Tuesday, June 18, 2013

***Sandy's Review of Hell, Fire and Freedom by Shannon Callahan***

“He likes something about me, and that’s all that matters..” – Brynn Vincent
“For the record, I’ll never be half as beautiful as you are today.” – Blaze Prescott
For the last five years, Brynn Langley has lived her own version of Hell on Earth. Married to her abusive husband, Carl, in an attempt to give her sister a better life than the one she had, she’s finally reached her breaking point. Escaping is the only way to save her life. Can she find the freedom she’s dreamed of forever, or will everything go up in smoke?
Blaze Prescott, one of New York’s finest, falls hard and fast for Brynn, the beautiful brunette he meets in the coffee shop. He knows there’s more to her story than what she’s letting on, but can he handle Brynn’s past and give her hope for a brighter future, or is the heat too much for even this sexy firefighter to handle?

Sandy's Review
Five years may not seem like a long time to most of us.  What is for every day of those five years – you were terrorized by your husband?  What if your husband told you he loved you and then beat you like you were Rocky Balboa?  What if he raped you trying to get you pregnant?  What if he used the endearment “darling” but it sounds like a curse coming from his mouth?  All of these things is exactly what Carl did to Brynn every single day of those five years.  Why did she put up with it is the question.  Lord knows I would have introduced him to Louis (as in the Louisville Slugger that I keep in the trunk of my car).  Brynn was raised by an emotionally absent alcoholic mother.  Brynn has a little sister named Marie.  That my friends is the be all and end all here.  Brynn’s desire to keep Marie safe, warm and fed supersedes everything, including her own instinct of self-preservation.  Carl uses the love she has for her little sister to keep Brynn exactly where he wants her.  She is a prisoner, without a doubt but a willing one for Marie’s sake.
After one particularly brutal beating, Carl gives her a beautiful diamond and gold locket.  Unknowingly, Carl has just handed her the key to her freedom.  After pawning all her jewelry, she picks up Marie from school and off they go to start a new life in New York City.  There is a woman’s shelter with a social worker that helps set her up with a job interview and a place to live.  At that new job is where Brynn meets Blaze.  A sexy hot as hell firefighter with a big heart to match.  He is smitten at first sight but Brynn, understandably, is insecure and scared of even looking at him. 
It seems inevitable that Brynn and Blaze fall in love.  Things get hot and heavy between these two.  You know me I love the smexy!  Who wouldn’t love a guy who says “The thought of you leaving is f*cking killing me. I can’t stand to spend a night without you.”  Now, we know that Carl has to find her, right?  No way the villain in the story just goes away!  Just like the serial killer never is really dead the first time in horror movies.  I have to confess that I wondered what happened to make Carl so abusive?  Did his mother, whom he spoke of so highly, have anything to do with it?  Alas, we do not know and most of us probably don’t care.  He is, after all, the bad guy.
There are a few more surprises but I won’t spoil them for you.  Things are resolved.  We do get a glimpse into why Brynn’s mother was a train wreck.  We even get that much wanted HEA.  Shannon even gives us an epilogue that moves five years into the future.  I reeeeeally wanted a blow by blow of the first time they make love and I didn’t get it.  Maybe Shannon will write an extra scene sometime soon while we wait for the next book?  (Hint, hint, pretty please with sugar on top)
Hell, Fire & Freedom deals with the very sensitive topic of spousal physical abuse.  Shannon Callahan deals with it honestly.  Some of the scenes, as written, are brutal and I almost felt the physical blows.  Please don’t think that is all there is to this book or that is all doom and gloom.  That is definitely not the case.  It is a story of triumph.  I jumped up when Brynn finally stands up to Carl.  It is a story of finding oneself.  It is a story of keeping hope alive despite the circumstances.  It’s a story of not being afraid to believe that life can be good.  At the end of it all, it was love that held Brynn hostage (not Carl), and it is love that sets her FREE in every sense of the word.
Shannon Callahan is self-published and this is her debut novel.  There are two other books in the Fighting for Freedom series.  Lana’s story (Summer 2013) and Marie’s story (Winter 2013).  ’ll be looking forward to reading more from Shannon Callahan.

About the author
  Shannon Callahan is a wife and a mother of three beautiful girls, living in a remote city in Canada. She spends her days homeschooling, and playing princesses, and her nights reading and writing romance novels.


  1. OMG Sandy, this sounds so good! Great review, but my 1-click finger felt the Freedom to click a little too happily after reading that. ;)

  2. I'm entering the FB giveaway for this book and wasn't sure where to comment. My last 5 star book was Losing Hope. I read it a few days ago and loved it even more than Hopeless!

  3. My Last 5 star book was The Siren, The Angel and The Prince. Had to include them all. Thanks for the giveaway.