Early Featured Book Review: Shatter (Phoenix Rising #4) by Joan Swan
* This review is spoiler-free! Read on with confidence! *
Mitch Foster has been my favorite character in the Phoenix Rising series since he burst into the scene in Fever, all swagger and charm and cunning. Unlike the other characters on the team, he’s not a genius or a badass fighter or gifted with any sort of special power, so that speaks to just how much larger than life his character is, thanks to his smart mouth and quick intelligence. This guy is a straight up shark, a defense attorney you definitely want on your side and the kind of man you want to stand by your side.
Every book has shown us a new facet of Mitch’s personality. His playboy lifestyle and drive to fight for right are Mitch’s way of trying to protect his heart from the betrayal of the only woman he has every really loved, and very scene between Mitch and Halina in Shatter is bursting with emotional and sexual tension. Who knew all that passion has been hiding under a mask of scathing, flippant, witty repartee in thousand dollar suits?
Halina is the badass of the couple, on the run from some very bad people and forced to learn to defend herself in more ways than just physically. Throughout the series it has been rare to see a woman leave Mitch Foster tongue-tied or break his focus, so watching him try to navigate all his rocky feelings for his old flame is a real treat. It also puts him off-balance and keeps the sheer force of his personality from eclipsing Halina, a definite challenge with such a strong and established character. Together, Mitch and Halina are red hot and addicting, making me sadistically want to draw their story out longer to get another hit of all that passion.
I love that Mitch takes his share of teasing and ribbing from the team in Shatter, after dishing it out so freely across the previous three books. I also adore the group dynamics of this cast. Their personalities are such a perfect compliment to one another, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie, love, friendship, and professionalism that is rarely matched.
Ah, so, maaaaybe Mitch and Halina have a few issues to work through…
“I was watching you so I could find a time, an appropriate time, to talk to you, Halina. Unlike some people, who decide to jack a man in the middle of a shower, I have manners.”
“You call watching me through my windows at night ‘manners’? Have you forgotten how to use a phone?”
Hands on hips, he glared at her. He glared at her.
“And you would have returned my call, right? And we would have met at Starbucks like normal people, right? Had a regular, civil conversation, right?” He gestured between them, making a point to stare at the gun. “Because normal people always use silencers on their forty-fives during civil conversations.”
Friendly, charming Mitch has so left the building…
“I’m not going with you.”
She gave the door a good shove, but it barely moved. With a growl, Mitch dropped to a crouch and gripped both her hands in his. “Let me make this very clear—for the last time. You are going with me. And, this time, printcessa, you’ll leave me when I decide to let you go.”
Definitely has a ring to it! *wink*
Her light eyes swung up and held on his face. “Your belief in me is refreshing, Mitch. But you’re wrong.” She held up a hand, eyes closed. “Hold on a second, I’m savoring the words . . . Mitch, you’re wrong.” A blissful smile lit her face.
“Man, that really has a ring to it.”
“Ha-ha,” Mitch said.
Totally with Mitch on this one…
“I don’t believe futures are predestined. We have the power to choose, and every choice changes that future.” He gripped her jaw with his free hand, willing her to hear him, believe him. “And I choose you. Let Fate suck on that for a while.”
Ah, how I love all the payback!
“We’ve been talking,” Kai said.
Mitch winced and took a survey of the faces in the room.
“That cannot be good news for me.”
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If you are new to the Phoenix Rising series, definitely start at the beginning with Fever. The plot lines are getting a little politically complicated as the story arc continues and you’re going to be confused by a fairly large cast of characters and backstory if you haven’t read the first three books in the series. The second book, Blaze, was the GraveTells 2012 Book of the Year. You can read our review for Rush, book #3, here.
If you liked Shatter but are looking for a little less paranormal and a little more suspense and mystery, pick up Pamela Clare’s Striking Distance. Easily one of the best books I’ve read all year, Striking Distance runs the gamut of emotional vulnerabilities and risks and has a heart-pounding story arc and conclusion that will have you thinking about it weeks later! Striking Distance has a novella prequel, First Strike, that introduces how the couple originally met and gives background on their relationship before the harrowing events at the start of Striking Distance. I highly recommend starting there. Note that these books are part of a larger series (I-Team) but do not need to be read in order.