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Tough Love

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Some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried …

Eight years ago, Amelia Harris had her life ripped out from underneath her. Being the centre of the town gossip was hard enough, but when the boy who promised her forever left without so much as a goodbye, he took her ability to love with him.

After family tragedy brings Evan North back into her life, the secrets of her past have never felt as close as they do now. When the same scandal that tore them apart rears its ugly head, will history be doomed to repeat itself?


First published May 23, 2017

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About the author

Max Henry

41 books990 followers
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Born and raised in Canterbury, New Zealand, Max now resides with her family in beautiful and sunny Queensland, Australia.
ife with two young children can be hectic at times and, although she may not write as often as she would like, Max wouldn’t change a thing.

An avid lover of stories from a young age, she enjoys nothing more than to get lost in the pages while the characters dictate what direction she takes. Her favourite genre to write is young/new adult and the events in her stories may or may not be related to real life experiences (only she will ever know for sure). 

n her down time, Max can be found at her local gym brainstorming through a session with the weights. If not, she’s probably out drooling over one of many classic cars on show that she wishes she owned.

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5 stars
141 (34%)
4 stars
132 (32%)
3 stars
83 (20%)
2 stars
32 (7%)
1 star
15 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 102 reviews
Profile Image for NMmomof4.
1,493 reviews3,633 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
June 25, 2017
DNF @ 52%

I don't know how I made it this far to be honest, and I apologize if this gets a little ranty...

I LOVE second chance romances when they are done well. If you follow my reviews, you know that I have certain things that I need in order for these type stories to work for me -- and the BIGGEST one is that I need the reason for their separation to be understandable. Unfortunately, it just wasn't in this book for me.

If I'm reading the clues right here, the poor h had a pretty crappy family and she had some horrible things happen to her as a young girl once the H left -- but that's just it, clues! At this point I still don't know what fully happened and I am actually pretty frustrated with the "mystery" of it all.

AND once we do finally get some interactions with the h and H, I don't feel it. I don't feel one way or the other about the h or H individually, and I don't feel their connection to each other. I felt like at that point I was just being told that they loved each other, but not shown how they loved each other (I hope that makes sense 🤔).

On a few good notes...the story is told in New Zealand and it has some of the slang and terms used there. I found that actually really charming. I appreciate it when the slang goes along with the setting! I also enjoyed the h's interactions and eventual relationship with her nephew. I appreciated that she didn't let her bad feelings about his parents effect how she instantly cared for and treated him.

So overall, it could be a just-me-being-picky thing...but those were my main issues.
Profile Image for Dri ✰.
693 reviews213 followers
May 26, 2017
4 stars!!!

"One day at a time. One tragedy at a time. One heartache at a time."

Essa história despertou em mim tantos sentimentos...
Primeiro livro que leio da autora e gostei bastante da forma como ela conduziu o enredo, sem acelerar muito, sem aquela afobação... Acho que tudo aconteceu na hora que tinha que acontecer.
Esse livro realmente me surpreendeu, porque eu não esperava essa avalanche de emoções.
Há alguns pontos na história que eu não gostei muito, mas mesmo assim, não deixou de ser uma boa leitura! Adorei e recomendo!!! ❤️ ❤️

"It just reminds me how ugly I am in comparison. How foolish and stupid I was. How many mistakes I made. How life can chew you up and spit you back out without remorse. And how everything you love can be stolen from you in the blink of an eye."
Profile Image for A Book Lover's Emporium Book Blog.
2,814 reviews147 followers
May 21, 2017
Life's tough so is love.

This is my first debut to Max Henry's books and now I so understand what my friends raved about. Her words twist at your heart and soul and consume you in so many ways.

It's characters are hauntingly perfect and you just crave for a miracle to pull them through their darkest of days. Even through all the scandal and secrets both characters displayed, I still loved every pain staking heartbeat, every raw emotion, every twinkle of love.

The storyline just flows perfectly with a profound hope that the main characters will get their second chance at love. The obstacles they endure are passionate and real and I felt myself crying at times of devastation then feeling enlightened when love conquered at all road blocks.

This is a story of love, a love that never dies, a love that so many hope for and want. I believe second chances are becoming one of my favourite reads . After all the devastation nothing conquers love. As tough as it is, love prevails.

For all you romantics out there that think what else can be thrown my way to make life that much harder, well this book is for you.
Profile Image for Amy.
693 reviews
May 21, 2017
Tough Love
Max Henry
4 stars

Amelia has found herself sitting in a hospital waiting room with her sister fighting for her life. A sister she hasn't known for years. The past broke them apart -- in fact it broke them into pieces. Being there now is unnerving to say the least but when an old flame shows up things start to get complicated and the past floats back in. Not only does the past float back in but its staring her right in the face. How can you feel for someone so much and hate who they are from all at the same time?

Evan left without a word so many years ago. Amelia knew things were not great in his house but until now she never knew how bad. Evan has more secrets that haunt him and confessing to the one girl he has loved his entire life might finally drive her completely away. Tragedy brings people back together but can also tear them further apart.

Tough love focuses on a family that turned their backs on a horrific situation and left one child alone while hiding secrets from her. Second chances may be a good thing or a bad thing --

I did love the story line but I was not really thrilled with one particular incident of someone showing up from the past. I felt like there should have been "more" written about this event. I recommend clicking this up but get ready for a whirlwind of emotions. Thank you for the ARC -- Review to post to Ramblings From Beneath The Sheets.
Profile Image for Rachel.
226 reviews13 followers
May 23, 2017
Woah! This book!! I've just devoured this book in one day, I seriously couldn't put it down! It is so well written, I couldn't help but be consumed with the emotions pouring out of every page. It was heartbreaking, heartwarming, suspenseful and a real page turner. It's my first read by Max Henry but now I'm off to look up every book she has written. Thank you for such a brilliant read. I highly recommend :)
Profile Image for Jan .
2,154 reviews45 followers
May 16, 2017
3.5 Second chance romance.

You can't help but be drawn into Amelia's story right from the beginning when she receives a call that her sister has been in a car accident, her estranged sister she hasn't seen in 7 years, Amelia is down as next of kin and although she shut her sister out of her life goes to the hospital anyway.

A sad, heartfelt and tearjerker of a beginning as Amelia discovers she also has a nephew she knew nothing about.

Events reunite her not only with a person from her past she has tried to forget but also her parents who she also cut from her life years ago.

Evan is the boy who left her 9 years ago and never returned, the boy she could never forget, yet here he was now a police officer at the hospital walking towards her with the 6 year old nephew she's never met before and now through a tragic accident Amelia finds herself the temporary guardian of.

Amelia fills her life with work she is successful, has very few friends and limited social life and this one event turns her world upside down, something she is no stranger too though.

Tough love is a heartfelt story told in dual pov's. I can't say I warmed to Evan I didn't find his reasons for leaving Amelia all those years ago feasible which then made it difficult to like him, then he ran again when the going got tough saying he needed space to work things through in his head?

Amelia too, I thought she did all the chasing and not Evan when it had been Amelia who had suffered years ago after a traumatic series of events, I really wanted Evan to be the man worthy of her this time but he showed signs of the fearful boy from years ago which prevented me enjoying this couples reunion, A rarity for me, I love second chance romance's.

Evan did redeem himself when Amelias past came back to taunt and hurt her and this time Evan stepped up to doing what he should of done all those years ago and that was to stand by Amelias side, fight with her and protect her.

Tough love is a good story of healing relationships, facing the past, second chances,revealed truths,closure and moving forward.

Contains talk of sexual abuse and domestic abuse but does not go into vivid details.

Arc gratefully received for review purposes
Profile Image for She's a Lip Biter.
1,336 reviews28 followers
May 24, 2017
Multiple Reviews Below

Heartbreaking scenes at the beginning, in the middle and the end! All to create one fabulous story by this author who continues to mix things up and create wonderfully entertaining and thought provoking books.

Amelia is such a refreshingly honest lead female character who hasn't had an easy life. Evan is a teenage flame who re-enters her life again after many years. This is their story but oh so much more!

Gradual unravelling of the story puzzle pieces helps readers understand Amelia and her situation and feel the emotions she experiences. I have to say this is Max Henry's forte...taking you on an emotional roller coaster but leaving you grateful when it ends.

This story is easy to read, fast-paced and thoroughly engaging. The characters are real life like and you can relate to them so easily.

I haven't the adequate words to describe how fantastic this book is just read it!

Reviewed by Robyn

4.5 stars

My God, I really enjoyed this very moving, emotional and heartbreaking story. I was so moved by this story, that it is really hard to put into words and explain just what this was like and how it made me feel. It was thought provoking and down right entertaining. A page turner that I just couldn't put it down.

The characters were truly unique and Amelia was a great leading lady and I must say honest to a fault. When Evan her childhood sweetheart re-enters her life, their story really begins and takes you on a journey. Briar was the character of the book, that stole my heart and I didn't recover at all.

I totally recommend this amazing book to everyone. It has everything that you could ask for. I am a complete fan of Max Henry her writing keeps getting better and better.

Reviewed by Donna
Profile Image for Lindsey King.
827 reviews29 followers
May 12, 2017
Angst 3
Tears 3
Value 5
Storyline 5
Panty Scorching 4
Overall Rating 5

Wow! Just freakin wow! This is completely different from Max's other books. Not that its a bad thing at all. This was an action packed read with so so much going on. I didn't know whether to cry or scream some of the time. But one thing Max does is keep me sucked in until shes ready to let me go.

Evan. Just when I thought he won me over he surprised me. I really wanted to punch him in the throat at one point. Then..... he changed that. Again. I really loved how easy going and supportive he was. He was a rock. He believed Amelia when no one else did. He supported her when everyone else made her feel like a fool.

Amelia steps up in a big freakin way, when things go to the pits. Shes strong and independent. She hasn't had an easy life at all. But I freakin love her. She knew what she needed to do and she did it, consequences be damned. Loved this about her!!!!

This was a great read. I love how Max did something completely different but the book still held me captive. Loved IT!
May 23, 2017
WOW what an amazing book!!! I have read a few books by Max Henry in the past but after reading this book I am now a loyal fan. I will NEVER miss a book again! The writing in this book is stellar and I can tell that Max's writing has grown so much that I see great things in the future coming. This book brought out so many emotions in me that I didn't know which one I was going to feel next. So much has happened to Amelia in the past and just when you think you know how everything is going to play out so much more happens and it will leave you utterly shocked. Amelia finally has a second chance with the love of her life but that road isn't going to be an easy one and boy did I enjoy reading all about it.

I highly recommend this book and am eager to get my hands on more by Max Henry in the future!!
Profile Image for Julie.
2,005 reviews27 followers
May 11, 2017
Tough Love is a heart rendering story and it's also full of love and new beginnings that are thought impossible to be hold by the characters in the story.
Amelia's past has not been easy, a scandal caused a problem between her sister and herself, and now she'll take every chance she can to make up for that.
A family tragedy brings Evan her ex. on the scene. He's guilty of breaking her heart when the scandal wrecked their relationship. Will they reunite, or will the past repeat itself.
A very emotional book, have plenty of tissues handy. The story begins with a blast and continues through out to a thoroughly entertaining conclusion. A fantastic story, I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Gloria.
363 reviews26 followers
May 24, 2017
Amelia is the strongest heroine I have read. She has to deal with her sisters death and discovers she has a nephew. Evan left Amelia at a time when she needed him but he had no control. They meet each other after many years and discover they always loved each other. There are things in Mimi's past that she has to deal with to connect with Evan. Max Henry writes characters that are so flawed but they find a way to connect and find love again. Her characters are real, deep, dark, and I can relate to. I always one click Max Henry's Books.
Profile Image for Amanda.
104 reviews3 followers
July 8, 2017
This book was my first read by Max I straight away connected with Amelia. I loved the story and the journey it took me on it's filled with a lot of mixed emotions and kept me captivated throughout. I will be definitely looking for more books by Max Henry. It is a very emotional read and I personally recommend you check out Tough Love.
Profile Image for Jessica Alcazar.
3,889 reviews438 followers
June 8, 2019
This isn't my first rodeo with Max Henry so I was prepared for the punch. However, I wasn't prepared for the feelings this story stirred up inside my own head. It's one thing to be heartbroken or happy or sad for a couple in a book, but it's another when a couple's life journey leaves you in awe because you really don't know how they're getting thru it. Yes, the words are there. The story is there. But I just can't with it all .....

To say that this story was an intense second chance love story is probably not enough. It was above intense. It was fierce. It was extraordinary and it was powerful. Amelia's own journey with her sister is enough to shatter anyone's heart, throw in her linked history with Evan and you will be gutted from the start.

Because of the high passion and intensity in the story, it will be impossible to not read this book in one sitting. There are twists. Things are not always what they seem. This story goes beyond a second chance at love. It's about family and friendship. It's about love and growth, forgiveness and redemption.

Copy provided for blog tour review
Profile Image for JoAnna G.
677 reviews8 followers
May 21, 2017
I have never read this author before and I will be reading more of her books soon. The pace and the flow are good, the plot sucked me in. We are kept in somewhat suspense in seeing what happened years ago. I couldn’t and wouldn't put this book down. I read it in one go. There is drama and I also felt outraged at times. My heart broke for Amelia. There are flashback chapters that give you a little bit of background. Just to keep you dangling and hanging on by the edge of your seat. You will want to hug Amelia and slap her parents along with the sister. There was even a time where I would have smacked Evan. Such an emotional rollercoaster. I did though, enjoy the ride. The characters main characters are likable, though I loved Amelia. She is such a strong and amazing person to overcome what she did. She didn't let it define her.

It opens with Amelia getting a call and going to the hospital as her sister was in a car accident. She hasn’t seen her in seven years, let alone spoken to her. As this happens she is faced with her past love Evan reunited with him.

Evan is the officer that she used to date in high school and he ends up bringing her something. I can’t say what you just have to read it, I don’t want to give it away. Bonds are formed and lives are changed in good and bad ways. Not all is what you think. I don’t think Evan ever stopped loving Amelia, but it was hard for her to trust and let people in.

Join Evan and Amelia on their journey and see if they can move on from the past.
Profile Image for Domini.
453 reviews
June 11, 2017
Beautifully Brutal!

This book is pure gold, it's so well written and a real tear jerker to read! It will break you and then put you back together again. But what I appreciated the most was how truly realistic the theme is. It could happen to anyone at any time and more than likely someone you know has experienced this.
Amelia is surviving but not truly living and not truly happy. Her sister comes back into her life under horrible circumstances, unfortunately they don't get to bury the past before it's too late and that was very sad but Mimi discovers she has a nephew. He is the most amazingly beautiful kid & he will need his Aunt in a way she never knew she could be. Their relationship develops beautifully and it is lovely to read.
Evan is Amelias lost love and he comes back into her life when she needs him the most. At first I was like nope he doesn't deserve to be forgiven but that soon changed, he is amazing!
I was so mad with her parents too but I understood how the past events were difficult for them all.
Max is a truly talented author and I give her props for tackling this subject matter and for writing it so honestly and not trying to sugarcoat anything.
This book will take you on a roller coaster of emotions and at times you'll want to give up but believe me it's so worth it!
Profile Image for Tania's Book Blog.
1,532 reviews19 followers
May 21, 2017
Wow..... a little bit of second chance romance, forgiveness, suspense, anger, emotions, and angst all wrapped in one.

Amelia suffered a traumatic incident while growing up that put a wedge between her and her family. She walked away and never looked back. Seven years later she's called because she's listed as the next of kin for her estranged sister. Going back opens up old wounds, face to face with the love of her life and with more questions than answers. She tries very, very hard to let bygones be bygones but they are somethings that just can't be left in the past.

When Evan sees Amelia again after 9 years he realizes he's still in love with her and decides to pursue her again immediately. He tries to help her get answers from the past but he also has something eating him up inside.

I can't say anything else because it will be lots of spoilers but one thing I can say is that Amelia is very strong to accept some things. Evan sometimes acted very stupid but I think if we had his POV it would have helped and answered lots of questions. Amelia didn't deserve all the heartache caused by her family but she's a survivor. And Evan through it all was a good guy.

I voluntarily received an advanced reader copy of this book.
Profile Image for Tersia Eloff.
490 reviews2 followers
May 22, 2017
I really enjoyed Tough Love, it was well written and grabbed me right from the first paragraph, I couldn't put it down! It was uplifting, even due to the dark themes it covered, I still felt the hope and believe that everything will be ok. I loved the way Max Henry portrayed Amelia, her strength in coping with what happened to her, her acceptance of the mistakes she made, and how she is trying and succeeding to be the best guardian for Blair.

The only bit op criticism I have, is that I would have liked Evan's point of view as well, I love books that gives both leading characters point of view, but even without having Evan's point of view, I didn't feel that the book was lacking anything because it wasn't there.

Well done Max Henry, even if Tough Love will be classified as a dark read, to me it was an uplifting Love Story that shows how love concurs all, not just the once in a lifetime love you experience with a soul mate, but also the unconditional love that families share.
Profile Image for Sbell.
921 reviews51 followers
May 30, 2017
Yes, I see that almost all the reviews of
this book are much higher than mine.
I just could not finish this book. I didn't
even make it to 50%.

My problem was with Ameila in the sense
that she was so bitter. She has not spoke
with her sister in 7 yrs. Returns home to
find out that her sister was in a horrible
car wreck and actually dies. Her sister had
a child that her family did not tell her about
and the father of said child was Amelia's
rapist, who her sister dated. So we have all
that and I hated the lack of any family loyalty.

Now, lets get to Evan. Love of Ameilas life who
had not contacted her in 9ish years and Ameila
just picks right up where they left off. She was
desperate. Evan was meh and it pissed me off that
he was supposed to be in love with her but
OOPS! he has a child during the time they
were separated.

I did not like anything about this book. I DNFed
it and won't be reading more by this author.
The book was contrived for me to feel a certain
way and the only thing I felt was disdain
towards the entire thing.
19 reviews1 follower
May 21, 2017

Wow! This is the first Max Henry book I have read- and I can officially say I have discovered a new favourite author!!

This book had me hooked from the first page. It's not only an amazing story but it's also thought provoking- how did they choose that mint green colour scheme for hospitals? Family is a birthright- Yep We all do need a mother and a father to be born! I love the quote "Time becomes irrelevant" I really connected with this book! Some of it- a little too closely.... I cried a lot!!

I read this book in less than 24 hours as I couldn't put it down! I laughed, I cried and my heart melted.

This is a unique story, nothing like any book I have read before. Thanks Max Hardy- a day of distraction was exactly what I needed today- and this book did that! I will now search to see which of your books I should read next!
May 22, 2017
I just could not put this book down, Max you owe me a good nights sleep. This book had me intranced from the moment I opened it. The strength that Amelia has to be able to overcome her demons from her past to be able to move on with her life not only for herself but for Briar is astonishing. The love between Mimi and Evan has been able to withstand not only time but heartache and it shows that true love can not be forgotten. I am really hoping that there will be more in the future for Evan and Amelia as we never get a final HEA.

Spoiler below.....

One of my hard limits when reading a book is child abuse but Max you were able to work it into this book without making me want to put the book away and never open it again.
Profile Image for Milena.
478 reviews
May 23, 2017
Such a beautifully written story! Amelia and Evan have loved and lost each other once before but this is no ordinary second chance love story. Their journey has some deeply painful roadblocks that must be overcome or demolished in order for them to have their HEA. In doing so as a team they are able to deal with the issues/monsters from their past that rear their ugly heads and it makes them stronger. Some awfully hard things happen in this book but the love that you feel throughout is very powerful and it is what stays with you in the end. Max Henry has outdone herself on this one and I cannot wait to read more from this author.
Profile Image for Lisa  Hershaw.
334 reviews17 followers
June 6, 2017
This was my first book by this author.

Amelia has been estranged from her sister for 8 years, so when her life is flipped upside down sitting at her sister bedside after an accident, finding out she has a nephew, she realise how much she did not know her sister.

Not only is Amelia dealing with her own issues and her families too she's brought face to face with Evan, the guy who broke heart many years ago. Evan who is now a cop, but for me I didn't really like him too much, whereas Amelia I like and usual for me it's the other war around.

This was about healing and second chances, this was an easy to read story and I plan to read more by this author.
1,852 reviews48 followers
May 19, 2017

Heartbreaking scenes at the beginning, in the middle and the end! All to create one fabulous story by this author who continues to mix things up and create wonderfully entertaining and thought provoking books.

Amelia is such a refreshingly honest lead female character who hasn't had an easy life. Evan is a teenage flame who re-enters her life again after many years. This is their story but oh so much more!

Gradual unraveling of the story puzzle pieces help readers understand Amelia and her situation and feel the emotions she experiences. I have to say this is Max Henry's forte...taking you on an emotional roller coaster but leaving you grateful when it ends.

This story is easy to read, fast paced and thoroughly engaging. The characters are real life like and you can relate to them so easily.

I haven't the adequate words to describe how fantastic this book is just read it!
Profile Image for Kit Chepesiuk.
34 reviews
May 23, 2017
This is my first read of Max and it was amazing!!! If I didn't require sleep I would have finished in one day. What a roller coaster. Have your tissues close by and you delve into the life of Mimi and Evan, the raw emotion is flowing throughout this entire book! 💙
14 reviews
May 21, 2017
My first book from this author and now I need more!! A totally original storyline with strong, believable characters. This book is amazing! I devoured it in one sitting!!
Profile Image for Dawn.
1,447 reviews261 followers
May 15, 2017
3.5 Stars

This one took me a bit to connect with and was totally different than I thought it was going to be, just by the cover glance. It was deeper and more heart wrenching than I was expecting. My only fault in the story is the lack of character and background development for the two leads. I felt Amelia and Evan's past was glossed over in the sense of how deep they ran before he left, and the why he left...but the main reason for their past was brutal and you wanted so much for Mimi to find the closure she deserved. By 50% I was riveted with what would happen and how all of these lives would play out. This story is more than a slam bam thank you ma'am tale. It blurs the lines of right-wrong and divides the lines of family and betrayal. Overall I did enjoy this story..and would read more from this author..

**arc received from author in exchange for an honest review from us hip chicks at http://www.facebook.com/twounrulygirls **
Profile Image for Book Nook Kitten.
554 reviews7 followers
October 2, 2022
Hated the heroine, don't know why anyone would write such a selfish, spoiled, immature heroine. She's a complete bitch, irritated that her mother cries because her daughter died! Yepp, it actually says that! She's irritated that her mother isn't strong for her just one day after her mother has lost her daughter. And like any self centred, selfish, immature, spoiled brat of a teenager, this supposed adult heroine doesn't see that actually it is her mother who is strong and doing a heck of a lot more than she is.

Because her mother and father were the ones doing all important things to help after their daughter's death, like cooking, fixing the house, calling around to see if she left a will, trying to get ahead with dealing with any potential custody battle with the little boy's criminal father, trying to take care of the child's future safety, all while actually taking care of him, while trying to arrange the funeral of their daughter who had literally just shockingly died etc.

And what is the heroine doing while they're spending coutless hours doing all that work? Oh yeah, she's sleeping then drinking wine and eating a cheese and meat platter with her friend while her parents do the real important stuff, then moaning about her mother not bring strong! I mean, talk about a selfish, spoiled, self centred heroine. She was not likable at all!

The way it's very flippant about rape, (I'm guessing that's what happened to her, it hints at that, but I stopped reading before it states it), but it again shows a serious lack of maturity by the author when she has a) the H saying what happened to her sucked! Yeah, that's his response, ridiculous because she didn't drop her damn ice-cream cone, she was raped! And b) the author has her gushing about him because he said it sucked, as if that those two small and stupidly inappropriate words were some epic and deep and heartfelt empathy from him, when in fact all he said was, "it sucked".

This sucked. This sucked big time. It was terrible. Didn't finish this. Couldn't finish it, it was that bad, stopped after the whole 'she wished her mother would stop crying because her daughter died and be strong' part. The immaturity of the writing ability produced an immature heroine who was effectively a spoiled, selfish, unlikable teenage brat, and an immature hero, who just weren't nice to read about. And the story itself was a dragged out and repeating bunch of teenaged angst thoughts and boring mundane filler.
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