November 17, 2013

Braine Reviews: 1000 Sleepless Nights by Connie Ann Michael

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Mobi
Release Date: August 31, 2013
Publisher: Entranced Publishing
Source: Publisher
Genre: Military Contemporary
Can you choose between fighting for your life and fighting for your heart?

Twenty-two year old Corpsman Emme Sawyer doesn’t follow rules. She’s always been the best and no one will die if she has anything to say about it.

Emme refuses to hang around the hospital waiting for the wounded to come to her and joins a Marine unit heading into Helmand Providence, the largest opium producer in Afghanistan. Shutting off her emotions, Emme focuses on what she does best…keeping her men safe. When her best friend is obliterated by a roadside bomb, Emme begins to realize she can’t save everyone. Seeking comfort from Raven, her commanding officer, Emme develops feelings that don’t belong in a combat zone where each step could be your last. As Raven reciprocates, Emme learns you can’t choose when and where love finds you.

Riveting. I guess that's the most appropriate word to describe Connie Ann Michael's military romance, 1000 SLEEPLESS NIGHTS. I've read a few military romances and most of them are not set in the middle of the Afghan war. This was dead center of that and I felt the sense of urgency that Emma and the rest of the characters are feeling on a daily basis. That carpe diem attitude because who knows, you might find yourself blown to pieces because of landmines and other attacks. And the huge task of being responsible for other people's lives. I've never given protocol on this level much thought but after reading 1000 SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, I sure did find a whole new appreciation for military SOP in their glorious OCD-ness.

Emma Sawyer is such a compelling heroine to follow. She's a doctor and everywhere her unit goes, she's with them to treat wounds and other casualties on site ASAP. She's not a soldier, she's not a fighter, she's really a trained civilian and really exemplified what survival means. I don't know anybody in the military personally and I only have the slightest idea of what it feels like to be in the middle of a war zone like Emma at but let me tell you, I felt the constant feeling of danger through her. The feeling of Death hovering behind you at all times and witnessing first hand his skill with his scythe is horrible and heartbreaking. And not just that, the type of "living", for lack of a better word, these soldiers endure on the field is below the bare minimum. No sleep, crappy food, always on the defense, they can't even afford to take a breather lest the enemy takes that opportunity to attack them. Emma in particular, as the only woman in her group, has to take extra precautions because of rape threats not just from the Afghans but from some of the men in her group as well. Tough shiz through and through!

The part where Emma's bestfriend died was so instantaneous I had to read the part twice just to make sure I read it right the first time. And to give praise CAMichael, I'm happy she made the scene quick and didn't draw it out and gave it too much pomp. It made me feel the point she's driving at that war is gruesome and what our soldiers are going through on a daily basis overseas in the middle of various battlefields is heroic, admirable and flucking awe inspiring and heartrending at the same time. 

As for Emma and Raven, theirs is a poignant romance. At first I didn't understand why "fraternizing" is discouraged within the military or their unit in particular but eventually I understood and again, I developed a new level of sympathy for our troops. You can't even afford to fall in love or dodge it when it finds you because it comes with a great price. How horrible is that?! Anyway, Emma and Raven's romance wasn't hot and heavy, it wasn't dramatic nor was it full of angst. It was momentous given their circumstances and in some ways, it was intense due to the nature of their job and environment. 

1000 SLEEPLESS NIGHTS is a riveting military contemporary romance. I love the feeling CAMichael gave me throughout the novel, I love that the romance is light but just as intense as those hot and heavy love stories we read. I loved that inasmuch as CAMichael gave the characters their HEA, she also gave us civilians a good illustration of what our troops go through on a daily basis. I'm sure some conditions are worse than what Emma's story provided but just the same, the idea was told and executed beyond satisfactory.

“Hello.” Her slight southern accent with the word hello told him it was Fiona, Tahk’s older sister.

     He cleared his throat. “Fi?”

     “Yes.” Her voice was tentative.

     He cleared his throat again and roughly wiped the tears from his cheeks, even though she couldn’t see them. “Fi. It’s Mose.”

     “Mose! Hey Ma,” she yelled away from the receiver. “Mo’s on the phone. Get the other line.”

     “Fi,” he tried to interrupt.

     “Mose, how are you? It’s so good to hear your voice. We haven’t heard from Tahk in so long. What’s up…Oh God,” her voice trailed off as she realized what was happening.

     “Mose?” Tahk’s mom broke in. “Fiona?”

     “Oh my God. Ma.” Fiona’s voice broke. That’s all she needed, and Tahk’s mom and Fiona knew. The simple fact Raven was calling was all they needed to know Tahk was gone.

     “Is he okay?” Tahk’s mom had to ask. It’s the question every mother has to ask instead of just accepting the fact their child is never coming home.

     Tears covered Raven’s cheek again. The lump in his throat was so big it felt like not even a tiny stream of water would go down. With a sob, Raven choked out the word he so did not want to say. “No.”

     Tahk’s mom let out a noise similar to what a wounded animal would make. Raven made a fist and rubbed the middle of his chest. He wanted to hang up, but he needed to finish this. Clearing his throat, he pulled himself together enough to give them the information they needed before he totally lost it. “He hit a trip line. There was an explosion. He didn’t make it. I wanted to let you know before the Marines came to your door. I wanted you to hear it from me.”

     “Are you okay?” Fiona’s voice was quiet.

     Raven tried to swallow a sob, but it escaped when he said, “No.” Never could he admit that to his men. Never show weakness was their mantra, but this was his family, and he couldn’t lie to her. “He’s gone. Completely gone.” His voice was so quite; he doubted she even heard him.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t bring him home to you,” Raven whispered.

     “Then bring yourself home. Come home to us, Raven,” she cried.

Purchase 1000 Sleepless Nights

Connie Ann Michael was raised a city girl, but was converted to a country girl after college and now resides in a speck of a town in Central Washington State. She is married to her former boss as she worked at the local Pizza place and has two college age boys that provide endless material for her books. She loves the outdoors and can be found mountain biking, kayaking, or camping with her family. Being a busy family, she can be found working on her newest novel while on long road trips.

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  1. Thank you for helping out with my blog tour and the review. If you wouldn't mind I would love it if you would put it on amazon and goodreads as well. Thanks Again! Connie

  2. This one sounds really good and I enjoy military romance. I was struck by some of the things you brought out about the story. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. I don't think I've read a military romance before, but this one sounds pretty good!

  4. I confess I'm not that much into military romances. I don't know why... maybe I should try to read more of them. But well in any case, this one sounds nice, and I'm glad you liked it. Well the best things is that it's a stand alone book!

  5. I've never picked up a military romance but it sounds like the story is definitely strong. Great review.

  6. Wow sounds intense! I've read a couple military romances (not romances with military men/women as the hero but like this one) and they're always a gut churner. Have you tried Jessica Scott? She about does me in every time I read one of hers. Will have to add this one to my list!

  7. Ohhoho, I don't read many military romance novels either, Braine. But I soooo want to read 1000 Sleepless Nights. I can feel the intensity of this novel through your review...incredible!

  8. I haven't heard of this book but it sounds so heartbreaking :( i couldn't imagine not being with my love or showing him affection, and for these soldiers to have to try and avoid falling in love? smh. great review Braine !

  9. I love military stories and badass chicks even more. THis sounds like something I would enjoy! Thanks for sharing!


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