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Until I Knew Myself

(Bentwood #1)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  250 ratings  ·  74 reviews
RITA Award-winning author Tammy L. Gray delivers an unforgettable new series following five struggling friends in search of the true meaning of family through secrets, betrayal and the unexpected influence of an outsider…

Tyler Mitchell grew up an orphan, taken in by his best friend’s family when he was only sixteen. Even though ten years have passed, and he’s been given
Kindle Edition, 264 pages
Published March 8th 2018
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Dana Michael
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Real. That is how I would describe the author's work. It is real. She tells stories about real life. And, real life is hard. This book has several characters and they each have a story. This one is about Tyler who was orphaned at sixteen. His love interest is Journey who was abandoned by her father at a young age as well. Even though they each have issues to deal with, the author shows hope. I love that about Ms. Gray. She shows hope through her stories. This book was easy to read and had charac ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
What an enjoyable contemporary romance novel and a stellar beginning to a new series!

I enjoyed spending time with several young adults in Bentwood, Texas. Bentwood is a fictional town located just outside of Austin. It's fun reading a novel set in an area I'm very familiar with. Although the main characters are Tyler and Journey we get to meet others in their close knit group of friends and a newcomer to their group.

Tyler struggles with not having any living blood family and finding the value i
Until I Knew Myself is my first read by author Tammy L. Gray and a wonderful contemporary story! More than a simple romance, this story had several twists and character arcs that kept me involved. The plot is full of drama, but not the bad kind! I felt a lot of strong emotions while I read, and sometimes I wanted to shake a little sense into some of the characters. For the most part, their emotions and reactions feel genuine and realistic.

I appreciated that the shared past between this group of
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tammy L. Gray doesn't just write a romance book. Her books are REAL! Her writing is never "Lets sit on a happy cloud and pretend everything is perfect"..because life is not. It is real, it is raw and there are struggles and temptations and we all STRUGGLE. Tammys books take down the mask and show us raw stories that change us. There are not many like Mrs. Gray, she is definitely a league of her own!

Thank you for this story and these wonderfully flawed but beautiful characters.

Suzie Waltner
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Bentwood crew grew up together but life has fractured and severed several of the relationships that these five friends once held.
In Tyler Mitchell’s search for his family, he loses sight of what he’s always had—friends who protect and want the best for him, people who took him in after his mother passed away, and a woman who loves him. Yet, in his desperation to find his relatives, he just might destroy the best things in his life.
Until I Knew Myself is teeming with broken people who are str
Hannah-rose Russell
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Tyler Mitchell is an orphan. His dad abandoned him when he was just three-years-old, and his mother passed away from cancer when he was sixteen. Taken in by his best friend's family, Tyler no longer needed to struggle for anything. However, questions about his past and his biological family have been plaguing him for years.
Then one day, Tyler's life is thrown into disarray after receiving a phone call from a lawyer saying that his biological grandfather had just passed away, leaving him with al
Tammy Duzenack
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tammy Gray is one of my favorite authors. Every book she releases I automatically buy. And I’m never disappointed. I got an early release of her new book Until I Knew Myself. And once again I was very pleased. The way she weaves her stories of real life situations, the depth of her characters and the way she makes you feel part of the book, that you want to be friends with her characters and walk along side of them is amazing. I highly recommend it! You won’t be disappointed.
Fiction Aficionado
I am TOTALLY in love with this new series from Tammy L. Gray. The characters have captured me, heart and soul, and the story is equally gripping, hooking right in to just about every emotion you can experience: love, loss, betrayal, anger, joy, hope, forgiveness, even humour! And while it doesn’t have overtly Christian content, it illustrates some beautiful spiritual and relational truths—and powerfully, at that.

Tammy Gray excels at creating raw, authentic characters, and there are six of them i
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review, 2018
Beautiful though Until I Knew Myself is, it has a few flaws. One of the things that I think hinders the reader experience is the multiple POV switch off. Perhaps “hinder” isn’t the right word because the changes aren’t ill timed nor do the transitions seem “off,” but still, I think there was too many perspectives. Or maybe it’s simply a personal preference since I don’t recall ever being confused as to who’s story I was in, which is often the troublesome factor in many multiple POV stories. Tamm ...more
Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
When I started this book I felt like I just jumped in the deep end of the angst-filled drama of fractured relationships. The author did a great job of making it easy to quickly get to know the various personalities in the once tight-knit group of friends, but it took me longer to feel connected to them and invested in their high-strung emotions. It did come, surprisingly with the inclusion of Caroline, a newcomer to the town and family business. She was my favorite character by far, probably bec ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Until I Knew Myself is a story of brokenness, of searching for family, for identity, for belonging. Full of conflict, and yet full of hope, this story is so touchingly crafted. It tugs at the heartstrings and makes them play a familiar, comfortable tune, full of longing.

Tyler, in his hurt, cut himself off from those he loved the most, hoping to find a link to the relatives he never knew.

Author Tammy L. Gray very beautifully tears apart the lives of Tyler and Journey and their friends and then se
Kelly Scott
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tammy Gray did not disappoint. As one of my favorite authors I was excited to read an ARC of this book. First, I loved her target audience - young professionals. I don't think there are many "clean" authors that write for this market. Second, the characters suck you in. They have real problems and are never squeaky clean. Caroline, by far, while not the protagonist was my favorite character. I'm looking forward to her book...hope it's next! Finally, Tammy Gray always writes an outstanding antago ...more
R.J. Rodda
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it

A captivating story about a group of five rich people, friends from childhood. Ty is one of them. Originally he was born into a poor family but was adopted into Beck’s wealthy one. This story explores what happens when Ty discovers secrets about his biological family. This is a story of love and secrets, brotherhood and romance, secrets and insecurity. The characters of all five of the friends are clearly drawn here (and Caroline) but the focus of this one is on Ty and Journey.
Paula Bothwell
Until I Knew Myself (Bentwood 1) - PG
Violence: none
Language: fewer than 5
Sex: none

There is a satisfying happily-for-now and it's definitely set up to continue the series (and I'm IN!) There's a good and uplifting message to the story. The characters seem a bit more lax in their moral/spiritual convictions than I remember from other TL Gray books, though.
Erin Laramore
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tammy Gray is a new author to me - I ended up on her launch team because an author I follow was helping her recruit. While I hadn't read her books previously, I will start! This one was a little slow of a start to me - there were a lot of characters introduced at once and they all had a history, so I felt like I was "behind the 8 ball" early on; however, their back-story did unfold a bit as the book progressed and once the plot-line took off, I couldn't get enough!

The primary lead character in t
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Raw, real and rich with character. This book doesn’t hold back any punches. By the time I finished reading (in one day!) I’d gone through the emotions of hope, despair, sorrow, love and laughter. What remains long after finishing the book is the sense of growing together, learning who you are and letting the hard experiences life throws at you not crushing you, instead making you stronger and more hopeful for the future. 5 friends, 5 different stories but one amazing series off to a very strong ...more
Feb 23, 2018 rated it liked it

"How had they become so broken?"

Ty Mitchell had loved Journey for more than seven years, so their break-up tore his soul in two. As much as he wanted to, he could not give her his whole heart, and she deserved every piece of it. Beautiful, kind, compassionate, loyal to a fault . . . . but his unresolved past continues to torment him. It mattered not that the Kinder family had welcomed him with open arms; their son Beck, becoming Tyler's best friend. Tyler longs to discover his roots and after
Patti Whitson Stephenson She Lives to Read
“If we are sons and daughters of Christ, why do we live as orphans? Why do we limp along as if we haven’t been given the Kingdom of God?” (Quote is taken from the book.)

These questions are the basis for this contemporary novel by Tammy Gray. The storyline for this book revolves around a group of young adults who have been close friends for most of their lives. As they each face their own individual crisis of faith, loss, and loyalty, their friendship becomes an important source of strength and e
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
When does the next one come out?!
I love how all the characters are so close. The main characters had quite the feat to overcome—the mix of emotions and self discovery is no small thing. It’s amazing the lessons we learn in life from the choices and experiences of those around us. That is just what they did.

Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists,
and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive
reviews. The opinions I have
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-net-galley
Love Tammy L. Gray. Love her stories, her characters, her words.
Can we just talk about the shelf appeal for a second, because... #coverlove. And don't even get me started on the title.

It fits--like a glove. Like I fit into my stretchy pants after eating my emotional weight in ice cream following a book hangover. Tyler fits into the Kinder family. (See what I did there? You will after you read the book. *wink*)

For me, this book was more than just a romance. It was the story of an outs
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
I'd been looking forward reading another book by Ms. Gray and was so happy to immerse myself inside this story! While it started out slightly dizzying jumping from POV to POV due to several characters, I soon figured out who was who and what was going on. The emotions are raw and intense. So many of the characters struggle with understanding their own selves and how to handle their reactions to the hard things happening around them.

I do have to admit that there were several times I just wanted t
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having recently been introduced to this author by another author I follow, I wasn't sure what to expect. I would consider this book a contemporary Christian fiction book. It takes place in modern-day Texas. It did take me a couple of chapters to get into the book. But once I started reading, I was hooked. There were some parts of the book that I was not expecting. Tammy L. Gray managed to keep me guessing what would happen next. Just when I thought I had it figured out, the story took a totally ...more
Once again, Tammy L. Gray has given us characters that stretch us through a full range of emotions as they are revealed honestly, with all the many complicated aspects of fractured lives in the midst of an ever-changing and sometimes hostile world.

I began reading "Until I Knew Myself" yesterday . . . until I found that I was fighting frustration whenever my real 'life' created any interruptions. I became so thoroughly absorbed into the lives of the families and individuals of Bentwood that, whe
From the first page, Tammy L. Gray will grab the attention of readers with her first story in the Bentwood Series, Unitil I Knew Myself. A riveting story about the struggling relationship between a couple that isn’t meant to be. Or is it? Gray’s characters and stories will push and pull readers through an emotional roller coaster as they come to know and fall in love with the characters in this book. This is a story where readers can relate to the difficult emotions and stories of the characters ...more
Tina at Mommynificent
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
I'm really struggling with how to rate and review this book that I received as a complimentary ARC from the author. For starters, the writing is fabulous. Really amazing. I've never read this author before, and I was totally impressed! The characters are so carefully fleshed out, complex, and easy to relate to even when they are driving you crazy with their decision-making! The thing that amazed me the most was that Mrs. Gray somehow managed to create this group of five characters with a whole l ...more
Julie Jobe
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Until I Knew Myself and The Bentwood Series it starts is the kind that is worth investing your time in. This first book introduces a group of friends with the focus being on one couple in particular, Ty and Journey. Their story is an absolutely beautiful one of two broken people being made whole so they can finally come together in a far richer relationship than they had before. Each one of them have hurts that they have to face and lies that they have to overcome.

Ty is so desperate for a sense
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One thing you can always count on when you read a book by Tammy L. Gray is that her characters and stories are the real deal. Although Until I Knew Myself is a modern clean read, it's not short on romance and reality. Her characters are imperfect humans who deal with life in ways that are relatable to the reader.
Books like this just go to show you that you don't have to write with foul language and smutty scenes to still grasp the angst, longing, and love that book characters share.

Until I Kne
“Sometimes I think we’re two irreparably broken souls.”

Wow. What a heart-stirring and gripping novel. My heart was in my throat and my eyes were burning from holding back the tears throughout the entire book. This is the first book by Tammy L Gray that I’ve read and I’ll be sure to read her previous novels while I breathlessly await the sequel to this book. It is a well-written novel that is emotionally charged, full of surprising twists and turns to the plot, packed with incredible characters,
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From the moment I began reading books by Tammy L. Gray, I knew she would become one of my favorite authors. Her latest release Until I Knew Myself adds only more reasons why she holds one of those positions. This story is very similar to the others she has told in that it tackles very real issues dealt with by everyday people. But what makes this novel stand above the others are the plot and characters.

Tyler Mitchell never had what he thought was a “family.” He grew up an orphan and was taken i
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
I’ve been wanting to try this author for a while, and I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews and recommendations for this series in particular. I dug in with much excitement when the first book crossed my path.

Tyler Mitchell feels like he’s missing part of himself. There are so many questions about his past, his family background. Raised only by his mother, he was alone in the world when she died when he was 16. Thankfully his best friend’s family took him in, but even nine years later he’s struggl
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Tammy L. Gray lives in the Dallas area with her family, and they love all things Texas, even the erratic weather patterns. Her nine modern and true-to-life contemporary romances include 2017 RITA award winning, My Hope Next Door, and show her unending quest to write high quality, culturally relevant stories with relatable and flawed characters.

When not taxiing her three kids to various school and

Other books in the series

Bentwood (2 books)
  • The Truth Between Us (Bentwood #2)

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