Tuesday, August 27, 2013

REVIEW: IF YOU LEAVE BY COURTNEY COLE

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.


Kindle Edition336 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Forever
Received from Netgalley for review/Bought

Where to find the book: 


Our Review:

I knew when I saw the release date for If You Leave that I'd absolutely read it as soon as humanly possible. The first book in this series, If You Stay, was such an engrossing read that I knew I'd be ready to jump right back in to the stories of the Hill sisters. If You Leave was just as good as I wanted it to be. 

Me too! I could not wait to sink my hands into it! It is a fast read and can be read as a stand alone, although I highly recommend that you get your hands on If You Stay anyways! 

Gabe is a former Army Ranger now home because of an awful tragedy in Afghanistan. He's suffering from a severe case of PTSD and is trying to handle it all on his own. In his sleep his terrorized by what he's witnessed and he cannot seem to shake the horror of it. After an interesting run in with Madison Hill one night at a club, we all know that it's only a matter of time before Gabe and Madison have a chance to explore the obvious sexual chemistry they have. After their original run in, Courtney Cole keeps building and building that tension until I could barely take it...but it was well worth the wait, I think. I get so excited by this statement, because usually I am the one freaking out...so for her to be all hmpf when they don't just get it over with already was hysterical! Haha, Courtney...funny. Um, NOT!!!

So saying that we are suckers for military stories, especially post-war military stories is probably a redundant statement but we are. I personally think that Courtney Cole did a fantastic job with this and made a story about love and healing but also made it raw, ugly, and hard and really made the characters fight for each other and for themselves. Gabriel is definitely up there in my favorite hot men in uniform that I love, and I cannot wait to see him go all bad big brother on Jacey in the next book! 

Gabe is awesome as is Madison. Madison Hill has sacrificed so much in order to keep her parents' restaurant on track and her little sister taken care of. I have no idea how she was able to push down all of her dreams and goals for as long as she did and not be a bitter, mean, hateful person. She wasn't. Madison was the caretaker she's always been. On the one night she decides to cut loose and have some fun, she meets Gabe...and just when we think the fun is really starting, it ends very quickly. Very soon afterwards, Gabe comes walking in her restaurant...and the fireworks begin.

Mad is a tough nut to crack, for sure. Being a big sister that had to shield Mila from the horrors of their home life was hard for her. She brought to light issues that we all deal with when people you love do bad things and you feel conflicted and guilty for loving them in spite of their faults when other people and society basically tells you to take for yourself and forget about them. You can't forget those you love, and Madison has issues with this years after her parents death. The irony here is that Gabe is the one that gives her advice and helps her face her demons, even though he didn't believe he could take the steps to do the same for himself.

I loved the push and pull between them. They each see the other as a challenge, in different ways, and it's fun to watch them maneuver around each other. I loved that both of them were able to identify the deep wounds the other carried and wanted to see them overcome these hurts. They both were so strong in so many ways and yet so weak and helpless to their own fears. Of course things couldn't be easy for them and so there is some time spent in this novel where they have to live with the deep hurts and learn how to begin to heal. I LOVE that Courtney Cole had Gabe in therapy and that she showed Madison learning how to take charge of healing her own pain too. 

The PTSD treatment that he went through was incredible. The last 30% of the book was difficult yet incredibly amazing and inspiring to read. Lots of crying and desperate emojis flying on our part...but being the masochists that we are...we loved every single minute of it! Gabe struggles and fights for such a long time on his own that he was breaking my heart. Brand is the best friend ever, even without considering that he was in Afghanistan too, but how he supports Gabe every step of the way after and takes care of Jacey just like he's part of the family. Loved him! 

In addition to the Gabe/Madison whirlwind love story, we also got a sneak peek at Pax and Mila and Jacey and what they've all been up to. The excerpt for the upcoming installment looks very intriguing and I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on it! Goodreads says the bad boy in Before We Fall (#3) will be the baddest yet. I cannot wait! 

Shelley: 4 1/2 Stars
Courtney: 5 Stars


About the Author: 
Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. 


She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. 


Every Last Kiss is her debut novel and she followed it with the rest of The Bloodstone Saga (Every Last Kiss, Fated, With My Last Breath and My Tattered Bonds). 


Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo. 


Learn more about Courtney and her books at www.courtneycolewrites.com 


Find her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/courtneyc..

Also look for her on Goodreads and Twitter

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