Friday, September 19, 2014

Harley - Review

Author: Irish Winters
Publication Date: August 23, 2014
Publisher: Windy Days Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Military
Age Recommendation: 17 and up
Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:  

Sometimes, only the heart remembers… He’s in the fight of his life… Suddenly back in Iraq, US Army Corporal Harley Mortimer searches for the men he left behind. He finds himself lost in a world where guilt never lets go and nothing seems real. Dead men talk and die over and over again. There is no peace or rest. Only war. Only despair. Only—didn’t he survive this exact scenario once before? And who the hell is Judy? She is a force to be reckoned with… Judy O’Brien’s future is planned and perfect until Harley, the man she intends to marry, goes missing. Mysteriously, Kelsey Stewart disappears the same day. He and Kelsey have a shared history, but do they love each other—that way? Worse, is he the murderer the FBI claims he is? Judy must come to grips with the man she thought she knew. And all of his secrets

My Review:

Harley by Irish Winters was both a beautiful and heart wrenching read for me.  I was in tears from the moment I started the prologue. There are several reasons this was a difficult read for me:

1. I am an Army wife of a Chinook pilot (well, he's flying desks these days) who deployed with the 101st Aviation Brigade in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in January of 2002.  In February 2002 he was in a crash that luckily everyone came away from, unfortunately not all walking.  In 2004 he deployed again in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, no crashes for him this time thank goodness!  

2. We are currently stationed in Northern Virgina where much of this book takes place and I can clearly recall the terrifying grip the Beltway Snipers had on this community.  You can still see and feel the effects those days had on this area and the people who call it home.  

3.  Incidents of abuse and/or bullying of anyone, but particularly of persons who are unable to understand the events occurring sends me straight into a raging blubbering mess of emotions.  

4. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is something that hits directly to my heart.  We have been an Army family for 17 years ( I grew up an Air Force Brat) now, we have been through several deployments and many hardship tours.  We have watched friends as they leave and come home changed, we have watched friends leave and come home in flag-draped coffins.   PTSD has in someway affected everyone around me.  This is a serious and difficult issue for the military and it is not always easily seen.  PTSD manifests itself differently in each individual it affects.  It can be as terrifying as what we see with Harley or it can be small quiet changes...what it does do no matter how it manifests is it changes everyone!  Your loved one may think they can handle it only to find out too late that they couldn't.  If you see changes that you believe are associated with PTSD I beg of you to talk to someone.  Talk to your loved one and if they won't listen talk to someone in your unit or someone at family support.  If you don't know where to turn try this website 
On that note what I don't want to do is scare you.  The majority of our Service Men and Women return home from combat situations with no lasting effects and PTSD does not mean that lives and careers are over.  It is just another battle to be won and it can be with love and support...I think Harley proves that!  

SO, off my soapbox and back to the book!  This book is jam packed, full of action, suspense, and all of our favorite characters.  I have been so anxious to read Harley's book.  Ever since he made his first appearance in Alex I have been wanting to get my hands on him.  He's a cocky New Yorker with a Texas sized heart and accent.  He is one of the sweetest male heroes that I have come across in a long time.  Don't let that fool you though, he is also terribly flawed and a down right bad ass when he needs to be.
The only thing I could have wished for in this book is more Harley.  There are basically two stories going on and while they merge together and while I loved seeing favorite characters come back, I missed the focus being on one couple. 

And speaking of couples, I can not leave out the wonderful heroines that Irish Winter writes.  Judy is no exception, she is another amazingly strong woman.  A woman who will fight not only for the people she loves but for herself.  The struggle that Judy endures when Harley goes missing and then is found...heart breaking, but Judy (like Kelsey and Libby) never gives up hope.  Yes these are strong military men, but their women are just as strong if not stronger.  

Something else I really enjoyed about this book and this series as a whole is the amount of research Mrs. Winters put into these books.  Remember that I am both an Army Spouse and someone who lives right outside of the Nations Capital.  There are a lot of books (and movies) that revolve around the military and the DC area and I often find myself rolling my eyes and 'calling bullshit', but I never find myself doing that with these books.  It is obvious that Mrs. Winters spent the time to truly research her subjects...heck she even got metro line right for a trip in from Alexandria to DC!  

Harley is more fast paced then previous books in the series, but I liked that turn for this book.  Go in knowing this is an emotionally tough read, get yourself set up with your book, a drink, and a box of tissue because once you start you are not going to want to put the book down. 

This book can be read as a stand alone, Mrs. Winters does a lovely job of filling us in with back story, but I do recommend starting the series with Alex (Alex, Mark, Zach, Harley) so you do not miss out on any of the little things and you have a full understanding of the character dynamics.  

This is a great read for military suspense or contemporary romance lovers!  And if you made it through my terribly long and talkative review then you have totally earned the chance to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Harley so keep on scrolling!  

The wife of one handsome husband and the mother of three perfect sons, Irish divides her time between writing at home and traveling the country with her man while - writing. (Seriously, what else?) She believes in making every day count for something and follows the wise admonition of her mother to, "Look out the window and see something!" To learn more about Irish and her books, please visit
Irish Winters is an award-winning author who dabbles in poetry, grandchildren, and rarely (as in extremely rarely) the kitchen. More prone to be outdoors than in, she grew up the quintessential tomboy on a farm in rural Wisconsin, spent her teenage years in the Pacific Northwest, but calls the Wasatch Mountains of Northern Utah home. For now.
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