Blog Tour: ARC Review~ Fighting Redemption by Kate McCarthy +Excerpt, Playlist & Giveaway

Title: Fighting Redemption
Author: Kate McCarthy
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 2, 2013
Purchase Links:
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA | B&N

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.

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.
My Casting:
I'm a huge film aficionado and I'm a drama student, so I absolutely love casting book characters. As I begin to read, I start to picture certain actors. Seeing as the author is an Aussie and the story is set in Australia, I thought it would be appropriate to cast actual Australian actors.
Jake~ Xavier Samuel (Eclipse, The Loved Ones, Plush, Drift) 
Ryan~ Alex Russell (Chronicle, Carrie, The Host, Bait)
Finlay~ Indiana Evans (H2O, Home and Away, Blue Lagoon: The Awakening) 
Rachael~ Phoebe Tonkin (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, H2O, The Secret Circle) 
❥My Review:
"Fin watched the man walk towards her through a fog. Her vision cleared slowly, bringing Ryan into focus. Her heart, so dead inside her, gave a strong thump, as though trying to wake up."
There are so many great quotes from this book, but I especially love this one. It's simple, yet so powerful. I think it's a perfect representation of their love and how much they mean to each other. 

Fighting Redemption took hold of my expectations and flew them up to the stars. A mesmerizing story that shows the tribulations among two passionately destined souls.

The prologue was perfection. Just the right amount of intrigue and emotion. It alone did me in. It was a brilliant way to set up this contemporary romance. From the beginning I knew I was in for a roller coaster of emotions. 

Ryan Kendall had been a part of the Tanner family for as long as he could remember. They were his escape from his abusive father and inattentive mother. The Tanner's were his home. His past and upbringing from his biological parents propelled him to dream up a plan of becoming a soldier. That was set in stone and no one could make him second guess it.

That is until Finlay Tanner walked in to his life, or rather tripped into his life. As much as he felt this connection to her, he managed to keep himself on track. Despite the feelings that stirred within him whenever he heard her name, as soon as he turned 19, he left for the Army.

Six years later, he decides to visit the only girl that ever made him feel anything.

"I have thick skin, baby," he told her, his wide shoulders crowding her back against the cool tiles, "but you're under it. You're buried in there so deep it's like I was born with you in my soul."
There is so much depth to this story that every chapter, every sentence, every word leaves a stamp on your heart. I've never enjoyed a story's unfolding quite like this one. The relationships between the characters progressed beautifully and it was clear how much they all meant to one another. Their bonds were like no other. Words can not explain it, I simply felt every character. I could see the story jumping off the pages and coming to life. It just all felt so real to me.

"You're his heart. You. That's his sacrifice for whatever demons he's carrying around inside him. But he needs to wake up and realise that it doesn't matter where he is, or what he does, you'll still make being together work, because both of you share something that is so far beyond love it won't ever die."
I had my moments where I wanted to shake and yell at both Fin and Ryan. I could see that they were meant to be together. Everyone else could see it. But they just wouldn't let themselves fall. They both had their reasons and while I didn't agree with them completely, the story was written so well, that I was able to see things through their eyes. 

If you're wondering if there are any steamy sex scenes.. Well, no there weren't. 
There are however intense and passionate, love-making moments. I love the fact that there were scenes of the sexual nature amongst all of this dark and anguishing emotion. Those moments that the characters share are so meaningful. 

"She wanted to walk in there, peel off all her clothes, and have him sink himself inside her until she couldn't breathe from it."

"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 grabbed her hands and put them on his chest, sliding them down the muscled ridges until she circled him with her hands. He was hard again; she could feel the blood pulsing through him. He put a hand over hers. "This is how much I want you, and you didn't force that. I've always wanted you and I'll never stop wanting you."

I honestly don't think I've done this book justice with this review, but I have never had so much trouble expressing my thoughts for a book. These characters and their story did a hell of a number on me.

Prepare yourself:
1) Plan on taking breaks to ease the pain and anxiety 
2) Stock up on Kleenex tissues to soak up all of the tears you'll spill throughout the story

I love this book so much, I want to pass out flyers urging people to READ.THIS.BOOK! 

*An eARC of this book was provided by the author for an honest review. This in no way has affected my review/opinion.
My Rating: 5 Stars

About the Author

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.

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