*Guest Review* REVEALING EDEN by Victoria Foyt

Guest Review: REVEALING EDEN by Victoria Foyt
In a post-apocalyptic world where resistance to solar heat defines class and beauty, Eden Newman’s white skin brands her as an ugly, oppressed Pearl. Doomed unless mated by her 18th birthday, Eden dreams a Coal from the dark ruling class will save her. But when she unwittingly compromises her father’s top-secret experiment, perhaps mankind’s only hope, she is thrust into the arms of a beastly man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction. To survive, Eden must change, but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty—and true love.

Publisher: Sand Dollar Press, Inc.
Release Date: January 10, 2012
Genre: Young Adult
307 Pages

Single Title/Series: REVEALING EDEN (SAVE THE PEARLS PART ONE)

Cover Thoughts: An enticing cover that captures the basic essence of the story. A+

Origin: VampFanGirl received an advance release copy of REVEALING EDEN from the author.

Jennifer Donohue's Review:

The Plot:

Eden Newman has spent her entire existence underground, avoiding the intense, damaging rays of the super-charged sun in a post-apocalyptic world. Society is now harshly divided along racial lines—the darker your skin, the higher your status due to a greater ability to withstand radiation from the sun. The most prominent group is the Coals who now rule the world due to their genetic superiority. Social ranking filters down the line as skin shades lighter to the fairest of the fair—the white Pearls with skin so sensitive they have little resistance to the damaging rays of light above-ground. Eden hates her white skin and hopes she can attract a Coal to pull her out of the lowest class and give her the chance to mate...and to live. If she isn’t selected as a mate by her 18th birthday, a date quickly approaching, she will be cut off from basic life resources as supplies are scarce and cannot be wasted on someone who can’t contribute to the survival of the species. In other words, the powers that be will stop providing her with food and she will be left to die.

Eden’s father, a brilliant scientist who’s acquired a high level research position in spite of his white skin, may have just discovered a means to improve human resistance to the sun, and indirectly a way to help Pearls everywhere. But has Eden unwittingly revealed too much about her father’s research and risked the entire project and her own future?

A militant group of Coals committed to the status quo wants to take control of the technology, sending Eden on the run with her father and a man she cannot trust but equally cannot resist. She must fight the elements, the disorientation from being ripped from her predictable world, and her maddening attraction to a man she feels has neither morals nor interest in a meager Pearl.

The Heroine:

I can’t decide whether or not I like Eden Newman, but she certainly isn’t boring. The evolution of her character and how she reacts to events is actually very well done. I might not personally like her impulsivity or antagonism—she certainly doesn’t seem like someone who’d have many friends—but her behavior is utterly believable, and it makes perfect sense based on her background and upbringing. She’s 100% teenager and it’s refreshing to see a character in a young adult novel act her age. In the next book of the series, I’d love to see her mature a little. She doesn’t have to be—and certainly shouldn’t be—a mini-adult, but I’d like her emotions to run a little deeper and her thoughts to be a bit more involved.

The Hero:

Finally, a young adult love interest that exudes sexual energy. Before reading this book, I never noticed how often we’re told by authors that the leading man is sexy and beguiling, but the boy revealed through the narrative falls short of lust-worthy and is more kitten than panther. The hero in REVEALING EDEN is strong, intelligent, and powerful. He’s not perfect, and we often doubt his motives, but his allure is undeniable. The dynamic between him and Eden crackles with tension and by the time they get around to that first kiss you’re longing for it.

And why, oh why, you might wonder, do I not mention his name? Well, I wouldn’t want to spoil one of the surprising twists, now would I?

Jennifer's Final Thoughts:

The action is exciting and the romance alluring. REVEALING EDEN read more like a romance novel than your average young adult action/fantasy, and I enjoyed that it wasn’t just an adventure with romance thrown in as an afterthought.

Why 4 stars and not 5? There were quite a few rough spots at the beginning where I had to backtrack and try to figure out what I’d just read. The flow is a little choppy, and this pops up now and again during the book. A little distracting, but not to the point where I’d put down the book.

REVEALING EDEN is an easy, fun read. I read it in two days, which really should be the basis of my reviews instead of stars. It took about two months for me to finally get through it a certain other book I read recently. REVEALING EDEN kept me turning pages—I really couldn’t wait to discover what would happen next.

4 Stars

About Jennifer Donohue: Traversing Corporate America by day, I write young adult paranormal novels by night. What better way to escape than by slipping into an alternate world and playing there for a while? Although for me it’s not just escape--the paranormal is my normal. Whether it’s falling into a ghost hunting group or finding myself living in a haunted house (thankfully past, not present), somehow the mystical world always finds me and lures me back into the fold. I live the paranormal, why not write there? You can friend Jennifer Donohue at Facebook.

*Guest Post & Giveaway* with Claire Ashgrove!

IMMORTAL HOPE by Claire Ashgrove

Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance
368 Pages

Centuries ago, Templar knights defied the archangels and unearthed the copper scroll, revealing the gates to hell. Cursed for their forbidden act, they forever roam the earth protecting mankind from evil. But darkness stalks them, and battles they fight bring them ever-closer to eternal damnation. One promise remains to give them salvation – the return of the seraphs.


Embittered by his purpose, Merrick du Loire must honor an ancient pact and bring peace to his cousin’s soul. When he stumbles upon history professor Anne MacPherson, he discovers she possesses a sacred artifact that marks her as a seraph. Duty demands he set aside his personal quest and locate the knight she’s fated to heal. As he struggles with conflicting oaths, Anne arouses buried hope and sparks forbidden desire that challenges everything he’s sworn to uphold.


Anne has six weeks to complete her thesis on the Knights Templar. When Merrick takes her to the Templar stronghold, he presents her with all she needs—and awakens a soul-deep ache, he alone can soothe. Yet loving Merrick comes with a price. If she admits she's destined for him, her gift of foresight predicts his death.


************************************************************


About the Author: Claire Ashgrove has been writing since her early teens and maintained the hobby for twenty years before deciding to leap into the professional world. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction's Stakes, sold to The Wild Rose Press in 2008, where she continues to write steamy, sexy stories for the Champagne and Black Rose lines. Adding to these critically acclaimed contemporaries, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars, debuts with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat under the pen name Tori St. Claire.

Claire lives on a small farm in Missouri with her two toddler sons, fifteen horses, four cats, and five dogs. In her “free” time, she enjoys cooking, winning at rummy, studying ancient civilizations, and spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters. She credits her success to her family's constant support and endless patience.

Guest Post:

Meet the Knights -- Lucan of Seacourt

I’m here with Lucan from IMMORTAL HOPE, Claire Ashgrove’s new, dark paranormal romance

Lucan, what a pleasure to meet you. Thanks so much for taking some time to talk with me today about the Templar problems.

Lucan: Milady, the pleasure is mine. Tell me how I may assist your quest for knowledge.

I want to know more about this seraph thing – where do they come from, how do you know if someone is a seraph, how do you know who the seraph belongs to, and what’s the deal with this armband?

Lucan: (Chuckling) Your questions are not for the faint. Very well, let us see what light I can shed on the matter. Where do seraphs come from – we must go back to the beginning of time. When angels crossed with man and the Nephilim were created. As you are aware, the Almighty frowned upon these unions. He eradicated the Nephilim… but what is not known is all were given a choice. Surrender the power of the angels, live as man, and their blood would carry on to fulfill a greater purpose. One day, when the cause most presented, their gifts would come again. Those who refused were destroyed.

And today’s seraphs are the result?

Lucan: Aye. The torq you speak of identifies them. It is attuned to their divine power and possesses a few… shall we say… quirks as well.

So that’s how they are identified, but how do you know if someone’s a seraph. For instance, am I? Could any one of the women reading this be one?

Lucan: ‘Tis hard to say. Indeed, any woman could be a seraph. ‘Twould not be known until Gabriel presents himself to her and offers the torq of serpents.

The Templar don’t know then.

Lucan: Nay. We are mere men, not privy to the machinations of the most high.

I wouldn’t say you’re exactly mere men. Aside from the whole knight thing, let’s not forget about this dose of immortality or the fact at any moment you might lose your soul and turn. But beyond that – how do you know if a seraph belongs to you? What’s to stop me from walking up to… say you… and saying I’m yours. If I’m a seraph that is. I could go for knights, swords, and living in secret temples.

Lucan: (Chuckling once again.) Milady you would not wish for this life, I assure you. But if you were indeed a seraph, you would possess some sort of physical mark that stands out in your own mind. It would match your intended mate’s. If you wish to see if perhaps you are fated for one of my brethren, you should speak to Anne. She keeps a record of the marks now.

Ah, smart thinking! While we’re talking about seraphs, do you know who yours is?

Lucan: Nay, I do not know if I shall be paired.

What would you do if Gabriel introduced you to your seraph tomorrow?

(As I ask the question, Lucan shifts uncomfortably in his seat, and I’d swear a blush crept into his cheeks.)

I’m sorry. Did I embarrass you?

Lucan: Nay. ‘Tis a subject best left to silence, however. ‘Twould be impolite to discuss something so… personal.

Oh. Oh! I didn’t mean… Well, now that you mention it… that could be quite an entertaining conversation! A little wine, a little seduction—I bet you wouldn’t have to work too hard to get a girl to agree to promise forever.

(His blush deepens, and I decide to steer the conversation to more comfortable ground.)

Okay, one last question before we let you get back to keeping the world safe from Azazel’s ascension. What was your immediate thought when the archangels told you about the revelation of the seraphs?

Lucan’s expression sobers. He looks past me as he answers, at something nondescript on the wall just above my left shoulder. His voice quiets by several decibels.

Lucan: That at last, perhaps, I could shed this accursed suspicion. ‘Tis a poison I cannot escape.

There’s hope though, right? If you’re paired…

Lucan: Let us pray I shall live long enough to know such blessed peace.

I certainly hope so, Lucan. Thank you again for taking a few minutes out of your day to talk to us. I don’t want to hold you up from more important things.

He rises and offers me a formal bow.

Lucan: Most assuredly, ‘tis my pleasure to spend a few moments in your lovely company, milady.

Let’s take a peek at IMMORTAL HOPE and Lucan’s commander, Merrick du Loire.

EXCERPT:

Seeing a thin white scar that spanned across the back of his hand, she traced the mark with her nail. “I want to know about you,” she added more quietly. “What caused this?”

Merrick looked down to where she touched him. Using his opposite index finger, he traced the same path her fingernail had taken. Briefly, their fingertips touched. “’Tis a mark from a lance.”

“A lance?” Anne struggled with the urge to twine her finger around his.

“Aye. ’Twas a battle that came to us unexpectedly. I was not given time to don my armor before the riders set upon us. The knight struck me there, and here.” He touched his ribs beneath his right arm.

Anne’s gaze lifted to the vulnerable spot and pictured the battle as it might have occurred: Merrick standing down an armored knight on horse back, the sharp metal spear that punctured his flesh, the way his face might have contorted as he bit back a painful cry. Impulsively, she gathered his hand in both of hers and lifted it, bringing it to her lips to place a gentle kiss over the scar. “I’m sorry.”

Merrick said nothing, and in his silence, she began to question maybe she’d taken one too many liberties. They’d hardly begun to get along—what if her unchecked impulse just crossed some invisible boundary? Slowly, cautiously, she lifted her eyes to his. What she found in his fathomless dark eyes, however, said nothing of anger or annoyance. They gleamed with startling intensity, light bright enough to make her catch her breath.

“Do not be sorry,” he murmured. His eyes canvassed her face, lingered on her mouth. “’Twas a scar borne from duty. An order I was sworn to obey.”

The husky quality of his voice sent shivers coursing up and down her spine. She tried to look away, ordered her eyes to settle anywhere but on the sudden softening of Merrick’s expression. But her body refused, leaving her unable to do anything but choke down a dry swallow. When her thoughts cleared enough to form coherent words, she sought to lighten the moment with a bit of humor. “Orders can do that to you, I guess. Like now, you’re stuck with me.”

“I cannot say I find these orders entirely displeasing.” Merrick lifted his free hand to push a length of her hair away from her shoulder.

The back of his hand grazed the side of her neck and goose bumps scattered down her arms. “No?”

Claire can be found on the web:
http://www.claireashgrove.com/
http://www.toristclaire.com/
TWITTER: @ClaireAshgrove


http://claireashgrove.blogspot.com/p/immortal-hope-blog-tour.html
 Giveaway Details:

Claire will be giving away a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a second $25.00 Amazon.com gift certificate to a second randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour. Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning! Click the Blog Tour badge for a complete list of blog stops.

Karyn Gerrard's CHRISTMAS MEMORIES Winner!

And the winner is...

kimmyl

CONGRATULATIONS!



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CHRISTMAS MEMORIES by Karyn Gerrard

Publisher: Silver Publishing
Release Date: Dec 18th
Genre: Contemporary/Holiday
Word count: 8700
Jimmy is at the top of his game, but his life is empty. Karin has resigned herself to a Christmas alone in her wilderness lodge. A spur-of-the-moment holiday trip brings Jimmy to her doorstep on Christmas Eve. Will these new Christmas memories be enough to heal a painful past?

*Promo & Giveaway* CHRISTMAS MEMORIES by Karyn Gerrard!

CHRISTMAS MEMORIES by Karyn Gerrard

Publisher: Silver Publishing
Release Date: Dec 18th
Genre: Contemporary/Holiday
Word count: 8700

Jimmy is at the top of his game, but his life is empty. Karin has resigned herself to a Christmas alone in her wilderness lodge. A spur-of-the-moment holiday trip brings Jimmy to her doorstep on Christmas Eve. Will these new Christmas memories be enough to heal a painful past?
Excerpt:

Jimmy stepped in, and his senses were immediately
assaulted by Christmas. He could hear the television and
recognized Charlie Brown and the gang singing. In the
corner of the small cottage stood a seven-foot pine tree,
completely decorated, or drowned with all manner of
ornaments.

The tree overwhelmed the tiny room and every
branch had an adornment. He took a few steps closer and
looked the decorations over. Older, fragile glass balls were
mixed with an assortment of those card shop ornaments.
Classic movie stars, super heroes, and sports stars
precariously hung from the branches. A fire blazed in the
hearth, and the odour of the pine Christmas tree
intermingled with the wood smoke from the fireplace.
Bayberry candles burned on the mantle, and he noticed the
throw on the couch under which she had obviously been
cuddling. From the surface of the fabric, another stupid
snowman stared up at him vapidly. Christmas
overload. He could smell chocolate and cinnamon and hot
buttered popcorn. He had the overwhelming desire to run
the hell out of there, but his feet wouldn't move.
Karin closed the door. Jimmy finally noticed what
she wore.

Earlier the Arctic Circle parka had obviously
hidden a luscious body. Now, covering her curves were
skin-tight leggings, red slouch socks, and a long T-shirt
with still another snowman on it. Her hair hung loose about
her shoulders, and her face was scrubbed clean, like a little
girl waiting for bedtime because Santa would soon be there.

The little girl image soon shattered when she bent over for
the remote. Oh Jesus, her ass. Her rear was shapely, high,
and gorgeous.

He closed his coat and held it tight
hoping to hide his reaction.

Giveaway Details:

In my Christmas Short, Jimmy, my hero, hears a Christmas album he hadn't heard for years and he is immediately pulled back into Christmas memories of his childhood.

QUESTION: What Christmas music or movie or TV show pulls you back to your childhood?

I have a PDF copy of CHRISTMAS MEMORIES up for grabs! Open internationally

And Happy Holidays~

Here's how to enter:

*Comment with an answer to Karyn's Question as well as a Valid Email Address (Entrants that do not leave an email address will be disqualified)*

**Contest Open to ALL**

***Contest Closes Monday, January 2nd at Midnight U.S. Pacific Standard Time and the Winner will be Chosen Randomly and Announced Tuesday, January 3rd***
 
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