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.
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.
VAMPIRE MISTRESS by Joey W. Hill
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.