Fledgling Guardian Angel, Serena St. Claire, is deep into her first mission when she finds herself ensnared within the inescapableMy Review:
Fledgling Guardian Angel, Serena St. Claire, is deep into her first mission when she finds herself ensnared within the inescapable and notoriously cunning grasp of an Archdemon. Tracking her Assignee - the human she's tasked with protecting - to Devil's Paradise, a night club in the heart of Los Angeles, Serena waltzes in with the naive intention of securing her charge and leaving just as quickly. However, Devil's Paradise isn't just your run-of-the-mill nightclub. Just as its name implies, the club is the ultimate sinning ground for the devil and his minions. More accurately, its the home of an Archdemon - a demon who answers only to the Devil himself - and one who just happens to own this particular nightclub as well as all of Los Angels and Serena has just fallen prey to his unwavering focus.
For two centuries, Julian Ascher has built his demonic empire upon thousands of fallen human souls. Fueled by the rush of corruption, Julian once reveled with sinful glee as human after human fell beneath his subtle but effective whisperings of sin. With his clubs providing the perfect environment to topple even more souls into Hell, Julian has begun to find things a little too easy and perhaps a touch too bland until suddenly an angel walks into Devil's Paradise. Serena St. Claire is beauty in it's purest form. Radiating an innocence that boils his lust, Julian is obsessively determined to keep his beguiling new pet. Corrupting Serena's instinctual self-sacrificing nature, Julian twists and cajoles her into staying one week with him in Las Vegas, the devil's playground, or he'll determinedly harm her beloved brother and corruptible Assignee. While a piquing nag of guilt threatens his previously non-existent subconscious, Julian, disturbed by this strange and sudden fault in his character, finds it all the more urgent to burn out the bright light that is Serena.
Coerced into spending seven interminable days with Julian Ascher, Serena's emotions war between abject hatred and paralyzing fear. There's also a certain amount of intrigue for the Archdemon that irritatingly clouds her thoughts and worse, her judgement. Determined to never forget that a malevolent creature lies beneath Julian's masculine beauty, Serena blocks his every advance. It's not hard in the beginning. Never having been interested in Las Vegas, a frivolous playground to be sure, Serena isn't enamored with the bright lights or tinkling opulence. Nor is she overly impressed with the high end fashion that Julian had the audacity to purchase for her. Material goods never mattered to Serena when she was human and they definitely don't matter now that she's an angel. But the longer she's in Julian's company the more of an effect he has on her. Not a minute of the day or night goes by when he's not by her side, softening her will power and bending her body to his sensual pull.
Striking out again and again when trying to appeal to Serena's womanly greed for material goods, Julian rethinks his strategy with the realization that in order to get to his angel's heart, he'll have to first appeal to her mind. But the more he learns about Serena, the more Julian wishes to cherish her rather than oblige his Liege and topple her into Hell. With this thought also comes unexpected terror. Having selfishly dragged Serena to Las Vegas, Julian has unthinkingly exposed her to true evil, an evil that will think nothing of hunting her down and murdering her for the simple and pure enjoyment of crushing innocence in its truest form. For the first time in two centuries, Julian despises his own inherent evil and the havoc he has and still does cause. Believing that the only way to save Serena is by making her believe in his rejection, Julian brutally tosses her aside while he himself cripples beneath the sheer love that she freely offers while recognizing it as a love he never once earned.
From the deepest heart of her core and radiating outward, Serena St. Claire is goodness. But having scrupulously toed the line as a human, Serena is even more monkish in her lifestyle as an angel. On closer scrutiny, it could be said that she's never truly lived life even when she had it firmly within her grasp. She's never loved or been even remotely spontaneous and you can just forget about reckless. Now, having died young and reincarnated into her angelic self, Serena has been offered a new shot at life but does she have the courage take it? Only the sheer force of Julian's demonic manipulation empowers Serena to finally stare that question in the face and make a choice.
The dark opposite to Serena's radiating light, Julian Ascher is a demon with a complex rational of sin and justice that's strangely logical. However, he's also incredibly ruthless and thinks nothing of backing Serena into an inescapable corner simply for his own selfish amusement. He's a bad a guy. Period. But thankfully, a redeemable one.
As a human, Julian once couldn't wait to help those around him. A member of the English Aristocracy, Julian endeavored proactively to help and protect his tenants but when a woman manipulated him into committing murder, Julian's angry soul sunk into the bowels of Hell. Tormented by the injustice of his human life, Julian began tormenting other damned souls and found he had a knack for it. Another being noticed this too. Soon his ability propelled him straight to the top as an Archdemon but one who never could forget that he had once sought to be the exact opposite of what he is now. Strangely vulnerable, Julian falls heavily for Serena. For the first time in two centuries, he's once again thinking of someone other than himself. But he may be too late. His wicked ways may have already prevailed but he'll commit every sin in the book if it helps him save Serena from the danger his selfishness has plunged her unwittingly into.
My Final Thoughts:
WHERE DEMONS FEAR TO TREAD embodies an interesting plot premise that shows vast promise and appeal. Unfortunately, a disappointing lack of strong worldbuilding and a heroine that exhibits one too many too-stupid-to-live moments downgrades an otherwise good read.
While readers' appetites for worldbuilding vary greatly, whether it be great or small, one always expects a least some clear understanding of the rules. Instead, I found myself trapped within a continuous stream of questions. Not to say that questions can't good but with each question, as a reader, we expect answers eventually - especially with regards to basic worldbuilding. With why and how dominating my thoughts, a strong lack of believability began to settle over my reading experience. Such distractions created a disjointed narrative flow providing more and more opportunities for me to put the book down and do something else.
In addition, the first quarter of the book is incredibly rough. Serena - young, naive and strangely without any power whatsoever - locks lips with a decidedly powerful Archdemon within pages of meeting. This is a demon who quickly twists her natural desire to protect so hatefully that I almost let the book go. I'm sorry, but unlike Serena, if an evil demon was threatening my brother's life, even if it was simply an act of manipulation, no way in Hell would I be warring with my libido over his sexy good looks. Thankfully, the author finds her groove and her scenes smooth out once Julian and Serena reach Las Vegas. In fact, there are numerous instances within the final three quarters where the author gripped me with such incredible strength that the torturous beginning soon became worthwhile.
While not the most amazing paranormal romance to hit the market, WHERE DEMONS FEAR TO TREAD shows some good promise. There's undoubtedly talent here and I'm curious to watch as this author develops.
Once prosperous beyond their means, Sabine Laurent and her misfit theater troop family find themselves in dire straigh4.5 Stars!!!!
Once prosperous beyond their means, Sabine Laurent and her misfit theater troop family find themselves in dire straights. Saddled with a hefty and ever increasing debt payable to the Crown, they all face eviction and life on the streets, if they're lucky, a debtors prison if they're not. Penniless with no available resources to help clear their enormous debt, Sabine is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. After her educated ears pick up on two privateers boasting in Italian about a recent capture of a king's ransom worth of silver coins, Sabine devises a plan to steal the silver from the privateers. She'll offer her innocence to the thieving group's leader as a rouse while her young cousins knock out the remaining men with tainted wine. Once they've all dispatched their charges to a dreamless sleep, they'll swipe the silver and disappear. The plan begins without a hitch until Sabine's Dark Prince emerges looking as devastatingly handsome as ever.
Nothing will stop Jules de Moutier from reclaiming his family's prestigious title as well as the lands that were wrongfully taken from them. Accused of conspiring against the Crown, Jules's father, the Marquis de Blaineville, was dropped from a hangman's noose while his sons were left to rot in prison. Jules and his younger brother Luc were eventually released but while Luc seems content with their fall from grace, Jules is determined to clear his father's name and see himself reinstated to the title befitting his true station. Planning to use the stolen silver as the means to that end, Jules is not about to let his guard down but when a beautiful woman with hair of spun gold enters his camp offering her luscious charms, he can't resist partaking in the carnal delights she promises.
Having blamed the Moutier's not only for the harsh taxes they once levied against her family, but beyond that, Sabine blames them for her twin sister's alleged death. Isabelle was her closest confident, her best friend, and her blood. It tore Sabine's heart out when her father sent her to work as a servant for the Moutier's. Despite the letter from the Marquis de Blaineville stating dispassionately that Isabelle perished in a fire, Sabine doesn't feel that she's dead and with the fortune they'll reap from the silver, she's determined to find her sister and save her family. But at this moment, all of Sabine's anger and despair wars with her acute desire for Jules; her Dark Prince. Having once peered longingly at him from behind the stage curtains of her father's grand theater, Sabine imagined countless times what it would feel like to kiss her Dark Prince. And now she has her chance.
Embarking on a lush and sensual journey, Sabine basks in the momentary bliss Jules provides with each and every explosive sexual encounter. Living vicariously through a made up persona - Elise - Sabine soaks up every touch and emotion that rages across her titillated senses. Loathing herself for the lies she's weaved, Sabine can barely fight off her sickening gut as each moment spent with Jules unveils a caring man within his often arrogant exterior. When her deception is finally discovered by a furious Jules, a much larger and deadly plot is unveiled spelling both Sabine's and Jules's demise. Interwoven betwixt Isabelle's death and the Marquis de Blaineville's hanging lies a dangerous predator waiting to finish the destruction he's started with one grand and deadly finale.
Sabine Laurent's radiant beauty and innocent demeanor may have many falling into the trap of underestimating her, however, beneath her stunning looks lies a resourceful, cunning and quick-witted woman who will do whatever is necessary to save and protect those she loves.
After years of suffering the tarnish and loss of poverty, Sabine's soul clings wearily but steadfastly to life. Forced to endure the near crippling blow of loosing of her beloved sister, Sabine's heart and mind have hardened to everything but the task at hand. To think beyond would only open herself to the cascade of heartbreak and defeat that already looms with a dire sense of inevitability on the horizon. The lights have burnt out for Sabine until Jules and the gift of his demanding passion opens her eyes and more importantly, her heart. While in his strong arms, Sabine watches the walls of her ever enclosing fate drop away to reveal the light of their combustible and all consuming passion. It is Jules de Moutier that reawakens Sabine to the world and the tempting possibility of hope.
Suffering the vile humiliation of toppling from the aristocracy to the title of outcast and betrayer, Jules de Moutier thinks of nothing but the injustice and wrongful persecution of his beloved father and noble family name. Despising his career as a privateer when he was once a privileged member of the Royal Navy, Jules is within clutching distance of reinstating his family to their former and noble glory.
Distrustful not by nature but by experience, Jules is hardened to any plight outside his own but then fate handed him Sabine. No matter if she's deceiving him as Elise, enraging him as Sabine, or eventually taming him with her loyal and loving heart, Jules was captured completely the moment she stepped foot into his camp and turned his life upside down. Breaking through the barriers wrought by his grudging anger, she floods his heart and soul with much needed light while her cunning perseverance keeps him on his toes and her wild passion enraptures him to a point of no return.
My Final Thoughts:
A MIDNIGHT DANCE is a lush and exotic retelling of its fairy tale inspiration: Cinderella. Enchanting the reader with steamy sexual delights and the titillating breath of danger, Lila DiPasqua weaves her magic much like the Fairy Godmother, gifting her characters with layered depths and a plot that never lacks for momentum.
Jules de Moutier is a wonderful and captivating hero. A man of sin and beauty his arrogance is balanced only by his instinctual kindness. Dark and lethal, he commands loyalty and allegiance from his thieving band of privateers as well as respect and deference befitting his rightful station, outcast or not. Matching wits with the lovely and daring Sabine Laurent is utterly engrossing and pages of fun. Heartbreaking and endearing, Sabine and her plight can and will charm even the most critical of readers.
DiPasqua especially shines with her titillating and explicit love scenes. Marvelously detailed with sinful language sprinkled throughout, DiPasqua takes her characters on a sexual journey that leaves you hot and breathless while never crossing the line into the land of crude or offensive. From the moment you open the pages, passion overflows. Think Lisa Valdez. You got it? Oh yeah.
A MIDNIGHT DANCE is a smooth transition for DiPaqua from anthologies to full length novels. You'd think she's been doing this all her life. Seriously. So why not five stars? Well, there are two moments within the novel that Sabine seemed to act out of character, one which was pivotal but unfortunately necessary within the construct of the plot. Seems tedious, I know, but they were each moments that caused me pause and the distinct thought that Sabine's actions were contrary to her character. Otherwise, loved, loved, loved this novel.
Weighted helplessly by a dark strangling noose of despair, Miranda Grey doesn't even bother to fight the gang rape that drops her sMy Review:
Weighted helplessly by a dark strangling noose of despair, Miranda Grey doesn't even bother to fight the gang rape that drops her soul straight to rock bottom. All her fear, all her failed attempts at a normal life have led her to this moment and while the blissful emptiness of death beckons, she drags forth from the pit of her soul a dark malevolence that promises retribution. Driven within a hair's breath of insanity by the voices and emotions of others, Miranda makes one final bid at harnessing her uncontrollable empathic power to kill those that gloried so much in torturing her. Stripped, clawed, and bloody, Miranda turns all her dark swirling rage into a weapon of death and rains the putrid fire of her emotions onto the men who made her their prey and onto herself for her own pathetic acquiescence to their brutal assault.
David Solomon, Prime of the Southern Vampire Community, has a soft spot for damsels in distress. More to the point, he has a soft spot for Miranda Grey. A local Austin, TX musical talent with an empathic ability beyond what he's ever seen, David is acutely aware of the danger that surrounds Miranda. As a human with no control over her powers, he instantly recognizes the anguished path she walks and the inevitable death at road's end. Finding her in a dark alley nearly broken and surrounded grotesquely by a group of dead men, he protectively shields her mind from the cacophony of voices and emotions that plague her and takes her somewhere forbidden to humans. He takes her to the Haven, the Prime's vampire stronghold, to heal from her psychological and physical wounds. David, however, is completely unprepared for the thrall she will soon weave about his soul. And he will never despise the burden of the Signet, of being Prime, as he does when it threatens his second chance at love.
Clawing forth from the shadowed depths of her fear-choked nightmares, Miranda takes a tenuous hold of her second shot at life. Frightened by the deafening silence that now fills her head, Miranda is left with no choice but to reclaim her own thoughts and find herself amidst the yawning emptiness. Aching and bruised, the simplest tasks quickly tire her body making her a virtual prisoner within the bounds of her plush room in the unknown fortress she now inhabits. Taking the news rather well that her protectors are vampires, David, the Prime and Miranda's temporary shield from all the madness, begins teaching her how to contain her rampant powers in order to live some semblance of a normal life. Strangely, while Miranda is consumed by fear in the presence of any other male, she finds comfort and protection rooted deep within David's shield. With each passing day in his presence, Miranda's connection to David grows stronger and soon rumors burn through the Haven that the Signet, the glowing pendants worn by primes and their queens, may soon chose her as the Queen of the Southern Vampire Community.
The very last thing David can afford to think about is Miranda and the growing force of their connection. As the first vampire Prime to enforce a no kill law of humans, it's been a revolving door of murder and mayhem. But the situation has become even more dire as an extremist group known as Blackthorn resurrects from the shadows and dust they'd once been dispatched to by David himself. Infiltrating the trusted core of David's Elite, the Prime's warriors, Blackthorn is after more than just the right to kill humans, they're after the Signet and they'll find any means to destroy the community David's created including Miranda. Believing that putting distance between himself and Miranda will save her, David severs the tenuous threads that bind them and steers his focus upon what's most important: the protection of the humans and vampires alike in his territory. But he never imagined that Miranda would haunt his every thought. She's become as necessary as blood and her call will not go unheard.
Upon first meeting Miranda, she's merely a husk of her former normal, sociable, college attendee self. Where a voluptuous redhead once stood she's now rail thin with pale bruised skin stretched frighteningly over sharp bones. Her green eyes which once danced protrude large and glossy like a drug addict in the midst of a high. Once upon a time that's what her gift yielded her, a high. And like drugs, it soon robbed her of everything.
Building a shoddy musical career upon her unique ability to manipulate the emotions of her audience through her voice and guitar, Miranda once loved the spotlight but her powers have grown so out of control that the stage has now become a potent addiction and the only outlet that keeps her sane. Unable to control the rampant emotions constantly cascading through her mind in every other situation except for when she's plucking the strings of her guitar, Miranda looses more of herself every day to the thoughts and feelings of others. Wanting the blissful quiet that only death can grant, Miranda does nothing to stop the brutal attack that nearly brings her to that which she hungers for most.
Saved by the very powers that have wreaked havoc over her life, it's an uphill struggle for Miranda to break free from the vile emptiness that nearly managed to consume her. With the help of David, Miranda learns how to shield herself from her powers while also strengthening them. But it's not until David severs contact that Miranda really starts to rebuild her life from the ground up. Her journey is long and arduous but when it comes time to make David rightfully hers, Miranda does it with flare, confidence, and absolute strength.
Not a reluctant hero but rather a careful one, David Solomon took up the Signet and became Prime of the Southern Vampire Community with acute zeal but the Signet soon wore heavily upon his chest and his soul. Burdened with the well being of thousands of vampires and millions of humans, David can only hope for a Queen, for a partner on this dangerous journey where death is the only release from the responsibilities he dutifully carries. Yet there's something within him that feels undeserving and there's also the fear of condemning a woman he loves to the danger he endures every minute of every hour of every day.
Miranda is the first woman in three hundred years to make David pause and wonder if she could be the other half of his soul. But the timing couldn't be worse. With the Blackthorn vampire faction terrorizing his city and his Elite, David isn't willing to risk Miranda's life. Believing that distance is the only key to Miranda's survival, David deprives himself and her of the love that's already blossoming.
My Final Thoughts:
QUEEN OF SHADOWS, reading more like a paranormal romance than urban fantasy, embarks on a gothic journey of peril and love with a fragile, diamond-in-the-rough heroine and an avenging hero who's a marvelous combination of techno geek and bad ass warrior.
Dark, turbulent, and beyond intriguing, Dianne Sylvan creates a world where death truly does lurk in dark shadows. Instilling a modern, technologically advanced element to her vampire myth, Sylvan mixes old and new to create an original concoction. While much of the vampire history is unexplained or labeled as unknown, this is both a curse and a blessing. Instead of strong world building, it's rather a soft structure but with plenty of room to grow in subsequent installments. QUEEN OF SHADOWS isn't just a vampire story, its decidedly Miranda's story and her character growth is as amazing as it is believable. Sylvan gifts her with the time necessary to change and evolve from a simpering, fear-filled woman to a powerfully capable warrior. Miranda takes control of her life, a process this reader enjoyed immensely.
David, while a complex hero to be sure, lacked the overpowering charisma one expects from a character of his title and bearing. He should be so large a personality that he practically leaps from the pages but it's Miranda that does this, not David. He never failed to appear young and absurdly pale in my mind's eye when my reader heart clamored for a more rugged and dangerous physique. Granted this is entirely a personal issue but for me, his flame just didn't burn nearly as bright as Miranda's. It bears noting though that their one sex scene positively burns your fingers right off the pages. Personally, my feeling is that David is at his best when he's jealous.
In addition to Miranda, Sylvan excels at capturing the musical and hip urban essence that is Austin, Texas. Undoubtedly a resident, she brings alive Sixth Street, the city's beating music heart. You'll feel the passing of the seasons from the lung-sucking humidity of summer to the blistering ice cold of winter (there's really no spring or fall). Having visited the city numerous times myself, it was wonderful entertainment to take a trip to one of my favorite cities via the pages of a romance.
A book that I've been peering at longingly for months from my mountain of must-be-read-for-review books, QUEEN OF SHADOWS didn't let me down when I desperately needed something good to read. For paranormal fans and urban fantasy fans alike, this is a fabulous start to a new addiction. Enjoy!
Touch Jarvis Swain if you dare. Not only does the giant warrior come part and parcel with one hell of a massive sword that's a seamMy Review:
Touch Jarvis Swain if you dare. Not only does the giant warrior come part and parcel with one hell of a massive sword that's a seamless extension of his own body, but the man is the Guardian of Hate. Oozing the putrid black slime of all the word's hatred, Jarvis is an infection that'll taint any fool foolish enough to touch his skin. And while all of this dark mojo lends Jarvis one badass reputation, the poor guy has an expiration date that he's managed by sheer force of will to extend by a hundred years. Jarvis isn't ready to explode and yes that's his end game, to explode. With determination to survive not only for survival's sake but to watch the backs of this fellow warriors, Jarvis isn't ready to go down without one last fight to save the world. With mere days separating him from his super nova finale, Jarvis needs to find his brother Cameron, the Guardian of Love, in order to stabilize the Earth from the aftereffects of his demise. There's one tinsy little problem: his brother has been hired to reap by Death in some convoluted bid for world peace.
Reaping souls would be a whole lot easier if Reina Fleming actually had some minuscule desire to kill. Instead, the girl is pure heart but reaping her first soul is the final step towards being promoted to Reaper status and the powers she desperately needs to save her doomed sister. After a nasty Deedub with a sweet fetish bit and tainted her mother and eight sisters, Reina has been forced to watch each and every one of them die. Now, with only one sister left - and she's showing the deadly signs of her impending demise - Reina is determined not to fail her like all the rest. Desperate to achieve the killing edge, Reina agrees to help Jarvis Swain - a warrior with no qualms about killing - retrieve his brother from Death and in return, he'll help her save her sister. There's one tinsy little problem: Reina has sworn to never give her heart to another doomed soul; she just can't take any more loss. With Jarvis scheduled to explode, Reina tries to hold back her heart from falling in love but the warrior is making that endeavor impossible. Honestly, what girl wouldn't fall for a guy willing to kill for her?
For one hundred and fifty years, Jarvis hasn't been able to lay a finger on a single being for fear of tainting them with his hate. Sex, therefore, isn't much of a pleasurable task for no sooner does he get his rocks off before the woman is screaming mad with hatred. Being the Guardian of Hate is an absolute sucker punch on Jarvis's love life. But by some miracle, Jarvis's black touch doesn't infect Reina. In fact, touching her and her reciprocating that touch seems to hold his impending implosion at bay. He's still scheduled to die of course but she gives him a few precious moments more of time. But no matter the hunger Jarvis feels for Reina's touch, he can't ever feel deserving of it. He's hate and she's heart. How in the world can they ever make it work? They can't, at least that's Jarvis's thought and his constant self flagellation isn't making him feel any better.
Reina knows that beneath Jarvis's badass exterior is a man in possession of a heart for she feels and sees his love in all his endeavors. He's a born protector, a man that would lay his life down in a minute not only for her but for his friends and even for his conceited brother. But no matter her arguments that run contrary to Jarvis's own belittling view of himself, her protests that he's a good and kind soul fall upon stubbornly deaf ears. Jarvis is a man that sees the world in black and white with him being the inky black. For Jarvis, hate isn't some monster lurking beneath his skin, Jarvis is hate, he is the monster and the sooner Reina understands that, the better. But he does soon appreciate Reina's determination to convince him otherwise. Having a female fight for him to see the good within himself is a previously unknown concept, one that has him falling head over heels for his little grim reaper. But this Happily Forever After is doomed. With so many out of control happenings, Reina and Jarvis are in for the ultimate fight, one that will test their very souls.
Incredibly brave and utterly selfless, Reina Fleming takes care of those she deems as hers. Having failed her mother and seven of her sisters, Reina is determined to save the last of her family. There's just the pesky little problem of having to reap her first soul. Simple fact is that she can't do it and she can't do it because she can't stop herself from hopelessly loving others. Reina's heart has become a huge liability.
If there's one person out there that can help Reina become a cold-hearted murderer, it's Jarvis Swain. He's the meanest; most menacing warrior Reina has ever encountered so is it weird that he makes her heart flutter with desire? Maybe, but Reina's willing to be at Jarvis's mercy if it helps save her sister. Funnily enough, Reina feels no fear in the face of Jarvis's hate. While it's likely sensible to be afraid, Reina can't muster that specific emotion. Lust however, well she's feeling that in abundance. The thing is, Reina can sense a deep loyalty beneath Jarvis's frightening exterior. He can't be hate straight through to his soul. He just can't! If only the man didn't have to explode...
Jarvis Swain knows what he is: he's hate. Period. It's not as simple as a monster lurking beneath his skin like Reina believes. But God does it feel good to have her proclaim otherwise. Prior to Reina, females in general were bad news in Jarvis's opinion, having been tortured by them and all for well over a hundred years. Nothing like an insane bitch of a black magic wielding witch to turn you off to the female sex. But there's something so pure and genuine about Reina that's stirring up all of Jarvis's protective and possessive instincts.
Blinded from seeing his true self by the hate that consumes him, Jarvis, like Reina, is utterly selfless and would quickly sacrifice himself if meant that those he's deemed as his are safe. He's natural protector, one that has been protecting since the day he condemned himself to the life long servitude of an evil witch so that his brother, the Guardian of Love, could be safe. He's a good, worthy warrior. Too bad he's a ticking time bomb...
My Final Thoughts:
Superseding its predecessor in both plot and characterization, TOUCH IF YOU DARE is an entertaining and endearing paranormal thrill ride. Achieving a much needed harmony between both the action and the romance, Stephanie Rowe has made a fan out of me with this latest and greatest installment in her Soulfire Series. Here's to second chances!
Jarvis is very much a hero but one that definitely feels undeserving of the title. But let's look at the facts. One, he's a man that literally carries the fate of the world within him as the Guardian of Hate and he values his responsibility. Two, he sacrifices his ever weakening grip on Hate when any one of his band of warriors needs his powerful energy to heal or kill respectively. Three, he's constantly on guard and maintains distance so as not to inadvertently taint those he cares about and strangers alike. And finally, he's willing to do whatever is necessary to help Reina save her sister. I mean this is a man that selflessly gives to those around him without a thought to what he's forsaking in his soul to do so. This, my friends, is a hero.
Reina is the perfect pairing for Jarvis. She's the light to his darkness. Selfless in her own right, Reina gives her heart to everyone, human, immortal, or animal. Within Jarvis, Reina sees him for all the good that he his and she's convinced that he can overcome his battle with Hate by recognizing that very goodness within himself. It's this love, this unwavering ability to believe in people, to believe in hope that makes Jarvis admire Reina and ultimately to love her as well. She's a fun heroine and woman that readers can root for.
TOUCH IF YOU DARE embodies its share of action but the action flows very nicely with the romance, unlike its predecessor. Nothing overwhelms Jarvis and Reina. This is their show. Perhaps Rowe was able to focus more on the romance with TIYD because KISS AT YOUR OWN RISK (book 1) covered so much ground with regards to the world building. Also, I really enjoyed that there were reasons and evidence to substantiate the powers Jarvis and Reina wield. Things were explained to a much higher degree and that lent a more believable feel to the world and its characters.
A rompin' good thrill ride that any paranormal romance lover can appreciate, TOUCH IF YOU DARE is good fun. And I'll definitely be grabbing book three upon its release with every expectation that it'll prove to be even better.