Book Review: Last Hope by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick

I didn’t review the middle two books in the Hitman series, partially because I wanted to take a little break and partially because I couldn’t find words that didn’t sound much like the first one. Also, I’d reviewed the 3rd one before on Goodreads. I will say that I absolutely loved these books, and this one was just as amazing, even though it pulls us out of the Russian mafia world and into a mission of Rafael Mendoza, a minor character from Last Breath. Considering the, uh, large and unique problem Rafael has, I didn’t feel I could let this one go without a write-up.

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One-Sentence Synopsis
A woman blackmailed into being a mule to save her best friend finds herself at the hands and protection of a mercenary who needs the documents she’s been delivering. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Damsel in Distress
Ava is trying to save her best friend who is being held hostage by the guy she’s dating by delivering documents to various sources for reasons unknown to her. All she knows is that she doesn’t want to see her friend dead and will do anything to keep her safe. Rafael needs those documents to save his own friend, and so he and some fellow mercenaries are carefully watching Ava, trying to get at what she’s carrying. This spying leads to Rafael developing an attraction to Ava, one he knows will not be returned (because they always know, right?)

Jungle Fever
When things go haywire while Ava is being transferred and the plane goes down in the jungle, Ava and Rafe find themselves alone in the wild. You’d think that being unshowered and gross in the middle of nowhere would be a good lust deterrent, but it has the opposite effect. And while the beginning of the story was slow for me, this is where it picked up steam.

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His Other Weapon
I feel like I shouldn’t laugh at Rafael’s conflict, because in the context of the story, it seems serious. His mother was insane and brainwashed him into some neuroses, and a freak incident with a girl in high school scared him into never having sex. Yes, Rafael is a virgin hero, having abstained from sexy times because of the massive size of his package. He’s afraid he’ll hurt or kill anyone he tries to have sex with, so it’s just easier to not even go there.

The Monster is Attacking Her City
Even with the serious themes of the book, it was hilarious. First of all, Rafe’s penis is pretty much a side character and is referred to as Godzilla through the whole book.

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There’s some conflict between Rafe and Ava, but there’s more between Ava and Godzilla, considering she’s determined to….tame that beast? I don’t even know what a good metaphor for this would be. Basically, she’s determined to take his V card despite that the fact that he’s scared he’s going to hurt her. I mean, to be fair, once they actually described the thing, it wasn’t so surprising that one might be intimidated. But Ava is nothing if not determined.

Later things get really absurd when Ava has symbolic dreams about Godzilla…the actual monster, though representative of Rafe for sure.

Sexy, Scary, Silly
I thought this was such a fun and hilarious read. Sure, there was some danger and violence and sad times. There was also a lot of the lovey emotions I live for when I read a romance novel. But I totally dug that this book didn’t take itself too seriously. The characters were fun and snarky, and yet for as ridiculous as some of the plot was, it’s romance game was on point.

The Romance Factor
I don’t care if it’s repetitive and silly…I love a situation where the hero and heroine, despite the fact that everything they do with each other says differently, believe that the other doesn’t want to be with them or could ever love them. Rafe plays the “I’m not good enough for her” card, and Ava just thinks she could never be what Rafe would want in a woman. The way the novel is crafted makes this whole exchange swoony rather than annoying. 5/5

The Steam Factor
The frequency of sex in this book seemed to be slightly less than the others in the series, but come on. You can’t have a virgin hero with a small torpedo in his pants and not have some serious explosions. 6/5

Final Thoughts
Though I would have loved this book even if I’d read it, the audiobook experience for this whole series was amazing. Kasha Kensington and Iggy Toma narrate and holy cow…it was like butter on my ears. To be honest, I’m sad that I’m done with the series, because I love this world, these characters, those narrators…pretty much everything. I’ll have to check them out again because these are definitely high up on my favorite list.

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