Blog Tour, Review & #Giveaway: #Nico by @JulieHartnett

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When I was a boy, I met a girl.
She didn’t know it then, but…
She changed me.

Now…..I am a man.
A man who is broken by the stories of the women who come to me.
They are my birds with broken wings.
I help them heal, help them to make them strong, so they can fly free.
Lark changed me. Loved Me. Made Me Strong.
With her, I am free.

I write…
To the girl of the past.
To the girl of my present.
And, the girl of my future.

Dear Dish….

**Although Nico is considered part of The Leaves Series, it can be read as a stand alone**

Excerpt

“Nico…” she begged.
“What is it, babe?” In that moment, I was a tease. I was going to make sure I took this bad fuckin’ day and turn it into something she would remember happily.
“You know what I want,” she moaned.
“Don’t move.” I walked away, into the kitchen and dug into one of the bags. The store fuckin’ got me, what could I say. I was gonna barbeque in style next summer. But one thing my kitchen needed was a new spatula. Nice rubber handle, strong, and wide, flat, heatproof silicon…perfect for what I wanted. I came back and rubbed over her left cheek, pulled away for that perfect first contact and…
Thwack!

Review

This was my first book by J.B. Hartnett, so I went in with zero expectations and I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised. This was very different from many of the books I’ve read lately, but in a refreshing way. The pacing was different. The progression was different…in a unique way. So let me explain

When I was a boy, I met a girl.

She didn’t know it then, but…

She changed me.

Now…..I am a man.

A man who is broken by the stories of the women who come to me.
They are my birds with broken wings.
I help them heal, help them to make them strong, so they can fly free.
Lark changed me. Loved Me. Made Me Strong.
With her, I am free.
I write…
To the girl of the past.
To the girl of my present.
And, the girl of my future.
Dear Dish…

Reading that book blurb probably doesn’t tell you much, yet it also tells you quite a bit at the same time…confused yet? Let me try to explain. The book begins in 2006 and slowly progresses into the present with flashbacks to Nico’s youth.

When Nico was a child, his parent ran a shelter for battered women. And this was when he met her, the girl that changed everything for him. In an attempt to bring the traumatized girl comfort, seven year old Nico held her hand while she slept. The one specific thing he remembers of this night? It was the first night he didn’t wake up with a nightmare, nor has he had one since then.

But that day is now ingrained in him and it changed him forever. Now Nico is a tattoo artist. He also helps women heal with his tattoos. In his years, he witness so many forms of abuse he loses count. But seeing the healing and purging effects that his tattoos bring these women does help. Unfortunately what it also does, is bring back his nightmares. Now Nico himself is the broken one after taking their pain. He medicates with booze and pussy, the only 2 things that help mute the grief of their stories.

But he’s never forgotten the little girl from his youth. So in the attempt to change his spiraling life for the better, he decides a better form of therapy would be to write to her, his Dish. He can’t help but wonder if he’ll ever have the type of peace that he had in that one night with her again. He wonders where she is, if she’s happy, if he’ll ever meet her again…
The progression of the book is very gradual and slow, but not in a bad way. You get a lot of Nico’s present and you don’t meet the heroine of the book until pretty much the half way mark.
While I did enjoy the writing and the story, I did have some minor quibbles. I was really surprised to find out that Nico is almost 40. I never really felt that from the story. I don’t know how to best explain it, considering that it should have been fairly obvious to me from the dates, but the way he came off was more like someone in their early 30s or late 20s.
My biggest complaint is that I had a hard time understanding the reason behind the major problem in Nico and Larc’s relationship at the very end. Considering that it became pretty obvious to me around the 60% mark who she was for him, I really didn’t understand why it caused such tension. Now don’t get me wrong here, it may have been the case of my puny little brain not catching on to something here. But as it was, I simply couldn’t connect with this “issue”.
Aside from that, the book was great. There was angst, there was steam, I read it in practically one sitting. I can definitely say that I would gladly pick up any of the author’s future books, and look forward to doing so.

Other Books in The Leaves Series


Inky (Book One)


Anika “Inky” Redding has it all: a great fiancé and a job that allows her to follow her passion of painting and considering her history, that’s plenty.

All is well until someone from her past sets events in motion that upend Inky’s careful world. 
When a handsome customer comes to her rescue, will she take a risk with her whole heart?
Cole (Book Two)

Cole Carlyle, successful hotelier, has lived his life on his own terms.

Burned by a gold digging ex-wife, he never expected to find his soul mate in Anika “Inky” Redding.

Anika Redding, talented artist, overcame her past to live her life free of shame.

Betrayed by people she thought she could trust, the last thing she expected was to find true love in Cole Carlyle.

Their love for each other has helped them overcome their demons before, but now faced with an unimaginable challenge, Cole must turn to the last person he wants involved in his life, and hope that those demons don’t once again try to swallow them whole.

Inky and Cole’s romance and passion ignite and in the sequel to “Inky” we follow their journey to overcome their pasts once and for all, while building their love into something everlasting.

About the Author

Julie is a Southern California native, a fan of a really good story (preferably romance with a happily ever after), really good pie (preferably pumpkin) and copious amounts of coffee (preferably Folgers).

She has always enjoyed writing and at one time thought she could be a singer songwriter…the ‘writer’ part is the one that stuck.

Julie is obsessed with pi…the equation(and the food). She’s allergic to cats and cantaloupe and hates mushrooms…so if you ever want to give her a gift, those are out for sure.She currently lives with her own romance hero husband and two boys in Melbourne, Australia.

Giveaway

$50 Gift Certificate
Signed Set of The Leaves

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