Tuesday, February 4, 2014

[Triple Review]: "All For You" + Excerpt!


All For You by Jessica Scott
Publisher: Forever (February 4, 2014) 
Series: Coming Home, 4
Genre: Contemporary Romance



Can a battle-scarred warrior . . .

Stay sober. Get deployed. Lead his platoon. Those are the only things that matter to Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli. What he wants is for everyone to stay out of his way; what he gets is Captain Emily Lindberg telling him how to deal with his men. Fort Hood's newest shrink is smart as a whip and sexy as hell. She's also full of questions—about the army, its soldiers, and the agony etched on Reza's body and soul.

. . . open his heart to love?

Emily has devoted her life to giving soldiers the care they need—and deserve. Little does she know that means facing down the fierce wall of muscle that is Sergeant Iaconelli like it's just another day at the office. When Reza agrees to help her understand what makes a soldier tick, she's thrilled. Too bad it doesn't help her unravel the sexy warrior in front of her who stokes her desire and touches a part of her she thought long dead. He's the man who thinks combat is the only escape from the demons that haunt him. The man who needs her most of all . . .





Where to Buy*:
More Info:


Our Reviews of Jessica Scott's other books:

Because of You, #1 (Kame)
Because of You, #1 (TBQ)
Anything For You, #1.5 (TBQ)
Until There Was You, #2 (TBQ)
I'll Be Home for Christmas, #2.5 (TBQKame, and Pat)   Discussion 
Back To You, #3  (TBQ, Kame, and Pat)   ✦ Discussion




Our Reviews



Kame's Review:



Another innocence lost. Another person he should have protected forever lost to the war just the same as if the enemy had struck him down.



Reza has a thin hold on his life. He is trying to make it through one sober day at a time. All he wants to do is keep his men safe; well that and try not to get chewed out by his commander. He is tired of the soldiers who are shirking their duty. One day when his grip on keeping it together is tenuous at best he is determined to go to the clinic and get the answers he needs. Dr. Emily Lindberg has never seen a minute of combat but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want to do what is best for these soldiers. No matter how much Reza pushes she does not back down; she actually challenges him like no one has ever before.




Her gaze flickered back to him. An instance of acknowledgement and then it was gone. But in that moment, Reza knew they were worlds apart and that nothing would ever span that distance. He knew war. He’d lived it.

She knew nothing but talk of war.


As she shifted her notes, a quiet revelation whispered across Reza’s skin. She was innocent. She truly thought she could make a difference. 


She wasn’t slick-sleeved because she sought to avoid the war. She was running toward the conflict in her own way – trying to help the soldiers she admired and respected.




Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli has earned a place on my short list of favorite characters. He is flawed and irreverent; but he is caring, faithful and strong. When his whole background was revealed I was in awe. He wants to carry the weight of his men on his shoulders; however by the end of the book he finds the true definition of taking responsibility. Sometimes a fictional character becomes real to you, someone you just can’t shake, someone you think about and want to meet; this is Reza for me. When the book was done I wanted more; I didn’t want my time with Reza to be done. He worked so hard for his HEA, I wanted to see him enjoy his HEA and I hope I get a glimpse of it in future books.
Emily is determined to make a difference, and run from her sheltered life at the same time. Maybe she was rather na├»ve in her decision to leave the country club lifestyle behind; but she cared. She was going to do more than write a check for a cause, she was going to use her skills to help. I loved her humor and unwillingness to be ashamed of where she came from, but to try to adapt to her new life. She didn’t try to fix Reza; she was willing to endure the pain of waiting for him to come to his own conclusions. She is one of the strongest female characters I have ever read; many strong female characters take a stand to fight for the love they know their hero has for them; Emily did not have that security and she still made the hard decision.



Yes this book is classified as a contemporary romance; but this is so much more. The romantic elements of this book are great and border on steamy; however it was the griping tale of Reza’s men that kept me reading. Take out all the steamy scenes and you would still have a 5 star read in my opinion. (But please don’t as they were really good scenes!). Because of Jessica Scott’s military service I know that the scenarios and circumstances she writes in her fictional stories are not implausible, I find her books give me something very few other contemporary fiction books do; they give me insight and a greater appreciation for our military and the scars you can not see.


5+ STARS! 





Pat's Review:


This novel is another thought provoking, heart wrenching example of Ms. Scott's amazing talent writing romantic military suspense. When preparing for this review, I ended up reading it a second time cover to cover!



Sergeant Reza Iaconnelli is a battle weary, scarred, trying to recover alcoholic who feels like he has lost his soul. He is back in the states, but anxious for his next deployment. When he is deployed with his "boys" he has direction, he stops drinking, and knows what he is supposed to be doing. He has been deployed six times, and he has the names of his lost brothers tattooed on his body. Reza has been sober for seventy-four days and is still fighting the craving every day. He has no family outside the Army, and he believes in the old adage "If the Army wanted soldiers to have a family they would have issued them one." Reza is alone, with no responsibility except for himself, and his men.



Captain Emily Lindbergh, pschyiatrist , joined the Army to try and make a difference with the alarming rates of suicide, and PTSD. She left her family back in Boston, furious, and constantly reminding her of her "mistake." Emily and Reza meet when he tries to find out if a malingering soldier is hiding away at the psychiatric clinic, where she works. They exchange angry words, and Reza tries to intimidate her with his size and personality. Emily is a lot stronger than she looks. They are drawn together because of circumstances involving a couple of her clients, who just happen to be Reza's soldiers. Emily slowly learns Reza's secrets, and realizes there is so much more to Reza than the tough, wisecracking, devil-may-care soldier he is portraying. A tragedy occurs, and they have to face it together, realizing they don't want to stop facing things together.



Each book in this series has men and women facing the challenges of returning to their "normal" life in the states. They are real, gritty and sexy. Each book has captured my heart and soul. I totally changed my opinion of Reza after reading his story. I wish there was a way for us, the people who stay at home and have these brave men and women fight for our freedom, could make coming home a lot less challenging. Thank you Ms. Scott for this heart wrenching look at Reza and Emily. As always, thank you for your service.



5+ STARS!





TBQ's Review:

Am I bleeding? Really, I feel like I'm bleeding, raw from the pain. And yet I wouldn't trade the experience of reading All For You for anything! This may sound odd, but I feel like with each books from Jessica Scott, I gain more of an understanding about how our military is run, how the war affects our brave men and women. Scott obviously knows what she is writing about, and it comes across in her novels, very clearly. I love that they're not just another romance, they're not just a military story, they are so much more than that. Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but they're damn near perfect!


I can't even begin to explain just how much Reza's books broke me. I'm still unable to pull myself all together. I still can't properly review this amazing book. You will simply have to trust me, buy this series, and read this book!

 
Jessica Scott is beyond talented. Her debut was fantastic and I was hooked from there. But with each new release, Scott has managed to surprise me and leave me in awe. Literally, she's blown me away, and just when I think she can't possible make the next book any better, she surprises me again and does just that! I'm extremely thankful that I've been lucky enough to follow her amazing writing career from the beginning, and I can't wait to see where the next book takes us.


But, back to Reza's book, All For You. This book is filled with heart-wrenching emotions, seriously, be prepared when you start. Tissues, a new pint of ice cream . . . whatever you need to cope with the pain. It's going to hurt, it's going to feel like it's real because that is what Scott does. And she does it very, very well!


This is not a sugar sweet romance. The story is not simple, it is not easy, and some may find it hard to read. But Scott does a wonderful job at exploring a very real, very tough, aspect of military life. After all, Scott knows firsthand about what really goes on in the military; her novels are nothing like the dozens of military romances out there. All For You, and the rest of the series, may be fiction, but it is real.



Once again, the perfect blend of everything—sweet romance, real characters, angst, fear, and war all rolled up, dusted with an occasional touch of sarcasm and written in such a way that I am convinced these characters are actually living in Texas right now. Scott, thank you again for creating this series! I will be anxiously awaiting book 5 and beyond!



5+ STARS!



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Kame, Pat, and I all received e-ARCs of this book from the publisher/author in exchange for our honest opinions. However, all of us will be buying our own copies, too. :) 

Note*: The quotes used belong to Jessica Scott; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them.

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And now, thanks to the publisher, I have a snippet to share -- enjoy! 




All For You by Jessica Scott
Excerpt


         “So how many of you think that behavioral health is for pussies?”
         Half the room burst out with coughs attempting to cover laughter. The other half were busy picking their jaws up off the floor. It had been a reckless gamble, one that would have made her father cringe in shame, but one that worked because the tension snapped, fizzling a little bit. Granting her an opening she might not have had otherwise.
         “Be honest.” She glanced at the sergeant major, who looked ready to brain the first officer or sergeant that raised his hand. “Never mind, don’t answer that.” She shot a quick grin at the sergeant major and a few more chuckles drifted out of the crowd. “Look, we all know that I’ve got you held captive for an hour and we can stand here and stare at each other or maybe we can talk about what’s going on that we’ve got so many soldiers willing to hurt themselves.”
         She made the mistake of looking in Reza’s direction.
         He was watching her, his dark gaze intense, his mouth flat. At least he wasn’t glaring at her. That was progress, she supposed.
         She gripped the pen in her hand and motioned toward the men before her. “So maybe we can put aside the canned slides and talk about why you hate the shrinks. And maybe I can explain what it is that we do. And maybe, if we work together, we can save a life.”
         The silence was back, a wet blanket settling over the room. She glanced around as the brief opening she’d attempted to walk through shriveled and shrank.
         “I have a question.” Reza raised his hand. His eyes glittered darkly. “Sergeant First Class Iaconelli, ma’am. My question is: Why do we have to spend so much time chasing after the shitbirds who are smoking spice or some other shit that’s not meant for human consumption and then when we try to throw them out, you all stop the process and tell us they have PTSD?”
         “Ike, your attitude is part of the damn problem.” All eyes turned in the direction of a hard-looking sergeant first class. He had no hair and there was a hint of a black tattoo ringing his neck. Sergeant First Class Garrison was a big man. “Intimidating” was too light a word for him. And yet, on his left hand, a wedding ring shone bright gold. Someone had tamed this man. She found herself wondering at the woman who’d married him then pulled her thoughts sharply into focus. “You can’t run around calling our soldiers shitbirds. They’ll always do what you expect and if you expect them to screw up, they’re going to live up to your expectation.”
         “I don’t expect them to be smoking it up in the barracks on the weekend,” Reza snapped.
         Emily held up one hand. “Sergeant Garrison, thank you for getting straight to the heart of the matter. What you’re talking about is not simply about drug abuse. You’re talking about soldiers who are self-medicating. Instead of using the proper channels to seek care, they’re choosing instead the easier path of smoking marijuana, or what is it you called it? Spice?”
         “It’s synthetic marijuana, ma’am,” Garrison said.
         She’d had no idea there was such a thing, let alone that soldiers were smoking it. “Thank you. Regardless of their drug of choice, the reason for using is often to deal with symptoms of anxiety that they’re otherwise managing or not managing very well.”
         Reza lifted his hand and she swallowed the flit of nerves in her belly as she pointed at him. “Yeah, well, I’ve got real warriors who need help who won’t go to the damn R&R Center because there’s all these slick-sleeved little punks in there trying to get out of drug charges.”
It was a cold statement, one that shook her, reminding her that this was not a sympathetic room. And that Iaconelli was not a sympathetic man.
         “You raise an interesting point, Sergeant Iaconelli. The facts are that most of our suicides over the last two years have been among first-term soldiers who have never deployed,” she said, speaking loudly to cover the nervous waiver in her voice.
         Garrison straightened where he’d been leaning against the wall. “Y’all know I got blown up a little over a year ago. I had a really tough road back. The thing I learned over that time is that our boys are struggling. Whether we see it or not, our boys need our help.” He turned his gaze to Emily.
         Reza scowled and shook his head. “Look, Garrison, you’re not the only one who got blown up downrange. But the point I’m trying to make is that it’s our boys who won’t go get the help because of all the ash and trash taking up the appointments.”
         Emily held up her hands but Garrison interrupted her. “Ike, you need to shut your damn mouth. Just because you drink yourself to sleep every night as therapy doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t need a different way to cope.”
         “Fuck you, Garrison,” Reza spat. “I’m the reason the rest of your platoon came home from the last deployment.”
         A red-haired sergeant stood. His right hand was bunched in what looked like a perpetual half grip and it took Emily a moment to realize that it was a prosthetic hand. Her skin went cold. She’d never seen physical evidence of the war this close before.
         “Girls, girls. Can we please listen to the good captain explain to us the services she offers? I for one would like more information on how to not accidentally almost kill myself in the future.”
         The room groaned beneath the joke and Emily saw his name tag. Staff Sergeant Carponti. His eyes lit with an impish grin and she wished she knew the story behind how the young sergeant was able to defuse the anger between the two big sergeants with such ease.
         “That’s not funny, Carponti.” Reza settled back against the wall.
         “It was my accidental overdose. I’ll make jokes if I want to,” Carponti said. “You can’t because that would just be wrong on multiple levels. But I can make all the inappropriate jokes I want.” He turned and grinned in Emily’s direction and she instantly liked him. “How do we fix this shit, ma’am?”
         “There are no easy answers,” Emily said once everyone’s attention was off the two combatants. “But while Sergeant Iaconelli mocks the issue of bad homes, the simple fact is that the generation of soldiers we are dealing with have been raised differently than many of us were. A large portion of our force comes from broken homes, have been victims of trauma at a very young age.” She deliberately avoided looking in Reza’s direction. “What I’d like you all to think about is the fact that many of you are combat veterans. Many of you have lived through terrible experiences as adults. But how would your life be different if you’d been beaten as a child? Or sexually abused? You can mock the younger generation and say they’re weak.” She paused, scanning the faces of the warriors in front of her, looking for any sign that her words were breaking through their hardened shells. “Or you can look at the fact that some of them are even functioning as an act that takes the greatest strength.”





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Want to read more about this book? Check out our fun group discussion HERE (pst, there's a GIVEAWAY involved!)

Really, what more can we say? If you are not already reading this author, you are missing out on something truly AMAZING! 





Enjoy!


Until Next Time,


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  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

5 comments :

  1. Can't wait for Jessica to read these!

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  2. Ahh I'm reading everyone's reviews today and feeling a bit jealous! I so need to get caught up on the series. Love she blew all of yall away <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh yes, take a week, catch up on the series, be prepared with tissues and chocolate and everything else you need to cope! :)

    ReplyDelete

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