Blog Tour and Giveaway: Fighting Redemption: Kate McCarthy

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Ryan Kendall is broken. He understands pain. He knows the hand of violence and the ache of loss. He knows what it means to fail those who need you. Being broken doesn’t stop him wanting the one thing he can’t have; Finlay Tanner. Her smile is sweet and her future bright. She’s the girl he grew up with, the girl he loves, the girl he protects from the world, and from himself.

At nineteen, Ryan leaves to join the Australian Army. After years of training he becomes an elite SAS soldier and deploys to the Afghanistan war. His patrol undertakes the most dangerous missions a soldier can face. But no matter how far he runs, or how hard he fights, his need for Finlay won’t let go.

Returning home after six years, one look is all it takes to know he can’t live without her. But sometimes love isn’t enough to heal what hurts. Sometimes people like him can’t be fixed, and sometimes people like Finlay deserve more than what’s left.

This is a story about war and the cost of sacrifice. Where bonds are formed, and friendships found. Where those who are strong, fall hard. Where love is let go, heartache is born, and heroes are made. Where one man learns that the hardest fight of all, is the fight to save himself.

"Stop trying to be a hero all the time. You're so busy saving everyone else you forget about yourself."
Ryan, Jake, and his little sister, Finlay grew up together and were inseparable. They boys were like brothers, and Ryan and Fin shared something very special that only seemed to grow stronger as they matured. But they were both afraid to act on their attraction. As time went on and their lives changed, they were forced to move on apart. Ryan and Jake joined the Australian Army and Fin had plans for school and a career. But when they were thrust together at various intervals. Their want, their need, and their feelings were hard to deny. 

"For six years I fought every day not to think of you and I lost, because every day you were all I could see. You were the best thing in my life--so sweet and innocent, and so goddamn tempting."

This was a story of two people who were meant to be together. They shared an unyielding connection and deep love. But they were tested in so many ways and so many times.  They had love, passion, friendship, and a soulful connection but life threw road blocks at them constantly. Ryan was loyal, protective, and duty bound. But he was also broken, shattered, beat down, and guilt ridden by his past. He felt undeserving and unworthy. He knew what he wanted, but was afraid of the consequences. Ryan stole my heart. At times I wanted to smack him or shake sense into him, and at other times just wanted to hug and comfort him.

He was still carrying around a load of hurt and he couldn't let go of it. It did own him--that deep shaft of guilt, the pain that had cause his family to implode--had him in it's grip. And until he owned it, just like she said, he could never be the man she needed--only the man who wanted her with every burning fibre of his body. 

Fin was smart, strong, loving, and devoted, But also had her own insecurities and fears of rejection. And her life plan was often in opposition to that of Ryan's. There were times I wanted to throttle her as well. They had a hard time with effective communication and being on the same page at the same time. But it all just added to the complexity of their relationship.

"I carry scars Fin, both inside and out."
"Everyone's perception of beauty is different."

"I 'd give up almost anything to wake up to that every morning."
"Almost anything...That's always been our problem, hasn't it?"

But when they find comfort with each other during a difficult time, they realize how much they need each other to rely on. But can they ever be together if their lives are going in completely different directions? Are they destined to just be passing through each other's lives?

The side characters added humor and interest. I loved her brother and his best friend, Jake. He was such a fabulous brother and friend. He was funny, bossy, protective, and caring. He always stood up for Fin and Ryan. I also enjoyed their buddy, Kyle and her friend Rachael. They were funny and kept me entertained with their wit and antics. Jake and Fin's parents also found a place in my heart. And the brotherhood of his Army unit was strong. Together they all made a framework of love and support(and ass kicking if needed) for this troubled couple. 

This book completely blew me away! It sucked me in, grabbed my heart, kept me enthralled, and left me breathless. It broke my heart, put it back together, and broke it again several times. This was an intense, emotionally gripping novel of friendship, loyalty, honor, and love. This was a true love story with war in the background adding more depth, danger, and tragedy. But this was also Ryan's internal struggle against the demons that haunted him and challenged his happiness. It was a difficult journey towards self forgiveness, hope, and redemption. But sometimes you have to dig deep and fight....fight the past, for yourself, for love, for what you believe in, and to find your way back.

It was heartbreaking, gut punching, inspiring, and beautiful. It took me on a roller coaster of emotions, angst, drama, and heartache. I was so tense, so frustrated, and so invested that my stomach was literally in knots as I was reading it. I was torn between wanting to skip ahead to find out what happens and wanting to devour every word. It was beautifully written, the characters were extremely well developed and flawed, the plot line was moving and dramatic, and it seriously pulled every emotion out of me. I laughed, I cried, I cursed, I swooned, I cried some more, I sighed, I screamed, I bit my nails, and I wanted to throw my kindle. But all together it was an amazing, poignant journey that I will never forget. This book goes beyond 5 stars for me and is one of the rare ones that I have to give 6 stars. So It is definitely a story that should not be missed.

"You're the strongest person I've ever known, but someone smart and brave once told me that it's always the strongest that fall the hardest. You can trust me, Ryan. Let go. I'll be here to catch you. I'll always be here. 

Thanks to Kate McCarthy for providing me a beta copy and arc in exchange for an honest review. Quotes are from advanced copy and subject to change. 

Ryan and Fin, no other words needed...

This is a story about war and the cost of sacrifice. Where bonds are formed, and friendships found. Where those who are strong, fall hard. Where love is let go, heartache is born, and heroes are made. Where one man learns that the hardest fight of all is the fight to save himself.

"The Army and the SAS had been his dream--his chance to be somebody, save lives, show his parents he was worth something. Being a soldier had been his escape, his flight from the demons that bound him. War is a cold, selfish bitch. It changes you. It makes you hard, and it makes you hurt, yet somehow, we keep going back for more."

I'll be the first to admit, I am a bit biased, as I beta read this stunningly beautiful story of war and its aftermath. However, I'm not reviewing this book as its beta reader, I am reviewing it as a huge fan of Kate McCarthy's. What I love the most about her is her uncanny ability to write one hell of an addictive love story that you feel with every breath you take and live with every turn of the page, that is just one of the many reasons I am such a huge fan of hers.

"Would they only ever have those fleeting moments—the ones where you lived the briefest, loved the hardest, and burned like the devil had set fire to your very soul? They were the only moments in his life that had been worth a damn."

Fighting Redemption is the epitome of powerful; the gamut of emotions you'll experience will leave you aching in ways I can’t even begin to describe. I want you to prepare for the fact that your heart will be sitting huddled somewhere in the corner of your stomach for at least 75% of this book. Let us also not forget that you’ll barely be able to breathe, or even contain the ability to see through the tears freely sobbing down your face. Fighting Redemption is the newest emotional thrill ride coming soon to an e-reader near you. I strongly suggest you buckle in and hold on tight. Unless you're one of those oh so fearless types who like to test their courage and ride the ride with their hands thrown in the air, at that point there’s nothing else I can tell you, other than don't say I didn't warn you. I promise even with holding on to those bars you’ll still experience a rush. Please don't dismiss it lightly when I tell you, you’re about to experience, one hell of, an intense emotional roller coaster ride.

"Why did everyone always paint love as pretty rainbows and happily ever afters? It wasn't any of that. To love was to feel the greatest of agony, burn in the hottest fires of hell and fail the only people who mattered."

Ryan and Fin's relationship is a gut wrenching and heart-breaking tale, that will not only transport you to another world, it will hold you captive from the very first page. Our hero and heroine are gritty, raw and beyond captivating; their connection a beautiful blend of chemistry and frustration. Their two worlds colliding and exploding as they struggle to deal with tragedy, inner demons, mistakes, love, loss, forgiveness, and redemption. These two have to work double hard to overcome the hellish obstacles life has thrown at them, in order to experience even the tiniest slice of heaven. Nothing about this duo was easy, everything in their lives has come at a price, and that price was so damn steep. There wasn't a moment throughout their journey that Ryan and Fin weren't ripping my heart out with their intense depth, love, and emotions.

"I have a thick skin, baby...but you're under it. You're buried in there so deep it's like I was born with you in my soul. When I'm near you I'm consumed by you--your smile, your eyes, your heart. Even though we've never been together, you've always been mine, and even if I never get to keep you, you'll still be mine."

Alas, just when you think you can lean back and settle in all comfy like (I’d like to be able to say there isn't that much more hell Kate could put us through, but…), I'm here to warn you that’s not even remotely close to being a possibility. Stop, I can already tell you want to be brave and loosen your grip!! Do not drop those hands, keep holding on tight to those bars. I promise they are there for your safety, as well as the safety of your e-reader. Kate is pure evil, I tell you, and she isn't anywhere close to being done with utterly and completely wrecking you! This is an author who has no qualms about slowly twisting your heart into tiny little pieces that hurt so excruciatingly bad that you think you may just pass out from the pain; then and only then does she decide you've held on long enough and can begin the mending process.

“I’d give almost anything to wake up to that every morning.”
“Almost anything.” She backed up a step. “That’s always been our problem, hasn't it?”

This book is by far my number one read this year. FR is Kate McCarthy at her BEST. Ryan, Jake, Fin, and Kyle will be with me for years to come, as these characters invaded every ounce of my heart, soul, and mind. I know without a doubt that this book will go down as an ultimate favorite of mine. Kate has proved herself time and time again to be a gifted author. Fighting Redemption has her heart and soul laid bare on every page, with every single word. She's set the bar high, and I, for one, am wicked proud to be one of the first people who had the chance to experience the beauty of Ryan and Fin from day one.

Hands down a 6 star read for me!

P.S. Don't forget to buy stock in Kleenex.

Thanks to Kate McCarthy for providing me a beta copy and arc in exchange for an honest review.

I'm going to try to write this without giving away too much of the book - it's really the best way to experience this one. Seriously.

Fighting Redemption sent me on a roller coaster that left me dizzy (and with red, scratchy eyes). I ached from the very beginning. As in, reading the epigraph on the first page caused me to feel tears behind my lids. At that point I knew this was going to be a doozy and would hit me hard. What I didn't know was just what twists and turns Kate would send me on before the end. Something you should maybe know about me before I continue, I am both a very emotional reader (it doesn't take much to make me tear up while reading) and I am a military spouse. Those two factors made this a very, VERY emotional read for me. I had to have encouragement to keep reading. I paused midway to get a hug from my preschooler (who was concerned because Mommy was crying so hard), but am so glad I powered through and made it to the end.

Normally I finish a book and sit down to at least outline my review right away. This one? Once I had finished reading "The End" I still had to wipe away the tears. And step away from my e-reader. And take my son to play outside. I. Was. Wrecked. But in the best sense of the word. (Hours later I can still only write short sentences. I'll be feeling this one for days.) 

These are fictional characters, but the way they are written, they could absolutely be real. And in those hours I was reading this, they were. Fin could be my best friend. Funny, a little nerdy, a little klutzy, she is an all around sweet girl. Ryan? Well, let's just say he was made for his military role, and I could love him in real life too. I was rooting for them to work through all their challenges, for Ryan to make it through deployments, for both characters to open their eyes and see what they had. 

The storyline is one that is so honest and real for those who live lives closely tied to the military during heavy deployment periods. Much of what Fin, Ryan, Jake, and their friends experience parallels the experiences of so many military families. That's one of the things that just kept pulling me further in to this story. It is as much a work of truth as it is a work of fiction. There is no shortage of so many very real emotions throughout. 

As many tears as I shed for the characters, I loved every minute of this book. This was not one of those books that I wanted to go on and on. It was perfect length, and I raced through it, hoping and praying for Ryan and Fin the whole way. I haven't read a book in a long time that has affected me like this. This will definitely be at the top of my 2013 favorites list.

Thanks to Kate McCarthy for an ARC copy in exchange for my honest review.
 Kate McCarthy Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Goodreads

Kate McCarthy grew up in a small town outside of Port Macquarie, Australia. Raised in a house just a short walk to the beach, Kate enjoyed the peaceful, relaxed atmosphere and friendships that come from being raised in a friendly, small town area.

She now resides in Brisbane, Australia, a city in the state of Queensland where she works as an accountant, along with a sideline wedding cake business and her writing.

She is married with two children, has two dogs and house in the suburbs, and a pile of friends and family dotted all over the country that help keep her sane.

When she’s not busy running after naughty kids, filthy dogs, crunching numbers, piping buttercream and writing books, you can find her curled up in bed in the early hours of the morning reading new books and re-reading old favourites. Her favourite books are the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward in which she longs to eventually join the brotherhood and change her name to Phierce Mutha.

Giveaway Prizes:
Signed Copies + Ryan's dog tags (pic attached below), ebooks, gift cards

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  1. I have not read Kate McCarthy yet but this sounds so good! Great way to start! Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  2. Yes!!!! I've read Give Me Love and Fighting Redemption! Both AMAZING!!!

  3. haven't read it yet! but im sooo looking forward to!!! saw a lot of positive and great reviews! and I cannot wait to read it!

  4. I have not had the pleasure of reading her books as of yet. I hope to change that soon! Thank you for the chance!

  5. No, I have not read Fighting Temptation yet, but I am in love with this story. I can't imagine what it would be like to have your father/husband/boyfriend leave for the military for years at a time, but I greatly those people who put their lives on hold in order to serve on behalf of their country. They do us an immeasurable service that we can never truly repay back.
    (signed up as Amber M)

  6. I haven't had the chance to read it yet. However, if I do get the chance to win, I wouldn't be able to put it down. Thank you for giveaway! :)


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