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Keri Arthur

Dear Author

REVIEW: Tempting Evil by Keri Arthur

Dear Ms. Arthur,

You have the benefit of Bantam’s unique publishing/promotional effort of back to back to back publishing so that fans that are eager to read your books do not need to wait six months or an entire year, but rather one measly month. After Kissing Sin, I was interested but not excited to read Tempting Evil, particularly if Quinn, Riley’s vampire lover, was going to continue to play a big role. Fortunately, Tempting Evil is mostly about Riley kicking butt and less about her messy personal life.

Someone is kidnapping otherworld creatures to obtain their DNA and then use that DNA to generate an unbeatable fighting force. That someone was revealed to Riley at the end of Kissing Sun. The Directorate has developed a plan to eliminate this guy which includes Riley infiltrating the compound of the head guy by posing as a prostitute. As the plan progresses, Riley learns that she may not only be required to physically service some of the compound’s leaders but also engage in a fight match with other female contestants. I guess the book is like Fight Club crossed with Frankenstein with a little La Femme Nikita thrown in. Riley gets the aid of some unlikely allies but is also forced to make some terrible decisions about who lives and dies inside the compound.

My favorite parts of Tempting Evil is that Riley is often put in completely untenuous situations where the right decision is not always the one where no one gets hurt. In some books, characters in these situations are saved by some timely bell or interruption so that the main protagonists do not suffer any negative experience. Riley is not so fortunate. Sometimes she is provided with a Solomon’s Choice between her own survival and hurting someone dear to her and possible both of them losing their lives. The danger felt real and immediate.

The parts that dragged where the same parts that bothered me in the previous book and that was when Riley was trying to decide what to do with Quinn. It makes Riley look bad to continue to be enamored with someone who does not respect her or her life. Additionally, there was quite a bit of telling instead of showing, particularly when it came to Riley’s personal life and her feelings. In contrast, the action scenes and the suspense scenes are descriptive and not bogged down with needless extrapolation. It’s not a book that is meant to be read by itself, but it does bring some questions to conclusion. B-

Best regards,

Jane

Dear Author

REVIEW: Kissing Sin by Keri Arthur

Dear Ms. Arthur:

Kissing Sin is the second book in the Riley Jensen series. Riley Jensen is a half breed: vampire and werewolf. She is working with the Directorate of Other Races to eradicate a lab that is experimenting with crossbreeds to develop the perfect killing machine. Riley doesn’t want to become a Guardian, which is essentially a paid assassin for the Directorate, but she is willing to throw her body and her mind into defeating the growing menace.

I find your writing to be a mix between Christine Feehan and late Laurell K Hamilton work. Kissing Sin is full of hot sexy men from a shifting stallion to a 1200 year old vamp to an alpha werewolf. Those readers looking for a more sexual paranormal series without a traditional romance ending will likely enjoy this series. Those who require more elegant prose style, like my blogging partner Janine, may be put off by the tendency toward info dumping and repetitiveness.

The story is the strongest when the narrator, Riley, is doing her paranormal kick butt investigative work. Riley is quite competent, maybe more than she should be as she always saves the day, and she is not terribly squeamish about using her body to get results, even if it means having sex with some more unsavory individuals. The point is made a dozen times about how meaningless sex is to a wolf.

It’s the weakest when it focuses on her personal problems with her on again, off again vampire lover Quinn. Quinn is not comfortable with Riley’s ability to view sex as nothing more than a physical activity like eating and sleeping. He would like some form of a committment from her. This would be an interesting gender reversal concept but the problem is that the same arguments are hashed out and then re-hashed out about every 50 pages. It’s tiresome to read about and I really can’t see why either of them hang onto the relationship, particularly Riley whose idea toward sex is very cavalier. I found the Quinn dynamic to be confusing and not a little irritating.

I also wished for a greater sense of Riley as a wolf. Surely her wolf like nature demanded more than physical release in the form of sex; however, that was primarily the focus. The supernatural is treated on a very superficial level and a deeper exploration of the differences between humans and the “other races” would have provided a richer worldbuilding construct.

This is not a romance book by any means even if Riley is searching for her soul mate. It does have developing relationships but I would caution readers from becoming too attached to any one particular male as Riley’s mate.

I always measure the success of the series by how interested I am in the next book. I was highly gratified to have the next book, Tempting Evil (release date February 26), in my stack of TBR books. Bantam’s publishing plan of releasing these books on a back to back to back schedule is ingenous. The fourth book, Dangerous Games, is available at the end of March, and a fifth one, Embraced By Darkness, is going to be available in July.

The style of writing is not going to appeal to everyone, but it was readable and had me interested in more of Riley Jensen. C+

Best Regards,

Jane