Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: If you Leave (Beautifully Broken #2) by Courtney Cole

If You Leave (Beautifully Broken #2)
by Courtney Cole
Published:  8/6/13
Publisher:  Hachette Book Group
Source:  Publisher/NetGalley
26-year old Gabriel Vincent is a badass hero. Or he used to be, anyway. As an ex-Army Ranger, Gabe never thought he needed anyone. But after one horrible night in Afghanistan scars him in a way that he can't get past, he needs someone who can help him heal...even if he doesn't realize it.

25-year old Madison Hill doesn't need anybody...or so she thinks. She grew up watching her parents' messed-up abusive relationship and she knows there's no way in hell that she's ever letting that happen to her.

They don't know it in the beginning, but Gabriel and Madison will soon develop a weakness: Each other.

But Gabriel's got a secret, a hidden monster that he's afraid Maddy could never overcome... And Maddy's got issues that she's afraid Gabe will never understand. They quickly realize that they need each other to be whole, but at the same time they know that they've got demons to fight.

And the problem with demons is that they never die quietly

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Picture from Courtney Cole's Facebook Page
My Thoughts:  I just love Courtney Cole's books and after reading Pax and Mila's story in If You Stay, I have been dying to get my hands on Madison's story in If You Leave.  Madison is Mila's older sister.  Ever since her parents died tragically, Madison has taken on their role, running the business, living in the family home, leaving her modeling career behind.  She has always tried to take care of Mila and let her live her own life, knowing Mila's passion is art and not wanting to tie her down with the family restaurant.  Madison has always been rather unlucky in the love department, feeling that she has always chosen the wrong kind of guys, the kind that never stick around.  Then she meets Gabriel Vincent when she goes into the city for a "night on the town" with her best friend Jacey.  The attraction between them is magnetic.  Gabriel is a hot as they come, he's mysterious, cocky, and he is also very, very sexy.  He's never wanted a girl for more than sex, especially since he went to Afghanistan, that is until he meets Madison.  Gabriel is also an ex-Army Ranger. Something tragic happens that evening that gives Madison a glimpse into another side of Gabriel, one which he doesn't want anyone to see. She goes back home, never expecting to see him again.  Needless to say that when he walks into her restaurant the next day she is flabbergasted.  It just so happens that Gabriel Vincent is her friend Jacey's older brother, the one she was supposed to meet at the club the previous night, but Jacey thought he never made it.  Not only did these two did meet, they already have a "history," but with both of their scarred pasts, is there any hope for a future?

I loved this book.  It was so good.  It also was very emotionally raw and heartbreaking, causing you to experience the gamut of emotions from one end of the scale to another.  Gabriel's experience in Afghanistan has messed him up big time and left him totally screwed up.  He is such an awesome, stand-up, honorable guy whose dream has always been to be a soldier, but because of what happened he feels like a failure, is guilt ridden, and feels completely undeserving of ever experiencing love. Madison also has things in her past that we didn't know about, things she has stuffed down for years, things that have left her very emotionally scarred and feeling incapable of ever having a meaningful relationship.  They try to help each other heal, and Gabriel is a godsend for Madison, but then the past rares its ugly head and threatens to destroy them.  Gabriel has to decide if he is willing to let Madison in, and if he is willing to do what it takes to get the help he needs, but will it be too little too late?  The journey these two go on in If You Leave is one you will never forget.  There is also some drama that happens with Jacey that provides for some interesting twists and turns in the story.  Courtney Cole has again done an outstanding job in writing not only a magnificent contemporary romance that is filled with drama, angst, and passion, but sheds light on an important issue that so many of our soldiers deal with, PTSD and its effects, while also honoring all those individuals who give their all to protect us. This is one story you won't want to miss.  Oh, and the romance part is HOT!  I am already counting the days until the next book in the series comes out, Before We Fall, which will be Jacey's story.

Author Bio:  Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could.  She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds.  She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people.  
Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

If You Stay (Beautifully Broken #1)
by Courtney Cole
Published:  4/30/13
Publisher:  Forever

In the bestselling tradition of J.A. Redmerski, Jessica Sorensen, S.C. Stephens, and Jamie McGuire...

Twenty-four-year-old Pax Tate is an asshole. Seriously. He's a tattooed, rock-hard bad boy with a tough attitude to match. His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with an intense guilt that he doesn't understand. What he does know is that he and his dad were left alone, and they have never been close. Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the black void in his soul. He pretends that the emptiness isn't there and this has always worked . . . until he meets Mila.

Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air that Pax has never known in his life. He doesn't know how to not hurt her¿but he quickly realizes that he'd better figure it out because he needs her to breathe. When the memories of his mother's death resurface to haunt Pax, Mila is there to save him from his overwhelming guilt. Mila restores his broken heart, even as she evokes his powerful, sexual desires. Now for Pax to keep Mila, he needs to work on his issuesand stop being an asshole. But is that enough to make her stay?

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You can see my review and an interview with Courtney here.


  1. You know I love those emotional reads and I am so excited that both of these were fantastic! I know I will end up loving them as well.
    Great review Ellen!

  2. I loved If You Stay as well Ellen so I'm super excited for this one! I'm so pleased to see you enjoyed it, I love characters who find their way after a tragedy and it sounds like Madison and Gabriel worked perfectly together.

    A fabulous review!

    1. It was so good. I think Pax will always be my favorite, but I just loved Gabriel and Madison's story.

  3. I like the sounds of this one. I read If You Stay and I'm interested to read Madison's story. Lovely review:)

  4. Great review! I love Gabe and Maddy.


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