Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: Running Home by T.A. Hardenbrook

*This novel is intended for 18+ for mature content. Strippers, porn, drugs, law enforcement, and of course romance are all included in this package!

Carmen always had a wild streak about her while growing up in this small town. Everyone use to say her only saving grace in this world was her best friend Walker who tried to keep the flighty girl grounded. But life was too big for her to live in this one stop light kind of town; she had dreams and wants that could take her anywhere but staying there. Anything was better than being stuck in the perpetuating cycle of being born and dying in this hell hole she called the reality of a small town girl.

Walker was the only anchor that could hold her home, she lived for that boy. So how do you explain to someone that staying there would only suffocate the possibilities of making a better life for oneself? Running away was the only option, and leaving a piece of her heart with him would keep her strong out in the real world, at least she hoped it would.

After years of trying to make it on her own, struggling through life and trying to stay clean, the only reality she sees at surviving now is going back to the place she tried so hard to break free from. Unsure if her old life is willing to accept the choices she has made, the lone thought that matters to her is hoping she still has the only man she has counted on her entire life in her corner. You can always go home, but will they be willing to take you back?

 4 Star Review by Amy Bustard

They were best friends and soul mates who wanted different paths in life. Abandoned by her drug addicted parents when she was a child and left to be raised in a small town by her grandparents; Carmen wanted nothing more than to flee the small town after graduation. Walker wanted nothing more than to keep her there with him but knew that was not going to happen. He already had his life planned out and would never leave his home.

I don’t know what I would do without this man sitting across from me. He had been there through thick and thin; sitting with me in detention, because he wouldn’t let me take the full blame on something I always messed up on, breaking curfew with my grandparents and having them ground me for weeks so we would spend every Friday night watching movies until they set me free again. This was the man who would pick me up and brought me home from school, always made sure I had eaten a meal, held my hair back when I partook in too much alcohol, and loved me unconditionally. How was I going to make it without him watching over my dumbass self? Why couldn’t he just come with me? Oh that’s right; he is already stuck in this small trap town; local sports hero who would join the Sherriff’s department after he graduates. Basically, a parade should be thrown from how fricken fantastic he is.

Carmen drove me absolutely insane. She isn’t able to commit to anything in life always flying by the seat of her pants, and it normally ended in disaster. I have held her hand since we were eight: never once doubting her ability to succeed in life when she was doomed. I have stood up for her when others tried to bring her down, made sure she got home after a night of drinking herself into oblivion, and played her chauffer for the last two years because she was always terrified drive. So to hear that she is still hell bent on leaving this town basically breaks my heart in two. I loved that girl since I laid eyes on her walking into Miss Treva’s third grade classroom. I am the only person in the world that has seen the real Carmen; she has an amazing soul when she lets people see it. I’ve tried to keep her here, but Im afraid that it’s going to be the real end. After ten years of devoted friendship, I was finally going to lose my best friend to the lure of Hollywood lights.

Immediately after graduation Carmen leaves without even saying goodbye- breaking Walker's heart, entering into a new world where the small town may have just held better opportunities for her. Carmen takes a path that leads her straight into the life she swore she would never allow herself to be part of; Striping, Porn, Prostitution, drugs and jail..  Finding herself with no one to turn to, and nowhere to go, Carmen reaches out to the man she left behind with years of no contact wondering if the promise he made to her still stood true..  She had no choice but to call him- she needed him, she wanted nothing but to run back home..

She left, he continued on his path in his small town building his reputation in the Sheriff’s department. Never forgetting his best friend and never hearing from her Walker buries his feelings when Sadie walks into his life. New feelings are stirred up and a new love is in his life. Wedding bells, talk of babies; she is your typical small town southern bell and Walker is now ready to move on.
What happens to Carmen when she reaches out for Walker and his life is no longer the same? Can he help her or will his new life interfere? Can Carmen go home after she broke his heart? Will Walker bring her home after all that she has done??
4 Stars for this book! I am hoping we get a sequel and more to this story. It was an emotional one to read. What these characters went through! Love, loss, heart break and addiction. This was a very enjoyable read!

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