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Because of You by Jessica Scott
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Because of You (2011)

by Jessica Scott

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I must confess that I choose this book because of its cover (sexy :)) and because I adore Suzanne Brockmann and everything military related. I was curious and hoping that this was something good and enjoyable...well, did I get a big surprise.
Jessica Scott is from now on on my top shelf of authors that I will definitely read. It's easy to see that she's a new author, the story is sometimes repeated, some ideas are tossed around and never developed, but the passion which the story is written compensated all of that.
I loved Shane and Jen even without knowing what will become of them. The way they meet, the way they handled things is so well written that you can feel it in your bones. They're flawed, but human and as the rest of us, they have to struggle in finding their way home again. All the other characters were well developed and well placed in the plot, giving another perspective of things.
I believe that Jessica Scott, with her military career, made excellent job mixing the harsh reality of war with real life. Kudos for Jessica and I hope you'll be writing more because I will definitely read you. ( )
  Lost_Lenore | Feb 19, 2014 |
A realistic look at military life makes this a surprisingly dark and angsty novel. Shane's time overseas looking out for his men and his guilt when he fails were stark reminders of what our soldiers deal with on a regular basis.

Jen's brush with breast cancer - and subsequent mastectomy - added another dark note to the story. While I think both situations were well written and realistic, I think the story would have benefited from some levity. While engrossing, it tended toward the dramatic and depressioning, which didn't make for a very feel good read.

Despite that, I enjoyed the journey both Shane and Jen embarked upon - both together and separately. I

The secondary plot featuring Shane's commander left me feeling frustrated and annoyed. The cliffhanger seemed unnecessary given the bulk of the story was focused on Shane and Jen. I'm anxious for more information.

I'm glad the story was left with a Happy for Now ending, rather than a HEA. Shane and Jen still have some things to work out between themselves. I don't know that I would have believed an ending the included marriage and babies.

Though this was a darker novel, I enjoyed it and look forward to more from Scott. ( )
  cranberrytarts | Sep 22, 2013 |
Edit (Sept 2012): I didn't round up the stars like I've been doing lately. Rectifying that.

4.5 stars rounded up to 5

I am a part of the military community and a military spouse. Therefore I will throw myself into any story involving military heroes, so this story was sure to capture my attention. Some parts of this story hit close to home, which caused a major snot fest. The characters are tough but tortured, brave but conflicted – their struggles and their pain, both emotional and physical, are raw and honest. In some cases it's a matter of not being able to truly understand the choices some of these characters make unless you know what it's like to be in their shoes. Regardless, I loved this story because I could empathize.

Shane Garrison is getting ready to deploy for a years tour in Iraq. The night before his deployment, he receives divorce papers. The demise of his marriage goes down without much fanfare, which causes him to reflect on the decisions he's made, as well as come to terms that he may not be cut out for marriage. He's a true soldier through and through. As the leader, he's responsible for every man in his company. That earns him not only the respect and loyalty of his men, but it also makes him internalize their struggles; he always feels the need to fix things. Putting his men above everyone else and his dedication to his job are most likely what led to his wife's infidelity. On his last night stateside, he and his men gather at their regular watering hole where he meets Jen for the first time. By the end of the evening, they share a kiss that gives him a little hope for the future, and it will have to be enough to sustain him on his deployment. The opportunity arrives sooner than he thinks when he's badly injured in an IED explosion which sends him back stateside to recover, and right into Jen's care.

Jen St. James knows all about death, pain and avoidance. She has come to terms with her mastectomy, but she feels incomplete and anything but feminine. She won't let a man near her for fear that her scars will run him off. Then she shares a kiss with Shane and she's faced with a longing she has fought to suppress for a long time. Too bad he's set to leave the next day. When he returns to her, battered and broken, they finally get the opportunity to forge a friendship, though awkward and strenuous at first. It pains her to watch that brave man fall into a dark abyss of helplessness. It seems if anyone could understand him just a little, it would be her. Choosing to divulge her deepest, darkest secret scares her to death, but once she does, the tables turn on her and she has to face the fact that she's somewhat of a hypocrite. However, helping Shane also helps her to learn to trust. The journey to that point seems littered with obstacles, but together they learn there's a lot to live and be thankful for.

This story took me on an emotional roller coaster. The struggles of wounded combat soldiers is something we've all heard about, but reading about it in detail makes one more … aware. The descriptions of the sh*tty accommodations on base for soldiers is sadly true. I still feel my skin crawl when I think of my husband's office. I'm surprised most buildings aren't condemned. I always remember him telling me how military members are labeled as “equipment”, and it just seemed to me that they're treated as such, as evidenced by the miserable ba*tard, Lt. Randall.

The story not only deals with the PTSD that soldiers come home with, but also the trials of the military spouses who have to watch their loved ones deploy over and over again; left behind to raise their children alone, trying to give them as normal a life as possible, and fight the daily fear of men in uniform showing up at their door. I felt so much more for Laura and Trent than I did Vic and Nicole. The latter had a unique dynamic for dealing with all the craziness, partially due to Vic's sense of humor. Laura and Trent are a completely different story. Her heartbreak could be felt so deeply, it made me cry. As her fears and doubts creep in, due to his lack of communication, she comes to a very difficult decision. Some people might say that she's being selfish, that he's probably too busy trying not to get blown up to call her regularly. While that is true to a certain extent, it would be unfair to forget everything that she has given up as well. There are no winners in a war, neither on the battlefield nor in matters of the heart.

The story ends on a cliffhanger, so I can't wait for Ms Scott's next book when we finally get to learn more about what happened to Trent over in Iraq, and whether or not he can save his marriage. ( )
  MsRomanticReads | Apr 12, 2013 |
Originally posted at Romance Around the Corner

Because of You marks the debut of author Jessica Scott. It seemed to me like everyone was reading and loving this book. I kept hearing great things about it and since I don’t like feeling like I’m missing out on something -and I love military romance- I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did.

Shane Garrison is an Army infantry sergeant about to leave for Iraq. He’s an honorable guy, responsible and committed to his work and to the soldiers he’s responsible for. The Army is his life and he is willing to do and sacrifice anything for it. The night before leaving he meets nurse Jen St. James. Sparks fly but they don’t give in to the attraction because he’s about to deploy and she’s recovering from the physical and emotional scars that breast cancer left her with.

A few months later Shane is seriously wounded and is now a patient at the Fort Hood hospital where Jen works. The road to recovery isn’t easy but thankfully he has Jen to help him through it, the connection between them is there but in order to have a normal and healthy relationship they must deal with their insecurities, scars and emotional baggage first.

In case you were wondering, this isn’t a romantic suspense. I know that when the characters are in some way connected to the military the rule is that the book immediately becomes a romantic suspense, there’s a bad guy in pursuit, and the leads must run for their lives. This is not the case here. The book is labeled as a contemporary romance, and that’s exactly what it is. It just happens that the characters are members of the military, and have military-related issues. But the bad guy isn’t a drug dealer or a terrorist, the bad guy is something that soldiers and their families must deal with every day, war, what it means to be a soldier in times of war and how to adjust to all the changes and consequences that war brings to soldiers and the people surrounding them.

Shane isn’t your typical alpha male who’s indestructible and never gets hurt and Jen isn’t a damsel in distress. They are real people with real problems. The characters in this book had so much going on in their lives that they didn’t have time to behave like genre stereotypes. Instead, they acted like regular people going through extraordinary circumstances.

I really liked how Ms. Scott portrayed Shane. She made him vulnerable without taking away his manliness, and you could see his pain. This is a guy who sacrificed everything for his job, a job he suddenly finds himself unable to do, and now he has to come to terms with his wounds and unclear future.

Jen was a wounded soul. She was deeply insecure after her mastectomy and was unable to see past her scars. She also had a tough road ahead of her, and I think that this was a character that perfectly illustrates how much easier it is to help someone go through the same issues you have so much trouble dealing with yourself. It was easier for her to tell Shane that he must see past through his injuries and deal with it, than it was for her to actually overcome her own insecurities regarding her disease and body. She was a multilayered character with a lot of internal strength and I think that we can all relate to her in one way or another.

The book has a strong cast of secondary characters, some of them likeable, some of them not so much. There’s an obvious set up for the next book’s couple and I’m curious to see how their story ends, because I didn’t particularly care for them or their choices. As I said before, the book shows us how being injured affects the lives of not only the soldiers, but the lives of their most immediate family as well. So there’s a subplot involving one of Shane’s teammates losing a leg and feeling survivor’s guilt, then another of his teammates loses a hand and acts in the complete opposite way. Both have tons of demons to battle, but they do it in different ways.

The romance develops very slowly and in a very realistic way. Shane and Jen are attracted to each other but they need to heal first in order to successfully be together, and the way their relationship develops reflects this. The overall pacing of the story was slow but never dull, and the best part is that it felt real. Ms. Scott knows what she’s talking about and it was refreshing to see a different take on the military alpha-male. It was a story completely character-oriented where everyone involved, and the leads in particular, do a lot of growing up and you can see how they change throughout the story.

The book isn’t perfect, there was a scene that had me raising my eyebrow at it, it involved a catheter extraction, an erection and Jen having improper thoughts about the whole deal, the scene was a bit off-putting in the sense that it was borderline unprofessional behavior and I think Jen should have been able to tune out her thoughts or just have someone else do the procedure, I might be making it sound worse than it was, but while I was reading it I kept thinking that it was just wrong. Then there are some unresolved issues that I guess will be part of the next book’s plot. The only characters that have a clear resolution are Jen and Shane, although I can see them taking part of the next installment as well. But this is an ongoing series so it’s a bit open-ended.

Overall it was a fascinating and engaging book, full of likeable and relatable characters, with an interesting take on the military hero and a very realistic plot. I recommend this to fans of contemporary romance, tough alpha-males with a huge hearts, and to those in the mood for a different type of military romance.

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes. ( )
  Brie.Clementine | Mar 31, 2013 |
I have found a new genre to love! Because of You is a Contemporary Military Romance that packs an emotional punch. Please don’t think that this is a book that is filled with military protocol or maneuvers. No, this is a realistic romance between a military officer and a nurse who works with military personal at Fort Hood.

Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison and Jen St. James have both dealt with their own near death experiences. All around them their friends are also going through battles of their own. With love and respect these two survivors will hopeful be able to overcome their obstacles and begin to heal.

This is not your normal, light romantic read. It is a bit more serious due to the different tragedies many of the characters had to endure. I really like the pace of the plot and how deep I found the characters to be. ( )
  dpchapman | Sep 30, 2012 |
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