My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
RAW. REAL. FEARLESS. POWERFUL.
What this story is:
A gripping and honest, detailed account of one girl’s struggle for forgiveness, revenge, and redemption. It will push your boundaries and make you question your own morals; it will also persuade you to forgive and to find your own strengths as a reader. It will exemplify how something terrible can inspire greater things to follow. It has its heavy moments, but I walked away from this genuinely uplifted and not at all dejected.
*This story is largely focused on the subject of rape, which becomes heartbreaking and gritty—so please be warned that it may serve as a trigger for those who choose to avoid this topic.*
Not to be confused and judged for what it’s not:
A warm and fuzzy, lighthearted, sexy romance where everything is predictably tied up neatly in a bow by the final page. I’m not saying you wont get your HEA, but the journey there is not dusted with rainbows and butterflies. Yes, there is an ample amount of steam, as well as an undeniable love story involved, but this is not by any means the story’s sole focus. This book is intense, but in a truly magnificent way…
Brooke has committed an ultimate betrayal; one that has rendered her broken as she blindly claws her way through her insurmountable guilt. Her heartless behavior will lead you to initially hate her, but her unrelenting quest for redemption will soften your heart and possibly bring out a side of yourself you weren’t expecting to show. I truly found her to be a kick-ass, funny-as-hell heroine—flaws and all!
The fact that this author bravely creates these broken, imperfect characters and offers no concrete excuses for them is by far the most honest aspect of this story. They are real and flawed, and we are enticed to accept that fact without requiring the typical ‘horrific childhood’ or ‘traumatic event’ to stand as an excuse for their ugliness. This book’s simple and very life-like reason being: They’re human. What a breath of fresh air! It’s what makes this story stand out from the rest; it gloriously strays from the standard fictional, let-me-justify-the-wrong, formula. And I LOVED it!
That being said, there were some characters who did not search for redemption, and they deserved nothing more than the fate they were delivered. But those who did ended up stealing pieces of my heart…
As profound as these controversial topics were, there were generous amounts of humor and tenderness, which I found to be a perfect contrast. None of the struggles proved to be in vain. The engaging writing was phenomenal–pulled me in immediately and has yet to let go. The way the author vividly portrayed each scene honestly allowed the story to unfold before my eyes; making this more of a show-me book, rather than a tell-me one. I was truly floored by her ability to add some believable lightness and fun into this intense read. Some scenes were difficult but this story was not swallowed up by darkness.
Having so many layers within this unique story—pain, loss, revenge, atonement, betrayal, love, art—what stands out the most is the sweet possibility for redemption and forgiveness. They are constants and always available for the taking. All of the ugliness and beauty in life were smashed together and succeeded in creating an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind experience. Its fitting title is made apparent in multiple instances, but thankfully this story’s focus is on rising up from the bottom, rather than spiraling down. UTTERLY BREATHTAKING!
▪ Genre/Category: New Adult
▪ Steam Caliber: Moderate/sexy
▪ Romance: Slow-building and present, but not the central focus of story.
▪ Characters: Damaged heroine, but willful and will earn your respect.
▪ Plot: Redemption-themed. Character driven. Controversial, darker topics.
▪ Writing: Impressive, bold, and alluring.
▪ POV: First person: Heroine
▪ Cliffhanger: None/Standalone