Blood Ties by Sharon Sala
published by Mira (Harlequin) in May 2011
The truth will set you free... if it doesn't get you killedGenre: Contemporary romance, romantic suspense
Savannah Slade is not the person she thought she was. The reading of her "father's" will has led her to a world-shattering revelation: her sisters are not her blood kin—and she may be the heiress to a massive fortune. Her not-quite-fiance Judd doesn't if it doesn't care where she came from—he only wants her by his side. But the primal need to uncover her past wins out, and Savannah trades the Montana ranges for Miami's moneyed oceanside enclaves.
The wealthy and powerful Stoss family is less than overjoyed to find that Gerald Stoss's daughter has emerged from the past. But theirs is a clan seldom troubled by…inconveniences. They've always had the means to eradicate any blemish on their perfect lives. One more won't make a difference.
Series: The Searchers, Book #2
The Story: After the death of their father, the Slade girls - Hannah, Maria and Savannah - discover through his will that they are not related by blood. Instead, all three girls were taken in by Andrew Slade under unusual circumstances. Andrew kept a journal for each of his daughter relating the circumstances and adding as many information as possible so if they decide to, the girls could explore their past.
In the case of Savannah, her mother was dying of cancer and had contacted Savannah's father so he would acknowledge his daughter. He did agree to take in and take care of Savannah, but was unfortunately killed. Then, Savannah's mother received a call threatening Savannah's safety. At wit's ends, she decided to entrust her daughter to the evangelical preacher doing revivals.
Another shock for Savannah is finding out that she is actually the legitimate heir to the Stoss' empire - a familial business which the first-born and only first-born inherit, and this most probably is what got her father killed. After such revelations, Savannah needs to know who she is, to find out about her birth parents, but also claim justice for her father's death. Her high school sweetheart Judd is not thrilled about Savannah leaving for Miami on her own. He's not sure if their relationship can survive the distance... and if Savannah really turns out to be the heir to the Stoss empire, would she be willing to come back to Montana to a rancher?
However, there are bigger problems than Judd being unhappy... such as people being unhappy at Savannah's reappearance in their lives...
My Opinion: Let's dive in directly, shall we? I'll start with the complaints I have about this book first, then will get to what I enjoyed :)
Basically, I had two issues with Blood Ties. The first is the sense of déjà-vu. Not only does Blood Ties take place in parallel to Blood Stains, but it also has a similar storyline: heroine posing a threat and people wanting to get rid of her. If you've been a long-time fan of Ms Sala, you'll realize that it's a trope that she uses often (Out of the Dark, When You Call My Name). I usually don't mind authors using such writing strategies, especially when they're good at it... and Ms Sala is good with this trope - Out of the Dark is one of the most poignant book I've read. Unfortunately, I don't think it was a good idea to use the same story trope in two books in a row, especially as they are part of the same series ^_^; Worst, I have a feeling Blood Trails will also follow the same pattern ^_^; I think I know what Ms Sala is trying to accomplish - trying to add some suspense to these books, but I think there is a different way than hired thugs.
My other issue with Blood Ties is that some of the elements/events of the book definitively felt over-the-top ^_^; I know this is fiction and some things should be taken lightly, but I couldn't help but going "Huh? Really?" and I think that's never good.
Putting aside those two issues, Blood Ties was quite an enjoyable read. Savannah was a good heroine - nice, realistic and smart - and you couldn't help but root for her. I like that she already had her hero and they were already involved; it made for a different romance. I thought Judd was the perfect match for Savannah and it was cute to see him worry. His worries all made sense and showed that he cared about Savannah. All in all, I thought Savannah and Judd made a sweet couple and while the romance wasn't the focus, I was okay with it :)
Other good elements of the book were the secondary characters, especially Savannah's lawyer. I liked his personality and how he looked out for Savannah :) The story was pretty interesting as well. There were some twists to the storyline I didn't see coming, one that was really sad :( Also, I liked that Ms Sala tried to throw the readers off LOL. Finally, the constant: Ms Sala's writing :) Still enjoying it :)
Out of the three sisters, it was Savannah's storyline I was looking forward to the most because it involved her family. I guess I was expecting a typical story where they'd welcome her ungraciously, try to win her and plot against her in her back. What Ms Sala offers us is definitively different which would have been a good thing if not for Blood Ties echoing her previous books.
My Grade: C. All in all, I liked Blood Ties :)