Thursday, December 17, 2015

BLOG TOUR & 5 STAR REVIEW: Sweet Soul (Sweet Home #4) by Tillie Cole



Title: Sweet Soul
Series: Sweet Home #4
Author: Tillie Cole
Age group: New adult 
Genre: Contemporary romance 
Release Date: 15th December 2015 


One shy lost soul.
One silent lonely heart.
One love to save them both.

Life has never been easy for twenty-year-old Levi Carillo. The youngest of the Carillo boys, Levi is nothing like his older brothers. He isn’t dark in looks or intimidating to everyone he meets. In fact, he’s quite the opposite. Haunted by a crippling shyness and the tragic events of his past, Levi spends his days with his head buried in his books, or training hard for his college football team. Too timid to talk to girls, Levi stays as far away as possible and completely on his own… until he saves the life of a troubled pretty blonde, a troubled pretty blonde that might just be the exception to his rule.

Elsie Hall is homeless. Or at least that’s all anyone ever sees. Everyday is a fight for survival on the cold streets of Seattle, everyday a struggle to find food and keep warm. Alone in life—a life that’s dangerous and cruel—her will to keep going is an ever-losing battle. In her world of silence, Elsie has given up hope that her life will contain anything but constant struggle and pain… until the beautiful boy she has severely wronged comes to her rescue at precisely the right time.

New Adult novel—contains sexual situations and mature topics. Suited for ages 18 and up.


My Review

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

If you are new to the Sweet Home series please stop reading and go back to the beginning, Sweet Home.


It's here! We finally get to read about the man Levi Carillo has grown up to be. And holy crap! I'm not sure how to describe this book, but let me start by saying that I have about two hours of total commuting every day and I read during that time. I had to stop reading this in public because I was constantly crying. Not necessarily a full on cry, although that did happen a few times, but there was pretty much a constant leakage of tears. Sometimes it was because my heart was breaking for Levi and/or Elsie and sometimes it was because Levi said or did something that was the sweetest thing. (
The title for this book couldn't be more perfect.)

Elsie and Levi "meet" when she follows him to football practice and steals his wallet from his locker. He catches her just as she grabs it, but runs out before he can catch her. Days later Levi overhears a girl being harassed in an alleyway and he realizes it is the girl who stole his wallet. He discovers she is not only homeless, but also quite sick. Levi tries to help her, but she once again runs away. Fast forward a few more days and their paths cross again. This time Levi and the rest of his family are there to help and they take a very sick Elsie back to their house.

Elise is alone in the world. Her mother, who was completely deaf, has passed away and Elise has no other family. Thanks to her hearing loss, she been bullied her whole life and feels as though she can't trust anyone. When she wakes up at the Carillo house, Lexi is there to assure her that she doesn't have to stay, but is she does they can help her get back on her feet. Elsie agrees and that starts her path to her new life.

I can't even begin to tell you how amazing Levi and Elsie are as a couple. Drawn to the other person in a way neither of them have felt before, they do not know how to explain it or what to do with those feelings. They have both lived extremely difficult lives and while things may seem better for Levi, he is still struggling. He is extremely shy around people, especially women, but he sees something in Elsie that eases his fears and allows him to be comfortable around her. The same goes for Elsie. She spent years hiding her voice from the world in fear of being judged, but she knew she could trust Levi. 

I could go on and on about the Elsie and Levi (I highlighted A LOT of this book), individually and separately. I could talk about Elsie's transformation to a timid, mute homeless teenager to a strong, vocal, woman. Or Levi's journey in learning to let go of the past and open himself up to being loved, especially from someone outside his family. But what it comes down to is this: Late in the book Levi says that he and Elsie have "twin souls." That the two of them were meant to be together and I couldn't agree more.

It was nice to see the rest of the Carillo clan in this story. Readers  will know how tenuous Levi's relationship was with Axel and there were these moments in the book where it was just wonderful to see them getting along. There is a great scene with all three Carillo boys that made me not only cry like a baby, but also made me so happy that they could come together in a crisis and help make the situation better. Earlier in the series the chances of something like that happening were slim to none and it showed just how far the Carillo boys had come. 

And of course the epilogue brought a smile to my face. I love when the author gives us a little glimpse into the future so we can see how well everyone is doing, especially when I love the characters as much as I loved Elsie and Levi. 

This book is one of the best I have read this year. It's just absolutely beautiful. Thanks to the author's amazing writing, I felt everything that Elsie and Levi went through.  I laughed with them. I cried with them. I was proud of their achievements just as much as everyone else. I didn't just read their story, I felt like I was walking right along side them. 

And the title is PERFECTION. One could use a lot of adjectives to describe Levi, but Sweet Soul just sums it up. Don't believe me? Just read the excerpt below.....


EXCERPT

Elsie grabbed her pen and paper; I took her hand. I walked her out of the pool house to the kitchen door. I opened the door, and Elsie walked through. When she glanced over her shoulder, I said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Elsie smiled and walked up the stairs to her room. Just as I was about to shut the door, Lexi appeared from the darkened dining room, a sleeping Dante in her arms.

I opened my mouth to say something when Lexi beat me to it. “Dante woke up for a feed a while ago. I was in the dining room when I saw Elsie run by and leave. I panicked at first thinking she was running away, then I saw you by your pool house. Saw you let her inside.”

My face was on fire as Lexi spoke, rocking my nephew in her arms. I didn’t say anything, but I clearly didn’t need to. “You like her. A lot,” Lexi stated. Unable to lie to my brother’s wife, I nodded my head.

Lexi moved closer. “You’re taking her out tomorrow?”

“Yeah.”

Lexi nodded, then went to walk back up the stairs. Before she did, she turned round, and looked like she wanted to say something, but stopped herself. Needing to know what it was, I questioned, “What?”

Lexi looked in the direction of the stairs, in the direction Elsie went, and she said, “I think she’s been through more than we can understand, Lev. I’ve tried to talk to her every day, but she avoids conversation completely.” Lexi sighed and added, “I think she’s really broken inside. Severely. I think there’s something dark in her past that’s haunting her.”

My heart ached, and just as I turned to go back to my room, I whispered, “Then we’re the same. That’s what makes her so special to me.”

“Lev…” I heard Lexi hush out softly, but I was out of the door and into the pool house before she could react.

My mind raced with what Lexi said, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t already see. Elsie didn’t speak, she was too timid and shy. She’d lost her mamma, like I had lost mine. And I could see she was lonely, just like me.

Taking off my jacket, I walked to the table to clear away the mugs, when I saw a piece of paper was lying on the top. I wondered what it was. Suddenly I recognized Elsie’s handwriting.

Moving round the table, I dropped to the seat. The paper was folded in two, my name written across the top.

My heartbeat picked up speed as I opened the paper. At first I was confused by the centralized column of words, then my heart burst apart when I read a poem that Elsie had written:



Alone and lost, appeared this saint,
With pretty gray eyes, darkness can’t taint.
He stole her from cold, from blustering storm,
Kind and gentle, he took her from harm.
Fearful of dark, he created her light,
A jar of gold, chasing demons of night.
Telling stories of love, he brought to her life,
A moment by his side: no pain, no strife.
He gifted her poems, a gesture on whim,
With every word read, she could see only him.
She counted the days until he returned home,
The boy with his light, the girl not alone.
Invisible to all, a shade wandering in dark,
He brought back her faith, with his pure kind heart.

I love poetry, Levi.
Thank you for the book.
Elsie x 




Amazon & USA Today Best Selling Author, Tillie Cole is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her English rose mother — a farmers daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.
  

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