Friday, September 13, 2013

Special Feature Day: If You Leave by Courtney Cole

We may not have made it onto the blog tour, but we are appreciative to both author Courtney Cole and InkSlinger PR for enabling us to participate in this Special Feature for the release of If You Leave. Here is our review.

If You Leave (Beautifully Broken #2) by Courtney Cole
New Adult contemporary romance
Paperback/eBook, 336 pages 
Published August 6th 2013 by Forever

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.

Courtney Cole's Beautifully Broken series is only getting better with the addition of book two, If You Leave. Once again, the author grabs the reader by the shoulders and shoves her into Gabriel and Madison's story. Again, there is tragedy and hurt to overcome, inner demons to slay, and a love worth battling everything for. 

Army Ranger Gabe is living with PTSD after serving in Afghanistan. The nightmares, the sweats, the horrible memories frame who is he today. His sister, Jacey, is a close friend of Mila Hill from the first book, If You Stay. Since we already met Madison, Mila's frigid and overprotective sister, we have an idea about her character. Carrying around her own dark issues stemming from her parents' tumultuous relationship and their deaths, she now has her own story. Gabe and Madison meet at a club and a quickie ends rather abruptly. She chalks it up to whatever but fate has other ideas and they meet again. The attraction between this ice queen and damaged soldier is palpable, heady, combustible and definitely undeniable. 

As I began to understand Madison and Gabe, I also grew to like them. Madison left her life behind in New York to take over her parent's restaurant and keep their dream going. Is it what she wants out of life? Hell no, but she's doing it. Plus, she has her younger sister to watch over. Gabe is tormented by ghosts of his service past which only make him act out. PTSD is a serious subject and it is treated as such here. Both characters hide their vulnerability, cover their wounds, wear their masks. Over time, each manages to help remove the bandages of the other covering their hearts, one strip at a time. 

Love is an extremely powerful emotion. Courtney Cole is the Queen of the damaged souls. This author has an incredible talent for showcasing a person at their most raw, intense self, then describing their being drawn to someone/wanting that person so badly it's as if that person is part of their breathing, and then she lets them help each other rebuild themselves in someone else until they are whole again. This transformation, this awakening is certainly a sight to behold. Their relationships are gritty, messy, feelings get hurt, emotions are tremulous, and it all comes across as simply realistic. Such is life. 

The writing is clear, concise, and believable. Unf***ing believable. Employing first person narration, Cole provides the basic amount of words to convey her characters and never bogs the reader down with either too much information or an overload of inner thoughts. This author knows and respects her readers. And since this is a modern day new adult love story, I can't forget the passion. The build-up to Gabe and Madison's "moment" is intense with a capital "I" and is unforgettable.

There are all types of people in our world. The delusional perfect, the near perfect, the normal, the abnormal, and the badly damaged. Those that are wounded--the 'beautifully broken' types--have the most interesting and captivating tales to tell. I loved If You Leave. The Beautifully Broken series is only getting better, way better.

Rating: 4.5

Cover comment:
Works for me.

Book source:


  1. This was such a good book. I really liked it. Great review!

  2. Thank you, Ellen! I agree, this was a wonderful story.