Review: War Poppy by Nicole Lynne (War #1)

Note: This ARC was provided by the authors via L. Woods PR in exchange for an honest review.

“So, Brandon Blaine, who are you then?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, when you figure it out, you just let me know.” Leaning down, I press a gentle kiss to his forehead. He reaches up and trails his fingertips along my jaw in a feather light touch. “I’m just glad I have whoever you are.”
“Always, possum.” He taps that rat on his chest. “Right here.”

Fair warning: War Poppy, the first novel in the War series, may have triggers that some readers may need to be wary of, as well as situations that may deemed sensitive, including but not limited to violence, alcohol abuse, and suicide. This series starter from Nicole Lynne—which is the pseudonym for the writing duo of L.P. Lovell and Stevie J. Cole—is a heavy, emotional read, one with angst from beginning till end, though there are bits of humor thrown in so that it isn’t overly dark and depressing. It’s a story about love, friendship, and loss and how there are times that even love is not enough. I highly suggest you have a tissue or two on hand because you could need it.

Growing up, Poppy Turner loved two boys the most—her best friends Connor Blaine and Brandon O’Kieffe. She would go on to marry one and remain the closest of friends with the other, their trio one founded one love and kinship. But when Connor was killed while serving his country and Brandon upped and disappeared, Poppy knew what she had to do. She already lost her husband to the war; she refused the idea of her best friend becoming yet another casualty. Everything she had left, she put into finding Brandon, but the man she discovers in the world underground fighting is a shell of the boy she knew and loved. Can she be his light in the darkness around him?

Losing Connor and holding his lifeless body in his arms is an ongoing nightmare that Brandon O’Kieffe has to live with. He punishes himself by allowing his opponents to hit him during fights and he’s distanced himself from Connor’s widow and Brandon’s best friend, Poppy Blaine. But Poppy was determined to find him and find him she did. The last thing he wants is to taint her with the bleak reality of who he’s become. He promised Connor he’d take care of Poppy—and he made Poppy promise she’d take care of Brandon—but can he betray the memory of his best friend if he acts on his feelings for the man’s widow and will the darkness overtake even Poppy’s light?

There’s nothing easy about this book. It’s difficult to read, but if you persevere, you’re rewarded with an intense, gut-wrenching, heartrending story. There are no cliffhangers to be found here, and while I can’t tell you what the ending is, what I will say is that I got it—I got why the authors chose to go in the direction they did. It’s real and honest and you know when they say “the truth hurts”? Well, it does. Life doesn’t come with guarantees. I do highly recommend this novel and I certainly will have my eye out for the next book in the series, but I make my recommendation with the reminder that you leave your expectations at the door. War Poppy is a five-plus-starred read. ♥

Release Date: 06 February 2017

Date Read: 06 February 2017

Learn more about Nicole Lynne.

Purchase War Poppy on Amazon.