Tag: Jessica Scott

Review: Back to You by Jessica Scott

Posted September 7, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Back to You by Jessica ScottReviewer: Rowena
Back to You by Jessica Scott
Series: Coming Home #2
Also in this series: Back to You
Published by Forever
Publication Date: July 29th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

He's in for the fight of his life . . .

Army captain Trent Davila loved his wife, Laura, and their two beautiful children. But when he almost lost his life in combat, something inside him died. He couldn't explain the emptiness he felt or bridge the growing distance between him and his family—so he deployed again. And again. And again . . . until his marriage reached its breaking point. Now, with everything on the line, Trent has one last chance to prove to his wife that he can be the man she needs . . . if she'll have him. . . to win back his only love.

Laura is blindsided when Trent returns home. Time and again, he chose his men over his family, and she's just beginning to put the pieces of her shattered heart back together. But when Trent faces a court martial on false charges, only Laura can save him. What begins as an act of kindness to protect his career inflames a desire she thought long buried—and a love that won't be denied. But can she trust that this time he's back to stay?

I read this book for book club and was completely blown away with how good this book was. It was different from anything that I’ve read in a long while and I loved seeing two people who were very much in love heal from their broken relationship.

Back to You is the second book in the Coming Home series and it follows Trent and Laura, friends of the couple from the first book, Because of You. Trent and Laura are married with two kids and they have a wonderful marriage, or, they had a wonderful marriage before Trent is shipped off to war and comes back a completely different person from the man Laura married.

Laura knows that Trent is suffering through something big but he’s closed every communication avenue to her and when she finds out that he’s been shipping himself back out every chance that he can, she’s understandably hurt. Hurt that he doesn’t love her enough to come home. Hurt that he is missing out on being a father to their two kids. Well, she can’t fight to save her marriage for herself and she’s hurt enough that she wants out. She just wants a fresh start, with her kids and away from the man who broke her heart.

Trent is suffering from some major PTSD and he’s got a whole lot of survivor’s guilt going on with no idea how to fix himself or his family. He’s under investigation for some really serious charges and it took the job he used to escape to be stripped from him to realize what was really important. His wife. His family. He’s got a second chance to get things right, to fix the broken heart of the only woman he’s ever loved and he really hopes that it’s not too late.

My heart hurt for both Trent and Laura because their story wasn’t an easy one. They already had a foundation of love under them and their story was all about fixing their broken marriage. She wants a divorce and he doesn’t and we see them both struggle with where to go, what to do. I thought Scott did a fantastic job of putting the reader right smack dab in the middle of Trent and Laura’s story. The story was real and it was hard but in the end, their story was so worth the heartache. I thought everything was wrapped up pretty nicely and I loved the little tid-bits we got from the other couples in Laura and Trent’s circle of friends.

This book was good and I’m so glad that I read it. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars

Review: Before I Fall by Jessica Scott

Posted March 14, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Before I Fall by Jessica ScottReviewer: Holly
Before I Fall by Jessica Scott
Series: Falling Series #1
Published by Jessica Scott, Self-Published
Publication Date: March 1st 2015
Genres: Fiction, Coming of Age, New Adult
Pages: 228
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Stay focused. Get a job. Save her father's life. Beth Lamont knows far too much about the harsh realities of life her gilded classmates have only read about in class. She'll do whatever it takes to take care of her father, even if that means tutoring a guy like Noah - a guy who represents everything she hates about the war, soldiers and what the Army has done to her family.

Noah Warren doesn't know how to be a student. All he knows is war. But he's going to college now to fulfill a promise and he doesn't break his promises. Except he doesn't count on his tutor being drop dead gorgeous and distracting as hell. One look at Beth threatens to unravel the careful lies Noah has constructed around him.

A simple arrangement turns into something neither of them can deny. And a war that neither of them can forget could destroy them both.

Scott is one of the few authors who write military romances that just annihilate me. They aren’t sappy, feel-good fluff pieces. That’s not to say there aren’t sweet, romantic elements, but the tone of her books is generally darker. She doesn’t shy away from looking at the problems facing the men and women who serve in the military today.

In this case, Noah got out of the Army and started college almost right away. He’s been struggling with PTSD. Beth is assigned as his Stats tutor and he’s drawn to her right away. Unfortunately for him, Beth has seen what the war can do to an individual, and she wants nothing to do with a former soldier.

Beth’s father is a Vet who suffers from a severe back injury. Between broken appointments and lack of funds required for surgery, he’s become a painkiller addict. She manages their lives and juggles school as best she can, so she can hopefully graduate and get a job with benefits that will help him get what he needs.

She isn’t even remotely interested in starting something, especially not with a soldier. But she can’t help her attraction. When Noah puts on the full court press, she can’t resist him. Until she finds out what secrets he’s been hiding, she really thinks they have a chance. But those secrets are threatening to destroy him, and they just may take her down, too.

I struggled a bit with Noah’s addiction. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention, but it didn’t seem like he was as bad off as it turned out he was. His addiction to sleeping pills and anxiety meds wasn’t a surprise, but when it was revealed that he had trouble with painkillers, too, it took me by surprise.

On the one hand, I liked that Beth walked away from him, but on the other I struggled with how easy it was for her to walk away. As the sole caregiver to an addict, it was easy to understand why she wouldn’t want to stick with Noah and watch him spiral. Yet, it was obvious they cared for each other and Noah had a very serious and real reason to need sleeping pills, anxiety meds and painkillers.

One thing Scott excels at is looking at both sides of an issue. Just when I was getting frustrated with the narrow view of one character, another would arrive with a conflicting point-of-view.

Though I struggled a bit with some of the content, I can’t deny this was an engrossing read. I didn’t finish it with a happy sigh in my heart, but rather feeling introspective.

3.75 out of 5 

three-half-stars

Sunday Spotlight: Break My Fall by Jessica Scott

Posted February 21, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a new feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release that we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Holly brought this book to my attention and reading the blurb had me all curious about the series as a whole so I read the first book, Before I Fall and that book was great. It made me so excited to read this book. Josh is one of Noah’s (hero of Before I Fall) friends and I was intrigued by his background, especially when he gave Beth shit for the way she turned her back on Noah. It made me want to read his book even more. He showed great potential as lead and I’m excited to see his story play out.

Break my Fall
Break My Fall (Falling #2) by Jessica Scott
Released on February 15, 2016 by Jessica Scott

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Violence.

I’m addicted to it. It’s how I feel alive. It’s the only thing that’s real any more.

And now I have to sit around and discuss it like it’s physics or calculus.

I can’t do it. I can’t pretend that it’s some sterile academic topic.

Violence isn’t sterile. It isn’t calm. It’s pulsing. It’s alive.

It’s my drug.

Until I met Abby, I never wanted anything beyond the next fight. Never considered that I might finally find a way back to the land of the living.

Now? Now I find myself dreaming of a woman with golden eyes.

But I can never be with her. Because I am not whole. And I never will be again.

But I cannot stay away. And loving her might finally be what breaks me.

I’m really excited to see that Jessica Scott is keeping something that I enjoyed in Before I Fall in this book. The hero making sure the heroine gets home safely after their shift at the Baywater. It makes me wonder if Eli’s heroine will work at the Baywater too. Hmm.

Excerpt

Josh

I don’t know why I couldn’t find something funny to say. Something to break up the tension and make her laugh. I used to be good at making people laugh. My buddy Mike used to tell me I could make everyone laugh in the middle of a roadside bomb.

I’m fiddling with my phone when Abby steps out of the Baywater. I should have left. Should have gone home and slept everything off. Got up and done it all again tomorrow.

Except that when I’m around her, I feel…alive.

And as she walks toward me, I feel it again. That slow draw back to the light.

I like watching her walk. It’s a stupid thing to enjoy, but there is a gentle sway of her hips, a confidence in her steps that is at once feminine and strong. I wonder if she realizes how stunningly beautiful she is. She’s not some soft-spoken little mouse, asking for permission to be who she is. There’s something about how she walks with her head high, her chin lifted. I love the way the light from the streetlamp bathes her skin in a dusky glow. I can’t explain it but I’m drawn to her. Have been from the moment I saw her.

Maybe it was my time in the Army, but I find a woman with confidence sexy as hell, even when I’m wishing that I was crawling back into a bottle instead of losing the faint buzz I’d managed earlier. All these little girls walking around campus in damn near nothing couldn’t hold a candle to Abby with her quick smile and sharp mind.

I wonder what she’d say if I told her that. She’d probably knee me in the balls. And despite them being completely useless, I’m rather partial to them remaining where they are.

She approaches slowly. Almost like she’s trying to figure out what she’s doing. A tiny silver hoop earring catches the light. I’m not sure why I notice it but I do. It curves around the edge of her earlobe and I’m suddenly tempted to nibble on it.

Yeah, that’s called sexual assault, last time I checked. At least it was according to every mandatory sexual assault prevention class I ever attended. There’s something wrong with the world when we need a class to teach soldiers how not to rape each other.

And how is that for a buzz killing train of thought?

She slows as she approaches. Hesitant now.

“I have to admit, I’m kind of surprised.” Her voice is husky and dark. She looks tired and beautiful.

“At what?”

“That you’re here.”

“I…” I rub the back of my neck. “I can’t really think of anything cool or insightful to say that isn’t going to make me look like a stalker.”

That’s mostly true. I don’t know why I’m here. Why I’m drawn to her like I am.

I should be honest with her. I should tell her that I’m damaged goods. That I’m unfixable and unfuckable. Maybe I’ll see if she wants to cuddle and offer to draw her a puppy or something.

The reality of my world squeezes my throat and makes it difficult to breathe.

“Hey?” There’s caution in her voice now. A wariness that I never expected from her. She is too strong, too confident. The hesitation in her voice is at odds with everything I like about her.

I swallow and find my courage. Because I’ve come all the way here and I’m not going to surrender to the past and slink away like a fucking coward.

“So I just…I guess I just wanted to see if you wanted someone to walk home with you.” I didn’t plan on asking her that. I didn’t actually plan on showing up at all.

But anything is better than letting the walls of my apartment close in on me in the long hours between midnight and dawn.

She tips her head and studies me, her eyes curious. Her lips are soft and curved, and I have a stupid desire to touch her there, to feel if they’re as soft as they look. Maybe I’ll make easy conversation by asking her what she uses on them. Because I’m trying to get in touch with my inner-metrosexual.

“You came all the way here to ask me if I wanted to walk home with you?”

I lift both eyebrows. That wasn’t the response I was looking for, but I suppose it’s better than go fuck yourself. “Um, yes?” She’s laughing at me. I’m almost certain she’s laughing at me. “Why is that so hard to believe?”

“You’re a healthy, red blooded American male in an eligible dating market, and instead of being out looking for the future Mrs. Douglas, you’re here to see if I want to walk home? Like there’s no ulterior motive of trying to get me into bed?”

“Well, stalking is always a course of action for the try-to-get-you-into-bed thing.” I honestly can’t believe I just said that, but she laughs so maybe it wasn’t a disaster. “But it’s generally frowned upon, so hopefully I won’t have to resort to that.”

Her eyes sparkle a little and her lips are quirked at the edges. “That’s really not funny.”

“Not even a little bit?”

She cocks her head at me, and yes, that’s a cautious smile on her full, dark lips. “Have you ever been stalked?”

“Yeah, actually I was once. This girl gave me her number, and like the dumb horny jackass that I was, I called her. Little did I know that she had a history of, ah, being a little clingy.”

That’s putting it nicely.

“Clingy?”

“I found her in my room, stark naked, one morning after I’d gone for a run. The guys on the hall were less than impressed when she ran down the hallway screaming that she couldn’t live without me.”

Abby’s smiling now, the last trace of uneasiness drifting away. “You’re making that up.”

“Do I look like I’m making that up?”

“Mighty high opinion of yourself if you expect me to believe you have skinny little white girls throwing their naked bodies at you and you’re upset by it,” she says dryly.

“What can I say? I’m a great catch.”

She shakes her head but she’s smiling. “Did you really come here to walk me home?” Her words are quiet, sliding through the darkness to caress my skin with a promise of pleasures that I can no longer feel.

“Maybe I just wanted your number and was too afraid to ask for it outright.”

She tips her chin in that way she does. The way that makes me think she sees through all of my bullshit and the lies that I’ve been hiding behind since I started trying to pretend to be a normal college student.

She surprises me and takes a single step into my space and cups my cheek. Her palm is warm and smooth against my jaw, her fingertips brush against my skin. “You’re not like everyone else around here, are you?” she whispers.

“I like to think I blend in.”

“You most assuredly do not blend in.” Heavy words, laced with potential. I capture her hand beneath mine, holding her there. She’s the softest thing I’ve touched in…I can’t remember.

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” I can barely breathe.

She’s standing a little too close. I want to reach out and pull her against me and feel her softness surround me.

I want.

In a way I haven’t wanted in a very long time.

I want the normalcy of this moment, the normalcy of life untouched by war and violence and hate and regrets.

I should let her go. Walk away and pretend that this was a mistake.

But the soft warmth of her skin draws me closer. I’m like a man coming in from the cold, seeing the warmth of a glowing fire.

A better man would walk away.

But I am not a better man.

Oh man, that was a great excerpt. I’m all antsy to get my hands on this book and get to know all of Josh’s secrets, find out more about Abby and even see Noah and Beth again. I’m super stoked to dig into this book that I probably look like this:

squee I can’t wait to read this book!

Falling Series

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of February’s features.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re excited for this year!

Jessica Scott

Jessica Scott is an Iraq war veteran, an active duty army officer and the USA Today bestselling author of novels set in the heart of America’s Army. She is the mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, and wife to a retired NCO. She and her family are currently wherever the army has sent her.

She’s also written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/New Dawn and has had the honor of serving as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas twice.

She’s pursuing a graduate degree in Sociology in her spare time and she’s been featured as one of Esquire Magazine’s Americans of the Year for 2012.

Jessica is also an active member of the Military Writers Guild.

Website || Twitter || Facebook

Review: Before I Fall by Jessica Scott

Posted February 11, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Before I Fall by Jessica ScottReviewer: Rowena
Before I Fall by Jessica Scott
Published by Jessica Scott
Publication Date: March 3rd 2015
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
Pages: 300
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

I thought I could do this. I thought I could leave the war behind.

I was wrong. I can’t do this. I can’t go to class and pretend like everything is normal. That I’m normal. I’m not. I’ve lost everything that matters to me. But I made a promise.

And if I’m going to keep that promise, I have to focus. I have to pretend that I belong on this southern campus that drips with old money.

And I have to pass stats. That’s where Beth comes in.

I’m terrified she’ll see through me. That the careful lies and easy smile won’t be enough to convince her that everything is fine.

That she’ll see how broken I really am.

But there’s something about her that draws me closer. A sadness in her eyes that am powerless to resist. I should walk away. Protect her from the broken, darkness in me.

Before we both fall into something neither of us can control...

Stay focused. Get a job. Save her father’s life.

Beth Lamont knows far too much about the harsh realities of life her gilded classmates have only read about in class. She’ll do whatever it takes to take care of her father, even if that means tutoring a guy like Noah - a guy who represents everything she hates about the war, soldiers and what the Army has done to her family.

Noah Warren doesn’t know how to be a student. All he knows is war. But he’s going to college now to fulfill a promise and he doesn’t break his promises. Except he doesn’t count on his tutor being drop dead gorgeous and distracting as hell. One look at Beth threatens to unravel the careful lies Noah has constructed around him.

A simple arrangement turns into something neither of them can deny. And a war that neither of them can forget could destroy them both.

It’s been a while since I read anything by Jessica Scott but I knew that I was going to like this one because she hasn’t ever let me down before..and I did. I really enjoyed this one.

This is the first book in the Falling series and the series follows three ex-Marines (I think Eli is an ex-Marine) try to make a life for themselves outside of the Marines. Learning how to live as civilians after being so used to living in the midst of war for so long.

First up, we have Noah Warren. Noah is enrolled in college and is trying to get his degree and make something of his life, to honor his Marine brothers that have fallen. In order to do that, he’s got to take and pass Statistics so his professor puts him into contact with Beth Lamont who is going to tutor him. He’s got a lot of things that he’s trying to deal with, the loss and pain from the war that he’s trying to cope with and he’s got a bit of a problem with pills. His PTSD is keeping him up at night so he takes pills to keep the monsters at bay but those pills are messing with his head and his life. He wasn’t expecting the chemistry with Beth and he certainly wasn’t expecting the amount of feelings for her that crept up. Her life is already filled to the brim with a soldier’s addiction to pills and staying healthy, she doesn’t need his baggage…but tell that to their hearts.

Beth has about all she can handle right now in her life but when her professor assigns her a tutoring project, she has no choice but to accept. She doesn’t have room in her life for the mess that comes with having feelings for Noah. Her father keeps her busy and the VA is trying their hardest to drive her insane but the more she gets to know Noah, the more she likes and when he offers her a shoulder to help carry her burden, she can’t help but lean on it.

Jessica Scott delivered another realistic romance with characters that wrapped me right up in their story. Noah’s story felt genuine and his issues were real. I wanted to hug him close at the same time that I wanted to shake some sense into him but Scott’s delivery of Noah’s mentality felt organic and I loved that Noah wasn’t perfect. That he had a lot of shit that he was shoveling day in and day out, trying to survive each passing day. It was very easy to connect with him and his battle, even if you’re not going through it yourself. I could totally see why Beth fell for him…even when it wasn’t smart for her to be with him, Noah was a great but troubled guy. He was worth a second look.

Beth’s story was interesting because you could feel the bitterness threatening to overtake her every single day and then to find out about Noah’s issues? It would have brought down the strongest of people to battle the same battle with two different people but Beth, she just kept getting right back up and fighting the good fight. There were times when I was overwhelmed with the amount of stress that Beth was under but my admiration for her was real. She was strong and she was hard working but she was also caring and loving. On top of the way that she was with both her father and Noah, she was a great friend to Abby.

Overall, this was a great introduction into a series that I really want to dig into. I loved the romance, the conflict, the characters…It was real, it was raw and a little gritty and I want more. I had some issues with the way that Noah’s issues were brought to light (the way he handled them, not the way that they were written or anything like that) and the way that Beth handled certain things but aside from that, I would definitely recommend this book.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Five Books Everyone Should Read: Author Jessica Scott’s Picks

Posted January 25, 2015 by Holly in Features | 1 Comment

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a new feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.
5 Books Project

AUTHOR
My Top Five Books of All Time

I feel like there should be dramatic music or something to go with that title. So wow, top five books ever. This is kind of a tough one, honestly. I’ve read so many over the years it’s going to be hard to pick just five. But because Holly asked me to, I shall give it a go.

I’ll define my Top Five as books I have read and enjoyed multiple times. I’m not going to list them in order, however because that’s like picking your favorite kid. I just can’t. Plus, they fall in different genres entirely so there’s that aspect of it too. Not fair to compare urban fantasy to sociology, right?


Jonathan Haidt’s Righteous Mind

There aren’t too many books out there that make me sit up and go holy crap, then prompt you into research in grad school but Haidt’s book definitely did that for me. I’ve read it multiple times since first picking it up two years ago and every time, I find new aspects of it. Which is not to say that I agree with everything he argues but the main argument that people make different value judgments beyond harm and fairness really shook my world.


Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Blade

Ah Dmitri. He’s been on just about every one of my top lists because well, I’ve read his book so many times. Whenever I get stuck on my own writing, I go back to this book and immerse myself in the storytelling, the world building and most importantly, the characters. Dmitri and Honor are just – it’s pitch perfect storytelling and it’s by far one of my all time favorites.

 


Martha Raddatz’s The Long Road Home

This book is personal to me in a lot of ways. I read it when I was a lieutenant getting ready to go downrange for the first time. I read it before I took command. And I’ve read it again since then. This book is more than a war story. It’s about the families on the Homefront waiting for news, it’s about the commander trying to get his soldiers back. It’s about war and family and it’s one of the very best books to come out of the Iraq war.


Laura Kinsale’s The Shadow and the Star

Not name dropping at all but when I finally got to meet Laura at RWA this past year, I was completely over the moon. I was trying so hard to play it cool but it’s not everyday that you meet a writer that not only wrote books that were a solace to you as a kid but wrote books that made you want to be a writer. She’s an incredible author and her books have truly stood the test of time with me. Laura has multiple books on my reread shelf but Samuel and Leda will always have a special place in my heart.


Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight

So I first discovered Anne’s books in my middle school library. I read Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern first and was completely confused by the entire world. Then I found Dragonflight and everything made so much more sense (this was before the internet for you young whippersnappers out there). I devoured everything by Anne when I was a kid. Her Crystal Singer trilogy, the Tower and the Hive. Dinosaur Planet. I had no idea that Anne was a groundbreaker in her field – to me she was just an amazing author who wrote these fantastic stores. When she passed, I felt like I had lost a close friend. Dragonflight remains one of my all time favorite books that I reread quite frequently.

So what are your top five books? Any genre, let’s hear it!

About the author:

all i want for christmas is youUSA Today Bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.

She’s also written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and has had the honor of serving as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas twice.

She’s pursuing a graduate degree in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she’s been featured as one of Esquire Magazine’s Americans of the Year for 2012.

Check out Jessica’s latest release, All I Want for Christmas is You.