Heather Bowen, a drug and alcohol counselor, has always been able to see auras, but now she’s being haunted in her sleep by a red-eyed man who’s peddling a psychotic drug to her clients. After her sister becomes his next victim, Heather is determined to prove her sister’s innocence. Life as she knows it becomes more unpredictable when the new counselor, Scythe Angel, arrives. It doesn’t take Heather more than a first meeting to determine this larger than life man is commanding, pushy, determined and downright sexy. However there’s something about him she’s not sure she can trust, no matter how she finds herself drawn to him.
Scythe knows he can clear Heather’s sister’s name, but to do it he must confront his elusive and dangerous brother who seems to be bound to the dark side. With his own wings on the line, Scythe has to discover a way to save his brother’s soul before it’s too late. An arduous task for Scythe becomes even more complicated by his unearthly attraction to Heather.
For both of them to succeed they will have to learn to trust each other or fail; losing everything they hold dear.
Note: I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
WARNING THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!
Betrayal was a enjoyable romp around in a paranormal urban fantasy setting. It didn’t quite reach my favorites, but I can say that I’d probably read the next book in the series without hesitation.
To give one an idea of what I mean, I’ll start by explaining from what I found in the first chapter. From page one we are brought into the story, sensing the urgency of what is going on. And we are introduced to our main characters through the unique cold-description of the ugly “truths” surrounding Heather’s ex-drug addict sister and her horrific murder at the hands of a villain who haunted her very dreams. There are a few over all themes I want to say existed through the book. Betrayal (of course), guilt, addiction; she wrote some of these parts so well that it certainly lead me to believe that she had dealings with an addict in her life or a situation that made me believe that she knew what she was talking about.
M.L. Guida wrote the characterizations in this story quite well. I was able to develop a decent feel of her creations, and ended up liking them or hating them. Without a doubt she engages the reader especially with how she wrote her good versus evil characters very clearly! I detested Blade like I was meant to, not feeling any sorrow for his plight. And vice versa, Scythe was a good guy to the hilt and I enjoyed watching him puzzle things out.
I think what I enjoyed the most however, were Guida’s no-holds-barred descriptions. They held me captivated more solidly than anything else! Let me explain a part that I really enjoyed later on in the book which, as you read may seem very strange. There is a part in the book where poor Heather comes face to face with the demon that is stalking her very– real– nightmares. In this encounter she almost has a brown-note accident in her pants. It’s not that I enjoy reading about bodily functions, but it truly brought home the fact that this nightmare was real, so real and terrifying for Heather that her body almost rebelled in a way no one wants to imagine, ever. I appreciated that, I appreciated a book that didn’t make things pretty just to make it easier for the reader. The bad guy was supposed to be frightening, the atrocities committed were meant to be unimaginably evil. Demons are not just sexy eye candy with do-me-now smiles. That is as most urban fantasies would have you think. Demons are meant to be aberrant beings capable of committing unspeakable atrocities without any sort of remorse or reason beyond their corrupted desire to do so. It was nice to be reminded of that fact, a lot of books neglect to do so by “telling” or fading to black when it comes to the gore, not so in this book.
As for the love scenes, I should also mention that there were some hot and steamy love scenes! Guida writes the passionate parts well, and I enjoyed them immensely. There was a part or two that also made me giggle and roll my eyes, when you read you’ll see what I mean! It was in a humorous way, certainly. But maybe definitely bordering on being a romance caricature.
Alas, along with the highs must come the lows. I have to share some of the parts that sort of made me go “eh”, it’s only fair as your reviewer here at Once Upon A Book to justify my star rating. There were quite a few editing mistakes that made me take pause. I can normally skip over one or two typos, but when it keeps happening the mistakes get so jarring that it starts taking me out of the story line thus preventing me from truly immersing myself in the universe.
Heather could be so obnoxiously (or stupidly) stubborn at times! So, say if I were to learn that angels and demons existed and that they have über-powers that could knock me dead in a blink. I can’t say that my first reaction would be to reject help from the only being that could possibly aid me in protecting myself/those I love. Also if I were to learn said being who was sexy-as-hell, offering to protect me was an Angel of Death, slapping him in the face would pretty much be the last thing I would do. Not to mention insisting that I, a mere-human extraordinaire, could never destroy what I had been told I would never have the power to? Heather also had this horrible guilt complex thing happening, it just seemed to stretch too far at times. I understand that guilt was basically the underlying motivator for Heather’s entire life, and this is actually a crux to solve at some point, but I seriously wanted to smack her at times because of it. Especially when said Angel of Death was present at the death of your sister, how could you blame him for murdering her? Imagine how many deaths the poor guy would have to ferry to their final place, your sister being one of heaven-knows-how many he’s had to escort. He blatantly explained that humans had free will, and that he could not interfere with the happenings because it was the big G’s way simply made me face palm here and there at the ridiculousness.
The painting scene was probably the most out of place scene in the book. And I just found myself saying aloud, “There’s probably a better time for this. You know, when you aren’t on the look out for the cops after you had just escaped them.” And there was a point where I was made to feel uncomfortable, Scythe ended up pushing the sex issue after so much had happened to this poor woman in such quick succession? Talk about understanding (sarcasm.) The resulting sex scene was quite steamy, and very titillating. But again, “Timing people!” She had just come out of the hospital with a severe body wracking case of shock.
The final thing that sort of had me going, “wth” was Heather’s reaction to her dog. This was probably the most irksome of things that occurred for me. If she had reacted that way to the first murder she had witnessed or after seeing her sister’s decapitated head, it’d have made sense. Now there is a possibility that this was Guida’s moment to let us see Heather’s poor human mind snapping at this last straw, from everything she had recently been through. But at the time I read this, I almost wanted to laugh at the hysterical image of it. Scythe wastes his resurrection powers on a cocker-bloody-spaniel! And then they sit in the room, surrounded by white lacquered in grotesque red, having a conversation as if nothing just happened. The horrible death threat notes smeared on the walls with the now newly-resurrected puppy’s blood, and Heather is STILL insisting she can take care of herself. Ugh!
In the end Betrayal earns itself a 3 star rating, bordering on a 3.5. I know it seems like I pointed out a great deal, but there really was more good than bad. This book while not reaching my favorites list still managed to entertain me throughout. And I’d certainly recommend it to others if they wanted some fluff to pick up and a decent sex scene. So grab a copy and check it out, you might enjoy it!