July 29, 2013

Spotlight on: Devil's Play by Kenya Carlton

Devil’s Play
Sweet as Sin Series Book Two
Kenya Carlton 
Genre: Paranormal Multicultural Erotic

Publisher: Parker Publishing   
Date of Publication: May 25, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-60043-130-2
Number of pages: 169 

Book Description: 
Snuggled within the warm embrace of marital bliss, biologically altered army Captain Drake Devilin and his supernatural bride Sienna face their biggest challenge to date. Called back for duty in World War II, Drake must leave his amazing life behind and join his troop to fight the Nazis.  Although he’s certain his new mission is merely a rouse to obtain his most precious commodity, his wife, Drake leaves, but not before giving Sienna a magical necklace in the hope it will protect her against unknown enemies.

Lured from her prosperous island by a sorcerer who is convinced she was always meant to be his bride. Sienna is challenged to play three magical games to ensure her husband’s safe return. In each game, a limited time is given to Sienna to immerse herself into a new world, situation, and persona; find Drake; and have him acknowledge her by name. And she can’t use her powers to make it happen.

Everything dear to Sienna’s heart is put in jeopardy. Willing to fight for the love of her life and her happiness, Sienna takes on the sorcerer in his own game of cat and mouse.

Devil's Play is the sequel to Kenya Carlton's Sweet as Sin, which I didn't know until I was finished with this book. It isn't marked as a sequel in any way, but I kept thinking I was a little too lost while reading for this to just be a stand alone book. So, I would definitely recommend reading Sweet as Sin first before reading Devil's Play so that you understand more of the backstory and events that are alluded to in this book.

Devil's Play is a Paranormal Romance that focuses on the witch Sienna and her biologically altered werewolf husband, Drake. They have been happily living in virtual seclusion on Parrot Island - the mystical island that Sienna draws her powers from. Content to be left alone, they have been enjoying each other and their select group of little friends. However, their time of tranquility comes to an end when two military men show up unexpectedly on their front door demanding that Drake return to the war in Germany (World War II). Drake is reluctant to leave his wife because they can both tell that the two men have a hidden agenda besides getting him back to the war. Drake has a feeling that what they really want is to get him away from his wife so that she is vulnerable. Drake ends up being right, and Sienna ends up being kidnapped by an American warlock that has some sort of half-cocked idea that she should have been married to him instead of Drake. He then forces her to play a game to try and save herself and her marriage to Drake. If she wins, she gets to go back home to her island and Drake. If she loses, she has to stay and be his wife. If she tries to kill him with her magic, he will have Drake killed. Because, as it turns outs, Drake didn't return to the war to fight. He was actually returned to a government science experiment facility where he is being held prisoner while they conduct tests and experiments on him. The warlock holds the souls of the men in charge, so at a word from him, Drake will be killed. The question is, will Sienna be able to beat him at his own game to save the man she loves, or will she fail?

I really liked the idea for the story in this book. The plot was interesting and full of twists and turns that kept me guessing. I liked all of the side stories that were going on at the same time as the main story line. Xavier's story was very entertaining, and I loved how his importance was revealed at the conclusion of the story. Maddie and Percy's little side adventure was also enjoyable to read. They were definitely two of my favorite characters, and I loved the sexual tension between the two of them.

I had a hard time connecting to the main characters in this book. I thought that Sienna and Drake were both really interesting characters, and made an even more intriguing couple. Sienna was such a complex character. She was so powerful, but yet seemed to still have trouble controlling all of her emotions. However, while I enjoyed reading about them and the trials and challenges that they had to go through, I was never really emotionally invested. I felt like an outsider simply observing what was going on instead of being right in there with them. It made it really hard for me to lose myself in the story.

Another thing that held me back from totally loving this story was the editing. I realize that this was an ARC and there is to be a certain amount of expected punctuation and spelling issues. However, there were a lot of run on sentences, grammatical errors, and overall choppiness of writing. I have read another book by Carlton that had the same issues, and I really think that I just don't gel with her writing style. The plot jumps from place to place, and from POV to POV, and it all leaves me a little lost. Plus the way she phrases sentences comes off a little bit jumbled at times, and I have to step back from the story for a moment to try and figure out what she was trying to say. It makes it really hard for me to stay in the flow of the story.

Overall, I thought that the story was interesting. It was different from the normal Paranormal Romance stories that are out there, and I appreciate that. It just wasn't for me, but I recommend that if you like PR stories that are a little bit dark, you should check this one out for yourself.

Paranormals, when did that happen?
As an avid fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I somehow missed out when paranormal books made their way onto bookshelves and exploded into several different genres. Where the hell was I? All of a sudden, great covers and cool art work were staring me in the face on the bestseller list and in movies.  Perhaps I was still stuck in the romance section hoping someone would vamp out and bite the heroine … honestly, who knows. So at this point, I’m overwhelmed by all the options and need a little help. This is my best attempt at breaking down the genre.
YA’s seem to delve into every aspect of paranormal activities.
Mormon mother rewrites a classic. Twilight is a weird twist on Jane Austen’s Grapes of Wrath except with less sex (get it, no sex back then) and more biting. I read all four books and thought Twilight and Breaking Dawn were the best in this series. I haven’t quite gotten passed the first movie, but I am considering skipping to Breaking Dawn. Let me know if it’s worth it.
Vampire Diaries
Haven’t read the books but watched the series. I’ve missed the last two seasons. Sorry, but I can honestly say I don’t feel like I am adult enough to deal with an Elena and Stefan break-up.
P.C. Cast
Is wildly popular, but I haven’t read one book by this author. I don’t know where to start. P.C. Cast has so many series it’s a bit overwhelming for someone who likes to start at the beginning. I’m open to suggestions? Anyone, anyone …
Adults and Y.A. readers who are mostly adults have a fascination with those sneaky creepy crawlers that all seemed to be stupid sexy. Top in this category are J.R. Ward, Jeanine Frost, and Charlaine Harris. I’ve just begun to read the Night Huntress series, but I love The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris and the Jaz Parks series by Jennifer Rardin.  
Shape-shifters/Ghost/Supernaturals/Witches/ Werewolves
These books should all have their own category, but come on people! How long is this blog going to be? Shape-shifters practically get their own section in the paranormal world; there has been much written about the Werewolf or Lycan man-beast. This is a particularly interesting take on the paranormal love story. Just like the vampire the question begs to be asked, can the beast tame itself long enough to win over the beauty?
Messenger Series
The Eileen Rendahl series is different and quirky. A messenger for the supernatural world can deliver anything of magical nature to the other realm without retribution due to her messenger status. The side characters are great and the main heroine actually shows growth in each installment.
Elemental Series
Jennifer Estep has great covers and a great heroine. Gin is beyond broken and damaged, and the reader just hopes the assassin would one day get her shit together. However, so far the outlook is cloudy.
Ghost Hunters
Victoria Laurie has the cutest little ghost hunter series with M.J and her side–kick, Gilley. This is more of a campy take on the paranormal novels, but I’ve read every one. 
Steampunk paranormals
This form of Paranormal I’m not well versed in. Many of the books look good, but I’m once again scared that I’ll pick the wrong one so I don’t know where to start. Mel Jean Brooks and Gail Carriger seem to be the top authors in this genre, and according to Goodreads they hold the top spot. A smidge intimidated by the covers; I fear that Sc- Fi would be the main theme in these novels. Not a book snob in the least, I’m willing to give the genre a try. My first shot will be Soulless and then I might be brave enough for something more.   

About the Author:

Native of Chicago Illinois, Kenya worked in the Network operation Center for PBS and TLN television stations. Executive producer of her own production company Black R.O.K Productions Kenya produced a pilot for travel series Destination Everywhere, Independent short film Dawn shown at the Chicago Latino film Festival, and wrote and directed the documentary Our Africa. Writing titles available; Jaded, Sweet as Sin, Brazil re-issue, Devil’s Play, and Remember This.

Twitter @kcbookcafe

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