Shatter: Phoenix Rising, Book 4

ShatterAuthor: Joan Swan
Book Name: Shatter
Series: Phoenix Rising
Order: #4
Genre: Romance/SciFi
Rating:  Good


Blurb:  For seven years, Halina Beloi has been in hiding. But she’s never forgotten Mitch Foster, the long, lean man she had to leave behind. Until, that is, Mitch shows up with a list of questions and a 9mm in his hand.

All Mitch knows is that Halina broke his heart and disappeared. But new information has surfaced implicating her as a player in the deadliest game of Mitch’s life. This time, he’s not letting go without answers. Now terror, danger and heat will fuse them together or shatter the future. . .

Review:  This has been something of a roller coaster series for me.  Each book progressively got closer and closer to breaking the bounds of believably.  As a SciFi book that is kind of the point and you are willing to let that go for the sake of the story, but this one just pushed all of that right out the door.

Not sure if this is the last book in the series as the major, overarching story line gets resolved in this, but it is honestly kind of a let down resolution after all the drama this series built.  Also, when you take into account all of the secrets and the level at which they are being kept, it is incredibly hard to swallow and believe this resolution.  It just didn’t work.

I was disappointed by Mitch’s story because he has been this attitude filled badass so far and we didn’t really see any of that out of him here.  I also expected to get a better understanding of why and how he is such a badass with all the cool connections.  Again, didn’t get that.  Halina didn’t really have a personality that balance or complemented him.  It was nearly impossible to connect with her and believe in their relationship.

Also hard to not choke on was Owen.  In the last book, he was desperate over the loss of Jocelyn, the one who supposedly was the reason his marriage didn’t work, yet days later he is all about the FBI agent who he supposedly had this really deep connection with in the past.  Yeah, not buying that either.

Some books in this series have been really good and others just haven’t.  I hated that this one fell into that second category.


Rush: Phoenix Rising, Book 3

RushAuthor: Joan Swan
Book Name: Rush
Series: Phoenix Rising
Order: #3
Genre: Romance/SciFi
Rating:  Excellent


Blurb:  Jessica Fury, Washington lobbyist, has money, connections, and her own firm. But five years ago she had something better: happiness. Her firefighter husband, Quaid, was handsome, courageous, and crazy about her. Then one day he walked into a chemical inferno–and never walked out. Jessica has been through hell to get back on her feet. And then a rumor surfaces that could bring a miracle or shatter her world–again.

Q has been a prisoner forever. He’s honed his mind and body into weapons. He’s developed abilities no one else understands. But he’s still at the mercy of a cabal of ruthless men, who blank his memory, test him like a lab rat, and tell him lies. Although his past has been erased and his future looks grim, instinct tells him he has a woman to live for. What his mind can’t remember, his body can’t forget. . .

Review:  Much better than the last one!  I really loved this one.  The concept of having this really deep connection to another person, then to believe that person died only to find out years later that they are actually alive, but they have no memory of what created that bond is powerful.  It is heart wrenching.

The dynamic between Jessica and Quaid is so genuine feeling.  There are so many places where that dynamic could have devolved into areas that make a reader seriously dislike the characters because they come across as whiny or weak willed, but that isn’t the case here.  It is handled in such a way that they come across as struggling, but still determined and strong.  They were so much easier to connect to.

I really kind of thought for a while that we’d see a huge resolution to the overall series and not just this story, but we end up really kind of hanging a bit at the end of this one.  I think this one is probably my favorite of the series so far.

Blaze: Phoenix Rising, Book 2

BlazeAuthor: Joan Swan
Book Name: Blaze
Series: Phoenix Rising
Order: #2
Genre: Romance/SciFi
Rating:  Really Good


Blurb:  With a man like him, every mission becomes personal. . .

Ever since FBI agent Keira O’Shay started tracking a young boy named Mateo, she’s felt a connection even her empathic abilities can’t explain. She needs to save Mateo from the cult leader holding him hostage. Nothing can interfere with that–not even the reappearance of Luke Ransom, the hot-as-hell fire captain she’s regretted walking out on for three long years.

Losing Keira left Luke vulnerable–in every way. When they were together, the powers each possesses were mysteriously enhanced. But it’s the sexy, surprising woman beneath the tough exterior that Luke’s really missed. Even if she betrayed him utterly. And even if agreeing to help her uncover a government conspiracy means watching his life and his heart go up in flames again. . .

Review:  This is a great follow up from the fist story.  I’m still loving the intrigue and world that is going on here like I did in the first book.

The only reason that I dropped the rating for this after such a high rating on the first book is the fact that the back and forth attitude from Keira kinda drove me nuts.  I really didn’t like her all that much.  We even got a little bit of that out of Luke with his jump to conclusions attitude.  I’m beginning to wonder if the waffling character trait is becoming a peeve of mine.  It negates the strong, badass personality that a character is supposed to have.

While this did bug me, I like enough of everything else that is going on in this series to overlook that part enough to still enjoy this book.  I do hope that the characters in the rest of the books don’t come across in the same way.

Fever: Phoenix Rising, Book 1

FeverAuthor: Joan Swan
Book Name: Fever
Series: Phoenix Rising
Order: #1
Genre: Romance/SciFi
Rating:  Excellent


Blurb:  Dr. Alyssa Foster will admit to a bad boy fetish. . .

But when she finds herself face to face with a convicted murderer with a ripped body, a determination for freedom and an eye on her as his get out of jail free card, Alyssa knows she’s in deep trouble. . .. Not just because Teague Creek is a prisoner desperate for freedom, but because his every touch makes her desperate for more.

A man with a life sentence has nothing to lose. . .

Teague Creek has one shot at freedom, but his plan to escape with a hostage develops a fatal flaw: Alyssa. On the run from both the law and deadly undercover operatives who know of his strange abilities, he needs to avoid trouble, but every heated kiss tells him the fire between them could be just as devastating as the flames that changed him forever.

Review:  I really didn’t know what to expect with this book.  I’d never read anything from this author and I’d actually passed over this a few times as I’m not a huge fan of the prison theme.  Have to say that I’m thrilled that I took the chance on this because it was way more than I thought.

This was the complete package.  Kick ass characters, cool and unique story that you start reading and look at the clock and realize that hours have gone by without a thought, very well thought out build on the romance part of the story and that is balanced with the rest of it so that no one aspect overrides the others.

Teague is a bad guy that is actually really a great guy willing to do some questionable things to protect what matters to him.  I love the fact that he is battling with his morality and trying to balance that against what he needs in life.

Alyssa is so not a cupcake pushover.  She is loaded with personality and her own sense of doing what is right.  Her reaction and views towards Teague are spot on all the way through the story, forcing both herself and Teague to be completely real.

Even though my library didn’t have this classed as SciFi, it actually is.  It isn’t dripping in it, but it is definitely part of the backbone of the story.  That aspect along with conspiracy, relationships with friends and family (loved Mitch!) along side the romance helped to completely round out the story.

While this is one of those stories that spans only a handful of days, the way the author writes this makes the romantic relationship work.  She took the time to develop a trust between the characters, not magically making it just happen.  There is absolutely doubt and mistrust in the beginning and makes her characters work to prove they are worthy.  I cannot say how refreshing it is to read an author that takes the time to put the details in the story to make me believe it.  Sure, there are a couple of things that are just a tiny bit on the lucky/convenient/perfect side, but even those are done well enough to still work.

Needless to say, I loved this book.  I’ve already got the next one in my queue and will probably end up bumping its way to the top of that list.