Fear Us – a review

** I received a free advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Fear Us is the third book in the Broken Love series.  The first two books were about Kieran and Lake, and this book picks up four years after the events of Fear You to tell the story of Keenan and Sheldon.

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KEENAN
It’s been four years since I ran away—from home, my brother, and my maybe father. I created a life free of expectations while pretending I wasn’t being hunted by all of the above. I managed to stay under the radar all this time… or so I thought. When big brother shows up and saves my ass, I’m forced to face everything I left behind, including her.

SHELDON
It’s been four years since I became another statistic. I made a lot of mistakes when it came to Keenan Masters. The first was loving him at all. He took something from me the night he left, and when I told him I still loved him, he told me he’d always hate me. After that, I learned how to be okay… until he came back. Gone was the boy who always knew how to make me laugh, and in his place was a cold, arrogant monster.


I’m sorry to say, but I didn’t love this book. I know. Disappointing.

I loved the first two. They are deliciously dark, the hero on the edge of being unredeemable. Keenan stepped over that line for me though. There really wasn’t anything wrong with this book per se, and you might love it. I don’t want to hate on a new author, especially after the first two books were so much fun, but Fear Us did not work for me.

Here’s why.

The plot of this book makes it take a very different turn form the first two. If you remember, back then all the characters were in the twelfth grade. Four years have passed without anyone having contact with Keenan. They are only 22 or so but each of the characters seems really jaded and bitter about life and still as immature as their high school selves.

*** minor spoilers ahead ***

This plot begins with Sheldon having raised her and Kieran’s 3yo daughter alone (gotta love that breakup sex). He doesn’t know she even exists because they couldn’t find him after he took off.  Right before he comes back to town to make peace with the past, the little girl is kidnapped. Now this is the main crux of my beef with the story.

I didn’t love the whole kidnapped child plot. It just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t feel like it was advancing the story, just the opposite in fact, and in terms of locating her, there’s no news no news no news, oh look we found her! (there’s that minor spoiler). But there isn’t any narrowing down of the suspects or clues leading into that, they pretty much just stumble across her and she is perfectly fine and not scarred at all from her experience.

Um Hello?!?! Not believable at all.

Unfortunately, that was a large part of the tale. At the time I was reading this story, another little girl the same age had been kidnapped in real life and it was all over the news. Unfortunately, she and her family did not have a happy reunion. It was pretty much the worst outcome possible. So as I was reading Fear Us I kept seeing that little girl’s face, and imagining her family. Definitely took the pleasure out of the romance.

Keenan and Sheldon couldn’t draw me in. Their scenes didn’t keep me entertained. So much so that I had to go back and look up their names to write this review, even though it’s been less than a fortnight since I finished reading it. The drama was overdone and unrealistic.

The interactions between the characters didn’t feel sincere or legitimate. I detest the way that the little girl was characterized (see, I have to write “the little girl” because I can’t remember her name and don’t want to go back and look another name up). She isn’t at all scared of this strange man she has never met and instinctively knows that he is her Dad. Even when she witnesses him treating her mother poorly, she is Daddy’s Little Girl. This kid just survived a traumatic kidnapping! I’m pretty sure she would be clinging to her mom for quite a while, not too trusting of strangers (especially big scary male strangers) and wouldn’t cheerfully stay with a series of babysitters.

Sorry, B.B. Reid. I just didn’t like this one. I’m still read Willow and Dash’s story and hope I fall back in love with this series. But Fear Us was Save Us in my opinion.

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xx

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Craving Constellations by Nicole Jacquelyn – a review

Nicole Jacquelyn writes an outlaw MC series that is full of strong-willed, dominant bikers with out-spoken alpha females at their sides.

The first book in the series is Craving Constellations. It features a daughter of the Aces MC who grew up in the club, only to abandon the only family she has ever known while in college. Now she returns five years later, seeking protection for herself and her daughter from her abusive husband, bringing with her luggage full of secrets.

Craving Constellations introduces the Aces MC and sets up several characters to have their own books. It also informs the reader of many of the rules that guide this world; protecting family and the club, keeping loyal to this family and never leaving, the patriarchal rules of respect that guide interactions between members and the consequences for breaking any of these rules. Unfortunately, Brenna has broken most of them and is going to have a rough return to the world that was her home for the first 18 years of life.

Craving constellations

Book Blurb:

“How is it, that someone can make decision after decision attempting to get away from their past and somehow end up right back where they started?”

When Brenna decided to leave the only life she’d ever known, she never thought she’d ever be back. Now, five years later she’s running from her clean cut husband straight back to the motorcycle club that raised her… and the man she left behind. She left with a secret, and as soon as she returns the truth will break her carefully constructed life wide open.

—             —                —

I loved the poetry of this novel. The idea that Brenna sought to extricate herself from the oftentimes violent world of an outlaw motorcycle club, just to end up in greater danger in an emotionally and physically abusive marriage that sends her running back home for safety is intriguing. It brings to bear the idea of destiny and whether any of us can escape our pre-determined fate. Brenna felt that she kept making the same mistakes, no matter how many times she thought she was choosing differently, which has been a recurring theme in my own life the last several years.

Jacquelyn weaves complicated tapestries throughout her novels, and takes the time to allow her characters to grow and mature. Every time I felt that I knew these characters and their stories, something else will bubble up that takes the reader by surprise. One revelation, which the reader learns with Dragon, settled a hard pit of sadness and anxiety in my stomach. It is at this moment that you realize just how screwed up life has been for Brenna and her daughter and it tears apart their little family and the safety and security she thought they had found.

I highly recommend checking out this series. It is more complex that many other MC books on the market and limits the “club business” aspect of these stories to a minimum, a bonus if that isn’t your thing.

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xx