Embattled Hearts (Lost and Found, #1) - J.M. Madden image

Have you ever began reading a book, and you just knew right away that this is going to be one of those books. That book that you'll compare all the others in a similar genre too, but they will still never hold a candle to them? Well this was that book for me. I loved it!!!

This was a hidden little gem. I have been drowning recently in an overload of possessive billionaires and TSTL heroines, angst-filled and over-dramatic plot lines, and completely unrealistic stories. I needed a break! Thankfully this book came along like a breath of fresh air.

First, if you have not read [b:The Embattled Road|16283298|The Embattled Road (Lost and Found, #.05)|J.M. Madden|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1354976843s/16283298.jpg|22386578] I would not recommend reading this one. The Embattled Road is the prequel to this book and introduces the three main characters, Duncan, John, and Chad. The book was heart-breaking and emotional, and utterly necessary to build the background that helps put everything in this book into perspective. It takes place six years before the Embattled Heart.

John Palmer suffered a devastating injury while in Irag six years ago that leaves him in a wheelchair. He hasn't felt like a whole man since then. He's grumpy, and anti-social, and at times just plain rude.

Shannon works as the office manager at Lost 'N' Found Investigation. She is spunky, friendly, and the complete opposite of John, yet she draws him like a moth to a flame. John doesn't feel like he has anything to give to a woman, but he cannot help but desire the beautiful Shannon.

Now let me take a moment here to just say how much I absolutely adored both of these characters. John was surly, but the author does such an incredibly job with characterization in this book, that you simply cannot help but fall absolutely in love with him. You feel his pain, you understand each and every single one of his actions.

Shannon was such an endearing heroine as well. I loved how realistic the characters and their relationship was. There was no unnecessary drama. There were no moments of ridiculous or over the top jealousy or possessiveness.

When a stalker threatens Shannon's safety, John cannot help but want to protect her. He moves in with her, and their relationship begins to change. Forced in such close proximity to each other, they begin to give into the attraction between them.


John doesn't feel worthy of a woman like her, he feels broken and doesn't know what he possibly have to offer in his condition. But Shannon is patient and isn't shy about telling John that she wants him. I really enjoyed the way that Shannon was straightforward, she didn't play games or have silly flirting or try making him jealous. She was a woman that knew what she wanted, and she went after it but in a very non-pushy way. (If that even makes sense)

When Shannon and John finally get together...well let's just say it was everything it was building up to be. Wow!

This book was emotional, and realistic, and just utterly beautiful. I cannot recommend it enough. I really loved that the author had John stay in the wheelchair, there were no unrealistic miracle recoveries. It was real, it was heart-breaking, but I loved every single minute of it.

The only reason I took off half a star was because for some reason, I wasn't too enthralled with the suspense. It was very well done, don't get me wrong. But for one reason or another, something was just off for me.

I loved everything else about it, though; the writing, the characters, the love story, the characterization. J.M. Madden has now made it to my auto-buy list.

I'm really looking forward to the next books in this series, and cannot wait for Chad and Duncan's book.

4.5 Emotionally Beautiful stars