Christie's Reviews

~ Beyond the Reach of Judgement by Jo Bissell Review ~

81fWQSOqEmL._SL1500_SynopsisJulien Rene Durant was once a good man. Born in France, he took the oath as a Jesuit Priest in the 1600s. He dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel. Now, he was a monster surviving off the blood of others; killing for survival even as he wished for nothing other than for his own extinction. After almost four centuries of guilt and hopelessness, he encounters someone who might just be able to rescue the good man trapped within the monster, but will his judgements deny him a second chance?

Mary Ruth Jacobson-Ryan is nothing special; a small town girl stuck in a rut. Married to a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts who turned out not to be the perfect guy she fell in love with before the war, she is desperate for a way out. When things turn from bad to worse, she runs with plans to never look back. She quickly finds, however, that her search for a better future may lead her down a path with no future at all.

Purchase LinksAmazon * B & N Paperback

christie review4 stars

Great New Adult Paranormal Romance! I have been a fan of this genre for many, many years, and a lot of the books I have read follow a set pattern, but not this book! It is so refreshingly different! The story opens with Julien, a vampire, sitting in jail. By beginning the book this way, it drew me in, and I was enthralled throughout the book. I wanted to know all of Julien’s story.

Julien was a Jesuit priest in the 1600’s who was turned into a vampire and has spent years living with his affliction, and this is truly how he sees his vampirism. He has lived his life trying to avoid attention, and it’s been a life spent in darkness devoid of color until he meets Ruth. Ruth is a sad character as well; she works the streets as a prostitute after fleeing an abusive husband. When Julien picks Ruth up with the intention of feeding on her, things change for both of them. Their colorless and dark lives develop into one with color and light. As their past catches up with them, can their love survive?

Beyond the Reach of Judgement is incredibly different! Yes, it’s a romance, and I love the romance between Julien and Ruth. It’s so beautiful because the characters are so flawed and sad. But, it’s also a story of good and evil. I saw examples of that throughout the novel. For instance, the author begins every chapter with a quote illustrating that. And, she chooses from a variety of sources from Interview with the Vampire to A Clockwork Orange. I just love Jo Bissell’s way of writing; it’s almost poetic to me, and it draws you in. I have never read a book in which a writer can make you feel such empathy for characters, even the bad ones. I didn’t like Ruth’s ex-husband, but I felt for him because Bissell showed me what he was like before he became an abuser. In my opinion, that is an incredible talent in a writer.

I must warn you…it is a romantic tragedy. HOWEVER, DON’T LET THAT SCARE YOU AWAY! If it does, you really are missing out on an incredible book. It’s so different and unique, and it’s a book that you will remember, I promise! It did end with me scratching my head. I asked myself, “Is this really the end?” She is planning a sequel, and I will definitely be one-clicking it as soon as it releases. Do yourself a favor and read this beautiful book today!

**ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review**

Abou the author

Jo Bissell started writing in middle school with fantasy stories inspired by books such as The Hobbit, and in fact once turned in a journal project written entirely in Dwarfish Ruins. Now, after many years of study, she spends most of her time working as a full time physician caring for hospitalized adults. When she is not writing or doctoring, she enjoys reading, movies, traveling, archery, thrift store shopping, and snowboarding. She currently resides in the Iowa City, IA area with her husband and two cats.

Beyond the Reach of Judgement is Jo Bissell’s first original novel which evolved out of a 2012 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project. She has previously written works of short fiction, including His Eyes available on Amazon for Kindle, fan-fiction, and poetry. Future planned novels include a sequel to Beyond the Reach of Judgement, other works of urban fantasy and paranormal romances, and a science fiction novel. She continues to participate in NaNoWriMo.

social linksAmazon * Facebook * Goodreads * Website * Twitter

Christie's Reviews

~ Finding Jordie by H.J. Harley Reviews ~

71vara7c7hLSynopsisA widow of eight years, Jordie is devoted to her daughter and knows how to protect her own heart… until Nathan Harper lends a hand when she’s punched by a drunkard being forcefully removed from her NYC East Village bar.

Nathan is fascinated by the sassy bar owner, who doesn’t recognize him from the Silver Screen and who appears more interested in conversation than sex.

But when shared words spark mutual passion, the menacing phone calls begin, and a stalker, who will stop at nothing to have Jordie, turns his crosshairs on Nathan.

Contains adult language.

christie review5 star aJordan “Jordie” Spagnato is a single mother who is a true survivor. After losing her husband years ago in Iraq, she picked herself up and made a life for herself and her daughter Emma. She has a great apartment and is the owner of a bar that is considered a “hot spot” in NYC. She has a wonderful sister and brother-in-law who help out with Emma so she can run the bar, and she has a loyal, snarky, wonderful best friend, Rachel, who is a great support to her. Despite all her success, family, and friends, she has sealed herself off from truly “living” life. She’s afraid of feeling any emotions for a man again after suffering such a devastating loss. But, all that changes when she meets “Nathan,” the mystery man that comes to her rescue after she is confronted outside her bar by two drunk men she had thrown out earlier. She feels things she never has felt before, and it scares her at first. But, Nathan is good at breaking down those walls she has erected. As in all good love stories, each character has secrets that affect their relationship. As Jordie and Nathan reveal these secrets to each other, will they be able to keep this new relationship on course? But those secrets take a back seat once Jordie’s life is threatened by an unknown stalker.

Finding Jordie was a 5 for me just because of Jordie herself. While I loved the development and pacing of the story, I found that Jordie was one of my favorite aspects of the story. She is a well-developed and multi-faceted character. She comes across as this sarcastic and very confident woman, yet inside, she is just trying to hold herself together, especially for her daughter, Emma. There is a scene that is especially poignant when she falls apart not long after meeting Nathan. The emotions were so real and raw; I could literally feel everything she felt. In addition, I liked all the other characters as well. Of course, Nathan was sexy and a sweetheart. Not only was he attracted to Jordie because he found her beautiful, but he respected her tenacity to survive. Plus, he accepted and loved Emma as a part of Jordie. Rachel, OMG, this woman was hilarious! I see that she is getting her own book, so I can’t wait to read that one.

While this book is a romance, it doesn’t go into graphic sexual detail, which was fine with me. I love graphic sex scenes, but I didn’t feel like it was needed in this book. If you haven’t discovered H.J. Harley, I would suggest you give her a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed. I have already put her other books on my TBR list!

daniell review4 and a half stars

Jordan “Jordie” Spagnato is a 31-year-old single mom with an adorable 9-year-old daughter, Emma.  Her husband was killed in Iraq 8 years prior.  After his death, Jordie has lived in an “Iron-Clad Bubble” with only her daughter and best friend, Rachel, being allowed inside.  She has not allowed herself to move on with any other men…until now.
Jordie meets Nathan Harper one night while dealing with an obnoxious drunk at the bar she owns and the sparks fly from there.  Nathan has closed himself off from forming relationships with any women but can’t deny the electricity between him and Jordie.  Neither can believe that after years of being alone they have finally found someone they truly connect with.  They know it has happened very quickly, but when you know, you know, right?
However, both Jordie and Nathan have secrets that once revealed may affect there chance at a HEA.  And just when you think things may be on track for these two, there is a dangerous situation that arises that may threaten both their lives. Will Jordie and Nathan get the HEA they have been waiting for? Or will it all be too much for such a new and budding relationship?
This is my first read by HJ Harley, but it certainly won’t be my last.  I read this book in 1 day because it was such an interesting story that I just couldn’t put it down. I could definitely feel the connection and chemistry between Jordie and Nathan even though this book did not have long, detailed sex scenes.  I loved the secondary characters in this book, especially Emma and Rachel.  I will definitely be reading the other books in this series!!
**ARCs were provided in exchange for an honest review**
Abou the author

I grew up in Bricktown New Jersey, less than an hour away from New York City. As a teenager and my early twenties, I loved hanging out in the glamor of NYC. I was a “City Brat” so it was pretty hard for me when I packed up all my crap and three cats in 2005, for a life changing road trip and moved to California. I travelled around the country until I met my other half in 2005.

After serving twelve years in the Air Force, the man of my dreams ended his military career and we moved to Georgia six years ago. Since then, we’ve settled down in Leesburg GA, and had our first child.

No place has ever come close to replacing the magic of New York City in my mind. So when I decided to try this romance writing gig out, naturally I set my first book, ‘Finding Jordie’ there.

I enjoy reading, and spending time with my family. Reality shows are my guilty pleasure. I’m a sucker for romantic comedies and Robert Pattinson. I am a pro at goofing off, I talk with my hands, (I’m Italian!) I drink way too much coffee, and get too little sleep. Oh, and I have a thing for Jackie-O sized sunglasses. I have four furry kids and most importantly, I have a beautiful daughter. I’m always striving to be the best Mom possible.

I’m very passionate about the things I love, that’s why I was outraged when they cancelled SMASH and Southland! It should be considered to be a small miracle if you ever get to see a serious or pic of me posing all nice and pretty…yeah, I’m not that girl. I’m a spontaneous goof and believe the best things in life come naturally. Yes, that includes random no make-up selfies during a 2:00a.m. writing marathon.