Tuesday, March 4, 2014

[Discussion]: "It's Always Been You"

Today Kame, Pat, and I are discussing the newest novel from Jessica Scott, one of our favorite authors. Ben and Olivia finally get their own story, and Scott once again provides an amazing romance for us to savor.

To enter the giveaway I'm running for your choice of an ebook from this series, check out Kame's Character Interview with Jessica!

To read our reviews of this book, check out this post!

Please, have a seat and I hope you enjoy today's discussion! :)

It's Always Been You  by Jessica Scott
Publisher: Forever (March 4, 2014) 
Series: Coming Home, 5
Genre: Contemporary Romance

She plays by the rules . . . 

Captain Ben Teague is many things: a tough soldier, a loyal friend, and a bona fide smart-ass. He doesn't have much tolerance for BS, which is why he's mad as hell when a trusted colleague and mentor is brought up on charges that can't possibly be true. He's even more frustrated with by-the-book lawyer Major Olivia Hale. But there's something simmering beneath her icy reserve--and Ben just can't resist turning up the heat . . .

. . . and he's determined to break them

The only thing riskier than mixing business with pleasure is enjoying it . . . and Olivia can't resist locking horns--and lips--with Ben. He's got more compassion in his little finger than any commander she's ever met, a fact that makes him a better leader than he realizes. But when the case that brought them together awakens demons from Olivia's past, she will have to choose between following orders--or her heart . . .

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 (TBQ, Kame and Pat) ✦ Discussion
Back To You, #3 (TBQ, Kame and Pat) Discussion
All for You, #4 (TBQ, Kame and Pat) Discussion

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ 

Our Discussion:

Kame: Hi everyone – I am sort of sad to get this discussion going – this is our last “Coming Home” book for a while.

TheBookQueen: * cries * I know, I'm sad, too, but I have to keep reminding myself that Jessica needs the break – and perhaps we do, too, so we don't burn out on the series (I know, I know, as if!). :)

Kame: Ben – he is sort of a reluctant hero isn’t he? What were your impressions?
I myself enjoyed his witty comebacks. I think he felt becoming a commander meant he had to become someone he would hate. And to avoid hating himself he was going to lead but do it his way.  In my opinion I think he thought he needed to stand by Escoberra because he felt he failed him before.

Pat:  Ben definitely grew on me. I was a little frustrated with him in the start of the story. He seemed content to play the smart ass captain, hiding behind his banter. Being named commander seemed to be his wake up call, and seeing what he was up against, he wanted to save them all. Not understanding that saving them might not be in their best interest.

TBQ: Ben was definitely a unique hero, and I liked him. He didn't want to be a leader, and I could understand why. Ben did grow on me, too.

K: Olivia – Wow she was a tough character to get to know huh? I still have a few unanswered questions about her. I really wonder why she chose the army – when she could have possibly saved more families outside the military.

P: I remember Olivia in Reza and Emily's book, and she seemed such a good friend to Emily. It was hard to see her being somewhat of a hard-liner, but understandable when you know her history.  Her refusing to wear the combat patch, although technically she was allowed to, made me respect and admire her.

TBQ: Exactly, Pat – I did respect her for that alone. I was intrigued by Olivia's character in previous books, but I have to say, it took me a while to really connect with her in her own book. I'm not sure why, though . . . Perhaps it was just me and my mood while reading.

K: To me the plot was one of Jessica’s best. Everything seemed so real and plausible. I felt the stress Ben was under; I applauded him for the right things he was trying to do. While I thought Olivia was tunnel focused I understood that in that setting she had little leeway.

P:  I agree Kame, I think Olivia was very focused on the legal rules. But meeting Ben, and understanding his attachment, sometimes irrationally, to his men, softened her outlook one step at a time.

TBQ: * nods * I can't even begin to imagine all the stress involved in their positions; just reading about it was enough, actually living with that stress? It definitely takes a strong person! I could see why Olivia was so focused, but at the same time I could understand Ben's frustration with that at times.

K: We got to see some characters from other books. Did Foster surprise you?

P:  Yes, I was disappointed in Foster, but it seems he appreciated Ben's going out on a limb for him, and maybe it will turn him around!

TBQ: Ooh, yes! I was worried (a common occurrence when reading Scott's books!), but I am glad that Ben helped him, and I am anxious to see what happens next.

K: I was sooo happy we got to check in on Reza and Emily. They are doing great!

P:  It was so great to see Reza and Emily happy and together. I was really impressed with the way Jessica is handling his alcoholism. He understands it is a day to day fight, and it will never go away. That is the life of a recovering alcoholic. I think Emily definitely saved his career, and his life.

TBQ: It definitely helped to relieve some of my stress over those two – I loved seeing Reza deal with his addiction one day at a time, and I know that Emily will be there for him. I think everything's going to be okay, but of course I still want to see another peek or two into their lives in future books, just to be sure. :)

K: Me too – I want to see the proposal and their wedding, well and any other scene Jessica gives us.

Okay favorite scene?

P:   I had a lot if favorite scenes, but the one that keeps popping in my head is toward the end. Olivia goes to see Ben to let him know the paperwork is all signed. The office is dark, he's smoking a cigar, and WOW!  Very steamy, on a desk! It also is the scene where I think they realized that they actually loved each other. 

TBQ: LOL – Pat, that was one of my favorites scenes, too! :)

K: Hmmm it is tough for me I really liked the Epilogue. 

P:  The epilogue was perfect. Now we need epilogue II.

TBQ: Agreed; the epilogue was very well done!

K: Alright one of our favorite parts – favorite quote.

“Want a cookie?”

“Do I look like someone who enjoys cookies?” Sorren asked.

“What? Cookies make everything better. Not as better as, say, vodka, but hey it’s a start.”

K: I actually have that whole scene highlighted but I thought it might be a tad too long…I really like Sorren I want him to have his own book!

TBQ: Oh, I snorted when I read that page – I got a few stares from the people around me at the time. :)

P: Ben to Olivia....

"Are you teasing me? Because if you are, I think I need to make a note on my calendar that yes, you do officially have a sense of humor."

TBQ: * sighs * You two took my favorite quotes! Alright, let me see what else I highlighted . . .

Here's one:

“Wow, you're going all caveman. I'm not sure if I should swoon or wring out my panties.”

K: I feel like we need to have a moment – these past three months with a new “Coming Home” book every month have been great. All of these discussions have been so much fun, and I think it is because Jessica Scott writes such a great story. She is so talented, anyone can see she puts her whole self into the books. I look forward to whatever she publishes in the future – I hope we see some Sorren; I would love to see a few novellas checking in with favorite characters too.

P: Totally agree, I really want to read Sorren's story. I really enjoyed the way he worked Ben, and helped save him from himself. He's got some secrets to be told.

I have loved every one of Jessica's novels. I have learned so much about the military and the joys and sorrows these men and women face every day. Her non-fiction is as absorbing and entertaining as her fiction. She is a woman I deeply respect.

TBQ: I couldn't agree more! Kame, these past few months have definitely been a wild roller-coaster of awesomeness, but I think a break will be good for everyone involved. Pat, I feel the same way, Scott's books have impacted me in a huge way, and I, too, have a lot of respect for her.

Don't bring out the pitchforks or anything . . . I loved this book. But . . . it wasn't my favorite from the series. Am I alone in that?

K: I completely understand TBQ. This was not my favorite “Coming Home” book. For me I had a hard time with all the military references; I was trying to picture an orderly room in my head, I can’t do a hierarchy list of rank to save my life, and I have no clue what goes on in the motor pool. For some reason all that mattered in this book more than the others – so I sort of had to get out of the story in my head to try to work through that. BUT I still enjoyed it and was so happy I read it.

TheBookQueen: See, I am that way too -- I  can't keep the line of command straight if my life depended on it! Don't get me wrong, Scott does the best job at writing about such things (hm, I wonder why . . . first hand experience, perhaps? *smiles*), but even so, I still get lost at times, and that can throw me out of the story for a few minutes. 

It's sometimes hard to explain, but when a single book gets a slightly lower rating than the others, that doesn't mean I suddenly hate the series/author/books. Quite the opposite actually! Every series has a strong and a weak book in it, but that “weak” book is still just as important to the overall story arc, and fans will still enjoy it. You know what I mean? I feel like I'm just babbling now . .. Jessica, I swear, I still loved Ben and Olivia's book!

Pat:  TBQ, you said exactly what I was trying to form into words myself.  I did love Ben and Olivia, but the story didn't jump out at me. I guess you said it perfectly. "Every series has a strong and a weak book."  This story is by no means weak, but just different.  I enjoyed every page, it was just different.

Kame: This has been so much fun – Thank you TBQ and Pat for sharing your love of the “Coming Home” series with me. I think we will all be here ready to read the next installment when Jessica is ready!

Be sure to stop by Kame's fun interview with all the characters of the Coming Home series -- there's a great giveaway involved! :) 


Until Next Time,


  *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!

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