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.
Sweet Soul Excerpt
Moving my hand, I ran my fingers over the brown beads. “Why do you hold these, Mamma? You always have them with you. Right now, you’re clutching them real tight.”
Mamma sighed and brought the rosary to her chest. “I use them to pray to Mother Mary. She gives me strength, mia luna. I pray to her for strength.” Mamma’s voice cracked again and I tried to think hard. I tried to think why she needed strength.
Blinking, a thought came to me and I asked, “Is it Austin and Axel? Do you pray for them? Because of the Heighters?”
Mamma sighed and ran her finger down my cheek. “Always, mia luna. I always pray for them. For what they do each night for that gang.”
I shook my head, knowing there was something else. “But what—”
“Shh,” Mamma whispered. She then held up the rosary and placed it in my hand. She curled her hand around mine and pressed the beads into my palm. “Levi, you take these now. I want you to have these. I want you to keep them for strength. For the strength you will need someday soon.”
I frowned and shook my head. “No, Mamma. They’re yours. I’m strong with you around. I don’t need these.”
Mamma’s head dropped, and she took a deep breath.
“Mamma?” I questioned. She was acting real strange.
Mamma wiped her cheeks and a sad smile spread on her lips. “Va bene, mia luna. I’ll keep them for now. Grazie. Always thinking of your mamma. But one day, when… when I’m not here, you keep these with you. I want you to remember that these are yours. You are not your brothers, Levi. You are kind and shy, not hard and boisterous, ready to fight the world. You are my quiet baby boy. My sweet, sweet soul.”
“I’m not weak,” I pushed, hating that I wasn’t like my brothers. Axel and Austin were strong and tough. I wanted to be just like them.Mamma pressed a kiss to my forehead. “Never, Levi. You are a Carillo boy after all. But you are different from Austin and Axel. They are alike in so many ways—hot headed and tough, hard on the outside until they let you in. You are the timid one, the gentle brother—inside and out. You are the one to carry his heart on his sleeve. You are the one who watches silently from afar and loves with all his soul. ” Mamma huffed, and said, “Whoever you end up with, my son, whoever claims your heart, will be a very special girl indeed.” Her finger stroked my cheek. “So much love, mia luna. You will love with your whole being, and it will be forever. You could not love in any other way.”
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 farmer's daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.
Being a scary blend of Scottish and English, Tillie embraces both cultures; her English heritage through her love of HP sauce and freshly made Yorkshire Puddings, and her Scottish which is mostly demonstrated by her frighteningly foul-mouthed episodes of pure rage and her much loved dirty jokes.
Having been born and raised as a Teesside Smoggie, Tillie, at age nineteen, moved forty miles north to the 'Toon', Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where she attended Newcastle University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Religious Studies. She returned two years later to complete a Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching High School Social Studies. Tillie, regards Newcastle to be a home from home and enjoyed the Newcastle Geordie way of life for seven 'proper mint' and 'lush' years.
One summers day, after finishing reading her thousandth book on her much loved and treasured Kindle, Tillie turned to her husband and declared, "D'you know, I have a great idea for a story. I could write a book." Several months later, after repeating the same tired line at the close of another completed story, she was scolded by her husband to shut up talking about writing a novel and "just bloody do it!" For the first time in eleven years, Tillie actually took his advice (he is still trying to get over the shock) and immediately set off on a crazy journey, delving deep into her fertile imagination.
Tillie, ever since, has written from the heart. She combines her passion for anything camp and glittery with her love of humour and dark brooding men (most often muscled and tattooed – they’re her weakness!). She also has a serious side (believe it or not!) and loves to immerse herself in the complex study of World Religions, History and Cultural Studies and creates fantasy stories that enable her to thread serious issues and topics into her writing -- yep, there's more to this girl than profanity and sparkles!
After six years of teaching high school Social Studies and following her Professional Rugby Player husband around Europe, they have finally given up their nomadic way of life and settled in Calgary, Alberta where Tillie spends most of her days (and many a late night) lost in a writing euphoria or pursuing a dazzling career as a barrel-racing, tasselled-chap wearing, Stetson-sporting cowgirl... Ye-haw!
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Tillie is giving away a Kindle Fire
“You are not your brothers, Levi. You are kind and shy, not hard and boisterous, ready to fight the world. You are my quiet baby boy. My sweet, sweet soul.”
The most perfect quote to start off this book, and to epitomize the true essence of Levi Carillo.
Little Levi Carillo is all grown up, still the shy little boy, with a quiet demeanor and a penchant for blushing. He finds himself following his brother, Austin, footsteps, by being the best footballer in college. Surrounded by the love of his family, the sport and all his friends, Levi's own demons haunt him daily. Afraid of losing the little memory he has of his mother. Levi steals away many nights, and visits the warehouse, housing his mother's statue. A shrine that he uses to soothe and ease his pain. But never truly allowing himself to move forward and fill the void because he is stuck in the past.
But the day he meets a young homeless girl, starving and suffering from pneumonia is the day his entire world changes. The same girl, whose rumbling stomach, pushed her to steal from Levi. At the time she stole his most prized possession. But, with time, she will steal Levi's heart and soul.
Meeting Elsie Hall was a punch to Levi's stomach. The helpless young woman, reminded him so much of his mother. So much of himself. Shy and lonely, flitting by one day at a time. She had no one and no where to call home. Partially deaf and subjected to being bullied her entire life. Elsie has learned to stay quiet. Afraid to show the world her true beauty.
”She reminded me so much of Mamma that I couldn’t leave.
Helpless, you know?
So I had to help her.
I needed to, something within me compelled me to.”
”Words are the worst kind of ammunition, Levi. Physical pain fades in time, but bullets of cruelty forever penetrate the soul.”
This was a strong and gripping novel, that kept your emotions running rampant, and the feelings of empathy on high alert. The pain and trauma that Elsie endured during her eighteen years, is more than some endure in two lifetimes. Yet, somehow, this girl survived.
Levi was always a lost soul. Too sweet and so endearing. I felt as if he was my little brother and I had this deep seated need to protect him. From himself and everything. The way he opened himself up to Elsie was different and so timid. Yet, truly magical and had the touches of a perfect fairy tale. However, with all that said, I needed more in terms of his own development and his struggle to overcome his past. I felt as if his own struggle was thrown to the side when Elsie came into the picture.
"My mom brought me the stars. Levi Carillo, you bring me the moon.”
I held my breath , then whispered back,
“Then you bring me the shine."
These two characters did steal my heart, and at times made my soul soar with pride. Yet, at times, I felt as if the crying and whining so to speak was overdone, and kind of made me lose the actual impact of the story. Even with that said, I still enjoyed reading this final instalment.
"You’re stealing my soul, Levi.
Like a thief, you’re taking my soul and making it your own.”
*ARC provided by HBWR on behalf of the author for an honest review* Thanks!!