Title: Sink or Swim (Surf Bay: Book Five)
Author: Ashley John
Pages/Word Count: 284 Pages
At a Glance: There is the part of me that still loathes Finley, and then there is a part of me that wants to see him as I do in this book and hug the broken boy that lost his heart in Surf Bay.
Reviewed By: Karen
Blurb: Framed for a crime he didn’t commit, British teenager, Finley, is given a fake passport and forced to forget the life he’s always known. When he arrives in Surf Bay, he meets his uncle, Monroe, and he learns his time in America isn’t going to be a vacation. From the second his plane hits the ground, he is dragged into a world of organized crime, working under his uncle’s wing.
He is forced to share a tiny apartment with another of Monroe’s employees, Jay, and they soon become puppets, acting out Monroe’s terrible crimes, side by side. When their work starts to become increasingly more dangerous, Finley is torn between his need to obey his uncle and his need to protect Jay.
As his life spirals out of control, he falls deeper and deeper into a world filled with money, crime and power and his only form of escapism is in his growing love for Jay.
Can Finley resist the lure of a life-changing proposition from his uncle, while still protecting the one he loves, or will he make sacrifices, which could change the course of his life, forever?
*This is the 5th book in the Surf Bay series. It is an origin story for Finley and not a HEA romance novel (although it does have romance elements). It is recommended that you have read the other books in the Surf Bay series first, although this CAN be read as a standalone (no cliffhanger) or as a prequel to the rest of the series*
Review: There isn’t a book by Ashley John that I haven’t loved, and Sink or Swim is no exception. This author has an incredible knack for taking characters that he has built up for us to hate, and be the bad guys, and then showing us a different side of them; and although you don’t forget the things that they did that made you dislike them, you can’t help but fall for them in the end. From the moment Finley is introduced in the previous book, I loathed him. There were really no redeeming qualities for me, so going into this book, I already had a pretty strong opinion about how I felt about him. Then I started reading and it all went out the window. Well, alright, not all of it… In this book we are going back in time, before book one of the series, so all of what we know of Finley happens after these events, but you do get to see a completely different side to him.
About two chapters in, I was sitting curled up on my couch feeling sorry for Finley, and knowing how he ends up, I was wishing things would turn out different for him (even though I already knew they didn’t). Finley and Jay together were so sweet and so innocently and completely in love—something that is hard to picture with the Finley we had previously known. The end broke my heart (yup, I was a sappy weepy mess), and I think it broke Finley to his soul and then thinking ahead, you break even more knowing what comes later.
Although I am a reader who loves her HEA, and was warned before reading that this wasn’t going to have one, I ended the book with a mix of emotions. There is the part of me that still loathes Finley, and then there is the part of me that wants to see him as I do in this book and hug the broken boy that lost his heart in Surf Bay.
You can buy Sink or Swim here: