Book Review Double Header: Come to Me Quietly/Come to Me Softly by AL Jackson

Come to me quietly

Title: Come to me Quietly (Closer to You #1)
Author: A.L. Jackson
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Length: 385 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis
Aleena Moore is content with her life.  She has goals and dreams and an easy smile.  She also has a secret she holds locked inside.

Jared Holt believes he doesn’t deserve to love or be loved.  He destroys everything he touches.  Haunted by the mistake that shattered his life, he’s fled from the memory of that pain.

Jared doesn’t know why he’s compelled to return, but finds himself drawn back to the place where it all began.  The exact place where it ended.  When he runs into his childhood best friend, Aleena’s older brother Christopher, he agrees to share Christopher and Aleena’s apartment while he looks for a place of his own.

Aleena is no longer the little girl Jared remembers from his past and evokes feelings in him he never wanted to feel again.  Terrified of destroying her, he fights to keep her away.  But her touch is something he can’t resist—the touch that sealed his fate.

Their pasts are intertwined and their futures uncertain.  The only truths they know are the secrets they whisper in the night.

My Review
This is a beautifully written story about a man with zero self-worth.

He isn’t looking for redemption.
He isn’t worthy.
He isn’t looking to remember.
He isn’t looking for happiness.

Sounds brutal, right?  It is, brutally heartbreaking.  But one woman changes it all and you get that light, a hope for something better. When Aleena (Aly) Moore reenters Jared Holt’s life, all the plans to build up a wall around his heart are destroyed.  His “Motherfucking trigger” as he calls her, unleashes feelings he hasn’t felt for four years, feelings he doesn’t feel like he deserves.

The title of this book comes from Jared’s visits to Aly at night.  While crashing at the apartment she shares with her brother, Christopher, Jared promises Christopher that he would stay away from Aly.  She’s not the floozies he has come to know in his past.  But temptation tests him, day by day.  As the story progresses, you get the feeling that Jared and Aly are meant for each other.  The bond of their childhood and current physical attraction draw them together.

Individually, their emotions for one another are expressed through other less physical outlets, for Jared through poetic words, for Aly through her drawings.

sketch pad

While neither is brave enough to expose those feelings for fear that they might show too much, Jared occasionally leaves a note on her pillow.

The foul spoils the beauty.

While his written words are few and far between, they speak volumes about his emotional state, which is sad.  If you like angst in books, Jared will give it to you in spades.  This guy is so consumed with guilt, he constantly tries to destroy the good things around him.

For a large part of the book, it is unclear as to what happened to cause him this pain.  Through alternating POVs from Aly and Jared, along with flashbacks to their childhood, you start to put the pieces of the puzzle together as to what happened.

Both Jared, Aly and Christopher seem to be avoiding the big white elephant in the room.  It is clear that Jared is in a bad place.  But for some reason, no one pushes him to do anything about it.  Their lack of action to help him, ultimately causes everyone pain.

This is the first book that I’ve read from this author.  While the book has all the character turmoil to give one chest pains, it is so skillfully written, I had a hard time putting it down.  The authors words are poetic and yet haunting.

sunlight

The connection between Jaren and Aly felt very real, and true.  Not forced.  Your heart will hurt for them for a good portion of this book, but there is hope.

“I see beauty and pain. Joy and sorrow. I see the good and I see the bad . . . and I love it all.”

Amazon

Goodreads

Warning: It is recommended that you don’t read the following synopsis and review until you have finished reading book 1, as it will contain spoilers. If you’ve already read book 1, then carry on.

Come to me softly

Title: Come to Me Softly (Closer to You #2)
Author: A.L. Jackson
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Length: 411 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis
A second chance at life…
A second chance at love…

Jared Holt never thought he deserved either—until he found both in the arms of Aly Moore. Aly has loved Jared for as long as she can remember, and she’s more than ready for the future they’re making together. But Jared can’t help remembering his own family. And he’ll never forgive himself for what happened to them.  How can he allow himself the very happiness he once destroyed?

To live a life worthy of Aly, Jared knows he has to stop running and finally put his past to rest.  But when he decides to face his demons head on, he encounters more than he bargained for: a dangerous mix of jealousy, lies, and dishonest intentions.  When those intentions threaten Aly, Jared loses all control, giving into the rage that earned him his bad boy reputation years before.  And he’ll fight to protect her no matter what it costs…even if he destroys himself in the process.

My Review
This book was a lot more uplifting than the first book.  Jared has a lot to prove to himself and Aly that he can make things work.  And he delivers.  Giving her everything a girl could dream for in a relationship. Using his hard work, determination, and blooming talents, he provides a safe haven for them to grow.

SexyHotJeansCouple

That doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and roses.  No longer hiding, their relationship is exposed, challenged and second guessed.  Some people around the couple still feel that Jared has a lot to prove, that he won’t leave again.  To others, they fear the guilt still buried inside him will come out full force one day, and cause the destruction he continually predicts.

Once again, I’m wondering why those around Jared didn’t push for him to get help and work through his demons.  Aly pushes him a bit, but it’s a little too late and only does more harm than good.  The brewing storm within Jared is a lot like a tornado.  Eerily quiet, the calm before the storm.  As that storm grows, the smart ones run for cover.  The not-so-smart ones *ahem* try to chase it, only causing them more harm.

The author’s words, like the first book, paint a haunting tale of a man who is unable to escape the guilt from his past.

Aly had always been a treasure I’d placed on the highest pedestal.  The girl was my perfection.  But maybe that foundation had its own fissures, cracks that could widen, cause her to crumple.

While I loved the commitment the two had to one another, I was surprised what eventually cause the cracks to form.  One blow up seems to destroy so much and I was disappointed they didn’t fight harder to fix it.  Do we get a HEA?  Yes, and what glues everything back together will warm your heart, and if you are a sap like me, may cause a few tears.

This book marks the end of Aly and Jared’s story, although I’m sure we will see them in the next installment.  I’m thrilled that book 3 in the series is about Christopher, Come to Me Recklessly.  I am dying to know more about his story, he definitely seems to be hiding something.

Amazon

Goodreads

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