Book Review(s): The Darkest Sunrise Duet by Aly Martinez

Title: The Darkest Sunrise (Darkest Sunrise #1)
Author: @AlyMartinezAuth
Reviewer: Grace
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 266 pages
Rating: 5 Stars


Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.
Whoever coined that phrase is a bald-faced liar. Words are often the sharpest weapon of all, triggering some of the most powerful emotions a human can experience.
“You’re pregnant.”
“It’s a boy.” 
“Your son needs a heart transplant.”
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.
Syllables and letters may not be tangible, but they can still destroy your entire life faster than a bullet from a gun.
Two words—that was all it took to extinguish the sun from my sky.
“He’s gone.” 
For ten years, the darkness consumed me.

In the end, it was four deep, gravelly words that gave me hope of another sunrise. 
“Hi. I’m Porter Reese.”

Grace Review

This is emotional duet centering on two individuals who struggle to survive day to day in the dark, yet find the hope of light in one another.

Right at the prologue, you are hit with the full weight of this story. How all it takes is a couple minutes for a life/lives to be forever changed. As a mother, I had my close calls and even though the moments only amount to seconds, they are the worst seconds imaginable, so I can’t even begin to imagine how those moments, and the time following, impacted Charlotte Mills.

The pain.
The guilt.
The heartache.

A hero one moment.
A villain (in some eyes) the next.

Then we are introduced to Porter Reece how lives his own version of hell every day.
The two meet out of desperation and while it takes some time, Porter eventually wears down Charlotte into giving him a chance.

There it was, blazing in her eyes. The emptiness. My emptiness.

Together, the two share brief moments of happiness.
A smile.
A laugh.
Extreme passion.

. . . when your entire world was pitch-black, even the tiniest flicker looked like a lighthouse.

But their road together is far from smooth. Life continues to throw them curveballs. The whopper coming at the end of this book.

I’ll be honest, right from the beginning, I had my suspicions. Then I dismissed them. Then those suspicions came back, right before they were confirmed. But even though I anticipated this twist, I still had my heart practically beating out of my chest. The last couple of pages I held my kindle in a death grip and was totally heartbroken with the ending. So, whether you see this ending coming or not, doesn’t matter. The author did a great job of having you so invested in this couple, into their chance at a brighter future, that it would be hard not to feel gutted by it all.

I’m so happy I didn’t have to wait for book two to be released. I would have been manic. And while I was fearful of what I might uncover in the next installment, I had hope that the author would return this couple back to that light they briefly shared.

Final note: If you plan to dive into this book/duet, do so with time to devote to both books. Because I honestly don’t see how anyone can’t read them back to back. So, make the time and dig in.

Now on to book two.

– Grace

Amazon USAmazon UK

Title: The Brightest Sunset (Darkest Sunrise #2)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 270 pages
Rating: 4.5 Stars


Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.
Words destroyed me. 
“I’m sorry. She didn’t make it.”
“Daddy, he can’t breathe!” 
“There’s nothing more we can do for your son.”
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.
Those syllables and letters became my executioner. I told myself that, if I didn’t acknowledge the pain and the fear, they would have no power over me. But, as the years passed, the hate and the anger left behind began to control me.
Two words—that was all it took to plunge my life into darkness.
“He’s gone.” 
In the end, it was four soft, silky words that gave me hope of another sunrise. 
“Hi. I’m Charlotte Mills.”

Grace Review

Warning: Don’t read this review if you haven’t read book one.

The brief flickers of light we got in book one were extinguished with one gut-retching cliffhanger. So, it should be surprise that I waited about 0.4 seconds before starting book two.

It’s interesting because there are so many people hurting at the beginning of this book, but my sympathies mostly laid with Porter and Travis. Porter because he never did anything wrong. Not only did he have his life torn from him, he had to deal with unwarranted accusations on top of it. I get that many wanted to lay blame somewhere, and with Catherine gone, he was the likely target, and that just was unfair. Then there is Travis, who not only struggled day to day with his condition, he is abruptly introduced into a new environment and expected to be grateful.

I’m not sure why Charlotte doubted Porter at all, but fortunately, he seems to have left an imprint on her heart that is hard to forget, despite everyone telling her to do so.

“. . . he’s shown me that there doesn’t have to be light for something to be beautiful. Love can grow in the darkness.”

As everyone labors with determining what will happen with Travis, I focused my anger on two people.
1) Catherine – this woman obviously had some issues and made the most selfish decision, not once, but twice, leaving a wake of ruined lives.
2) Brady – this jackass only seems to think about himself for a good part of the story. The way he treated Charlotte and Porter was shocking and thoughtless. Nothing was his fault, no one felt pain like him.
Unlike Catherine, who doesn’t have a chance to redeem herself, Brady has his moments, but it is mostly thanks to Porter.

Make no mistake about it, Porter is the heart of this story.
He brings light back to Charlotte’s world.
He demonstrates time and time again how well Travis was raised.
And he offers a glimpse into the future of what a true happy family might look like.

“No questions. No judgement. No faking it. No apologies. Give it to me.”

On top of the rocky road of parental roles, the health of Travis is also a big part of this story. I won’t go into details, but there is plenty of fearful moments throughout and I felt like I was in a constant prayer state. “Please be ok, please be ok.”

This duet was one hell of a ride. The author put her characters threw the ringer, dragging them thru the dark on more than one occasion, but giving them hope that things will be better on the other side. A place where the light isn’t terrifying, but a sign of a new day and new beginning.

– Grace

Amazon USAmazon UK

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