Monday, February 15, 2016

Review: Saving Steele by Anne Jolin

Saving Steele
by Anne Jolin
Pub. Date:  Feb. 10, 2016
Publisher:  Self-Pub
Pages:  197
Format:  eARC
Source:  HEA Book Tours

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

Kennedy Cross had her heart broken early in life. It wasn't someone or something who betrayed her—it was her own body. Despite it being all she’s ever wanted, Kennedy will never know what it feels like to feel her baby’s feet kick from the inside out. Having been pronounced infertile at only eighteen, she redirected her life the best way she could. 

Eight years and a degree later, Kennedy is one of the most well-loved first-grade teachers at Rock Falls Elementary School. It doesn’t matter that her college boyfriend left her because he wanted children of his own. She has twenty-two of the most gorgeous six-year-olds who adore her and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jackson Steele deals only in extremes. He falls victim to manic episodes lasting for days, sometimes weeks at a time, sending him reeling from volatile highs to devastating lows. It’s a living hell just being inside his own mind, and that hell has taken everything he’s ever loved away from him. But what if, this time, it gives him something? An untimely gift from God and a brunette with legs eight miles long will bring him the most unforeseen joy but also his most challenging of tests.

What happens when circumstances of life threaten the one thing both Jackson and Kennedy love? Saving Steele from himself may prove to be too much for Cross to bear. 

After the cliffhanger at the end of Keeping King, I was interested to see where the series was going to go with Jackon's story.

We are meeting the heroine, Kennedy Cross, for the first time in this installment of the series. She does have a connection to previous books in that she is the sister of Colt Cross, who was Peyton's sparring partner in Keeping King. Kennedy and Colt had a sad childhood... it wasn't quite tragic, but it was not loving by any means. This, coupled with Kennedy's infertility, have left her with a need to have more control in her life. So she has some OCD tendencies, but not a full blown diagnosis. She loves children and is good at her job as a first grade teacher. I liked Kennedy, but I have liked all of the heroines in this series. I like that she was willing to fight for her HEA, despite all the problems and drama with Jackson, his mental health, and his baby mama.

We met Jackson Steele in the introductory book to the series, Chasing Rhodes, where he was the bi-polar manic depressive ex-boyfriend of the heroine, Hannah. After that first book, Jackson was more of a background character in the series so we don't know a whole lot about him. As with the other men of Rock Falls, Jackson is a vulnerable alpha male - the vulnerability being his disorder. He is a residential contractor/architect, and was roommates with Jayden until Peyton came along. I liked Jackson quite a bit, but his alpha dominant behavior seemed at odds with his manic depressive diagnosis. Although I don't think this particular mental affliction was portrayed accurately, but its been so long since I got my (useless) Psychology degree that it didn't bother me overmuch. All that aside, I had a good emotional connection to Jackson's character which kept me in the story and had me tearing up several times. Jackson's son, Ryker was adorable and tragic, a sweet little boy that you wanted to wrap up and protect from all the bad things in the world.

While I enjoyed this story and thought it had good bones, I wish I could have heard a little more of Anne Jolin's voice. I felt like I was reading a lot of phrasing/terminology and mannerisms that I have read before in Kristen Ashley's books. In addition, this is the third hero named Jackson Steele that I have read over the last year (two in the architecture/contracting profession). It's starting to get a bit confusing so I think we need to shake up the alpha male name database a bit.

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 3 stars / 3 flames.

View all my reviews

I’d totally become a yes girl where hot guy, dad to mini hot guy, Jackson Steele was concerned.
So that brings me to now, turning off my ignition and willing my body to move from the safety of my driver’s seat and up to his front door.

It’s okay though. I’ve come prepared. I’d written a list of things not to do when I arrived at the house on a yellow Post-it note.

1. Don’t hyperventilate
2. Don’t sweat
3. Don’t touch him
4. Don’t say the word “penis” or any of its synonyms or any parts of the male anatomy in general
5. Don’t drool

Putting force behind the fist I’d raised to knock on the door I immediately begin to fall forward as the offending panel of wood swings inward and I face plant directly into a hard male chest.
Rats! There goes rule number three and quickly too.

Mmm. But he sure smells nice.

“Easy, babe,” his voice is a deep manly chuckle, large hands settling on my waist.

I feel that “babe,” that chuckle and that contact in all the right places, even a tingle or two in some wrong ones if I’m being honest.

Considering I’m relatively close to the brink of insanity this morning, it isn’t all that surprising that in that second, instead of pulling away, I take the opportunity to tilt my head back and look at him, really look at him, for the second time since we’d met.

Big mistake.

Should have added a sixth rule. Don’t look at him either.


- ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Jolin -

Hey y’all, 
I was born and raised in Ladner, a small farm town just outside Vancouver, Canada. I grew up riding horses, shooting guns, and driving in trucks. 

I never expected to be an author. A massage therapist? Yes. Take over the family construction company? Yes. But an author? No. Writing was something that snuck up on me and rooted itself into my life. It was beautiful to discover that love, and I’m truly grateful to say I’ve found my passion. 

Since I’ve always been a creative person, it feels amazing to harness all of that energy and use it to tell a story I love. I enjoy incorporating bits of my real life into the stories I write. What parts are true? Hah. I’ll never tell—what would be the fun in that? 

If I could leave y’all with one thing, it’s that life’s far too short to not live it out loud. Drown in your passions, hold on tight to the things that inspire you, and chase your dreams relentlessly. I can promise you without a doubt that you won’t regret it. I know I don’t. 

Mad love, 
Anne Jolin 

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For those who haven't read the Rock Falls series, can you tell them a little about it? 
It's a series about alpha males, strong women and the love they find together. Each book can be read as a standalone or as part of the series.

Is Rock Falls based on a real place?  If so, tell us where we can stalk these tattooed alpha bad boys!  If not, what was your inspiration?
Sadly, it is a fictional town but I did get most of my scenery ideas from Whistler, BC. If you haven't visited, I definitely suggest a trip!  

Do your characters spring fully formed from your head, or do you like to use real people (famous or otherwise) as a muse?
Usually I create them in my head and then occasionally I stumble across a muse that fits my image. I love it when that happens!  

You have another series, Willow Bay Stables, what's it about?
It is a country series centered around the Daniels family. Each of the three books is about one of the siblings and I'm even considering one for their dad, Larry, because he's amazingly sweet.

Do you have any interesting, funny or just plain weird writing quirks?
I have to write in complete silence or I get major squirrel brain and then no writing happens. Haha. 

What would you be doing if you weren't feeding our e-readers?
I love to decorate, so perhaps id try my hand at interior design? 

What can we expect to see from you next?
Ohhhh. That's a secret... But I can tell you it's coming in spring and it's like nothing I've written before! 

Give us 3 fun-to-know facts about Anne Jolin!
I'm Canadian, born and raised. I don't drink coffee (I know, I'm crazy eh). I have two beautiful blue nose pit bulls - Ghost and Saint. 

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