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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Burned In Shadows

Links: Goodreads Amazon 

Royce Zarides has accepted his hand dealt by fate. He's loved and left far too many women. In the bedroom that is. But one kiss from Belinda Raine Ignis was all it took for his eyes to open. Is she really the woman meant for him and his brother Ronin? Or will history only repeat itself? That's the million dollar question he doesn't want to answer. Ronin does not believe that Belinda is for him and his brother. But one night with her isn't enough. Even when he sees her for who and what she really is, Ronin still has a hard time expressing his emotions where Belinda is concerned, and time is running out now that she's to ascend to the status of Matria of the Phoenix Enclave. Belinda (Bells) Ignis is good at ignoring men. She's had her share of heartache. Jilted at the altar by her first love, she's sworn all men off for good. Her mother and Matria of her community has other plans in mind, as well as the Zarides brothers. When faced with the heated glances of Ronin and the smooth tongue of Royce, what's a girl to do? The clock is ticking down for certain members of the Shadow Unit. Draven assumed dead, leaves a sour taste in every ones mouth. Jes' new found abilities make for a great addition to the team. But when things seem to settle, they only get worse, as the team sets out to discover the origins of Mr. Black and the notorious Red Sun Organization. Secrets are uncovered and deals are made that result in a deadly blow to all involved.

“Why do you walk in as if we are familiar with one another? Less than two months ago you treated me as if I was dirt beneath your boots.”
He smirked and moved toward her kitchenette. He didn’t say anything as he forcefully opened her fridge and poured himself a glass of water. The cup was empty before she could even think of something else to say.
“Calm down.” Dietrich cleared his throat. Sunglasses still attached to his head, she could feel the heat of his stare. She wondered if anyone else knew what was behind the shades. His eyes were milky-white, with the smallest of pupils. She knew because she’d looked into those eyes, said things as she stared into what she thought was the heart of him. Things she thought she’d always feel.
“I am calm. Do I look like I’m not?” Belinda moved to the closet and grabbed another pair of yoga pants and a top. She walked over to her dresser and pulled out underwear and headed toward the bathroom.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you.” He said harshly when she’d almost closed the bathroom door. It had been such a long time that the pain had dulled to nothing. She turned and looked over her shoulder. He’d taken off his glasses, and his ghostly stare was focused on her in a way that held her immobile. She didn’t know what she saw as he stared at her far longer than necessary. But she did know he no longer made her feel alive and adored. These were different times, in another life maybe, but not this one.
“It’s in the past. Let’s leave it there, alright?” Belinda closed the door and quickly dressed. She didn’t have to wait long. He was gone as soon as she closed the door. She let out a long sigh, resting her head against the doorframe frame. She knew life was never meant to be easy. She’d figured that out the hard way a long time ago when she’d almost lost her primary.
To a Phoenix, immortality was truly a gift, something that could be taken away at any moment. In a moment of complete stupidity, she’d foolishly left the safety of the Enclave walls. A woman on the street had liked the feathers in her hair and had tried to pull her primary out of her ponytail. Luckily, Ryan had been there, he’d taken hold of the woman and shoved her away. The woman had been human and hadn’t known better, but had she’d taken the primary, Belinda would have been dead long ago.


There is really not much to say... I love to write, read, and listen to music. My attempt at a music career sadly ended at the Apollo one warm night in May! LOL (Side note: I was not booed just outdone by two munchkins rapping to Biggy Smalls but they were good!) Military brat extraordinaire; have traveled to a lot of interesting places. The very first time I put pen to paper in story fashion, was in 6th grade. It was called The Case of the Missing Pepperoni. It was a cute mystery where all the ingredients and shop appliances came to life when the store owner closed up for the evening.