Blood & Water

Romance - Suspense
330 Pages
Reviewed on 07/19/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Stephanie Chapman for Readers' Favorite

Ally Asten’s Blood and Water is the first book in the North Point Series. Elena Foster had returned to North Point Hospital after working at the Rehabilitation Institute of Neurology. Elena had been a student occupational therapist at the hospital. She received stellar reviews and patient recovery success. However, she knew that Marco Rossi was a therapist at North Point. Elena dreaded encountering him after how they had parted ways 17 months before. His reputation as a player preceded him. Marco had charmed Elena despite her being a student. His obsession with Elena led to him leaving North Point and accepting a job at the Rehabilitation Institute. He hoped he could run into Elena while at work. When he saw her hugging Dr. Ryder Phoenix, Marco saw red.

Ally Asten created a volatile medical romance story. The alternating views of Elena and Marco gave insight into their motivations. The transitions from past to present were easy to follow. I found the amount of detail given to each character allowed me to connect with them. The unpredictable plot turned what could have been a simple romance into a conspiracy thriller. I had empathy for Marco’s mother, who still grieved over the death of her husband. I liked Ryder and felt he cared for Elena beyond just her physical attributes. Marco was like a child with a toy that was soon forgotten when something shinier replaced it. The end of the book leaves an opening for a sequel. I recommend Blood and Water to anyone who enjoys medical thrillers with romance included.

K.C. Finn

Blood & Water is a work of fiction in the romance, suspense, and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is best suited to mature adult readers owing to the use of strong language throughout as well as sexual and violent situations. Penned by author Ally Asten, this intense and dramatic opening to the North Point series sees us following the exploits of Elena Foster as she returns to work at a hospital where, eighteen months ago, she had had an illicit affair with a physical therapist, Marco Rossi. Marco still holds a grudge against Elena, but when he confronts her upon her return, they both discover a secret long buried that neither of them expected.

Author Ally Asten has crafted a suitably steamy medical suspense novel with lots of romance, spicy scenes, and bubbling chemistry between the two lead figures. I enjoyed the physical description of the characters immensely as it gives a really cinematic viewpoint of their banter, personalities, and interactions, and this is interwoven with some really witty dialogue that’s so uniquely personalized to their dynamic. There was also a deeper emotional storyline for both Elena and Marco that felt realistic and satisfying as they came to terms with difficult and upsetting moments from their past, both individually and in their memories of one another. As they try to reconcile these issues, the suspenseful and explosive events of the plot put them to a true test of character with some really satisfying results. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend Blood & Water as a promising and entertaining start to what ought to be a highly engrossing series.

Pikasho Deka

Blood & Water is the first book in the North Point series by Ally Asten. After a gap of 19 months, twenty-six-year-old Elena Foster is back at North Point Hospital to take up her position as an occupational therapist (OT). Unbeknownst to others, she had left the hospital due to an ill-conceived relationship with Marco Rossi, a physical therapist whose family has firm control over the management of the place. Meanwhile, Marco still wants to know why Elena left him without warning and indulges in meaningless casual flings to distract himself. Unable to suppress their mutual attraction, Elena is now prepared to spill the beans at the risk of her career. Little does she know that the secret she was so determined to protect has another layer of mystery behind it.

The first half of this book plays out like a conventional workplace romance that soon changes gears to turn into a mystery thriller, keeping you on your toes and making you wonder what's coming next. Ally Asten splits the narrative into two timelines, parallel showcasing events of the past that have unforeseen repercussions in the present. What I enjoyed most about this book is Asten's seamless blend of romance, mystery, and drama into a setting that feels lived-in and well-fleshed-out. The "will they/won't they" dynamic between Elena and Marco is the plot's anchor. Asten also brings a sense of tension and intrigue into the story, with the latter half filled with suspense and thrills to keep you hooked until the end. If you enjoy medical drama shows like Grey's Anatomy, Blood & Water will be right up your alley.