Thursday, July 23, 2015

[Kame's Review]: "The Strongest Steel"

The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (July 7, 2015)
Series: Second Circle Tattoos, 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Harper Connelly never expected to find herself outside of a tattoo parlor at one in the morning, summoning the nerve to take back her past. She's determined to forget her old life and is looking for an artist who can tattoo over the scars on her back.

Trent Andrews, local legend and owner of the Second Circle tattoo studio, has his own reasons for specializing in inking over scars. And in spite of her mysterious past and the difficult road ahead, he quickly realizes that Harper is funny, smart, and--under her ridiculously oversized clothing and SPF 100 sunscreen--totally hot. He's happy to take on the challenge of designing a meaningful and deadly full-back tattoo for her.

But when cryptic messages start appearing on Harper's phone, strange deliveries arrive at her door, and Second Circle is vandalized, Harper is convinced that her ex-boyfriend has tracked her down, and worse, that he knows about Trent. Running was the only thing that saved her last time, but now that she's started to put down roots in Miami, she'll have to decide if she can finally fight back instead.

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Kame's Review:

It took Harper a long time to get enough money and courage, now she was ready. Ready to ask someone to help hide the evidence of her past. She did her research, Trent Andrews specialized in the type of tattoo she wanted to help heal her soul; she just didn't know he would be the one to heal her heart as well.

From the second she came on the page I wanted to hug Harper. She was written with such vulnerability. I watched her find her new normal cheering the whole way. Her strength was amazing and inspiring. Trent breaks the mold of the typical tattoo artist people have in their minds. I really wish I could see his tattoos of the Divine Comedy as it is one piece of literature that has always stayed with me since I read it in high school and college. Trent’s frequent musings about the book were perfect to the scenes. It gave his character a different dimension.

“You guys are like mac ’n’ cheese.”

“Mac ‘n’ cheese?”

“Yeah,” Cujo replied. “They both taste good on their own, you know. But together they are the best comfort food ever. There isn’t a person on the planet who doesn’t appreciate mac ‘n’ cheese.”

Harper and Trent’s relationship was comfortable. The care Trent gave to nurturing and making sure it was paced at a point that Harper could handle was one of the sweetest things I have read. I knew from the first time they met that he would truly care for her and her heart. Their love for each other leapt of the page, and at times steamed it up too.

I could somewhat tell where the plot was heading soon into the book, that was okay though as I could mentally prepare.  I am not one to give spoilers however I do feel I need to say that readers who have trigger issues of reading books with domestic violence might find parts of this book hard to read.  In the end these tough to read scenes were necessary to convey how Harper has taken control of her life.

There are a wide variety of secondary characters that made this book fun to read.  I can just see a great cast of characters lining up for this series. I look forward to the next book in the series, and honestly even the one after that!

I first discovered this book as it was highlighted for its cover on The Book Queen’s Book Palace, and when I read the blurb I knew I needed to read it. I was thrilled when it appeared on NetGalley and I was approved by the publisher to review it and now share my honest thoughts with you.

4 1/2 STARS! 

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Kame received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for her honest opinion.

*Note: The quote used belongs to Scarlett Cole; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim it.

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Thanks for the review, Kame! I'm still drooling over this cover . . . and now the book is definitely going on my list! 


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

1 comment :

Pat Egan Fordyce said...

Great review Kame, as usual we love the same book! This is definitely on my list for best of 2015!