I received this book for free from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Impossible Choice by Sybil Bartel
Published by Carina Press on August 31st 2015
Genres: New Adult
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
After her parents were murdered, Layna Blair spent three years on the run—until Marine Sergeant Blaze Johnson stepped in and saved her. With him, Layna knew safety for the first time…but two weeks after shipping out for another tour in Afghanistan, Blaze comes home early.
When Layna sees the jagged wounds covering his body, every truth she thought she knew is destroyed. Blaze is distant and angry and though her heart is shattered, Layna desperately tries to keep their relationship together in the face of another tragedy. When the tenuous bonds holding them together are ripped apart by a revenge-hungry maniac, Layna must trust her survival instinct and bury her past for good.
But the enemy is two steps ahead, and before she can take action, Layna's hand is forced by his deadly demands—save herself or save the man who risked his life for her freedom. Blaze saved her once. This time it's her turn to protect him.
Sybil Bartel’s Impossible Choice is the finale to Impossible Promise, the first book in her Unchecked series. The second book essentially picks right where the first ends. Blaze is in Afghanistan serving another tour in the Marines when he gets injured, and has to return stateside to recuperate from his injuries. Layna not only has to deal with what’s going on with Blaze, but she’s still trying to bury her past. Three years ago, Layna’s parents were murdered while she talked to them on the phone, and Layna heard everything. Until recently, she didn’t know why they were targeted, or who exactly was behind the murders, but she’s been running scared just the same. One day she meets Marine Sergeant Blaze Johnson, and he offers to help her get under the thumbs of the thugs who’ve harassed her ever since. Despite the demons that haunt them, Blaze and Layna discover that they don’t have to go it alone, and try to find a way towards each other.
I really enjoyed all of the characters in this story. From the main lovers, Blaze and Layna, to all of Blaze’s friends. They were all multi-layered characters that I loved unraveling, and I wished this series would continue to featuring some of them. Especially, Neil and Talon. They were both riveting characters, and I feel like we’ve only scratched their surface. I’d love to see something about them both.
The mystery of what happened to Layna’s parents, and why was pretty fascinating, and made for a tense thriller. The bad guys were bad and mysterious, and the hunt for their identities kept the action flowing, and the story moving forward. One of my favorite aspects of the story was how unpredictable it was. Maybe not the characters’ actions, as I was able to figure out how they would react once I got to know them, but the various twists and turns of the story kept me glued to the page. I was so hooked, that I couldn’t put it down, and immediately picked up Impossible Choice once I finished Impossible Promise.
I also really enjoyed Blaze and Layna’s relationship development. While I was frustrated by them from time to time, I did feel as if their actions were true to them as individual characters, and to the events of the story (on and off the page). Many romances do ‘happily every after’ from jump street, and I enjoyed that these characters felt like real people. Of course there’s still the fantasy element of a young girl being surrounded by all these hot, built, male model look-alike macho men, but the character interactions rang true from the very beginning.
As I’ve stated, this series was only meant to be a two book series, and I’m sad. Sybil Bartel created some very interesting characters, and I wish we would get the opportunity to see more of them. Even if they were stand alone stories, or two parters in their own right. There just seems to be so much story left to be told, despite the fact that this story was thoroughly resolved.
Do I Recommend?
Yes! Sybil Bartel’s Unchecked series is highly addicting, and one I definitely recommend. However, I would not pick up Impossible Choice without having read the first book, Impossible Promise. While Bartel does a great job of catching readers up to past events, I still feel the story would feel more complete if a reader reads both books. So much happens in the first book, that the narrative recap in Impossible Choice doesn’t really do Impossible Promise justice. Besides, they’re such quick reads, why not pick up a copy of both books?
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