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Defining what makes a book good enough to go on this blog is difficult.  If I don’t think a book is worthwhile spending your precious spare time on then it won’t make the blog.  It’s a simple concept.  But what if the book in question doesn’t give you that firm an answer?  Stone Cold Seduction posed that exact quandary for me.

Why Read:

Gargoyles!, interesting world premise, creepy baddy which causes some truly gut-churning moments, potential.

Quote that best sums up the lead (female) character:

“Nothing’s what I think it is. Not anymore. And none of you seem to appreciate I’m running blind here. I have a grand total of two memories now. That’s it. I’m developing abilities that I don’t know what to do with, and all of you talk over my head like I’m too dumb or too fragile to handle it.”

“I don’t think that,” Teryl said, using his most reasonable voice. “But I do think you’ve had a lot dumped on you these last few days. People want you dead. If you weren’t freaked out, then I’d be worried.”

I wasn’t interested in reason. I wanted honesty.”

Review:

Stone Cold Seduction was very nearly a DNF for me.  It took me half of the book to get interested enough to want to finish it.  Somehow the pacing at the beginning of the story was off, and whilst the sex scenes between two of the main characters were hot and well written, the rest of the plot and dialogue didn’t engage me like it should have.  The important information about the world came in big chunks which felt like the author was trying to tell the reader instead of show it through the eyes of the characters.  So why is it even being reviewed here at Wandering Hues?  Because the end of the book made me sit up and be curious enough about the next book to write in down on my books to keep an eye out for.

Elle is the daughter of a particularly nasty man who happens to be the King of the Shadow Elves.  She has suffered through an abusive childhood and has had major portions of her memory stripped away.  Stuff happens, she gets together with a gargoyle, finds out she has powers and that her father has been withholding her fate from her.  Yeah, fates get written down on bits of paper in this world.  Oh, and perhaps most importantly – she was engaged to a phoenix when she was young.  For three quarters of this book Elle is not that interesting a character.  She just kind of wanders along behind the men who are busy telling her what to do.  She has more than one TSTL moment and she doesn’t question ANYTHING!  Hell, one of the other characters in the book even tells her she’s not worthy.  But in the last quarter of the book, well she really starts to come into her own.

The men who surround her are what create the interest in this book.  You have Jax, a gargoyle who’s fated to have Elle as his mate.  He’s tall, dark and well he grows wings, turns to stone and can fly.  So yeah – he’s hot.  He and Elle get together very early in the book.  Actually a bit too early.  It was almost like he was making sure his claim on her was established prior to her coming into her powers.  Then there’s Teryl.  He’s a combination of best friend, brother and wise guy.  For some reason I don’t trust this guy from the instant he steps on the page.  He works for father and sets Elle up to steal items that can be sold that just happen to contain souls and put her on the most wanted list? Really?  Have I mentioned that Elle doesn’t question anything?  But the most interesting of the trio (from my perspective at least) was MacLean, the phoenix Elle has been engaged to since she was a child.  He knows about the hell she went through as a kid and is the man of mystery in the book.  Elle’s memories of her past, including her past with MacLean are slowly being revealed showing layers upon layers of deep attachment on both their sides, which makes her mating to Jax rather problematical.

Her childhood memories are the cause of some truly gut churning moments in this book.  The bad guy her father her father employs is sickening.  He has tortured Elle since she was a small child and has formed a sick attachment to her.

“Luke, make sure the child understands her place,” Father bit out, raking me with one last, scathing look. Shaking his head in disgust, he walked out.

Luke watched him leave, a small, cruel smile playing at his lips. His eyes were lit with an unholy gleam, and he smoothed a hand over his bald head. “Well, well, Princess. Shall we play?”

Seven-year-old legs trembled, unable to run. No longer caring about father’s wrath, I opened my mouth to scream. I knew I shouldn’t. Luke loved it when I screamed.

Why her mother didn’t remove Elle from the abusive visits with her father I just don’t know.  I have the feeling that there must be more to the story than that the mother just simply didn’t know about the abuse.  There just has to be.  Elle strangely has no lingering resentment of her mother for continuing to send her to her father or for not figuring out what was happening to her daughter.  Which is why I’ll be checking out the next book.  There’s just so much that I don’t know and am curious about.  This book sets up the world and the what the basic story arc will be for the series and once you get through the clunky beginning it shows real promise to be an interesting series.

Full disclosure:

I received this book from Netgalley to review.  It will be published by Entangled Publishing on 5 September 2011 (ISBN: 9781937044251).

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http://jessmacallan.blogspot.com

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