5-stars

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.

5-stars

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.

5-stars

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.

5-stars

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.

5-stars

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.

5-stars

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.

5-stars

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!

5-stars

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!

5-stars

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.

5-stars

 

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!

5-stars

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.
5-stars

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.

5-stars

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.

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