BLOG TOUR: REVIEW AND EXCERPT: BACK TO THE START by Aly Martinez featuring Fighting Silence

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BACK TO THE START is a collection of previously released novels by USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez. Each of the five full-length novels is a perfect starting point to dive into one of her sexy, emotional, and twisty worlds.

FIGHTING SILENCE: Sports Romance, Friends to lovers.
RETRIEVAL: Romantic Suspense, Second chance.
THE FALL UP: Contemporary Romance, Celebrity opposites attract.
CHANGING COURSE: Contemporary Romance, Broken hero.
SINGE: Romantic Suspense, Alpha bodyguard.

Review

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Since he was born, Till Page has had to fight – fight the silence, the loneliness, the bitterness, and the hatred for his situation, and since he was thirteen years old, he’s fought the reality of his circumstances by escaping it, by entering a fantasy world where everything’s okay as long as he has Eliza Reynolds – his Doodle by his side, blocking everything else out.

Like Till, Eliza’s home life is absolute shit. She’s not even a blimp on her parents’ radar, so she does what she has to do to make a life for herself both in and outside the fantasy that she created with Till. Through everything, Eliza has always been Till’s biggest supporter – the one person in his corner he can count on regardless of the shitstorm life throws at them.

But all fantasies eventually come to an end, and when reality merges with the world that Till’s created with Eliza and threatens to unhinge his sense of survival, he rebels, fighting against the one thing…the one person who he should never battle with because in doing so, he risks losing his whole reason for fighting and usurping any chance he has to overcome the obstacles that he and his brothers face.

As much as I wanted to yell at Till to wake up and face his reality head on, it makes perfect sense why he needs and uses that window and that abandoned apartment as an escape and why he needed to keep Eliza separate from any other aspect of his life. Till is a proud man doing everything he can to deal with the hand he and his brothers have been dealt. But what he doesn’t realize until much later is that Eliza sustains him in a way that makes his life bearable despite the hell that he goes through. I love that Aly truly makes readers understand Till’s conflict and torment…the anguish he feels when he pushes Eliza away and the aching need he feels every day without her. Till is an incredible hero; he steps up not only for himself and Eliza, but he also does it for his brothers. He could have given up on numerous occasions, and no one would have blamed him. But the true character of a fighter is one who fights despite all the odds stacked up against him, and Till lives and breathes those characteristics.

I read and review a lot of stories, and what separates the good ones from the great ones is the heroine. Eliza has the true heart of a fighter, and she’ll fight for what she believes in until the bitter end, even when the person she’s fighting for becomes part of the battle. Eliza is extremely selfless, but she also doesn’t allow anyone to abuse her. She knows everything there is to know about Till and she gives herself to him completely, but unlike Till, she understands the reality of the situation as well, and she refuses to be used for an escape because she demands and deserves the reality of their love.

I absolutely loved Till and Eliza’s story, and the fact that it spans over a decade. What they fight through both together and as individuals proves the inner strength that people have, even when they’re sick of fighting. Till and Eliza are fantastic main characters, but what also makes Fighting Silence an amazing read are the secondary characters that surround Till and Eliza’s lives. They are just as pivotal to the success of the text as Till and Eliza because they add an extra layer to the plot and the relationships that exist in it. The ending is bittersweet for me because of the complications that arise at the end, but the idea of never giving up is definitely at the forefront of this text.

I would totally be up for a book or two about the other Page boys – there’s so much to say about Flint and Quarry and who they are that I would be the first in line to one-click their texts.

A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

5 poison apples (The Fairest of All Book Reviews)

Excerpt

He didn’t budge, but my bare feet slipped, sending me toward the ground. Impossibly fast, Till’s hand snaked out and caught my arm. But I didn’t let his chivalrous gesture douse my fire. I had six months’ worth of words to say to the man I was irrevocably in love with.

“You took what you wanted. Then you left me.”

“Doodle,” he whispered.

I had been perilously close to the edge of insanity, and with one single word, he’d pushed me over.

I lost it completely.

Pounding my fists against his chest, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “It’s Eliza! My name is fucking Eliza! Not Doodle!” I spun to march away, but Till’s arms folded around me, lifting me off my feet to restrain me.

I was miniscule compared to him. There was no use in fighting, but I still kicked my legs, irrationally desperate to get away from him—but only because I knew I couldn’t keep him for forever.

“Stop it!” he growled into my ear. “I know your goddamned name—probably better than I know my own.”

While I was wrapped in Till’s strong arms, six months’ worth of tears fell from my eyes. He carried me to my apartment and guided me back through the window before following me inside. Then he stripped out of his blood-soaked shirt before dragging the blankets down and climbing into the bed behind me. I cried for a while in his arms, even turning to face him, only to cry against his chest. I had missed him so much.

I knew I’d loved Till years ago, but this was more. I needed him in order to function on a very basic level. Together, the world didn’t feel so big and overwhelming. He was my escape—the dream personified.

Till Page was comfortable.

His hands trailed up and down my back as he lulled me until the words fought their way out.

“I couldn’t stop going back,” I announced in a broken whisper. “I didn’t know where you had gone. And for the first time since I was thirteen, I was alone inside my own head. God. It was a scary place.” I tried to joke, but the tears streaming down my face told the truth.

“I’m sorry,” he responded on a sigh. “I couldn’t stay.”

“Why?” I whined, but I curled in closer against his chest, needing to feel him more than anything else.

“I don’t know, Doodle,” he lied.

God! It was such a fucking lie. He knew as well as I did. He just didn’t want to tell me.

“Where did you go?” I pressed further.

There was no way I ever could have expected his answer, but that wasn’t because it was a novel thought. No. His answer was surprising because it was the source of my anguish too.

“The real world.” He kissed my forehead.

Author Bio

Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.

Author Links

Website: www.alymartinez.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlyMartinez/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlyMartinezAuth

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authoralymartinez/

Newsletter: https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/t3w3q3

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AlyMartinez

Amazon: http://bit.ly/AlyMartinezAmazon

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