by Dawn Kirby
Dark Dragon Publishing
Available on Amazon.com
Thanks to Bottled Up Memory, Inc., & Illuminated Tours and TeamNerd Reviews for the copy
3.5 / 5 cupcakes
First, let's address that cover. I'm not sure what we're going for here, other than some type of barely legal porn. I can assure you that this cover does not begin to tell you the truth about Secrets, and it is unfortunate that this book was saddled with such a lame cover photo.
Having said that, let's dish about the book.
As I have mentioned previously, I am over the whole vampires and werewolves thing. And by "over" it, I mean I beg - I plead - I am ON MY DAMN KNEES, pleading for writers to dip their toes into another pool of inspiration. For the love of Edward Cullen. Please. Just please.
So here we are, with a book about - you guessed it - vampires and werewolves. Only this one has the decency to be different.
Recently graduated from college, Leah works in a shop owned by her mother, Mia. Their life is fairly tranquil, aside from the fact that Mia refuses to discuss Leah's father with her. Leah, of course, is curious, having only been told that her father died before Leah was born. She can't figure out why her mother won't talk about him, nor can she understand why Mia remains so devoted to the memory of that man.
One of Mia's business partners, David, comes to town on his annual visit, and Leah wonders why, since they clearly are so attracted to each other, her mother and David don't date. But later that night, Leah thinks she overhears Mia and David rock the headboard, so perhaps Mia isn't as devoted to a memory as Leah thought.
David does not come just for some sexy times, though. Mia needs his help: she is concerned that Leah might be in danger. You see, Leah is not your typical college graduate. Her senses are extremely attuned. She can smell things the rest of us can't, hear things even dogs have trouble hearing, suffers near blindness when the light is bright, and she never gets sick. Not even the common cold. Mia cryptically warns Leah that there are Bad People Out There who mean her harm, and when it appears some of them show up in town, Mia calls on David for help and guidance.
With a title like Secrets, it comes as no surprise that there are many things Leah does not know or understand. As she slowly discovers the truth about her - who her father is, why she has so many sensitivities and why those Bad People Out There want her. Leah's life quickly turns from peaceful to frantic, unstable and endangered to the point that she goes to live in a safe house of sorts.
It is here that romance comes into play for young Leah in the form of the hot, sexy and mysterious Raine. Their attraction to each other is immediate and intense, and it doesn't take long for them to get intimate, both emotionally and physically. Raine sure knows how to pleasure a woman, let's just say. He's also determined to protect Leah, even if it means alienating people he's close to. And yet Raine has his secrets, too, and he is not exactly as he appears.
This book is full of action and intrigue. Leah hops from one precarious situation to another, but she is never outwardly overwhelmed; in fact, her almost preternatural calmness in the face of danger is a little much at times. Nowhere in her life has she gained the experience to handle what's thrown at her, but she does. She has an innate sense of what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.
Her battles are not just with outside forces. She also has inner struggles, as she comes to terms with what her mother didn't tell her, particularly where her father is concerned. When she does find out about him, she is given very little time to process what she now knows. It's as if she has to say hello and goodbye within the same breath.
Now, I've told you all of this, but not once did I mention vampires or werewolves. Well, they abound. I won't tell you who's who, because you need to read to find out. But suffice it to say that the werewolves in this book are not the cuddly pups of Twilight. This pack is mean, destructive and out to hurt Leah. Just as Raine and the others in the safe house discover, there is something special about Leah, and the werewolves want her for themselves. As for the vampires, this brood is not vegetarian, and when they feed, it's as much erotic as it is sustenance.
This is a long book, almost too long. At times it felt repetitive - there are some lines in here that feel as if they are repeated every few pages or so. Some of the downtime between action scenes moves too slowly and bogs down the tale. But the essence of the story is interesting, even with the vampires and werewolves, and it ends with a huge cliffhanger. It's a good thing that Dawn Kirby intends this to be the first of a series.
I was given this book in exchange for hosting the blog tour yesterday and for providing this review. As I read it, I wondered how the book will be marketed. Its sex scenes are too graphic for teens or even young adults, but the vampire/werewolf thing risks alienating more mature readers. So I asked Kirby's blog tour coordinator about this and was told that there is a brand a new genre called "New Adult," and this book falls into that category:
Where Young Adult is usually centered around characters between the ages of fourteen to seventeen, discussing 'firsts' (first boyfriend, first kiss, first sexual encounter, etc), New Adult would give authors who write characters eighteen to twenty-six a place to fit their books and gain a fan base. Characters who are usually found in college type setting, deciding on a career and building a family. Characters who are transitioning from young adulthood to understand how to be a mature adult is where books in the New Adult genre fall under. The genre is also known as '20 somethings'. To read more about the New Adult Genre check out TeamNerd Reviews.
I had no idea New Adult lit existed, but I think it's a fine idea.
So, Secrets. Should you read it? Sure, especially if you fall into that New Adult demographic. The story is entertaining, and Leah is a very likable character. It didn't ignite any passion on my part for vampires or werewolves, but it's a good read.