You all know the story of how this one found its way to me. Keri Arthur Googled herself. I saw it in my blog stats and wrote her a little blog post professing my love of her work since…forever 😉 She came back and admitted to Googling herself (I hear admitting it is the first step, Keri). And she contacted her publicist at Bantam-Dell who last week sent me her next three releases. Rejoicing abounded throughout the land (well, at my house it did anyhow). And I immediately read Kissing Sin, which the rest of you have to wait until January 30th to snag. But all is not lost, if you haven’t read the first in the Riley Jensen Guardian series, Full Moon Rising, it releases next Tuesday in paperback, so you can start with that!
The blurb for Kissing Sin:
Vampire-werewolf heroine Riley Jensen escapes an unknown enemy’s breeding pens to kick off the second installment of Arthur’s urban fantasy series (following Full Moon Rising). The action and sex come fast and furious as Riley works with her twin brother, her boss at Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, as well as most of her lovers (who include a vampire with werewolf Oissues, a werewolf with mixed loyalties, an alpha werewolf and a horse-shifter) to uncover and derail a nefarious plot to create an army of super-beings. Strong world-building, vivid personalities and the distinctive cultures of each of the various paranormal strains combine for a rich narrative, and Arthur’s descriptive prose adds texture and menace. She also creates strong empathy for Riley, whose vampire half is beginning to assert itself, making her already precarious fertility problems worse. As in her first entry, though, Arthur can occasionally lose her reader amid complicated paranormal plot points, and her publisher’s insistence on marketing her as paranormal romance may frustrate; though the heroine’s multiple sexual partners fit her werewolf nature, they do not fit romance genre conventions and are better suited to readers of erotica/romance hybrids.
What worked for me: Great plot. I thought the author did a fabulous job not just keeping the action moving but keeping the reader hooked by wanting to understand–to find out what was happening–why things were happening. The book has a very strong opening. I’m a fan of a good opening and it’s one of the things I sometimes ask my own authors to work on. Not necessarily the first line, but the first scene. Something to draw the readers in and make them want to take the book home from the bookstore. Keri Arthur delivers that in spades. And she keeps on delivering. I liked the story and the plot that she developed quite a bit and I was happy with how the book ended despite the fact that you know you’re looking at a series.
What didn’t quite work for me: Okay, so this is hard for me to say in a way that doesn’t give spoilers, but there was one scene in which I didn’t like Riley very much. Just one and it was because I felt she was…not true to her word, maybe? Also, the author deftly walks a line where she balances the plot and story with the erotic/more sexual edge of this book but it’s a fine balancing act and since I’ve been burned by authors pushing over into the edge of giving up story for sex (not naming any names or anything) I was a little leery, but she just avoids this and I was so very, very glad. But if you don’t like more than average sex with your book, you won’t be quite as glad 😉 I do think the line is a fine one, though, between the sex working within the story and the sex taking over the story, and I wouldn’t like to see her go over it (again, like the author I won’t name, lol) and lose the plot for the sex. I guess I’ll have to read the next two and find out 😉
Overall: This book isn’t a romance by a purist’s definition. There’s no clear hero and there’s no happily ever after. I don’t know if this series has a planned end or a planned HEA (maybe Ms. Arthur can speak to that if she sees this review), so I want to say that up front. If you don’t like an urban fantasy type book, this isn’t for you. But if you like a series that has sex (more than a little sex, lol), doesn’t apologize for it and leaves you hanging as to who Riley ends up with, while delivering well-paced action and interesting, developed characters, then I believe you’ll like this book. I strongly recommend reading Full Moon Rising first, because it sets up a lot of back story and characters that are referred back to in Kissing Sin. Of course, I’m rather rabid about reading series in order, so it might not bother you to not know who or what circumstances are being referred to, but it would drive me batty. Also, I should say that I have the next two books in the series and the ONLY reason I didn’t pick up the next one immediately is because I’m trying to pace myself (if that tells you anything about whether I liked the book or not).
And psst…Keri’s holding a contest on her website until December 31st and one of the prizes is chocolate (including Tim Tams!)