A MelanieM Review: John & Jackie by T.J. Klune


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

John & Jackie coverFor seventy one years, Jackie and John have been inseparable.  They met in class as 12 year olds and formed a bond and love that has only gotten deeper and stronger as the years  passed.  But now all that is about to change.  John’s body is riddled with cancer, his pain unbearable.  And he has asked Jackie to give him the ultimate gift of love and compassion.

As the two men wait for dusk, the moments are passed in recollections of their long abiding love, a love that has no boundaries, not even death.

Well, I was unable to even get through the synopsis of this incredibly moving story without tears.  John & Jackie is an eloquent and deeply emotional story of a love that has endured through the years.  Jackie and John meet as children in school.  Neither one is particularly popular, each with their own “stigma” that makes them targets and standouts.  Drawn together immediately, they forge a bond first of  an indelible  friendship that turns into love.  Jackie and John’s need to protect the other is formed right from the start.

We learn this through Jackie’s memories as he sits by John’s bedside waiting for dusk and the time they will say goodbye. Jackie wheels John’s medical bed through the front doors of their cabin that John built out onto the porch to watch for dusk and hold hands one last time.  Hands clutched as tightly as John’s illness will let them, Jackie reminiscences with John over their time together.

TJ Klune portrays these men and their long partnership realistically and with great understanding for types of experiences that a true “Jackie and John” might have gone through as children and as adults.  John is such a strong, poignant character with an upbringing that includes the stigma of being poor and an alcoholic,abusive father.  His need is only for Jackie, that is his world and we can  totally understand the basis for that isolation. A isolation that doesn’t work for Jackie who came from a loving family and a need for others. For Jackie, the world needs to be a little larger and the subsequent misunderstandings that brings rings authentic and heartbreaking.  Jackie’s character is a wonderful complement to John’s, his yin to John’s yang.  Klune makes us believe in their bond with a sureness and brevity that is wondrous.

What is so remarkable about this story is the fullness and complexity of their long term relationship is relayed through small  recollections and bits of shared history while the men wait together for the sun to fall.  This book could have easily extended to over 300 pages but TJ Klune manages to pull us into Jackie and John’s life and love in half that length and make it feel real and deep and unforgettable.

As we and the characters wait for dusk to fall on their  life together, be prepared for the tears to start falling.  It has taken almost no time for us to fall for these men and as the story moves towards it’s gut wrenching conclusion, we will be their heartbroken companions as witness.  But TJ Klune has one more thing in store,..for us and Jackie and John before their story is over.  I love the ending and hope you will too.  This is a story about a never ending love and that ending brought that home.  Pick up this remarkable story and delve into Jackie and John’s romance for the ages.

Cover art by Reese Dante.  Poignant, perfect, and one of the top covers this year.

Sales Links:       Dreamspinner Press            All Romance eBook (ARe)        Amazon                    John & Jackie


Book Details;

ebook, 2nd, 122 pages
Published July 25th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
edition languageEnglish

In the Author Spotlight: Ashley Ladd on Business or Pleasure! (contest)



spotlight on books

Business or Pleasure cover

Ashley Ladd is here today to talk about her latest book, Business or Pleasure and her inspiration behind its inception.  She has also brought along a pdf ebook copy of Business or Pleasure to giveaway.  To enter the contest, please leave a comment and an email address where you can be reached.  Contest will run until August 31st!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

The Time Is Now By Ashley Ladd

The time is now to do what burns in your gut—not tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, when the kids grow up, or when you retire.
I’ve been writing for years and have more than seventy published books to show for it. During this time I’ve also earned my BSBA and MBA, raised five children, and worked full-time. I still cook dinner for my family, clean house, take my kids to their sporting events, and hang out with my friends. In fact, tomorrow night I’m going out to dinner then to a movie with my two best friends and my adult daughters. Sunday I’m going to my grandson’s fifteenth birthday party.

Saturday, however, I’ll write and promote. Ditto for tonight.

At least three people have told me they would write a book too if only they had the time. I don’t say anything as I listen to them about their too busy lives. One of them had no children, no husband, no other responsibilities that took up her after work hours (that I could glean). Another one watched three hours of recorded soap operas every night. Yet another had grown children who didn’t live at home anymore.

I wondered why they didn’t have time to write their books.

Sadly, one of them died before writing her book. I’m not aware the other two have started theirs.

Two years ago, my dad started suffering from dementia. It’s a horrible disease that robs people of their senses. He was 84.

Worse, my mother contracted cancer and died in her fifties.

And now my husband is disabled and unable to work and barely able to get out of bed and he’s only in his fifties.

My point? You never know how long life is going to give you to accomplish the things that are important to you.

So whatever it is you yearn to do—write a book, earn a college degree, climb a mountain, lose weight… start working on your goal now if your health, pocket book, and time truly permit.

You’d be surprised about being able to find the time if you truly long to do something. I know a young lady who has three very young children who makes the time to write.

I understand that if you’re sick, caring for small children or a sick parent, or holding down three jobs, you might not be able to start right this minute, but that’s not the case for most people. Most people have a couple free hours daily or at least weekly to devote to their dreams.

If you’re passionate about your dream, go for it!

In my new release ‘Business or Pleasure’ Tommy’s dream is to build his real estate career. He’s working on it but his father has different ideas. His dad wants him to give up his dream to join the family business. A battle of wills ensues between Tom and his dad over this issue. If Tom wants to realize his dreams, he has to learn to stand up for himself.

Meanwhile, Guy’s father is coming down with dementia. His dad doesn’t want to give up his independence but it’s becoming clear that he needs more supervision than he’s been getting. Unfortunately, it’s too late for him to follow his dreams.

What a shame.

Who wants to look back on their life with regret? Not me! I’d rather look back on my life and know I tried and I failed than know I never tried at all. I think I’ve done that. I’ll die satisfied.

  • Author Bio:

Ashley Ladd bioAshley Ladd lives in South Florida with her husband, five children, and beloved pets. She loves the water, animals (especially cats), and playing on the computer.

She’s been told she has a wicked sense of humour and often incorporates humour and adventure into her books. She also adores very spicy romance, which she weaves into her stories.


Business or Pleasure coverBusiness or Pleasure Blurb:

Tommy Boudreaux is extremely attracted to Guy Rogers even though he’s a passionate vegetarian and animal rights activist and Tommy’s family owns the most popular barbecue joint in town.

Guy Rogers is extremely attracted to his new realtor, Tom Boudreaux. As a passionate vegetarian and animal activist, he’s ecstatic that Tom is a kindred soul. He could never be with a carnivore. Unfortunately, Tommy isn’t really a vegetarian or an animal activist. He never said he was, either, he just didn’t eat meat when he was with Guy. And maybe he emptied his house of all meat and dairy products before inviting Guy over. In fact, Tommy’s family owns the most popular barbecue restaurant in town and, if his family has their way, he’ll manage the new location.

When Guy finds out that Tommy eats meat and his family owns a restaurant that’s a monument to eating meat, he’s livid and doesn’t know if he wants anything else to do with Tommy.

But then Guy’s life gets crazy—his dad’s paranoia blossoms into violent dementia, he gets arrested for picketing a doggy mill, then he winds up in even more legal trouble. When Tommy sticks by him through all his trouble and does everything he can to help him, Guy wonders if he’s been too militant and narrow-minded. Perhaps he can learn to live with people who have opposite views.

Business or Pleasure Excerpt:

Guy finished his meal, wadded up his napkin and dropped it on his plate. “Do you think it will take long to find more houses for me to look at?”

“I’ll make you—it—my priority. Just give me a couple days.” Damn! A Freudian slip.

Guy reached over as if to put his hand on Tommy’s, but stopped in midair. His eyes softened and hope flickered. “I’d like it if you made me, not my business, your priority.”

Tommy’s throat went dry and his heart flipped over. “Do you mean what I think you mean?”

Book Details:

Title:  Business or Pleasure by Ashley Ladd
Published August 22nd 2014 by Totally Bound