Wednesday, 4 May 2016

REVIEW: Phoenix (Bellator Saga, Book 4) by Cecilia London

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One epic love. Two wounded souls. Three impossible words. Ripped away from each other by circumstances beyond their control. Reunited in a place they never expected. Separated but never quite apart. “You’re still the only woman I see. The only woman I need. I know you’re in there somewhere, sweet Caroline. We’re going to find you and we’re going to help you, until you come home to me where you belong. Then we’re going to finish what we started. Together.” Her confidence shattered, Caroline finally starts to deal with what happened at The Fed. Jack is determined to convince her that she’s more than she thinks she is. That she wasn’t destroyed by her experiences. That their relationship is worth the fight. But will he give up before it’s too late? Phoenix is the fourth installment in The Bellator Saga. It should be read after the first three novels in the series.

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5 ALL-for-Jack stars!!!

I’m letting you know now, my personal take, this is the next most challenging read after Conscience. Conscience was brutal with its graphic violence, but this, this was emotionally taxing. Maybe it’s because I’m completely vested in Jack and Caroline, that’s why I feel this way, or maybe not… I’m not sure anymore. After reading Cecilia’s acknowledgment at the end, she knows what it would do to her readers, and I wasn’t sure if I should ask her to give me a hug, or if I should actually wring her neck. Really evil and really genius to put me through this reading journey!!! Clearly, Cecilia's writing is not an issue. It feels like it's almost a given that you'll get brilliant writing. No, the issue is how she put me through the wringer with this one... 

This picks up right where Sojourn left. A new character is introduced to assist with Jack and Caroline’s healing. We also see a bit more of Caroline’s band of merry men. And while I do care for each one of them and find out what’s happening to them, I’m just too distracted with Jack’s and Caroline’s issues. This is focused mainly on Caroline and Jack facing the aftermath of that horrific time in Caroline’s life. First of all, you see firsthand the damage it’s done to Caroline’s psyche, and just like any traumatic event, it’s never just about the individual alone. There’s the ripple effect it creates that affects the loved ones too.

Just like the first 3 books, we see what’s happening currently interspersed with flashbacks, which I appreciated. Because the present was hard to process at times, it was good to see what made their relationship perfect in the first place. This captivating connection they have, sigh, it was beautiful to see. It serves as a nice reminder for what’s worth fighting for.

It honestly feels like I overestimated Caroline’s strength and resiliency, when it came to what she went through. She challenged me at every turn. Personally, I’ve seen enough of what Caroline was going through, courtesy of RL work, but the thing is, I’m not a professional. To see her go through what she was going through, I wasn’t always equipped to handle it at the level that Cecilia put me through. Again, I know Cecilia did say in her acknowledgment that she didn’t want to gloss anything over, but some parts were just really frustrating to get through… I was angry for her and angry with her. One moment I’d be almost pulling my hair, and next, my heart would go out to her. Anger and pain, I think that sums it up…

Jack, like Cecilia said in our Twitter convo (yes, I needed her virtual hand to hold me through this, ok??), this is a shining moment for him, and I couldn’t agree more. As if I could be any more in love with this dude!!! He was imperfectly perfect, with all his insecurities, and understanding of Caroline’s situation, learning to deal with it, and the depth of his feelings for Caroline, his words, his actions… gah, just perfect!!! I can’t even write properly anymore, gah!!!

The plot almost took a backseat with this book and I thought of it more as a study in character. Having said that, you know that there are things still at play, seeing we’re just still in the middle of their mission/journey. Towards the end, I was holding my breath, waiting for the shoe to drop. And drop it did! The end.

GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!tut-tut, Cecilia… What are you doing to me???

*whisper yells* What about book 5?


Cecilia London is the pen name of a native Illinoisan currently living in San Antonio, Texas. She's filled several roles over the course of her adult life - licensed attorney, wrangler of small children, and obsessed baseball fan, among others. An extroverted introvert with a serious social media addiction, she is the author of The Bellator Saga, an epic, genre-crossing romance series. You can catch all of her quirky updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or at her website.


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