Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Harley and Rose by Carmen Jenner


Ever since she was a little girl, thirty-year-old Rose dreamed of the day Harley would carry her across the threshold on their honeymoon. So what if this isn’t her actual wedding day, and that she’s only here because Harley was left at the altar just a few hours earlier?

Trading San Francisco for paradise and swapping her bridesmaid’s bouquet for a Blue Hawaii, Rose hopes she can finally escape the friend zone.

Once upon a time they had been more than friends, but life got in the way. She’s spent every day since wishing Harley would get a clue.

She’s always been his best friend.

He’s always been hers.

She’s in love with him.

He’s … not in love with her.

He’s … marrying someone else.

He’s … hiding something.

He’s … well—it’s complicated.

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: October 2016.

It's a truly unexplainable feeling beta reading for an author you admire, it's a process like anything that grows and develops and inevitably changes over time. As the reader you continue to grow, you become more and more widely read, your tastes change and that thing you look for when wanting to lose yourself within the pages of a book continues to develop, mature, it's the nature of being a book lover, what you read and loved years ago might not hold that same wow factor were you to pick it up for the first time now, with this you hope that the Authors you read change with you, holding onto some modicum of what makes their stories uniquely theirs, and yet develop and change and hopefully still grab you by the collar and demand you sit up and take notice. When Ms Jenner first mentioned Harley and Rose over a year ago now, the words sweet and light and funny were thrown around, when she dropped hints like friends to lovers and second chance romance I may have inwardly cheered, for anyone who knows me, they know the affinity I share with friends to lovers and their elk, my imagination almost immediately ran wild with images of funny, sweet interludes, of childhood bestfriends who grew into the strongest of lovers, yet for almost a year after that moment Harley and Rose was shelved in favor of other stories needing to be told. When Harley and Rose once again became a living breathing entity and found itself on my kindle I felt a heady sense of trepidation, the images I created in my mind were vivid and full of beautiful colour, I found myself questioning how I could read and critique something I had already built up such lofty expectations for? What if the story the Author told weren't what I expected?  What I couldn't have anticipated was how much this story would claim my heart or how sorely mistaken I would be thinking that the images that originally flooded my mind would have ever done these characters justice.

"Do you love her?"
"Rose - "
"Do you?"

"I don't know. Yeah I think so. When I'm with her I'm a different man, but when I'm here with you, I'm...I'm me."
"God, That's so much worse."
"I know." 

Harley and Rose have never done anything the easy way, from the moment they met as children, their lives have consisted of epic adventures, of great loves and harrowing heartbreaks, as teenagers we tend to romanticize every moment, our first loves should inspire sonnets, our heartbreaks enough to wage wars, every moment and every part of adolescence is filled with a sense of manic desperation that feels too big to be contained. For Rose, her entire life is filled with Harley, her past, her present and her future is consumed by a boy who would always be the Peter Pan to her Wendy, the boy who inspired girlhood crushes and adult lifelong loves regardless of which twists and turns their lives have taken, despite lovers who may come and go, part of her heart would always belong to the boy who never grew up.

"Over it? I laugh but there's no humor in the sound. I wish I could put you aside as easily as you seem to be able to dismiss me, but I can't, because I've been loving you so long I don't know how to stop."

 I have so much I want to say here, so much I want to tell you about why Harley and Rose was nothing like how I expected nor wanted, and yet everything I needed, I want to tell you how indelibly Rose left her mark on my heart, how much her pain and heartbreak seeped into my very being, causing wave upon wave of raw emotion to wash over me, I want to tell you how much I pride myself on not crying in books and yet how Harley and Rose broke my tightly held control and left me blinking through tears begging for relief from the pain that I *knew* would only grow. I want to tell you how much I wanted to crawl into the pages and hold Rose, comfort her, hold her through all those moments that saw her struggle for breath, to give her strength. I want to tell you one of the things that cemented Carmen Jenner as a much read author for me was her ability to craft strong willed heroines that are also beautifully broken, her ability to showcase the dichotomy of the human condition in her characters, especially in her leading ladies is a feat few authors truly accomplish for me. Rose with her tenacity and quite strength intermingled with her vulnerability and inability to walk away even when self preservation calls for it cemented her as a character that will remain in my mind long after her story ended. But mostly, I want to implore you to read this book, avoid spoilers, go in as blind as possible and allow Ms Jenner to steal your heart with her heady blend of raw emotion, humor and sizzling chemistry of two people who were always destined to be in each others lives.

About Carmen Jenner:

Carmen Jenner is a thirty-something, USA TODAY and international bestselling author of the Sugartown, Savage Saints, and Taint series.
Her dark romance, KICK (Savage Saints MC #1), won Best Dark Romance Read in the Reader’s Choice Awards at RWDU 2015.
A tattoo enthusiast, hardcore MAC addict and zombie fangirl, Carmen lives on the sunny north coast of New South Wales, Australia, where she spends her time indoors wrangling her two wildling children, a dog named Pikelet, and her very own man-child.
A romantic at heart, Carmen strives to give her characters the HEA they deserve, but not before ruining their lives completely first … because what’s a happily ever after without a little torture?

Contact Carmen on Facebook

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