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Early Featured Book Review: Shatter (Phoenix Rising #4) by Joan Swan



Author: Joan Swan
Title: Shatter
Series: Phoenix Rising
Book #: 4
Genre(s): Romantic suspense, paranormal romance
Release date: December 31, 2013
Publisher: Kensington Books
Length: 352 pages
Heat level: Moderate
Review copy provided by: NetGalley
Reviewer recap: Tied to a group of chemically altered firefighters, all with impressive special new "abilities", counsellor Mitch Foster is out for blood; the man who set up his friends for that horrible accident is the same man who years ago manipulated away the only woman he's ever loved, and Mitch will see Senator Schaeffer pay or die trying. Halina Beloi has sacrificed everything to keep Mitch safe and out of Schaeffer's line of fire all these years, and she's not about to let him put himself in danger again, even if it means sacrificing her own hard-won freedom. Passions run high and the suspense is killer in this 4th installment of Joan Swan's epic Phoenix Rising series. We've all been waiting for Mitch's story, and Shatter absolutely lives up to its potential.
Writing style & finesse



Character development

Likeable/relatable characters

Plot tension

Flow & pacing

Heat &/or sexual tension

Total Score
9.3/ 10

User Rating
163 total ratings



Huge emotional range and searing passion!


Got a little lost in plot threads from previous books.

Bottom Line

The entire story arc of Shatter showcases some very heartwarming and eloquent emotions and I was sad to see it end. The Phoenix Rising series is absolutely a must read for any fan of romantic suspense; Joan Swan hits a homerun with every new installment and all the characters are memorable – the protagonists uniquely likeable and the villains complexly misguided.

Posted December 13, 2013 by

Full Review

* This review is spoiler-free! Read on with confidence! *

Mitch Foster has been my favorite character in the Phoenix Rising series since he burst into the scene in Fever, all swagger and charm and cunning. Unlike the other characters on the team, he’s not a genius or a badass fighter or gifted with any sort of special power, so that speaks to just how much larger than life his character is, thanks to his smart mouth and quick intelligence. This guy is a straight up shark, a defense attorney you definitely want on your side and the kind of man you want to stand by your side.

Every book has shown us a new facet of Mitch’s personality. His playboy lifestyle and drive to fight for right are Mitch’s way of trying to protect his heart from the betrayal of the only woman he has every really loved, and very scene between Mitch and Halina in Shatter is bursting with emotional and sexual tension. Who knew all that passion has been hiding under a mask of scathing, flippant, witty repartee in thousand dollar suits?

Halina is the badass of the couple, on the run from some very bad people and forced to learn to defend herself in more ways than just physically. Throughout the series it has been rare to see a woman leave Mitch Foster tongue-tied or break his focus, so watching him try to navigate all his rocky feelings for his old flame is a real treat. It also puts him off-balance and keeps the sheer force of his personality from eclipsing Halina, a definite challenge with such a strong and established character. Together, Mitch and Halina are red hot and addicting, making me sadistically want to draw their story out longer to get another hit of all that passion.

I love that Mitch takes his share of teasing and ribbing from the team in Shatter, after dishing it out so freely across the previous three books. I also adore the group dynamics of this cast. Their personalities are such a perfect compliment to one another, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie, love, friendship, and professionalism that is rarely matched.

Memorable Quotes

Ah, so, maaaaybe Mitch and Halina have a few issues to work through…

“I was watching you so I could find a time, an appropriate time, to talk to you, Halina. Unlike some people, who decide to jack a man in the middle of a shower, I have manners.”
“You call watching me through my windows at night ‘manners’? Have you forgotten how to use a phone?”
Hands on hips, he glared at her. He glared at her.
“And you would have returned my call, right? And we would have met at Starbucks like normal people, right? Had a regular, civil conversation, right?” He gestured between them, making a point to stare at the gun. “Because normal people always use silencers on their forty-fives during civil conversations.”

Friendly, charming Mitch has so left the building…

“I’m not going with you.”
She gave the door a good shove, but it barely moved. With a growl, Mitch dropped to a crouch and gripped both her hands in his. “Let me make this very clear—for the last time. You are going with me. And, this time, printcessa, you’ll leave me when I decide to let you go.”

Definitely has a ring to it! *wink*

Her light eyes swung up and held on his face. “Your belief in me is refreshing, Mitch. But you’re wrong.” She held up a hand, eyes closed. “Hold on a second, I’m savoring the words . . . Mitch, you’re wrong.” A blissful smile lit her face.
“Man, that really has a ring to it.”
“Ha-ha,” Mitch said.

Totally with Mitch on this one…

“I don’t believe futures are predestined. We have the power to choose, and every choice changes that future.” He gripped her jaw with his free hand, willing her to hear him, believe him. “And I choose you. Let Fate suck on that for a while.”

Ah, how I love all the payback!

“We’ve been talking,” Kai said.
Mitch winced and took a survey of the faces in the room.
“That cannot be good news for me.”

You may also like…

If you are new to the Phoenix Rising series, definitely start at the beginning with Fever.  The plot lines are getting a little politically complicated as the story arc continues and you’re going to be confused by a fairly large cast of characters and backstory if you haven’t read the first three books in the series.  The second book, Blaze, was the GraveTells 2012 Book of the Year. You can read our review for Rush, book #3, here.

If you liked Shatter but are looking for a little less paranormal and a little more suspense and mystery, pick up Pamela Clare’s Striking Distance.  Easily one of the best books I’ve read all year, Striking Distance runs the gamut of emotional vulnerabilities and risks and has a heart-pounding story arc and conclusion that will have you thinking about it weeks later!  Striking Distance has a novella prequel, First Strike, that introduces how the couple originally met and gives background on their relationship before the harrowing events at the start of Striking Distance.  I highly recommend starting there.  Note that these books are part of a larger series (I-Team) but do not need to be read in order.

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Shatter is…


Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue and GraveTells have won several blogging awards, and GraveTells recently celebrated its five-year anniversary! Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.


    Tina B

    Yay!! I can’t wait to read Mitch’s story! Loved him since Fever!


    i have the book thanks so much for the giveaway the book is really good loving it

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