Book – Steel & Ice (L & J #1)
Author – Emily Eck
Publication Date – January 26, 2014
Type – Part of Series
Genre – Romance, New Adult
Rating – 4 out of 5 Stars
Book provided by Author in exchange for an honest review.
Elle isn't looking for love. Hardened by years on the streets, she's learned to take care of herself by covering her heart with ice and keeping men at arm's length. She's not weak and she doesn't need to be saved. But she wouldn't mind getting laid a little more often.
J's covered his heart with steel. He owe's his life to an MC that is not what it seems. Since he knows his priority must be to the club's demands, no matter how illegal, he decided a long time ago that love didn't fit anywhere in his life.
A not so chance, but definitely hot encounter on a crowded dance floor should be enough for J, but he can't seem to stay away from Elle. As she begins to melt his steel, and he manages to chip away her ice, his forced loyalty to the MC threatens to tear them apart. When the risk becomes greater than J expected, will love be enough to keep Elle from freezing her heart to him?
OK….I promise to be completely honest in my review. When I first started this book – Instantly I could tell this was the author’s first try at writing fiction. The sentences didn’t flow smoothly and it reminded me more of a college research paper. The facts were there…but the heart wasn’t.
I read on and thank fuck I did!! Because by about 10% in….the sentences started to tell the story and by 20-25% in I felt like I was reading a story from one of the greats! Ms. Eck was writing from her soul and it showed in the words and in the story. I was entranced – I was blown away by the story! I honestly felt like I was reading a story she wrote about me….well not so much the story itself – but Elle. Oh my….what a fucking fantastic heroine for the story. She was all – she was everything – she was light – she was darkness – she was damaged – she was a rock. Elle was everything embodied into a pot smoking, Applebee’s cook with a trashy sense of humor.
I can recite the whole story to you because that is how deeply this story touched me. This isn’t your “white picket fence” new adult book….this is raw – it is gritty and it is REAL! If you grew up close to or in a metropolitan diverse city…then you will get this book. You will be touched and you will understand the circumstances surrounding Elle. She is a hero to all that cross her path – a very subtle hero….but worthy just the same!
Some will hate this book – some will slam this book saying that it’s “trashy” and not real life – but I tell the readers who say this….walk a mile in the hood – maybe in Philly, in NY, in LA, in Chicago and this is some real shit! Slam the book by saying who wants to read about a girl and her friends smoking joints and bowls every day? I say to that…it’s under your noses – it’s out in the open and it’s real life – I connected – I understood all the slang – all the references to pot, “puff puff pass pass” Elle is REAL – she isn’t irritating, she isn’t weak, she isn’t flakey – she survived the streets and has an attitude to show it. God….if I loved girls….I would be so on her!
Now let’s talk about J – what to say about J? I loved J….he was a real man! He was a hulking 6’5” brute but he was brought to his knees by Elle and he wasn’t too full of pride to admit it. He loved and he loved HARD – he was perfect for Elle – knowing when she needed space and knowing when to push just a little bit more in order for her to allow the ice around her heart to melt. His words and actions constantly made me sigh and swoon a bit.
J is mysterious about his work but we do learn he is part of an MC – but that’s about all we learn in this book.
My advice is to read “J Speaks” directly after this to get his POV and learn more about the mystery and why steel surrounds his heart.
Elle has led a very hard life up to the point where she is now enrolled in college courses, she donates her time cooking for the underprivileged Latino teens, she works as a cook at Applebee’s and is like everyone’s “mom”. She questions her past and how good of an influence she can be toward the kids in the program but she gives it everything she’s got.
She sees J one night in a bar she frequents with her friends from Applebee’s and is immediately drawn to his olive skin and hulking figure. A few nights later she runs into him again at her local Hip Hop club and is mesmerized by him after he gets her off on the dance floor. She’s scared because she doesn’t get close to anyone except for her two close friends, so she runs and avoids him at all costs. Fate has it that their paths will continue to cross until Elle is worn down and gives in to love.
It’s the ending that will rip your heart out……
My hats off to Ms. Eck and her quick conversion from writing research papers to writing from her heart….Don’t give up on the story in the beginning – keep reading and you will see what I mean!