Monday, September 21, 2015

Hell or High Water by Julie Ann Walker

The Basics:
Hell or High Water by Julie Ann Walker
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Romantic Suspense
Book One in the Deep Six series
Published July 7, 2015
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

I enjoyed the first one and wanted to know where the story would go next.

In a world on the brink...

Six men. One sunken Spanish galleon. Millions in gold and silver coins lying on the ocean floor. And a past that refuses to let the guys of Deep Six Salvage forget the Navy SEAL motto: the only easy day was yesterday...

There's more than one kind of treasure...

The nation's security has always been CIA agent Olivia Mortier's top priority. But a mission-gone-wrong has begun to make her wonder if there's more to life than risking hers.

And more than one secret at the bottom of the sea...

Only two things could make Leo Anderson abandon his hunt for the legendary lost ship, La Santa Christina, and return to the world of weapons and warfare he swore to leave behind: a capsule of enriched uranium, lost on the ocean floor, and a plea for assistance from the one woman he can't seem to forget...

My Thoughts:

Hell or High Water is solid romantic suspense. This book is the first in a series that will feature six men, all former SEALs, who operate a salvage company together. Leo is the head of this team, and he's been hung up on Olivia ever since they connected during his final mission. 

While the circumstances that bring Olivia and Leo back together felt a bit contrived, I was on board pretty quickly. The pacing is pretty quick, with a good balance of sexy times and action. The action is excellent, by the way. Lots of gun play, lots of opportunity for the SEALs to do what they do best. 

There are some pretty significant events from the past that are raised periodically through the story, and I thought they were used to good effect. I never felt like the book was withholding any pertinent information from the reader just to get that 'what??' effect when it was finally revealed in flashback.

I really liked this couple. Leo and Olivia are both really tough individuals. I liked that as Alpha as Leo is, as much as he wants to protect Olivia, he does respect her. They're a great pairing, and there's some solid chemistry here. There's a *lot* of heat in this book along with a few giggles. Again, great balance. 

The language in this book is pretty, ah, locker room, a little juvenile at times. I thought it worked because of the nature of the characters, and because I was so engaged with the overall plot. In another book, I probably would have been a bit put off by it, but in this one, I didn't mind so much.

The only thing that I would have changed about this book is to focus the narration a little more around the main couple of the book. Granted, this is the first in a series, and so there were many characters to introduce, I still felt like there was a bit of clutter on that front. There's a couple who appear in this book (well, not as a couple, but they're both *in* the book) and I suspect they'll be the leads in the next book in the series. I understand wanting to bait the hook, as it were, by introducing the reader to them, getting readers invested early in how their story turns out. And I do understand showing a few scenes from the perspective of the baddies. But...I still felt like there could have been more emphasis on the main couple.

Bottom line:

Hell or High Water is a great romantic suspense story, and a fantastic introduction to a new series from Julie Ann Walker. I've had mixed results with some of her books in the past, but this one was pretty darn good, and I look forward to the next book in the series.

4 stars
For fans of romantic suspense, boats, action

Don't just take my word for it though! I've gathered up a couple of other blog reviews, so check them out for some other opinions!

Romance at Random 

The Book Whisperer


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