Every once in a while I find that I’m taken aback when I wrongly judge a book by it’s cover and find that my assumption, or perhaps presumption, rewards me with a very generous boon. When I read the synopsis of Craving Constellations and compared it with the cover I let my mind do a good amount of cancelling out. I will not allow you to do the same. This novel by Nicole Jacquelyn is phenomenal, but it has nothing to do with how attractive the cover is; it is pure gold inside it’s the wrapper.
For many people this will more than likely be a love or hate and all or nothing read for you. The subject matter is pretty offensive. The characters are rough and and often times unlikeable; many times their behavior is downright despicable. The lifestyle is in all likelyhood something that many could label white trash. But if you could get over your squabbles for two seconds on the color of the draperies and thread origins of the tapestries to think about the world that Nicole Jacquelyn has created, the credo of the brotherhood of the Aces MC and Brenna and Dragon’s story you would have to see that she successfully wrote an emotionally, compelling love story with amazekittens depth and fascinating dynamics between an incredibly large cast of secondary characters. This book, if not your preferred taste, is quality storytelling at it’s best. It might be harsh and Dragon might not be your ideal hero, but damn does Nicole deliver a poignant tale of desperate times in life on the edge.
Brenna grew up in the Aces MC, her father is actually the Chapter president and after escaping the lifestyle and finding out that the grass is just still grass on the other side–and not even any safer–she finds herself running back to him and the Aces for sanctuary. She is returning not only bearing the marks of abuse she has been living with from her respectable husband’s beatings, but the child of one of the MC members who has never known his daughter exists. These revelations aren’t happy ones at the Aces’ clubhouse despite how welcome both Brenna and her child are back to the fold.
The Aces are a tight Brotherhood and there are some lines you never cross and some rules never to be broken. Had Dragon know that it was Poet’s daughter he was coming on to the night he got his cut he would never had looked at Brenna twice. Even though he didn’t know who she was, she still should have known better not to let him make such a serious misstep and spend the night with her. By the time he had learned what it was he had done and who she was he was already so deep into his lie that he had broken many of the rules a man in an MC does not break. Looking at his baby girl certainly is the cat out of the bag and he’s not that ashamed of it; merely regretful. Brenna keeping her from him and letting the guy who beat her raise his child is something he can’t forgive.
The rules of the world do not apply in the Aces Motorcycle Club world. Being lawless to the outside and having their set of code within make life for both Dragon and Brenna subject to a constant scrutiny that is not unlike the times of Lords. The members are subject to a societal hierarchy and presentation of respect is more important than what might happen behind closed doors. Dragon is an Alpha male and he is demanding and controlling. Brenna and Trix are his and he will take care of them, protecting them and providing for them in all that they need. He is a prideful male and he will be recognized for being the man of the house. If he shows any weakness at all in the hierarchy at home it could affect his reputation in the clubhouse and how much respect he is given.
I think for me the hardest part of this book was probably how casual it was for the people in the club to react to some of the harsher things–although they are drug and gun runners so what was I supposed to be thinking? Brenna and Dragon playing house so quickly felt strange too. But then I think about people back home where I grew up. Life is a little bit rougher in the rural backwoods where there isn’t much money and less education; people truly live day to day. You don’t necessarily fight when someone comes to protect and provide for you when you are alone and vulnerable and it’s questionable about how you will feed your kids. You find away to stay safe. So I was constantly reframing my thoughts while reading this from, “That’s not what I would do.” to “Does that make sense for Brenna to do?” And for the most part I found that the way Nicole wrote Brenna made sense.
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Craving Redemption Synopsis:
Asa and Callie had nothing in common. He was an Ace, raised in the club and loyal to it above all else. She was a high school student with braces on her teeth and a narrow view of the world.
They should have never crossed paths.
But when Callie decides to defy her parents, and Asa goes on an errand for the club, their lives collide. He saves her, and she mesmerizes him.
They part believing they’ll never see each other again.
Neither could have predicted the chain of events they’d put in motion.
Now the two have to navigate the dark waters of a relationship built on tragedy and need without drowning in guilt for things outside their control.
How do you love someone when the worst decision of your life was the reason you met them?
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