Monday, July 18, 2011

Paranormal Book Review: Raven's Kiss by Toni LoTempio

Raven's Kiss ~ Toni LoTempio
RELEASE DATE: April, 2011
CATEGORY: Urban Fantasy
LENGTH: 173 pages in PDF format 
HEAT LEVEL: Sensual/Sexy 
BUY THE BOOK:  $1.99 Amazon Kindle

Read my rating scale HERE

This book was provided to me by the author for review

SUMMARY:(taken from amazon)
Raven Grace was a college senior with ambitions of a career in law enforcement when she met the demon Aega, whose bite turned her from mortal to Shapeshifter. Now a member of the Recovery Organization, Raven keeps the peace between humans and errant Hellhounds, trolls, wizards and the like while trying to track down Aega and bring him to justice. After a particularly dicey encounter one night with a Hellhound, she goes to the aid of a girl who’s been attacked and near death—and is amazed to find Aega’s bite mark on the girl’s arm. Determined to get to the bottom of this, she revisits the victim’s apartment and there discovers her closet is a portal to a parallel universe, where people she knows lead vastly different lives. She also gets a glimpse of the Recovery Captain there—a six foot, redheaded Scotsman named Finn McPhee, whose sexy accent and even sexier bod sets her senses aflame. Seeking answers, Finn takes Raven to the magickal underworld, where an ancient fae informs them the demon’s quest is rooted in Scottish mythology and magick. As they delve deeper into legend, the truth comes to light—Aega is only a pawn, subservient to another, darker demon…a being who knows the truth about Raven’s heritage, and who orchestrated her return to this parallel universe for the ultimate showdown. Now, Finn and Raven find their passion for one another must take a backseat to Raven’s battle with a dark force who won’t be satisfied until he’s claimed her soul for his very own…

"On those rare occasions when you drop your guard, and I see the woman behind the false bravado, she's quite appealing indeed."~ Finn McPhee

Finn leaned into the fae. “Nice try, but you forget my abilities. Your guard is down, woman. I can tell you were lying to us. You knew the prophecy. You left out certain parts. Now we want to know why.”

“No,” she spat, “You think you want to know why. Take an old fairy’s advice, won’t you, luv, and steer clear of all this.”
“Well, we’d like to, but I’m afraid that’s not possible.” Finn’s eyes glittered like two fine emeralds as he stared the fae down. “You know the full extent of Raven’s involvement with this prophecy. You know, and you’re going to share that knowledge with us.” ~ Finn McPhee

Based on a prophecy, Raven's Kiss is an excellent adult urban fantasy that kept me guessing chapter after chapter. The author did a good job of weaving mystery and a little romance together with a highly adventurous story thread. The action and adventure lead the heroine, Raven, through some strange situations that had me very entertained and wanting more with each flip of the page. The story flowed well for the most part but I did feel the dialogue weighed down the pace at times. The one aspect of the story that I hard time believing was some of the things Raven would say to the hero, Finn. In fact, there were a couple of times I had to step away from the story and come back to it later because of the way Raven handled herself. However, this did not affect the strong beginning, middle and end that, from the start, pulled me into the thick of Raven's world where she is a Recovery Agent similar to our FBI Agent. As in all urban fantasy the world building is the bases of the story and I have to say the author did a great job of creating a world that was unique in every sense. And while the romance was not at the forefront of the story I did find the connection between Raven and her male interest, Finn a nice touch and a bit sensual to follow by the end. It added a great flavor to the story and ultimately had me cheering for Raven when at times I wanted to reach out and teach her some manners. I am happy to say though that she did grow into a character that I liked and hope to see in further books to come. Contrary to many urban fantasy books, and to my satisfaction, the author wrapped up the story quite nicely without leaving us with a cliffhanger that would have left me months wondering what happened to Raven and Finn. I am not one for endings that leave me guessing at all and for that alone I know I will be picking up Toni LoTempio's next book!

While not giving anything away I will say that the story takes place in Carolers Falls, but be careful, that one clue could be deceiving! 

Ms. LoTempio can write with a craftiness that proves she can tell a tale! Her writing style affords such attention to detail that you know exactly what is going on around the main character even though the story is told in first person. This is no easy task I assure you. And even though this is a self published book, the editing was, for the most part, spot on with very limited mistakes throughout the entire book.   

Raven Grace is one character I almost ended up disliking completely. After being attacked by a demon and left as a shapeshifter she adopts an attitude that is hard to get along with for the first half of the book. On one hand you understand her single minded determination to rid the world of any evil doers, but it is hard to swallow at times and as I said above, had me stepping away from the book a few times. If not for the secondary characters and the tight plot, Raven might have stopped me from continuing. But, I also have to say that I wanted to see if she would grow beyond her hatred and I was not disappointed in the least. While she is still snarky 'till the very end, a veil is lifted at the latter end of the book and I was able to get a good look at the girl that was left to fend for herself after her attack, the girl that was wounded and had to come to terms with being a shapeshifter or coli as she is referred to in the story. By the end I liked the character she became and hope to see more of her in the next book. As for her love interest, Finn had a much more pleasant attitude about himself and with his Scottish brogue I would have fallen him just as hard as Raven did. I found his ability to see under Raven's veil and accept her for who she is as an admirable quality. Most men wouldn't care to dig deep enough but Finn did, yet not without giving her a bit of his own alpha character first. And the secondary characters is what added the depth to the story in my opinion. Without giving anything away, I loved meeting all the two-sided characters. It took having multiple personalities and added a twist that gave the story it's fun and unique take on urban fantasy. 

This fun and exciting tale is filled with a deadly prophecy, a heroine fighting against evil and a casting of characters that will have you entertained for hours. I recommend Raven's Kiss to all lovers of Urban fantasy and even paranormal romance. I hope to see more of Raven and her redheaded Scotsman in future installments of this series! 

Currently single, I work full time and live in Clifton, NJ, with  my muses:  Rocco, Maxx, Gata and Trixie.  Rocco is also known as Rocco the SciFi Blogging Cat and has appeared on the SciFi Saturday Night website and radio show, and also on the Kids Need To Read website where he holds the distinction of being the first (and possibly only!) blogging cat to support this charity.




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