Fighting Redemption, by Kate McCarthy ✰✰✰✰✰+


Ryan Kendall is broken. He understands pain. He knows the hand of violence and the ache of loss. He knows what it means to fail those who need you. Being broken doesn’t stop him wanting the one thing he can’t have; Finlay Tanner. Her smile is sweet and her future bright. She’s the girl he grew up with, the girl he loves, the girl he protects from the world, and from himself.

At nineteen, Ryan leaves to join the Australian Army. After years of training he becomes an elite SAS soldier and deploys to the Afghanistan war. His patrol undertakes the most dangerous missions a soldier can face. But no matter how far he runs, or how hard he fights, his need for Finlay won’t let go.

Returning home after six years, one look is all it takes to know he can’t live without her. But sometimes love isn’t enough to heal what hurts. Sometimes people like him can’t be fixed, and sometimes people like Finlay deserve more than what’s left.

This is a story about war and the cost of sacrifice. Where bonds are formed, and friendships found. Where those who are strong, fall hard. Where love is let go, heartache is born, and heroes are made. Where one man learns that the hardest fight of all, is the fight to save himself.

My Casting

Yeh, that just about sums up my feelings right about now.
This book is absolutely stunning. You have to read this!

5+ Stars for Ryan & Fin!

Oh God. This book did a number on me. I was a mess. I’m still a mess! 

Ryan Kendall first laid eyes on Finlay Tanner when she was just ten years old, and she was eight. He fast became inseparable with Finlay’s brother, Jake and all but moved in with their family to escape the cruel hands of his abusive, alcoholic father and the devastation that ruled his household. 
As Jake and Ryan grew older, they made plans to join the army. For Ryan, it was a way of escaping and ultimately proving that he could be somebody. As Ryan, Jake and Fin matured through their teenage years, Ryan became increasingly aware of his feelings for Fin, but always knew that he would never be able give her what she deserved and in the end, he knew he would have to leave her, to go to war.

The Army, and the war, owned him – body and soul. Fin never stood a chance.

But as a huge part of each others lives, Fin and Ryan’s paths cross as time passes and their lives move on. An avoidable connection, tragic circumstances, shared sorrow and a bond that rooted itself deeply in each of them as children makes staying away from one another impossible. 
Can Ryan allow himself to be the man that Fin needs and deserves, or can Fin stand to fall for with the tormented, broken, guilt ridden soldier that she has always loved?

What if love wasn’t enough for them? Would it heal the deep lacerations life had placed on his heart, or would he always be so completely broken that he would never fully be hers?

I’ve read Kate McCarthy’s work before. I read and loved Give Me Love and I have Give Me Strength on my Kindle waiting to be read. So when she asked me to take a look atFighting for Redemption I almost bit her hand off. I’d heard great things about the book, not least of all that Ryan Kendall had just been crowned ‘Sexiest Soldier’ in my Smitten’s Book Awards 2013, so I couldn’t wait to dive in. I naughtily whizzed it to the top of my TBR pile and off I went. Well… Kate absolutely blew me away!

This book is heartbreaking. Truly heartbreaking. It’s a total ‘ugly-cry’ candidate. Face-goosebumps, snotty nose, stomach ache, the whole hog! I absolutely sobbed my heart out at numerous points. One part in particular was just excruciating. It’s so emotionally heartfelt and evocative. I really felt every single word with everything in me. It’s one of those that takes over your life while you’re reading it. Functioning goes out of the window and it’s just better for everyone if you get the book read so that you can resume some semblance of your normal self. You’ve all been there. Well, Fighting Redemption is one of those.

“I’ll love you longer than the stars that live in the sky.”

So, it kicks off with a beautifully heart aching prologue that will give you a little panic attack. I have to admit, this did make me hyperventilate slightly and I did just have to check that I wasn’t reading a book that’d leave me bleeding raw emotion all over the carpet at the end with no chance of survival. Don’t worry. Rest assured, this book doeshave the perfect happy ending. So now we’ve cleared that up…

love the characters. The character development is superb. We get a great insight in the childhoods of Ryan and Fin, as they grow, mature, become aware of their attraction to one another, try to fight it, follow their dreams, etc. etc. Kate McCarthy ensures that you fall in love over the years, with each adorable moment, teasing touch and stolen glance, just as Fin and Ryan do. I felt like I really knew these characters; a sure fire way to engage a reader. And I just could not put this book down. In fact, I finished it at 3.30am this morning, do I am a super sleepy Smitten today! But it was so worth it.

Fin is a great leading lady. She’s smart, gorgeous, ordinary, a little gawky, a tad awkward and I absolutely adore her relationship with her brother Jake, who we will chat more about in a sec. Fin is two years younger than Ryan and it’s clear she idolises him. It’s sooo sweet to read. Her heart breaks when Ryan and Jake go off to war and I really felt her pain. But I loved that she had her own ambitions and dreams and that she made sure she carved out a great future for herself.

“I’d have given you my entire heart if you’d only asked, but it’s not yours now. It’s not yours.”

I don’t even know where to begin with Ryan. One of my favourite book characters ever. Seriously. This guy is book-boyfriend gold! He’s so heavily weighed down with his past and it’s frustrating as hell, but oh my goodness you just want to scoop him up and cuddle him better. He has a beautiful heart and absolutely worships both Jake and Fin. And let’s not forget that he is sexy as hell!! He’s a muscle bound, tanned, ripped, tattooed army GOD! *fans self* I can’t even… *wipes drool from chin*


“Stop trying to be a hero all the time. You’re so busy saving everyone else you forget about yourself.”

I love how much he wants Fin. Scratch that, he needs Fin! It’s insanely sexy. The sexual tension is delicious. I love it; that but that makes you scream ‘Get together already’ at your Kindle, when in reality, it’s the fact that they’re teasing and enticing you that makes it all the more scrumptious! But that tipping point, when he decides nothing is going to get in his way any longer… Squeeee… *claps hands* I was so there. So in those moments, cheering him on. 


“I want you, Fin,” he finally admitted. “So much I can’t sleep from it. I lie in bed at night and I dream of my lips on yours, my mouth tasting every inch of you. I want to fuck you until I go blind from it and even then I don’t think it would ever be enough.”

And as Fin and Ryan’s relationship develops, there are so many scenes that just melted me inside. It’s intimate, intense, tragic, romantic and there’s a sense of desperation that tugs at your heart-strings. I’ve got the most gorgeous feeling right now, a mix of longing and warmth.

“I have thick skin baby, but you’re under it. You’re burned in there so deep it’s like I was born with you in my soul. When I’m near you I’m consumed by you – your smile, your eyes, your heart. Even though we’ve never been together, you’ve always been mine, and even if I never get to keep you, you’ll still be mine.”

I can’t write this review without giving a very special mention to the best brother ever, Jake Tanner! 

What a cutie!! Again, he’s a hunky army hottie with a great, fun, confident, cheeky attitude. Jake and Fin are very close and it’s so lovely. He’s the protective, loving, funny older brother that we all wish we had. His relationship with Ryan is heart warming too. Ryan has so little in his life of any worth and Jake just totally makes up for all of that! They really are brothers in every sense of the word other than blood. In every way that matters. Jake plays a massive part in this story. He’s the glue between Ryan and Fin, he’s the voice of reason, he’s the relief in dark, heavy situations. Be warned; You’ll fall almost as head-over-heels for Jake as you will for Ryan. 

“There are no goodbyes in life. Only see you later.”

And did I mention that these sexy so-and-so’s are also Australian?? So all of this is wrapped up with a swoonworthy Aussie drawl! And yeh, I totally read the whole thing in that sexy accent, too! Hey, it sounds great in my head!

Obviously this book is about the life of a soldier and the loved ones they leave behind. Honestly, I have no idea how the military wives do it. I cannot begin to imagine how it feels to stand and watch your man board a plane to take him off to the uncertainty of war. Because it broke my freakin’ heart just to read it. I truly have the utmost admiration for the men who serve our countries and the women who wait for them at home. Jeez, what a painful, terrifying life.

“Don’t go lusting after a soldier, Rachael. They’re not good for your health.”

There is so much I can’t mention, because I really don’t want to spoil anything for anybody. But there’s a lot to this story. You will go through so many different emotions and highs and lows. I so want every single person on my friends list to read this book, because I want to have late night heart-to-hearts about how wonderful Ryan Kendall is. 
Fighting Redemption moved me on so many levels. This is one of those books that I will think about and lovingly sigh over in months/years to come. I know it. And those are the books that everybody needs to read.


And now I am off to give everybody dear to me a huge great big hug, because that it was what Fin and Ryan’s story has done to me!


Fighting Redemption Statistics
• Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥♥♥
• Ending: HEA
• Length: 346 pages
• Narrative: Alternates between Ryan and Fin’s POVs. Third person. Past tense.
• Series: ✗ 
• Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
• Themes:
Tortured hero
Childhood friends
• WARNING. This book includes… 
Sexual content. Death. Scenes of war.
• Writing: Fantastic

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This entry was posted in Action/Drama Reads, Alpha Males, Angst Overload, Death, Delicious Sexual Tension, Emotional Reads, Fighting Redemption, Five Stars Plus, Friends to Lovers, Kate McCarthy, Stand Alones, Steamy Reads, War. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fighting Redemption, by Kate McCarthy ✰✰✰✰✰+

  1. Mercia says:

    Thank you for the first class review ! I finished Fighting Redemption last night. I came back to reviews, many times, to make sure it really was a HEA ending. The story also did a number on me too! Kate McCarthy is an author to be reckoned with. I will read whatever she publishes from now on! Stunning doesn’t quite do it. I also read the amazing Bonus chapter for Fighting Redemption. It’s on the authors’s website.

    • Smitten says:

      Hi Mercia. Thanks for your comment.
      Glad you liked Fighting Redemption and that you found my review helpful. 🙂 Check out Kate’s other books, the Give Me series. Give Me Love and Give Me Strength.
      You will find reviews for both of those on here, too.
      Happy reading. Lotsa love. xxx

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