Her strength is immeasurable.

“I was formed long ago out of bone, blood, death, and the tears of a small child. Nothing you do can break me.” – Bullet

Bullet is a weapon, the most prized asset to the criminal organisation ‘The Collective’, belonging to a band of ‘sisters’, the elite assassination team, and her life has been conditioned to kill. The fact that this girl has literally been to hell and back and is still of sound mind and able to feel is just amazing. Without doubt, Bullet is the most kick-arse heroine I have ever come across and I am in awe of her.

“You were my target….But I never kill good men,…You were the beginning for me on this path to redemption.” – Bullet

She now lives for vengeance and the only emotion she lives with is responsibility for those who suffered alongside her under the hand of Joseph Bombardier the leader of The Collective and the definition of pure evil. Yet what this girl goes through, how she survives and what this plan of action puts her up against, the amazing thing is how she starts to truly feel.

“I don’t dream Mr. Beckett, I remember…” – Bullet

The path of the adult Bullet becoming who she was before her tragic life began is quite simply heart-breaking yet breath-taking also. Bullet believes she’s no one, she does not truly exist. She has nothing to offer anyone other than her life when it most counts.

Oh how I cried for Bullet Jenny!!

Jenny:  OMG I was sobbing so many times for this woman.  Her treatment at the hands of such a cruel and viscous man and corporation killed me.

“You wanted me to feel pain. I feel pain.” – Bullet

Some scenes were difficult to read but I was so engrossed, I didn’t want to miss a thing and I felt so much for this woman who was such a contradiction.

“Bodies are tools, easily controlled by strong minds..” Bullet

She was delicate yet strong, pained yet deadly, vulnerable yet cold.  She was absolutely kick arse and my heart ached for this beautiful woman who had certainly lived a devastatingly sad existence.

“Don’t do this to me.” – Bullet

Witnessing Bullet the assassin was heart stopping. Watching Bullet the woman, evolve was sensual, passionate and beautiful.  I loved her. She broke me and she awed me!

Gitte: Now, as for Rand Beckett, our hero; the hunter, well he was just gorgeous, lush actually. He’s a man hell bent on revenge for the death of his loved ones and is placed in the path of our Bullet. Their lives are interwoven but from opposite sides of the spectrum. Beckett is a good man, the leader of Trident which was set up to defeat and dismantle The Collective.  He inadvertently got a ‘free-pass’ and when his path crosses with Bullet’s their lives change in so many ways. Some amazingly beautiful and emotional, some violent and quite horrific.

‘This man would be the one who broke her.’ – Bullet

I loved Rand, he was completely bad arse yet he had a pure heart and a connection with Bullet that was beyond his control which showed his caring and loving side. This man had a way about him that had me swooning one minute and raging the next. He was a brilliant character!

‘How fucking dare she make him feel after seven years of nothing?’ – Rand

Do you agree Jenny?

Jenny:  Do I agree?  YES!!! Where do I start with Rand Beckett.  Wow, wow, wow! I loved this guy.  If you need someone to have your back you’d want this ex military man on your side. Fearless, passionate, easy on the eye, deadly, yet possessing a beautiful heart, this man has lived his fair share of pain and is hell bent on a revenge that is eating him up.  This guy sure had nine lives and had dodged a few bullets.

“I want you to suffer.” – Rand
“I have suffered my entire life Mr Beckett.”  – Bullet

The developing relationship between Rand and Bullet had me alternatively swooning and sitting in the freezer. These two had a pull to each other that was tangible.  I found Rand to be such a thrilling character, even if there were a couple of times I wanted to thwack him on the forehead.

‘Somehow, someway this woman eased that part of him that had hungered for so long.’ – Rand

Bullet To The Heart was one hair raising, spine tingling, heart stopping, adrenaline pumping journey and I swooned, I cried, my heart pumped, my stomach twisted , my heart ached and I put my life on hold until I finished and guess what?  I loved every single minute of it!! This author presented a story so vividly told that I was able to live every minute. I want more!!!!!!

“Tell me, Bullet, who the fuck taught you these things? Who fucking hurt you?” – Rand

Arrgghhh I need book two now! I tell you one thing G, Arrow to the Soul will be up there as one our most anticipated reads for 2014 that’s for sure.  Bring it on! Can’t wait!! The story continues…………

Gitte: I have to say that I loved everything about this story and I can’t wait to get the next book in this series! Without spoiling it, I suppose you could say there is no end as such and I’m going to hazard a guess that the ‘fight’ will continue till the end of the series. However, as far as Bullet and Rand is concerned I was left satisfied. What a ‘fan-bloody-tastic’ read this was!!

‘Women were universally the more vicious gender. Cross a woman and hell had no fury to compare to her rage….’ – Rand

About The No Mercy Series
(Each book is about a different character but should be read in order.)

Bullet, Arrow, Bone & Blade
Turn your back, but you may live to regret it. 

Four women, weapons of a war they didn’t begin. A bond forged in hell, each would die to protect the others. Until they’re separated and must fight the forces that seek to destroy them. To find their way, they will give any piece of themselves to the battle. Raised on a mother’s milk of hate and revenge, it would take a love stronger than time to bring them back from the edge.

♥ ♥ ♥

THE NO MERCY SERIES by LEAH GRIFFITH

No Mercy

♥ BULLET TO THE HEART – BOOK ONE
(Our 5 Star Review)
Amazon US || Amazon UK 

♥ ARROW TO THE SOUL – BOOK THREE
(Our 5 Star Review)
Amazon US || Amazon UK 

♥  BONE DEEP – BOOK THREE
Amazon US || Amazon UK 

♥ KISS OF A BLADE – BOOK FOUR
To be published

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Filed under 5 Stars, Lea Griffith, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny

MAKING FACES by AMY HARMON

making faces

 

SYNOSPIS

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.
Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

making faces collage

From Making Faces by Amy Harmon

‘If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?
Does he make the legs that cannot walk and eyes that cannot see?
Does he curl the hair upon my head ’til it rebels in wild defiance?
Does he close the ears of the deaf man to make him more reliant?

Is the way I look coincidence or just a twist of fate?
If he made me this way, is it okay, to blame him for the things I hate?
For the flaws that seem to worsen every time I see a mirror,
For the ugliness I see in me, for the loathing and the fear.

Does he sculpt us for his pleasure, for a reason I can’t see?
If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?’

 i will wait for you

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

Jenny: 5++++ Powerful and moving stars
Gitte:  5++++ Emotional and inspiring stars

Jenny:  We fell in love with Amy Harmon’s prose in A Different Blue and were eagerly awaiting the release of Making Faces. Whilst we hoped we would love this book, what we didn’t expect was to not only love it but to experience the profound impact this story would have on us. It was an achingly beautiful journey, powerfully told and one that won’t be forgotten. Ever.

“Thing about it. There isn’t heartache if there hasn’t been joy. I wouldn’t feel loss if there hadn’t been love.”

Each character was imperfectly perfect in their own special way and I don’t think there was a time in Making Faces when my heart wasn’t either wrecked or soaring. Each word was so vividly beautiful that I could recreate each scene in my head as it played out. The imagery used by Amy Harmon was flawless and I most certainly cried throughout, both with happiness, awe and sadness. I was in awe of such brilliant storytelling and such uniquely rich and inspiring characters who taught us so much.

“I’ve often thought that beauty can be a deterrent to love.”
“Why?”
“Because sometimes we fall in love with a face and not what’s behind it.”

This story about finding what’s exceedingly beautiful inside a person,  about loss, pain, triumph and love is without a doubt up there as one of my most special reads ever, and I mean EVER!  What about you G?

Gitte: I actually struggle to find the words to adequately describe just what I felt reading ‘Making Faces’. If I say this is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read, yes that’s EVER READ it wouldn’t even do it justice.

“Victory is in the battle.”

I sobbed through the whole book. It didn’t cease as the tears flowed freely, be it out of pure gut wrenching sadness, high flying elation or pure inspiration caused by the perfection that is Amy Harmon’s writing. This Author is pure class, not a word is superfluous nor wasted. Each serves a purpose and burrows deep within your heart, never to leave. I wish and hope this is the one book everyone buys this year as it is without doubt one of the most beautiful, poignant and emotional stories to be released this year.

“True beauty, the kind that doesn’t wash off, takes time. It takes pressure. It takes incredible endurance…”

Jenny:  Going into Making Faces, all we knew was what we had gleamed from the synopsis and went in with no preconceived opinions. On that note we implore reviewers to please allow our fellow readers to acquaint themselves with this story the way the author intended it, without spoilers.  It is for that reason our review will not go into detail about the story. What I will say is that you will not meet more loveable and extraordinary characters as Ambrose, Fern, Bailey and all supporting characters in Making Faces and you will be hard pressed to read such a moving and inspirational story such as this.

“Because terrible things happen to everyone, Brosey. We’re all just so caught up in our own crap that we don’t see the shit everyone else is wading through.” – Bailey

Whilst each character may be flawed physically (though not in my eyes) and scarred emotionally they have something so special, so unique that you are drawn to their beauty, strength and pure hearts.  What each character considers a flaw I view as a strength.

Lost or Alone? Ambrose said alone, and Fern responded, “I would much rather be lost with you than alone without you, so I choose lost with a caveat.” Fern

Strength of character and strength of heart. These characters each possessed the most endearing dispositions I can tell you they will steal your hearts. They will break your hearts, mend your hearts, they will make your hearts soar and they will leave you astounded with their beauty which is immeasurable. These were remarkable characters with herculean hearts weren’t they Gitte?

Gitte: Oh wow, every single character in ‘Making Faces; served a moving purpose. A purpose to love, protect, educate and inspire.

‘When it’s all said and done, did I matter?”

Words such as perfection, horrid, ugly and beautiful are merely just that…words. Words that can hurt or flatter. Words that can be thrown without thought of consequence. Words that, by society, can be used to define and describe another person aesthetically be it right or wrong. But who determines the true definition of these words and what are they measured up against? Who has the right to ‘negatively’ regulate these words and use them against another as a point of reference? Do we freely banter these words around, generalising the masses, as a way to separate people without a thorough knowledge of ‘said person’? It breaks my heart but that is life and the world we live in sadly.

‘Smart or Beautiful?’

 ‘Nobody or Nowhere?

This story broke me, and every single character found its way into my heart as I did a lot of soul searching with Bailey, Fern, Ambrose and everyone else. They amazed me, they inspired me, they made me laugh and they made me cry. They strengthened me and they left me hoping that whatever their ‘differences’ was that made them stand out from society’s perception of what’s beautiful and perfect; the actual true beauty and purity is truly shown to be what’s on the inside and in the act of how we treat others. Now that‘s true strength…that’s true beautiful perfection. Yes by natural order, we must compare to describe, however, surely in this regard the way to do so should not negatively and hurtful impact another. If only…..

“Tonight’s one of those nights, Fernie.”

“Too much reality?”

“Way too much reality.”

Making Faces has an incredible heart. The characters all had incredible hearts. Amy Harmon gave us a piece of her heart. And for this, I am thankful, and I will treat it with the care it so rightly deserves to receive and I urge you to do the same.

Please pick up this book, be amazed, be humbled and be moved as you sob your hearts out and embrace the truth, the love, the humility and the awe-inspiring story of Bailey, Fern and Ambrose. Three people I will never forget. Amy Harmon’s writing is flawless yet again, evoking such powerful emotion with her words. Telling a story you’ll never forget nor would you want to. It’s quite simply STUNNING!

“Love is not love which alters when alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove; Oh, no, it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests and is never shaken.” – Shakespeare

Jenny:  Making Faces is an unforgettable and deeply moving story that was inspirational, emotive, striking and so rich in detail that it enabled me to feel as if I was more a participant in this story rather than a mere reader.

“I used to be afraid of going to hell. But now that I’m here, hell doesn’t seem so bad.” Ambrose

It was thought provoking and contained the most powerfully poignant message and one that, if we all lived by, the world would be a far better place. 

“Your dad says that ’cause he loves you. Just like my mom tells me I’m pretty ’cause she loves me. I’m not pretty…and you can’t beat Ambrose, buddy.”

The story of Ambrose, Fern and Bailey is one that will seep into your soul and stay there. These three people, and I say people because that’s what they were to me, they felt like real people and I lived and breathed them and they, in return, left me breathless. The beautiful prose will mesmerize and enrapture you.  The deep emotion throughout will sear you. You won’t forget this story in a hurry.

‘Could you belong to someone who didn’t want you? Fern decided it was possible because her heart was his, and whether or not he wanted it didn’t seem to make much difference.’

Bravo Amy Harmon. Your writing is sublime and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving so much of yourself to this book, it couldn’t have been easy.  We’ll be shouting about this one from the rooftops.  Everyone should read this book, learn from it and embrace its message. Absolutely spellbinding, heartbreaking, emotional, powerful, beautiful, inspirational and uplifting.  Mere words don’t do justice to the experience I was afforded in Making Faces.

ARC supplied by author in exchange for an honest review

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

MAKING FACES by AMY HARMON
Amazon us || Amazon uk

making faces

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Filed under 5 Stars, Amy Harmon, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny