December 6, 2013

Braine Reviews: Fighting Redemption by Kate McCarthy + Giveaway

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Mobi
Release Date: December 2, 2013
Publisher: Self
Source: Author
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Ryan Kendall is broken. He understands pain. He knows the hand of violence and the ache of loss. He knows what it means to fail those who need you. Being broken doesn’t stop him wanting the one thing he can’t have; Finlay Tanner. Her smile is sweet and her future bright. She’s the girl he grew up with, the girl he loves, the girl he protects from the world, and from himself.

At nineteen, Ryan leaves to join the Australian Army. After years of training he becomes an elite SAS soldier and deploys to the Afghanistan war. His patrol undertakes the most dangerous missions a soldier can face. But no matter how far he runs, or how hard he fights, his need for Finlay won’t let go.

Returning home after six years, one look is all it takes to know he can’t live without her. But sometimes love isn’t enough to heal what hurts. Sometimes people like him can’t be fixed, and sometimes people like Finlay deserve more than what’s left.

This is a story about war and the cost of sacrifice. Where bonds are formed, and friendships found. Where those who are strong, fall hard. Where love is let go, heartache is born, and heroes are made. Where one man learns that the hardest fight of all, is the fight to save himself.

It's been some time since a book truly moved me. Joining Kate McCarthy's FIGHTING REDEMPTION tour I had an inkling that this will be one of those books that will seriously tug my heartstrings. And despite being forewarned by the blurb, I still wasn't prepared by how much I connected with the story. I know nothing of war aside from impressions and textbook info. However I do understand loss and KMcCarthy captured that and the essence of war not in terms of combat, but the the type that's waged long after the shooting stopped. War doesn't end in the battlefield, it seeps through these soldiers' beings and psyche. To be surrounded by death all the time; to be reminded of the temporariness of life; to relive the screams and gunfire, the sounds and smells of destruction in your head, is brutal. And this damage extends to those they leave behind and come home to, the people who pick up the pieces when these men and women come back from hell and the war they wage in their own home to bring back the soldiers paying the price for our freedom. FIGHTING REDEMPTION is a story like that.

To be more specific, the story revolves around three people. The siblings Jake and Finlay Tanner and their bestfriend, Ryan Kendall. These three have been friends since they were kids. Jake and Ryan are as close as brothers while Fin and Ryan have always had something romantic between them. As they got older, the Tanner siblings became warriors in the own way, Fin is an environmentalist while Jake and Ryan signed up for the SAS, the Australian counterpart to the US Marines. Unfortunately Jake was killed in one of the missions. This of course devastated Ryan and Fin and in the midst of mourning they found each other and in the process saved and redeemed the other. 

It's a challenge keeping this review short because there's so much I want to say, I'm brimming with commentaries. I'll start with the characters and their relationships. Jake and Ryan: their sense of brotherhood is felt all throughout FIGHTING REDEMPTION so when Jake died in Ryan's arms, you can bet your cute, tight booty that I was reaching for some Kleenex to wipe away some errant tears. Jake and Finlay: their sibling relationship is nothing short of ideal full of love, strengthened by friendship and minted in loyalty. Finally, Ryan and Finlay, theirs is your friends-to-lovers romance. KMcCarthy build up the tension and angst between these two quite well so expect nothing but Passion with a capital P from these two. The secondary characters are just as great, they each highlighted the relationships and conflicts of the main characters and provided a comedic reliefs to brighten up the story.

FIGHTING REDEMPTION is a superbly written story. It is about love and not just the romantic kind. It talks of family, friendships and all of love's facets. As for the topic of grief, you won't be taken on these characters rock bottoms where they bawl, get drunk and do ugly cries. The kind of heartbreak you'll feel on their behalf is the type that hurts the most. KMcCarthy won't lance your heart with sadness, instead she'll give you the worst kind of pain. The one that will make your heart throb and ache with emptiness. KMcCarthy won't give you heartbreak, she'll give you grief.

But it's not all sadness and mourning, Fin and Ryan's love story is transcending. I love how realistic it is and devoid of dramatic overkill. Sure they've had their ups and downs and somehow they still found their way back to each other. What I love most is Fin and Ryan didn't drive each other to ruin unlike some couples we've read. They are strong independent characters on their own and together they're practically invincible. KMcCarthy didn't torture her heroes by having them go through a series of plaguing problems and tests. Fin and Ryan's journey is believable, realistic, sad and as the title indicates, redeeming. And aside from the wonderfully written characters, I love how KMcCarthy paced her story and how she cut the chapters. She gave us impressions, cutting out the more ugly and gruesome parts, leaving us with the poignant but more resounding ones.

FIGHTING REDEMPTION is such an exceptional read it most definitely earned a spot on my Best of 2013 reads!
I hope it's a comfort to you that I haven't regretted a single moment of my life, and that my reasons for for leaving are so that others can live a life of freedom - Jake

When I'm near you, I'm consumed by you - your smile, your eyes, your heart. Even though we've never been together, you've always been mine, and even if I never get to keep you, you'll still be mine. - Ryan

Fighting Redemption
Excerpt 3 

The call disconnected before she could reply, and she tossed the phone beside her with a sigh. Pushing up off the bed, she walked towards her wardrobe. Catching movement from the corner of her eye, she turned her head and jolted. Ryan was leaning casually against the doorframe, his arms folded. Licking his lips, he stepped into the room and shut the door behind him.
“Ryan. You scared me.” She reached for the top she’d tossed on her corner chair a few minutes ago and gave him her back.
Fin felt him come up behind her and she shivered. He reached around, grabbed the shirt from her hands and tossed it on the floor. Suddenly breathless, she looked at it, then at his hands where they came to rest on her stomach.

He was an asshole for doing this to her, but her door was ajar. When Ryan heard her voice and saw her lying on her bed in nothing but lacy pink underwear, he couldn’t stop himself. How did she manage to look so innocent and so sexy all at the same time?
His lids lowered as he looked down over her shoulder, watching his hands as they skimmed up the smooth, taut skin of her belly to cup her breasts firmly.
Her body trembled as he rubbed his thumbs across her nipples. He felt them harden beneath the flimsy lace of her bra.
“Fin,” he breathed, running one hand down along the inner edges of her tanned thigh. Fuck. Her legs were smooth and warm, and he wanted them wrapped around him as he sank himself deep inside her.
Burying his head in her neck, Ryan shifted his hand to cup the pretty lace panties between her thighs and took a deep, shuddering breath. God, he shook with the need to taste her.
“Ryan,” she moaned.
With his other hand, he fisted the soft strands of her hair and yanked her head back, exposing the line of her throat, and he fell on it—sucking and biting the sweet skin until he was unbearably hard.
A tap came at the bedroom door and they both froze. “Fin? Are you heading out soon or eating here first?” Jake called out.
“I-I’ll be right out,” she stammered and took a step forward out of Ryan’s arms. She turned around, meeting his eyes.
“Okay,” Jake called back.
Ryan’s blood pulsed so hard it was a roar in his ears as they stared at each other wordlessly. After a beat of silence, she tore her eyes away and opened the wardrobe door.
“Are you happy now?” she hissed as she grabbed a pair of jeans from the shelves.
His eyes on her ass, he muttered, “What?”
She threw the jeans at him and he caught them when they hit him square in the chest. “This. Us. Yes, okay? I want you. Is that what you want to hear? That I dream of you too?” she choked out. “Your hands on me, inside of me, and I ache too.”
Ryan took a step towards her.
“Don’t.” She snatched the jeans out of his hands and tugged them on.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured.
Fin turned, rummaging for a top. She pulled one off a hanger and tugged it on furiously. “You’re sorry. I’m sorry. Everybody’s sorry. Well it’s just one sad, fucking sorry situation, isn’t it?”
Christ, Fin was a fiery inferno when she was mad, and it had his dick swelling even harder. “Fin, I—”
“Enough!” She jabbed a finger in his chest. “There’s hurt in there. I know it. You know it, but you’re not going to move on from it until you let that shit out. Whatever you’re doing now isn’t working. Own it, Ryan. Stop letting it own you.” With that she brushed passed him and opened the bedroom door. She looked at him over her shoulder before stalking away.

Purchase Fighting Redemption

Kate McCarthy grew up in a small town outside of Port Macquarie, Australia. Raised in a house just a short walk to the beach, Kate enjoyed the peaceful, relaxed atmosphere and friendships that come from being raised in a friendly, small town area.She now resides in Brisbane, Australia, a city in the state of Queensland where she works as an accountant, along with a sideline wedding cake business and her writing.

She is married with two children, has two dogs and house in the suburbs, and a pile of friends and family dotted all over the country that help keep her sane.

When she’s not busy running after naughty kids, filthy dogs, crunching numbers, piping buttercream and writing books, you can find her curled up in bed in the early hours of the morning reading new books and re-reading old favourites. Her favourite books are the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward in which she longs to eventually join the brotherhood and change her name to Phierce Mutha.

Stalk Kate

Kate is giving away signed Copies + Ryan's dog tags (pic attached below), ebooks, gift cards.

Good luck!


  1. I haven't heard of this book until now, but I know I need to read it, even though it sounds like it is going to tear me to shreds. I love a book that can really make you feel. Fantastic review!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

  2. Oh this sounds like such a moving book. I really should read it, but I am trying to light and fluffy right now as I need a break from more difficult reads. I am definitely adding it to my list.

    1. I definitely read light and fluffy after this.

  3. Braine, I loved your review on this, in fact I added it to my amazon wishlist. My favorite type of reads are those that get you caught up emotionally in the characters..eep.

    1. Yay! I'm sure you'll be as torn up as I am although I'm sure your review will be more articulate than mine. As you can see, I was rambling coz I can't get it out.

  4. Wow this sounds like an incredible read! And very character oriented, too! I love these kinds of books where you just want to just talk and talk and convince everyone to read it! Well it's def. right up my alley so I'll be keeping an eye out for it for sure! I hadn't even heard of it before! Great review, Braine!

  5. I've been seeing a lot of good reviews for this, but...Five Cauldrons?!? That is seriously exciting! Adding to my to-read list!

    1. Yes, it's one of those reads so you MUST feature this on your blog soon!

  6. I haven't yet read any of Ms. McCarthy's books but they're all on my TBR. ;)

    Holy fluck, Braine! This is one book I've really been interested in reading. I love the premise. And man! You've provided a flaming endorsement! I am anxious to meet Ryan, Fin, and Jake. I'm anxious to read a book about all those kinds of love you mentioned. :) Beautiful review, Braine!

    1. Flaming endorsement, I feel like I've rambled but thank you for your kind words. I hope you get to read it soon!

  7. Wow. I have to admit, the blurb did not move me, but your review did. I love when we connect with books so much it's almost too much feels. Wow, best of 2013? I guess I have no other option than to buy this one.

    1. Hahaha! I have a close affinity to grief and loss and when I'm in the mood to torture myself, these are themes that I go to just to let it out.

  8. I haven't read any books by Kate McCarthy as yet ~ but since reading this post i definately want to!! x

  9. After reading your review... I want this book! I want this book! I want this book! I want this book!

  10. it's been a really long time since I read a book like that. It's always so amazing to have a book that intense. It's not like I love to cry but man, it's so rare and it means the book is really good with feelings.

    1. I dislike crying in books that's why I took a break from Nicolas Sparks. I know this one will touch me but I didn't expect for it to move me so much.

  11. I loved reading your review. It gave me a strong desire to read this one. I've never read this author yet.

  12. I haven't read this author yet but would love to! I've heard great things about this book and look forward to reading it soon!

  13. Oh wow. Okay adding it for when I need a really emotional read. Whew!


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