You must know by now how obsessed I am with The Bellator Saga by Cecilia London! Cecilia was my find of 2015 and I can’t stop talking about her books!
As I told before, she released a box set with the first trilogy with all new covers. I LOVE this covers and keeping a secret about them was hard ahaha I can’t wait for the next trilogy and their covers!
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.
Now, I’ve already reviewed the first two books in the series, Dissident and Conscience. Because of that I will only review Sojourn in this post and you can read my reviews for the first two books here:
Haunted by her experience at The Fed, Caroline tries to create a new identity. A new present, a new future. She can’t escape the memories that dog her when she least expects it, leaving her mired in a depression that she finds difficult to escape. Caroline needs to regain her physical and mental strength if she intends on surviving the journey to find the elusive rebellion. But that’s easier said than done with the ghosts of the past constantly whispering in her ear.
The road is long and dangerous, and there are no guarantees. She and her companions have no idea what they will find when they arrive at their destination. And what they finally discover may change everything.
Sojourn is not a standalone and should be read after the first two books in the Bellator Saga.
MY RATING: 5 Beastly Stars
In Dissident, Cecilia London introduced us to Jack and Caroline and their story was mostly told from flashbacks from 5 years before the present. We had an idea of what would happen to America but in Conscience we get to see more and experience so much more! Conscience brings more flashbacks too and the present parts of it were full of a raw darkness that more than once shocked me. They are not “dark romances”.Not by a long shot. But the darkness in this story will have you on the edge of your seats and will have you wanting to get inside your devices or books to help Caroline.
Cecilia didn’t hold back. We can feel and experience every injustice Caroline suffered and there are times you’ll need a breather and you think “she can’t possibilly suffer more!”, until Cecilia surprises us once again.
But Sujourn? It brings a whole new level to the story. If we experienced whatever the characters did in the previous books, in Sojourn we can feel EVERY SINGLE feeling they do. Specially Caroline’s.
” She should have known that no matter what she did, she’d never be able to contain the memories. She wondered if there was a safe and convenient way to induce selective amnesia.”
We can clearly see how the story changed and how it is evolving book after book. Not only Cecilia’s storytelling, which is amazing. But the story itself. We get to see the transformations in Caroline too. I felt her despair, I felt her sadness, I felt her anger. I could feel everything and it amazed me how Cecilia has consistentially make her change. After everything she went through she couldn’t possibly be the same person. Or even close to it. There were moments I didn’t recognize Caroline and the flashbacks she had (in this book we get fewer flashbacks than the other two and it’s focused more in the present) couldn’t make ME, the reader, see any light anymore. Even the flashbacks weren’t enough to bring the old Caroline back. And you know what? I LOVED THAT! Because it was BELIEVABLE!
This level of writing is always so refreshing! Writing a complex story like The Bellator Saga and making it, not only believable, but also relatable? That’s no easy feature, guys! Seeing how the story and the characters are evolving? It’s like watching a snow ball become an avalanche and I honestly can’t wait to see Cecilia unleash more into us!!!
Sojourn marks the half of the series (there will be 6 books in total) and we can see that our heroine is at a crossroad. She’s between what she was and belived and what was done to her made her become and belive too. There’s also the question of Jack! Because the in present situations we don’t get to know what happened to him and her children. We get hints of what might have happened and they got me curious and worried at the same time!
Now, I said Caroline was at a crossroadS, but in a way she already chose the path she will follow. The hard choice now is HOW she will do it. And I’m so glad we get to see it now and in the next three books, because not only do I feel like she is my friend (and I’m always rooting for her), but I also want to see who and what she is going to become and how her path will be, because no matter the changes that were very much imposed to her, one thing is for sure, she will never lose the essence of the fighter inside her. I don’t think she would ever be able to abandom the fight for justice and a better reality. The question now is what will keep feeding this fight, if it’ll be revenge, if it’ll be justice, anger…
“She didn’t care if she had to stay awake for every moment of every day and every night for the rest of her life. She wasn’t going to play this game anymore. She had to be free. No more fucking memories.”
Even though the story has so much loss and violence and some serious tones, the flashbacks deliver the HOTNESS. Two words: Jack McIntyre! We get all kinds of sexy times with Jack and I LOVE every single one of them. Not only those, but the sweet moments of them together. Well, who am I kidding? I LOVE EVERY MOMENT OF THOSE TWO TOGETHER!!!
Jack will entice all sort of swoony feelings you! He can be sweet, he can be sexy (always). Jack is romantic and kinky. Loveable and cocky. Jack McIntyre is EVERYTHING! And their love story? Even if it’s just flashbacks what they had? That will make everything worth it!!!
Cecilia is doing a MARVELOUS job with this series. Her whole concept is amazing and the way she writes? She can put her ideas into paper (or screens lol) in a way that makes us connect with the characters and relive what it’s happening, or what has happened, to them like we were there too.
But let’s not forget about our background! What is happening to America? What will be done? Who will stop the evil Santos??? Even if you don’t like politics, the story Cecilia created is FASCINATING. To think that the land of the free could become what it has in the story? It’s super scary. To see what censorship and the lack of basic freedoms can do to, not only a country, but a nation? It’s VERY scary!
I want to see our heroine kicking some butts!!! I can’t wait for it. Not that she hasn’t before, but now I want to see her doing it more actively and to see others paying for all the suffer she and her friends endured.
After Conscience I didn’t think it was possible for her to suffer more, but seeing the emotional scars of what was done to her was very hard. Because we got to know Caroline and seeing her becoming someone else? It’s hard. Really hard. We can see and feel every one of her frustrations.
Caroline is a strong woman. There was no doubt in that, but at the point the story is now, she is now I can honestly say she’s one of the strongest female character’s I’ve ever read about!
But every strong woman also has her moments of doubt and of loneliness. And seeing someone like her doubting herself is desparing. Someone so strong shouldn’t have to had proven over and over her strenght. And that leaves marks. Not only physically and not only “just” her emotional scars. It leaves marks to her soul and it changes her.
You can see I’ve used the word “change” so much. But if I had to define Sojourn with one word that would be it. CHANGE. Not only the changes in Caroline and other characters as well. But also the change in the story. The change in America. The change in the writing. Cecilia’s writing was good from book 1, but now we can see yet another facet of her talent. The story hasn’t changed that much, but the little change it had was not only palpable (and necessary), but amazing to see!
Cecilia’s voice is getting louder and louder and I seriously can’t wait for the next three books because the curiosity is killing me! Not only to see what will happen in the story and to the characters, but also to see Cecilia’s writing growing more and more. To experience it is being very fullfilling! To see an author’s writing growing alongside with her characters? There’s not enough money worth of a book like that, that’s for sure!
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.
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?
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?
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When they reached the ballroom he locked the door behind him. Jack walked over to one of the decorative side tables and produced a box wrapped with red paper.
“Merry Christmas,” he said, handing it to her.
“Why didn’t you give this to me earlier?”
“I needed us to be in private when I gave it to you. Open it.”
It had to be jewelry. “I told you not to get me anything outlandish.”
“I don’t have to listen to you. Even if we are married.”
Caroline ripped the paper away. She opened the box and was greeted with an exquisite emerald necklace. Fringe design, with each individual green stone framed by tiny sparkling diamonds. The necklace was dripping with jewels from end to end. It looked like a prop from an eighties soap opera except it was stunningly, gorgeously real. She wouldn’t even want to speculate about the cost. “Jack-”
“Do you like it?” he asked.
She was convinced he only gave her presents just to gauge her reaction. To see how long she’d gawk at them before starting to gush. Caroline wasn’t refined when it came to her spontaneous responses to him. Did she like the necklace? A rather silly question since it was one of the most amazing things she’d ever seen.
“It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
He took the box from her. “I didn’t recall seeing you with anything other than sapphires or diamonds. We’re going to have to do something about that.”
She could only imagine the media attention they’d get if she paraded around wearing a necklace that cost more than what the average household made in a year, several times over. Sometimes her husband forgot that he was running for governor, not auditioning for the cast of Falcon Crest. “It’s too much, Jack. It’s so…elaborate. I can’t wear that in public.”
He smiled. “Then don’t. Wear it just for me.”
“Just around the house? Like, when I’m watching baseball and stuff?”
He laughed. “‘And stuff’?”
Her language was less polished than usual. “I’ve had a ton to drink today. I can’t always be articulate.”
Jack pulled her to him, leaning toward her ear. “How about you wear the necklace and nothing else, and grant your husband a dance?”
Now she saw where he was going. “A nice Christmas waltz?” Caroline suggested. “Fully clothed, of course. We must always be proper.”
He tugged at her sweater. “Try again.”
His romantic and seductive gestures were sweet, but impractical. “It’s cold in here.”
“I’ll turn the heat up.”
“What about you?”
“We don’t need to worry about me.”
Caroline sighed. “I meant your clothes.”
He unbuttoned her pants. “They’re staying on.”
That seemed unfair. “I’m not sure I like this power differential.”
Jack ran a finger under the waistband of her panties. “I think you do,” he whispered.
She shivered when he pulled her pants and underwear down. “Will there be music? Or are you going to parade my naked self around the ballroom in silence?”
“I picked a special song for the two of us.” He grinned. “And you won’t be naked. You’ll be wearing the necklace.”
She ran her hands down the front of his shirt, imagining how it would feel for her bare chest to rub against it while they danced. “You will undress at some point, right?”
He kissed her again. “Upstairs. Let me do this,” he said softly, stripping off the rest of her clothes, even her bra and panties. He laughed when he reached her socks. “Are those dinosaurs?”
Caroline liked wearing fun socks. She didn’t care if they were juvenile. She’d get away with it for as long as she could. “They’re wearing little Santa hats.”
Though he’d started to yank them down, he hastily pulled them back up to below her knees. “These can stay on. But only because they make you look so damn adorable.”
She tried not to think of what she’d look like wearing nothing but whimsical dinosaur knee socks and an emerald necklace, but the expression on his face indicated that Jack didn’t particularly care. He kissed her deeply before retrieving the necklace. He took his time placing it around her neck, then stepped back to look at her. It took all her effort not to blush. She hadn’t anticipated the night ending this way.
Jack tipped her chin up. “You look fucking marvelous.”
Her face had to be as red as a cherry. “Even with the socks?”
He brushed a stray hair out of her face. “There are few things sexier than a woman wearing an emerald necklace and dinosaur socks…and nothing else.”
Cecilia London is the pen name of a native Illinoisan currently living in San Antonio, Texas. She’s filled several roles over the course of her adult life – licensed attorney, wrangler of small children, and obsessed baseball fan, among others. An extroverted introvert with a serious social media addiction, she is the author of The Bellator Saga, an epic, genre-crossing romance series. You can catch all of her quirky updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or at her website.