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Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
J&G: ✯✯✯✯✯ Fantastic stars!
“Nah, princess. I’m a shattered fucking mess.”
“You’re my perfectly flawed, shattered fucking mess.”
Jenny: ABSOLUTLEY FLOORED!!!! Here was a rock star book I could really sink my teeth into. A no holds barred, gritty account of the struggles of a flawed hero in a true sex drugs and rock and roll tale. A rock star story that was told with a realism that gripped me from the first page and never let go!
“We’re both just a fucking mess, hug? Chasing after things that’ll kill us.”
Stevie J Cole depicted her story with a vividness that had me experiencing first hand the highs, lows, frailties, temptation, and an intensely loving yet dysfunctional love story where I lived and breathed every moment right alongside the characters. There was an undeniable truth in the telling of this story that enabled me to actually feel every written word. This author NAILED IT!
“That shit sucks the life out of you. It takes away ambition, it takes your soul, and it takes away everything you love.”
Roxy and Jag’s story is no hearts and flowers romance though it indelibly touched my heart. Their story is honest, it’s gripping and it’s one that had my emotions reeling. I constantly flipped between anger, sadness, exasperation, hopefulness, joy, love, confusion. It was a roller coaster and I relished every second.
“I want something different. I’m not asking for a fairytale. I just want anything besides a nightmare.”
Told with a truth that bordered on uncomfortable, here was an author who ‘showed’ me her flawed characters as she made me ‘feel’ me every despairingly ugly part of Jags need for his next fix. I experienced the warts and all struggle of a man constantly warring with himself between the love he feels for a woman who means everything to him and the drugs his body craves. Witnessing him teetering on the precipice of a downward spiral as the lines between Jag Steele the man and Jag Steele the rock god persona became blurred, damn near broke me.
‘It only takes one instance, one encounter to make you question who the fuck you are.’
I unashamedly wept at times as I lived the constant conflict, indecision and struggle with these characters throughout their story. Jag was a moving, gritty, compelling and sometimes uncomfortable account of the darker side of life in the spotlight that had me transfixed from the first to last page. My heart was desperately willing Roxy and Jag to prevail. This author got it so right! Ahhh the epilogue. Perfection! Sheer bloody perfection!
‘Drugs or her, bliss or pain; which one would I rather have?’
An absolute recommend from me Gitte, what did you think?
Gitte: Bloody brilliant; absolutely BLOODY brilliant! I enjoyed every single aspect of this story and didn’t put it down once as I sat reading completely transfixed with the life of Jag Steele. This isn’t glam rock with a drug addiction that’s been beautified and written as an afterthought nor is it masquerading as a rock star story. Rather, this feels like an honest depiction of the true constant struggle and the desperate ugliness of an illness. An illness that at times can be veiled in glorification. It’s real and in no way is it pretty, you’ll see this if you scratch the surface hard enough. It never will be pretty and it truly isn’t. It’s an illness which doesn’t discriminate nor is it a part-timer that every so often rears its pissed off ugly head.
“People like us have to live one day at a time.”
At times JAG felt so exceptionally personal and devastating that it made for hard reading. I felt like I was watching someone’s life crumble before my eyes. The emotion was intense; the human aspect heartbreaking, frustrating and unbearably morose. This is realism fictionalised. It was also incredibly exhilarating; sexy and passionate. The baring of souls and the hope rising like the phoenix out of the fire was extraordinary and gripping.
“Don’t let the past be a harbinger of your future. You’ve got to learn who you are..”
JAG is so incredibly raw and desperate. It’s ugly with its naked glare on drug addiction in the music industry and consequent fucked up relationships. Yet it showed courage, resolve and had such a fighting spirit ignited through love in the midst of chaos and stigmatization.
‘Everybody’s broken, chipped, damaged, and we just have to find the one person that can accept our flaws and love them, the one that can take the ugliest part of us and paint something beautiful with it.’
This story is bold and ambitious; it has the heart of a lion as it steers the reader away from false distortions. BRAVO Stevie J. Cole for writing with such dedication to have me, the reader, go through a multitude of emotions; from anger, to tears of absolute heartbreak to the sheer beauty of love and self-realisations. I cannot recommend JAG highly enough! This is a story that begs to be read and vividly experienced as two broken souls go on a journey of healing and self-empowerment.
‘I thought I was in control; but a stallion, a wild horse like that can’t be told what to do. I was never in control, and I knew I’d have to fight to keep that damn horse under control for the rest of my life.’
**Reviewed honestly from an ARC copy provided by the author with thanks**
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THE PANDEMIC SORROW SERIES by STEVIE J COLE