Hello, my lovelies!
It has now become my turn on the blog tour of this truly wonderful book.
In this post, you will find my review of “Nico”, an excerpt from the book, the dream cast + an amazing giveaway.
Title: “Nico” (The Leaves #3)
Author: J. B. Hartnett
Release Date: 7th February 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Blog Tour Host: TRSOR Promotions
When I was a boy, I met a girl.
She didn’t know it then, but…
She changed me.
Now…..I am a man.
A man who is broken by the stories of the women who come to me.
They are my birds with broken wings.
I help them heal, help them to make them strong, so they can fly free.
Lark changed me. Loved Me. Made Me Strong.
With her, I am free.
To the girl of the past.
To the girl of my present.
And, the girl of my future.
ARC received by the author in exchange for an honest review
If you have read my reviews of “Inky” and “Cole”, you will know that I loved these books, but “Nico” is, hands-down, my favourite. And let me be clear: although this book is part three of The Leaves Series, it can be read as a standalone novel.
I want to start this review by letting you all know that this book deals with some very difficult subject matters – it is not a light, fluffy romance so please do not expect it to be that way. But if you, like me, enjoy reading books filled with plenty of raw, gritty and angsty emotions, please read this one! I promise you, this IS a romance novel, and it has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments as well, but…well, I best not get carried too much away and tell you everything.
Nico is a very talented tattoo artist who made Inky’s beautiful back tattoo, and this is his story: we learn how he is able to help women – his “broken birds” – to purge themselves from their hideous experiences in life through creating beautiful body art. We also learn how this deeply affects Nico himself, making him feeling lost and lonely.
His ability to help women actually began when he was 7 years old and he spent a night at the women’s shelter his parents worked at at the time. A little girl – who he later calls Dish because of her hair – changed him for life and he has never forgot a single moment of that night.
The stories Nico listens to in his tattoo parlor – and although very different from each other, they are all horrific – are slowly, but surely, driving him mad. The only way he really gets an outlet is by hooking up with random women for a few short hours in order to forget and feel alive. He is always honest with the women he hooks up with, though, and he does not make them any promises. So yes, he is most definitely a player, but you really cannot blame him for it: he has to deal with so much ugliness all alone, but who is standing by him at the end of the day? The fact that he has no one special to share his life with, to share the burden he carries with him, is making him battling demons of his own.
“My chair was for me and me only. I drank there, I lived in my head there and escaped there with music, and my hand.” (Nico)
But as the years pass and Nico experiences great emotional pain in life – among other things, his mother battling with breast cancer – he starts thinking that maybe he really needs to try opening up his heart and find love. Well, his father – the great and wise Pop – also chimes in, telling Nico that he truly needs a good woman who can and will help him deal with all the things he hears and sees.
This is the point in the story when Lark enters the picture. One look at her and Nico is gone. Just like that. He knows instinctively that THIS woman – who deals with her own shadowy past – is the perfect fit for him, and that having her in his life will mean the end of his loneliness.
“I felt lost. I was empty because there was no one else on God’s green earth that made me feel any kind of peace…Until you.” (Nico)
I could go on and on about the actual storyline, but there are just so many details I am afraid to reveal that I choose to not say that much more.
Nico is a very remarkable man: strong, yet vulnerable, with a beautiful and sensitive soul. I really admire that he is not afraid to acknowledge the fact that something is missing in his life, but that he, at the same time, does not really know what this “something” is.
And Lark really is his perfect match: at first, she appears to be very broken, but as you get to know her better, I would rather say that she is lost, just like Nico is before he meets her. With Nico’s love, she blossoms into this feisty, strong and funny person who is not afraid to deal with the hardships you inevitably face in life.
One of the things I love about this book – and yes, the list is long – is the fact that it spans over a couple of years. I really love that we, the readers, get to see how Nico goes about changing his playboy ways and that these changes do not happen over night. That, to me, makes Nico’s story more realistic: the choices we make in real life usually take a lot of work and they do not just happen from one day to the next. That is my experience, at least.
Miss Hartnett really knows how to make me cry both sad and happy tears and I honestly think that her writing has improved tremendously with “Nico”. She shows us, again, that the world can be a cruel, heartless place, but that hope can be found if you keep looking for it, and that you must never stop fighting for what you want. I also believe that she excels at showing us how the people we meet throughout our lives can affect the way we live our own.
Furthermore, the author gives us plenty of quirky and interesting secondary characters in the book: there is Nico’s good friend and partner of the tattoo parlor, Zack; the dominatrix Teensy, who is Zack’s girlfriend; and Nico’s parents, especially, also provide a lot of laugh-out-loud moments.
I want to conclude my review by telling you that if you want to experience true, heartfelt emotions, THIS is the book for you. The storyline is solid and unique, there is angst aplenty and some VERY steamy sex scenes (I will never look at a spatula again without thinking about a certain scene), and it has a cast of remarkable, yet believable, characters. It has now become one of my favourite books of all time and I know that I will reread Nico & Lark’s story many times in the years to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie is a Southern California native, a fan of a really good story (preferably romance with a happily ever after), really good pie (preferably pumpkin) and copious amounts of coffee (preferably Folgers).
She has always enjoyed writing and at one time thought she could be a singer songwriter…the ‘writer’ part is the one that stuck.
Julie is obsessed with pi…the equation(and the food). She’s allergic to cats and cantaloupe and hates mushrooms…so if you ever want to give her a gift, those are out for sure.She currently lives with her own romance hero husband and two boys in Melbourne, Australia.
Here is the excerpt, ladies!
We sat there trying to catch our breath, her small giggle echoing against the foothills when I heard, “You two mind keeping it down now? Son, you know I’m proud you’re a man who can please your woman, but I also have a wife – your mother – who is running around the place turning on every radio and television to full blast because she can’t find her damn headphones,” I heard him chuckle as he walked away, mocking me, “Fuckkkkk,” and laughing his ass off.
Here is the Dream Cast
Lark: Alona Tal
Nico: Chris Hemsworth
Interested in the first two books in The Leaves Series? Keep on reading!
Anika “Inky” Redding has it all: a great fiancé and a job that allows her to follow her passion of painting and considering her history, that’s plenty. All is well until someone from her past sets events in motion that upend Inky’s careful world. When a handsome customer comes to her rescue, will she take a risk with her whole heart?
Cole Carlyle, successful hotelier, has lived his life on his own terms.
Burned by a gold digging ex-wife, he never expected to find his soul mate in Anika “Inky” Redding.
Anika Redding, talented artist, overcame her past to live her life free of shame.
Betrayed by people she thought she could trust, the last thing she expected was to find true love in Cole Carlyle.
Their love for each other has helped them overcome their demons before, but now faced with an unimaginable challenge, Cole must turn to the last person he wants involved in his life, and hope that those demons don’t once again try to swallow them whole.
Inky and Cole’s romance and passion ignite and in the sequel to “Inky” we follow their journey to overcome their pasts once and for all, while building their love into something everlasting.
Be sure to enter the tour wide giveaway!
These are the prizes:
1 $50 Gift Certificate
1 Signed Set of The Leaves Series