Review: Embattled Hearts by JM Madden

embattled heartsReviewed by Shelly

This the first novel (the prequel 0.5 was a very short introduction to the men only) in J.M. Madden’s ‘Lost and Found’ series intrigued me even before I read its blurb. After I read the prequel, I wanted more John Palmer. Actually all the guys were interesting in their own right, but John especially, because he was just so cantankerous. Some might call him angry, but I wouldn’t make that leap, but he is brash and plain speaking, and he’s never heard a cuss word he didn’t like. John’s a bit a loner; it’s always been that way for him (he was dropped off at the orphanage by his mother) until he met Chad and Duncan during their rehab at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in MD.

This story picks up 5 years after the three guys have formed their own agency, Lost and Found Investigative Services in CO. They’re dedicated to each other and all the other vets that they can help.  You see, they only employ vets. And most of these vets are suffering from a physical disfigurement from some trauma, usually an IED, during the war. Along with the physical, there’s the emotional – more than enough PTSD to go around. But I digress.

LNF’s most recent office manager, Shannon Murphy, is having a craptastic day. She walks out of her front door to her car to find that’s she’s got not one, but two flat tires; there are no punctures or damage done to either tires or rim, so she doesn’t really pay much attention to it other than the typical worry. What does worry Shannon is the little left behind object in her kitchen that she knows she didn’t leave there that morning. To her surprise and relief, John calls her that same night to find out if she’s okay; he was worried about her because she seemed a bit pre-occupied at work earlier. After telling John what she found when she came home, John does the only thing he can do – go and see what’s going on.

These two have been having some back and forth at work. Well, it’s not really back and forth because John tried to be a harda*s, but Shannon pretty much ignores his bluster just keeps on doing what she needs to do. John’s also surprised that there’s nothing about him being in a wheelchair that changes her feelings towards him. He’s been witness to some things and he’s got a complex about being in the chair. All that soon comes to a head, but in the meantime there’s enough intrigue about Shannon’s past stalker/cray cray ex that the pace moves very quickly.

The sparks between Shannon and John made for really interesting reading. She’s angsty about John liking her as a romantic interest, and he’s angsty about her liking him in the chair.

The only thing that made me not love this story was I thought Shannon should have made John be really sorry about talking to her the way he talked to her sometimes. The thing is, he would always apologize AFTER but he’s got a quick trigger and an even quicker mouth, but somewhere in there, his ability to think and apply logic was lacking.

If this series continues on the same route as this, I’ll be a happy camper.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon

Embattled Hearts
by J.M. Madden
Release Date: December 13, 2013


  1. This sounds good but I hate it when you get heroes that talk badly to the heroines and then apologize after without *learning* anything and changing their ways. It sounds good but I think this has got to be a pass for me.

    • Shelly Browne says:

      The good thing is he wasn’t abusive with his words – he was snappy and harsh with her especially when she didn’t ask him for anything.


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