Review: Substitute Boyfriend by Jade C Jamison

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Substitute Boyfriend by Jade C. Jamison

Jade C Jamison is, admittedly, one of my favorite authors.   Her Bullet Rockstar Romance series is one of the best ones out there, not just because it spawned my favorite book boyfriend,  but because of the depths of emotion and the gritty realism I could relate to entirely too well.  Eventually I also read her Nicki Sosebee series, which is romantic suspense, and her standalones,  including Finger Bang, which Substitute Boyfriend is a spinoff of.  It is not necessary to read FB first, but it is a fun and cute read.

I am not entirely sure what I was expecting from Substitute Boyfriend, but I didn’t expect the deep revelations I am still digesting that came to me as I read this one.  I will get to that in a few, but first, I have to say that this was a fantastic quick read on so many levels.  Fun, quirky, SEXY, and actually, incredibly romantic to me.  At first glance, and probably never to some who dwell on fairytale romance, it might not seem that, but once again, Ms. Jamison has snuck up and sucker punched me with a story that hits home.

Beth/Lizzie/Eliza is an English professor at a community college by day, and, unbeknownst to all closest to her, an author of erotic romance by night.  Worried that her ability to write sexy scenes could become repetitive, with alcohol added courage, she has found Ridley,  her pretend boyfriend, to help her work out details – to “test drive” some of the ideas she comes up with for her fictional characters, just to make sure that they could realistically work.  This situation has worked for some time with her bad boy pretend boyfriend, but she begins to wonder if she would ever be able to toss the pretend part of the moniker, though she realizes Ridley has plenty of all too human (as opposed to fantastic book boyfriends) flaws, and very little in common outside of their unconventional relationship.  Though I will vehemently defend that guys and girls can be platonic friends, I will also say that I think it would be nearly impossible to set up a template like Beth has with Ridley and not wonder about more, no matter how different they are.

When Ridley tells her he has plans for a night when she calls last minute, she decides to go out to the bar she first met him in.  She wasn’t completely shocked to see him there with another woman, but it hurt, nonetheless.   This spurs our introduction to her best friend, Roman.  Roman is a pysch professor at the same community college she teaches at, and they have conversations that turn lunches into all afternoon affairs, they are concert buddies, they occasionally even work out together, and generally keep each other sane in their shared workplace insanity.  She has never thought of him as more than a friend, though she admits he is a good looking guy, probably to preserve the best friendship she has ever had.

She runs to Roman after the Ridley humiliation, and finally shares her alter ego with her friend, and the entire pretend boyfriend situation.  He suggests a substitute for the pretend boyfriend, and get your fan ready for a HOT ride to come.  Enjoy every moment of it!  The only possible complaint I could have about this one is that I want more!  This one will definitely be read again; there is simply too much I loved about it.

And sometime down the road we can have a long conversation about where women get the horribly misguided idea that their boyfriends shouldn’t be their friends….

Obviously for a mature audience only for explicit sexual content.

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If you need a little mood music to go along with this one, go with one of my all time favorite cover songs, Great White’s Substitute.

Review: The Promises We Keep by RCMartin

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The Promises We Keep

by RC Martin

I have been a fan of RC Martin’s since I found out about her novella, Encore Worthy, her first foray into rockstar romane, which my readers will know is where my passion lies.  I had read one or two of her Made for Love series, but decided it was well past time I start at the beginning and work through them all.  Ever feel like things happen for a reason?  Years ago, I would have scoffed at the idea, until I really started reflecting on my relationship with the man who has been my husband for the last 6.5 years.   After meeting him on my 21st birthday and reconnecting after a series of recurring dreams, fate became harder to resist, but I digress.  The point is that I have known about this book for over a year, but just now got around to reading it, and I am pretty positive that fate had a hand in that.

Though this book is about college students, and age group that I am further removed from than I would care to admit, that brings with it messages that are much more timeless. I guess I may be in the midst of a mid-life crisis (no matter how I try to tell myself that I am much too young for such a term to apply – the years truly do go faster and faster as life goes on.)  I have known for some time that something is missing, and I have even admitted that part of that is the way I have unwittingly wound up further from my spiritual center than I have ever been, even though things in my past would have realistically taken me there at least 2 other times in my younger years.   Somehow when I finally found some inner peace and belief in myself, even though I was facing physical hardships, I drifted without even  really realizing it.  This book is what I would consider a contemporary Christian romance.  While faith has a place in all of RC’s books that I have read, it is more of a central part of this book.  Those aspects truly screamed at me at this moment in my life.

I haven’t read any other reviews of this book, intentionally,  though that is out of the norm for me as I sit to write my review.  I am guessing any negative reviews say that it is hard to follow.  I really did not struggle with that, but because it serves to introduce many characters who will show up in later books in the series, and because the book mainly focuses on the relationships of twin sisters, I can understand.  Personally,  I quickly followed her transitions, and came to appreciate it as a whole.  The only part I struggled with,  at least early on, is the tendency of one twin to give everyone nicknames.  That becomes easier as the story goes on, but if you are reading it as a light, quick read it could be quite confusing.  I don’t feel this book is one that should be read in that manner, but I realize that each reader sees things differently, and I can admit that there are reasons that the romance genre is often looked down upon, as if it is not a true form of literature.  I will save that debate for another time, but I have to say that there is so much more than romantic fluff going on with this one.

Spirituality,  Christianity,  letting God into your life – letting Him guide, are wildly important themes throughout this book, and it delves deeply into how that relationship drives our 4 main characters, and at least one secondary.  Each has a different history, vastly different in the case of the male characters, but all are driven by their spiritual beliefs and relationships with God.  The girls, being twins, are a bit more similar, but since they are in very different places in their romantic relationships, their differences are highlighted in that way.

Being a generation beyond college age, I can’t say with any certainty how common their beliefs and attitudes are in this day and age, but I found them to be very refreshing.  I was raised with the attitude that religion is not to be a topic of conversation among friends, and not considering my church friends to truly be my close friends except for a few years in my 30’s,  it is foreign territory to me.  Again, very refreshing, but thoroughly foreign at the same time.

Beckham and Addison have been together for 5 years, and are deeply in love, but he finds himself in an extremely anxious state over the idea of marriage.  After a talk with his father, he decides the only way to overcome his trepidation is to take a temporary break from Addie.   This is a deeply spiritual journey for him, and though it breaks Audie’s heart, as she does not understand (and honestly, he doesn’t fully understand either) it becomes a spiritual journey for her as well.  Both try to sort their feelings in journals,  and it all just clicked for me even though I had trouble understanding Beck’s mindset as well.  It did prompt me to purchase and start a journal myself, for the first time in 20 years or so, but, in only two days, I am understanding completely the concept there.  Avery and Grayson have a completely opposite relationship.  Though both are crazy about each other, neither believes that the other is into them.  The “breakup” of Addy and his best friend somehow spurs Gray to finally make a move, and their being a couple pleases all of their friends almost as much as it does the happy couple themselves  Gray’s broken past causes some issues from time to time, especially leaving him feeling he is not good enough for Ave.  That is certainly relatable Forrester me, and I would guess to almost everyone.  Avery has her own issues, feeling she is too plain send inexperienced for the star quarterback.

 

In her pain, Addison finds herself in a yoga class taught by a very handsome man, who becomes a close dried after she breaks down in tears during the first several classes she attends.  He also happens to be the hot new bartender at the restaurant/bar she and her best friend, Sarah work at (the one Sarah has gone on and on about).  One of the things I found most charming about Roman was the way he unapologetically told her that I would be praying for her; whether it was her thing or not, it was his.  From reading other books in the series I know who both Sarah and Roman wind up with, but it was really fun . See these other sides of each of them.  I am most definitely looking forward to Romans book, as “His person” has a secondary part in this book as well, and I can’t wrap my head around the two of them together.  Roman’s sister, Daphne, is another character I look forward to getting to know batter.  (For the revord, I absolutely love Sarah’s book – which I am almost positive is book 3.)

Though I am not shy about admitting I am a Christian,  I usually avoid reading “Christian fiction”, especially of the romance genre.  I chose to read this book based on a enjoyment of RC Martin’s other books, not realizing what a large part faith would play in this one.  I will admit that the timing, for me, was perfect, but I will stand by the quality of the book, regardless of the Christian theme.

This book can probably be considered YA, in spite of a couple of scenes that would tip the scales toward NA.  The extremely well written sexy time scenes I adore in other works of Ms. Martin’s are all but absent in this one, as is foul language.  This book gets very high recommendations from me, even realizing that, for me, this is largely a case of “right book, right time” for me.  I KNOW, without a doubt, that this one will stick with me for a long time to come, and will quite likely be one of those very, very rare for me, books that I will almost certainly re-read.

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5 Spiritually Enlightening Stars