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Release Day Blitz, Reviews, and Giveaway: The Story of Us: Tara Sivec

The Story of Us
Tara Sivec
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Release Date June 11, 2017

From USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec comes an emotional, breathtakingly romantic new book about the power of first love and the promise of second chances.

How much can a man take before he breaks?

1,843 days. That's how long I survived in that hellhole. They tried to break me, but I resisted. And I owe it all to the memory of warm summer nights, the scent of peaches, and the one woman who loved me more than I ever deserved to be loved. Now, I'll do anything to get back to her. 

Only Shelby Eubanks isn't the girl I left behind all those years ago. She's someone else, a stranger. My Shelby-my little green-eyed firecracker-would never give up her dreams, would never disappear into her mother's ambitions. But I won't give up on her. On us. I may be broken, and scarred, and not the man I used to be, but I will do whatever it takes to remind her of the story of us.

This is one of those stories that truly takes you on a journey. It is not predictable and there are surprises. There are tragic circumstances and no easy fixes. Both of the the characters are broken and in need of healing. 

Eli James and Shelby Eubanks had a secret summer love affair six years ago. He worked in the stables for her affluent family. But all control was taken away from them by circumstances. Eli ended up suffering a loss and then was deployed faster than expected. And he broke her heart as he left. That triggered a series of circumstances for Shelby that totally changed her life as well. And then unfortunately he was taken prisoner and suffered immeasurably for 5 more years. But Shelby was suffering in her own way as well. There was a lot of secrets, lies, and miscommunication in the past that has now followed them into their present. 

Eli returns a bitter, angry, haunted, scarred, and damaged man. He is plagued with guilt, regret, and nightmares. He is lost and coming home to try to reestablish a relationship with the one woman whose memory kept him alive. 

Shelby is now guarded, hurt, subdued, untrusting, and conforming to the wishes of others. She has lost her spark and lust for life, and is stuck living a life she hates. And she never got over the pain that Eli inflicted and the subsequent repercussions.

They gave up everything for each other, but all they ended up with was broken dreams and heartbreak. And now they are both lost, grieving, angry, and disappointed at how their lives have turned out. Neither of them has the full information about the past. But being in each other's presence again brings them back to life initially with fear, anger and disappointment, but is then followed with passion, peace, and a need to rekindle their lost love.

But they have layers of issues and secrets to wade through. At times they each need some saving and understanding. They need to help build each other back up and share their strength instead of tearing each other down.  They have to learn to pick their battles and fight for what is most important to them. But the problem with both having so many issues is that they are not only fighting their own battles but also the other's. With all they have been through and are still going through, can they make each other close to whole again and be able to move on?

Unfortunately this couple falls into the miscommunication trap where they try to protect the other or do not want to upset them. I swear there were times I was talking back to my kindle and telling them to TALK! But the secrets just caused more worry, stress, pain, and allowed them to be manipulated at times. There was a lot going on under the surface of this story. There were some surprises, connections, and twists. My heart broke for this couple. Their story was not an easy or pretty one, it was challenging, tragic, and devastating. The side characters were also an important part of the story and plot. There were definitely some antagonists that infuriated me. I really liked her best friend, Meredith, and his friend, Rylan, and sister, Kat. I loved how the book title was weaved in to show us their past and how it affected the present.

This is a second-chance love story about confronting demons, hope, healing, embracing life, and knowing when to hold on and when to let go. It is told in Eli and Shelby's points of view with the exception of one chapter. It is intriguing, emotional, raw, heartbreaking, frustrating, and heartfelt. It hits all the feels. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

This book has all the feels. I went from elated, to heartbroken, and back again on a regular basis.

Eli James and Shelby Eubanks were from different circumstances, but connected briefly one summer while he worked at her family stables. When Eli left the stables, he also left Shelby brokenhearted. The series of events that happen after he leaves the stables lead him to be captured and held prisoner for 5 years, and changes Shelby’s entire future as well.

Their history was both beautiful and tragic. Their presents were full of scars and grief. They connected as both the perfect versions of themselves and as the products of the past 6 years. The book jumps between scenes in the present and the past, and as the story unfolds it becomes clear that they love each other deeply despite thinking they can never be together.

Each of these main characters were compelling and interesting. Shelby’s dreams were lost to her. Her life was not what she imagined, but it was worth the price she paid. Eli had his own nightmares to contend with, and returning home has not been an easy adjustment. But together they find peace, if the secrets stay buried. They are not the same people they once were, and it takes time for them to learn to trust again.

I spent a good part of the beginning thinking I knew what was going on. I loved the shock I received (along with the characters) as the truth started coming out. This was an emotional page turner that had me reading as fast as I could. Even as the past and present began lining up, I couldn’t help but keep reading to find out the results.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tara Sivec

Tara Sivec is a USA Today best-selling author, wife, mother, chauffeur, maid, short-order cook, baby-sitter, and sarcasm expert. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children and looks forward to the day when they all three of them become adults and move out.

After working in the brokerage business for fourteen years, Tara decided to pick up a pen and write instead of shoving it in her eye out of boredom. Her novel Seduction and Snacks won first place in the Indie Romance Convention Reader's Choice Awards 2013 for Best Indie First Book and she was voted as Best Author in the Indie Romance Convention Reader's Choice Awards for 2014.

In her spare time, Tara loves to dream about all of the baking she'll do and naps she'll take when she ever gets spare time.

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