This Is Forever by Natasha Madison
I finished This Is Forever days ago, but haven't been able to think of the right words to fully encompass the perfection that is Justin and Caroline's story. You see, this book is so much more than a love story. I mean, of course it's a love story with the most beautiful HEA on the planet, but it is so much more than that. It's story about overcoming the hardest of obstacles. It's about second chances. It's about following your heart. And it's about loving yourself enough to allow someone else to love you too. I cried so many tears over this book - happy and sad. And by the final page, I was praying (quite loudly) that this isn't the final story in one of the best fictional families I've had to the utmost pleasure of reading.
Story Line: Caroline is a single mom. She found out she was pregnant at just 17 years old. She raised her son Dylan practically on her own from day one. And their story isn't for the faint of heart. Our sweet Caroline did everything and anything for her boy and for that reason alone, she's my favorite of NM's heroines. I'm a mama to two amazing kids, so when I read about a struggling mom and the hurdles she clears to make her child happy, I am hook, line and sinkered. Then you add Justin, who is probably the most swoon worthy alpha man ever. And you've got a recipe for one of the best books I've ever read in my entire life. These characters are so beautifully developed - so well rounded and lifelike, I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't living in a beautiful dream.
Interaction: When Caroline and Justin first meet, it's not all rainbows and unicorns. Well, not for Caroline at least. But from that first moment, I knew this was going to be an incredible ride. Caroline's struggle with self worth was something I related to on every single level. As a mom, we put our kids first. That's what you do from the moment you become a parent. So the hardships she endured - every single one of them - I felt deep to my core. I cried reading so many of the details of her life. I cried for her and I cried with her. Thankfully Justin was exactly the man I knew he would be. He was sweet, yet firm with her. He was understanding yet caveman all at the same time. He was the perfect contradiction to the alpha man stigma. I cannot believe how hard I fell for this family, you guys. I'm seriously head over heals for these men and their families. I swore I wouldn't play favorites, but Justin made it impossible. He's the one, y'all.
Laundry: I cannot rave enough about the angst, heat, passion and total hotness that NM brings to her novels. Seriously. How can one scene be so freaking hot is beyond me. She has a gift, really. Justin and Caroline have chemistry that is beyond comparison. I felt their connection deep within my bones. At one point, I turned to my husband and read a bit of Justin's "moves" to him. His response? "Whatever, that dude's not real. If you want real, you can get your D right here". UGH definitely not something sexy as all Hades Justin would say. Thankfully, I can read real fairy tales on repeat ;)
Depth: When I said this story is beautifully rounded, I was not exaggerating. Each character is deliciously complex and completely life like. You can literally picture each and every sculpted inch of Justin with utter precision. I'm not kidding. Like not even a little bit. Let's not forget Caroline and Dylan. Their story is one I promise you I will never forget. Caroline's strength, integrity and class are something to reach for. I pray I am as strong of a mother as she is. And Dylan? If my son (who is 2) doesn't turn out to be as freaking awesome as Dylan is, I'm going to be kicking myself for years and years to come. Dylan is the son we all need. I love him like he's my own, honestly.
Even as I sit here re-reading this review, I know it doesn't do This Is Forever justice. I could go on and on for years raving about how this story is embedded in my soul. How I can't stop thinking about Caroline's journey to forever. How if anyone deserves a happily ever after it's these two characters. How this love I was able to witness first hand is everything I have ever hoped for. See? I can't even form full sentences I'm so enthralled. Bottom line? This is Forever will forever be one of my favorite books of ALL TIME.