Release Tour | The Bellator Saga: The First Trilogy Box Set from Cecilia London (@authorclondon)

02 March 2016

Over the last few weeks, I have been taking part in the release promo for Cecilia London's The Bellator Saga: The First Trilogy. 

The final stop for me is the release tour! Read all three of my reviews of the books in the box set below.



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Two souls intertwined. One epic love story.

Get swept away in the passionate romance between political opposites Caroline Gerard and Jack McIntyre in the first half of The Bellator Saga.

This set contains the first three books in the series, Dissident, Conscience, and Sojourn.


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Reviews:

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Dissident:

Rising Democratic star Caroline Gerard is reluctant to fall in love again after losing her husband. Can Republican playboy Jack McIntyre break through her grief and capture her heart? Told mostly in flashback and set against a chilling fascist backdrop, Dissident is a rollercoaster ride of political intrigue, passionate romance, and undying love.

A few weeks ago, Cecilia contacted me and asked if I would like to read her book in exchange for an honest review. I read the summary and knew I had to read it!

After reading the prologue, where Caroline (the female lead) and her husband, Jack, are running from soldiers who are hell bent on catching them. You see, America is nothing like it used to be and they have vital information to pass on.

The book then shifts to the past and Caroline's life before whatever has happened (we don't learn what's caused this regime in America, we just know it has happened and that states are breaking away from the USA). She has recently lost her husband and is a Democratic member of Congress. Being from the UK I don't know much about how the US political system works but I managed to figure it out with the help of some googling so that part of the story wasn't too much of a bug bear for me.

At the start of the book  John McIntyre (also known as Jack) enters, he is a silver fox Republican playboy millionaire who Caroline ripped to pieces in a speech. I'll admit that in my mind I was picturing Clooney...

He has a reputation and you begin to think how the hell are these two going to become friends but they do and they become more than that. I absolutely loved Jack and how he is nothing how he is perceived to be with Caroline in his life. He really is lovely and I loved reading the two of them together. They have such chemistry and you just want them to be together! Their interactions with Jack were lovely too. You just knew they felt so much for each other. Their love story was very endearing.


As you read the book you begin to learn that Caroline is a lovely woman who has lost the love of her life. I loved reading Caroline's interactions with her daughters, you could just feel the love she had for them and how much they mean to her. About halfway through the book they head off to camp so I hope we get to see more of them in the second book.

What follows is a back and forth look into the past and future, in the future Caroline is in hospital, and what we read in the past is what she is seeing while she is sedated and recovering. Running parallel to this is the story of the women trying to care for her while government officials are hounding for Caroline to be released into their custody. Maureen is incredibly strong and knows this isn't right and she's trying to keep Caroline as safe as she can.

I guess what stopped me giving this book a higher rating was that some parts of the story didn't grip me. It took me a while to connect to the characters and I think it might be the jumping forward to the future. I was just getting into where we were and we were back in the future. However, I did enjoy this book and I really, really want to read the next installment, I think maybe in the next one I would love to read some of the story from Jack's POV. I think that would be interesting to read...

I also have my suspicions on some of the characters in this installment and what has happened to America. I think they may be involved in some way...



Conscience:

Caroline faces the biggest challenge of her life when confronted with the cruelty and sadism of her captors at The Fed. Hope fades quickly, even as she holds onto her one last bit of sanity and her unshakable belief that her husband will rescue her. But is that faith just a mirage?

Warning: This review contains slight spoilers

A few months ago I read the first installment of this series Dissident after Cecilia contacted me asking if I would be interested in receiving a copy in exchange for a review, and a few weeks ago contacted me about the sequel, Conscience.

I will start with this: this isn't an easy book to read, there are a lot of themes in here that are only suitable for adults and are hard to read. But:

Wow, just wow...

I only gave the first book 3.5 stars but this? This gets 5 perfect stars from me. The book was amazing in every way possible. Once I picked it up I didn't want to stop and every second I could spend reading it I did. Like the first book in the series, this book is told in both the past and the present and picks up from where the last book finished.

Maureen is with Caroline trying to get her to safety but her plan doesn't work and Caroline falls back into the hands of the people Maureen was trying to protect her from: the Fed. What follows is absolutely harrowing and I can't put into words how it made me feel. I just wanted to reach into my Kindle, save Caroline and protect her.

As Caroline tries to stay strong in the face of her captors she dreams of her past and this is where the flashbacks come into play. I didn't enjoy the flashbacks so much in the installment, I found them difficult to differentiate but in this book I loved them, it gives not only Caroline but the reader, a break from the hell she is going through.

The flashbacks show you her life with John, her husband, and boy, is he hawt. If I thought he was attractive in the first book this book has nothing on John in the first installment. He is so insanely hawt and the sex scenes? *fans self*

As the book progresses the flashbacks align with present day and we finally start to learn why America is the way it is and what Caroline has done to get on the wrong side of those in charge. There was one flashback after a present day chapter that broke my heart completely, Caroline is losing her will after the hell she's been put through and is faced with evidence that her children aren't safe and we then see the chapter where she sends them away to keep them safe. That absolutely broke my heart and had me in tears and it all just goes downhill from there for her. There are people in this book who I can't wait to get their just desserts and I will be cheering when they do.

Cecilia warned me when she sent me a copy of Conscience that I would need tissues and she was so right. This harrowing installment of this series had me in tears and I just wanted to hug Caroline and keep her safe. The end of the book has given me more hope for her but I just pray that she can be safe and reunited with those she loves who I really hope are still alive despite the evidence to the contrary.



Sojourn:

Reeling from her experiences at The Fed, Caroline tries to forge ahead and create a new identity. But that’s hard to do with the ghosts of the past constantly whispering in her ear. She is determined to find the rebellion and move on with her life, but what will she find when she arrives there?


Sojourn is the third book in the Bellator Saga and is the best book in the series so far. Hands down. Although I'm pretty sure I'll say that again with book four...

When I received the email from Cecilia about the new book I couldn't wait to get hold of the ARC and once I cracked it open on my kindle I couldn't stop reading. I really think this is my favourite book of the series, my heart broke for Caroline in the last book and I wanted to lean in and rescue her from the hell she went through. Sojourn is the opposite to that book, it's a transitional book, Caroline has been saved from hell and for the first half of the book is recovering and getting her strength back.

 Now, that could be an exceptionally boring thing to read, but it isn't and that's thanks to the way Cecilia writes. She's added three amazing characters in this book Gabe, Jones and Crunch the unlikely band of guys who rescued Caroline from the evil hands of The Fed at just the right time. They are a hoot to read and exactly what Caroline needed at this point in her journey which isn't yet over, they also provide some much needed comic relief which, as a reader, is needed and Caroline needs the homour too.

There are so many things I loved about this book, seeing Caroline get some semblance of the woman she once was and watching her become what she always had been again, a leader, even if it wasn't intended to be that way, by the time they got to their destination, she was the leader and I loved that.

Of course, this book had its heartbreaking moments, Caroline is broken and injured, plagued by memories and scars, both mental and physical from her time with The Fed. Like the last book, there are chapters from her life before with her beloved husband, Jack. Unlike the last book the flashbacks are more memories of life before everything went wrong rather than the set up of what happened and how she got to where she was. That made it even harder to read, especially when Caroline thought of her children and I did break down at those moments (on a very busy commuter train might I just add). 

I won't say too much about the second half of the book and the journey the guys make to Cali but I really enjoyed it and was rooting for them. I didn't just want Caroline to get her happy ending but the men who rescued her too.

And the end. The end! That ending was amazing and so, so tearful. I won't say what happens, but it will make you cry so try not to read it in public (I've learnt with this series reading it in public spaces isn't a good idea (see above) - and this was one thing Cecilia reminded me of on Twitter) and make sure you have tissues! You. Will. Need. Them.


This series just gets better and better for me and I cannot for the next instalment to be released. If you haven't read this series, please do because it is amazing and you will not regret it. I promise. 

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