Blog Tour - Sweet Fall (Sweet Home #3) by Tillie Cole ~ Ava's Review, Excerpt and #Kindle Fire HDX #Giveaway!
“All of this started with the rejection of a boy I liked… I want it to end with the acceptance of the boy I love.”
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.*
I adored books one and two of this series, Sweet Home and Sweet Rome. Lexi and Austin made an appearance and their relationship was hinted at but never in a million years could I have guessed the heartache they hid. Sweet Fall was their story of pain, difficult choices, loss and finding the strength to be together.
“I placed my hand on his back… I had to touch him. It was wrong of me, it was uninvited… but I just had to. Something within me pushed me to be supportive. Austin was strong, he belonged to a dangerous gang, he had a dark past, but beneath his armour of tattoos, I sensed he also had a pure soul, and it was in distress.”
Lexi hides behind her goth make up and black hair, it’s her safety net and shield from the world. What she is hiding from her friends is scary and heart breaking. This element of the storyline was handled so well. I was crying reading the author’s note at the beginning before the story even began. It was really refreshing to read about something raw and real, Lexi was not your average heroine, yet she’s about one of the strongest I have read. Lexi leaned on no one and struggled alone, that was until she got caught up in trouble with Austin Carrillo, a star football player, and together with his strength Lexi begin to really live again.
“Austin was bringing colour into my gray scale life.”
“Austin, make love to me. Just…be gentle… There’s a chance I might break…”
Austin may appear to have it all; great friends, full football scholarship and a guaranteed NFL career but what he hides from the world is the heartache going on at home. Austin is torn between following his dreams or going back home and returning to a life he doesn’t want for him or his brothers. Add his mum into the mix and my heart was well and truly broken for him. Again, Austin’s storyline was original and it added grit to the story. My heart was in my mouth most of the time and I just wanted to protect him and his family. It made for some great reading.
“My broken boy from the trailer park was slowly fixing himself together again… taking my heart and soul along for the ride.”
I am a huge fan of Tillie’s writing, it never fails to pull on my heartstrings and bind me to the characters. There are so many layers to this story; Lexi struggling with the voices in her head, Austin struggling to take care of his family, and then the growing relationship between Lexi and Austin. The storyline was never once overwhelmed with all these elements, they knitted together to make a heart wrenching story.
“Although our respective issues were poles apart in nature, we were kindred spirits in the fight to not let these issues destroy us as people.”
“Lexi’s eyes filled with water and another understanding tear tumbled down her cheek. Leaning forward, I kissed the salty drop away.
And that’s how we fell.
Fell into sleep.
Fell into trust…
Fell for each other.”
My two favourite parts of the book was when Austin would speak Italian, (just when I thought he couldn’t get any sexier) although there were a few phrases that weren’t translated for the reader so I did worry I was missing out on some sweet phrases but also I loved the questions Lexi and Austin repeatedly asked each other. It was only when they fully trusted each other did they answer truthfully and I fell for them even more.
“Why the war paint, Pix?”
“Because I can’t stand the girl underneath,” she whispered
“Why the tattoos?” Lexi asked
“Because I can’t bear seeing the scars of my past.”
Sweet Fall is a great addition to the series, Rome and Molly will always be my first loves but Lexi and Austin are worthy contenders. For fans of the series, you must read this instalment and I really can’t wait for Ally’s story.
Crickets chirped outside, and every fifteen minutes, the sound of the campus cops’ radios filled the house. They were doing their rounds—just like good little bitches of the dean—the light from their flashlights illuminating the room, except here behind the couch, where we had our own little pocket of protection.
Hours and hours passed in silence, and I lay on my back just staring once more at the stars through the skylight, the sky brightening with the rising dawn, the dark room now lightened by a hazy orange glow.
I heard Lexi sigh beside me, and I asked, “What do think of when you look up at the stars?”
I caught Lexi’s head tilt to the side and her eyes narrowed in scrutiny.
Minutes passed as she stared silently at the night sky. “Sometimes I wonder what they must make of our world,” she whispered quietly. I didn’t think she’d respond. “Do we fascinate them or disgust them? Do they look down on us the same way we look up at them and wonder what we’re thinking too? Do they see all our problems? Watch our sorrowful excuses for lives with a growing sense of pity? Or do they envy us for just having a life, good or bad?”
Her response surprised me. Sorrowful excuses for lives?
“Ever look at them and feel inferior, feel small?” I added, really wanting to hear her answer.
Lexi fidgeted beside me, lifting her hands to create a frame with her fingers, her left eye closed as she studied Orion’s Belt like she was looking through a telescope. But her hands abruptly lowered and laid flat to her stomach, a guttering expression on her face. “I don’t need to look up at the stars to feel inferior, Austin. All I have to do is open my eyes and look at myself in the mirror.”
My attention snapped to her and a strange feeling rolled my stomach—sympathy?
Lexi yawned beside me and her eyelids began to droop, but she fought to stay awake, never taking her eyes off the stars. I couldn’t stop watching her. Something about her intrigued me. Or maybe it was the fact that she knew about me, about who I was, that drew me to her. I didn’t have to pretend just for right here, right now.
“Go to sleep,” I said after her third consecutive yawn, and she focused on me once more. She was making me fuckin’ tired, and I needed to stay alert.
Lexi simply shook her head and wrapped her arms around her chest, fighting off another yawn.
Damn stubborn chick.
“Lexi, go to fuckin’ sleep. We’re gonna be here all night anyway,” I ordered, and I watched her tired eyes widen.
“Are you gonna sleep?” she asked, and I frowned. Why the fuck did that matter?
“Probably, at some point,” I replied and shrugged my shoulders.
“Okay, then. But…” Her lips pursed in tension. “But please don’t touch me. I… can’t be touched… I’ll stay here hidden, just… don’t touch me.”
“I won’t,” I said vehemently through gritted teeth. Did she think I was gonna grope her in her sleep or some shit? What the hell did she think of me?
Lexi’s eyes closed and, within seconds, she was out, all curled up in the fetal position on the hardwood floor. She looked like a fallen, broken pixie.
I don’t know why I said it, but I leaned down and whispered, “This isn’t who I am, Lexi. I’m not the cold, unfeeling dick you think I am. I just wanted you to know that about me.”
Tillie Cole is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her English rose mother -- a farmer's daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.
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