Thursday, January 2, 2014

SHATTER by Joan Swan

(Phoenix Rising #4)
by Joan Swan
ARC Review
Published: December 31, 2013, Brava

My rating: 4.5 of 5 ⭐️

Growing up without parents in Russia, Halina Beloi was placed in the care of an abusive uncle, where she managed to survive by learning to adapt until she could stand on her own. She eventually lands work as a scientist for the Department of Defense where she becomes involved in research that causes her to question her superior. From that moment on, her life and the life of her lover are put on the line and Halina sees no other option than to disappear, completely. Until seven years later, she is suddenly face to face with the man whose heart she broke.

For all these years, Mitch Foster had harboured a hot resentment for Halina, for the way she just up and left him, rendering what they had shared meaningless. But his ongoing investigation in the department that Halina had worked for has finally caught up with her, albeit under a different name. Seven long years and all he has is questions, and he is not about to let her go without some answers this time. People's lives are at stake and the man responsible has to be brought down once and for all.

Mitch knows Halina is holding back secrets, just like she must have when they were still together, but she seems so vulnerable and defeated, he has a hard time understanding her motivations. His body seems to recognize her without hesitation and responds as eager as it always had to her proximity. It is proving virtually impossible to keep his distance, but his head and his heart cannot take another blow from the woman he had planned to spend the rest of his life with.

Being with Mitch again was both heaven and hell for Halina. She would like nothing better than to nestle in his arms and tell him all, but to do so would put him in more danger than he was already in. She would do anything to protect him and his family, despite what he thinks of her. But when it becomes clear that her manipulations and lies are not doing anything to deflect the danger any longer, Halina had to make the choice to come clean, or forever lose the man who owns her heart. 

That is, if they survive......


Twisting intrigue, a hint of paranormal, a solid lick of heat and a whole lot of action!!!!

I have to admit, the first few pages of the book, I was afraid I would not be able to get the backstory together, not having read all the previous books in the series. But I shouldn't have worried, the story came together just fine and I read it in one sitting!! Delicious! I'm such a sucker for a good action/romance combo!  It's the double thrill that does it for me, and add to that some steamy sex, which is one of Joan's specialties, and I'm sold.

Halina is a bit of a broken soul, even before she meets Mitch the first time around, she has been deeply damaged by her childhood. More deeply than perhaps is visible at that time. Her upbringing has taught her to respond to threats in a certain way out of self-preservation, and that has become so instinctual, that it is a hard habit to kick, even when around people who wouldn't harm you. Self-reliance is the only thing she knows and trusts and she has invested a lot of time and effort into ensuring she is at her best at all time. Letting someone close, or leaning on someone does not come natural, but she craves it with Mitch.

Mitch has been blessed with the closeness of family and friends and knows how to enjoy it. He had been sure at one time Halina was his future, and was still coming to terms with the fact he had been so mistaken. He is used to protecting and taking care of others, even in his work he is not afraid to take on Goliath if it means righting a wrong. Trying to make sense of his own conflicted feelings around Halina is not easy, when half of him despises her for what he thinks she is part of, and the other half is as drawn to her as seven years ago. 

The description of her protagonists' internal struggles and their adjustments to ever-changing situations is very insightful and illustrates a solid growth of character. Joan Swan also has written an intricate piece of conspiracy that gives me goosebumps. Very clever!! Though I'm not usually a huge fan of the paranormal, I love it in this setting. A taste within the parameters of a straight story enhances it so much. It doesn't overwhelm, but is 'credible' in this instance. I'm almost a believer now!

An imaginative, chilling and provocative quest for truth.✨

**ARC provided in return for an honest review.**  Kobo Barnes&Noble




  1. Lved the 1st in the series - now hoping I win lots of amazon vouchers so I can get the rest if them!

  2. Love your review of this book! I'm a big fan of this series and have been looking forward to Mitch's story! So glad that she's paired him up with a tough character like Halina.

    1. Halina ROCKS! And thank you so much for the is so good to hear!!! 😊