Blog Tour & Giveaway: I Stand Before You: S.R. Grey
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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.
New Adult/Contemporary Romance genres. First in a series.
***warning: contains graphic sexual situations, drug use, some violence, and profanity***
"It takes one hundred and forty three steps to walk down a long, noisy corridor to reach cell block seventy-two.
And when they turn the key, you hear one life--the only one you've ever known up until now--ending."
I Stand Before You is an inspiring and intricate story featuring two crippled and confused individuals. This romantic adventure centers on the tribulation of addiction, sorrow, remorse, pain, hope, redemption, unworthiness, and forgiveness. Chase and Kay's journey is imperfection blended with a mix of perfection at its best. Nothing about their lives or relationship is black and white every action, reaction, reward, and repercussion lies within the grey areas.
"Tate tells me the road to Kyle's house is the road to salvation. Salvation, my ass. I'd be more inclined to say Tate and I are traveling a path to hell. We're in the express lane to damnation, and one step closer to burning every time we travel down that fu***** dirt road."
Chase is a destructive tatted bad boy who fell into the underbelly of addiction. He recklessly lived his life with a lack of boundaries and consequences, until one fateful day when life handed out a hard warning.
Kay is just as broken, she blames herself for the loss of the one person who meant the world to her.
Chase turned to drugs, while Kay turned to a solitary life and religion.
"But now I know. I've been there, done that.
And here's exactly how it goes...
The path is dark, black and twisting, the unknown.
But it's also alluring. It beckons your soul.
It calls to you, whispering seductively.
It's good at convincing, so you take one tentative step.
You hold your breath and wait and wait for the world to fall apart.
But nothing happens.
In fact, it feels kind of good to say, "Fu**it. Who Cares?" Scream it, the path whispers. So you do.
And then you push further...you take another step...then another.
Still cool, baby, see? And don't you feel good?
Sure you do. You feel fu***** invincible.
So what the hell, what's one more? Make that a few more.
The fu***** bottom falls out.
And, sh**, you're tumbling down hills, crashing into bolders, searching for something--anything--to grab on to.
But you're on your own, baby. It was all one big lie.
And you fall
Down, down low, until you wake up.
And when you do you're battered and bloodied at the bottom, surrounded by rubble from the destruction you wrought.
Your life-- that sh**'s completely ruined."
The characters of I Stand Before You are the embodiment of flawed and shredded. A clear cut case of sinner and saint, or is it? One thought that constantly found its self-running through my mind was the old adage never judge a book by its cover. I felt this totally applied to both the main characters, but especially the hero. There were so many layers built around Chase, that each time one was unraveled I felt even more enamored with his character. His past left me feeling despairing, but his redemption towards finding his self-worth left me so hopeful.
My favorite factor regarding I Stand Before You is the realistic foundation within it. The characters and their real life issues such as addiction, death, overcoming weakness, and forgiving one's self allowed for a more authentic connection. In addition, Susie's depth and development of these two broken souls is simply stunning in its execution.
"The love I share with Chase is good and bad. It's real life, from sunset picnics on rooftops, from baguettes and brie, from making love under the Eiffel Tower...all the way to secrets kept to secrets revealed, to red balloons lost, magic found, tripping and falling, and picking each other back up. Because when Chase and I fall we will always be there to catch one another, like that day in the parking lot--the beginning."
Chase and Kay are both refreshing in the sense that their love isn't instantaneous; the demons they struggle with on a daily basis keep them genuine in the progression of their emotions and bond. Although they were immediately attracted to one another, it built slowly starting with friendship and from there their love gained a deeper foundation. I really adored the fun flirty moments, as well as those tough raw moments when secrets and pasts were slowly unraveling and revealed.
I am absolutely crazy for Chase! I love that I have a new book boyfriend to drool and obsess over especially one who holds so much depth, courage, and character. To say, I am looking forward to Never Doubt Me, is an understatement, if it was up to me, I would have it in my hands now! By nature, I am a very impatient person, so I will definitely not be waiting patiently for this one, forewarning Susie; I will likely hound you until I have more Chase Gartner in my greedy little hands.
"I never would have thought it before, but as time goes on, I see more of me in my girl. She's not all sweet and shy, not all the time. maybe we aren't so very different after all. There's good and bad in both of us, and that's what binds us together, for better or worse."
I Stand before You is a hauntingly beautiful journey of how the past shapes the future and guides them into the person he or she will become, while the consequences and lessons learned can be harsh and heart breaking. Susie wrote a captivating tale of reality, staying true to some very hard and uncomfortable subjects and the aftermath that follows.
P.S.I don't normally add so many lengthy quotes in my reviews, but I just couldn't help myself. There are so many moving and deep lines in this book, so many favorites I had such a hard time choosing. The words and thoughts between Chase and Kay was spell bounding. I seriously devoured every word on each page! I wasn't sure what to show you, but I hope that you'll love the quotes I chose as much as I did.
Thank you, S.R. Grey, for providing me with the opportunity to read and review an ARC of I Stand Before You in exchange for my honest opinion.
S.R. Grey is the author of Harbour Falls and Willow Point, first and second novels in A Harbour Falls Mystery series. She is also the author of I Stand Before You, first novel in the Judge Me Not series (New Adult/Contemporary Romance), to be released September 2013.
Ms. Grey resides in western Pennsylvania. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Robert Morris College, as well as an MBA from Duquesne University.
She is currently working on Wickingham Way, the third installment in A Harbour Falls Mystery series, to be released in January 2014.
Other interests include reading, traveling, running, and cheering for her hometown sports teams.
(1) $50 Amazon Gift Card - International
(5) eBook copies of I Stand Before You (mobi and epub) - International