An Ounce of Hope (Pound of Flesh #2) by Sophie Jackson
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From the fanfic phenom whose debut A Pound of Flesh had over 4.5 million reads, this sequel, An Ounce of Hope, tells the passionate love story of Carter’s best friend, Max.
Max O’Hare can’t seem to let go of his past: his drug habit, the end of his relationship with Lizzie Jordan, the woman he knows he’ll never get over, and the loss of their unborn son.
After successfully completing rehab and learning to explore his deepest fears and dreams through painting, Max meets Grace Brooks. With her innate optimism, and her love of art and photography, Grace appears to be the perfect girl. Yet no one knows where she came from, or why she keeps her past so closely guarded. Over time, Max and Grace gradually allow each other in—but will he ever be able to fully let go of his past? Or will his heart remain closed forever?
After finishing A Pound of Flesh I was excited to read more from this author. I looked into An Ounce of Hope and seeing that it was Max's story thought eh. I don't know why I wasn't more excited to read it, but I didn't really care about Max in that first story and wasn't really looking forward to him recovering from addiction and trying to move on from the girl who broke his heart. It just didn't seem like it would be my favorite, just like I was originally hesitant to read the first book. I kept putting it off and when I finally picked it up to read was kicking myself for waiting so long. I absolutely loved this story. Max and Gracie were just amazing to read. I love love loved them. I loved every minute of this book. From the first pages it drew me right in and I couldn't put it down until I finished. A really amazing read.
The book opens with Max in rehab. He is struggling with it. He knows he needs to get better, to learn to deal with his pain in more manageable ways, but it is hard. He does not like opening up, he doesn't want to talk about his past and why he uses, he just doesn't want to deal with that pain. Luckily he has good people there to help and support him and he is able to find a way to let out his feelings without talking. Without spilling everything to someone at least until his feelings are a bit more manageable. Oh, while I didn't care for Max in book one right from the start I wanted good things for him in this story. You could really see his struggle and how hard everything is for him. My heart went out to him so many times. I wanted him to find his peace and be happy again.
Eventually Max gets to the point where he is sober and can leave rehab. He was going to stay with Carter, but things don't feel quite right. Carter is always there for him in whatever way he can be, but it is a bit much for Max to deal with. He feels restrained and so he goes to stay with his uncle in West Virginia for a bit. Just until he figures things out and is in the right headspace to be in New York. Just until he gets things in order for himself.
Grace is new in town as well. She bought a house and move to town not too long ago. She has her own struggles and oh, my heart went out to her as well. She is so strong, but broken just like Max. She is trying to move on from something that happened to her, but it is a struggle. She is not good in crowds, is often afraid around men, she is just trying to work on her fears. Trying to make a new life for herself after everything. So she buys a house, a fixer upper that she hired people to work on, and got a job at the local bar. Something her brother is not too happy about, but she needs it. She needs to face her fears so she can hopefully be happy and confident again.
When the two of them meet, Max and Grace, it was so sweet. They are both so fragile in the beginning, both so haunted by their past, and I loved them so much. Max really struggles because his ex Lizzie broke him when she left. He doesn't want to have feelings for someone again. He doesn't want to open his heart up to that pain again. He is not sure he can take it. But Grace...he sees her and it was amazing watching the two of them grow closer. They help each other so much even without realizing it. They start as just friends, but really they can't help but fall for each other.
This story was simply wonderful to read. It was heartbreaking and sweet and everything I could want in a story. I loved the writing style as it really reinforced how fragile these two were and how strong they become. How everything was a struggle, but it gets better. How they both make each other better, stronger people. This is not really a sunshine and roses story, but it is so full of hope and I really loved it. These two were wonderful together and I am sorry I waited so long to read it. It was really a fantastic story and I loved every minute of it. I never wanted it to end. Simply a beautiful read.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2