Category Archives: Kate McCarthy

THE END GAME by KATE MCCARTHY

Standalone emotional Romance – Sports theme
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the end game

SYNOPSIS

“Professional athletes are pillars of their respective communities. They are heroes in the eyes of boys and girls and are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that positively represents their community.”

The public loves a good scandal. Seeing someone fall from the pinnacle of success makes a great headline. No one knows that better than I do. What started out as a promising career in college football, spiraled into scandal and shame.

But being a hero is easier said then done. Especially when there are those who expected to see the great Brody Madden fail. I craved nothing except being the best—willing to do anything to prove them wrong. But I went too far, and I tried too hard, and it broke me.

“At the time of going to print, Jordan Elliott was unavailable for comment.” 

I met Brody Madden in my senior year of college. An Australian native on an international scholarship, I was the female soccer sensation with stars in her eyes and no room for a hotshot wide receiver with a chip on his shoulder.

But a heart bursting with ambition and a driving fire to succeed isn’t made of stone. I became his strength, his obsession, and the greatest love of his life. Only I wasn’t there when he needed me most.

This is a story about love and a game that takes everything. Where the path to glory is paved with sacrifice. Where pressure makes you, or breaks you, and triumph is born in the ashes of failure. Where two people’s end game will change everything

The End Game

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

✯✯✯✯✯ “shake it off” stars

“I’m not letting you go. It’s you and me, and we’ll be strong together, okay?”

To refer to this book as a ‘sports romance’ would be an injustice.  Sure, the story centres round a female soccer player and a football player and their goals to reach the peak of their game but that’s secondary to the personal and emotional struggles they face in themselves and their love.

We assumed The End Game to be a sweet sports themed romance and were quite unprepared for the depth of story and sheer gut wrenching emotions we were to experience as Jordan and Brody’s journey unfolded. Really, we should have known Kate McCarthy would deliver a hit to the heart, after all, her writing always feels so personal, so real. In this case as she painstakingly spent time developing her characters, building their relationship and constructing her story, she afforded us the luxury of getting to really know the characters, to the point where their struggles felt almost personal. Brody and Jordan owned us as we lived and breathed every moment of triumph, failure, happiness and hurt.

“Jordan….we all need that one person who sees us. The one person who gives it to us straight and tells us how it is. We need that one person who isn’t afraid to get in our face and scream back. That person who won’t ever hesitate to call you on your shit because they love you. That one person who’ll be there for you no matter what. You’re that person.”

The End Game is indeed a searing love story but it was also a life story, in essence the successes and failures and the pursuit of happiness.  It’s a story of victory over adversity, of believing in yourself and trusting in the one person who knows your flaws and loves you. Because of them and in spite of them. This story touched our hearts!

Jordan and Brody’s story was as sad as it was happy, as tragic as it was joyful as hopeless as it was hopeful and we shed many tears as Kate McCarthy’s exquisite words flowed from the pages.  We FELT it all. Brody and Jordan shared a love that would encounter what seemed insurmountable obstacles but it was a love that was worth fighting for and it was a battle that would be fiercely fought.

‘I’m not the strong one here. Jordan is. She always has been. Jordan is like the strongest oak in the forest. Nothing can fell her, yet here she is, half-naked in my arms and falling apart. It’s breaking my heart.’

Brody was beautiful yet damaged character. Outwardly he seemed to have it all, inwardly he was plagued by self-loathing and self-doubt and he broke our hearts many a time. What a beautiful soul he was, he found his way deep into our hearts that’s for sure.

“I need to believe in something.”
“Then believe in yourself.”

Jordan was an outstanding heroine. This plucky young lady, so loyal and loving showed a maturity beyond her years as she strove to achieve success in love and her career whilst being the strength Brody needed.

“Out there on the field, the game is everything. It builds you up, breaks you down, and it bleeds you dry. But I love it. It’s the only place I’m free.”

Together Jordan and Brody were a force to be reckoned with. A desire for love, a drive to succeed a will to make it all work…but at what cost?

“Home’s not a place where you live. It’s a feeling. You can be anywhere, Jordan. Home will follow you if you follow your heart.”

 **Reviewed from an ARC Copy provided by the author, with thanks.**

THE END GAME by KATE McCARTHY
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the end game

Also by Kate McCarthy
Standalone TB Rec

FIGHTING REDEMPTION by KATE McCARTHY
Our 5 Star Review
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Fighting Redemption

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Filed under 5 Stars, Kate McCarthy, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny

FIGHTING REDEMPTION by KATE MCCARTHY

 It’s always the strongest that fall the hardest……

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SYNOPSIS

Ryan Kendall is broken. He understands pain. He knows the hand of violence and the ache of loss. He knows what it means to fail those who need you. Being broken doesn’t stop him wanting the one thing he can’t have; Finlay Tanner. Her smile is sweet and her future bright. She’s the girl he grew up with, the girl he loves, the girl he protects from the world, and from himself.

At nineteen, Ryan leaves to join the Australian Army. After years of training he becomes an elite SAS soldier and deploys to the Afghanistan war. His patrol undertakes the most dangerous missions a soldier can face. But no matter how far he runs, or how hard he fights, his need for Finlay won’t let go.

Returning home after six years, one look is all it takes to know he can’t live without her. But sometimes love isn’t enough to heal what hurts. Sometimes people like him can’t be fixed, and sometimes people like Finlay deserve more than what’s left.

This is a story about war and the cost of sacrifice. Where bonds are formed, and friendships found. Where those who are strong, fall hard. Where love is let go, heartache is born, and heroes are made. Where one man learns that the hardest fight of all, is the fight to save himself.

fighting

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte 

5 ++++ Beautiful and Emotional Stars

Jenny: Well G, this certainly had us sobbing didn’t it? Fighting Redemption was such an impassioned, rich and beautifully told story of love friendship, loyalty, pain and loss. It was an intensely emotional, passionate and moving read and one I couldn’t put down, even sneaking reads here and there so as not to miss a moment of the yearning love between Fin and Ryan. My heart was put through the wringer many times as I cried, loved and lived every moment with these beautiful characters and I know you felt the same too Gitte.

“I just want you to know that having to watch you leave is going to be one of the hardest things I ever have to do.” – Fin
“Every piece of me is in here.”…”My breath, my heart, my life. I won’t ever leave you if you keep that inside of you.” – Ryan

There was so much depth to this story. Not only do we witness the budding, yet intense love between Fin and Ryan but the secondary relationships, the camaraderie between the SAS crew and the special brotherly bond between Ryan and Jake together with the bonds between Fin and her brother Jake were so well developed also. These relationships and characters were all so beautifully woven together in a story that had my stomach in knots and heart alternatively melting and hurting.  Kate McCarthy sure gave us a winner here didn’t she Gitte?

Gitte: Oh wow she sure did. What an absolutely heart-wrenching beautifully told emotional story. It was quite simply stunning.

“I’ll love you longer than the stars that live in the sky.”

This is one of those stories I urge everyone to pick up and read, because this is not only a journey which you literally live with the characters, this is life.

“There are no goodbyes in life. Only see you later” – Ryan

It has so many aspects that will touch your heart, make you cry, make you feel hopeful, make you laugh and make you realise just what you have and what you can achieve.

“Don’t….Please don’t cry. You have such a big future ahead of you. You’re going to do big things with your life. Don’t let anyone stop you from being who you need to be, okay?” – Ryan

It’s a lesson in life and love, in friendship and family. It had such passion and feeling; it’s inspirational. This Author quite simply put me on my knees in agony at times for sure but also in awe as well. Like I said, Fighting Redemption is stunning!

“I need you to wake up and smile at me like I’m your everything, because without you, I’m not anyone’s anything.”

Jenny:   Ryan had suffered abuse and was denied the nurturing from his parents that should have been his right and carried a burden that wasn’t his to carry.  This man held onto guilt and blame and felt unworthy because of it.

“You have to stop doing that, Ryan. Stop fighting what’s in your heart. Maybe if you do, you’ll realise there’s nothing to forgive.” – Fin

Ryan was welcomed into the Tanner household after Jake, his best friend became aware of Ryan’s unfortunate home life and thus began a relationship bond that was unbreakable.

“I carry scars Fin, both inside and out.” “Everyone’s perception of beauty is different.”- Ryan

Ryan always wanted to be a soldier. He had an intense need to serve, protect and fight for others. Jake shared Ryan’s dream and both enlisted into the SAS after passing the rigorous training, forming bonds that went deep. Both were shipped to Afghanistan leaving as boys, returning as men hardened by war.

“War is a cold, selfish bitch, Kendall. It changes you. It makes you hard, and it makes you hurt, yet somehow, we keep going back for more.” – Kyle
“Because we’re soldiers.” – Ryan

Ryan Kendall was a true hero in every sense of the word.  He was compassionate, loving, brave, strong, determined and….well…very alpha (who didn’t talk in monosyllabic tones thank goodness!) in every sense of the word yet so sensitive and loving. I bloody loved this guy and he certainly stole my heart and yours too didn’t he G?

Gitte: Oh my days Jenny,….Ryan! Where do I even begin with what I felt for this man? The life he was given, the boy he was and the man he turned into. His journey was the hardest to read and his strength, his inspirational courage and the size of his heart was truly admirable and I fell in such love with this man.

“I want to be SAS,” he replied…”The best there is. There are countries full of people unable to fight for themselves. I want to be there to do it for them in the only way that can make a difference.” – Ryan

Ryan’s relationship with Jake and Fin was beautiful. Despite the fact that he was the one who was suffering through an awful childhood; he was the rock in everyone’s life. He carried such a huge burden on his shoulders alongside an immeasurable guilt. None of which he deserved. His love and friendship with Jake and Fin was heart-warming, he protected them and was there for them to the best of his ability despite his inner suffering.

 “Don’t hope for us, Fin. Please. I can’t have you wasting your life waiting for someone who might never return.” – Ryan

What do you do when you find your soul mate as a child? Love; which is pure and innocent and grows into so much more. A love you deny yourself because you feel undeserving. I bawled my eyes out. Not going to lie!

‘Where did he go from here? He was so fucking lost. He buried his head against his knees, gasping with laughter. Hadn’t he always been lost?’

The love story in Fighting Redemption broke my heart, not only because it was so damn emotional and sad, but also because it was so bloody beautiful and romantic. Oh and it was extremely passionate too. The setting of the romance making it even more dramatic.

‘The taste of Fin was like the purest Heaven and the hottest Hell.’ – Ryan

Jenny:  Absolutely. The love story was beautifully sad and really spoke to the heart. Fin was such a beautiful, innocent and loving character. Her heart always belonged to Ryan, yet was so conflicted by her feelings.  While Ryan chose to join the army, Fin was forced to move on and form a life for herself, and try and forget the man who owned her heart. Fin really did have so much to contend with and displayed so much strength yet her vulnerability was so unbelievably endearing.

“I’d have given you my entire heart if you’d only asked, but it’s not yours now. It’s not yours.” -Fin

Gitte:  Aww I loved Fin, this poor girl knew where her heart belonged but the obstacles and secrets prevented this girl from true happiness and love. Her character was so well written and I completely understood and connected with her. She was so strong under the circumstances and had a fierce loyalty to those she loves. She made me laugh at times and made my heart ache in equal measure.

‘Ryan grinned. “You’re a nerd.”….’An utterly beautiful, adorable, clumsy nerd.’

Watching Fin trying to get on with her life was tough at times and it wasn’t helped by countless misunderstandings and lack of communication. However these were completely believable and never went too far. I have to admit to shouting at Fin and Ryan a few times though!

Your touch is warm and your palms are rough, and it hurts to have you so close when you don’t want me.’ – Fin

J&G:  Theirs was a once in a lifetime love born from a connection that was a passionate and all-consuming yet when honour and duty are involved, the heart sometimes suffers.

“I’d give up almost anything to wake up to that every morning.” -Ryan
“Almost anything…That’s always been our problem, hasn’t it?” – Fin

Ryan and Fin’s story took us through the complexities of healing such deep emotional scars and this author brought forth such rich and realistic characterisations which made you FEEL you were part of their story. These soldiers not only sacrifice themselves when they choose to serve and protect but they sacrifice those they leave behind also and through this story you feel their loss and their pain.

“Stop trying to be a hero all the time. You’re so busying saving everyone else you forget about yourself.”

Fighting Redemption is a story of love, loss, friendship and loyalty. It’s about soul mates, about hanging onto hope, it’s about bravery, mateship and of learning to take risks with your heart and never giving up on a dream.  It’s about living every minute as if it’s your last, never forgetting and never regretting. This was a love story in every sense of the word. It was highly emotive, beautiful, moving, tragic, romantic, passionate, haunting and breathtaking which all makes up to this being one of our favourite reads of 2013.

“I have thick skin baby, but your under it, you’re buried in so deep it’s like I was born with you in my soul, when I’m near you, I’m consumed by you, your smile, your eyes, your heart, you’ve always been mine.”

Kate McCarthy, thank you from two very grateful readers for bringing this story and these characters into our lives. We absolutely recommend Fighting Redemption be added to your TBR’s…NOW!

*ARC Provided by Author for an honest review*

Purchase FIGHTING REDEMPTION by KATE McCARTHY here:
Amazon US || Amazon UK || Amazon AU 

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Filed under 5 Stars, Kate McCarthy, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny