Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Blog Tour for Deep In the Heart by Alexa Padgett (REVIEW)

Painful pasts courtesy of cruel young men, duplicitous family members, and the horrors of war have left their marks on two people still trying to deal with the pain while finding peace and attraction in this emotionally Intense contemporary romance.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Deep In the Heart by Alexa Padgett, along with my impressions of this tale set in the music world, then get ready to add this first installment in the Austin After Dark series to your bookshelf!

She's mending guitars and her life. He's trying to forget the war with music. Will one broken instrument make their love a smash hit?
Jenna Olsen isn't sure she'll ever escape her terrible choices in love. Becoming a skilled guitar craftsperson helped with the anxiety, but she dreams of the day when she can trust someone again. When an up-and-coming country star asks for a custom guitar in an impossible time-frame, Jenna falls for the challenge… and the man.
Camden Grace loves his music and adores his fans. His passions help him cope with the physical wounds he sustained in Iraq, but he remains haunted by his fractured family history. After his latest angry outburst leaves an expensive guitar shattered, he doesn't expect to find a strong-willed woman whose struggle echoes his own.
As the instrument and their feelings start to come together, an old would-be flame attempts to sabotage their relationship with increasingly aggressive behavior. Will a jealous rival kill more than their careers or will Jenna and Camden rise above the rage to heal their hearts forever?




Whew!  With a final turn of the page in this emotionally intense tale of two people with painful pasts finding solace in each other’s arms, I’m left drained. From the first page to the last there’s one emotional speed bump after another as this main couple tends to jump to quick conclusions, generally assumes the worst, and in the case of the heroine there’s moments where she lacked maturity.  It all makes for a story full of high highs and low lows as these two people were clearly damaged and leery of putting themselves out there which made for a very melodramatic story.

Jenna Olsen is an in-demand artisan when it comes to making guitars, secure in her talents while feeling uncertain in oh so many other ways.  While she’s well-known for her musical contributions, it’s her very public teen years that has given her the most notoriety.  A string of very negative interactions with men left her bruised, bleeding, feeling betrayed, and the star witness in bringing a drug dealer to justice.  Returning home, and still dealing with anxiety issues, she relies on her family for support while hiding out and focusing on her craft...at least she was hiding out until country music star, Camden Grace, shows up at her shop.  A connection based on music has them drawn to each other in crackling moments teeming with sexual tension.  Though she fears getting closer to Cam she can’t help falling for his protectiveness and sweet words of affection.  It’s a slow burn between these two as outside forces try to tear them apart in a tale full of danger and suspense as Jenna’s past returns to ruin her HEA.  Jenna’s clearly been through so much, been left lonely and betrayed by those she called friends and I applaud her surviving it all.  I was sympathetic to her still having to deal with ptsd, felt for her as sadness took her down some very dark moments, but I was equally left frustrated by her.  She saw every bad thing that happened as being her fault and it led to many misunderstandings that put up a wall between her and those who cared about her.  Her knee-jerk reactions added unnecessary melodrama that dragged down the story at times.  Despite all that I was still rooting for Jenna as she was a kindhearted heroine, one full of sympathy towards the issues Cam carried, but it’s her heartwarming relationship with her grandfather that had me most liking her.

Camden Grace is a rising country music star.  A former soldier who returned home wounded yet full of written songs, he’s immensely appealing.  He’s also clearly broken, constantly on edge by the duplicitiousness of his family while he was overseas.  When heartbreaking news brings out his anger it’s his guitar that pays the price, but it’s an act that introduces him to Jenna and changes his life irrevocably.  When he first meets her his protective side is immediately on display in a scene that clearly has him claiming her.  From there he subtly works his way into her life, trying to protect her from every little hurt, in an up and down roller coaster ride to HEA.  Through it all I found Cam to be likable, sweet, sexy, and charming.  His calling Jenna by the pet name “sugar” got a bit old at times but his ability to admit he’s wrong, and to show his love for her in a very grand gesture, endeared him to me.  His past is just as chaotic as Jenna’s, just as soap opera-ish and frustrating, and it’s another thing that binds them to each other and had me cheering them on every step of the way.

There’s a lot going on in this story with matters of the heart and inner turmoil being juggled.  This couple is coping with their painful pasts while trying to find a HEA in the future, all under the spotlight of Cam’s fame and Jenna’s notoriety. All the aspects of his fame are vividly on display with scenes both on stage and off that easily pulls readers into this world.  The romance between these two takes a slow journey, full of mere cuddling and heartfelt talks at first before becoming more sensual later on.  Theirs is a journey fraught with over-the-top actions of others too in scenes that had jaw-dropping reveals, bloodshed, and tears that had me cringing a time or two.  Despite that, I still found this an enjoyable read with a couple whose love had them overcoming everything in a satisfying ending that will make readers cheer.

My rating for this is a B-

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


With a degree in international marketing and a varied career path that includes content management for a web firm, marketing direction for a high-profile sports agency, and a two-year stint with a renowned literary agency, award-winning author Alexa Padgett has returned to her first love: writing fiction.
Alexa spent a good part of her youth traveling. From Budapest to Belize, Calgary to Coober Pedy, she soaked in the myriad smells, sounds, and feels of these gorgeous places, wishing she could live in them all—at least for a while. And she does in her books.
She lives in New Mexico with her husband, children, and walk-loving Great Pyrenees pup, Ash. When not writing, schlepping, or volunteering, she can be found in her tiny kitchen, channeling her inner Barefoot Contessa.


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