Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Review: Jordan Reclaimed by Scarlett Cole

Title: Jordan Reclaimed
Series: Preload #1
Author: Scarlett Cole
Release date: February 28, 2017
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 4 stars


Jordan Steele’s life began when he was ten. When he was taken from his parents and a house that was never a home. When he met his brothers, the other lost and abandoned boys in his group home. When he learned what friendship and family and love looked like.

Now he’s made good, touring the world with the band he and his brothers formed in that crowded group home. No one but his found family really knows the man under the fame and fortune, the scars he hides behind the rockstar lifestyle. Until he sees her through the windows of the National Ballet, dancing, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so dark.

Aleksandra Artemov ticks all the ballet boxes. Father a legendary Kirov dancer. Check. Prepping since birth for classical ballet. Check. Compulsive control over the food she eats. Check. Principal dancer at The National Ballet of Canada. Check. But what she craves is freedom.

She craves Jordan.

Everything about him should terrify her. His size, his tattoos, his edge. But he doesn’t. He stirs her very soul. Jordan has nothing but himself to offer her, and he's never been good enough for anyone. Can he figure out how to face his own demons before he loses his light for good?

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Preload isn't just a rock band, it's a band of brothers. All survivors of their own personal tragedies and misfortunes in childhood, they bonded as foster children and haven't been apart since. Jordan is perhaps the most scarred emotionally in the group, and the most fragile. At the age of nine, he had already survived more than the average person does in their lifetime. The child abuse he endured is a horror story that is all too real in this world. The kind of history that one never really leaves in their past.

Jordan never really does well with change, especially when it comes to his bandmates. Having them all together in one house gives him a sense of safety and support. But now that one of his brothers is engaged and making moves to start his new life with his family, Jordan is overwhelmed with anxiety. Comfort comes from the least likely place, on a walk during a cold winter's night. Seeing a ballerina dancing through her studio window, he's struck by her beauty and talent. And a strange blend of unfamiliar emotions consume him.

[...] the sense of calm she instilled in him as she danced was a quiet that he wasn't used to. She was his light. And like a moth to a potentially lethal flame, he couldn't step away.

To him, she is everything that is pure and good in the world. He couldn't even dare to hope that he was worthy of someone like her, but that doesn't mean he can stay away. What's even more surprising is that she sees him, really sees him. With the song he created and left for her, she choreographs a dance for him that seems to look right into his soul. All of his pain, fear, desperation, and darkness was right there before him in her every movement.

Right from the start, I loved how these two connected. They are both such opposites in almost every way, but yet they are able to understand and accept one another for who they are. He is severely emotionally wounded, and she is living her life for her father's happiness, not her own. Together, they immediately felt an inexplicable harmonious balance. It really felt effortless. Though he had his fears that he wasn't worthy and tried pushing her away a bit, she wasn't having any of it. There was no unnecessary drama, just two people trying to navigate their unfamiliar emotions and learn to trust each other.

Jordan is an extremely unique and complex character. Highly gifted musically, tall, bearded and tatted, he's a scary looking guy. But his intimidating surface just conceals a lost little boy. Someone who was abused, neglected, and unaccepted. Finding Lexi was like finding an oasis in the desert. He soaked up all the love she had to give and it flooded right back out at her.

Lexi was a girl with the world at her fingertips. She lives and breathes to dance and try to make her father happy. But it's a losing battle. He uses guilt trips and manipulation to mold her in whichever direction he wants her. Struggling for acceptance and trying to achieve perfection, she walks a dangerous path that could destroy everything she's worked for. I really felt for this girl. She never had anyone who was on her side, someone with her best interests at heart. Her desperation and isolation were things that I think she identified with in Jordan.

I thought this book was quite different than any other rockstar book I've read. It was an unusual coupling with these two, and I really appreciated how the author made them work so well. I enjoyed meeting the other bandmates and will be interested to see how they all overcome their own demons. The Preload boys have lots of interesting things in store for us.

Give him an audience of twenty thousand and he was fine, but a single woman . . . this woman . . . had his heart racing.


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