TBR Day. Badlands / Jill Sorenson. 2014

It's series catch-up month for the TBR Challenge and this month it was a pretty easy choice. I have several books from this series that I've been wanting to read, so it was time to get back to them.

Badlands by Jill Sorenson is the 3rd book in her romantic suspense series named after the first book, Aftershock. I loved Aftershock and I also enjoyed the first book in her MC series, Riding Dirty. This book picks up with two of the characters from Aftershock and uses some of the same settings in Riding Dirty, around the Salton Sea of southern California.

Penny and Owen were trapped with several others in the earthquake described in Aftershock. In Badlands it's now five years later. Thanks to his heroics in the aftermath of the earthquake, Owen, an ex-con, is now working as a bodyguard for Penny's father, a presidential candidate. For years the two of them have kept their feelings for one another to themselves. Penny is a single mother devoted to raising her son, Cruz, and Owen knows his job means he can't get emotionally involved.

But then Penny, Cruz, and Owen are all kidnapped and taken out to the California Badlands in a plot to get Penny's father to withdraw from the presidential race. The kidnapping is compounded by the fact that one of the kidnappers (and the ringleader) is none other than Owen's older brother, Shane. Shane takes them all to badlands near the Salton Sea, not far from where the brothers grew up, so its an area they both know fairly well. On the first night, Penny manages to take Cruz and escape into the desert. When the gang attempts to retrieve them, Owen also gets away, finds Penny and Cruz, and begins to lead them to safety. Of course, things don't exactly go smoothly....

I really enjoyed this book. The suspense was very well done, and Sorenson does a great job of describing the terrain, the heat, and all of the obstacles Penny, Cruz, and Owen face. We get a good look at Owen's family, the forces that shaped both he and Shane, and the very real differences between Owen and Penny. Besides the suspense angle, I think the romance angle was also well done. Both characters have to reach for what they want. Owen feels held back by his upbringing and his time in prison; Penny has conformed herself to her parents' wishes to overcome the stigma of being a single mother. I liked both of these characters very much.

I'm happy to recommend this book. I don't think you need to read the earlier entries to enjoy this one, although if you haven't read Aftershock, you're missing another great book.

Comments

  1. I also loved this book. Both this and Aftershock were fantastic and I went out and glommed all of Sorenson's back list. Great review!

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    1. Thank you! This book has whetted my appetite to pull the rest of the Aftershock books out of the TBR and keep going. I'm looking forward to them.

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  2. *Sigh* Penny and Owen. How I love me some Penny and Owen. I always recommend that people start with Aftershock before this one - mostly because so much of Penny and Owen's backstory is tied into that first book. But yeah, you can totally skip book two (Freefall) and not miss a beat.

    I still need to read her MC books and while I largely don't "get" the MC trend - if anyone is going to make me a believer, it will be Sorenson.

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    1. I've only read some of Kristen Ashley & Joanna Wylde's MC books. Riding Dirty was very, very different from those and I recommend trying it.

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  3. I have Aftershock to read and will do so this year.
    I've read the author before and liked her work, so I have good expectations about Aftershock - and this one - too.
    :)

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    1. Excellent! I do think you'll like them both.

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  4. Okay, between you and Wendy, it may be time for me to give Ms Sorenson's writing another try. (For some reason, I have never been able to get into Set the Dark on Fire or Crash Into Me, both of which have been in the TBR cordillera of doom for ages.)

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    1. Well then, definitely start with Aftershock. I love that book and this one is a worthy follow-up. I hope you enjoy!

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