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Authors: Lauren Sevier & A. Smith
Series: The Fool’s Adventure Series Book 1
Publication Date: July 10, 2021
Genres: Dystopian Western Romance
Rating: out of
Trigger Warning: This book contains depictions of graphic violence, language, sexual violence, attempted rape, depictions of child abuse, and depictions of human trafficking.
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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.
I was fortunate enough to be a beta reader first for Guns & Smoke prior to reading it again as an e-arc for the tour. What drew me to this book initially was the description, especially the fact that it is described as being a dystopian western romance. While I had read westerns that were dystopian, even westerns that were romance, I had never read one that combined all three and the fact that this book was combining all three piqued my interest.
From the opening lines as I followed along with Bonnie as she stalked Jesse through Las Vegas, I was hooked. I found myself wanting to know more not only about this brazen female outlaw and the man she’d chosen as a mark, but also about this version of the United States following a catastrophic event that essentially sent the country back to the times of the Old West. As I made my way through the book with the characters on their rather dangerous quest to reach Jesse and his brother’s uncle in hopes of finding answers and safety, I found myself wanting to rush through not only to find all the answers I and the characters were searching for, but also to see Jesse and Bonnie grow ever closer despite their best efforts. Thankfully, I forced myself to take my time with the book and really savor each moment of the story as it unfolded.
As much as I love the overall story, I found that I especially loved the writing style and how descriptive and seamless it was. The author’s did such a wonderful job bringing the story to life that I found I was able to picture each scene in my mind as though I was watching a movie. The story is so well crafted that I found myself laughing right along with the characters, as well as cringing and crying out at the more harrowing and unsettling scenes. It’s because of the images that flew through my head while reading that I couldn’t help but create my own mood board (pictured above) for the story.
The other aspect of the story that I really enjoyed was how the authors took their time with the story, both with the revelations about Jesse and Bonnie and their pasts, as well as the rather hilarious slow build of their relationship. In terms of the revelations, the sprinkling of information throughout made it so that when the mind blowing revelation towards the end of the book came, it not only was one I didn’t see coming but upon reflection it helped to explain and solidify so much of the things which occurred earlier in the book. As for their relationship, the slow build up and constant fighting not only with each other, but internally with themselves was needed as they each had walls that they need to break down and trust on both sides that needed to be gained. The constant interruptions from other characters further helped to make it that when Jesse and Bonnie finally have sex they’ve managed to overcome all their hang-ups and cautions and build on that trust to the point that I was wholly satisfied as a reader with how everything came together.
As this is the first in a series, I cannot wait for the next book to come out after that rip my heart out cliff hanger ending. While so many of my questions were answered in this book, I have so many new ones that need to be answered, and I really want to know more about the past events that occurred prior to the book starting, such as the events that led up to The Culling and the fact that they’re having not only a long lasting but an even farther reaching effect than anyone could ever imagine.
If you’re looking for a wonderful action-packed adventure story that takes place in a future Old West setting with romance, comedy, a kick-butt heroine who is perfectly capable of saving herself, and a sexy leading man who is able to break down the heroine’s walls, then you need to pick up a copy of this book for yourself.
Lauren Sevier & A. Smith are long time friends and co-authors from southern Louisiana. Guns & Smoke, their first joint publication, began as a “short” story after having too much wine on girl’s night. Nine years later it is now the first novel in a Dystopian/Western Romance series. The duo has plans to publish several series together in the future. A. Smith spends her time with her two rescue dogs and rescue cat surrounding herself with books and Labyrinth paraphernalia. Lauren Sevier collects antique tea cups and tries to stay sane, though as the mother of a toddler she fails brilliantly most days. She also has a growing collection of crowns and tiaras and likes to act silly on Tiktok. Look for more thrilling novels from The Fools Adventure series in the future!