BXTCHES Gotta Warn: Truth be told, I should’ve been done with this review a bit ago, but. . .Memorial Day weekend. . .end of the school year. . .and. . .good ole’ gut wrenching heartache kept me away (the kind this book induced). So, Memorial Day weekend, the hubby was off, which isn’t really a terrible thing BUT it’s hard to read a book where emotional noise is required, whether it’s laughing or crying, while he is laying next to me (he’s an overnight worker FYI, so usually I have the bed to myself), because he tends to look at me like I’ve grown extra body parts when tears are streaming down my face all because of something that I’ve read and after getting just a glimpse of the reviews that were pouring in, I figured that was bound to happen. Now, funny enough this judgement is coming from the same man who when we went to see Titanic (all those years ago) was so emotionally moved that his contact was on his cheek by the time Jack sunk to the bottom. . .that is a true story, BXTCHES. But, whatevs, I just decided to hold off my nighttime reading routine and squeeze in some heartache whenever I could. Speaking of heartache and this is really where the real warning comes in, just prepare yourself. The cover above, while beautiful, is a bit deceiving. Look at it, it screams picnics on the lake and sunsets with the one you love and while I’m quite sure that after the last page was turned, Shelby and Eli were certainly enjoying the sunset whilst picnicking on the lake BUT for the sake of this book, I feel that it will be read one of two ways. . .you’re either going to need to read it in sections, while taking some breaks, you know to put your soul back together OR you will be a glutton for some punishment and read it in its entirety in one sitting, therefore causing a need for copious amount of tequila (or whatever sets you right), but again, to put your soul back together. Now that you have been warned, let’s talk about this fucking book.
The Story of Us will be brought to us from the POV’s of both Eli and Shelby.
Normally, I try to add a bit of “what is this book about” to my reviews, while adding my personal thoughts regarding the book throughout, and I’m still sticking to that format, but I’m gonna go in a little more vague. First, I don’t wanna ruin anything for you (that would make me an actual bitch) and secondly, you’re heart needs to be crushed just like this BXTCH’s heart was, because let’s face it. . .that is really the only way to come back around and really understand that sometimes you gotta trudge through some shit so you can actually enjoy lakeside picnics and sunsets.
We meet Eli while he is literally in the pits of hell. He and some of his Marine brothers (including his best friend, Rylan) are being held captive and have been for years and although they are being kept alive, life at that point is really subjective when you are being tortured and beaten on the regular. The one thing tethering Eli to any sort of heartbeat is the memory of Shelby. . .the one he left behind, the one he loves, the one that makes him whole, and the one he tore apart.
Shelby is a silent sufferer, maybe silent sufferer isn’t the write descriptor, she’s more of a silent protector. She believes that the love of her life, her ever after, was killed while serving his country and still she is going through her own personal hell, all in the name of Eli. There’s so much to say about Shelby, but let’s just do a quick rundown. Shelby comes from money and happened to come from a mother who is a raging bitch and that’s me being nice. Shelby and Eli meet while he is working in the stables of her family home, told you. . .money. Long story short, rich girl falls for not so rich guy. . .bitch mom has a reputation. . .just put two and two together and well. . .that’s all you’re gonna get from me on that.
I don’t think I’m spoiling too much if I actually let you in on the fact that Eli is not dead and one of the top things (of many) on his to-do list is find HIS Shelby and even though it’s been years since he has laid eyes on her, he knows that deep down inside, the one who captured his heart is still there and then there’s the small hiccup of everyone believing that he is actually dead. . .so, things aren’t right, I guess I should say that things aren’t the way they are supposed to be. Intrigued yet?
The way this story unfolds, you may find yourself reading on eggshells, just waiting for the torment to come raining down. The capture and torture that Eli suffers through is agony and the grief that Shelby has gone through is painful and when you realize that there is going to be so much more coming through, heartbreak will be an understatement. But it’s the beauty in their story that will have you wanting more. . .it’s the finding of love in the most difficult of situations that will have you eager to go on the journey. Since that’s all I’m willing to share, let’s talk about this fantastic cast of characters that Tara Sivec has conjured up.
It’s expected that you’re gonna fall in love with Eli and Shelby and trust a BXTCH you may fall hard, so brace. It’s the others, the ones written for support that are so compelling and will have you laughing and crying and cussing and angry. . .the whole spectrum gets covered. . .it will almost be like that time of the month but without the feeling of someone trying to rip out your uterus. The personality traits that each character brought to the story never bled into one another and what I thought she did so beautifully well was being able to draw the appropriate emotion from you. You know when you watch a movie and the antagonist is so convincing that you find yourself grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw because you just hate them so much, but that’s also how you know the actor/actress has really done their job, right? That’s how well some of these motherfuckers were written, it’s easy to fall in love with a character, it’s kinda what’s expected when you crack open a book. . .but to create a personality that one is supposed to despise and to do it, well what seems to be effortlessly. . .actually I was gonna say it must be difficult, but I’m not a writer, so I really wouldn’t know, but I do believe it has to be a ton of fun to write a character that you already know is going to be loathed. There is not one character written to help tell this story that wasn’t placed perfectly, that didn’t do the job, regardless of how big or small the part. Here’s the truth. . .while I love the ones that lead (and boy did I love Eli and Shelby), when an author can really round out a story with a pretty awesome supporting cast. . .it is greatness.
So, let’s get dirty. I knew that the sex between Eli and Shelby was going to be pretty explosive and it certainly was, but what I wasn’t expecting was the fucking to actually be tender and sweet and making love while still delivering the dirty talking, rough and good ole’ toe curling, nails down the back fucking. I didn’t even know that type of response could be conjured from me. . .it was wild and passionate and heartbreaking and loaded with love and lust. . .she basically rolled it all up and served it on a super sexy platter.
I think I’m pretty good at checking out new authors, but I do have my pocket of favorites and it’s those storytellers that are always my go to. The ones that I re-read, depending on the mood I’m in, the ones I always recommend when someone is looking for something new to read. I can always depend on Kristen Ashley or Harper Sloan when I need an Alpha fix. . .I go to Jaci J or River Savage when I’m looking to fall in love with a MC. . .if I need just pure sex on legs, I turn to Vi Keeland (and pair her with Penelope Ward and holy hotness). . .but when I’m looking to escape with laugh out loud comedy, my list is long, but Tara Sivec is at the top. So, I wasn’t real sure at what my emotions were going to go through with this book. I knew it wasn’t going to be funny, so that expectation had to be tucked away for the time being and the only reviews that I noticed, were popping up on Facebook and I only really paid attention to the intros, not so much the actual review (I like to go in blind), so I knew I was going to get some form of anguish.
Anguish just didn’t cover it. I’m not sure how far into the imagination Tara Sivec had to go to pull this story out, but JFC, when that BXTCH gets an idea, she goes all in and even though the journey broke my heart and even though there may have been times during those breaks I cussed her just a tiny bit, in the end, it was worth it. I was the reader who needed to put it down, I was also the reader whose favorite parts of the book were the ones where Eli was the most broken, because that was when the story was the most raw and Tara was at her best.