May 29, 2013

Spotlight on: Blood in the Valley by J.K. Hogan

Paranormal Romance
Date Published-  5/2/13
 
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Synopsis: 
The daughter of a Las Vegas hustler, Raven Sabatier grew up trusting nothing and no one—she doesn't even trust herself to stay in one place for longer than a minute. When her quest to find out the secrets of her past leads her to the mountains of North Carolina, she’s set on a collision course with the one man she thought she'd never see again.


In Appalachia consulting on an archeological dig, Anthropologist Dr. Drew Deveraux comes face to face with the indomitable beauty who broke into his apartment a year ago, tilting his carefully cultivated world on its axis.

Engaged in a fight with their demons, both imagined and real, the last thing either of them
expected to find was love. Together, they must unravel the mystery of Raven's past and her connection with an ancient race of witches, in order to save their future—and all of the souls hanging in the balance.
It had been just after midnight when she’d collapsed facedown on the surprisingly comfortable bed, dead to the world. It was close to three a. m. when she heard the first noise outside her door.
At first, it was a light thump followed by a muffled curse. Her eyes flew open, but she wrote it off as some drunk from the bar trying to find his room. She’d almost gone back to sleep when she heard a faint scraping sound, followed by the distinct turning of the handle.
Raven was instantly on alert but not overly worried, as no one else but Micah had a key to her room. Her whole body tensed as she heard the door pop open.
Her back was to it, so she couldn’t see. Not her typical sleeping position—she never put her back to the door—but she’d crashed so quickly. She kept still, not wanting to let on that she was awake and lose the element of surprise.
She sent a low frequency energy wave rippling through the air. It would send back visual information as it bounced off the intruder, a lot like sonar. Not enough detail to discern identity, but enough to let her know what she was up against.
Extremely tall. Six-five, maybe six-six. Long, rangy build. Not a body builder type, but plenty of muscle to work with.
She watched the shimmering outline the energy wave sent to her neocortex. He didn’t seem in too big of a hurry, and her internal warning system was not yet sensing a threat—other than the fact the guy had just broken into her room.
Raven perceived no immediate mortal danger so she decided to play dumb, let the guy think he’d caught her. Who the hell was it, anyway? Had The Watcher finally decided to show himself? Maybe he’d finally tell her what the fuck he wanted.
Footsteps echoed on the hardwood floor as the stranger walked over to the small writing desk. He grabbed hold of the spindly ladder-back chair that went with it, dragged it back to the door, and, presumably, sat down in it.
Hell, she hoped this guy didn’t think he was being stealth. He did surprise her by suddenly flicking on the overhead lights. Her eyes had always adjusted quickly to changes in light, and tonight was no exception.
She sprang upright in the bed, clutched a hand to her chest, and blinked as if she’d been jolted awake. Playing the startled damsel in distress should buy her a little time to figure out what was up.
When she glanced toward the door, Raven saw that the tall guy had wedged the back of the chair up under the door knob and was sitting back with legs stretched out and arms crossed over his chest. The dirty leather cowboy hat was pulled down over his eyes and obscured most of his face.
She barely suppressed a snort when she realized he actually thought he had her trapped in there. Guy had no idea who he was dealing with. Putting just the right amount of shake in her voice, she spoke to him.
“Wh-who are you? What do you want?”
The man leaned forward to rest his elbows on his thighs, lowered his head, and pulled the hat off. After he raked a hand through messy ash-blonde hair, he looked at her and sneered. “Gotcha.”
Raven gave him a hard stare. He was dressed differently, in a khaki work shirt and camo cargo pants, stuffed into steel-toe boots. All of it, including his skin, was covered in a fine layer of dirt.
The face was different. Harder, more world-weary than a year ago. But she recognized him. The good Dr. Deveraux had finally found her, and she never even knew he’d been looking. Touché. Well played, Doctor.
Raven dropped the act, seeing no point in it since he clearly knew who she was. With a toss of the covers, she threw her legs over the side of the bed and spun around to face him. She knew the jersey barely covered her lady bits, and she got a small sense of satisfaction watching his eyes zero in on the hem for just a moment before flicking back to her face.
So blue, she thought. Those eyes. A rich, sky blue. And that was enough of that. She could moon over hot guys when they weren’t holding her hostage, however ineffectively.
She tilted her head and let a small smile play over her full lips, giving him what Ray had always called her curious bird look. “You got me. Now what are you going to do with me?”
As she watched his eyes dart around the room, it occurred to her that he hadn’t thought this through any further than getting in the room. She decided to play along. For now. If she could get him talking, she might be able to get more information about what was in that book.
“Contrary to how it may look, Cliffdweller’s isn’t that kind of inn.” That surprised a laugh out of him that had her fighting the urge to smile back.
Leaning back in the chair again, he crossed his legs, like he was settling in. “Why don’t we start with your name.”
With no reason to lie, she shrugged a deceptively delicate looking shoulder. “Raven.”
“Raven...,” he prompted, and urged her to continue with a wave of his hand.
“Just Raven. For now.”
“Okay, Just Raven, why don’t we start with why you’re not the least bit scared of me, even though I broke into your room.”
She flashed him a smile designed to distract, to seduce. “Come on, Doc, you’re you’re about as stealth as a bull in a china shop. I think the whole inn knew what you were up to.”
One corner of his mouth tipped up in a half smile. “That bad, huh?” he said.
Raven noticed his voice slurred a little when he spoke. She narrowed her eyes at him. Bloody hell, was he drunk?


Blood in the Valley (Vigilati, #2)Blood in the Valley by J.K. Hogan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blood in the Valley is book #2 in J.K. Hogan's Vigilati series. I was a big fan of book one, Fire on the Island, but felt that the characterization of Isla and Jere was a little lacking. I wasn't able to fully connect with them, and felt like they had a bad case of insta-love. This book succeeds in all of the places that I felt book one came up lacking.

This book hit the ground running from page one. I loved the fast pace - it was just perfect. It never became too frantic to where it lost me or I was overwhelmed, but it also never bogged down to where I was impatient or skipping parts. I was definitely sucked into the story and never came up for air.

I loved Raven, the main female character in this book. An orphan who was given to her con-man father to raise at the age of four, she has had to fight tooth and nail to survive her whole life. She learned the game of conning and grifting from her old man before he was sent to prison when she was fifteen, and has been looking out for herself ever since. Tough as nails doesn't even begin to describe this chick. And to top it all off she is one of the most powerful kinds of Bruixi witch - a Praeda - one who actually has the ability to kill the demon that is trying to suck enough energy out of humans to be able to have a corporeal form.

That's another one of the things that I have loved about this series so far. The women are the heroes. They are the ones who get to save the day. Yeah, the men play a very important part (and are hot as heck, too!), but at the end of the day it's the girls that have to get the job done. So far they have done a hell of a job kicking ass and taking names.

I also felt like Raven and Drew's relationship was allowed to develop slowly and naturally. It didn't feel forced or as "insta-lovey" as Isla and Jere's in book one. I mean, Raven had a lot of hang-ups she had to overcome, and if they had just jumped right into being in love, it wouldn't have been believable at all. Drew also had his share of mommy issues he had to work through before the relationship could work.

The relationship between the feradux and their masters is another thing I love about these books. It's a really cool plot twist that I haven't seen done quite this way. It's a very good opportunity to introduce very distinct and interesting characters, and have another strong relationship bond scenario going on besides just the romantic one. In fact, one of my favorite characters in the series is Marduk - and I love the banter that takes place between him and Jere. Had me laughing out loud more than once!

Overall, I would highly recommend this series to everyone who likes Paranormal Romance. You should start with book one so you have a lot of the back story. It's not essential to reading this book, but you would miss out on a lot if you skipped it. I can't wait for book three to come out - I will definitely be picking it up!

 
Author Bio

J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them.
J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives on a farm with her husband and young son, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading!
J.K. Hogan is a member of The Romance Writers of America.
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1 comment:

  1. I don't think I heard of this one before but it sounds like I need to look up the first one! 5 out of 5, impressive!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for your comment! I read each and every one of them, I swear. :)

 
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