Tag Archives: secondchanceromance

WAR POPPY by NICOLE LYNNE

Standalone tragic and heartbreaking second chance love story

6th

SYNOPSIS

Poppy
Love and war. Two words that should have little association, but to me the two go hand in hand. Both are a tragedy. They rip you open and spit you out. The war killed my husband, Connor, shattered my will to live, and took my best friend. Brandon may not have physically died in that war, but his soul did. And now we’re left to pick up the wreckage. Expected to move on when all that is left is the ruins of a life we once had.
Brandon
War. It took everything from me, even myself. When you’re only able to exist, death seems like a blessing. Pain…a welcome distraction. I ran from everything associated with my past, and then she found me, fighting, drowning myself in whisky, trying to forget. She reminds me of Connor, of what I’ve lost—what we’ve lost. In the midst of destruction, she’s a salvation I don’t deserve.
I shouldn’t love him.
I shouldn’t love her.
Love is a war we never should have fought.

WAR POPPY is available to purchase below

          


Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

4 Hearbreaking stars

‘It’s as though he wraps himself around my lonely soul and nurses it back to life with the splintered remnants of his own.’

If you’re looking for a sweet hearts and flowers romance, War Poppy by Nicole Lynne, is anything but. In fact, it’s a tortured, honest, brutal love story which carried a sense of foreboding throughout.  As we read, we had that nervous, gut wrenching feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. It was a feeling that felt inevitable rather than probable. Such was the tone of the story.

‘As much as we pretend we aren’t alone, we are never more alone than when we are tripped in our own mind. And Brandon – the place he’s trapped, it’s a place I could never begin to understand.’

The flourishing partnership of Stevie J Cole & L.P. Lovell has shown to be a formidable collaboration, delivering some dark and downright uncomfortably gritty stories, but this time, in War Poppy, they’ve written a story that is tragically heartbreaking and they did it in their own inimitable style.

Connor Blaine, Poppy Turner and Brandon O’Kieffe were the three musketeers growing up.  A trio of misfits that gelled together perfectly. They shared an adventurous childhood, leaning on one another, sharing adolescence and adulthood.  Brandon would be Poppy’s first crush, first kiss, first love, though it would be Connor who would ultimately marry their childhood sweetheart.

War Poppy begins with the loss of Connor during his time in Afghanistan with Brandon. Connor was more than a mate, he was his brother in every sense of the word. Riddled with guilt and despair, Brandon goes AWOL, turning to the bottle and underground boxing bouts in an attempt to exorcise the demons living within. Brandon is only functioning physically following Connor’s tragic death.  Poppy’s re-emergence into Brandon’s life gave us the hope that he can overcome his demons. Is love enough?

‘Two lost souls trying to save each other from unsalvageable events. She may be my hope, but I’m surely her destruction.’

The sense of hopelessness in this story is overwhelming, and we did experience that aspect through Brandon’s character who struck our hearts painfully and deeply. However, we felt we didn’t get to fully experience the level of anguish and sadness we would have expected from this story and feel this stems from being denied the bonding experience of Poppy and Connor’s relationship. This was such an important part of the story, yet we felt we knew very little about the man at the centre of all the pain and whose death was the catalyst for unfolding events. We couldn’t conceive how Poppy came to marry Connor, what their life was like…in fact, we knew nothing of this background, other than the snippets from childhood. Every reader is different and for us, this was something we desperately needed to experience to completely grasp the full extent of Poppy’s devastating grief and her profound love for Brandon.

 “Everything in life is a risk, you just have to decide which risks are worth taking, and to me, and you are a risk worth taking because without you, without what we have, I will be existing. And I want to live, Brandon.”

War Poppy is told in dual pov between Poppy and Brandon, as well as flashbacks to their childhood and Brandon’s time at war and we can tell you, being inside Brandon’s head during those times was chaotic and unbearably heartbreaking. Witnessing him trying to claw his way out of the darkness and living those devastating moments with him broke us.

‘I’m left standing in the middle of destruction, staring at the violence that must constantly be swimming inside of his head. And when I’m finally able to draw in a good breath, I collapse to the floor, head in hands wondering when love turned into war.’

It’s clear to see these authors poured their soul into this story and it must have been an agonising love story to bring to fruition, because as a reader it was difficult reading. We applaud their courage in telling this story their way as in doing so they made Brandon and Poppy’s story feel authentic and believable. War Poppy is a gut-wrenching story of friendship, loss, courage, grief and love with the hearts of these two authors clearly visible on every page.  And whilst it most certainly moved us, we just fell short of experiencing the complete decimation of our hearts we had anticipated.


For more STEVIE J COLE  and L.P. LOVELL TBB Recommendations, click below

Leave a Comment

Filed under 4 Stars, L P Lovell, Nicole Lynne, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, Stevie J Cole

THE OVER DUET by J.A. DeROUEN :: LOW OVER HIGH (#1) and EVER OVER AFTER (#2) :: REVIEW

An intense story of first love and second chances. 

‘My name is Marlo Rivers, and this is my story of corrupted love.’
‘My name is Ever Montgomery, and this is my story of love resurrected.’

LOW OVER HIGH BOOK ONE 

purchase link small          purchase link small

EVER OVER AFTER BOOK TWO 

purchase link small          purchase link small


LOW OVER HIGH BOOK ONE
SYNOPSIS

I fancy myself a purveyor of truth, a sifter of lies, a cutter of bullshit. It’s not a gift, but rather, all skill, honed to a razor’s edge after one too many trips down the rabbit hole.

Some may dismiss my talent as misplaced and misguided cynicism, but they’d be wrong. Cliches about hope and faith in mankind are concocted unicorn farts, an effort to keep the dreamers dreaming. Experiences don’t lie—people do.

While I’m not proud of the circumstances that led me to this way of thinking, I respect the journey. The road to enlightenment can be dark and foreboding, but the destination makes it all worthwhile.

But funny thing about the past—it’s a defiant child refusing to stay in time out. No matter how deeply buried, it can always pop up when least expected, and sink its fucking claws into the flesh of your heart. No, not my heart—I no longer have one. I foolishly gave it away years ago, but I still feel the ripping in my chest as I fist the crumpled note left on my porch.

I’ve avoided this day, ran from it, for the past eight years.
And still we meet again.

But to truly understand … to feel my dread and fear my future as I do, it’s important to know what happened in my past.

Or who…

My name is Marlo Rivers, and this is my story of corrupted love.

MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY 18+
Warning: This book contains graphic content which may not be suitable for sensitive readers.


EVER OVER AFTER BOOK TWO
SYNOPSIS

Marlo … wild-eyed, untamed, and every single thing I’ve ever wanted from this life. I wasn’t ready for her back then. I was a stupid boy with adult feelings and no idea what to do with them. I squandered away every chance she gave me.

Yes, love like ours either burns white hot or crumbles under the pressure.
And now I’m back to sift through the rubble.

Questions and excuses are two things I have in spades. What I need now are answers.
Answers and Low.
Always Low.

My name is Ever Montgomery, and this is my story of love resurrected.


the-over-duet

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

‘Love changes over time. The edges may dull, the butterflies hibernate… but sometimes, the best things sharpen and flourish as years pass.’

The Over Duet is our first foray into the work of J.A. DeRouen and it’s safe to say, we’ll be checking out more of her work in the future because we both loved this story. The drama element was intense though not prolonged for unnecessary reasons, the wit between the characters lightened the load when needed, J.A. DeRouen’s prose ensured we instantly connected with her writing and fell in love with her characters, all playing a part to tell the story of Low and Ever, and what a story!

This is a spoiler free review for the complete Duet and it’s imperative you read Low Over High first as the story in Ever Over After continues on, eight years down the track from the events that unfolded in book one, with Low (Marlo) and Ever (Everett’s) story concluding in book two.

“Time passes, memories fade, but feelings are forever.”

Low Over High begins with a gripping prologue set in the present when a very disillusioned and bitter Low tells us how she is sworn off relationships, has a cynical outlook on love and is, in general, quite disgruntled and not at all interested in seeking a relationship. The prologue ensured we voraciously turned the pages to find out what transpired all those years ago to make Low resentful.

The story then flicks back to eight years when a then 17 year old Low is about to leave her loving Dad, Nana and brother, Declan in Texas to attend her Senior year in New Orleans in order to reconnect with her mother, who had left Low and Declan when they were very small children.

It is at Orleans Academy Low meets Ever, the quintessential sullen ‘lost boy’, and the nephew of the Dean of the school. Ever is a 17 year old boy fighting many demons and heartache.

An accidental meeting has them taking an instant dislike to one another, though over a four month period, we lay witness to the growth of their relationship, their first love and the tragic incidents that would see Low disappear one day, never to return. This part of the story was heartbreakingly sad on both accounts and presented tough and tragic time for both Low and Ever individually.

“Please stay…even if my heart is scarred and my soul is dirty. Please stay….”

The build of the relationship was beautifully executed, and although the time span was relatively short, these two had dealt with a lot in their young years, and so we felt their love at first was very innocent, very real and beautiful. Those four month would shape their lives in many different ways, essentially determining who they are when we meet them again eight years later in book two.

‘He’s the creation and the rapture. Every good and bad thing all wrapped up into one. And now, after all these years, he may just be my resurrection.’

During their time apart we felt the characters had developed, matured and grown individually and felt the infinite pull that lead them back to one another. However, hidden secrets, unspoken words, and memories unearthed from the past lay beneath their hearts. What consequences will bringing them to the surface ultimately be and could Low and Ever rediscover the love they had?

“I’m a better man when I’m loving you. I don’t think I can stop, even you beg me to.”

J.A. DeRouen delivered a heartfelt, believable and beautifully moving story and she did so without the melancholy that could have so easily brought it down. Yes, she deals with some very heavy subject matter in this duet, and yes we felt the emotional and mental fallout from this, but it was handled sensitively.  We met a bunch of friendly, outgoing and wonderful characters who burrowed into our hearts, who, together with Low and Ever, ensured we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this first love, love second chance story with friendships, family and loyalty at its heart. Grab this one!

the-over-duet-teaser

 

2 Comments

Filed under 4.5 Stars, J A DeRouen, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny