Title: An Ounce of Hope
Author: Sophie Jackson
My Rating: A-
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: A Pound of Flesh #2
Main Characters: Max and Grace
Release Date: January 2016
Publisher: Gallery Books
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
Max O’Hare can’t seem to let go of his past: his drug habit, the end of his relationship with Lizzie Jordan, the woman he knows he’ll never get over, and the loss of their unborn son.
After successfully completing rehab and learning to explore his deepest fears and dreams through painting, Max meets Grace Brooks. With her innate optimism, and her love of art and photography, Grace appears to be the perfect girl. Yet no one knows where she came from, or why she keeps her past so closely guarded. Over time, Max and Grace gradually allow each other in—but will he ever be able to fully let go of his past? Or will his heart remain closed forever?
Max is messed up and that's very obvious in the first book of this series, but despite that I was anxious to read his story. I like that the author meets his issues head on. In fact, the hero and heroine in this book don't meet until about 25% into the book. But in that interim, we're are getting to know both these complex characters and their demons...because Max isn't the only one messed up. Grace has her own demons that she's battling. They're both broken, but that makes this book so good as they come together and begin to heal. I did really enjoy this story.
Max is an addict with issues with depression. There are very good reasons for this. Max has not had the easiest life, but at the beginning of this book he's in rehab and beginning to get a handle on how to fix himself. It's not an easy or fast process. And honestly, I love his team. The cast of characters that the author built that become Max's support team are awesome...Elliot, his therapist, and Tate, his sponsor...I loved these guys! And of course there's Carter, his best friend from the first book, and Riley, the guy who runs his garage...who just happens to be Tate's brother. (I liked that tie between them, although it's a little TOO convenient to be plausible...I chose to ignore that.)
Grace spent years married to a man that abused her and almost killed her. That was two years ago and she's finally starting to feel close to whole again, but since that time she's leaned on her brother Kai for support. When this book begins she's moved away from him and is trying to build a life for herself once again...to live again. It's in this small town that she meets the quiet, introspective Max. On paper, she should stay far away from him. Her husband was abusive because he was an addict. Max should be the very last person that she trusts, but he's been the only man besides her brother who she feels safe around. But neither of them are in a place where they want or need a relationship. They're too broken for that.
This book is so good. There's a VERY slow build to the relationship that both these characters needed for their healing. They honestly become friends first and they are very cautious with one another. I like how the relationship evolves. It felt very real. I also loved the addition of the artistic sides in the story. Grace is a photographer. Max used to be an artist before his addiction and has since learned to use his painting as therapy. The little glimpses into the creation of their art were fabulous.
I just really enjoyed reading this one. I love all the characters and Sophie Jackson writes an entertaining, engrossing story line. I am excited about Riley's book and then hope that Tate gets a book, too. I like this series and definitely recommend it.
Note: this is number 2 in the series and while the characters from #1 are in the periphery, you easily could read this as a stand-alone. There is a complex history between this hero and the hero in book #1, but I don't think you will be at all confused if you jump right in here. That being said, though, I do recommend BOTH books. They are both good!
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.