9/9/16

DOUBLE REVIEW + EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY: CHANGE OF HEART BY NICOLE JACQUELYN!

Title: Change of Heart
Series: Fostering Love #2 - Standalone
Author: Nicole Jacquelyn
Release Date: Sep 6, 2016
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SYNOPSIS:
They've spent their lives pushing each other away, but what will happen when they need each other most?
Anita Martin doesn't expect much from life. Growing up on the street, bouncing from one foster home to another, she learned to rely only on herself. Even after she finally found a loving family to take her in, she was still an outsider-something Abraham, one of the family's older sons, never let her forget.
Abraham Evans doesn't know how Ani always manages to get under his skin, only that's she's been doing it since they were teens. She is-and always has been-undeniably gorgeous. But he's never met anyone as pissed off at the world as Ani.
For fifteen years, Ani and Bram have agreed on exactly one thing: they can't stand each other-until one night when their anger gives way to passion. Yet even as Ani and Bram begin to secretly seek comfort in one another's arms, they remain emotionally worlds apart. When Ani's life takes a dramatic turn and she realizes she needs more than Bram can give, their fragile, no-strings relationship unravels. One way or another, Ani is determined to survive. But when Bram finally admits his true feelings, he may discover Ani has moved on without him . . .
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Change of Heart was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Hands down. Especially after reading Unbreak my Heart. I could barely breathe when I finished Shane and Katie's story. It was turbulent, yet phenomenal. Beyond phenomenal. So I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that I would be reading about Ani and Bram the moment it was in my hands. And let me tell you, it was FANTASTIC! 

This series, as a whole, is intoxicating. Each book is a stand-alone novel, about a new couple. That said, I really think you should read them in order, not because you'll get spoilers if you don't, (you won't they are perfect stand-alones) but because I think it's the perfect way to get the full feel for this family. Because that's what these books are really about! FAMILY. Not by blood (even though some are related) but chosen family. They have all chosen each other and it's incredible. The way they support one another is beyond heartwarming. 

I love the dynamic between these characters. It's what set this series apart. Each one has such a distinct and captivating voice. Nicole Jacquelyn is a brilliant writer who brings them to life vividly. It feels so real and it hurts so good. Raw, unfiltered, authentic, these characters have touched my heart completely. Honestly, Anita and Bram's story was everything I thought it would be. Highly emotional, turbulent, addicting, heart wrenching. Absolutely perfect! I'm so impressed with this series and this author, and I'm hoping that there's more to come! 

Anita and Abraham (aka, Ani and Bram) have had a love/hate relationship forever! They get a thrill out of getting a rise out of each other. And they're pretty shameless about doing it. There is nothing that Ani and Bram can't turn into an argument. They're fire and ice, oil and vinegar! But one night Ani decides to follow Bram as he leaves family dinner and they end up tangled in ways they never saw coming. 

This story is as sweet as it is painful. I wish I could give you a run down of all my favorite things about it, but that would be crazy spoilers. Just know this, it's going to give you the same buzz that Shane and Katie's book did. It's not as intense, not as volatile and insane, but it's definitely compelling, captivating and addicting. It's a one sitting read. You'll cry. You'll smile. You'll swoon. And you'll be thinking about it for days after. Really, a fabulous addition to a series I more than recommend.

My Rating:

When I read a book that I plan to review, I typically stop reading the book periodically to take some notes, to highlight, to jot down my thoughts that'll eventually make their way into my review. While reading Change of Heart, I did none of that. I devoured this book so hungrily, so feverishly, I didn't even stop to think. I finished it last night, and honestly, I still haven't stopped to think. All I can see are these characters and this brutally beautiful journey they took, the heated words they flung back and forth, the pulse pounding chemistry that exists been them, the completely tumultuous, unexpected course of events they took me through in this extraordinary story and I'm left without words. I don't even know what to say other than I loved this book so much and I'd rather be rereading it right now than attempting to write a well thought out review. But, alas, I'm going to try...
So, when I first read the blurb for Change of Heart, I thought it was about characters I'd never met before. Unbreak My Heart was one of my top favorite reads of 2016, probably one of my top favorite reads EVER. Shane and Katie's story completely blew me away in all the ways I love to be taken by a book. But I didn't remember Anita or Bram anywhere in that book. As soon as I started reading Change of Heart, it came back to me that both Shane and Katie came from big interconnected families that'd lived next door to each other, families comprised of biological siblings, adopted children, and foster kids. Bram and Anita of Unbreak My Heart are two of those kids and their story may have just bumped Shane and Katie's as my favorite Nicole Jacquelyn book ever, as my top favorite book of the year. Now that my memory has been refreshed on this large, colorful extended family, I can assure you I'll never forget them again. I'm also going to beg and plead that every single member of this family get their own story because I'm in love with all of them, and I just can't let them go.

I could speak for days about Nicole Jacquelyn's character development alone. The layers that make up these personalities, the meticulously crafted characterization confounded by their every word, every behavior, every emotion is just so devastatingly perfect. Anita is a heroine the likes of which I've never read. She's a small woman with a loud, abrasive personality, she's combative, she's hard around the edges and soft at her core. Bram is... Bram. Bram may have just become one of my most favorite leading men EVER. I don't even know where to begin with Bram. Every word out of his mouth, every bit of angry dialogue, every ounce of brokenness, every bit of the raw emotion he tries to hide behind this rough exterior, I CANNOT GET ENOUGH. The dynamic between these characters, I honestly just don't even want to try to describe it because I want every reader to experience them the way I did. From the first page, I was consumed by them. The pacing Jacquelyn crafts in their story is just spot on. Every single word on every single page is perfectly placed there to build an unforgettable, solid story and I don't think I could have loved it any more.

Change of Heart is the full package. I laughed. I cried large, ugly tears. My heart overflowed with joy, with anger, with frustration, with grief, with hope. I felt everything. Change of Heart is so many things: a sexy, angsty romance, a captivating family drama, a story of healing and acceptance. This book is an ode to our armed services and the sacrifices of their families and it really struck a chord with me, reminding me to appreciate those men and women more than I already do. It's a celebration of adoption and fostering and parenting and the bonds that make a family. It's as much of a heartwarming comfort read as it is a steamy romance. It's a messy, emotional, steamy love story that I want to relive again and again. But most importantly for a reader like myself, it's authentic. The authenticity and the honesty in this storyline and these characters is what has me so ensnared, it's what made me fall so deeply in love with every bit of this book. Nothing about Change of Heart felt contrived or flowery or forced. It's a wholly natural progression, such an honest portrayal of humanism and their reactions and emotions, and I will never forget it. I don't want to. Change of Heart is one of my top favorite reads of 2016, one of my favorite books EVER, and I can't wait to reread it again and again.

Jessica's Rating:

“Shut up,” I bitched, letting go of his back with one hand so I could grip his hair in my hand. “Please, just—” My words cut off on a strangled groan as he shifted and slid a finger inside me. No build up. No hesitance.

“Damn, you’re tiny everywhere,” Bram stuttered in surprise, making me chuckle then gasp.

“Pants,” I said frantically, my hips moving against his hand as my mind blanked. “Pants. Off.”

My hands went to his jeans, and he sighed against my face as I rubbed my hand down the length of him.

“I’m so hard, not sure if I can get them off,” he said half-seriously, pulling his finger from me in a slow glide.

“I have an exacto knife in the console,” I whispered back, our hands tangling as we pulled at his jeans.

“You’re not getting anywhere near my junk with a knife,” he hissed back, moaning as his jeans finally loosened and he pushed them down his hips.

“Commando?” I muttered as my hands hit warm skin.

“Need to do laundry.”

I laughed lightly as he leaned back to sit on his heels, grabbed his wallet out of his pocket, and pulled out a condom.

“Hurry,” I murmured as I reached down and wrapped my hand around his dick. Holy shit. Bram was packing. My lips turned up in a grin. “We’re working on borrowed time here.”

Bram’s head snapped up as he rolled on the condom, and he looked out the windows, making sure no one was nearby. “Shit.”

He looked down at me, then up at the windows, then down at me again before gripping my hips and yanking my lower body up so high that most of my weight was resting at the tops of my shoulders.

“What the—”

I let out a high pitched sound that I’m pretty sure I’d never made before in my life when his head dropped between my thighs and his mouth opened wide over my pussy. His beard rubbed softly against my thighs and the undersides of my ass cheeks, and I shuddered.

“Oh my God,” I mumbled squeezing my eyes closed as his tongue licked up my center, curling around my clit. The wet sound of his mouth opening and closing and licking and sucking filled the SUV, partnered with his groans and my heaving breaths.

At first, it just felt really, really good, but then, he focused in, rubbing over and over my clit with his tongue, bringing me closer and closer to orgasm. My body locked, and I clenched my teeth against the urge to scream.

Then he stopped and lowered my hips back down.

“No, no!” I lifted my hips frantically against his hands, “Don’t stop!”

“Shhh,” Bram murmured, coming down on top of me as I slapped at his shoulders. “Knock it off, Ani.”

I froze at the raspy sound of my name on his lips.

“You’re small,” he murmured, lifting my knee high until it was wedged between his arm and my ribs.

He pressed against me slowly, and my entire body relaxed to let him in. I rolled my hips slightly as he moved, and he pulled back out a fraction before pushing forward again. Doing it over and over until our bodies were completely locked together.

Wiping a hand over his beard, he shuddered, then leaned down to kiss me sweetly. “If I woulda waited until you came, you’d be too tight for me to get inside,” he said with a soft chuckle. “This way’s better.”

Then he began to move, shifting his hips just barely back and forth as he ground his pelvic bone against my clit.

My nails dug into his back as he pushed up until his arms were fully extended and looked down to watch my face. I didn’t know what expression I was making, and for a split second, it bothered me that he was watching me so intently, but then it began to build again. Faster and harder than before.

My muscles began to tighten and flex, and unable to control it, my leg that he’d been pressing up into his side shot straight down, my thighs wrapping around his hips like a vice as I came, making the fit of him inside me even more snug.

“Holy shit.” He snapped his hips forward hard as I pulsed around him, pulling back quickly and shoving forward again, over and over until my muscles went limp.

“Knees up,” he murmured frantically, leaning back to grip my jelly-like legs beneath my knees. He pressed them to my chest and then began to really move, pulling out almost completely and sliding back in hard three or four times before his movements went clumsy and he jerked, groaning deep in his throat.

He fell down to his elbows above me and rested his lips against my shoulder as we each caught our breath.

But as my breathing slowed, my heart began to pound.

What the hell did we just do?


When Nicole Jacquelyn was eight and people asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she told them she wanted to be a mom. When she was twelve, her answer changed to author. Her dreams stayed constant. First, she became a mom, and then during her senior year of college--with one daughter in first grade and the other in preschool--she sat down and wrote a story.  



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