June 9, 2014

BLOG TOUR REVIEWS & GIVEAWAY: I Stand Before You and Never Doubt Me (Judge Me Not #1 and #2)

I'm excited to be a part of the Never Doubt Me blog tour, organized by AToMR Tours. For this tour, I have the pleasure of reviewing both books that are out in S.R. Grey's Judge Me Not series - I STAND BEFORE YOU and NEVER DOUBT ME. Check out my reviews for both books, and then enter the giveaway for either an e-copy of Never Doubt Me or a $50 Amazon gift card. And, don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour!

I Stand Before You (Judge Me Not #1), by S.R. Grey
Published September 2013
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, obtained from AToMR Tours
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) When it comes to tattooed bad boys, Chase Gartner was the real deal. Partying, engaging in meaningless sex, getting into fights---Chase indulged 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 caught up to him and landed 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. 

Chase was everything I love in my bookish boyfriends. He's a bit dangerous, misunderstood, tattooed, and a complete softie when it comes to the girl of his dreams. I freaking love that - when this troubled man is brought to his knees by a girl. 

Chase was an honest-to-goodness bad boy, into partying, drugs and alcohol. Until he got arrested and sent to prison. Four years later, he's trying to make a new life in his small town in Ohio that has very long memories. Then he meets Kay who gives him a real chance. Kay, who has her own skeletons that she's trying to keep buried. Together, they discover that they can fight those skeletons together. 

I really liked I Stand Before You. The story was an interesting one. I liked how it started in Chase's past so that we got all the back story all at once. Many times, the secrets of the characters' pasts come out so slowly that you don't have the whole picture until the end. Chase's story about his drug use after his dad's death and his mother's downward spiral all came out in the first chapter so that we knew what kind of guy we were dealing with from the beginning. 

The story of Chase and Kay really started in the second chapter after Chase is out of prison and takes a summer job in the same place as her. He was drawn to her when she didn't judge him like many in the town had before. But, Kay knew better than most that what is on the surface is not the whole picture. 

The connection between Chase and Kay was so sweet. He was so gentle with her and very protective. I love that protective instinct. It always gets me. And, once Chase decided Kay was it for him, I was done for too. 

I was interested to discover Kay's secret - the one she protected throughout 75% of the book. And, honestly, once it came out, I was a little surprised is was as mild as it was. Don't get me wrong - it was tragic. Sure. But, Kay's role in the tragedy was less serious than the build-up around it made it out to be. 

There's a side story going on regarding Chase's relationship with his troubled younger brother Will, and this story comes to a head at the very end of I Stand Before You. Chase and Kay are at a good place, when Will crashes their new life together. This gives a good lead-in to Never Doubt Me.

Never Doubt Me (Judge Me Not #2), by S.R. Grey
Published April 27, 2014
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, obtained from AToMR Tours
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Gorgeous and sexy Chase Gartner hopes to do just that with Kay Stanton. But when Chase’s troubled-teen brother, Will, stays on in Harmony Creek, Ohio—-after an unexpected arrival-—Chase and Kay’s bonds of love and commitment are soon tested.

Chase finds himself caught up in secrets—-and revisiting a past he thought he’d left behind—-when Will makes a number of irresponsible decisions. Despite Chase’s attempts to keep his brother out of trouble, Will’s reckless behavior continues, affecting not only Chase and Kay, but other residents in town...one disastrously so.

But it’s the final, potentially deadly decision Will makes when his girlfriend runs into trouble back in Las Vegas that leads Chase to make a fateful decision of his own. A choice that threatens his relationship with Kay.

Never Doubt Me is a touching, poignant story of love, redemption, and coming to grips with the fact that escaping the past is never easy.

Right when you think everything's going well, things go to crap. Isn't that the way things always go? Chase and Kay seemed to be in a good place at the end of I Stand Before You. There's just the mild snafu of Chase's idiotic 15-year-old brother showing up unexpectedly on his doorstep, but really, why would this affect this couple who seem so very much in love with one another? *snort*

Will's arrival at Chase's house in Ohio should be a happy thing for both boys. They can reconnect in person, and at first, it seems like that is happening. But, Will has issues of his own, many of which Chase can relate to. And, Chase has no idea how to reign him in. Chase starts keeping secrets from Kay, who is trying to be supportive, but not quite sure where her boundaries are. 

In Never Doubt Me, I was glad to see that "perfect" Chase is not always so perfect. He doesn't always say the pretty words and do the most romantic things. When Chase is stressed out and upset, he lashes out, and Kay is usually the closest person to him, so she catches the brunt of it. I was actually happy to see this. Guys that are too perfect and completely unbelievable. They need flaws. They need their douchey moments. They make these guys a lot more attractive. 

Chase is not a parent, yet he's expected to act like one to his younger brother. He's bound to screw up, especially when Will is so hell-bent on helping things along. I felt so badly for Chase and what he had to deal with. There were so many times when I think I would've just bought a cage and kept my jerk of a kid brother in it until he had to go home. There were times when I wanted to yell at Chase that he was going too easy on Will. It was frustrating. This book was much more frustrating than the first one. 

Because, Chase also started keeping things from Kay. He got sucked into parts of his old life that should've stayed buried. He didn't talk to Kay about it when she asked him to. He called it "protecting" her. And, it upset her, understandably. Chase and Kay both say things they shouldn't. I love that they, as a couple, aren't as perfect too. Truly, imperfection makes a book perfect. 

Both I Stand Before You and Never Doubt Me were told from dual POV, which is my favorite way to tell a story. In addition to the romance and sweetness between Chase and Kay, there was also TONS of steam. This is one hot series - another favorite thing of mine. 

Things were left on a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of Never Doubt Me. I'm anxious for the final installment to find out what happens to Chase and Kay and also Will. Because events at the end of Never Doubt Me had all of them sort of hurtling toward disaster. 

About the Author

S.R. Grey is an Amazon and Barnes & Noble Top 100 bestselling author. Harbour Falls, Willow Point, and Wickingham Way are novels in the completed Harbour Falls Mystery trilogy. She is also the author of New Adult novels I Stand Before You (Judge Me Not #1) and Never Doubt Me (Judge Me Not #2). Ms. Grey's novels have appeared on Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists in multiple categories.

New novels slated for publication in 2014 are Inevitable Detour, a New Adult novel with a Romantic Suspense edge, as well as Just Let Me Love You (Judge Me Not #3).

Ms. Grey resides in western Pennsylvania. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, as well as an MBA. Her background may be in business, but her true passion lies in writing. When not writing, Ms. Grey can be found reading, traveling, running, or cheering for her hometown sports teams.

Learn more about S.R. Grey --> Website / Facebook / Twitter


(3) eBook copies of NEVER DOUBT ME – Gifted  - International

(1) $50.00 Amazon Gift Card (international if they can accept a gift from the US Amazon site via email)

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

S.R. Grey said...

Thank you for taking part in the Blog Tour!! :)