Monday, October 7, 2013

I Stand Before You

I Stand Before You (Judge Me Not, #1) 
 5 of 5 stars false 
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. 


****I was given an ARC of this book for my honest review****
I Stand Before You was a venture into two broken souls. Chase Gartner gave you the insight into someone struggling with addiction, deep seated depression and anger that he couldn't get himself out of, resentment, all reasons he needs to feel numb, smoke or snort himself into oblivion. He has already paid, in the state's eyes for his crime after 4 long years in prison, but for Chase this is just the beginning. While Kay Stanton didn't deal with the addiction she was just as shattered. Living a mistake that has haunted her for four years and cost her one of the most important relationships in a young girl's life, her mother. She struggles with the guilt and memories of losing her little sister and her part in the accident that took her from this life. When fate brings them both together they find a way to heal each other and welcome joy into their lives that they never expected to have again. While this is labeled a New Adult/ Contemporary Romance it's really an intense story of healing.
Obviously by the 5 star rating, I loved this book. Let's start with the characters. First off, the multiple point of views bring something to the story that you wouldn't have gotten had it only been told by just Chase or Kay's point of view. While all the points intersected the two minds were vastly different with their struggles, and it lead to a depth of character that made these not just on the written page, but so life like, real. They could have been your neighbor, your cousin, the hot couple you passed at the carnival. Chase's mind gave you such a different perspective of an addict's mind that the average person doesn't see. Even if you could never picture yourself doing these things you understood why he did and wanted to push him into recovery. From a more shallow perspective let's be blunt, Chase was hot. What more could you want in a bad boy? And that description, gunmetal blue for his eyes? Thanks S.R. Grey my bill for my spontaneously combusted panties is in the mail. Ok, before I go off on a tangent about my drool I left on my Nook I'll talk about Kay. Kay was just as Chase described her, a sweet girl. Her struggle was all her own but it was emotional and raw just the same. My heart I think broke for her even more, and like the sappy alpha male loving girl I was, I loved when she fought her own demons, but cheered when Chase fought them for her too. (hey feminist don't throw stones). As a reader who often doesn't connect with the heroine, it was nice to read a relatable one  that I connected with on an intimate level.
The story was the two characters coming together and helping each other grow. The ups and downs, imperfections and romance, reopening wounds and healing, you watched both these characters go through so much. The sex was steamy but not vulgar, although I will never look at vanilla ice cream without smirking. After wrapping up the journey in this first book the epilogue was killer. I have a feeling that the adventure truly starts now that our characters have started healing from their struggles. There's still so much story to tell that has this reader anxiously awaiting the next one.

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