REVIEWS

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Book Viral Review of Love’s Illusions

  

An exciting and sexy read from the very start, Love’s Illusion is the  new release from debut author Jolene Cazzola. An author who  instinctively understands the devices of suspense and tension and uses  them to maximum effect, Cazzola ably avoids the genre pitfalls of  stringing a series of contrived events one after another in a tedious  stream of clichés and in doing so delivers a genuinely atmospheric read.  With an upbeat narrative aptly framed by the books title there are a  number  of cleverly articulated surprises that always seem congruent  with time and place with rich thematic undertones that bring the  historical aspects of her novel to life.


On this level she advances her plot with a fine eye for detail but  without the weight of undue complexity though ultimately it’s her  characters and the more erotic elements that keep the pages turning.  Jackie and Michael simply have great chemistry. They might be lacking in  morals but there is an air of vulnerability about them which makes them  highly endearing as the temperature rises!


 With all the hallmarks of a popular and enduring series, Love’s Illusion  is certainly deserving of your attention and is strongly recommended. 


Book Viral Review of Love’s Journey

 

Alluring, but above all entertaining. Love’s Journey is the second  release in the Love’s Illusion series by Jolene Cazzola. Some novels  keep you guessing, some make you care deeply about the characters, once  in a while a book comes along that delivers on both counts.  With  intriguing sub currents Cazzola creates characters’ who have lives of  their own, who don’t exist simply at the convenience of the plot and  always feel wholly congruent with her seventies Chicago setting which  she captures in subtly nuanced dialogue and acerbic observation. At the  center of her narrative is the repartee between Jackie and Michael.  Suffice to say they have obstacles to overcome.


Most romance novels begin as a given; we know from the first chapter  who will be together when the last page is turned, but Cazzola keeps us  guessing. Taking the form and feel of a romantic thriller she makes us  care about her protagonists and because we can’t help liking them their  relationship transcends all of the plots twist and turns to take on an  importance of its own.


A multi layered and intelligent novel which will quickly draw you in,  Love’s Journey proves a welcome addition to the Love’s Illusion series.  Raising the bar for future releases in Jolene Cazzola’s continuing  saga, it is highly recommended.

Heart Wrenchingly Good – Amazon Review

 Some authors seem to write by rote others get it. Jolene Cazzola is the  latter. It isn’t enough to write a heart wrenching novel about love and  loss, she draws you into her story and makes you feel it alongside her  characters. Beautifully written with a plot that keeps you hooked Love’s  Illusion has made my top ten favourite reads for the year which is  especially noteworthy considering this is a debut novel. 

Natasha Jackson for Readers’ Favorite

 

Love’s Illusions is the story of Jackie Moretti and the men she’s  loved, lost and discarded. An art student with a bright future, we meet  Jackie in the most unconventional way but it speaks to Jolene Cazzola’s  plans for this young woman. She is hard party-er but she’s young and  it’s the 1970s, until she isn’t quite so young. Jackie eventually gets  married, but it doesn’t last long because Stephen was keeping a lot of  secrets, many he refused to own up to. But between drinking, drugs, and a  drug dealing maybe boyfriend, Jackie has bigger problems. That’s the  backdrop of this interesting story filled with dysfunction, reality and  heartbreak.


Jolene Cazzola has crafted a story that is engaging and heart  wrenching. Watching Jackie’s life spiral was kind of devastating, but at  times you just wanted to shake some sense into her. The decisions she’s  forced to make aren’t easy and that’s what gives Love’s Illusions a  helping of reality that keeps you engaged. This story was not just well  written, it was all consuming at times. This story makes you want to  find out what happens next, to root for Jackie to get it together to  find the love that she so desperately wants. My favorite character was  Michael; he was a bad boy with a heart of gold and when he and Jackie  were on the cusp of something great you could feel the emotions leaping  off the page. More than anything, the sober reality of Love’s Illusions  is what makes it such a captivating read.

Dianne Bylo for Tome Tender Book Blog

 

Life has gone on for Jackie, she has set some goals and followed  through, but the cost may have been too high as she returns to Chicago  and a life filled with Michael and lasting love. What she discovers when  she arrives after a long drive from back East, becomes a living  nightmare when she opens their new apartment door to a note that would  rock her to her knees.

Michael’s trip to the West Coast was profitable, if illegal, but  their plan was to get back together and move forward. Without a hint  during their many phone calls, planning their future,


Michael has dealt Jackie the ultimate betrayal, worse than her  ex-husband and everyone she cared about knew but her. Like a rudderless  boat caught in an ocean squall, Jackie must once again, pick up the  shattered remains of her life, alone, not trusting in anyone or anything  that would involve her heart. Just when her transformation is almost  complete, Michael returns to take her to the brink of insanity or the  heights of heaven, but does he deserve another chance? Has Jackie  finally learned to stand on her own and make her own decisions based on  what is best for her?


Jolene Cazzola’s Love’s Journey tale is one of drugs, bad decisions,  deceit and heartbreak, leading to the rebuilding of her main character,  who still seems to make bad choices. Jackie has matured, but still needs  her crutches. Michael, well, a drug dealer is human, I know, but his  deceit is for me would be beyond unforgivable. The fact that Ms. Cazzola  could evoke such passionate opinions from me proves she knows how to  draw her readers in with dark and edgy hooks and great writing.

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More Reviews

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Francine Zane for Readers’ Favorite

 

In Love’s Illusions by Jolene Cazzola, Jackie is happy until she  isn’t, and for good reason. No one wants to find out their six-month-old  marriage is based on a lie. She leaves her marriage and walks a  tightrope, balancing her family, college courses and friends against  sex, drugs and depression. As Jackie fights to understand why her  marriage fell apart, she is forced to explore her relationships with her  new ‘bad boy’ boyfriend and her parents. What she learns leads her to  some uncomfortable conclusions, but she is determined to build healthier  relationships going forward.


Love’s Illusions is not the traditional contemporary romance. While  it does have romantic elements, the true story is that of Jackie and how  she deals with the pain of broken vows. The story is set in the 1970s,  but the betrayal that Jackie goes through and her struggle to cope is  something to which women of all ages can relate. Jolene Cazzola manages  to effectively explore many hot topics both for the era and women in  general, such as the Vietnam war, sex, drugs, abortion, depression,  feminism. I enjoyed reading Love’s Illusions.

Tracy Slowiak for Readers’ Favorite

 

In a great follow up book by author Jolene Cazzola, Love’s Journey:  Book 2 in the Love’s Illusions series, readers are treated by an  absolutely fabulous story that will suck them in from the very first  page. Follow the story of Jackie Moretti, a woman whose life is falling  apart. Wrecked by a marriage to a husband whose lies and secret demons  caused major destruction, and seemingly done with her relationship with a  hot bad boy, Michael Nowak, Jackie isn’t sure where to go. Michael  still has feelings for Jackie; even though his California drug operation  is pulling in money hand over fist, he can’t forget about her. When the  two come back together, things are both steamy and complicated.

Will Jackie and Michael be able to work out their differences and  finally, truly, come together? You’ll need to read the book to find out!

I loved Love’s Journey. Loved. It. How’s that for a review? Well,  it’s definitely how I felt about this great book. Author Jolene Cazzola  has done a fantastic job in creating characters that her readers will  connect with, relate to and care about, and will also continue to think  about long after the last page is turned. If that isn’t a hallmark of a  great author, I’m not sure what is. Any reader who loves a great work of  women’s fiction, with a significant amount of romance thrown in, should  absolutely read this book. I highly recommend Love’s Journey and am  very much looking forward to reading more from the very talented author,  Jolene Cazzola, as soon as I possibly can!

Interesting and Complex Characters – Amazon Review

 It’s 1971 Chicago, and 20 year old art student, and part-time bartender,  Jackie Moretti, is looking for connection in the age of sex, drugs, and  rock-n-roll. Her relationship status: It’s complicated. Her soon to be  ex-husband has a major secret, and her new boyfriend may be hiding  things as well. She’s got her classes at the Art Institute of Chicago to  contend with, as well as the wily patrons and owner of the dive bar  where she works. One thing that’s clear is that there are no simple  solutions, and that even the shining hope of love, may itself just be an  illusion.


The characters in Love’s Illusions grab a hold of you and do not let go.  Jolene Cazzola manages to bring you along for the ride through  depression, complicated relationships, laughter, confusion, camaraderie,  and growing up. It’s a story about facing the truth, coming to terms,  and exploring new avenues. The author’s characters stay with you long  after the book has ended, and make you wonder what would they be doing  next. I enjoyed this book, and would highly recommend it! 

More Than a Love Story – Amazon Review

 Love’s Journey is a love story to be sure. And for those who want a love  story, it is a powerful one. But it is far more than that, and, so  readers if you appreciate how strong characters can shape our lives,  this book is for you too.


What I like best about this second novel is watching Jackie sort life  out and learn to become herself. The central plot—the relationship  between Jackie and Michael—expands to become more multi-dimensional and  more meaningful as we are introduced those who contribute to the fabric  of her life. These characters are real; they become important, and you  turn each page wondering what will happen to whom next. Alan, Ria, and  Frank all matter and you start to wait expectantly for them to reappear.  And, of course, Charlie the cat works his way into our hearts as he  winds in and out of the story in cat-like ways familiar to all of us who  have lived with these remarkable creatures.


Guided by these relationships Jackie becomes her stronger self. She has a  job that she cares about, makes decisions, learns to trust her values  and learns to live life on her own terms—the joy, the conflict, the  humor and the pain are all hers. The path Jackie takes through this  novel validates the complicated feelings that so many women have along  the way and it reminds us all not to forget our own strength. I am  grateful to the author for sharing an advance reader copy of this second  novel and for her genuine encouragement to offer this honest review. 

Very Powerful and captivating! Amazon Review

 Loves Illusions is one of those books that will be hard to forget. From  the beginning it grabbed you up and held your attention. The author did a  phenomenal job at holding, and guiding your attention visualising what  the character Jackie was going through. With drugs, and many losers on  the burner, she’s going through everything, and then some. She’s been  married, then divorced over lies, and secrets. As she lives hell on  earth she meets Michael another bad boy type, into drugs and other bad  stuff, but he is also the type that would do anything for Jackie. This  book is about love, pain, living, secrets, and so much more. A definite 5  star! 

Read the Book! Amazon Review

 This book is terrific. I couldn’t put it down. Having lived through that  period, the narrative is very realistic. The characterizations are  really well done. I’m looking forward to reading the next one 

More Reviews

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Thought Provoking – Amazon Review

 

Having grown up and gone to college in the years just prior to the  setting of this novel, I found the main character and her struggles with  social change very easy to relate to. Even the perspective of 45 years  later didn’t dim the sense of devastation I felt from Jackie’s  introspection and acceptance of ‘blame’ for what happened with her first  love, and the confusion she felt about her choice to seek comfort in  the arms of another.


Michael’s character was a delight. His complexities, stemming from  loyalty to a brother who was less than likeable, made him interesting,  charming, and a perfect blend of alpha male with tender lover.


What would have made it a five-star read for me would have been a more careful edit. But that’s my own issue.


I plan to read the next book as well, as the epilogue piqued my  curiosity, and I’m a sucker for something that wasn’t in this book but  may be in the next. No, I won’t tell you what that was, because that  would be a spoiler.

Dii Bylo – Goodreads

 

The era was the early 1970’s, a time when divorce, homosexuality and  abortion were still topics whispered from mouth to ear, eyebrows would  raise and religious zealots would pray for the sinners, as well as that  their friends wouldn’t learn the taint of the good family name. Follow  young Jackie Moretti as she discovers the truth about what happens after  the rice is thrown and married life begins in earnest. Jackie was  young, trusting and naïve. Long after her husband left, she held that  fairytale dream that he would come back, but when she finally realized  it would never happen, that maybe she had something better to live for,  Jackie began to re-build the shambles her life had become as she began  to love herself and carve her own path.


Author Jolene Cazzola shares a tale of one young woman, caught  between the rosy dreams of being married and the reality of a mate who  has been living in denial and hides behind a lie in an effort to  maintain his secret. Jackie finds a friendship with benefits in the arms  of her recreational drug dealer, only to find that what they have is  more honest and secure than even Jackie’s relationship with her  dysfunctional family.


This is a story of coming of age, of learning to find the inner  strength from within and to follow the path YOU need to follow, not the  path of least resistance or the path chosen for you by others with their  own agenda.


Ms. Cazzola shares a strong voice with her readers as she tackles life in an era many of us can still remember.