Sunday, February 4, 2018

3 stars-- Blood Oath (Laura Elliston/Sawbones #2) by Melissa Lenhardt

I'd heard good things about this series and was excited to dive into the gritty wild west adventure but in the end wasn't totally enamored by Blood Oath.
The Gist: Laura and Kindle are on the run. She's been accused of murder and he's abandoned his military post to help her escape and flee though the dangers of the frontier--battling harsh climates, nature, bounty hunters, outlaws and Indian attacks-- in search of a safe haven.
Whew boy! This one was action packed! From page one Kindle and Laura are in danger and fighting for their lives. And it's rather captivating. I kept coming back to read a little more and see how they'd squirm out of the next horror or dilemma that got in their way.

And it's gritty. Lenhardt didn't shy away from showing ugly things--actually think she went a bit heavy on it. The danger, the cruelty, betrayals, how hard life was back then. There were *tiny* bits of humor between the characters. More a laugh or you'll cry kind of thing in the midst of all the gore.
"Praying with Isabel Darlington didn't help. A heathen cleansing ceremony might."

"Am I going to have to dance naked under a full moon?"

"Is it wrong of me to hope so?"

"Yes, very" I laughed, though tears had pooled in my eyes. "Thank you."

"For wanting to see you dance naked in the moonlight?"

"No, for making me laugh."

He put his arm around my shoulder and kissed my temple.
For the most part I liked the characters. Kindle was a solid hero--the strong silent type that did what needed to be done. And Laura a survivor. She went through hell but kept her head up and moving. Their romance is quiet and subdued but I liked that they kept coming back to one another for support and strength. Relied on each other through their trials.

I did have some issues, though.
  • While a ton of stuff happened...nothing really happened. It starts with them on the run and in dire straights. It ends with them on the run and in dire straights. Things were still uncertain, no happily ever after, the relationship still struggling despite loving each other.
  • I also struggled with Laura now and again. She's brilliant and accomplished but so damn stubborn and prideful it gets in her way. I found myself rolling my eyes at her multiple times. 
  • And there's a cliffhanger. Ugh. I can deal with them sometimes but I need SOME type of closure with a book. Relationship or storyline and this really just left everything up in the air.
Overall...a middle of the road read for me. I didn't hate it but I also wasn't wowed by it. Nothing had me feeling giddy over a new author or like I desperately needed their next book. Which is too bad. Had things been done slightly different that may not have been the case.

Laura Elliston and William Kindle are on the run -- from the Army and from every miscreant in the West eager to claim the $500 bounty for Laura's capture as their own. But the danger isn't just from those pursuing them. Laura and Kindle have demons of their own and a past that won't stay dead. Exhausted, scared, scarred and surrounded by enemies, neither realize the greatest danger is yet to come.

Amazon | Goodreads | Lenhardt on HCBS
*covers link to Amazon

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