Guns & Smoke Blog Tour: Emily's Hurricane - Review
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One small change in position and now each of my soft curves was pressed intimately against the tall, hard length of his unyielding body. His blue eyes blazed in the dim light of the alley, reading something on my face that urged him on. This was supposed to be my trap.
His hands were buried in my hair now, a thumb tracing over my cheek to land on my bottom lip. I knew what he wanted. Parting my mouth, I wrapped my lips around the pad of his thumb, my tongue flicking against it before sucking softly. A deep thunderous sound rumbled through his chest to shake me down to my bones. His hand in my hair slid to the back of my head, pulling my mouth closer to his. He wanted me to kiss him. He wanted this to be more than a transaction. He wanted me to want him back.
I brushed my nose against his, and he stilled. All other motion and sensation forgotten as his eyes landed on my mouth, inching closer to his. I drank in the taste of his breath, a faint echo of the taste of his lips from before. My head tilted to the side, and he brushed the hair away from my face to see me more clearly as I angled toward him. He swallowed down whatever desperate words were on the tip of his tongue, and I took his chin in my hand, mouths open and millimeters apart.
I don’t take a lot of chances on authors and books that I don’t know these days. I’ve talked about it before, how my TBR is so long I’ll have to pass it down to my children when I die. So I don’t often deviate from recommended reads or new books from authors I know, because if I take a chance and the book sucks, then I’ve wasted my limited valuable reading time on something that sucks instead of one of the vetted awesome books on my TBR.
But when I was getting all my stuff together for Jyvur Entropy’s Combustion book tour, I thought I’d take a poke around Silver Dagger’s upcoming tours and just see what was coming along.
And I spotted Guns & Smoke. And like…look at that cover! It is so cool that it had me drooling. I had to click on it, had to know what it was about. The blurb had me at ‘outlaw’. I love westerns so much, they’re always a one-click for me. I signed up without even reading the rest of the blurb, and grabbed an Advanced Reader Copy so I could be all set for the tour.
And then I binged the hell out of this book.
In a world where safety is a luxury and honor is found only among outlaws, two people attempt to outrun dangers lurking around each corner and the tragedies that define them. Bonnie is an outlaw on the run. Beautiful but dangerous; her dark past stalks her like the crater beasts that roam the desert. As the notoriously cruel outlaw Jones sends his henchmen to track her down and retrieve the gun she stole from him, Bonnie hopes she can stay one step ahead. Because if he catches her, a fate worse than death awaits. Jesse always dreamed of leaving the farm to explore the ruins of the big cities he’d heard about his whole life. He just never imagined he’d be forced to flee after strange men burned down his rural mountain town and murdered everyone he loved. Responsible for his kid brother and searching for an uncle he’s never met before, he isn’t sure he can navigate the perils of life among con artists and thieves long enough to find him. Their two paths collide as they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime. Together, they may just discover that life is about more than just surviving.
TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains depictions of graphic violence, language, sexual violence, attempted rape, depictions of child abuse, and depictions of human trafficking.
I learned something really fast when I started reading this book. Calling Guns & Smoke a western is a vast oversimplification. First of all, while the term ‘outlaw’ makes one think of historical westerns, I was in for a delightful twist. This book takes place in the future, after nuclear war has just messed everything right up. America has fallen into a Wild West-esque place. The characters are named Bonnie and Jesse, and it has everything you’d ever want from a western, but also it’s a sci-fi dystopian with radiation monsters. It’s so creative and unique and I was so excited discovering this!
Secondly, the romance and sexual tension in this book, gawd. The cover might be badass and give the impression of a dark and gritty novel (which, let’s be honest, G&S is totally badass, dark, and gritty) but it’s also surprisingly tender. Bonnie and Jesse’s meet-cute is anything but cute (with the exception of Harry, he is hella cute and just a beacon of sunshine throughout the whole novel for me), but it’s intense and poignant and sets the stage for their tumultuous relationship. It is a slowest of burns, and I enjoyed every second of scorching fire.
So we’ve got ourselves a post-apocalyptic dystopian western romance, which is unique in itself, and then it’s populated with characters like Bonnie, named after exactly who you think she’s named after. And it’s referenced too, because it’s a dystopian future so why wouldn’t everyone know who Bonnie and Clyde are? G&S Bonnie is a trash-talking, grumpy, morally grey kickass heroine with a ton of baggage and a chip on her shoulder.
Jesse, however, is the softer side, and despite his strengths he’s not your typical alpha male hero. And this is yet another place where I adore this book. Jesse isn’t a cinnamon roll per se, but he’s not this overpowered apocalypse superhero either. He’s doing what’s best for him and his kid brother and trying to get them to family with not enough life experience to do so in a street-smart kind of way. And the fact that he and his brother need Bonnie to survive (at first literally, and later emotionally) is such a fantastic arc and fresh to see in romance stories.
We were the same. We were wild, untamable things. We were free. Guns & Smoke, Lauren Sevier & A. Smith
We all know how much I love dude in distress as opposed to damsel in distress! And let me be clear, Jesse isn’t incapable, it’s just that he and Bonnie have a different set of skills and they complement each other so perfectly that it hurts.
Anyway. It wouldn’t be fair of me to spoil this book before it even comes out, so I’m going to shut up now. You should preorder it RIGHT NOW. And then when it comes out on July 10th, read it and then come back here to fangirl with me! Sevier and Smith have created something so unique and special and I cannot wait to see where they take this next.