Guardian Extravaganza! Day 3 - Reviewette: Paradise

Today, Meljean Brook is offering WILD THING to One Lucky Commenter! In addition, comments will also count towards a chance to win the Entire Guardian Series!!! See below for contest details.

Reviewette: Wild Thing Anthology "Paradise" by Meljean Brook

Four extraordinary talents bring the most uncommon desires to life in a bold new anthology of romance on the edge.

Listen to the secrets of a beautiful animal whisperer who's drawn intimately closer to danger, and to the most suspect of all male animals-man...

Enter the forbidden and recklessly exciting world of the demon horde and their willing victims...

Get swept away by the passions that rise out of the unfathomable depths of the lost city of Atlantis...

Follow the dark shadows that stalk both the living and the undead in a world of restless vampires and guardian angels...

The Guardian Series Book Three

Before the Ascension, whereby thousands of Guardians went on to their respective places in Heaven - or Hell if damned - many Guardians watched over the vampire communities throughout the world, silently protecting those that abided by the Rules and destroying those who broke them. Vampires, unfortunately, withdrew the short end of the stick when it came to strength and power against nosferatu, Guardians and demons. It's for this very reason that Guardians, at least at one point, guarded them against their mutual enemies. But with only fifty Guardians remaining, resources are stretched dangerously tight and the vampires lost what they ultimately never knew they had.

Lucas Marsden, vampire and leader of the Ashland, Oregon vampire community, has been living for a month off animal blood and he's starting to feel its dire affects. Yet despite his "mad cow" symptoms he's determined to hold out in light of his consort's recent murder. For twenty years Lucas had been dutifully shackled to his best friend's wife. Unfortunately, when their beloved David died that long ago night of their transformation, Lucas had no other choice where Olivia was concerned. Now she's dead and guilt grips him over his inability at having once again been unable to protect her.

Lucas isn't necessarily a lost soul but rather an honor bound one. He's never been given the chance to attain what he wants from life, instead his dreams have been crushed by duty and circumstance. Selah, a Guardian and protector of mankind, is also bound by duty but she's only recently become disenchanted with a life that was once fulfilling. For over two centuries, being a Guardian was everything and Selah found great solace in that. But after the Ascension, Selah hasn't come to question her role but rather that she's taken a mocking stance in its defense.

Selah's interest in the Ashland vampire community stems from the fact that a Gate, a passage way from Earth to the Guardian's realm of Caelum, is being tampered with. A putrid smell that clings subtly to its edges can only be caused by the sacrifice of unwilling victims - those victims being vampires like Lucas' Olivia. While the Gates can only be created by human sacrifice, vampires were once human. Plus, the Rules prevent demons from outright killing humans but those same rules don't protect vampires. The only logical explanation is that the sacrifices are being made by a demon with the intent of anchoring the Gate to Hell rather than Caelum. With Lucas' help, Selah is determined to find and slay the demon responsible.

Unfortunately, Lucas isn't in any shape to confront a demon at the moment. Despite the fact that he's nosferatu-born and stronger then the normal vampire, he's still no match for a Guardian's strength, much less a demon's. Selah has already offered to feed Lucas but he adamantly refuses. His hunger has escalated to point of bloodlust which forces Lucas, if his host is willing, to have sex even if he doesn't desire it. The bloodlust only respects the free will of the host, not the vampire. Anyway, he's had enough of feeding within the chafing bounds of duty and finds Selah's offering vaguely insulting. It hasn't taken Lucas long to begin to crave Selah on a deep level. She makes him laugh and has brought much needed light to his dark existence despite their short acquaintance.

Selah, while not reluctant, is experiencing a more difficult time of deciding where and if Lucas fits within her life. With each passing moment, he's becoming more and more integral to her existence and whereas once being a Guardian was everything, now it no longer consumes her whole heart and soul - Lucas does. But they may never get the chance to have all of eternity discovering the meaning of each other for the demon has found Lucas and has every intention of making him its next unwilling sacrifice.

"Paradise" is a beautifully written novella. Brook effortlessly creates vast depth within her characters while also allowing first time readers to easily understand the world and its boundaries. Previously, not much has been explained about the vampires in Brook's world. We've learned at length about nosferatu, Guardians, demons and their respective agendas but vampires still haven't played an integral part in the overreaching plot arch's. I believe that Brook took this opportunity to reveal more about the vampire communities and how they would come into play for future novels.

The romance between Lucas and Selah is subtle yet sultry. They both discover a new facet of their life at the same time allowing each to sift through the miasma of their individual conflicts and decide to work together towards a similar goal. I liked how they both sought to break the bonds of duty yet simultaneously maintaining the integrity of their roles in Brook's world. The answer to their disenchantment was simple yet life altering proving that love not only creates miracles but can enrich the souls of even the most jaded of beings.

B+


Lost? Unable to Read the Series in Order? Check out The Guardian Primer!

Question for Meljean: You've done an amazing job of describing the beauty of Caelum and the terrifying landscapes of Hell and Chaos. Do you have any idea, within the Guardian world, of what Above looks like? Will readers ever know or will that be a realm left purely to our imaginations?

Heaven is a realm that I think is best left to the imagination. I actually wish at times that I could do the same with the Pit -- not all of Hell, because I have too much fun with it, but the actual torture that souls undergo after they've died, because tortures left to a reader's imagination can probably be much, much worse than anything I can write. The same thing for Heaven: it's a much more powerful idea when it's a personal one, and I don't want to take that away from my reader or push MY idea of Heaven onto them.

And there's the question of the unknown. My characters generally accept that Heaven as a GOOD place, but no one really, really knows if it is, or if that is where they'll end up when they die or Ascend. So I like to keep that uncertainty alive for my characters, so that death is NEVER an easy out.

If I ever took my characters into Heaven, that would be different -- I'd be obligated as a writer to describe it. But since I don't intend to have any scenes in that realm, it's best left alone.


*Contest Open to All*

**Contest Closes today, September 30th at Midnight U.S. Pacific Standard Time and a Winner will be Chosen Randomly and Announced Thursday, October 1st**

***Additionally, Comments will Count towards a Chance to Win The Entire Guardian Series Novels and Novellas. Contest Closes Tuesday, October 6th at Midnight U.S. Pacific Standard Time and a Winner will be Chosen Randomly and Announced Wednesday, October 7th. Entrants are limited to One Comment Per Day in the Guardian Extravaganza Prize of the The Entire Guardian Series Novels and Novellas. Contest is Open to All***

57 comments:

Chris said...

Mmmm... yummy Nathan cover...

maered said...

Again, a great review. I haven't read the novella's in this series, so count me in!

Blodeuedd said...

I am in again, sounds great and I sure wanna check out what hell is like..well have a peak if its' too scary.

slb3334 said...

Looks like a good book.

Cecile said...

Okay.. can it get any hotter in my office today... I mean the a/c is set on 71 and if I took my temp. right now... It would probably register... 120 or something like that! This cover is amazing!
Thank you Meljean!!! And thank you Vamp for having this wonderful treat for us!

Pissenlit said...

Niiiiice cover! ;)

Patti said...

That cover is gorgeous! And the story looks like one I could easily lose myself in. Thanks to you and Ms. Brooks for hosting such a great contest - I love finding new-to-me authors!

VampFanGirl said...

Hey Blodeuedd! While Brook's Hell is scary, its also incredibly interesting. Despite its obvious evil, I'm always excited when Brook's characters are in that realm. It's edge of your seat fun!

Congrats again Cecile on your win! You'll love HOT SPELL. It's rare for me to enjoy every novella in an anthology but HOT SPELL was a huge exception. Not only did it introduce me to Meljean Brook, but Emma Holly as well. You're in for one steamy read girl!

You're welcome Patti! Thank you for stopping by each day and participating. It means the absolute world to me. ((hugs))

chichaihana said...

There's something about the cover that makes me keep going "HMMMMM" and I can't figure out what it is, lol.

Thanks for the contest! :)

chichaihana said...

There's something about the cover that makes me keep going "HMMMMM" and I can't figure out what it is, lol.

Thanks for the contest! :)

jeanette8042 said...

The books sounds awesome an di'm also loving the cover!

Victoria said...

i would love to read this book

kimmyl said...

Wow! I havent read any of these books yet but the stories sound amazing. I love the hot excerpts and covers.

klmc_37@yahoo.com

Lea said...

Beautiful cover and an awesome review VFG!!

This sounds like an amazing story..

Thank you to you and Ms. Brooks!!

L

Pam said...

Dang....just the cover has me panting. Kudos to whoever picked THAT out! LOL I'm not sure my old ticker could stand the palpitations I'd get from reading this, but I'd love to give it a try! Thanks so much! pamelashockley(AT)netscape(DOT)net

bfox74 said...

Looks like a fun, entertaining read.

Sunnyvale said...

Sounds good, one I would like to read.

blackroze37yahoo.com said...

have wild thing but woul love to be enter for rest

Calila1988 said...

This is one awesome cover!

Mandi said...

Hello there Nathan Kamp with your purty wings.

FDP 4 Life said...

i would love to read this

carolsnotebook said...

Sounds like a great novella. I'd love to be entered. Thanks!

carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

meljean brook said...

You know what I love most about this cover that probably isn't apparent on the low-res pictures? His wedding ring is there. That is just SO sexy to me -- a man who has made an emotional commitment, and isn't afraid to show it.

And it's a detail that is surprising, too -- which is probably why I love it so much. Seeing wedding rings every day doesn't get me going, but seeing one on the cover of a romance novel? HAWT.

Then, of course, there are his eyes close up with hi-res. I don't know if that's his natural color or if they changed it, but my god, those are some stunning eyes.

Karin said...

I really love the Guardians and am anxious to read Selah's story since I haven't had a chance to yet. And that cover is fantastic!

Bella said...

Mmmmm - the most uncommon desires! Yummy! Thanks to you and to Meljean for this sumptuous giveaway!

~bella


b42bella(at)gmail(dot)com

elaing8 said...

That is a great cover.
please count me in

Beleth said...

Sounds good, i would love to read this book!

joder said...

I haven't read this series yet, but am very intrigued. Especially after your great review, I'm really hoping to win these.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

donnas said...

Oh, wow. That is a nice cover. And looks like a great set of stories too.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

*ina* said...

oh please count me in - that book I would love to read!!!
Hugs, Ina

CrystalGB said...

Sounds like a great anthology. Love the cover.

Crystal816{at}hotmail{dot}com

VampFanGirl said...

You're welcome Lea! Thanks for reading and enjoying the review for "Paradise"! ((hugs))

LOL, Pam! I with you! Definite kudos to whomever created this cover. ;)

LOL, Mandi!!

Oh my gosh, Meljean! I didn't even notice the wedding ring, but now that you've pointed it out, I can't stop looking at it!! Well, except for of course right now. Durr. ;)

Oooooo and that close up! Yowzaa!! That smoldering look reminds me of Alejandro.... Yum!

Karin, you'll love Selah. There's a real good surprise in there about her too. :)

Thanks for lovin' the review Joder!

heatherzilla said...

Wow, what a cover. This is a new author for me, but you definitely have my attention. Please include me in the contest.

heatherzilla(at)care2(dot)com

Barbara said...

Love the heart ;) BTW, I'll definitely be back for your review!! The kids are screaming bloody murder, but I needed one more look at the heart--***LAUGHING MY YOU KNOW WHAT OFF***

(((BIG HUGS)))

VampFanGirl said...

Ha Ha, joke's on you girl cause I still see my sexy favicon on IE.

:P VFG

abfantom said...

This sounds like an interesting book that I'd like to read. Please enter me in the giveaway.

abfantom at yahoo dot com

booklover0226 said...

I'm looking forward in reading this series.

Thanks,
Tracey D
booklover0226 AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

Dang... I need a freaking cold shower looking at the cover! I can only imagine what's on the inside!

mzpaw@yahoo.com

Kristine said...

Looks like a great book.

Nancy said...

With that cover the book has to be good:) Great review.

Chelsea B. said...

WOW! This one sounds just as good as all the rest! And the cover? STUNNING!

kngmckellar said...

Great cover and I'd like to read it!

kngmckellar@hotmail.com

Barbara said...

I love the cover of Wild Thing and the stories sound great. It would be great to win this book, and to have a chance to win the Guardian series is awesome.

Anonymous said...

I KNOW I MAYNOT HAVE A CHANCES OF WINNING ONE OF YOUR BEST PUBLICATIONS BUT I JUST WANTED TO COMMENT ON HOW OPEN-MINDED YOU HAVE GIVEN YOUR OWN PERSONAL VISION OF HEAVEN AND HELL WITHOUT SCARING US TO DEAF. AND THE LUST IN THE STORY SEEMS AS IF IT WILL GET HEATED. IF I DON'T WHEN HOW WILL I OPT A COPY OF THIS BOOK ANYWAY WINSTONCARLA82@YAHOO.COM

packerfantimmy said...

You really have great giveaways! I am entering this one for my mother who is addicted to this style of book. Thanks for all your hard work.
titletowntreasures(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

I Heart Book Gossip said...

I love Nathan covers. Please count me in.

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Jenny N. said...

I like the cover of Wild Things. The wings make him look like a dangerous angel.

jen4777[at]hotmail.com

Martha Lawson said...

Trying one more time!!

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Llehn said...

Here's hoping third time lucky!

flchen1 said...

Thanks for another day of Guardians!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

Barbara said...

Hey, VFG!! Wonderful and VERY well written review. I don't know how you do it. That IS Nathan on that cover, that much I'm sure ;)

Count me in for this one!!!

Kathy said...

This book sounds great. Please enter me inthe contest.

kathy pease said...

Thank you for the AWESOME GIVEAWAY.. Please count me in :)

Mishia said...

I'd love to read this book!

lilyk said...

Please enter me into the contest. Thanks!

Amy M said...

Please throw my name in! This book sounds great! Thanks so much

Amy M

VampFanGirl said...

You're welcome flchen1. Good luck!

Thanks Barbara! And so sharin' in the Nathan love!! ((hugs)))

Good lucky Kathy Pease and you're very welcome. Thanks for participating!

 
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