Thursday, March 16, 2017

Claiming Grace by Susan Stoker

For Logan Anderson, moving on from a traumatic past means moving back to his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado, to start a personal-security business with his brothers. But it’s not long before Logan runs into Grace Mason, his best friend from high school… and the woman who never answered his letters during his Army years.

Grace was pleasantly surprised to see Logan return to Castle Rock, despite their falling-out ten years ago. Everyone always assumed they would end up together, including Grace, who had eyes only for him. But as Logan eventually escaped their town, Grace got pulled further into her family’s controlling grasp—and farther away from the man she loved.

Now, united by scars both visible and not, the two must fight to free Grace from the suffocating hold of her family. But the Masons won’t let go easily—and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart.

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

This story provides a thoughtful and considered look at the impact of domestic abuse in two very different situations. While Logan and his brothers are still recovering from physical abuse in childhood, Grace is trapped as an adult in a brutal web of emotional and psychological abuse.

While I appreciate the ideas that underpin this story, I felt little connection to either Logan or Grace. Both characters feel more like vehicles for the author’s message rather than fully developed people I could care about. We are told about their experiences in quite graphic detail, but they rebound too quickly and heal too easily for their pain to feel real. Grace’s recovery period isn’t quick, but it is briefly summarised in a few pages before the author returns to the romance between her and Logan.

I liked the second chance romance between Logan and Grace. It is sweet to see the high school couple reunited ten years later. Again though, once the initial miscommunication is cleared up, the path from reunion to happily ever after is rushed and far too easy to be believable.

The investigation into Grace’s parents becomes a whirlwind ride at the end of the story. Again, months of investigative work are recounted in quick summaries and a string of increasingly implausible action scenes add excitement – but also some confusion to the conclusion of the story.

This is an important topic and the author shares some important messages here.

Reading the synopsis on this book before I accepted it, I thought it was going to be about a second chance romance. But it was more than that. It was two people dealing with different types of abuse. While Logan was dealing with the physical side of it, Grace was dealing with the emotional side.

Logan Anderson is one of the Anderson triplets; when it came time, they left their hometown and weren't planning on coming back. But ten years later, they are back for their father’s funeral. Logan and his brothers came up with the idea of starting ACE Securities in their hometown, an agency that would help victims of abuse.

Grace Mason was Logan's tutor while they were in school and they became friends. Both wanted more, but Logan left for the Army. He told Grace he would write and let her know where he ended up and then she could come to him. They were both ready to take the relationship to the next level.

Now, ten years later, Logan is bitter that Grace didn't write him back and she walks around like the princess that she is. Her parents basically own the small town and Grace works at the family business.

What happens when Logan learns the truth about Grace's past? Can Grace and Logan forgive each other for the hurt in the past? Will there be a chance for a future for Logan and Grace?

This story touches on a subject most don't want to read because no one thinks about emotional abuse as being abuse. They think "If you can't see any signs, then it must not be happening." Well abuse happens in more ways than one and I am happy Susan Stoker wrote this story and I got the chance to read it. I can't wait to see what she has in store for Blake in book two, Claiming Alexis, due to release July 2017.

3.5 Stars

While I didn't think the book was necessarily a bad read, I also felt absolutely no connection to either of the main characters. It really felt like they lacked in emotion even during incredibly intense and stressful scenes.

That being said, I did like how Ms. Stoker showed us that not everyone who is a victim of abuse is the same. There are many types of abuse and just like with Grace, it isn't always so obvious to the person who is living with it or those outside of the circle involved in that abuse.

There were a few little surprises that I liked to keep me wondering what was going to happen. However, a LOT of the trouble was so seamlessly solved and it was too unbelievable that this couple had gotten away with so much and never had anyone go against them before.

All in all, it had a good premise and a lovely second chance love story with a decent plot line, I just wish there'd been some strife and work needed to get a solution instead of it seeming so easy. This could've been because a large part of this portion of the story was told to us instead of letting us really be involved and see as it came together piece by piece.

Susan Stoker is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose series include Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, and Delta Force Heroes. Married to a retired Army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri to California to Colorado—and currently lives under the big skies of Texas. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website or find her on Facebook.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Claiming Grace (Ace Security #1) by Susan Stoker to read and review.

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