Review: A WITCH'S BEAUTY by Joey W. Hill

Review: A WITCH'S BEAUTY by Joey W. Hill

Daughters of Arianne Book Two

Mina is Dark Spawn, half-mermaid, half Dark One. A sea witch who lives in the shadows, she is shunned by the merpeople. She seeks no friendships, however, no lasting relationships. Every day is about surviving, fighting the call of the dark blood within her, which demands she submit her ever-increasing powers to their cause. But Mina submits to no one. Until she meets David.

At thirty, David is one of the youngest angels in the Dark Legion, the angelic host dedicated to eliminating Dark Ones. Unlike many of his fellow angels who feel Mina’s death is inevitable, he believes her power can be used for good. When he entreats his commander to be assigned as her guardian against the Dark Ones, he also finds himself cast in the reluctant role of her executioner, if she turns to their cause.

The only problem is he is falling in love with the prickly sea witch. Which means he might risk the universe itself to turn her away from the darkness, and into his arms.

Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance

Cover Thoughts: My hats off to the publisher and the artist for really taking the time to present the hero and heroine of A WITCH'S BEAUTY properly. While I don't find the male model very attractive, the look of his clothes and weapons ring very true with hero that's within the pages. While it would have been very hard to portray Mina, the heroine, in her exact likeness, I thought that they utilized what the could to perfection. Her black cloak and two black tentacles are all Mina. Very well done. In addition, the turbulence of the sea, weather and the emotion brought forth by the models conveys very nicely the tone and feel of the journey between the book's covers.

Single Title/Series: A WITCH'S BEAUTY is book two in Joey W. Hill's Daughters of Arianne series but it can also be very easily read as a stand alone novel.

Why I read It: Hello? It's Joey W. Hill. It'd be a crime not to read it! But all joking aside, I love this author and I truly can't miss an opportunity to read another one of her novels.

My Review:

A WITCH'S BEAUTY is a volatile and an emotionally dark rollercoaster of a read. The heroine, Mina, is an anti-heroine and an extremely dark character not only with regards to her nature but by genetics as well. The trials and tribulations she faces on a day-to-day basis would make the stark reality of most people's lives appear as a quiet picnic verses the raging chaos of Mina's hellish existence. Barely clinging to her sanity, Mina is pulled back and forth like the tides of a storm-tossed ocean between her mermaid half and her Dark One half. Light verses dark, with the constant need to maintain an exact balance between them both or an explosion of consequences will be the result.

The Dark Ones are an evil race of beings, a plague really that preys upon the humans of Earth. Since the dawn of our existence, the angles have guarded us from Dark One attack and are shown no quarter, just death. Mina, known as a Dark Spawn, is shunned alike by her fellow merpeople and the angels above with the stigma that all Dark Spawn eventually become like their Dark One sires after succumbing to their inherent evil. Unfortunately, after recently garnering the undivided attention of both the angels and the Dark Ones with her powerful sorceress abilities wielded in the epic Canyon Battle a few months previous, Mina is finding herself wrestling more and more with her Dark One half especially when a certain angel takes a personal interest in her.

One of the few human-born angels, David sees a woman within Mina verses the Dark Spawn that everyone else does. Currently, the seawitch's fate is very delicate causing the angels to believe that her safety from Dark Ones is paramount. Mina's magical abilities are like nothing ever seen and without knowing which side she'll ultimately fight for, the angels take a course of action to prevent her from making the wrong choice. David's request to be Mina's personal guard doesn't necessarily stem from gallantry but rather a deep seeded desire for her that can at times make him careless. Using his supremely dominant nature against Mina, he quickly dissolves her control but this in turn reveals that her Dark One half is much closer to the surface than any of his fellow angels could have ever imagined.

Mistaking Mina's darkness as a sickness rather than her blood and her undeniable nature, David attempts to eradicate what he assumes is a learned condition. He knows that she uses her darkness to shield herself from others around her and protect her inner self but what he doesn't understand is that the light he glimpses within her has a tenuous hold on her Dark One half and that balance is needed in order to not tip her soul into the evil that beckons her so strongly. With an iron will, Mina contains and controls her Dark One half but David's constant light and his attempts to demolish what is in fact her intrinsic nature nearly has catastrophic affects.

David of course has his own inner demons but unlike Mina, he's had the benefit of healing and acceptance from his angel brethren. Mina has never been offered any support by her people or her mother who abandoned her for death when Mina was nine. Someone to champion her is an unknown luxury and David's initial attempts to win Mina's trust is met with fierce resistance. If you've never experienced love or friendship then having it offered to you is something you'll resist because having it and then inevitably losing it (for life has taught Mina time and again that happiness is never lasting) will surely make life go from unbearable to intolerable. The whole concept of rather having love and loss than no love at all is not an experience Mina wishes to learn. Better to have no love at all. Fortunately David is persistent and he's determined to prove to Mina that there's nothing she can do, that no amount of her darkness can push him from his willingness to love her unconditionally.

I must admit that I dreaded the end of AWB not because I didn't want it to end but rather that I feared the hell that Joey W. Hill would inevitably wreak upon David and Mina. That may be why it took me so long to get through the novel for I feared the worst and the worst was definitely brought upon the seawitch and her angel lover. The foreshadowing was consistent not only with purpose but with darkness as well giving fair warning that the end would not be easy. That the lessons needed to be learned, by Mina especially, would not go down lightly. The proof David had to deliver to Mina that his love was unbreakable was beyond difficult to read and I did feel a measure of anger at Mina while understanding that there was a lot needed to break through the fortified walls of her highly guarded heart and soul. There was also the gratification that she felt incredible regret but I was surprised by what it took for her to finally open her eyes. In addition, her decision to remain away from David after the cataclysmic ending didn't help her cause in my opinion but she does eventually give up a hefty part of herself to save David when he most needed it and thus proving her capacity to love and that she deserved his love in return.

In my opinion, A WITCH'S BEAUTY was truly Mina's story with David, her hero, maintaining more of a supportive role although no less valuable. They both shoulder their own demons with the major exception being that David's range of acceptance far surpasses Mina's, whose evil is held closely and protectively to her heart. A dark anti-heroine isn't common in the romance genre and I found that it's not my favorite reading experience but I whole-heartily accept this type of heroine and admire her for her differences. I believe it's a mark of a talented author to showcase such humanity in a being that would have otherwise been rejected. Hill's love for Mina is very evident and she wasn't afraid to take her characters through the extreme to wrench open Mina's heart.

Mina is also highly unconventional in her appearance, something that I found to be both extremely daring and admirable. Again, it's a mark of Hill's talent that she was able to pull off Mina's appearance so effortlessly and in such a way that she's easily accepted by the reader. I don't wish to go into detail regarding Mina's appearance because for one I couldn't do her justice nor would I be able to convey the broad and over-reaching reasons for it. Mina's outward appearance is a direct mirror of her inner self and when the reader reaches the end of AWB, we see how Mina is able to come full circle with not only her outer beauty but her inner as well. Magical really.

A WITCH'S BEAUTY is very character driven. There are still Good vs. Evil concepts like its predecessor, A MERMAID'S KISS, but the concepts are condensed more specifically within Mina and David verses one race against another and the need to choose a side. Again, it is a testament of talent and I willingly give any author abundant respect for trying to tackle so bravely such a difficult, and at times, unclear and elusive concept.

This series is truly amazing and if it wasn't for my own personal hang-ups with Mina being an anti-heroine, I would have easily given this book an A.


Coming Soon:


The Vampire Queen Series Book Five

Releases May 2010

Gideon Green is a hardcore vampire hunter. But in the past year, his only family, his little brother, became a vampire queen’s servant – and then a vampire himself, giving Gideon a different view of the vampire world. Since Gideon’s sole purpose for over a decade has been killing vampires, the violence that has scarred his soul now haunts his conscience.

Then he crosses paths with a sexy BDSM night club owner, Mistress Anwyn. Their connection is immediate and intense, but she has a silent partner--the vampire Daegan Rei. When Anwyn is viciously attacked and turned by a rogue vampire, Gideon and Daegan join to protect her through a dangerous transition. As the bonds between the three of them draw tighter, Gideon faces an unbelievable truth...that the path to meaning in his life may be found in surrendering to the desires and needs of two vampires.


Cecile said...

OMG... Vamp, this was a beautiful review!!! I absolutely loved it!!! This is a series I can not wait to start!!! Your emotions for this book came through as if I were talking to you about it... And your words... honey! You rock my world with the words you choice to describe your thoughts. So much time and consideration!

And are you freaking Kidding me... Of course I already have Vampire Mistress on my wish list!!!! And guess what... I am plowing through on the with that series. After some serious emails with Ms. Hill about my personal thoughts with Jacob and Lyssa... I bought Beloved Vampire and I will read that one and the next one. I will persist...

Isn't Joey just freaking awesome!!! OMG... The woman can write like no one's busniess!! I love her writing skills. The emotions she makes me feel... wow....

Whew.... Taking a break now, lmao!
Hope all is well honey! Have missed you!

And if you poke in here Barbara... hey honey!

Cecile said...

And I forgot to say... What kick a$$ covers she gets... for both of her series!!! OMG... Cover art freaking hussy panting!!!!

VampFanGirl said...

*blushing* Thanks so much for your praise, Cecile! (((GIANT HUGS)))

While I might be ahead of you with Joey's Arianne Series, I'm definitely lagging with her Vampire Queen Series. I have all the books I just need to read them now. LOL! I'm sure that won't be too much of a hardship either. *wink*

Joey W. Hill is absolutely amazing. I've admired her as an author as far back as when she was only writing for Ellora's Cave. Her Nature of Desire Series is really good, btw.

And oh gawd her covers!! They really are a perfect portrayal of her writing. She's so eloquent and magical with words and her covers really convey that. A MERMAID'S RANSOM is the best so far, imo.

Much love and hugs, VFG

Smokinhotbooks said...

The cover is just gorgeous, I can't stop gushing over it. Because of you VFG I've added Joey. W. Hill to be Goodreads pile. I just added 6 books yesterday *pinches bridge of nose* you know how vulnerable I am to "peer book pressure" especially cause you gave it a B!

Blodeuedd said...

Hi :)
Oh man everyone is reading these books. The only thing I did was to google one aspect of their life *coughs* I mean mermaid and angel *coughs*
Anyway I love these covers, great work. Great review, that intensity of not knowing what she will do in the end. Sounds good

Leontine said...

VFG, hon, don't get me started on this book. I light up like an x-mas tree and I start to gush. Not really a pretty sight LOL

I loved your review, gobbled it all up in one breath. For me Mina as an anti-heroine worked well and loved her progress throughout the story. I agree that David had a supprotive role but that is was no less valuable. Their storylines interconnected on so many levels that while Mina was more complex in her character and emotions, David created his own impact and I loved his effect on Mina and how he "dealt" with her attitudes at times. you have me raving. *breath in....breath out*

I can't wait to hear you about A Mermaids Ransom!!

Patti said...

Wonderful review! I started to read her vampire series this week but couldn't get into it so I put it aside for a time when I could concentrate. This one looks wonderful - I'm adding it to my wishlist!

VampFanGirl said...

Hi K.C.! Doesn't Joey W. Hill get some of the best covers?! The Cover Fairies are definitely smiling down on her. ;)

LOL! Oh yeah, I know all about "peer book pressure". Its the pits!

Hugs, VFG

Hey Blodeuedd!

I'm so happy that you think that everyone is reading this author. Hill deserves the fans. She's just so amazing and I really hope she makes it big. It'd be great if Hill could have the opportunity to go Mass Market...

You know, the whole mermaid/angel thing really isn't weird. I know some eyes go wide when hearing it but truly, Hill makes the pairing like it's the most natural thing in the world. Never once do I think "yuck".

:) VFG

Hi Leontine!

Oh yes, I remember how much you enjoyed AWB. ;) And I agree, Mina did make amazing progress throughout the story and I loved how Hill showed that both physically and emotionally. And David, what a human life! (p.s. you can read his sister's story in ICE QUEEN and MIRROR OF MY SOUL. I highly recommend them)

Unfortunately I'd just rather my hero be the uber dark character verses the heroine. But what doesn't taste good to one is someone else's favorite food.

And oh gawd, AMR....Sigh....I love Joey W. Hill

Hugs, VFG

Thanks Patti! You know, you're not alone in your intitial inability to get into Hill's vampire books. I've had the same experience only to find that they do get really good you just have to push through those first chapters.

:) VFG

Leontine said...

OMG OMG VFG I'm hugging the crap outta ya...I luuuuurve for book peeps to spring this kind of news on me:

his sister's story in ICE QUEEN and MIRROR OF MY SOUL

Is it e-book or print....see my booty running to google for research...TTYL *hugs*

VampFanGirl said...

LOL! I thought most people knew about Marguerite but not so much. (FYI, I have reviews posted for both ICE QUEEN & MIRROR OF MY SOUL.)

You can read them as ebooks or purchase them in print. The publisher is Ellora's Cave.

Oh, and just a little warning, the books feature EXTREME BDSM. Just so you know. But still, they're Hill novels and are therefore virtually overflowing with emotional intensity.

IQ and MOMS where the books that launched my love for Joey W. Hill a few years ago. I hope you get a chance to read them.

Hugs, VFG

Barbara said...

Wow, that's some review. So...correct me if I'm wrong here...If I read this entire book, in the end the h/h will not be together? Hmmm.....I don't know.

I'm really glad you liked it, though. I know how much you love Hill's writing. And I have to be honest, I think I'm going to get the Vampire Queen's Servant books. I'm irresistibly drawn to them.

VampFanGirl said...

Barbara! What's up?!

Woops, sorry that my review conveyed to you that there wasn't an HEA. I need to put up a disclaimer: HEA's Found Here! ;)

So don't worry, David and Mina definitely receive a Happily Ever After. know, I think I'd recommend her Daughters of Arianne series to you rather than the Vampire Queen series. The latter is pretty hardcore with BDSM that can stretch the boundry limit but I agree, the covers do draw you in.

Hugs, VFG

Tracy said...

I have the mermaid one that Katiebabs sent me but haven't ever read it. I'm scared, I'll admit it. lol But this sounded good so maybe I'll bite the bullet. :)

Fiction Vixen said...

Wow that cover is gorgeous. And you rocked it! xoxo

Leontine said...

I'm in Joey W Hill bliss - I have bought ICE QUEEN and MIRROR OF MY SOUL YAY Thanks VFG, Marguerite intrigued me when I read A Witch's beauty ;) I don't mind the intense BDSM style...I also read Diana Hunter and loved her portrayal of the BDSM lifestyle.

VampFanGirl said...

Hey Tracy!

Don't be scared. Sure, its a different read but I think you'll find that the author really makes everything seem incredibly natural.

It's definitely time to bite the bullet. *wink*

;) VFG

Thanks Fiction Vixen!!

Yay Leontine!!! I can't wait to read your thoughts on IQ and MOMS. It'll be great to take a trip down memory lane with your reviews.

Hugs, VFG

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