Monday, April 7, 2014

REVIEW: My Ex-Con by Counselor

Some stories have such a big following that it’s hard to remember where you first heard about them because every-freaking-body you know is reading them.  They're the stories that are recognized by initials or stand-apart details and are immediately connected to an author's name. They get you talking, screaming, and swooning about fic, and often become the standard by which other stories are compared. These are those stories.

We've invited four guest reviewers to share their thoughts on some of our recent ‘we can’t stop talking about them’ favorites.

banner by Debbie Wilson

My Ex-Con by Counselor
Edward is fresh out of the big house and Bella is his new boss.

Nat (evilnat)~

These days I often find myself waiting for stories to complete, with a baby on the way and just everyday busy life it's easier for me to keep track of what's going on; they all tend to blend together after a while, but with My Ex-Con I haven't been able to do that.

Pretty much everyone in this fandom has heard of Counselor. Whether you love her stories and devour them as soon as she posts, or whether you can't quite grasp the language, you know she writes quality. She never just hands you all the information you are craving, that's something you have to work for, but I think it's more satisfying and definitely makes you went to keep reading. Being Australian, sometimes I don't quite 'get' what's being said or going on, but her authentic colloquialism just makes each story even richer.

That being said, with My Ex-Con I don't have that problem, maybe it's the era and location are more universal this time, or maybe it's just the characters themselves are easier for me to relate to. Either way, I'm there reading each update as it arrives in my inbox. 

My Ex-Con centres around a Bella who hasn't had an easy life, she is strong, she's been through a lot and is not proud of some of the things she's had to do to survive, but you gain this respect for her as you get to know her. She's a survivor. And she helps people. Whether it's her brother Jasper who seems to have more problems the further we get into the story, or Edward, who's just finished serving time and needs a place to start over. Bella likes routine, her life has become easier the more she stays in her own little rut, until Edward comes along and throws everything off kilter for her and you're not sure how she's going to deal with it. 

Edward is quiet but says a lot, I know that doesn't make sense, but he seems to convey what he's thinking without even saying very much. He's struggling, but he's not, and once again it's a contradiction, but that's just how I feel, and I think it's all because of Bella. There have been moments I'm this story between Bella and Edward that have been some of my favourites ever, all because of his quiet intensity.

Then you have Charlie. A child character you will actually like.

My Ex-Con doesn't have a really complicated storyline, though new information is dropped every now and again as we go along creating more twists and turns, but it does have this richness that gives it substance, even when you think the situation might be quite simple, it's probably not, but finding that out is half the fun. I could go on, but really I don't want to give too much away. If you're not reading it and you like Counselor's work go and check it out, you won't be disappointed!

Lay Athomemom ~

Through her brilliant characterizations, clever turns of phrase, and fantastic storytelling, Counselor’s words often leave me feeling like a Rolodex of emotions depending on the story. My Ex-con is no exception. On the surface, it’s the story of two people living their lives with a cage mentality. Edward, a recently released ex-con returning to civilian life after years in a cell, and Bella, an independent woman with a plan who’s living day to day in a figurative box of rules, roles, and routines. As the story unfolds, it becomes a tale of unconditional love and how each day they learn to give, receive, and realize that they’re actually deserving of that love.

In my mind, this is where Counselor absolutely shines; illustrating perfectly how love opens your eyes to new possibilities of a life you never knew you wanted. It can open your heart as well, widening it to make room for what you didn’t know you needed. In Bella’s case, that would be a stray pit bull and a soft-haired, foul-mouthed little boy.

I find myself anxiously awaiting each update of this story and absolutely devouring it upon posting. I often go back and re-read a couple of times just so I can savor each and every word, not wanting to miss a thing. My Ex-con is a perfect example of Counselor doing what she does best, taking perfectly imperfect characters, immersing them in the everyday business of living, and adding the subtle anecdotal nuances that resonate with readers in a way all her own.

Billi Cullen ~

Every time I start a new fic by Counselor, I know I'm in for a thrill ride.

My Ex Con is no exception.

Counselor has a unique way of writing. She weaves her characters so intricately, their personalities, their features, all thrown together to make you believe they actually exist. They're so real, so flawed, they are like your neighbors down the street.

This Bella is smart, moral and motherly. She's not perfect; she wears paint splattered glasses and hearing aids. There is no mention of her perky breasts, chestnut locks or small waist.

This Edward is an ex con. He too isn't perfect. He's handsome, of course he is, but he's still not someone you'd be able to take home to mom. A criminal, having done his time because of the relationship he has with his friend, Bella's brother, Jasper.

Edward is the perfect fodder for Bella. Their relationship is believable, so real and so loving, you just want to crawl through the computer screen and hang out with them.

The story twists and turns around Edward's release from prison, Bella's inability to say no to him staying with her and some surprises along the way that make this ride well worth every moment you spend reading.

Counselor is the epitome of a great storyteller. Read it, you'll be so happy you did.

Mel aka Edmazing~

I don't think it's any secret that I am a big follower of Counselor's. I love how she boils things down to nuts and bolts of life's journey while flavoring each of her stories with their own voices, dialects, and flare. It takes talent to make things so universal and yet so individual all at the same time. Yeah, it sounds like I might be contemplating my own Counselor tattoo. lol

In the initial chapters of My Ex-Con I was immediately taken with Big B and her strength, but the jury was still out on Edward for me. Sure, he was rough and rugged and all man, but my mind kept flashing warning signs and asking what KIND of man was he.

Slowly, slowly I came to find that he was a man of action and, dare I say, integrity. Life has thrown them more than a couple of lifetime's worth of curve balls, but they're weathering them together just fine. I can't wait to see where these two will go from here. Do yourself a favor and dive into My Ex-Con because these guys should not be missed.


We’d like to thank our ten guest reviewers for sharing their thoughts with us on these three amazing stories.  Staceleo, Jiff Simpson, Susan Q, Rochelle Allison, Jayhawkbb, VampiresHaveLaws, Nat (evilnat), Lay Athomemom, Billi Cullen, and Mel aka Edmazing.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful reviews of My Ex-con ladies! It's a good one.