Friday, 31 October 2014

Blog Stop, Review & Giveaway: Beholden by Corinne Michaels.

Title: Beholden (Book Two in the Belonging Duet)
Author: Corinne Michaels
Release Date: October 22, 2014
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  Catherine Pope got a second chance at love, only to have it ripped away—again. She should’ve known better.

But she dared to hope.

She refuses to let fate take the reins this time. Catherine decides she’s going to fight.

Jackson Cole risked it all. 

He thought this time would be different.

With his loyalties pulling him in two directions—it’s time to make a choice…his past or his future.

Will they be beholden to their fears or will they both fight against their demons and finally find the love they both long for?

I was completely unprepared when I began reading Beholden. I remembered the cliffhanger from Beloved, so shouldn't have been surprised by the assault on my emotions when I began to read. By the time I'd finished the prologue, I was already tearing-up. This book should come with a warning:

Do not attempt to read this book without having a box of tissues handy.

I confess to impersonating a leaking tap (faucet) during most of the duration of the book. In the beginning I also had an overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia too – talk about literally feeling what character was going through at the time! I wont say what part I am eluding to as I don't want to spoil the plot, but you'll know which part I mean when you get to it.

Beholden is so much more than an off-the-scale sexy conclusion to Catherine and Jackson's story. It's two people, madly in love with each other trying to find a way back into each others arms, to make a relationship work for them. And work they do because the odds are heavily stacked against them. With both carrying emotional baggage like lead weights around their respective necks, each has to delve deep and make decisions with gut wrenching consequences.

In Beloved, I was instantly attracted to Jackson because he was a suit wearing ex-SEAL. I was drawn to him if nothing else because he reminded me of another book boyfriend. What endeared me most to him was his imperfections and flaws and that applies to Jackson too. He's charming and arrogant, but shows vulnerability too. In Beholden, my heart wept for Jackson as he came to terms with his past, leading to an ultimate personal sacrifice. What a guy, what a hero!

Catherine went from being a woman I easily identified with, to a role model to aspire to. It was almost as if she'd pulled on her “big girl panties,” took life by the horns and charging head first into the heart of her problems. But life is never predictable, and Catherine is forced to make a life changing decision, which will ultimately change the course of her future, with an extremely high personal price tag. She shows courage, conviction and newly found determination. Taking full responsibility for her actions, doing the right thing for herself, even if it breaks her heart all over again.

Amongst the tears of despair and joy, the mood is lightened with some humour too. All I'll say on the latter is “Battleships.” ;-)

If I thought Beloved was fabulous, Beholden is perfect. I especially love the direction Corinne takes her characters, in a far from predictable and refreshingly original way. You'll finish Beholden feeling exhausted & emotionally spent! As we nearer the end of 2014, The Belonging Duet is one of my favourite reading pleasures of the year! Cheers!

5 stars  **arc received via author for blog tour in exchange for an honest review**

Beloved (Book One in the Belonging Duet)

Not enough.

Catherine Pope has never been enough. Every man she has ever loved abandoned her—from her father to her fiancé. She finally accepted the fact she would never be enough to hold any man’s heart and soul.

Then Catherine met Jackson Cole.

When her world literally collided with the sexy former Navy SEAL, everything she always believed is turned upside down and left scattered. He made her feel alive and desirable, consumed her with fierceness and loyalty—which completely unnerved her. Jackson got her in a way no one ever had, giving him the power to destroy her. 

If she breaks down and gives him what’s left of her battered heart—will he protect it? Or will Catherine become an irrelevant part of yet another man’s life? 

Will she get the one thing that has always evaded her – to finally be someone’s beloved?

Corinne is an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. She’s happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife. After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness.