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Bound by Guilt

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted August 28, 2011

    Bound By Guilt

    This is one emotional read!! Please don't read Bound By Guilt until you've read Thicker Than Blood. You will be greatly depriving yourself of emotions that I think should be felt when reading Bound By Guilt. CJ's writing has shocked me more than any fiction I think I've ever read. In both books, I've been so shocked at something, I had to walk away from the story just to digest what happened or what was revealed. I found myself wanting to cry just thinking about it later!

    While this book has several of the same characters from Thicker Than Blood, there are a several new characters brought into the mix. The story mostly centers around Roxi. My heart just completely went out to Roxi. It's so heartbreaking that her story is true for so many teens out there! It really makes you think about all the foster kids out there.

    My favorite new character was Jan, though! Jan and her husband, Keith own a ranch close to May(a character from Thicker Than Blood). They've lost their only son, and this excerpt is one of my favorite lines ever!

    ""It was the quickest of flashes, but it made me realize my grief wasn't doing me or Keith-or anyone-one lick of good. Trae was in heaven. Even if he could come back, he wouldn't. In fact, if anything, I should've been envious he'd gotten there before me. I realized Trae isn't in my past. He's in my future.""

    Truly amazing !!

    While I don't read a whole lot of the hard, emotional reads, I will definitely reserve a spot in my reading for any of CJ's future novels. And I do hope there are many more!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2013


    Deep. Real. Very good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2013

    Great book!

    This book really shows you what God's love can do if you open your heart to it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2012

    I could not put the book down .I loved it!

    I could not put the book down .I loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011


    This book was so good. It had a great story line and was almost impossible to put down!!!

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  • Posted July 17, 2011

    Forgiveness is hard work!

    Before even cracking the book open, the praises of notable authors on the back cover make the reader want to find a comfy recliner, and soon! Ms. Darlington has a superb story of the ins and outs of forgiveness. She artfully weaves a tale of a young woman's life on the run, stealing rare books with 'family' just to survive, with the story of another woman, grieving the loss of her brother, searching for Truth. Both woman carry loads of guilt from past and present experiences, but learn after 'coincidentally meeting', that God is One of love and forgiveness, and He removes our burdens of guilt just for the asking. This is definitely a must read novel. This was a book I reviewed for Tyndale House Publishers.

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    GREAT story and characters!

    I was hooked on the very first page of C.J. Darlington's "Bound by Guilt!" A new author to me and one that I am sure to read books by again!

    Roxi is living with her aunt and cousin and trying to make her aunt Irene happy, Roxi participates in stealing rare and antique books from bookshops. This is not something Roxi feels right about doing, but Irene took Roxi in when her own mother could not care for her and she is better than living in foster homes. One night, Irene's plan does not go as planned and Roxi cannot live like this any longer, a man is dead and she cannot get the image of him dying out of her mind. Abby is suspended from her job as a police officer when she receives the call from her dad that her brother has been shot, presumably a result of a robbery gone bad. Abby and Roxi's lives will intersect and neither one will be the same as they forgive, find forgiveness, and find unconditional love.

    Darlington has created a wonderful story! I have found her first novel, "Thicker Than Blood" and cannot wait to go back and read it and learn more about Christy. The characters are all so wonderfully created and ones that the reader will empathize with throughout the tears, joy and growth. Unfortunately, there are many hurting teenagers in the world just like Roxi, and also not enough adults like Keith and Jan. I would love to read another book that picks up where this novel left off as there are so much more that could be shared about Diego, Roxi, Abby and Christy as there lives were all at crossroads at the end of this book. I highly recommend this novel and author!

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    Page turner!

    Guilt can eat you alive! In Bound by Guilt, two of the characters have to deal with guilt in their life. Roxi is traveling the country with her aunt and cousin, the only family she has left. Starved for approval from adults, she will do anything, even if it is illegal. Roxi, her aunt, and cousin travel around the country stealing rare books from various bookstore and try to sell them. Entering one bookstore, they see several rare books and decided to go back after hours to rob the store. In doing so, they kill the manager who hears them in the store. Abby, the manager's sister, a police office, along with the manager's fiance seek out the killers by trying to hunt down the missing books. Both Abby and Roxi have the choice to be destroyed by guilt or set free by forgiveness.
    This book has been one of my favorite reads so far this summer! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good read.

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  • Posted June 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    How do you break the bindings of your guilt?

    BOUND BY GUILT By C.J. Darlington What would you do for love and something to call your own? This is the question that haunts 16 year old Roxi Gold. Forgotten by her mother, passed through the foster care system, and scarred by her life Roxi may finally have found a place to call home. But life with her aunt and cousin goes wrong, so wrong that Roxi is Bound by Guilt. Will she ever find the life she seek? Meanwhile Abby Dawson and Christy Williams are reeling from the murder of Hunter Dawson. Abby is determined to find her brother's killer, but at what cost? When Roxi, Abby, and Christy are brought together what will happen? Will they forever be Bound by Guilty or will they be set free? A thought provoking story that will cause the reader to look beneath the surface. What truths lie behind the faces that you see each day? Dig deeper and show that you care, it may save a life!

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    Irene and Diego were as close to a family as Roxi has ever known, trouble was they are not the typical kind of family. Traveling in an RV scouting out bookstores stealing rare copies of books to earn a living. Roxi is starting to have second thoughts about their little business. Christy store clerk discovers a collection missing then something goes terribly wrong.
    Abby a police officer puts her life in jeopardy everyday. When she is notified of a shooting she vowed she would find the perpetrator wherever they were. But what she finds is not what she sought after.
    A suspenseful invigorating read that I highly recommend a perfect book to spend the afternoon with. A book that kept me plowing through the pages and on the edge of my seat guessing to the end. Took me less than 8 hrs to read it. I was able to follow the story quite well because of the excellent character development. Definately 5 stars well done!

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    A superb read

    I tried to win this book from Tyndale when they were having their giveaways and was not able to. The storyline intrigued me so much I picked this up from the library. This book by CJ Darlington is one of my top 5 books-it was fabulous. The book centers around the plot of rare books and what people will do for the rarest of books. I never realized that first editions of books claimed huge monetary rewards which makes them a thief's greatest prize. This story deals with complicated characters that you won't soon forget, but it also deals with guilt, rejection and loss in a storyline that offers hope and healing through forgiveness. Your heart will be broken by Roxi whose life is in shambles when someone comes in and offers love with no strings attached. Just like God does with us with forgiveness. This was hard to put down because I wanted to see just how Roxi would end up and the ending did not disappoint me. I now have her first book Thicker than Blood on hold at the library. That book deals with a few characters in this book but you can read them on their own.

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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    An Awesome Read by Darlington!

    As I read through this book, clutching the pages in suspense at times, I was enthralled with Bound By Guilt. Even though I haven't read the first book in the series, I was able to jump right into the story, though enough history is given of Thicker Than Blood that I now want to dive straight into that book. The opening scene, with Roxi and Diego, sucked me right into this story and didn't let me go until I had read the last word on the epilogue page. What a story this book told!

    Bound By Guilt is filled with a host of believable, three-dimensional characters. Sixteen year old Roxi was my favorite person to read about, but Deigo, Christy, Abby, and Jan were just as endearing. Even though Diego had made a huge mistake in his life, he realized his wrong and wanted to face up to the consequences of his actions. I really came to like this older-brother figure of Roxi's. Christy and Abby were perfect together--they were more alike than they realized. Survivors of similar evils. I really enjoyed watching their friendship bloom. And Jan. Wow. She was just one amazing lady. The way she cared for Roxi and loved her in a way that no one ever had, was touching. I always looked forward to scenes between these two, knowing they would be powerful.

    This story was refreshingly unique. With the whole plot revolving around The Great Gatsby book, Roxi's life as an accomplice to a mother and son business of stealing rare books, and then her struggle to survive on her own, isn't a normal plot. It was amazing! Just when I thought Roxi's trouble would be over, something is thrown into her plans and she finds herself worse-off than before.

    Gifted with a wonderful, engaging writing voice, CJs skill with words is amazing. Reading this book was so easy and I quickly found myself getting lost in the story almost the instant I began reading. She made the scenes come alive. There were times that I looked up from Bound By Guilt and was surprised not to be in the middle of a used bookstore, holding an antique copy of The Great Gatsby, or a R. R. Tolkien book. A very neat, and unique, experience that doesn't happen often.

    There were some points in this book that I really wished I had read Thicker Than Blood first and had been able to connect with the characters there first before reading Bound By Guilt. This was probably my only negative thought as I read through this book--everything else was amazing and wonderful! The message this book gives, about being weighed down with guilt and the story of one very lonely girl just yearning to feel loved, was powerful. There are many teenagers out there in the world today that are in her same plight. It makes me pray that each of these teens will find a "Jan" in their life to show them how much they are loved by their Heavenly Father. Bound By Guilt is packed with adventure, suspense, mystery, and a powerful message that you are not soon to forget!

    I reviewed this book for Tyndale House Publishing. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.

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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    Great Book by a Highly Gifted Author!

    I'm so excited about writing this review! This young woman, C.J. Darlington, is an extremely gifted author and one I'm glad I've found. I feel privileged to be one of the bloggers chosen to review her latest book, Bound By Guilt. The main character of the book, Roxi, lives with her cousins in an RV. The mother and son duo has taken her in after she spent several years in and out of foster homes. They travel across the country stealing rare books and selling them to other bookstores. When one of their burglaries ends in murder, Roxi takes off to try and find her mother, who she hasn't seen in over eight years. Abby Dawson is the police officer looking for Roxi and her cousins. Because of the scars from her past, Abby feels no mercy when it comes to bringing the criminals to justice. She relentlessly pursues them. When the two finally meet, it takes a miracle for both women to find the healing they seek. I loved this book, as well as C.J.'s first book, Thicker Than Blood. I stayed up late to finish and kept thinking about how I wish I had another Darlington book to read next! I enjoyed how she incorporated the rare book world into her novels. And the bookstore featured in Bound By Guilt sounds like a place I would want to spend an entire day. C.J. breathed life into her characters to the extent that I felt like they were in the room with me. I am excitedly looking forward to C.J's next book! I give Bound By Guilt 5 out of 5 stars.

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  • Posted May 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Journey to freedom...

    I really enjoyed C.J.'s first book and was so glad to see that she was finding a niche in Christian fiction that was unique from so many of the books that I usually review. I was thrilled when I realized that this book is basically a sequel to the first one as we are reintroduced to most of the characters from the first book (Christy, Hunter, Abby, Mae...) but we have a new batch of characters as well (Roxi, Diego, Irene...) and when the two worlds collide things get bad fast. So when Roxi decides she can't live like this anymore she runs - far and fast. But how long can a 16 year old survive on her own. Roxi is ready to find out. Will her past catch up with her just when things are getting good?

    I love the viewpoint of this 16 year old girl with a past. And C.J. does a great job really getting us inside her head. Guilt and our past really can bind us up and freedom is only found in truth. This is a great journey to freedom - you will enjoy the trip.

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    Excellent novel with wonderful take-away value

    Bound by Guilt is a well-crafted novel. Roxi, a teenager who has been shuffled from foster home to foster home, finally ends up with a second cousin and his mom. However, the perfect family she has longed for is not found in this duo, who make their living stealing rare books. Roxi finds herself caught in a tangled web, and she doesn't know how to escape the guilt that overwhelms her. I highly recommend this book with its powerful message of forgiveness.

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  • Posted April 16, 2011

    Grit, grace & forgiveness

    In Bound by Guilt, C.J. Darlington tackles a tough, but often-asked question. How can the unforgivable be forgiven? This book is a study in contrasts, with gritty characters who find grace down some unexpected paths. A compelling read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Talking with an author like Susanne Lakin, you might have your doubts. But when it came time for me to use my own brain, I ignored every negative word Susanne had to say, because she was just wrong. And I agree with what authors like Francine Rivers, Jerry Jenkins and Bodie Thoene had to say. They believe in the talent that was put on paper, and I do too! This girl has what it takes to write a great book, and then back it up with a 2nd one, and you don't want to miss "Bound by Guilt," so don't!

    Meet a life where a last name like Gold doesn't exactly glitter as such. That would be young Roxi. Simply to be accepted, that's all she wants, and the things she does are not the right way to get attention. She steals rare books with a young man named Diego, and a woman named Irene, and they go to great lengths to get what they want!

    Abby Dawson is a cop with a rough edge to her at times. She does her job well, but she doesn't like it. Around the same time her brother is gunned down, she happens to get suspended without pay from her job for showing that rough edge to the Mayor's wife. But needless to say, somebody is going to pay for what happened to her brother. He had his dreams, and just like that, they are gone and done with. York now, but I'm sticking with my people! C.J. Darlington is definitely one of my people. And she's done more to earn my respect with just two books than some authors do in a lifetime. Way to go!!

    The paths of Roxi and Abby will eventually cross. What will happen?

    You can see the work that Darlington puts into her books. She is no slouch. She might be a newer author, but handles the task at hand like a true master! I don't care what some people might say, because I really enjoy getting lost in what this new, young talent has to offer. It is more than good enough for me.

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  • Posted March 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great story about forgiveness

    I met some of these characters in Thicker than Blood, which I enjoyed very much. I felt for Roxi right from the beginning - must be the mom in me. She seemed like such a good kid and was just craving someone to take notice of her and be proud of her. Because of this she was willing to do what she knew was wrong in the hopes that her mom's cousin and her current foster mom would be proud of her. When one of their planned robberies goes bad, Roxi has had enough and decides to head out on her own.

    Even though she doesn't know it, God is preparing the road ahead of her and puts people in her path that help her make the right decisions. It is a great story about forgiveness - both for the people DOING the forgiving and those NEEDING it.

    Like Thicker than Blood, it is definitely not a preachy book but very much sets down beliefs in a "take it or leave it" fashion. A reader does not need to have the same beliefs to enjoy and be touched by this story. I found myself with tears in my eyes a couple of times while reading this one. Keep writing C.J. - can't wait to see what you have in store next!

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  • Posted March 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    C.J. Darlington gives us strong and believable characters. Her vivid descriptions and settings put us in the moment of each situation. Conflicts keep the pace of this book moving and the reader turning pages. Alternately you may cheer Roxi on and then again you may want to shake some sense into her. Bound by Guilt's takeaway value is compelling.

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  • Posted March 24, 2011

    Follow-up to Thicker Than Blood is outstanding writing

    Bound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington is the sequel to Thicker Than Blood. Roxi Gold has never felt truly wanted anywhere. Taken from her mother at the age of eight after suffering a terrible accident, she was shuttled from foster home to group home until a cousin of her mother's named Irene took her in. Life with Irene and her teenaged son Diego isn't what most people would consider normal. They live most of the time traveling across the country in an RV, which sounds like fun, but they make their money by stealing rare books from bookstores. Irene has trained Roxi to work as the distraction while Diego and Irene grab the merchandise. Roxi's conscience is starting to get the best of her, and when she fails to keep a store clerk distracted long enough one day, Irene insists they return at night to break in and get some real finds, including a rare first edition The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The night ends in tragedy, with Roxi on her own again, running away from the only family she's ever really known. Abby Dawson returns to her family home to deal with the tragic death of her brother. She seems to be failing at everything in life, her husband left her for another woman, her daughter is being raised by the newly married couple, and she's been suspended from her position on the police force for using unnecessary force. Returning home, she and her father seem to be stuck in the same rut of silence and anger they've been in for years. Four women will be brought together by the events of one night and each will have to face their past before they can move forward into the future God has planned for them. Darlington's writing is full of surprising depth. Each character is fully-fleshed and very real; at the end of the book, I was sad to be through with them. The plot is very pulled from the headlines with a message of faith for readers. Darlington keeps readers interested from the opening, with drama on every page, and lots of action at the climax. This isn't really a thriller or a mystery; it's a human story that should appeal to a wide variety of readers. Darlington's win as 2008 Operation First Novel is easily supported by this follow-up, and she is an author to watch in the industry.

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