Friday, February 8, 2013

Unwrapping: Review of FINDING JORDIE by H.J. Harley

I was intrigued by the blurb that accompanied a read and review request from a debut author named H.J. Harley. You already know how much I enjoy experiencing debut author's first works. Imagine my surprise when this contemporary romance turned out to be written in first person - a debut author/first person pov/contemporary romance - I was truly challenging myself. But, was I ever surprised by FINDING JORDIE by H.J. Harley.

***eARC provided by author in exchange for an honest and unscripted review


Jordie is a survivor, tough, and independent. She’s had to be, since her husband was killed in Iraq. For the last eight years, raising her daughter and owning a popular New York City bar has kept Jordie plenty busy, leaving her no time for much of anything else. Aside from her sassy yet squirrely best friend Rachel, Jordie’s social life is bare bones and her love life nonexistent. Truth be told she wouldn’t change a thing; she’s never been happier.

Then she meets Nathan, and he changes everything with one crooked smile, triggering a chain of life altering events for the two of them, filled with romance, chaos and deadly peril. Neither of them could ever imagine their relationship would resurrect an unknown darkness from Jordie’s past, lurking in the shadows, just waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Jordie has never needed to be stronger for all of them to make it out alive.

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Jordie Spagnato has spent the last eight years being independent, self-sufficient, a business owner and a single mom. She's tough, she's gritty, and she's not afraid of even the biggest jerks who wander into her bar and cause trouble. She's also not afraid to let the curses fly when she gets angry. I love her.

When Nathan Harper, a tall gorgeous guy with piercing blue eyes and that somethin' somethin' that she just can't forget, starts hanging around, Jordie tries to dissuade him because she thinks he's way too young for her but ... he's persistent. I like that about him.

If I tell you more about this unusual and very appealing relationship, I fear I'll give away far too much and ruin the story for you because, I do want you to read FINDING JORDIE by H.J. Harley.

FINDING JORDIE is a wonderfully well-written story about a woman who finds love, when she least expects, in a man whom she has no idea who he truly is until she's totally unable to resist him. Nathan Harper is a good man who has feared letting anyone get too close because of trust issues, but opens himself up completely to Jordie and her daughter. He then finds himself in the unexpected role of lover, protector, friend, and father figure. The secondary characters are equally stars in this contemporary romance that features an adorably, intelligent and grown-up daughter named Emma, a quirky yet lovable best friend named Rachel, and a bodyguard named Frank that I just wanted to hug all the time for being so wonderful to Jordie and Emma. The characters are real. They act like normal people, they react like normal people, and they live normal lives even under unusual circumstances.

Ms. Harley is a talented writer who has taken a first person work and made it work so well, you forget it's in first person. We quickly step into the character of Jordie and live in her skin as she falls in love, worries about her daughter, her friends, her bar - and Nathan. A mystery begins to unfold, putting everyone she loves in danger, and nearly costs her everything.

I normally refer to the steaminess of a novel in minimal terms but I will tell you that if I had to give this story a rating, I'd say it was PG for sex, R for language, and R for violence but it all works so amazingly. I do wish that the ending had been a bit more expanded because, for me, it felt as if it had been either cut short or added on. All of that aside, FINDING JORDIE by H.J. Harley is an extraordinary romance well worth reading and I'm looking forward to more wonderful things to come from this debut author.

I highly recommend FINDING JORDIE by H.J. Harley if you love a fast-paced, sweet and tender, emotional and endearing, passionate without blatant sex scenes, love story with a touch of tension, danger, angst, and some moments when you fear it's all coming apart for Jordie but that culminates in a sweet, loving happily-ever-after.

Happy Reading Everyone!

FINDING JORDIE by H.J. Harley, Crimson Romance, release date, February 11, 2013 in ebook formats.



Aimee Duffy said...

Great review as ever, Amy. I'm not a fan of first person but I may give this one a go. Sounds great :)

Amy Valentini said...

Normally, I'm not either, Aimee, but occasionally, one comes along and hooks me - this was one that did that.

Funny thing is, somehow, I've fallen into the world of 1st person POV. I started a new WIP and it's not only a contemporary romance but it's in 1st person pov. Still can't believe it but it's the only way to tell the story and keep the mystery. I just hope it works half as well as it did in FINDING JORDIE.

Thanks for coming by, Sweetie! Good to see ya - hope you're feeling better now. xoxo

Jaye Shields said...

Fab review, doll!

HJ said...

Thank you ladies.

Tara Mills said...

I loved Finding Jordie and looked for every opportunity to sneak away from what I was supposed to be doing just to read a little more here and there. It was hard to put down, easy to love. I add my strong recommendation to this one.

Amy Valentini said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it too, Tara! Thanks for stopping by and giving your thumbs up for this debut novel. : )