Book Review: Lifers by Jane Harvey-Berrick

Hello again people!!

So, tomorrow is the release day for Jane Harvey-Berrick’s new book, Lifers, but I couldn’t wait to review it! This is the first book in my list of Favorites of 2014!!

Sex and the Books turned 9 months today, so this post couldn’t be more fitting! If you follow the blog since the beginning, you know that the first book I reviewed on the blog was Dangerous to Know & Love! I was introduced to Jane by one of my favorite people in the world! I always mention her here, she is my book soulmate and twin sister from another mother (<3 you Audrey)!
She recently converted another one of my favorite friends into the I Love Jane Harvey-Berrick Club LOL. Anyway, I can’t wait for the release so all of you can meet the amazing Jordan Kane!!

lifers

My Rating: 5-6-7-8-a-million-stars

Book Synopsis:

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?

My Review:

Well, let me start by the cover…This was one of the few books I didn’t read the blurb before starting it, so when I read that Jordan was in prison I was kind of shocked, because I wasn’t expecting it.. What does this have to do with the cover, you may ask? Well, even before knowing what this book was about, when I saw the cover I fell in love with it! It has so much meaning…two people sort of reflected and between crossroads. So many possibilities! Plus the guy is hot even with his back on us LOL

Why I didn’t read the blurb you ask? My friend Audrey had already read it, so I knew I would like it, plus it’s Jane’s book, which is a recipe for success in my mind! And as usual Jane didn’t disappoint…

When I got my ARC (in exchange for an honest review) I was beyond thrilled!

In many aspects this story reminded me of Dangerous to Know and Love, even though they are very different. I don’t know…I had that Daniel vibe from Jordan, even though they too are very, very different. Yes, both of them are quite vulnerable, but while Daniel chooses to wear his vulnerability masked by his tough shell, Jordan wears it with pride.

Jordan Kane broke my heart into a million pieces and then mended them all. I couldn’t help wanting to give him a big hug! He is so sweet and strong and God, I’m almost crying just by remembering how great he is!

When you start the book, you first meet Torrey, a non-nonsense girl who speaks her mind and despite being sort of bitchy and spoiled has such a sense of justice and of right and wrong, that will certainly get you intrigued. I couldn’t believe some of the things she would say, but at the same time her raw honesty was a breath of fresh air. Not only for me, but also for Jordan.

After spending 8 years in jail Jordan becomes a whole different person. And when he returns to his hometown he is the local parriah, no one wants nothing with him, not even his own parents. Yes, what he did was wrong, but you will learn it from his own mouth and in the end, was it really his fault? He didn’t mean anything to happen. And then, again, he is unfairly sentenced to more years. Well, the town seemed to be the same, the people continued to be the prejudiced ones as usual, but not even his own parents allowed him to feel free. We can certainly feel that his mind could be an even tougher prison.

He is set free on conditional and while on it, he has to do some jobs and the only one who gives them to him is the local pastor. She is a woman who left her family in pursuit of her calling to be a God’s messenger. But even she is not prejudice proof. And if she can’t mend her relationship with her own daughter, how can she help others? Torrey wants nothing with the church who made her mom leave her. And now her father remarried a woman almost her age and he also wants her to learn how to be independent, to work to get her own money and things.

Nor them, nor Torrey herself realize how compassionate she actually is. She is instantly drawn to Jordan. He intrigues her, specially the reasons behind he has the whole town against him, after all he couldn’t even get served in a diner.

Jordan is also drawn to the beautiful, spunky girl  who defends him and wants to help and be his friend. She has the guts to ask him whatever she wants, including how prison really was. She also is the one who sets his mind free.

I absolutely loved Torrey and her hilarious, yet serious ways. The way she speaks her mind and speaks with Jordan is what he lacked in so many years. She is honest and fresh and doesn’t take any bullshit from others.

“She seemed to be staring into the distance, but I guess she must have noticed my condition after all, be3cqause she said  in a conversational tone, ‘If you want to use the bathroom to jack off, better do it now because I’m going to take a shower in a minute.

I nearly swallowed my tongue, and I’m sure my jaw was pretty darn close to dropping on the floor.

‘Excuse me?’I managed to cough out.

She turned an amused face toward me.

‘ You just look a little uncomfortable there, cowboy. I thought you might need some relief.’

‘Jezz! Are you always this direct?’

She hitched her shoulder in a delicate shrug.

‘Pretty much. Does it bother you?’

Well this is just an example of how their conversations go. Torrey is really one of my favorite heroines so far, she challenges Jordan, she isn’t afraid to speak her mind and of what he will think. They really are perfect together.

The problem is that they need to accept to trust and Torrey thinks Jordan needs to stop taking everyone’s punches. She doesn’t believe in giving the Biblical other face to be slapped. And I agree with her. Gosh, Jordan pissed me off sometimes! I just wanted to get into that town and throw punches in every little preconceived and prejudiced shitty citizen over there! But I also get that Jordan, not only needed to be out of problems because of his parole, but also wanted to stay clear of violence. After all he saw the aftermath of what violence does. It gives you 8 years far from your family, friends, college and life. Maybe if he didn’t spend the extra time in prison he could have had a better shot at mending fences.

This book makes you realize so many things. Specially about prejudice and preconceived ideas. Sometimes people preach things that they don’t actually do. It’s so much easier to judge others and when we need to turn those judgmental eyes to ourselves, we just turn on a blind side. It’s so much easier this way. But when the truth is out there, when something that offends people narrow minds and offends their idea of perfection and of what is right is out there in the open, it’s way easier to blame the messenger, when they really should blame the message. They should blame their own judging eyes.

No one is excerpted of ever being prejudiced, not mothers, pastors, prisoners, spoiled brats,  but everyone should at least be willing to see that everyone can make mistakes. I’ve once read that “Only an excellent man could judge others excellence”, and I find that very fitting.

But I don’t give Jordan the clear card on this. He has his own share of blame. He really needed a Torrey in his life, so he would stop letting people victimize him. Torrey goes to his rescue, because she, perhaps because she only met him after all happened, can see the real truth more clearly, she can see what it does to him.

(I’m taking the liberty of changing something here in this quote) for “it” so I don’t spoil anything for you):

“[...] ‘You’ve turned it into a life sentence – for all of you- for Paul, for Jordan. You turned them into lifers. That’s what you’re doing here – and that’s what you want for Jordan. But I’m not going to let it happen. I’m not going to let him suffer anymore. What you do with your lives is up to you, but Jordan deserves better than that. And I’ll spend the rest of my life with him, making sure he knows he’s loved – and that he’s forgiven.’”

The thing is, Jordan need to learn how to be loved again, he could love alright, but his own guilt was building itself inside him and eating him and his love alive. Go Torrey!!

Life is already hard and then imprisoning ourselves and others into life sentences is not the way to deal with things. Jordan can learn this, we can learn this. Jordan finds himself in the middle of this crossroads…Go on with his life, being free for real and not only in body, but not in mind, or being incarcerated in his own mind and guilt. He can free himself from the lifer he let people put him in, but at what cost? Is the price of freedom really that high? Is it easy to forgive ourselves? It’s then you get the whole meaning of the cover.  Not only for him, but also with Torrey, after all can she live with Jordan’s guilt eating at him? With him always being the victim without punching back when it needed? Love can certainly be the ultimate life sentence, if you don’t learn how to love yourself too…But then it can be the most beautiful freedom to be forever sentenced to be with the one you love!

What I like most about Jane’s books is that, not only there isn’t a villain and a hero, after all in life we are our own villains and heroes, the characters are actually real people. They seem like people you could meet on the street, in the supermarket (please, please, please Jane, write a character to come here in Brazil to my supermarket LOL), in the mall. You really, connect  with them, there’s no other explanation.

They feel like living, breathing, real people and that’s why you grow so attached to them. Her stories stay with you for long, long times. It really is impossible not to experience all Jane wants you to and even more.When I finish reading Jane’s books I’m left with real life advices and questions and answers. She challenges my ideas and I can’t help not to be left thinking.

Her characters teach you. They get you thinking about them ages after you finish reading them! And you know what, Torrey is right! We can’t go on in our lives pretending things didn’t happen or mulling over what already happened. And we can’t put people on life prison and with that ourselves too.

She gets me thinking about real life questions and experiences. I am put in her characters places. I can feel like I’m the one who was imprisoned for eight years and is only now experiencing freedom. I feel like my mother abandoned me to pursuit her God career. I feel loved, I feel hated, I feel guilty and most of all, I feel completely changed by her words.

Jane there’s nothing left in me, but tears and complete gratitude for writing what you write. For giving me one more time a character that I’ve learned so much from and that will always stay with me.

*************

This amazing book trailer was made by my equally amazing friend Audrey :)

audrey cry

Made by Audrey

jordan

Made by Audrey

audrey

Made by Audrey

mj

Made by M.J. Fryer

dina-cant_get_enough

Made by Dina Farndon Eidinger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway-Graphic

And to celebrate Lifers release and Sex and the Books 9 months anniversary, I’m having a GIVEAWAY for one ebook copy of Lifers!

All you have to do is comment on this post with your email address and telling me why you should win. Good luck!!

XOXO

Carol

5 Comments

Filed under ARC, Book Reviews

5 responses to “Book Review: Lifers by Jane Harvey-Berrick

  1. Pingback: Release Day Blitz: Lifers by Jane Harvey-Berrick | Sex and the Books

  2. Rosarita Reader

    Rose8930-rosarita@yahoo.com
    Because you gave it 8 million stars so I MUST read it. Daniel has a very special place in my heart, I can’t imagine it getting better than that, but I’m willing to find out! ❤️

  3. Alice

    Because I love all her books and I can’t wait for her next fantastic story :)

  4. Frannie

    I should win cuz I’m awesome!!! :D

  5. Great review! I can’t wait to read it! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

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