BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bea Reviews Torn & Stop At Nothing by Kate SeRine

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Series: Protect & Serve #.5
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Challenges: Finishing the Series | NetGalley and Edelweiss ARCs
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | ARe* | iTunes | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from the author's website:

If not for Sadie Keaton, Joe Dawson’s best friend since childhood and the woman he’s been in love with for as long as he can remember, he can’t imagine where he’d be. For the past year, Joe’s been struggling with PTSD after returning home from Afghanistan with the wounds that have left him scarred—both inside and out. And Sadie’s unwavering faith and support has been all that’s kept him going. But when they finally share an unexpected moment of passion, Joe has a hard time believing that Sadie could have feelings for the damaged man he has become and worries that her heart is being ruled by pity and not love.
And those doubts are only compounded now that he’s set to resume his duty as a deputy sheriff. With his father and three brothers already making names for themselves with successful law enforcement careers, the pressure’s on, leaving Joe torn between honoring the family tradition and leaving behind the only career he’s ever known outside the military. After all, he’s heard the whispers, seen the sidelong glances, and knows what everyone’s saying—the only reason he still has a job is because his father is the Sheriff. And he worries that they’re probably right.
But when Sadie starts receiving messages from a secret admirer, messages that grow increasingly frightening and threatening, Joe has to put aside his self-doubt in order to save Sadie from the her stalker and put an end to the bastard’s dangerous game before it’s too late to confess the truth of his heart…(blurb for Torn from the author's site)

Bea's Thoughts:

"Torn" is from the anthology, "The Way of the Warrior" anthology and is the first story in SeRine's Protect & Serve series. As far as I know, it's not available outside of the anthology. I actually read this after reading the first book, "Stop At Nothing" and as I read it, I felt like I'd missed a book so I poked around and discovered that I'd missed this story but I had the anthology on my Kindle so I went back and read this story.

"Torn" is a friends to lovers story and it's a short story. Joe and Sadie have been friends since they were kids and there's been an attraction between them for years but they never acted on it. Now Joe, a former soldier, is home after being injured in the war in Afghanistan. Sadie has been helping him but it isn't until a stalker threatens her that they act on their feelings. The story, due to it's length, was lacking in character development. The romance, though underdeveloped, was sweet and there were some steamy love scenes. The stalker's identity was unexpected but it was hinted at earlier; like the romance, the mystery was underdeveloped. "Torn" would have worked better in a longer length but it was a sweet story and a good introduction to the series.

And considering how he'd been reliving their kiss over and over again throughout the day only to have to divert his thoughts to keep Little Joe from popping up with an ill-timed "Hi, how are ya!" he was inclined to add pathetic loser as an option...

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Series: Protect & Serve #1
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Challenges: Finishing the Series | NetGalley and Edelweiss ARCs
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | ARe | iTunes | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

When a high-profile investigation goes wrong, FBI Agent Kyle Dawson is transferred back home where he is forced to confront his demons…and the only woman he ever loved. Three years ago, Kyle and Abby Morrow shared a wild, passionate summer—then Abby broke his heart.


Kyle never stopped loving Abby. So when Abby uncovers evidence of a human-trafficking ring, leading to her sister’s kidnapping, he swears he’ll stop at nothing to bring her sister home and keep Abby safe. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse and blindsided by their own explosive desires, they must set aside the past before it’s too late.

Series reading order:
"Torn" (Protect & Serve #0.5 in WAY OF THE WARRIOR anthology)
Stop at Nothing (Protect & Serve #1)
Safe from Harm (Protect & Serve #2)

Bea's Thoughts:

"Stop At Nothing" is a second chance romance. Abby dumped Kyle unceremoniously several years before but now  he's back in town and there's still heat between them. Kyle is an FBI agent, a fact that disappoints his father the local police chief. Kyle is the only one of his family not to be a police officer; in fact, his brothers work for their father. Kyle is full of anger towards his father for several reasons, determined to make his mark as an FBI agent, has a chip on his shoulder, but is also compassionate, funny, and sweet.

Abby is a police officer who works for Kyle's father as a digital forensics investigator, is loyal to and protective of her family, brave, and kind. She also works freelance doing digital forensics work and her most recent job has ties to her own family. But that information also leads to her sister's kidnapping, and it's Kyle that she calls for help.

"Stop At Nothing" was a good blend of mystery and romance, a little heavier on the mystery aspect but not excessively so. I had several guesses as to who was behind the kidnapping, one of which was correct. SeRine gives us several options and some red herrings as Kyle, and the police i.e. his brothers help Kyle and Abby. Kyle is at odds with his father and one brother but they help anyway. There was lots of familial tension, for both Kyle and Abby, as well as romance and mystery. All of the characters were well-developed and one in particular, although he was hard to believe in. I couldn't entirely buy his actions and he was incredibly convenient at times. I did like him though, and his skewed perspective and odd humor. I don't want to say more as that would be a spoiler.   
The reason why Abby dumped Kyle is kept secret for most of the book and when we find out, it's emotional. Kyle was understandably angry and upset and I was not happy with how SeRine handled the situation. The topics could be upsetting for some people. Highlight the sentence below for spoilers.

She has a miscarriage. But before she tells him, he angrily accuses her of abortion. Neither topic is handled with sensitivity.

The story had a few rough edges, some unlikely conveniences, and a few things stretched credibility but it held my attention and I cared for both Kyle and Abby. Kyle and his brothers have interesting dynamics and even when they irritated me, I was interested. I read this before reading "Torn" and when it came to Joe and Sadie I felt as if I'd missed a story. I had, but it was a short story, "Torn", which I found and read after finishing "Stop At Nothing". You don't have to read "Torn" first but if you can, I recommend it. Both stories are good and get the series off to a good start. I'm looking forward to Tom and Gabe's stories.

Giveaway of "The Way of the Warrior" and a guest post from Kate SeRine.

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