15 Years to Life

By Regina Bartley

94 ratings - 3.96* vote

Life outside prison walls is the farthest thing from predictable. There is no order, no schedule, and no one to tell you what to do every second of your life. Since the age of eleven, Brian McCrary had been in prison. Why you ask? For protecting his twin sister Blaine, and taking the life of his father.Murder… Fifteen years to Life… Childhood to manhood…With his parole gra Life outside prison walls is the farthest thing from predictable. There is no order, no schedule, and no one to

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Book details

Paperback, 216 pages
September 11th 2015 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

(first published August 31st 2015)

1517109957 (ISBN13: 9781517109950)
Edition Language

Community Reviews


I am so glad that I found this book.
It was so fun to watch Brian trying to make it in the real world after being in prison since he was 12 years old. He was a grown man now and had never kissed a girl or seen girls "boobies". He was so worked up and horny that he didn't know how to control his feelings. Learning to cope in the real world was very hard for him but he had his twin sister to get him through. They had such a strong bond and no matter what she was there for him.

It was a quick read but I enjoyed it very much!!

Melyssa Winchester


Title: 15 Years to Life
Author: Regina Bartley
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Rating: ★★★★★


When I first came across the synopsis for this book, I was hooked.

I had no idea how it would all play out given that I’d never read anything by the author before, but the originality of the plot, how unlike anything I’d been reading up until that point it was, demanded that I stop everything, get my hot little hands on it and read.

I’m extremely glad I did. It was worth every minute spent.

Based on the fact that this book deals with prison, I went into this expecting it to be a darker read. Rougher around the edges and raw. It was raw at times, but that dark element I expected never came. This is where the author taking a subject and putting a unique twist on it comes into play.

Brian wasn’t a hardened criminal. He wasn’t a violent guy that took pleasure in hurting others. He was an eleven year old kid that loved his sister so much he did the only thing he could in the moment in an effort to protect her. And while I know it’s wrong, I felt much like Blaine (his sister) did here. I couldn’t hate him for it. I couldn’t fear him or believe him to be anything other than a kid that when his back was up against the wall, did what he thought was right to set things right.

Right from the first couple of pages when you get a glimpse of Brian on his day of release (but still inside), your heart breaks for him. The anxiety over leaving the only way of life he’s known for twelve years and heading out into the unknown. How he breaks. Every damn thing he felt like a punch to my gut as I felt it all. I understood him and cared about him. I was invested.

What I didn’t expect, with as emotionally attached as I got right away was the level of humor that was present throughout this story. I spent a good portion of this, when my heart wasn’t breaking for everyone involved, laughing my butt off.

Brian going away at eleven made it so that when he came out, he may have looked like a man in his twenties, but he was still that inexperienced little dude in terms of life experience. It made for some really funny moments that honestly, I was super thankful for given the heaviness of the story as a whole. (His first sexual experience and his Spongebob obsession anyone? Lol)

I went into this book expecting it to be a romance, but what I walked away with was so much more. I took the romance with me sure, but it’s not what’s gonna stand the test of time for me where this book is concerned. I took his coming of age. I took away his growth. I took away his pain as he had to learn to live in a world that he was in no way prepared for when the cell doors finally released him.

I took away the familial bond the most. The relationship that he had with his sister Blaine, how heavily they relied on each other both before and after he was released, it was a powerful thing. It moved me. Sure, it might not be the healthiest relationship in the world and the both of them realize this on their own and together throughout (which is where even more growth comes into play), but the bond itself was beautiful. I truly believed that he loved his sister and vice versa.

And don’t even get me started on the tears I shed reading the letters they wrote one another. *sighs* did I mention how happy I was for the humor in this? Lol

It should be mentioned that there are two different angles to this story. There are the present chapters (which make up a good portion of the book) and then the ones from the past. Ones that the author took care in placing throughout and never once interrupted the flow of the present story for me. I was thankful to see this insight into Brian and Blaine’s life before the shit hit the fan instead of just being told about it in passing. It was a wonderful touch to an already emotionally gripping story.

I wasn’t as gripped by the romantic aspect of this, I have to admit. The up and down and back and forth with Madeline with how attached I was to Brian, well it was a little much for me. I had a harder time believing in them, but I will say that the chemistry between them was off the charts. If there wasn’t so much push and pull, I have to say I would have rallied behind it a whole lot more than I did. Though by the end, the way it all played out worked for me.

If you’re looking for a book that will get you in the feels (both humorous and emotionally gripping) or ones that don’t read quite like the rest (are unique and in a class all their own) then this is the one for you. If you’re a fan of books with growth, change, love and acceptance than this again is a book you’ll love.

I know I did.


I really loved "15 Years to Life" by Regina Bartley!

It was not exactly what I expected it to be, but in a good way. There was just the right amount of tension and emotion; it felt balanced. I expected something much darker, and it was kind of a relief to be able to comfortably read through it one sitting. When things go overboard, then I need a breather. This, as I said, was balanced, and I really value that in a book!

I loved Brian, and I could sympathize with his plight. This book makes me wonder how many CHILDREN are forced to grow up in "correctional" facilities. Given his motive, he should have been considered a hero rather than a murderer. He was 11 . . . How was he supposed to know the "right" way to "fix" the situation?

We knew from the beginning who would be his lady love, but we didn't know how they could be together. That added a nice layer of drama and suspense.

His sister, Blaine, added some tension herself with her mysterious boyfriend.

I loved hearing Brian through the pages. He sounded like a real guy, written by a guy, which is great writing if you ask me!

He always tried to be honest and forthcoming even when he didn't really know how. He tried to do the best he could by everyone around him despite the world having basically dumped on him for his entire life. He suffered no issues of entitlement and tried to work and be a functional member of society. I would be drawn to such a man in real life in a heartbeat!

One of my favorite parts was the extra at the end. Blaine wrote a letter to her brother, and we could only guess at the contents until the very end. I loved that. It was both touching, a little surprising, and very enlightening.

I don't think I am sounding excited ENOUGH or praising this book ENOUGH, but although I spent several days hitting the refresh button waiting for this to be published in the U.S., I was not disappointed at all. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves romance, an easy read with a complex story-line (if that makes sense), and rooting for the underdog.

Well done!


15 Years to Life
Regina Bartley
4 stars
Brain and his twin sister Blaine are both damaged by their past. Their father was a monster that had to be stopped and Brian did just that. Now after 12 years he is being released from prison. After going in as a boy he is now a man with no skills, no concept of life on the outside of 4 concrete walls and no clue how to mesh back into society. A society that has left him behind and not looked back. Blaine suffered just as much as Brian when he was taken from her. He was 11 years old and had saved her. The damage her father did to both of them even after his death is something they both will eventually have to face.

Trying to ignore the past and go back to where they left off as kids things go downhill fast. Brian wants nothing to do with the outside and has to go back to prison. He will never amount to anything. He only will continue to hurt Blaine. She has Landon and doesn’t need him. Maddy, the woman he loved at first sight …. Well he is no good for her. Maddy doesn’t want him anyway. She has a finance, Mr Fancy suit and car.

The relationship between Brian and Blaine is what was the most catching for me in this book; not the romance or problems with “love or love lost.” Brain’s ability or lack of ability to mesh back into society was heartbreaking. The torment he went through was almost unbearable. Regina makes you want to grab him by the hand and help him. Exceptional writing for allowing you feel the emotions running through these characters. This was a great and easy read. I highly recommend clicking it up!

Review to post on Ramblings From Beneath the Sheets on release day. I was gifted and ARC for an honest review. Thank you Regina!

Amy Shelton

Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian I Dig Good Books.

4/5 (Exceptional)
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.*
Okay, I’m not going to sugar coat anything. The beginning of this book, about 50% through, was really, really hard to get into, sadly. However, once I hit just slightly after half way, the book picked up, and was absolutely phenomenal. This is a tragic heart breaking story. It’s a story that happens today in our society and it kind of gets swept under the rug. I’m glad that Regina told this story. She is absolutely great at writing about hard topics.
The parts that were hard to read weren’t because of bad writing. The writing was good and the scenes were written well as well as the characters. The only word that comes to mind was maybe that it was slightly “boring” but boring is such a horrible word to use and doesn’t apply completely. It just didn’t grab my attention or hold my attention or make me want to read.
Let’s talk about the part that I loved. Wow, when the story started to get deep it really got deep and sucked me in. It wouldn’t let me go. It forced me to keep reading (thankfully). As with nearly all of her other books, it’s a hard topic to read and is heartbreaking. It’s raw, unfiltered, and completely relatable in what goes on in today’s society. I think she nailed this part.
Just for the second half of the story, I do absolutely positively recommend this book. It’s soul shattering and heart gripping. I do, overall, love the story. Brian is a character you can grow to love I think!

Shameca Smith


I loved this book. It had me on a mini coaster of emotions. I was laughing with them, sad because of everything Brian has missed out on, and happy when he was finally able to move on.

Brian is finally free after spending the last 15 years of his life in jail for protecting his sister and himself. He has never held a cell phone, kissed a girl, had sex, basically, he hasn't grownup. When he is released he moves in with his sister and tries to live a normal life while trying to deal with his anxiety, too. He ends up catching feelings for Madeline and tries to pursue them, but she has a boyfriend and have any feelings for Brian.. Or so it seems. Will Brian be able to cope with his anxiety and panic attacks or will it put him right back where he started? Will Madeline and Brian finally admit their feelings for each other or will they both go their separate ways?

I loved this story and I loved the bond between Brian and his sister Blaine. It reminds me of the bond my brother and I have. The moments between Brian and Madeline are short, sweet and to the point. This story just outlines how hard it is when you spend all of your teenage behind bars and have to adjust when you are finally free. This was a nice short quick read for me, and I will definitely be on the look out for more!!

Romance Readers Retreat

1.5 Stars

This review may contain spoilers. I try to avoid them when reviewing at all costs, but since I have rated this book so low I feel it's only fair to properly point out my issues with this book. I have not given away what I consider to be major plot points, but if you like to go into a book totally blind then I would advise you not to continue reading.
This is such a tough review to write, I had many issues with this book; the characters, the story, the editing, even sadly the writing. But apart from all these issues I think I just found that it didn't hold my interest. I picked it up and put it down several times before I was able to finish, and I'm normally one for finishing a book in one sitting, or at least not starting other books while I've still got one half read. Ordinarily I am a person who rarely won't finish a book, no matter how much I struggle with it, I think there has been only two occasions where I haven't been able to finish a book. Since this was an ARC received through our blog I had to power through with it, but honestly if it was a book I had purchased to read of my own accord I don't believe I would have gotten past the first 10%.
So, the first problem I had with this book was the relationship between the two main characters. They are brother and sister, twins in fact, and even considering the problems they faced from such a young age which of course would make them close, I found their relationship just to be...weird. To me, it's strange that a brother and sister in their 20's would share a bed, and I found Brian's feelings over his sister Blaine's having a boyfriend odd to say the least. Of course an over-protective brother may dislike the fact his sister is dating, but Brian's issue seemed to be more the fact that she "didn't need him anymore" and she was replacing him. Well, that's just odd! It was almost as if he was jealous, and that just weirded me out.
Secondly I found Brian, the main character whose POV this book is mostly written in, an unconvincing male. To clarify, I could clearly tell his first person POV was written by a woman, and of course it was but that shouldn't be so glaringly obvious. The whole idea of writing is that you can create convincing characters, and Brian just was not a convincing character. There were many mannerisms and speech from him that I cringed at, I couldn't help but think, "A guy just wouldn't say that", or, "A guy just wouldn't do that!" Either that or he was a very girly guy, he even said "Puh-lease!" at one point!
Now to the love story, which I guess should be considered a plot point, but it's really not so much. Brian experiences a huge dose of insta-love with Madeline. From the moment he meets her he's confessing his love for her. And even though she expresses zero interest at first and has a boyfriend he still pursues her. He borders on the creepy on some occasions. Yes, I get he's been in prison from the age of 11 and has no idea how to be around girls, I get that, but this is unbelievable even considering that. Oh, and while I'm on topic of him being inside since he was 11 and being socially awkward, yes, that's totally believable and he would indeed be that way. But Brian seems to have a thing where he cannot tell when people are lying to him, and he doesn't understand subtleties, he needs everything spelled out because he struggles to read people. This is made out to be because he's been in prison so long. Come on, he'd been inside with rapists and murderers for 11 years, he'd be an expert at smelling out a lie. Do we think he wouldn't have come into contact with professional liars in the whole time he was in there? Back on topic of him and Maddie, I just couldn't not believe the scene where Brian threatens her boyfriend and tells him never to show his face in Maddie's restaurant again. And that's the first time he spoke to him. What gives him the right to say that? I had to put my kindle down at that point because I was so frustrated, real people just don't act that way surely. It just seemed so far-fetched. I guess the writing just wasn't that great.
Lastly I'm guessing since this is an ARC that final edits had not been completed, now I'm no stranger to this, I'm used to ignoring the odd typo or grammatical error, but this book had quite a lot. Some of them were so obvious too, like the word 'then' consistently being misused for 'than'. Simple errors like that that are consistently misused throughout tend not to be so much the odd missed error, but more likely due to the author or editor having missed it because they consider it to be correct.
I'm sorry to say that I really did not enjoy this book, I really struggled to finish it. It's a shame because the blurb really piqued my interest but when it came down to it the book just did not deliver.

Melissa Mendoza

Received a copy in exchange for an honest review

“There was a blazing heat between our bodies, and my head was fuzzy mess. The oxygen was pouring from the room, and she was one thing that could help me breathe. I had to have her.”

5 stars! While this book deals with heartbreaking moments, the love story between the two main characters was exciting to read. You really feel for these characters as you read.

Life outside prison walls is the farthest thing from predictable. There is no order, no schedule, and no one to tell you what to do every second of your life. Since the age of eleven, Brian McCrary had been in prison. Why you ask? For protecting his twin sister Blaine, and taking the life of his father.

Murder… Fifteen years to Life… Childhood to manhood…

With his parole granted, it’s time for Brian to come face to face with real life. What he doesn’t know is that this new life would prove to be the most difficult thing that he had ever faced. There would be struggles beyond his control. He has to learn how to be a man, and learn everything that goes along with it.

Sex… Love… Life… Responsibilities…

Will it be too much for him to handle, or is he strong enough to survive life on the outside?

Recommended for 18+ due to language, strong subject matter, and sexual content.

Standalone NA contemporary

Brian is serving time in jail for murdering his abusive father. He’s been in prison since he was 11 years old and he’s about to be a free man. Not knowing what it’s like to be in the real world, he’s sort of scared. His twin sister Blaine picks him up and takes him to her house to stay. While he’s trying to deal with his new life as an adult he experiences things for the first time. Like Blaine’s boss, one look at her and he falls hard. Sadly for him, she’s already committed to someone else. Will he give up the fight or will he win her heart?? Will he lose it being back in the real world?? This book was so so good!!! It’s a pretty short read and it’s a stand alone!

**Received a copy in exchange for an honest review. Read and reviewed by Melissa for Alpha Book Club**

Lindy Lu Reviews

Brian and Blaine had a rough childhood, rougher than many and when Brian decides to take it in his own hands life gets a little rougher for them. Brian is sent to jail at the young age of eleven, before he was able to actually live he was sent away from all civilization except life in prison. Now the day has come and he is going to be a free man, now twenty-three and he is freshly experiencing everything.

Brian finds that life didn’t stop while he was on the inside. It kept going while he was still stuck in the mindset of that eleven year old boy. Now a man he has to find a job, learn to drive, find a woman, hopefully not in that order. Soon he meets Madeline, she has his attention as soon as their eyes meet. He not so subtly tries to woo her but she shoots him down with every advance. As life outside the prison walls proves to be a lot more than he can handle can he make it or does he do the unthinkable and go back?

I thought this was a great story. I loved Brian and his naive approach to everything. I felt his genuine need to understand how the world works now. Regina did a great job in giving Brian an awesome personality. He is so honest, loyal and a big teddy bear, he’s very protective of those he cares about especially his sister. Brian and Blaine are twins and they are so sweet together and have a great connection, they are also fiercely protective that tends to be their downfall in the end.

Just getting out of prison and being a virgin at twenty-three, you would think he’d be man whoring it around town but not Brian he has his sights set on one particular lady and he cannot get her out of his mind. Grant it, he did have a couple nights where he tried but she would always linger and drive him mad with want. He’s a horny twenty-three year old virgin what do you expect? Personally I think he handled himself well in the end and I loved how that played out as well.

There were a few sexual scenes and cursing but a great story. I loved this, loved the way he so protectively loved throughout the entire story. Brian will be many people’s favorite book BF, so purchase your copy today. 

FMR Book Grind


So this is one of this books that showcases the worst society has to offer but also the unbreakable bond of 11 year old twins that remains strong well into adulthood.

Brian is getting out of jail and returning to the one remaining member of his family, his twin sister Blaine. These siblings have been through hell and now that they are reunited outside of the prison walls they need to work out how to form a relationship that is the same yet different than what it was all those years ago, before their lives changed forever.

This is one of those books that will break your heart, but give you hope at them same time. The character of Brian is written really well. In this book, he gets out of jail and he struggles to re enter society. It doesn't come easy to him & this is a real life struggle. A high percentage of people coming out of jail feel the way he does. This gave the story an element of reality which it wouldn't have had if he was released and it was all rainbows and sunshine from the start. It also made the story interesting. It made me want to keep reading to see how he dealt with adult situations.

There are some fantastic one liners in here from Brian and it is funny sometimes to look at life through his eyes. He has been incarcerated since he was 11 years old so everything is very different for him.

This is not a long book so it was easy and quick to read. The author left no loose ends at the end of the story but I found myself wanting more of Brians story. Not because I felt the story was unfinished but because I was enjoying it that much I just didn't want it to end!

I normally don't like it when books jump back and forth between the past and the present but in this book it was necessary and well placed. It pulled the story together and answered a lot of the questions that come up in the present tense.

This is wonderful well thought out story that is easy to get caught up in and it will have you hooked from the very beginning right until the end! Loved it!!