Author: Tillie Cole
Series: Sweet Home Series #3
Publisher by: Independent
Published on: August 26, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Romance
Page Count: 440
From the USA Today Best Selling Sweet Home Series, comes Sweet Fall; a tale of heartache, beating the odds and finding strength in the most unlikeliest of places.
We all have secrets.
Secrets well buried.
Until we find the one soul who makes the burden of such secrets just that little bit easier to bear.
Lexington "Lexi" Hart is a senior at the University of Alabama. Surrounded by her best friends, her loving family and having fulfilled her life-long dream of making the Crimson Tide cheer squad, everything is going exactly as she always dreamed it would. But beneath her happy exterior, demons lurk, threatening to jeopardize everything Lexi has worked to achieve.
When events in her life become too much to cope with, Lexi finds herself spiraling down into the realm of her biggest fear. Lexi falls hard, victim once again to the only thing that can destroy her and, on the way, finds herself falling straight into the dangerous tattooed arms of a guy from the wrong side of the tracks.
Austin Carillo, starting Wide Receiver for the Alabama Crimson Tide, must get picked in this year's NFL draft. He needs it. His brothers need it. Most importantly, his mother desperately needs it. Brought up in a world where the poor are forgotten, the sick are left to fend for themselves and no hero miraculously appears to pull you out of hell, Austin had no other choice but to make a living on the wrong side of the law—until football offered Austin the break to get his life back on track.
But when a family tragedy drags him back into the clutches of the gang he believed he had left far behind, Austin finds himself falling. Falling back into criminal ways and falling deep into a suffocating darkness. Until a troubled yet kindred spirit stumbles across his path, where Austin quickly finds he is falling for a young woman—a young woman who might just have the power to save him from his worst enemy: himself.
Can two troubled souls find a lasting peace together? Or will they finally succumb to the demons threatening to destroy them?
New Adult/Contemporary Romance novel—contains adult content, sexual situations and mature topics. Suited for ages 17 and up.
*CAN BE READ AS A STAND-ALONE NOVEL*
Sweet Fall by Tillie Cole was a great read. This was the first book by Tillie Cole that I have read. I definitely want to go back and read Sweet Home and Sweet Rome. This was a harsh novel that deals with topics such as anorexia, gang-related drug dealing and violence. I came to love the main characters and thought that Ms. Cole portrayed them as real people. Ms. Cole writes in her forward that Lexi’s narrative and inner struggles within the book are based on personal thought processes and habits that she experienced during a dark time in her life. I applaud Ms. Cole on sharing that thought process and how powerful the voice that some of us have can be. I applaud that she was able to face her fears and express her hopes that this book can reach another person and help them through their dark time.
I loved the first interaction when Austin meets Lexi. He does something that actually shocks her – he calls her a freak. He does not say it to be mean – but because she is not the cookie cutter blond haired cheerleader. I know that not all cheerleaders are blond haired and I think that cheerleading is a pretty cool sport to be involved in. I used to want to be a cheerleader, I am just too shy and not outgoing and I hate being in the spotlight. Lexi has black hair, she is petite and she wears black. Lexi loves being a cheerleader, the voice that she hears is the reason that it is not healthy for her. Austin considers himself one of the freaks because he is the classic Italian – dark hair, dark eyes, olive tone skin and he is covered with tattoos.
The ultimate bad boy Austin is the wide receiver and an ex-gang member. He is playing football for his family in hopes that he can be drafted into the NFL and provide a better lifestyle for his mother and his brother. He also wants to keep his brother out of the gang that he was drafted into membership by his older brother.
Both characters have issues and deal with these issues through the book. There were a couple of lines that I want to share that I think say a lot about the book.
“Twenty minutes later, wrapped in a thin blanket and in front of an open fire, a messed-up boy and a messed-up girl fell asleep under the stars, holding each other in their arms…and for the first time in their turbulent lives, they felt fully exposed and completely understood.”
“Closing my eyes, I let the voice’s words seep into my mind. It was always there for me. Always making me feel wanted, giving me a purpose. As though a breeze swooped up and carried away all my fight, I felt myself relax and whispered to the silent room, “Take what you want. Make me perfect. I give myself freely. I just haven’t got the strength to fight you anymore….”
“Looking up at Dr. Lund’s face, I simply said, “she’s my broken Pixie, and I’m her piece of trailer trash scum.”
I really liked this book and highly recommend it. I hope that you read it and enjoy it as much as I did. I, like Ms. Cole, hopes that someone else is helped with their darkness by reading this book.
Well the absolutely fantastic Tillie Cole does it again and may ( I use maybe lightly because Rome and Molly are very hard to beat) have beat my Sweet Home.
OK…so in case like the entire world missed it, me and co-blogger Cezanne are in love with Ms. Cole. She does no wrong in our eyes and if she sent us three sheets a paper with writing on it, as long as they are her words, we would hold it to our chest like it was precious pieces of rare gold. There is just something about her writing for us we can’t express. We truly enjoy the worlds and characters she creates.
We feel what they feel, we are where they are, hurt when they hurt and when they get their happy we are overjoyed probably more than they are.
Now unlike my beautiful Rachel above…this was not my first rodeo with Ms. Cole. I had read it It Ain’t Me, Babe first. That popped my cherry and I was instantly in love. When I finished I needed more Tillie Cole soooo…I go and buy EVERY book she has written. I finished Sweet Home and Sweet Rome the next day. I could not read fast enough. My finger could not flip the screen fast enough. I devoured Molly and Rome. I feel in love with my modern day Romeo and Juliet. I feel in love with them plus Austin, Lexi, Cass, Jimmy Don and Ally. When I found out that Lexi and Austin were the next book plus Ally was getting a book…I screamed. Like actually screamed…lol…my 4 yr old thought I had lost everloving mind.
Then I got my eARC and I may have had a mini stroke…LOL…I am so dramatic but it felt that way to me. I truly look forward to reading the stories of the authors I love beyond reason.
Lexi, Austin and Ms. Cole did not disappoint. This novel is not for the weak hearted. It deals with some major issues. Ms. Cole gives you an explanation in the beginning about how Lexi’s journey through the book is very personal to her since it is a reflection of a dark time in her life. My heart broke for Ms. Cole but I was in awe. She opened up about a part of herself that must have been so hard to rehash and put in words but she did it beautifully. If she helps ONE person with this story then she is success.
Lexi is struggling anorexia nervosa and trying to hide who she really is from all her friends in college. Molly, Cass and Ally have no idea the suffering she goes through day in and day out. You really understand what it feels like to have your worst enemy be a destructive voice in your head.
Austin is an Italian ex- drug dealing gang member from the ghetto in Alabama. He has a mom dying slowly of ALS (ironic right considering the social media trending) and a younger brother he is trying desperately to keep from following in his and his older brother’s footsteps. Sadly the reality of life and where he comes from is kicking his ass. No matter how hard he is trying to beat and break the mold. He wants to be drafted into the NFL and make a better life for everyone in his family but things do not go that way.
Lexi and Austin meeting was not how most would think since their friends and personal lives are so intermingled. Axel, Austin’s older brother and almost twin, starts to deal on campus causing all types of shit to blowback on Austin. Lexi is in the wrong place at the wrong time coming face to face with a very nasty Axel. Austin has no choice but to step in to protect her. This opens the door to one of the most beautifully written, heartbreaking and raw stories I have read recently.
Sweet Fall is beautiful story of strength, redemption, and finding your soul mates in the most unlikely of places and times. It is also a true testament that sometimes the people that love you the most are not always blood related or romantically attached. Sometimes you just need a good set of people to help YOU see the beauty that was already inside you because they saw it long before you did.
A definite must read author and story 🙂
Leaning back on the couch, I decided to try and relax, but just as I did, I felt Lexi lean in closer. My eyes narrowed, and I shot her a questioning glance.
“What the hell you looking at so close?” I asked. I wasn’t being a dick, but she was almost on my lap as she tried to look at something on my neck.
Fidgeting with her black hair, she blushed. That only made me more curious.
“What?” I asked again and folded my arms across my chest.
A bony index finger pointed at the side of my neck. I scowled in confusion.
“That tattoo,” she answered with a guilty expression, her pixie face all innocent in her interest.
“Gonna have to be more specific,” I said and gestured to my upper chest, showing the fully covered inked skin above my black T-shirt, my full sleeves, and neck.
“That one,” she pushed again and pointed her finger closer. I gave her an incredulous look. She wasn’t exactly narrowing it down. I tried to think of what I had in that spot, but it could’ve been one of about fifteen things.
Her teeth clenched in annoyance, and she prodded at my neck with the tip of her painted-black fingernail. “That one! The one that says Heighters!”
My humor dropped. As did Lexi’s pissed-off expression, and she lowered her hand.
I remembered when I got that piece of ink. I was fourteen—the same age as Levi. I’d just sold my first teener of coke and was initiated into the crew. Gio’d ordered Matteo—his original right-hand man—to brand me. Right on my neck where everyone could see who I ran with. And the star—the stidda—on my cheek to show our crew’s Sicilian connection.
They were visible statements that I was a Heighter for life.
They’d hurt like a bitch, and, all the time the needle had been scratching at the skin, Axel had beamed a smug-looking grin at me. It was probably the proudest moment of his life, looking at his little bro joining the gang he found so sacred. His family. Matteo got killed in a drive-by shortly after, and that’s when Axel had been promoted, taking his place as Gio’s right-hand man.
Lexi’s light cough pulled me from the memory. I met her eyes once again and snapped, “You get ’em when you officially join the crew. And you never cover it up. You own it. Happy?”
Lexi stared down at her hands in reprimand. “I was just curious. I’ve never met anyone from a real-life gang before. It’s interesting to me.”
I almost spit blood at her words. “Word of warning. Never be curious about the fuckin’ Heighters. Gang life ain’t no picnic or a good tale for a little rich girl’s entertainment.”