Awakened, The Belladonna Agency Series, Virna DePaul.
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Turned, and was looking forward to reading more so when I saw this on the review list – well- had to request it 🙂
So, it’s focussed around Agency member Barrett this time. She’s having to work with her ex, a man she’s really still in love with, though she won’t admit it even to herself. She kind of emotionally stunted as far as love goes, she’s scared to admit it, she has a kind of brittle in your face appearance, posh girl who’s never upset or has problems, and yet she’s far more than the face she shows people. I feel she broke things off with Nick as a self protection method. He’s fighting his own guilt – he betrayed her on their last mission to keep her safe, but hasn’t told her. It led to her leaving the Service and him, and he’s still feeling the guilt. They’re hot together though, scorching, sizzling, and it doesn’t take long before the old attraction between them has them heating the sheets once again.
The search for Jane, her dead friend’s daughter, ties in with the Agency’s mission and with Nicks FBI work. They have to be careful though – it’s suspected there’s a mole in the Agency ( and my schoolgirl humour keeps conjuring up visions of were-moles, as we’re talking about paranormal…can you imagine how scary those front paws would be???) but no-one has any clues who it is. I can’t help feeling that’s going to play a large part in a later book…There’s lots of planning, clues to work out, people to trust or distrust, action and danger. Barrett and Nick both learn things from each other their respective agencies either didn’t know or weren’t telling, and some of it is essential vampire info, where lack of knowledge could lead to death. While working together they also learn things about themselves and each other, that shed light on the past and helps cement their future.
Its another cracking adventure, with just enough drama to keep me on the edge without overdoing it, so that the whole thing becomes unreal. Its a fine line in fantasy – even though we’re talking about (hopefully!) unreal creatures there still need to be lines of reality in the actions and Virna does that really well. I commented last time on a couple of things I found a little unreal – this time nothing stands out. I hope we see more of the dogs too – they sound like a real help to save lives.
It’s a great read, not quite five star but close.
Stars: four and a half, one for re reading and keeper files.
ARC supplied via Netgalley
Harder, Robin York.
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews.
So, I loved book one, Deeper. Incredibly touching, poignant and romantic read, and I was really sad at the end when West had to return to his family, thousands of miles away, telling Caroline they could never be together…so how would the second part stand up to that fabulous beginning?
Well, I’d loved west in Deeper, but in this book – wow – he’s a real jerk. I could see why though, it’s as if he’s just given up on any hope of a better life, resigned himself to taking care of his awful family ( except for lovely, ten year old sister, Frankie) and got into a huge black cloud of never ending depression. Then there’s a terrible tragedy in the family and West gives in late one night and briefly calls her. That’s enough for Caroline, she can’t just switch off her love like he seems to have done, and she gets on the next flight to him. He’s changed though, the loving, supportive, gentle man she knew has become a hardened, sullen, angry person. He isn’t glad to see her, doesn’t want her there, doesn’t make her welcome, and is a real jerk to her. Does something awful that she finds hard to get past….and that was a tear jerking moment.
Caroline has grown so much in this book, become more independent, more sure of herself. For a while back with West and his awful family I thought she’s regress, just give in, it would be hard for anyone in her position to carry on faced with what she was, but she’s steadfast in her love even if he seems to be rejecting it.
It’s a long haul back, not to where they were, but past that, past the awful mess that happened to her, past West giving up on life, past letting others rule her. I was amazed at how she took the terrible, traumatic events that had shadowed her for so long, and used them to shape her way forward. Go Caroline Go! West had so many people rooting for him, he’s a real “bad boy” outwardly, and yet there were those who took time and got to know the true West, who gave him so much help and support. It’s a fabulous read, a fantastic follow up despite my doubts it was possible. If you love your romance with a side of drama, emotion, real problems and a HEA this book is for you.
Stars: five again and well deserved.
ARC supplied via Netgalley.