Jane Harvey-Berrick has a real penchant for tortured characters. Case in point: dangerous to know and love. And now, she got to me again with her new book: LIFERS.
5 out of 5 AMAZING stars for LIFERS!
Check out the blurb:
After eight years in prison, twenty-four year old Jordan Kane is the man everyone loves to hate.
Forced to return to his hometown while on parole, Jordan soon learns that this small town hasn't changed since he was carted off to juvie all those years ago. He is the local pariah, shunned by everyone, including his own parents. But their hatred of him doesn't even come close to the loathing he feels every time he looks in the mirror.
Working odd jobs for the preacher lady, Jordan bides his time before he can leave this backwards town. But can distance erase the memories that haunt him? Trapped in the prison of his own mind Jordan wonders if the pain of living will ever subside?
Torrey Delaney is new in town and certainly doesn't behave in a way the locals believe a preacher’s daughter should. Her reputation for casual hook-ups and meaningless sex is the talk of the town. Add that to her budding friendship with the hardened ex-con handyman, and the good Reverend is less than thrilled with her estranged daughter’s path.
As friendship forms, is it possible for two damaged people who are afraid to love take their relationship to the next level? Can Torrey live with Jordan’s demons, and can Jordan break through Torrey's walls? With the disapproval of a small town weighing heavily on them, will they find their place in the world? Can they struggle against the odds, or will their world be viciously shattered?
Is love a life sentence?
Due to scenes of a sexual nature, not recommended for under 18.
What I loved most about Torrey is her take no shit attitude. It's a refreshing breath of fresh air from the damsels in distress I've been reading about lately. She's feisty and utterly entertaining. Her sass definitely makes her such an endearing character.
“She was hardly ever around, day or night. God’s work kept her busy. I wondered what His health benefits were like. Did she get dental?” -- Torrey talking about her mom.
Not understanding how people can be so harsh to the poor guy, she went right out and gave the poor guy his coffee. What she saw totally took her breath away. I mean, if I were faced with the hot, brooding, sexiness of Jordan Kane, I'd bring him his coffee every single day, too! Can't say I blame Torrey for her reaction to him.
Jordan Kane. How can I begin to describe him? Well, for starters, I thought he was ridiculously hot. Damn, if a hot guy can be adorable, he'd be that, too. The whole “Yes, Ma’am” southern gentleman thing he’s got going on? It was unbelievably hot. Yes, he's hot. Wow, I've gotta quit saying that. I'm pretty sure you guys get it already. But there's more to Jordan than just his looks.
Beneath all that broodiness is a vulnerable man who's haunted by his past (no surprises there, this is NA, after all). He thinks so little of himself that I can't help but feel sad for him. Every time he blames himself for what happened, I just wanted to wrap him up in my arms and never let go. I felt bad for Jordan. He was sixteen when one mistake landed him in jail for eight years. And now that he’s back, he has no idea how to start over when all the people in that small town won’t even let him forget what happened that tragic night.
He knew he'd be paying for that mistake for the rest of his life. In Jordan’s mind, he believed he deserves whatever shit the town throws at him. Even his parents don’t have any idea what to do with him anymore. He has resigned himself to that life… for the duration for his parole, at least. After that, he'd be gone faster than a man with the devil on his heels.
That was the plan anyway until a pretty stranger from the diner surprises him by giving him his cup of coffee. Well, it wasn't really a surprise. If the girl was new in town, then she probably doesn't know about him... Yet. It was just a matter of time. She’d find out soon enough and that would be the last time that beautiful girl would do anything nice for him… or so Jordan thought.
Jordan finds himself working for the pastor to help clear out their backyard. The job he once thought of only as a requirement of his parole grew to mean much more to Jordan. He started looking forward to the companionship he found in Torrey Delaney. Things between Torrey and Jordan became more interesting as they try to navigate their feelings for one another. Sure, they enjoyed spending time with each other but as things heated up between them, they both had to figure out what they really want from each other… and if they’re really ready for their friendship to evolve into something so much more than what they originally intended.
It was also heartbreaking to see Jordan pull away from Torrey but even so, it was beautiful how Torrey was able to help Jordan come out of his shell. Her unconditional acceptance of Jordan for the person he is and not for the mistakes of his past gave Jordan the strength to finally start to move on from that tragedy.
Jordan and Torrey are amazing characters. What made me love them so much is the fact that they’re real. They have that utter human-ness which just makes them jump out of the page. They’re flawed. They’re broken. But the strength and courage they showed, especially Jordan, to survive their lot in life? Well, that gave them the transcendental quality that just brought them to life in my mind.
Also, I loved how the author delved deeply into Jordan’s relationship with his parents. There was so much bitter blood between them! I absolutely loved the intense drama. Add in Torrey’s indignation on Jordan’s behalf and it becomes a massive confrontation just waiting to happen… and happen, it did!
Jane Harvey-Berrick was able to capture those emotions and paint it beautifully with her words. Writing in multiple POVs is not as easy as these writers make it seem but Jane Harvey-Berrick was able to do it seamlessly and with finesse. Jordan and Torrey’s narrations complemented each other beautifully and it added to the charm of LIFERS. The character development was sufficient to establish who these characters are and give the readers a feel for what it means to be in their shoes.
LIFERS is a must-read story of how two different people meet and find out that they’re not that different at all. It’s a story about how each of them struggled to find a place in a life that does not seem to belong to them anymore, a life that they’re desperate to escape. As fate would have had it, they meet and discover that the only way to find the new beginning they both longed for… was if they found it together.