Muse Of Nightmares (Strange The Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor {review}
Teach Me by Olivia Dade {review}

Every Last Breath (Final Hour #1) by Juno Rushdan {review}

Every Last Breath

Genre: Romantic Suspense


My Review - 5 Stars

CW: past late-term miscarriage, grief

Every Last Breath is an impressive romantic suspense debut. Filled with twists and turns, the fast pace still allowed for plenty of character development and the romance balanced with the action. The latter is important to me as a reader. I don’t want to be worried about characters who are making out when they should be focused on safety but I also don’t want the plot to neglect their love story. In this case, I’m sure Rushdan’s real life experience as a former military intelligence officer came in handy and it helped me trust her characters would come out fine in the end.

This is also a second chance romance. Maddox believed her almost-fiancé died nine years ago, only to find he’s very much alive while out on a mission. A mission in which she needs his cooperation in order to prevent a pandemic from happening. Cole, on the other hand, is pissed. He thought Maddox betrayed him all those years ago and he’s not going to make working together easier on her.

Complicating all this is that Maddox is a covert operative for Gray Box, a secret government outfit and she was wrapping up college back when she and Cole dated. He has no idea how capable she is in the field or what a kickass woman she’s become. And it should stay that way: secret government organizations are supposed to stay a secret. I loved how Maddox navigated this issue. I loved both of these characters. They are both tremendously strong and have overcome so much to get to where they are. If you love books about people who are excellent at their jobs, this is the book for you.

Cole and Maddox have so much history to overcome but they were very much in love before everything went awry and their chemistry is still intact. It's so clear to the reader that they're good together, both in and out of the bedroom, and it's just a matter of whether they'll take a chance on each other. Cole can be harsh with her at times but it makes sense given what he believes. And Maddox tries to protect her heart because of what she experienced after his presumed death. The story deals very frankly with her late-term miscarriage and grief, which is good to see on page but may be triggering to some. It was refreshing to see how Cole’s grief was handled once he learned what had happened, as men’s grief over miscarriage can be minimized and often isn’t acknowledged at all.

I don’t want to spoil the plot because there are so many great twists and turns to experience. But I do want to mention a couple of things about the villain I found interesting. This made me think about the evolution of Bad Guys in books/TV/movies. We're back to the Russians/Eastern Europeans and that feels true to life. But the story delves into our complicity with what has happened in those countries. There’s a reason so many countries hate the US and we need to deal with that. Despite what the villain plans to do, which is heinous, he has a strong code of honor. It really humanizes him. I prefer not to have any POV from villains in my books but I will admit the brief insights we get from him added to the tension and pacing.

While the main mystery of this book is wrapped up, there’s a larger arc for the series that ends on a cliffhanger. There’s a double agent at Gray Box and I cannot wait to find out who it is. Bring on book 2!

CW: assassinations, attempted murder, violence, kidnapping, hostages, threat of pandemic, past death of loved ones, past late-term miscarriage (cervical incompetence), reference to past panic attacks, grief, psychiatric hospitalization due to depression and grief, prejudice/racism, brief reference to past diagnosis of child leukemia (appears to be in remission), reference to 9/11



48 hours
2 covert operatives
1 chance to get it right

Maddox Kinkade is an expert at managing the impossible. Tasked with neutralizing a lethal bioweapon, she turns to the one person capable of helping her stop the threat of pandemic in time: the love of her life, back from the dead and mad as hell at her supposed betrayal. Recruiting Cole to save millions of lives may be harder than resisting the attraction still burning between them, but Maddox will do whatever it takes...even if it destroys her.

When Maddox crashes back into Cole Matthews' life, he wants to fight back. He wants to hate her. But the crisis is too strong to ignore, and soon the two former lovers find themselves working side-by-side in a breakneck race to stop a world-class killer with a secret that could end everything.


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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from Sourcebooks Casablanca in exchange for an honest review.