At fifteen, Jamie Murphy finds herself broken and alone, convinced she doesn’t need anyone. 

Until she does.

Bear is the boy behind the fence, the one who was there for her when no one else was. 
Until he’s not.

Left with nothing, Jamie joins the army hoping it will give her purpose. The last thing she expects is the best friend from her past to reappear in the dusty plains of a war-torn country. No longer the boy she once knew, Bear is now a man: big, bearded, and SAS—one of the army’s elite.

Soon Jamie finds herself not only fighting against her enemies, but her feelings for a man who left her once before. Can she risk losing him all over again?


There are moments in a bloggers reading life when we pick up a book and can’t put it down. I love those. I look for those. Search high and low on the daily for those. But then there are books that change you. They create a weird little shift inside you that you don’t really feel until you’ve finished the book. Then a longing begins. A feeling of loss. A missing piece.

Fighting Absolution by Kate McCarthy is undoubtedly one of the most incredibly written books I’ve ever read. And I’ve read a lot. When it’s not just the two main characters you can’t get enough of, but the entire friendship circle leave you feeling like you need them in your life, you know you’re onto a winner.

But one thing I can’t explain is the emotions this book ripped from me. You’ll just have to trust me when I say it’s brilliant. The story is perfectly crafted, and watching these characters grow through their life experiences was extraordinary to witness.

Being in the military is incredibly tough, on both the soldiers and their loved ones. This book portrays what these individuals and their families go through in a way that I’ve never come across before, and after hearing the thoughts of a retired soldier after he read this book too, he agrees!! .

This book releases on September 10. You can pre-order it now on all platforms. Save this post for later reference too!! Do yourselves a favour and grab this the second it comes out and thank me later. It will be the best thing you read all year!


(Unedited, subject to change, copyright protected)

Jamie totters across the road in her bare feet, dodging a passing car and a rowdy group of people. “Hey, baby,” one of the men in the group calls out to her. “Come say hi.”

She doesn’t even hear him with the way she’s motoring across the path toward the entrance.

“Say hi to this,” I growl, giving him the finger as I stalk past their group. If only Ryan could see me now. He’d probably piss himself laughing.

I find Jamie sitting on the ground by the entryway, her expression heartbroken as she tries to buckle her shoes. She looks up at my approach. “They won’t let me in with bare feet,” she whines, glaring at the bouncer as if he’s single-handedly ruining her life.

“Stubborn little donkey,” I mutter, knowing I’d have better luck pushing a snowball up a hill than tell her what to do. I sigh a heavy sigh and crouch, helping her buckle the fiddly little straps. “There.”

I pull her to her feet, and we buy the damn six-pack. She already has a beer in hand when we cross the street, the lid flicked off and bottle to her lips. A car comes flying toward us, careening unsteadily on the road.

“Shit!” I slam an arm hard across Jamie’s chest, shoving her back as it shifts direction at the last second, accelerating as it passes us. The occupants whoop and laugh, and a familiar male sticks his head out, waving his middle finger. “Say hi to that, asshole!”

“Immature little fuckers,” I growl.

“Hey, dude!” someone yells from behind us. “That was some shit! You two okay?”

I turn and wave the good Samaritan off, adrenaline knocking around in my chest. “All good, mate.”

Jamie’s face is pale. “What the hell was that?”

I take her hand and lead her across the road. “That was you being drunk and not paying attention to your surroundings.”

She blinks. “Are you saying that was my fault?”

My nostrils flare. I have the patience of a saint when it comes to this woman. “No, Jamie. I’m simply pointing out that the asshole population is out in force tonight and you’re completely oblivious.” Christ, she could have been hit and flung metres down the road. I rub at my chest. Is this what a heart attack feels like?

Jamie purses her lips. “Whatever.”

We reach the sand, and she sets her beer on the grass, bending at the waist to unbuckle her shoes. The bottle tips, its contents spilling out in a foamy mess as she teeters, almost tipping until I grab her by the shoulders.

“Right on, Bear.”

“Sit your ass down.”

“Well, geez, since you asked so nicely.” She plonks her butt on the grass, and once again I’m crouched at her feet. Only this time I’m smart enough to toss the heels far and wide once I get them off.


“Fuck those fucking shoes.”

Jamie stares off in the direction they disappeared in, her mouth falling open. I can’t help but laugh at her shocked expression. She shoves at my knees and I go down backward in the sand, a deep belly laugh ripping out of me until I’m gasping for air. Jamie rises up and over me. Her hair spills down and tickles me in the face. “You just threw my shoes.”

“I know. And I’d do it again too.”

Her mouth opens and closes like a fish. Then she starts to snort and splutter, and it sets me off again, which is how I find myself at three a.m., half-drunk and lying in the sand, laughing my ass off as Jamie sits on top of me, cackling like a crazy loon.

“Bear.” She leans down, her small calloused palms brushing at my cheeks. “Don’t.”

“Don’t what?”

“Don’t cry.”

I wipe at my face, finding it wet with tears. “Ahhh fuck. I’m okay.”

Her own eyes water, and her words stick a little in her throat. “It’s okay to not be okay.”

#OneClick >

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  • Reply Kat Smith

    Love your review, a d I agree with you about the writing Kate created magic in this book, i cried and laughed and felt bereft at the end, I didn’t want it to end. (fellow Blogger /reviewer) katsindiebookblog.

    September 9, 2019 at 6:55 am
    • Reply The Novel Lifestyle

      thanks for your comment, kat! yes Kate is amazing!! I’m so glad you loved it too 🙂

      September 9, 2019 at 12:02 pm

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