Friday, May 2, 2014

Reviews by Lisa and Jenn: Stronger by Misty Provencher

Title: Stronger
By: Misty Provencher
Genre: Adult/Romance
Published: April 27th 2014
Published by: Cornerstone Publishing, LLC


WARNING!! This novel is not suitable for Young Adult readers.

Two men are vying for a place in Lydia Strong’s life. Desmond has solid ties from her distant past, while Aiden is only concerned about being her future. But right now, party-girl Lydia has lost herself in a shot glass and dozens of one night stands. She’s forgotten her own worth and she’s plummeting toward the rock bottom of her life.
While Des and Aiden compete to create her future, Lydia realizes she’s got to be stronger than she’s ever been, to fight her addictions and choose the life she wants now. She must find herself again, before the wrong man walks away.


*****10  Stars *****

This is probably the hardest review I have ever had to write. I finished Stronger about two weeks ago and have steered clear ever since. I needed time to absorb everything and get my emotions situated. How do you sum up a book that is so powerful and full of heart? I practically highlighted the whole book! How do you do it justice when the story and characters are so real that you WANT them to be real so that you can tell them how you feel.So that you find out if they are o.k and they will always remain that way. How do you sum up so many raw emotions? There was actually a part in the book where the main character, Lydia, needed to badly defend herself, but had no way of doing it. I was thinking, OMG Lydia, the proof is right here in the book...just show them the book. Then I realized, my God, this isn't real.She does't really need to prove anything. 

In the beginning, I was actually rooting for Lydia's lifestyle... the very beginning. She is everything that women swoon over when it comes to bad body on t.v and in books. She is harsh, she drinks, cusses, and sleeps around praying the men won't still be in her bed in the morning. She has no remorse for any of it. I'm thinking, finally we have a bad girl! Its is done about men everyday, why not women? But then the story moves along and I realized, shit, this book is way more than I originally though. It is not your average contemporary romance. This book is soul deep.

Stronger is about addiction...all consuming addiction. Lydia is so consumed in her addiction that she doesn't even realize she has a problem until this guy, Aiden, moves into her building. He holds the mirror up to her heart and soul... up to the ugly truth. No matter how many times Lydia tried to look away or break that damn mirror, Aiden is their fixing it and showing her once again. Showing her thing she does not believe or want to see. What Lydia went through killed me. The pain she suffers by her self abuse and the mental and physical abuse she rerecieves from others is heart wrenching. 

Stronger is one of the most raw books that I have ever read. I have a personal tie to Lydia in so many ways. I have somebody very close to me who has been an addict most of their life. They battle alcoholism every day, and so do I. I am the sober one standing on the sidelines watching this person destroy themselves over and over and over. It is very painful for me. I have tried to be everything for this person... a parent (even though they are older than me), a cheerleader, a coach, a therapist, ect. Nothing ever works and I wonder what I did wrong or what I didn't do. Promises are always broken and lies are told. They often hurt themselves accidentally while drinking. I am left feeling crushed and hopeless. Not only do I relate to the alcoholism in this book, but also some of the abuse that Lydia goes through. All in all this book was heart wrenching for me. While reading it, I cried a couple of times, but a day or two later, I broke down and couldn't stop. It was almost like I was trying to remain strong for Lydia like I do for the person in my life that I spoke of. 

I know I am rambling and I guess my point is, I feel everybody can relate to this book somehow. It will move people with the hardest of shells. And I believe it will cause people to get help,  teach, and heal people. It will give them hope as it has done for me. I know the one main thing this book taught me, well remind me, is that addiction is a disease. Addicts will struggle for their whole lives whether they are sober or not. They are in their own personal hells. Stronger also taught me (reminded me)  that there is absolutely nothing I can do to make the person I love stop and I am not a failure for not being able to do so. 

Stronger = Best book of the year

"The shadows gather around the edge of the bed, but for once, they don't continue to advance.They seem to know too -- I can't take anymore. I can't take it and I can't stop."

*****5+ -Fabulously Breathtaking- Stars*****
~this review may contain minor spoilers~

God, how bad does my life have to get before I can't take it anymore? I'd swear I'm at my breaking point now.
I've got to stop. Everything. And I still feel like I can't.

I have to admit, this is my first read by Misty Provencher and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to lose myself in her books. Stronger was recommended to me, quite strongly I might add, by my book soul mate & blogger bestie-fellow Bettie Lisa. She was quite insistent that Misty was the Bees Knees and this book would ROCK MY WORLD- I'm happy to report, she was not wrong. This book hit me on so many levels I didn't know how I would make it to the end, but I did and am sooo very glad I did. Lydia was just an incredible woman, I absolutely adored her, felt for her, prayed for her, and was so damn scared for her. Aidan was simply amazing in so very many ways, sweet, sexy, caring, patient, loyal, the list goes on. There is so much I could say about this book, but I won't. This is one of those reads you really have to go into kinda blindly to feel the full impact of Lydia's journey. Sooo, I'll keep it brief.

It's really getting to you that I'm drinking?”
“No, it's really bothering me that you're trying to glue your pieces back together with wine. Wine doesn't work for shit as glue, Lydia.”

Lydia is an addict, booze and sex are her drugs of choice- only she doesn't see that she has a problem. She's only concerned with keeping herself comfortably numb and distracted enough to take her mind off all the problems in her life. She doesn't get close to anyone, emotionally anyway, because she doesn't want to answer any questions about why she lives her life the way she does... with the exception of two very different men- Des & Aidan. One represents her past and one is only interested in her future. One keeps her buried under her addictions while the other wants to help her turn her life around. Lydia has to decide which man is ultimately best for her. When she hits rock bottom, she will have to be stronger than ever before to fight off temptation or risk losing the man who can make her life all she hopes for.

I'm sorry. I guess it's the wrong way to do this, but my gut says it's the only way I can get through to you, Lydia. I don't think you have anyone else that will be honest with you. But I'm always going to be honest. Please... please see that I'm trying to help you.”

This was an emotional journey that hit me pretty close to home a few times. You will cry, you will cringe and scream, bite your nails and wait in tense anticipation for the other shoe to drop, but most of all you will hope. You will hope with everything that you have that Lydia can pull herself out of the black hole she has buried herself in. There are so many characters that will steal your heart and some that will surprise you, though not always in a good way. It was a powerful story of love, redemption, struggles, and perseverance surrounding a beautiful soul that just needs to see her own strength to fight her way through it all. I want to send out a huge thank you to Misty for such a life changing story and to Lisa for bringing this author into my life. I have definitely added another one to my 'one-click addiction'.

I'm going to wreck your taste for booze.”
“Oh yeah? How are you going to do that?”
“I'm going to make it so all you'll want to be is sober... just so you can remember every damn thing I do to you.”

 Misty Provencher is a long-term wife, mama, and author. The first two are a bit more recent, but Provencher's writing roots date back to the hieroglyphics she left in her mother's womb.

While Provencher can ride a motorcycle, knows how to Karate chop, and has learned enough French, Spanish, and Sign Language to get herself slapped, Misty's life is actually just the ruse she uses to connect with people. She is totally enchanted with them and spends her days trying to translate the soul bouquets of her muses into words.

Misty Provencher lives in the Mitten.