Sunday, February 3, 2013

Grave Bound (Secrets, #1) by T.R. Graves

Grave Bound (Secrets, #1) 

RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2013

SYNOPSIS: Below Review


Let me start the review of Grave Bound, (Secrets, #1) by saying this book is an adult contemporary written for audiences 18+. The genre is solid without even a hint of paranormal, fantasy, or Christian.

There were two reasons for me to make a change with this series. First, I was ready to explore new challenges creatively. Grave Bound, (Secrets, #1) absolutely satisfied that need. Second, as soon as I got into these character's lives and their minds, I knew there was no way to do justice to Emily's story - the inequalities, the passions, the betrayals she endured - without removing the boundaries associated with the young adult genre.

Without limitations, this story unfolded easily and every one of its characters instantly became multi-dimensional... layered in a way that made the characters more real (endearing, hateful, desperate, etc.) than they would have been if I'd have stopped the progression of the scenes or filtered the discussions in order to avoid offending. As soon as you begin reading Grave Bound, (Secrets, #1) , you will find there are no filters on this story, and I did not play it safe. It and its characters are frank, open, and real, and I hope the risky scenes are, at minimum, viewed as tasteful.

The Warrior Series will always hold a special place in my heart, but Grave Bound, (Secrets, #1) is fast approaching my favorite. I began it for NaNoWriMo 2012, and successfully wrote >50k words in the month of November. Over the course of the next two months, I've made some significant changes, added voices, and finished the first part of Emily's story.

Everything about Grave Bound, (Secrets, #1) and its characters were a test in what I could do. 1) How fast can I write a novel? (Answer: 3 months while working a full time job, commuting, and being a mother.) 2) Can I write intimate scenes that don't feel rehearsed or sterile, taking the character's interactions with each other to a level that allows the reader to understand - maybe even feel - exactly how the character feels? (Answer: Of course, the verdict is still out on this, but I gave it the old college try, making sure to ignore my comfort zone and push through so the readers could see... truly... see what Emily was dealing with.) 3) Can I write a story that is not Allison La Crosse's? (Answer: Thankfully, I can. For me, Emily's story is as powerful as Allison's, but the two characters have different hurdles to cross and outcomes to maneuver. Regretfully, Grave Bound, (Secrets, #1) took me away from Dark Angels, but I'll go back and finish that story. I promise.)

Now, let me talk about the characters. Emily is quietly desperate, determined, loyal, strong, and holds her feelings and opinions in until they can't be ignored another minute.  Levi is Emily's knight and shining armor. Levi and Emily's attraction is immediate, and their passion is SUPER-HOT! Tope is strong, silent, and fiercely loyal. He loves Levi enough to give his life for him, and he hates the world Emily lives in enough to go against the grain and fight for what's right. Lorenzo is sick, twisted, and perverted. He's Emily's fiancé as determined by her father and brothers and without her input. Emily's need to get away from the commune has as much to do with getting away from him, as it has to do with anything.  

I can honestly say that I love Grave Bound, (Secrets, #1), its characters, and the chain of events we follow. I hope others feel the same.  In fact, it is all I can do not to begin writing Underground, (Secrets, #2), today. I want to see where Emily's fate takes her and how she's going to handle her next challenge.
Emily Riddle has lived her entire nineteen years inside a patriarchal commune led by her father and her stepbrothers. There are more rules than she cares to admit, but the most important one, 'keep it in the commune', is the one most difficult for her to abide by... especially since the only people willing to champion her cause live on the outside.

When Emily learns her father and brothers have promised her to Lorenzo, a man she despises down to her core, she rebels. No matter the consequences, she refuses to marry someone who'd rather beat her than caress her.

A day of hooky that starts out as a tiny act of defiance - sneaking out of the commune for a swim - soon turns into the best day of her life. After spending time with Levi, a man camping near the lake, she finds out what true romance looks like and catches a glimpse into a future that's filled with love and admiration rather than hate and submission.

That tiny peek is enough to change the course of Emily's existence and makes it nearly impossible for her to go back to the commune and pretend she will ever be able to tolerate a life chosen for her rather than the life she longs for. One that includes Levi.

Fighting to escape the commune, its leaders, and her fiancé proves to be more dangerous than Emily ever expected. The secrets she knows, as the commune leader's daughter, will either follow her to the grave or send her - and Levi - there.