“Reminds me of myself,” Aiden had admitted. Smashed up and spread out, not ruined, but a little bit of a mess. A lot of a mess.
Title: Fortitude Smashed
Author: Taylor Brooke
Series: The Camellia Clock Cycle Book #1
Number of pages: 312 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: The character growth and the insight of the relationship.
Bad things about this book: Nothing. It has trigger warnings at the beginning so read them before starting the book.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it is something else but, beware, it feels like a hit or miss kind of book. I loved it!
Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here
This is my 100th book and with it I’ve officially completed this year’s Reading Challenge! Yay!
Imagine being born in a world free of homophobia with all the unjustified hate it comes with, being free to love whoever you like and being certain at some point in your life you’ll find your soul mate thanks to a clock installed on your thumbnail. Imagine how restless yet relieved you must feel knowing the time will come for you to love and be loved like nothing you’ll ever dreamed of. Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the euphoria. Imagine the pain of having and then maybe losing. Imagine.
This book enchanted me. It starts fast throwing the soul mate bomb right from the beginning. We meet Shannon, a 25-year-old detective, trying to catch a burglar in an art gallery. Said burglar is no other than Aiden, his Rose Road, his soul mate. The clock times out and it’s electrifying. Literary electrifying. Something awakes in both of them and no matter how much they want to fight it, there’s really no way the clock is wrong. There’s too much interest, too much chemistry, fate is not wrong.
“The world loves you.” Shannon sighed against his mouth. “And if it ever stops loving you, remember that I do.”
There’s not a “but he’s a guy” part. Why is that? At first it got me puzzled and I was anxiously waiting for the homophobic remarks but it seems that in this version of the world there is no such thing as sexual interests. They all like whomever they want to like, no exceptions, no one’s save. The sea has plenty of fish and all of them for you to choose. They might have different tastes, who doesn’t, but never and I repeat never people are questioned or looked differently because of the ones they love. I loved the little bet Shannon’s parents had going on about his Rose Road being a boy or a girl. See? If only the real world was this problem free. Shouldn’t be that hard. Guess it’s only my occasionally over optimistic brain at work again.
I now realize that everything I can say about the story might ruin it. I don’t even want to tell you about the characters, their backstories, because I’m afraid I’ll give too much up. The summary tells what’s necessary to know and that’s how I got hooked and that’s why I got all kinds of feelings reading it almost nonstop until I woke up yesterday a little hangover and the first thing I did before leaving the bed was finishing the last 20% I got left to read.
They kissed, messy and overwhelmed and honest, the kind of kiss that told a story—incomplete—but a story all the same.
This book is a journey. It’s slow and it doesn’t give you in detail everything that’s going on. It’s like a documentary on the lives of Shannon and Aiden from the day they found each other and found out they were each other’s Rose Road, each other’s soul mates. You see pieces of their lives from both their points of views. You see their fears, their pain, their past, their weaknesses, everything they have to fight to be the best version of themselves and open up to this new reality. It’s not over sexualized; there are not explicit sex scenes and, as much I never say no to those, I felt this book maintained its “I’ll give you just what you really need to know” vibe it had going on all along.
The new reality comes like lightning. It struck them and changes them, making both of them vulnerable, forcing them to believe that fate is real and it’s beautiful. I truly loved the concept of this book and the slowness of the events, how they happen when they’re supposed to happen, how they make you shake with anticipation and anxiety. I was constantly afraid, constantly fighting different feelings, constantly cheering and daydreaming. I was cuddled by the emotions and I felt myself relaxed a little into the story as I let it unfold. And it unfolded like magic. Magic like knowing you’ll find your soul mate to love but not taking it for granted because life gives but it also takes so you cherish it, protect it, save it if necessary, and open your heart to all the possibilities your future have from the day the clock flashes 00:00.
“You’re my best kept secret, Aiden. You’re the most vibrant thing in the room, artwork unlike any other.”
I think this book is wonderful and it touched every fiber in me. I find myself smiling thinking about it. I feel a little bit like the painting “Fortitude Smashed”: nature and art mixed, bright colours, fragile, one of a kind, kind of messy, a strong will and a fighter. Art that gets noticed, it is loved but it’s also misunderstood.
“Reminded me of you,” Shannon said. It was easy to say because it was the truth, but if he had to explain it, Shannon feared he might ruin everything.
I loved this with all my heart. So many feelings, tears and happiness. The struggles, the self-sabotaging, the pain, the suffering, the love hard and real and overwhelming. It was deep and it was great. A book I will remember and keep with me from today on.
This scene broke me. I was laughing so hard I had to stop reading for a while and focus real hard to start breathing again.
“Gardenia?” Warmth pooled in Aiden’s abdomen, spreading out into the rest of him like unruly vines. “They don’t give you cop-scented soap with your uniform?” Aiden felt Shannon’s smile pressed between his shoulder blades at the top of his spine.
“You don’t like it?”
“That’s not what I said.”
“What do you use? Ice Pick? Eagle Screech?”
How ridiculous are some of real life “for male” bath products? Let’s make it male, real male: black, grey or dark blue and with an awful improbable name, that’s it!