Friday, July 28, 2017

Review Tour: Treading Water by Jessie G (Reviews+Giveaway)

Title: Treading Water
Series: Forgotten Soldier #2
Author: Jessie G
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: July 18, 2017
After devoting eighteen years of his life to the US Navy, Petty Officer First Class Shane Parker is struggling with the very real possibility of becoming unnecessary. If he doesn’t make Chief Petty Officer before his twenty—and it doesn’t seem likely that he will—he’ll be retired from active service and placed on the Fleet Reserve list until his mooring lines are officially cut forever. While it would all be very honorable and ceremonial, he simply wasn’t civilian material.
Before even swearing-in, Julian Brand knew he wasn’t cut out to be a soldier, but refusing wasn’t an option. Generations of Brand man made careers in the military and the expectation of every Brand son was to follow in those prestigious footsteps. Though the prospect of being rolled back dodged his every step, somehow he made it through boot camp and did his time. Six years after not reenlisting, Julian still struggles to find familial acceptance as he fights to live life on his terms.
On the surface, they couldn’t be more different, but when Jared Ramos calls, neither are capable of refusing. If they can find a way to work together, they might be able to save a wounded warrior and each other in the process.
NOTE: The first story in this series is a 6K word short story originally written for an anthology. While it's a different couple, I'm happy to provide that to reviewers as they have a brief appearance in the new book and are central characters to this benefit series.

Happily Ever Chapter - “Well-written story, strong characters.”

Bookobsessed - “Wonderful read”
10% of royalties earned from this and future books in the Forgotten Soldier series will benefit the Gary Sinise Foundation, but I'm not content to stop there. I've set up a fundraising page directly on the Foundation's website and I'm asking for your help in reaching (and maybe surpassing) my goal. Every donation of $10 equals 1 entry to win signed books. If you donate more than that, every multiple of 10 will be an additional entry (so $20 = 2 entries and so forth).
1 Grand Prize Winner will receive all my paperbacks signed (8 books) 
4 Runner Up Winners will win a signed copy of Treading Water

Seeing Sean fall apart was something Shane wasn’t likely to forget. Never could he have imagined a single scenario that included this big, strong, strapping sailor curled up in his blankets sobbing. As Julian climbed back onto the bed, absorbing that pain as if it were his own, Shane feared he was the wrong man to help them. He was barely treading water and the overwhelming emotions coming off both men were like a rip tide threatening to pull him away.

Over the years, he heard Sean worry over his cousin’s emotional stability enough that he thought he was doing the right thing by offering Julian a safe place to vent. It wasn’t like his own emotions were in danger of getting involved—he only had a couple and none of them were tied up in a man he didn’t know. The same couldn’t be said for Sean. They were more than friends, more than the honorary brothers, and this breakdown had his own eyes itching in an alarming way.

Were those tears? It had been decades. For sure, never in his adult life. Not since…no, it was best not to think about that now. Talk about being useless. If he went down that path, Sean and Julian would be taking care of him. 
A warm hand slid along his and the ease in which their fingers twined gave him pause. Cautiously, he looked over and found brown eyes filled with understanding and invitation. He had promised Julian he wouldn’t be alone and the quiet reciprocation had been nice, but nothing he expected to count on. Without consciously thinking about it, Shane found himself sitting on the edge of the bed. Though it wasn’t built for three grown men, he was able to wrap his arm around his little unit and was surprised how right it felt.

“We’re going to get through this, Sean. Will you let us take care of you?” Julian was still speaking when Shane felt Sean nodding against them.

For better or worse, they were in it together now and Shane refused to let them down no matter how uncomfortable it might get for him.

3.75 Stars

I was so confused in the beginning. The book starts out with the POV's of Aiden and Jared. I really liked Aiden and his story seemed interesting, but when I got to chapter three the POV switched again to another character and I had to go and read the blurb. Turns out Aiden and Jared aren't the MC's, Shane and Julian are.

Although Shane and Julian's portion of the story starts off a bit awkward and rushed, once the author really got to the meat of their story and concentrated on them, they worked. The differences between their personalities complimented one another and they fit well together. They had great chemistry and it carried over into the bedroom. The sex scenes were passionate, as well as hot.

I loved the premise of the story. I loved that Sean could see that Shane and Julian, the two most important people in his life, were meant for one another, before they even met. Shane and Julian were both likable characters that you could really root for to get their HEA.

The writing is good, but for me, Aiden, Jared and Sean's POV's were disruptive to the flow of the story. While, yes, these characters definitely added depth to the story, and Sean is instrumental in bringing Shane and Julian together, I didn't find a lot of information told on their POVs that couldn't have been given during a scene told from the POV of one of the main characters.

This is my first read by this author, but my co-bloggers have read other books by her that they've really enjoyed, so while this wasn't my favorite book ever, I'll definitely give the author's work another try, hopefully she'll give Aiden a story. He really intrigued me. Recommendable!

**copy provided by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. **

3.5 Stars

Treading Water is book 2 in the Forgotten Soldier series by Jessie G., while it can be read as a standalone, Micah and Garrison, who featured in the first book appear in this one as well. I suspect it might be best if you read both in order, even if I didn't really feel lost for not having read Micah's Soldier.

I loved Jared and Aiden and I was a bit disappointed (okay, a lot disappointed) when I realized this wasn't their story. You see, I'm not overly fond of multiple POVs, although I do agree that it works well for some books. In this case, since the book starts with these two men that I wanted to read more about, I was confused when we got to Shane, Sean and Julian’s points of view. Even if it wasn’t what I expected, it’s a testament to Jessie G.’s talent that I became so invested in a pair of characters I just read a couple of chapters about. Now I’ll just have to wait (im)patiently for their book.

I liked Shane and Julian. They were committed to helping Sean in any way they could and I really enjoyed seeing them go from friends to lovers with relative ease, even if there were some moments in which I wanted to shake Shane. They were a tad awkward at first, but once they got past some minor issues, their relationship blossomed quite nicely and they fit well together.

Sean was great, too, it was awesome seeing him work to become as independent as he could be with the type of injury he sustained, and of course, get his own HEA.

Overall, while not my favorite book by this author, Treading Water was a pretty good read, enjoyable and poignant. I’m very interested in reading more books in the series, especially Jared and Aiden’s.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

3 Stars

What I Loved: Funnily enough I really loved Jared and Aiden. The beginning of the book had me intrigued by Aiden and what his story was and I had hoped that that would be the story I was reading. I enjoyed the way he was with Jared and their interactions felt real. I wanted more of them.

What I Liked: I'm a fan of the author's writing and have read other books that I've enjoyed. I definitely believe she is a wonderful storyteller and while I might not have cared for this particular story, it doesn't detract from how much I enjoy Jessie G. I'll still pick up more of her books in the future.

What I Didn't Like: As much as I would love to say that ​this book captivated me, the truth of the matter is it didn't. I found myself put off in the beginning from the book opening with character POVs that were not the MC's (I honestly rather have read their story instead of Shane and Julian's). ​​To make matters worse when we finally are introduced to the MCs, I actually found myself completely disconnected from them and the overall story. I felt they were a bit awkward and in my honest opinion, unremarkable. I just wasn't a fan.

Overall, while I personally wouldn't recommend Treading Water, I will recommend Jessie G.

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.***

Like many readers, the dream of being a writer has been with me a long time. After three decades of trying, I'd begun to doubt. Thanks to social media, I followed my favorite authors hoping to glean some words of wisdom as I pounded out half-formed ideas with alarming regularity. Two repetitive themes emerged: to be a great writer you must read a lot and your butt must be in the chair every day like it's a job. The more you write, the easier it will be to write and the better you will be at writing. I took that advice to heart and write every day. With three series in the works and a full schedule of releases planned for the next two years, it's been amazing to have made this dream my reality. I am a firm believer in marriage equality, love at first sight, power dynamics, and happily ever after. I'm a lover of strong secondary characters, and series filled with families—biological or chosen. All are themes you'll find throughout my books.

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