Review ~ Shadow Heart & Fire Heart

Shadow Heart

A Contemporary Romance Novel about Pushing the Boundaries of the Heart and Daring to be Vulnerable (Broken Bottle Series Book 1)

Nobody wants to talk about them, but there are events that occur in our lives that become deep, dark secrets we hold inside. And they dramatically influence who we are and who we become.

Such is the case for seventeen year-old Nicky Young who was raised by an alcoholic father and disengaged mother. When Nicky tries to make her way into the world she is confronted by the demons of her dysfunctional and sometimes violent upbringing.

Unlike many of her friends, she has shied away from boys, makeup, and clothes, instead focusing on achievement and her goal of getting into Stanford.

But then Nicky meets Ryan Tilton, a sexy, high profile professional baseball player, eight years her senior, and a strong desire is awakened in her.

Nicky questions Ryan’s motives for wanting to be with an inexperienced girl and can’t decide if he’s a scoundrel or genuinely cares about her. She is both excited and frightened, torn between protecting her heart and wanting to trust.

Ryan brings his own demons–losing his father at the age of fourteen, and a sexual partner from his past who will not leave him alone.

Will their young, uncertain love be enough to help them open their hearts and experience the intimacy they both crave so deeply, or are Nicky and Ryan on a collision course?

Loosely based on the author’s life growing up in San Francisco, this inspired contemporary romance novel deals with the disturbing secrets siblings share, the dance between love and protecting one’s heart, and he innate desire to conned t with another even when it means risking everything.

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My ****4 Star**** Review

Have you ever had a love/hate relationship with a book? That’s the best way I can describe my relationship with this book! Nicky’s childhood reeked of dysfunction. She knows all about alcoholism, physical abuse, and the cover up of the real-life nightmare. To make matters worse, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Nicky has worked hard to build up walls to protect herself, and she doesn’t do emotions.

Professional baseball player Ryan Tilton wants to tear down those walls. He’s lived the classic lifestyle of the famous jock, but one look at Nicky changes his course. His reputation makes it all the harder for Nicky to place her trust in him, though.

Then there’s the safe Jerry. He’s her life-long best friend. He’s decided it’s time to take their relationship to another level, and Nicky thinks she might want that, too. She’s starting to feel those natural stirrings and well, Jerry is safe in comparison to Ryan.

The story opens with a brutal scene full of abuse. It’s one powerful scene and I was sucked right into it. The author’s personal experience with alcoholism is painfully apparent as the scenes are so vividly disturbing. You can expect rough scenes with harsh language, tales of abuse, sexual content, and rape. But there are some very inspirational moments that shine through, too.

On the negative side, there were several times that the dialogue seemed unnatural. They would be followed with some very sweet quotes that sucked me right back in. Another negative for me was that Nicky had a little phase where she seemed to change overnight. As I read on, her character seemed to even back out and sense was made of who she was becoming versus who she was. I can’t say I always liked who she was, though. She made some horribly annoying decisions. In the end, she makes sense, though. You understand what has made her the way she is. I have to admit that I immediately followed up this first book with the second. It wasn’t until I finished that book that I really started to understand her character and became more accepting of it.

The book ends on a major cliffhanger. It seems as if you’re in the middle of the book, flip the page, and then nothing. The whole end of the story drove me nuts! I didn’t care for it. Nonetheless, the angst of the story kept me glued throughout. It was a very fast read for me, and despite wanting to reach in and shake Nicky, I couldn’t stop flipping the pages. As I mentioned, I’ve already breezed through the second book in rapid succession. Now I’m looking forward to the third book!

*I received a copy via NetGalley and Open Heart Press in exchange for an honest review.*

Fire Heart

When You Have to Choose Between Love and Your Life (Broken Bottle Series Book 2)

There are times in our lives when we encounter love so profound, so powerful, that the life you’ve always planned for gets interrupted by the love you’ve desperately longed for. Such is the case for 18 year old Nicky Young. High school is officially over, and she has been planning to attend Stanford, but the very hot and very desirable Goliath baseball star, Ryan Tilton, has other ideas.

As their relationship begins to heat up, Ryan wants her to commit to him. Nicky is wanting him, too, but suspicious of his intentions. Especially when ex-lovers keep showing up! How can she commit herself to Ryan when she is so close to the independence she has longed for ever since she was a young girl?

As they become more and more intimate, childhood memories of being abused by her father and her sister’s rape at age 14, feelings of deep shame come pouring through Nicky’s mind. She desperately wants to open her heart but cannot live through the pain of being abandoned again.

What lengths will she go to, to stay strong when what she really craves at the deepest levels of her being, is standing right in from of her?

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My ****4 Star**** Review

If you haven’t read the first book in the Broken Bottle series, stop here. This book picks right up where the first left off. Let me start with saying that while I didn’t find the start of this story to be nearly as intriguing as the start of Shadow Heart, overall I enjoyed this second book more than the first. I really feel like I get Nicky’s character now. Plus you get a better glimpse at Ryan and some of his current struggles.

This second book is full of steam. There are some highly sensual moments that’ll really get your blood flowing. You get a full on glimpse of Ryan trying to tear down those ever-prevalent walls.

The dialogue in this second book was better than the first, and I only questioned a couple scenes. Nicky still aggravated me in this story, but more sense was made of why she is the way she is. I also really enjoyed seeing Nicky’s relationship with her sister grow. Overall, you can see Nicky grow as a person, and it’s apparent that Ryan is a massive force behind that change. I really began to feel hope for Nicky.

I was saddened by the cliffhanger again. The third book, Jagged Heart is supposed to be coming soon where all the lingering questions will be answered. I really feel this story would have worked best as one stand-alone, but I’ll be looking forward to the next book, nonetheless.

*I received a copy via NetGalley and Open Heart Press in exchange for an honest review.*

About the Author ~ Pamela Taeuffer

Pamela Taeuffer

I am an introvert. Yes, fear runs through me in dozens of ways when I have to be in a room of people I don’t know.

I was raised in a family battling alcoholism. I layered myself with armor thick, high, and wrapped it so tightly around my heart that intimacy wouldn’t find me for years.

I also added the layers of weight for protection. I was never happy with myself no matter what size I was. The thinner I was, the more attention I received, the more I was afraid.

I have a son who was in an auto accident at nineteen and has struggled in recovering from his traumatic brain injury.

Why do I lead with these things?

Because they all tell a story about opening up a heart . . . my heart, but it could be anyone’s heart. I’m passionate about writing how intimacy and trust opened everything for me, and can’t wait to show the journey in my books.

What do I hope to do with this experience? I will strive to bring readers a deep and intimate understanding of what growing up that way does to one’s choices, the fears it brings deep into our hearts, and the deficiencies we’re left without when it comes to building relationships of every kind.

The values and results I hope to bring with the Broken Bottles Series are:

1. Deep fears can reside in all of us and the reasons for them are numerous. I remained closed for years because of being abandoned and disappointed from my father’s alcoholism. It took years for me to understand without risk, nothing will change.

2. If I can show readers the reasons why, perhaps they will understand these fears in their friends, family or loved ones and encourage rather than criticize, even as they seem unreachable.

3. My truest wish is for women to lose their fear over sex. Real intimacy happens when communication and love is open and giving to your partner, asking for what you want, and allowing your partner to feel safe as he/she asks for what they want.

4. Fears disappear only when each person feels completely safe. There is no safety without trust.
I am a new author who promises to give my readers an honest and fresh perspective of the challenges we face trying to love family, friends, and partners and in creating engagement with readers, will be diligent about responding from my heart.

For the reader, these stories detail the fears of being alone, of exploring deep intimacy and how to get to the level of love and communication in all aspects of our lives. Many of my stories come from the journals I kept from the time I was ten. They helped me to analyze and step back from the dysfunction of my childhood, and also enabled me to recall the vivid details and memories of many of the events about which I’ve written and will continue to write through fresh eyes and fresh stories.

I loved living in San Francisco, where I was born and raised. From the time I was six years old my father took us to baseball games, and thus my love for sports grew, especially of baseball. The few close friends I grew up with I still have today, and I’ve been married more than thirty years with one son, who at nineteen suffered a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident. I also have three wonderful step children from my husband’s first marriage.

I currently run a vacation rental business in wine country for the last twenty plus years, and enjoy working it with my husband and son, and enjoy meeting people from all over the world.

• I have a deep desire to give you an enjoyable love story

• I want to help women understand how to ask for what they want sexually and in every other way, and to keep their partner’s hearts open, honest communications are essential when it comes to sex.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8030457.Pamela_Taeuffer
Website: http://www.pamelataeuffer.com
Twitter: @Ptaeufferauthor

Happy Reading,

Alison

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