September 24, 2010

Review: Anytime Darlin' by Julia Rachel Barrett

Paramedic Jake McKenna drops to his knees beside the young woman. Beaten, starved, she's barely breathing, burning with fever. He stabilizes her, but when she opens her green eyes and stares, panic-stricken, into his, he realizes this is only the beginning of their relationship.

Devlin Barre has been through hell. If her uncle finds her, she's dead. When she looks into the warm brown eyes of the paramedic, she knows deep in her bones she can trust this man with her life. Devlin and Jake grow close, but, fearful of commitment, Devlin runs off to rebuild her life, leaving Jake heartbroken.

Five years later, Jake and Devlin meet again. Neither has forgotten a single detail of their time together. Both harbor the secret hope that they can begin again--this time, for keeps. But Devlin isn't the only person who ran off. Her uncle still waits for the right opportunity to get the one person who got away.

Note: This book contains rape of the heroine.

After reading the blurb for this book I had to swallow real hard. I wasn't sure if I would be up for this. I'm not  at all fond of rape in books. I hate when authors use this as a way to make their heroine more vulnerable. It is, at least for me, not a topic that should be talked about lightly. It's something that will influence you and your life severely and it's nothing you can just forget or ignore easily. That being said I have to say it's the first book I ever read about that topic that didn't made me hate it. Julia handled this topic with so much care and thoughtfulness, it was bearable for me to read about it. Yes, It broke my heart and made me cry but I found it was handled in away that me believe it's real- with all the pain, hurt and humilation it involves. I don't think this topic should be banned from books and  Anytime Darlin' showed me that there are books out there who do it right.

Jake is a wonderful character. He's working as a paramedic but he's a cowboy at heart. He always helped out on his father's ranch and he wants to have one for himself in the future too. He loves his family and always has an open ear for them when they need him. He's caring, funny and has a dirty side, too. For me he is a dream come true. I love when a man is more than just sex-o- stick. Of course I know to appreciate a sex-on-stick man, no worries I'm still a red-blooded woman, but I think you need some one you can trust completely, someone you just want to tell everything no matter what. Jake is one of those men. He eriadtes calmness and reassurance- he's a place of peace for Dev.

Devlin's life is shattered and lays in pieces in front of her. When the paramedics find her in the Kmart she nearly gave up life. Until she saw Jake. She doesn't know why but she feels  safe with him- like nothing can touch her. He gives her the hope and safety she needs to give her the strength to survive. I loved  reading about her journey even though it was a cruel and sad one. I admired her strength and how she tried to stand on her own feet. She's a survivor and I'm sure she will give hope to other woman in this situation.

When these two meet again after 5 years without one single word the air between them sizzles.  They can't keep their hands off each other and wow they really know how to use their creativity. It gave  the whole book a lighter touch and finally satisfied my need to see these two being happy.
 I enjoyed the way Julia also included the lives of the side-characters in her story. They all were unique in their own way and they just fit in. I loved the group dynamic this created and I caught myself wanting to be part of such a close knitted group of friends.

At the end of the book I could have lived without one scene but I'm never a fan of seeing something through the bad guy's eyes. It's always so weird and I don't really like to read the twisted thoughts of a maniac. Yes I am a scaredy cat when it comes to books.

As you perhaps noticed I really did like this book. It was a wonderful emotional read- a rollercoaster ride that will take you from heartbreakingly sad to nearly high of joy. Anytime Darlin' made me feel and that's one of the things I love most about books. Julia's writing drew me in completely and I couldn't put this book down. I have already spent hours discussing this book and it still hasn't let go of me. Definitely a keeper on the top of my shelf.
To learn more about Julia and her books please visit her website here.

Read other reviews @goodreads, buy the book @BookStrand


Pearl September 24, 2010 at 9:46 AM  

Though I'm very reluctant with books that have rape as one of the themes/subjects, when it's handled with care and well-written I might give it a try and your review tells me the author handled it well so I might try this one out.
Great review Susi!

SusiSunshine September 24, 2010 at 10:10 AM  

@Pearl Me too but she really did it good. Never thought I would enjoy a book like this but I did. Give it a try!

Julia Barrett September 24, 2010 at 6:22 PM  

Oh wow, Susi, your review makes me cry! Thanks so much! Devlin and Jake are the two characters most dear to my heart. Their story just kind of flowed through me and I felt everything they felt.
The villain - at first I was scared to death to get into this head, but hubby said, you have to - you have to make him evil, he is a very evil man and you need to show it. So I gritted my teeth and I did.

Lea September 25, 2010 at 3:45 AM  

Hi Susi:

Wonderful review as always. Interestingly enough, Julia just stopped by my blog and left a lovely comment. She sounds like an excellent writer. I'll have to visit her site and download one of her stories.

Thanks for sharing, this sounds like an exceptional and emotional read.

SusiSunshine September 25, 2010 at 7:44 PM  

@Julia I totally felt how much you love these characters. It's a wonderful book. And your hubby can be really evil.

@Lea Julia is a wonderful person. I'm so happy met her. And you really should check her books out. You won't regret it.

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