It's a bittersweet thing that I'm participating in the tour for J.A. Huss' GUNS, organized by Xpresso Book Tours. I've been a part of the tours for every book in the Rook and Ronin series, including TAUT and now GUNS, the two series spin-offs. And, now the series has been brought to a close, and what an explosive close it was. Read on for my review, enter the international tour giveaway, and check out the other stops on the tour!
Published March 31, 2014
Publisher: Science Future Press
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Genre: new adult contemporary review
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 5 STARS
(From Goodreads) Spencer Shrike is a man with a plan. Get in. Get out. Move on. He loves Ron the Bomb, and her safety is the only thing on his mind these days. But life is a tricky bastard, and conning criminals for the better part of ten years brings its own set of problems. Sure, Rook lied her way out of a sticky situation, covering for crimes Ronin, Ford, and Spencer committed, and getting them all off scot-free in the process.
But not everyone is buying Rook’s story, and Spencer is desperate to figure out who’s in town setting them up for a fall.
Veronica the Bombshell Vaughn has put up with Spencer Shrike’s shit for years and where has it gotten her? A big fat nowhere. No ring, no house, no kids, and no promises. In fact, Spencer is worse than ever—completely distant and moody. She’s done sitting at home, pining over a man she can’t have.
But she’s not opposed to fighting for him.
Ron the Bomb fights hard and she fights dirty, so she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get Spencer’s attention.
But now there’s another man in town with his eye on her. He’s got secrets too, but unlike Spencer, Bobby Mansi is more than willing to let Veronica in on them.
The entire Rook and Ronin series comes full circle. Every con, every lie, and every skeleton in the closet is back for one final shot at vengeance and the only way to set it right… is to get out the guns.
From the very beginning, I knew that of the three on The Team - Ronin, Ford and Spencer - that Spencer was my favorite.
And now I know why.
All of the posturing and scheming and manipulating have led up to this moment. Ronin, Ford and Spencer formed an ace Robin Hood-esque Team years ago, which allowed them to steal from rich jerks who hurt others. Instead of giving their riches to the poor, however... they kept it. And now the culmination of two jobs gone wrong - one where Spencer killed a man and one where a man nearly killed Rook - is threatening absolutely everything these three guys have worked to build.
On the surface, it's easy to think that Spencer is a serious prick. It seems as if he strings the girl he supposedly loves along for no reason other than that he has some serious commitment issues. Veronica Vaughn loves him so much and would do anything for him, and yet, he tends to treat her like a whore. But, the awesome thing about Spencer is, that's exactly what he wants you to think.
Spencer has sat by during all the drama and danger and legal wrangling and watched Ronin and Ford worry themselves sick over the outcome of the final trial and what it will do to the women they love. And, Spencer loves Ronnie so much that he's willing to allow her to hate him than to see her involved in their situation. And, right there is why Spencer is better than all of them.
JA Huss does a masterful job weaving a complex story about human trafficking, drugs and murder. It all started four books ago in Tragic when Rook escaped her scummy abusive husband and, purely by chance, met Ronin and fell in love with him. Over the course of the next two books, she met Ford and Spencer, all the while, her past was racing to catch up with her. And, catch up with her it did.
Soon after, Ford met Ashleigh and her baby daughter Kate - again, purely by chance - and fell in love with both of them, despite Ashleigh's ties to a mobster.
To all appearances, Spencer is the stable one. He met Veronica, a.k.a. Bombshell, at school. They shared romantic dates, sweet words, and super hot sex. Her father and brothers approved of him. They both held steady, normal jobs. They were together for years. And yet, when the shit hit the fan and Rook, Ronin, Ford and Spencer are forced to take part in the trial of a dirty FBI agent involved in Rook's husband's human trafficking ring, it's their relationship that falls apart.
Spencer Shrike is an amazing character. He's incredibly artistic, and his talents are brought to light in many ways. He creates beautiful custom motorcycles. He can paint masterpieces on the human body. He designs tattoos. Spencer is also wicked intelligent, crafting master plans, the ends of which can't be seen until they're actually upon you. And, the love he has for Ronnie is to-die-for-swoon-worthy. He would do anything for her - including give her up.
Veronica is actually kind of perfect for him. She is equally creative and works as a tattoo artist in her family's shop. She is a force to be reckoned with and isn't afraid of much (except for blood, which does create a bit of a problem at times in her profession). And, Ronnie will go to ridiculous lengths to protect the people she loves.
Guns tells the story of Spencer's efforts to cull The Team together in the final days before the trial and to hold them and his relationship with Ronnie together until it's all over. It was action-packed, incredibly sexy and included twists and turns that I never saw coming, including a huge one that goes back to Ford's book, Taut. Guns was also highly emotional. I felt so awful for Ronnie as she struggles to understand why Spencer pushes her away, yet seems to adore her at the same time. The flashbacks to the beginning moments of their relationship were so bittersweet, they brought tears to my eyes.
The ending, though. was totally worth all the angst. The epilogue was absolutely perfect. But, the real treat came in the second epilogue, and it proves that JA Huss is not just good at what she does, she's freaking brilliant.
Be forewarned, you absolutely need to have read all the books in the Rook and Ronin series - Tragic, Manic and Panic - plus Ford's book, Taut, before you read Guns if you want to have a prayer at understanding what's going on. The good news is, you can pick up all three books for only $0.99 right now. Seriously - if you haven't met these characters yet, this is the perfect excuse to do so. This series is gritty and dirty and sexy and fun. Although I'm sad it's over, it was an absolutely incredible ride while it lasted.
About the Author
JA Huss is the author of the Amazon bestselling Rook and Ronin series, the epic science fiction I Am Just Junco series, and hundreds of kid-friendly science books in subjects such as biology, physics, anatomy and physiology, astronomy, and forensics. She has an undergraduate degree in equine science and a master’s degree in forensic toxicology. She has never taken a creative writing class and she hopes she never will.