Today I'm thrilled to be part of the blog tour for The Dilemma by Jacquie Johnson. This is her sophomore novel. As a part of this tour, I will be including my review of her novel, an interview Jacquie had with her character Ryder, and a chance for you guys to win a $25 gift card.
But first here's some information about the author:
Jacquie Johnson fell in love with books on her mother’s knee. From Dr. Seuss to Carolyn Keene to L.M. Montgomery, she continued her affair until her teenage years when she began reading authors ranging from Tom Clancy to Nora Roberts to Johanna Lindsey. She’s still an avid reader but now carries an e-reader instead of a paperback in her purse. Mysteries and suspense are her favorite genres, but she enjoys romance, historical fiction, and non-fiction as well.
She graduated from Harvard and Indiana University School of Law. After ten years practicing labor and employment law, she retired to homeschool her daughters. She lives in Northwest Indiana with her husband, three daughters, and a spoiled cocker spaniel named Princess.
You can contact Jacquie at her website or through Facebook or Goodreads. You can purchase her book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
And now here's the synopsis:
In Chicago, the name Jon Elliott garners attention. When the legal mastermind offers to mentor Alexis Winters, Bingham, Elliott and Bright’s newest associate, she jumps at the opportunity sure this will launch her career. But Jon has a dark side, one that demands unquestioning loyalty and a willingness to defy the spirit of the law, if not the letter.
Thrust into Jon’s world and expected to play by his rulebook, Alexis grapples with her conscience. On several occasions, Jon’s orders are at odds with what she learned in law school, and she finds herself trapped between her profession’s ethical rules and her own values. When Jon’s biggest client appears to be engaging in questionable activities and he orders her to ignore the behavior, Alexis investigates on her own. Suddenly, she is not only a witness to a horrible crime but a victim in her own right. Going underground, she turns to the one person she can trust, investigative journalist Ryder Prescott, a childhood friend. Together, Ryder and Alexis work to solve a puzzle that crosses socioeconomic classes, political parties, and international borders.
Embroiled in a global conspiracy that costs her the only family she has left, Alexis must decide how far she will go to defend truth and justice. Is she willing to sacrifice life, liberty and the possibility of love?
And now for my review:
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Disclaimers: I received an electronic copy of of this review as part of the tour in exchange for my honest opinion. The blog tour host Cami received money for organizing the tour; I received nothing for reviewing this book and was not obligated to write a good review.
My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I love romantic suspense and so I was excited to read this novel. The synopsis sounded really intriguing. An ethical dilemma seemed like a great thing to center a novel around. I know that it caught my attention.
I really liked the character Ryder. He had such a strong voice and I loved getting to learn more about him. I also liked Alexis. She was facing this rough situation and yet she had the strength to persevere.
I also liked how Johnson built her novel and the conspiracy she chose to talk about. I've mentioned it before but I'll mention it again; I love when authors aren't afraid to talk about gritty topics like rape or trafficking or drugs or abuse or a variety of different topics. Johnson tackled many of these topics in a powerful way that I feel will resonate with the readers.
So why three stars? Well, first off three stars means I did enjoy the novel but something was missing or something was a little off to give it the standout rating of a four. The romance just seemed off to me. It happened so quickly and I never had time to wrap my head around it. I feel like Johnson could have taken more time to explain their relationship.
However, having said that, I did really enjoy this novel.
In Summary: Jacquie Johnson manages to combine a world full of romance, suspense, and conspiracies into one enjoyable novel.
Warnings/Side-notes: Adult book. This book talks about some very mature issues in a more graphic way than most young adults are ready for. This book had strong language, sexual content, and references to drugs. This is a book I definitely wouldn't recommend for people who are sensitive. You have to have a tough skin.
The Wrap-up: An intriguing book that I enjoyed reading. This was a quick read for me but one that prompted a thoughtful reflection of life.
And now it's time for the interview Jacquie Johnson had with her character Ryder.
Interview with Ryder Prescott
Today, it’s my pleasure to introduce Ryder Prescott, the hero of Dilemma and an investigative journalist with heart. He cares deeply about right and wrong and has been disappointed on several occasions when the public ignored his cries for change. This time he’s determined to make people listen and to make a difference.
Ryder: What’s wrong with wanting to make a difference?
Jacquie: Nothing, Ryder. It’s a great quality as long as you don’t forget about the other important things in your life?
Jacquie: Really--wait a second. This is my interview. You’re supposed to answer my questions.
Ryder: Sorry, professional habit.
Jacquie: It’s ok. Besides, for added incentive, if this interview goes well, maybe I’ll add a Pulitzer to your resume.
Ryder: Don’t make promises you can’t keep. So, fire away.
Jacquie: Why investigative journalism?
Ryder: I like uncovering people’s dirty little secrets. Everyone has them. The ones that bother me the most are the ones that affect everyone and are held by hypocrites who insist they’ve never done anything wrong.
Jacquie: Like certain politicians?
Ryder: Exactly. He nods with a small smile.
Jacquie: How long have you known Alexis?
Ryder: Softball question, Jacq. You know we grew up in the same town.
Jacquie: Here’s a tougher one. You dated Allyson in high school but liked Alexis…Care to explain why?
Ryder: Sighs and stares at the ceiling for a moment. Look, I was a teenage boy. Allyson was the town “it” girl. Smirks. Like me, she hated small town life and was planning to hit the road the moment she graduated. I knew she wouldn’t read more into our relationship than a good time. And believe me, Ally knew how to show a guy a good time.
Jacquie: Okay. If that’s what you liked about Allyson, why in heaven’s name would you be interested in Alexis? They might be twins, but they’re polar opposites.
Ryder: Hey! Alexis is perfect. Smart, sweet, and sexy. She’s much too good for a guy like me. That’s why I didn’t do anything with her in high school. Every guy has an untouchable dream girl, and Alexis was mine. I knew all I would do was hurt her so I dated her sister and that allowed me to spend time with Lex. Nearly killed me when she went out with Larry Turner though. If she was too good for me, she was light years ahead of that idiot.
Jacquie: Speaking of sexy, what makes a woman sexy in your eyes?
Ryder: A woman’s mind and her attitude. Don’t get me wrong, Lex is beautiful, but I love her go-get-em attitude and how her mind works. She’s always thinking. A slow smile spreads across his face. And I’m the man who has the pleasure of derailing her train of thought when she thinks too much or too hard.
Jacquie: What did you expect to happen when you came to Chicago to see Alexis?
Ryder: Well, I was hoping to uncover a story about political corruption that might put me back on top. Falling in love wasn’t part of my original plan. But hey, sometimes there is a story within a story.
Jacquie: So, what is in the hopper for your next piece?
Ryder: Not much of anything for now.
Jacquie: Don’t make me take back that Pulitzer. You were doing so well. You’re not exactly the type to sit idly, so give us a little hint.
Ryder: Jacquie, I would love to at this point, but, as you know, if you blow the top off the story too early, the bad guys have a chance to “clean” things up before you can nail them with the tough stuff. That said, I will give you a little hint. Political corruption never goes out of style.
And now, here's your chance to win:
Best of luck!