Review for Chlorine & Chaos (Flawed Heroes #1) by Jessalyn Jameson

Chlorine & Chaos by Jessalyn Jameson

TITLE: Chlorine & Chaos
SERIES: Flawed Heroes #1
AUTHOR: Jessalyn Jameson
PUBLICATION DATE: March 10, 2015
PUBLISHER: Independent
PAGES: 219 pages
FORMAT: eARC
SOURCE: From author
RATING: 4 bows

Sage Shepard and Brandon Tiggs had their epic high school fling, but that was YEARS ago. Things didn’t really end on a good note and both parties have spent the past seven years trying to get over it. Now, Sage is back in town and unintentionally walks right into Brandon’s life. She takes a job as the school nurse at her old high school only to learn that Brand is the swim coach at that very same school. Brand is in the middle of a divorce. But once he sees Sage, he is determine to win her back and right his post-graduation mistakes. Sage knows they have too much history to really make this work, but that doesn’t stop her from dreaming about being in Brand’s arms and working it out anyway. As their passion burns bright and their minds take the backseat, can Sage and Brand overcome their problems or will the past ruin their future?

I couldn’t help sympathizing with Sage from page one of this novel. She has been in such bad situations and you have to applaud her for overcoming that and making it through college. She broke out and did what she needed to do. She has my respect for that. She’s smart and devoted to her brother, making sure she can care for him they way he needs it regardless of her needs or wants. You kinda feel bad for her because she went from doing what her foster families demanded to doing what was required to keep her brother. She never really seemed to get a time when she was just living for what she wanted and needed. The only time she seems to get for herself are the moments she hits the bars looking for her next one night stand. Considering all the vices in the world, this one is not a bad choice. She makes a point always use protection and she’s a grown woman who is making her own choices, so more power to her. I still kinda feel like the poor girl needs a hug….and a lllloooonnnnnggggg vacation.

I was (kinda still am) on the fence about Brand. On one hand, he’s smart and sweet and hot and all that jazz. He obviously loves Sage and has made a point to watch out for her brother while she’s been gone, which wins him brownie points. But he’s a cheater and I have big issues with that. Every time I started to swoon over him even a little, that little voice in the back of my head yells “CHEATER! CHEATER!” and I’d lose a bit of that love that was growing. I understand that this was YEARS ago, but it still stayed in my mind. I get that Sage had reasons for wanting to keep their relationship hidden. The repercussions of putting that out in the open for her were unimaginable for teenage Sage, but that doesn’t mean Brand needs to stay with someone else. That doesn’t mean that Brand can’t just be “single” instead of stringing this poor girl along for years and years. That makes me think less of him. I had a hard time respecting him. I’ve been told (on numerous occasions) that I have very high standards and am not very forgiving and this is probably the best example of that. I can’t forgive that sin. Brand and Sage have that all consuming love/passion thing going on that we all dream about as teens, but that doesn’t justify hurting Rosie the way he does. Be a man and be honest. The fact that he goes on to marry Rosie, knowing that he doesn’t love her and probably will never love her? Well, that doesn’t help.

So, obviously, the cheating thing was a bit of an issue for me. I also got a bit tired of the strobe light relationship (that term was completely stolen from The DUFF film). There is quite a bit of history between these two and add to that the fact that they keep fucking up in present day, and it’s expected that there will be quite a few problems. These two are champs at avoiding them instead of confronting them head-on. While I can relate to that trait (procrastinators unite….tomorrow), by the third split, I was rolling my eyes a bit. Work it out or let it go! DON’T YOU DARE START SINGING FROZEN! I completely support the whole theory that happy endings don’t come easy, but it doesn’t make it easy for me to accept the on again off again thing. It’s probably because I’m not every forgiving, so I couldn’t see myself ever giving an ex a second chance. There was a reason we split up and that reason is probably still relevant now. Regardless of why, that and the cheating thing did bug me a bit.

Enough of what I didn’t like! Let’s have what I enjoy! The writing is amazing. The plot felt very put together and planned. And the chemistry between the characters was perfect. Then there was all the smut. I knew that part would be good Jessalyn (AKA Jessa Russo) wrote some pretty steam-y scenes in the Ever series and I was excited before I ever started this to see what would happen when we took away the limitations of writing for teens. Jameson manages to toe line between too little description and too much perfectly. I don’t know if that makes sense to everyone else. Let me try to say it different. With erotica romances, there are times I feel like things go too far. I want the smut. I wouldn’t have picked up an erotica novel otherwise, but I feel like a lot of them are over the top. Jameson manages to give me the smut I want without having it feel like a bad porn. Make more sense? Also, the heroine isn’t a stick! Sage has curves! I don’t think she was plus sized, but there was nary a mention of a toned tummy. In fact, there was one spot mentioning Sage being soft which made me smile!

Despite my minor issues, it was incredibly easy to get swept up in the story. I wanted to know more about Sage’s past and what happened to Brand after high school to lead him to his current career. I need to know what exactly happened when the two split for good. I need to know why Brand kept publicly dating someone else when he was clearly head over heels for Sage. Regardless of the genre she chooses to write in, Jameson’s work has that need to read quality that makes you want to forget the world for just one more chapter. What more could you really ask for? I’ll tell you what, you could ask for book 2! I’m certainly ready for it!

4 bows
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Cover Reveal – Divide by Jessa Russo (Full)

Okay, so last Friday, I revealed a piece of the cover for Jessa Russo’s newest novel, Divide. Today, I get to share the whole thing reassembled.

Divide e-book cover

TITLE: Divide
AUTHOR: Jessa Russo
PUBLICATION DATE: April 17, 2014
PUBLISHER: Independent
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DESCRIPTION

From senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match.
After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks.

As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate—that she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairytales—she unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson.

Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love after the betrayals of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, this may be difficult to accomplish.

Complicating things further for Holland and Mick, time runs out, and Holland’s change begins way before schedule. With Holland quickly morphing into a dangerous mythical creature, Mick struggles to save her.

Should they fail, Holland will be lost to the beast inside her forever.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

head shot 2 - full body
Jessa Russo believes in fairytales, ghosts, and Jake Ryan. She insists mimosas were created for Sundays, and that’s not up for discussion. She’s obsessed with the great city of New Orleans—where she’s collected too many beads to count, eventually married her sweetheart, and visited graveyards they don’t include on maps.

She’s loud, painfully honest, and passionate about living life to the fullest, because she’s seen how abruptly it can be taken away.

What began as a desire for reading and writing young adult paranormal has bled into stories of all kinds. From fantasy to pre-dystopian to erotic contemporary, Jessa’s stories always include romance, though she’s given up on pigeonholing her work into a category or genre box.

Jessa was born and raised in Southern California, and remains there to this day with her husband (a classic car fanatic), their daughter (a Tim Burton superfan), and a Great Dane who thinks he’s the same size as his Chihuahua sister.

ENTWINED, the final installment of Russo’s Ever Trilogy, will be released later this year, as well as a young adult fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, so please stay tuned!

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Amazon

See? Isn’t it cool? I love this chick’s face! I’m so fucking excited for this. I can’t wait to see what Jessa brings to the revamp the Beauty & The Beast tale that I’m sure all bookworms are overly fond of!

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Review for Evade (Ever #2) by Jessa Russo

Evade by Jessa Russo

TITLE: Evade
SERIES: Ever #2
AUTHOR: Jessa Russo
PUBLICATION DATE: September 29, 2013
PUBLISHER: Independent
PAGES: 264 pages
FORMAT: Ebook
SOURCE: From author
RATING: 4 stars

Ever has less than a year left to live and is trying to spend it with the people she loves most. Spending as much time as possible with Mom, Frankie, and Jessie is all that matters until she learns that there is much more to her countdown than she realizes. When Ariadne put that countdown on her soul, she inadvertently marked Ever soul, making it more valuable to collectors. So now Ever is on the run with the one person she’s trying so hard to avoid, Toby. Together, they try to find away to save Ever’s soul, while outwitting collectors and Seekers who are determined to claim the prize. Can they beat the clock or will salvation come too late?

I…um….what to say? Well, let’s start with the basics. Ever shows a great deal of growth here. She really steps out of that damsel in distress role and I really enjoyed seeing her stand up for herself. She also gains a much dirty mouth by the end and I LOVED that. It progresses slowly, but by the end we get to see her drop the f-bomb more than once. Is that a stupid reason to be excited? Probably, but I fucking loved it anyway. For me, it makes the character much more believable if they curse. I realize that everyone wasn’t like me, developing a potty mouth from hell the moment they hit high school, but I adamantly believe that there are very few people who don’t swear at all, especially in high stress situations. I’m sorry, but if the shit hits the fan “oh pooh” isn’t going to cut it. That really grounded Ever for me even more, making her feel more real.

Then there is Frankie….my dear sweet, amazing, epic Frankie.

What can I say about him, really? He’s the exact same sweet guy he was in Ever and I love him beyond words. Seriously, he so perfect, always supporting Ever, while being honest in his opinions at the same time. We don’t get nearly enough of him in this novel, but I’ve been assured that we haven’t seen the last of him. ****SPOILER****It makes me incredibly sad that Ever ends up choosing Toby over Frankie. It’s inevitably more complicated than that, but that’s what happens. I logically understand the reasons behind it and I can see why Toby might be a better match, but that’s doesn’t mean I have to be fucking happy about it. I get that Ever has sort of outgrown Frankie and that Frankie needs to get out of her house and live his life, especially now that’s he’s gotten a second chance, but DAMMIT THEY WERE PERFECT TOGETHER.


****END SPOILER****

Then there is Toby. I liked Toby and I sympathize with the boy, but in my mind, he just can’t compare to Frankie. He’s great and snarky and funny and protective, which is usually a winner, but Frankie was just better. I can see why some people are Team Toby, but I just can’t.

The plot of this one is just as much of a rollercoaster ride as the previous one, probably more so. There are multitudes of twists and turns and the ending is something I didn’t even come close to predicting. Russo does a great job of giving you just enough foreshadowing that you ****SPOILER****know something major is going to happen, you are just never sure of what. >Except that Ariadne is Ever’s sister. I called it, I called it, I CALLED IT.

****END SPOILER***

The only reason it gets 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the whole Frankie thing. It’s childish, I know, but I have to show my irritation somehow (and no, the spoilery rant above was not enough). If I can legitimately lower a great books star rating to 1 simply because of senseless animal deaths, I think I can drop a star because of the Frankie thing. Really, though, this is another amazing novel. It’s an addictive thrill ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering if and how Ever is going to get out of this mess. I can honestly say this book was well worth the wait (which is a high compliment indeed) and though everything doesn’t wrap up at the end, it’s definitely better than the massive cliffhanger at the end of book 1. I can’t wait to see what the final installment to this series brings (hopefully LOTS more Frankie).

****Thank you to Jessa Russo for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Ever (Ever #1) by Jessa Russo

Ever by Jessa Russo

TITLE: Ever
SERIES: Ever #1
AUTHOR: Jessa Russo
PUBLICATION DATE: September 1, 2013
PUBLISHER: Curiosity Quills Press Independent
PAGES: 295 pages
FORMAT: E-ARC
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 5 stars

I can’t even decide on a proper star rating. My brain just refuses to believe I have finished this book. I loved it…it was amazing….and then it ended on possibly the worst cliffhanger EVER. ::dies:: Review to come.

Ever’s life stopped two years ago when her best friend Frankie died in a car accident. For reasons she’ll never understand that car crash took his life but left her alive. Though Frankie is dead, he never left. His ghost stayed around and though that makes everything more complicated, Ever couldn’t be more grateful to have him still in her life in any form she can get. Ever has a little secret. She has been in love with Frankie for her entire life. Ever realizes that Frankie is oblivious to this fact and that even if he wasn’t, the fact that he is dead would prevent any kind of romantic relationship. So when Toby moves in next door, Ever throws herself into a relationship with him to try to move on with her life. Little does she know that this move will change her life forever.

What to say? I fell completely in love with this story. Why? I’m not entirely sure. It contains many elements that I hate. It has one hell of a love triangle. I mean a real one, where the girl genuinely has feelings for both guys. Those things make me wanna scream in frustration. It has a horrible cliffhanger….really bad. That makes me want to toss Luna (my kindle) across the room. It’s like my best friend walking up to me and saying “Hey, I just found out a have cancer. But I can’t tell you anything more about it for at least a year. Wish me luck!”

Really? And this one was bad, really bad. I became so infested in this story, that I actually finished it in one day. Quite a feat for me because I am not a fast reader. In order for me to finish a book in one day, I literally have to go home and curl up in bed with the book and not move except for snack and bathroom breaks for more than 6 hours. But I did it. My husband came home from work right as I was finishing this and found me just sitting in our bed staring at Luna completely dumbfounded. I’m surprised I wasn’t drooling. It’s so good and addictive.

Ever was a slightly annoying leading lady. She jumped around a little too much for my liking. One minute she was all “I love Frankie, I can’t do anything about it so I’m going to sulk.” And then she was “Ooooo…hot new neighbor….must talk to him.” I get it, but it still irked me a bit. She improves some as the story goes on. Then there is Frankie, who I adore. Seriously, if her and Frankie don’t end up together, I’m going to be annoyed. I don’t care how it happens. You can do the whole kill Ever and they both live happily ever after in the afterlife like Jessica Verday did in the Hollow series or you can go all body-snatcher like Stacey Kade did in the Ghost and the Goth series, or you can just find a loophole somewhere in made up land. I love these two together. The only spoiler I will give is that Frankie does, at some point in this story, get his body back. And damn, the heat between him and Ever is enough to fog up my glasses (which I don’t wear while I’m reading because I only need them for distance…but you get the point.)”

As for the other corner in the love-triangle, I wasn’t a huge fan. Something about Toby felt off to be from the very beginning. His initial interest in Ever even though she claimed to have a boyfriend (and the fact that after they start dating, that fact is never mentioned again), the fact that he never talks about himself, and just his whole personality seemed a little strange. Add to that the fact that Frankie asks Ever repeatedly to stay away from him had me yelling at her to leave him alone. She doesn’t, of course. But somehow, by then end of this book, I ended up caring for him too. Make no mistake, I want Ever with Frankie, but I would also like to see Toby get a happy ending too.

Then there is Ever’s best friend Jessie, who I found refreshing. She was the one who pushed Ever to get over Frankie and try to live her life. She’s everything a BFF should be and she just catches the short end of the stick by the end of this book. I hope she gets her happily ever after as well.

****SPOILER****Now, for what I hated. Put as succinctly as possible, the ending. I was so irritated by the cliffhanger, that I just can’t put it in words. Frankie finally has a body! YAYAY! Him and Ever are together! Quadruple YAYAYAY! But, Ariadne is taking Ever’s soul in exchange in just one year’s time? WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!? ::curtains close:: That’s it? You stop THERE? But…what’s the point of Frankie being alive if Ever is dead? They are supposed to be together! You can’t just fucking rip them apart! I….they….you….::dies::****END SPOILER****

All in all, if you like paranormal romance, read this. Even if cliffhangers and love triangles annoy you, it’s totally worth it.

****Thank you to Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****