AUTHOR:  Aly Martinez

GENRE:  Contemporary Romance

Available @ AMAZON

REVIEWER:  Pistol Annie

RATING:  5 of the Brightest Stars


Darkest Sunrise – Duet 1

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.”

Brightest Sunset – Duet 2

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.
More lies.
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.”


“It felt like a nightmare in the middle of the sweetest dream.”

A duet is a composition for two performers in which the performers have equal importance to the piece.  Both Charlotte Mills and Porter Reese are equal players.  And it also takes both books to complete their story.  One alone just won’t get it done.  I wish my words could do this series justice, but they won’t.  However, one review is all it takes to cover the full story — thankfully.  And yes, the first one ends on a major cliffhanger.  However, both books are now available, so there is no need to worry about a long agonizing wait. 

This duet is outstanding in every respect — beautifully written, loaded with all the feels, and full of deep emotional content.  I felt as though someone had my heart in a vice grip throughout a large part of this reading experience.  A story that leaves an indelible mark on your soul.  

Because the full impact of this roller-coaster ride is such an integral part of the overall thrill, I’ll refrain from sharing much more of the storyline than what is offered in the blurbs above.  I will, however, emphasize that this one is a not-to-be-missed dynamite duo.

Charlotte Mills is a highly sought after pulmonary specialist.  She fell into a black hole when her young son was kidnapped, and she blames herself and struggles to move forward with her life years later.  I found Charlotte’s character challenging.  All through the first book, I found her cold, stiff and unrelenting.   Although I felt sorry for her and acknowledged her pain, she just was a bit difficult to warm to.  And then I was into the second book, and I knew I had judged her wrongly.  Dealing with Brady, a one-night stand and her son’s biological father, is enough to send any woman into the freeze zone.  I ended up really loving Charlotte and appreciating even the traits I found hard to accept originally.

Porter Reese is a single father of two.  He’s faced the unimaginable and is still cloaked in its darkness.  Porter stole my heart the instant I met him, and I had no problem warming to him immediately.  Even though his life is a mess, he still reaches out to others and is a generous and caring person.  You might say he suffers silently and tries to do his best at keeping his two young children happy and well-cared for, while working alongside his brother to keep their successful restaurant business running smoothly.  And when he meets Charlotte, holy wow, a better hero could not be found.  He was extraordinary in his strength and loyalty and love.

Together they make a really perfect couple.  The situation they find themselves in, and the heartache that follows, nearly broke me.  One can not begin to imagine how something like this would affect lives.  It is hard to even begin to relate to the long road filled with agony and pain they both traveled, where finally they find peace and happiness and, of course, a happily-ever-after.  Out of the darkness, together and holding onto each other, they stepped into the light.  Aly Martinez’s words come to life on the pages and, as a reader, I felt each emotion right along with our characters.  Word to the wise, have Kleenex nearby.  

Aly Martinez has woven a fabulous story – a great plot with deeply emotional threads running throughout, a steamy romance, and a fabulous cast of characters, main, secondary and the kiddos, who all add charm and layers upon layers of love throughout the story.  There are a few of those “bad guy” types — not really bad in the true sense of the word — just ugly, nasty-spirited and selfish.  The kind of people who make you appreciate the good in others so much more.  You’ll find it easy to fall into this amazing duology, be overtaken by its heartbreaking and yet hopeful resolutions.  Plain and simple — this was an outstanding reading experience from the first word to the last.  I might be repeating my praise — if so, it’s well-deserved!

I’m a huge fan of Martinez’s writing. I’ve now read almost every book she’s written and enjoyed them all.  I can hardly wait to see what she sends our way next!

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