Oh wow…I had just turned the last page and knew I had to write this review! This book was too good for me to put aside and review at a later date! I have no idea what took me THIS long to read this, because it was a really good read!
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published Date: July 12th 2016
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Synopsis: She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have.
Jude lost everything one spring day when he crashed his car into an apple tree on the side of the road. A man is dead, and there’s no way he can ever right that wrong. He’d steer clear of Colebury, Vermont forever if he could. But an ex-con in recovery for his drug addiction can’t find a job just anywhere.
For Sophie Haines, coming face to face with the man who broke her heart is gut-wrenching. Suddenly, he’s everywhere she turns. It’s hard not to stare at how much he’s changed. The bad boy who used to love her didn’t have big biceps and sun-kissed hair. And he’d never turn up volunteer in the church kitchen.
She knows it’s foolish to yearn for the man who returned all the heartsick letters she wrote him in prison. But the looks he sends her now speak volumes.
No one wants to see Sophie and Jude back together, least of all Sophie’s police chief father. But it’s a small town. And forbidden love is a law unto itself.
**ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review**
Sarina has seriously bowled me over with this one! Honestly, the synopsis just did not catch my eye, it was sort of underwhelming…but when you start reading the book it’s really hard to put down. It was so raw, so honest and so real! I won’t go back to rehash the storyline, and will just jump straight into my thoughts!
The story is told from both Jude and Sophie’s point of view. It also has parts which jumps back into the past giving a glimpse of teenage Jude and Sophie. It was really well structured that I just went with the flow.
With Jude, it starts off with a status update on his craving ratings
Craving Meter: 7 and rising
It’s so realistic, as to how he fights his cravings daily. While I’ve not had any experience with addiction or know anyone with the problem, I feel this is probably the closest I’ll ever experience it and PHEW…it really pulls you into how tough it is for an addict; and what goes on in their heads as they itch just for another hit. There is also the whole detox experience…and the determination and will power needed to get through the hellish pain of removing the toxin from one’s system.
My name is Jude Nickel, and I am an addict. Also, I’m a big fucking idiot.
Something I admire about Jude, is his willpower; he isn’t perfect and there are times he gets tempted but he holds tight and is determined not to make the same mistakes again.
“The problem is that it’s hard to behave differently in the same old environment. Every time I step inside my old room, I feel like the junkie I used to be. Like the air in there is fucking toxic.”
You can really feel his pain, the efforts he puts into resisting his cravings.
As for Sophie, we’re given a glimpse of her personality and her state of mine through her “inner DJ”:
Internal DJ Tuned to: “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by The Supremes
It sorta makes me look up the tunes I don’t know and listen to them as I read her parts or have the tune playing in my head for those that I do know as I read. I really liked Sophie, and took to her quickly. The situation at home is less than ideal for her; with a mother who is barely responsive and a father who looks at her as the “wrong child that lived”. Yet, she keeps it all together, enough to find an alternative education option from her original plans, and even found a job she enjoys. I do love her strength and her persistence on discovering the truth, as well as her faith in Jude. You have to admire despite how bad things are for her at home, she’s working to move forward, trying to see the good in things and trying to help others.
When I was seventeen, I thought Jude was sent to me from heaven. When I was eighteen, I let him take me there.
I love that this isn’t some sorta instalove trope! It’s really about second chances, at love and at life. Jude and Sophie are just so wonderful as a couple, they met in high school and their relationship grew from there.
Despite being a bad boy and all that in school, Jude wasn’t a typical bad boy turned good thanks to a good girl.
We’d been impossibly young.
He really was a punky teenager who thought he knew everything about the world. He made his mistakes and paid a hefty price for it.
“Maybe you weren’t always good for her. But it’s not a fatal condition. St. Augustine said it best – ‘It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels’.”
But as an adult he had really made up for it, to himself and to Sophie.
“Nothing would make me happier than to make a home for you.”
*SOB* they’re just so beautiful together!!!
On the angst scale, there was some with the whole forbidden relationship – with her being the Police Chief’s daughter and the a good girl and him being the residential bad boy; but it was all definitely worth it! I really love the two of them together, they were just made to keep one another sane; in fact, they were so good for one another, and so supportive, it was amazing to read.
And of course, there are the Shipley crew who are absolutely perfect! Everyone needs a Shipley crew in their life! And the new addition, Father Peter, who I adore! Do look out for him.
Where Bittersweet was light and flirty; Steadfast was raw and intense, even heartbreaking.
Once again Sarina had really delivered! She does an amazing job at showing us there is hope, and that even when things gets tough, there are alternatives…we just need to keep trying. In fact I enjoyed it a lot more than the first book, and am so glad I read it. I can’t wait for Zach’s story, Keepsake, next! And I believe, May Shipley needs her own book, she was really such an amazing friend to Jude and I’m actually quite interested in her love life…there is also that lawyer who appears at the end of the book…could it be something?
Would I recommend this? YES! OMG YES! EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS!!!! Let me explain this more calmly…I won’t say this is a mindless read, it is actually quite intense, but totally worth it.
Have you read the book? If you have, what did you think about it? Did you have the same issues I did about the book? Otherwise what did you love about it? If you’ve not, would this be something you’d pick up? Would love to know what you thought, looking forward to hearing from you!