Author: J. S. Cook

SIXTEEN SONGS ABOUT REGRET by J. S. Cook

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: Publisher
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
SIXTEEN SONGS ABOUT REGRET by J. S. CookSixteen Songs About Regret by J. S. Cook
Published by Dreamspinner Press Genres: Contemporary, MM
Reviewed by Lisa

Most would envy the glamorous life of world famous pop star Abelard, otherwise known as Simon Duckworth.  None however would envy the childhood that made him, living with his parents’ screaming matches, the emotional tug of war over him after their divorce, and finally the night his father’s friend raped him.

The world will see a brilliant pianist and singer while inside Simon is a broken, shattered soul barely surviving.  Fate hands him a small gift the night he meets Stephen Abednego.  Together they make for an incredible songwriting duo, but more importantly Stephen becomes the only person Simon feels truly safe with. 

Into their lives comes manager/promoter Jacky Stride.  He also loves Simon, too much perhaps, quietly jealous of Simon’s attachment to Stephen.   Their discordant love triangle works for the most part though too often tempers flare to the boiling point.  The world sees unparalleled success and beautiful music.  No one sees their fragmented love or watches Simon implode whenever he pushes Stephen away.  One day there will be too many pieces to put back together again.

Angst ridden drama consumes the characters in Sixteen Songs about Regret.  The dark side of life is broken down here with drugs, alcohol, suicide attempts, and the rape of a child.  Sixteen Songs about Regret deals with emotionally fraught, damaged souls and digs deep into the human psyche.  Detailed, descriptive scenes might be too strong for some readers, so be warned.  Also, Simon and Stephen’s love is not flowers and sonnets, it’s a difficult and harsh love.  Sixteen Songs about Regret challenges and shapes a unique love story.

BUT NOT FOR ME by J. S. Cook

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: Publisher
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
BUT NOT FOR ME by J. S. CookBut Not for Me by J. S. Cook
Published by Dreamspinner Press on 2013-03-01
Genres: Gay, Historical
Pages: 310
Reviewed by Lisa

Gangster Nino Moretti's world is a series of contrasts between extreme wealth and abject poverty, an unstable existence punctuated by booze and bullets. For Nino, the gangster lifestyle is even more dangerous because he is a finnochio-a gay man-in a position of absolute power at the head of his own criminal organization. When Nino rescues beautiful mob accountant Stanley Zadwadzki from a violent assault at the hands of sadistic rival gangster Big Frank O'Hara, both Nino and Stanley become hunted men. Stanley places himself under Nino's protection as Nino's accountant and unofficial companion. As a warning, Frank murders Nino's office boy. In a quest for revenge, Nino tracks Frank to Little Italy, where the resulting confrontation forces him to shoot a bystander to protect Stanley. With a gang war looming, Nino must set aside his feelings and concentrate on asserting his superiority over Big Frank-or lose everything he holds most dear.

Growing up Nino Moretti experienced brutal poverty and knew exactly what he wanted as an adult – respect, power and wealth.  Clawing his way up the ladder by any means necessary Nino made good on his wish to control a major piece of the criminal underground in New York.

Leaving Kansas with plans of a bright future as an accountant in the Big Apple, Stanley Zadwadzki unfortunately ends up in the hands of mob boss Big Frank O’Hara.  His life becomes a living hell at the hands of Big Frank and his bullying cohorts.

A meeting between mob leaders marks Nino’s first look and instant attraction to Stanley before Big Frank smacks the slim accountant to the ground.  Risking it all Nino takes Stanley for his own and strikes the first spark in a mob war that begins to threaten the innocent and the criminals alike.  Bullets and blood and an escalating death count won’t stop now until everyone is dead.

The 1920’s Gangster Era comes vividly to life in But Not For Me.  A descriptive, detailed feel for the time, their diction and sexual attitudes intensely flavor the tale of a tough guy and a traumatized young man.  Nino and Stanley’s romance is a pivotal point in this plotline, but this is not a typical type of love.  There are only a few moments of tenderness in the entire story and little enough love.  But Not For Me is a fascinating mob story with a hint of romance at best.

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