Monday, 27 June 2016

Blog Tour & Review ~ A Beautiful Sin by Terri E Laine & AM Hargrove

A Beautiful Sin by A.M. Hargrove & Terri E. Laine

Book Description:

USA TODAY BESTSELLING authors, Terri E. Laine and A.M. Hargrove bring a new full-length standalone, Contemporary Romance novel. 

Since I was a boy, my desire was to marry the church. To give my vows and life over to God despite the corruption in my soul. 
I am a sinner, the embodiment of temptation, or so I’ve been told.
Yet, I’ve never touched, never kissed, never sought the company of another until her.
She is my weakness, my salvation, my downfall and my freedom. Our sins are bound tighter than fate.
My name is Canaan. I am an ordained Roman Catholic priest, forever and always. 
Her name is Haven. She may be my destiny, my destruction.
This is not a love story, but rather a confession of all my sins.

Warning - A Beautiful Sin is a forbidden romance that blurs lines between passion and religious faith. Please be warned, the subject matter may be offensive to some readers.

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Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 3.5 stars
***ARC received for an honest review***

“This is not a love story, but rather a confession of all my sins.”

I do love a taboo book and I have loved the previous books that these two have collaborated on, so reading A Beautiful Sin was a no brainer for me. As with any Laine and Hargrove book the emotion was on point, the character development was spot on and the plot intriguing, captivating and stunningly beautiful, even though the subject matter, at times was not. But such is the talent of these two that even the most harrowing of storylines was delivered with sensitivity, empathy and just the right amount of clarity without it becoming salacious.

“My soul doesn’t believe in God, nor does my mind, because He abandoned me a long, long time ago. And forgiveness? I’m not sure that’s even a word.”

Canaan always knew that he would be a priest, from a young age he lived and breathed for the church, he went to catholic school, was an altar boy and went into the priesthood as soon as he could. He had never been kissed or touched by a woman, never felt the need to be either…until Haven came along. Canaan, though, had his issues, he used his faith to cover up his past but his past is now threatening to haunt him once again, he thought he had moved on, he thought his secrets would be hidden forever but fate has a way of making you confront your demons and the worst of his was about to make its presence felt.

“I’m a cancer, a poison to the soul. I don’t deserve your forgiveness.”

Haven had a troubled childhood, her mother died when she was young and she was sent to live with her only surviving relative, her Aunt. Her Aunt was married to a cop and was physically and emotionally abused and it wasn’t long before he turned that abuse around onto Haven. She was battered by him and as he was a cop their plight would never be heard. Cops scratch each other’s backs so she just had to ride out her sentence until she was old enough to leave, when that time came she left and vowed never to return. She had sought help once, but it only ended with the worst beating of her life but it also put her into the path of her school crush, Canaan.

“Why is it that the only man I’ve ever been interested in has to be one I can’t ever have?”

Canaan was dealing with his own issues when he first met Haven, they were teenagers and he thought he was doing the right thing in sending her away, he didn’t realise that he would be sending her back to a brute. Haven has harboured this hate for years, and now, as their paths cross once again as adults, that hate has festered and built, until she finally realises that the boy he once was bears no reflection of the man and priest he is today. They both have their secrets, both are too scared and too ashamed to admit, but together, could they be what the other needs the most…a friend, a shoulder to lighten the burden…but they could never be more…could they?

“Whatever happened that day haunts us both. And your scars match my own.”

Haven was a talented artist and it is this that had brought her back to a place that she had vowed never to return too. Her Aunt is ill, still battered by her dreadful husband and it seems that life has never moved on for them two, but Haven vows to make a difference. Still troubled by her Uncle’s behaviour, Haven has to draw on some incredible inner strength to confront her past, but she does it head on, no matter the consequences.

Canaan’s live revolves around God and the church, he sees light and hope but the church is also his prison, mentally and emotionally. What should be a place of hope, is his dark, his tormentor and though he chose his life, he never thought he would have to return to his childhood town. Flooded with painful memories and a past he tries his hardest to forget he wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of deeply buried memories, scars and emotions.

“For every action we take, there are always consequences. And my biggest one was I allowed my heart to get wrapped up where it had no business being.”

Will these two find hope together, or will the church forever be their jailer?

“…I can’t give you my heart, because you already own it, and I can’t give you my soul, because you already share it.”

While I was expecting a lot more taboo what I actually got was something better, that emotional rather than physical connection that is often the hardest to portray on a page. Canaan and Haven spent the majority of their time talking, conveying their thoughts and feelings through glances and facial expressions. You felt Canaan’s constant battle with himself over his beliefs and his feelings and I was really drawn into his internal ramblings, thoughts and feelings. With Haven, I wanted to understand her a bit better, I didn’t get that intense character connection that I had with Canaan and I wanted to understand her more, I felt her, I just didn’t live her. My only criticism was that I felt some elements were drawn out a little and some elements a little repetitive whereas other parts I wanted expanded, especially to really get to know these two inside out. There was one scene where I was desperate for more, it was such an important part of their story, so impactful, so altering and yet it was over too soon. Nonetheless, I loved it, I didn’t want it to end and I just wanted more. Yes, it covers some tough subjects, but I saw this for the story it was, the hurt and the bitterness was a means to an end for these two, they were bigger than pasts and their future was there for the taking.

“But oh, what a beautiful sin it was.”

About the Authors:

A.M. Hargrove:

One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, USA Today bestselling author, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn't do something soon, it would be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life. So she made a quick decision to quit her job and reinvented herself as a Naughty and Nice Romance Author.  
She fancies herself all of the following: Reader, Writer, Dark Chocolate Lover, Ice Cream Worshipper, Coffee Drinker (swears the coffee, chocolate, and ice cream should be added as part of the USDA food groups), Lover of Grey Goose (and an extra dirty martini), #WalterThePuppy Lover, and if you’re ever around her for more than five minutes, you’ll find out she’s a non-stop talker. 

Terri E. Laine:

Terri E. Laine, USA Today bestselling author, left a lucrative career as a CPA to pursue her love for writing. Outside of her roles as a wife and mother of three, she’s always been a dreamer and as such became an avid reader at a young age. 
In her early years, she and her best friend would tell each other stories over the phone when they were bored. They called them their "soap operas" and generally revolved around whatever boy they liked at the time.
Many years later, she got a crazy idea to write a novel and set out to try to publish it. With over a dozen titles published under various pen names, the rest is history. Her journey has been a blessing, and a dream realized. She looks forward to many more memories to come.

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