[582]: Jack by Juliana Stone

20881883 Jack by Juliana Stone
Series: The Family Simon, #2
E-book | August 25th, 2014
Adult Fiction | Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

One night with the wrong woman can change your life….

Jack Simon’s road to the White House has been a smooth one until a night with the notorious Donovan James becomes a roadblock he can’t escape. Suddenly he’s America’s number one story and it has nothing to do with politics. Jack’s tangled with this woman before and knows they’re no good together because the only thing they’re good for is a four letter word…hurt. He should get on with his life and concentrate on his job. But that’s hard to do when the one thing standing in his way, is the one thing he wants the most…

Donovan James, international singing sensation, has made a living singing songs about heartache and pain, two things she grew up on. But it’s time to set down some roots and the only man she wants is a man she’s all wrong for. A man she’s never stopped loving—Jack Simon. They’d had it all once, until they didn’t. And yet she can’t help but wonder if a second shot together just might be the game changer she needs. Or if old secrets can still ruin the only man she’s ever loved…

If there’s one thing I can’t get enough of in romance books (plot-wise), it is the forbidden element of a politician and a character with a shady past. This book featured a Democrat senator well on his way to a presidential nomination and a country singer who may or may not be involved in a scandal that will prove disastrous for Jack Simon. And because she loves him dearly, she’ll do anything to prevent that from coming out.


Jack Simon and Donovan James has had a tumultuous, albeit, brief past together. Their fights were epic, but the making up was just as explosive. Jack never figured out why Donovan just up and left him years ago. Because of that, he’s considered Donovan as an unfinished business, and someone he hated and loved in the same breath.


When Jack’s sister conspired to leave them stranded in an island in Belize, they have no choice but to face the the past that have haunted them for years. Or at least, confront their feelings for each other. Either way, Jack is determined to get the answers that Donovan hid from him. Because then maybe, just maybe he’ll finally be able to move on after all these years.


If I had to choose, I have to say that Jack is my favourite Simon. I may have a thing for politicians (has to have a Liberal platform, though). I love the palpable chemistry between him and Donovan. They both knew they were one fight away from a romp in the bedroom so they’ll try to get into each other’s nerves. They just can’t help themselves.

There were times though, when I want to strangle Jack. He could be an unbearable ass, and poor Donovan – a feisty character herself – couldn’t really tell him what she was hiding at first. Which was frustrating at times. I was a little disappointed with how little grovelling Jack did at the end though. I wanted him to suffer just a bit more than he deserves.

I’m really glad I re-discovered Juliana Stone’s Simon Family series. Nowadays, I’m always on the look out for easy, fun reads. The type that makes me feel more than it makes me think. Her books are the perfect prescription if you’re in need of a reprieve from back-breaking reads.





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[580]: Tucker by Juliana Stone

20827547 Tucker by Juliana Stone
Series: The Family Simon, #1]
February 4th, 2014
E-book | Adult Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

When all hope is gone, can love still find a way?

Tucker Simon has given up on love. After a tragedy, it’s just not in the cards for him, and he wishes his family would get off his back. He’s fine—or at least he thought he was–until a family wedding forces him to address a few things, namely his date, Abby Mathews. She’s been put in the ‘friend’ category, mostly because she deserves so much more than what he can give. But the more time that he spends with her, Tucker begins to think that maybe there is a chance for love after all…

Abby Mathews has been in love with Tucker Simon since he walked into her family’s bar nearly a year ago. But he’s got baggage and heartache a plenty. His one-night-stands aren’t going to lessen that no matter what he thinks. Tucker needs a friend, but Abby wants to give him more, and as they navigate their way through a weekend in Florida, their attraction can’t be ignored. Abby has to make a choice. Does she cherish their friendship and take what she can get? Or does she go after what she really wants, which is Tucker’s heart…


I found Juliana Stone last year when I was browsing through iBooks and a couple of her books were free at the time. I read her books and found them to be so much fun. The kind of romance novels that were easy to read with men who were easy on the eyes, but terror to the hearts of their female counterparts. I could not get enough. Needless to say, I went on a stretch when all I did was read her books. This past week, I was yet again, ensconced in nothing but Juliana Stone. And yep. The obsessive personality reared its head again.


Friends to lovers trope. Who can resist them? I’m not typically a fan. But I must admit that there’s something exciting about two people realizing how dense they’ve been the whole time. That exact moment when they realize that happiness was staring at them in the face, because they were an oblivious couple made in heaven.  In Abby’s defence, she already has feelings for Tucker. But Tucker was too busy living in the past and screwing every available woman within a ten-mile radius. Anyway…

Tucker’s wife disappeared years ago. And while he’s not living with the illusion that she might still be alive, he hasn’t really been too open for the possibility of moving on. He’s been friends with Abby for months, but lately, he’s looking at her in a different light. When they finally decided to take their friendship to no man’s land, things didn’t really change. I mean, they’re still friends. But now, they also know each other in the biblical sense. Things are looking up…until news that his wife resurfaced in a Cuban hospital reached him.

Tucker has the propensity to be an asshole, but Abby do not take his asshole-ry sitting down. She tells it like it is and she stands up to him. They’re the perfect match, to be honest. And while you may have read your share of this kind of stories, these books has one going for it:  I am a fan of familial series. The Simon family consists of 4 boys and 1 girl. But the series is also about their cousins, Maverick and Cooper. I love reading about the entire clan. Their back stories and the family dynamics. There’s Jack who’s well on his way to a Presidential nomination; there’s Teague, Tucker’s twin brother who spent much of his career chasing the next dangerous story. There’s brothers Maverick and Cooper; and then there’s the lone girl amongst the boys, Grace. I like reading about their romantic entanglements. It’s always something to look forward to.

Fans of romance novels will find this enjoyable. It was fun, bittersweet, and in a Juliana Stone fashion, highly addictive.



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[529]: Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone

Sourcebooks Fire | Net Galley
May 5th, 2015
New Adult Romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

I have  read a few of Ms. Stone’s books. There was even a time when I went on a bender and read a couple of her series back to back to back. For the most part, she writes some pretty fantastic romantic tropes; with characters that linger in the back of your mind long after you’re done. Some Kind of Normal, while acceptable enough by this genre’s standards, lacked the addictive quality her other books have, in my opinion. Most importantly, it felt like she held herself back that it deterred me from fully enjoying this book. While that may be understandable considering the genre she was writing from, I found it difficult to separate what I’ve come to know from her adult books to her latest attempt at New Adult.

It wasn’t all that bad, mind you. I do like that Everly didn’t suffer some form of physical/psychological trauma in the past – which is a glaring characteristic of a character in NA books. I can’t say the same for Trevor though. But the truth of the matter is, New Adult books are formulaic. You can pretty much expect the things that happened to happen. And while most NA go full bore on the intimate scenes, I can tell that she held herself in check. This one doesn’t even have any. So perhaps, I’m jumping the gun by labelling this one a New Adult book.

They do have their own issues though. Trevor suffered a brain trauma from an accident that hinders him from playing the guitar like he used to. Which is a big deal for him because Music is his life. Without it, his dream of following his best friend to New York to play is pretty much out of the question. Everly, on the other hand, is evidently dealing with some family problems. Her father is hiding a secret that she accidentally stumbled upon. So she knows her parents’ marriage is on the rocks. On top of that, she got saddled with tutoring a jock for the summer.

Trevor is a pretty charming fellow; while Everly has the reputation as the ice queen in school. It’s both a curse and a blessing being the pastor’s daughter. It doesn’t take long for their relationship to develop. It’s not that big of a deal, though. I encountered some characterization problems, but not too terribly. In the end, I feel like if you read one NA book, you’ve read them all.

This book is about a couple of people who had to learn to accept what their own “normal” should be. While it may seem like an uphill climb, it’s not entirely impossible. Juliana Stone perfectly captured the essence of what it’s like for a person to accept their lot in life no matter how hard it may seem at first. Sometimes, it takes another person dealing with some hard realities of their own to guide you along the way.

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