THE REVIEW: Beauty Awakened by Gena Showalter

Beauty AwakenedAngels of the Dark book two

Genre Paranormal Romance  Published 26 February 2013  Publisher Harlequin Books

His name is Koldo. He is scarred, powerful, his control legendary-and he lives only for vengeance, determined to punish the angel who viciously removed his wings. But if he yields to the forces of hatred, he will be kicked from the heavens, eternally damned.

She is his last hope. Nicola Lane was born with a defective heart, yet this fragile human shows surprising strength as demons stalk her every move, determined to end her. She is the key to Koldo’s deliverance…and his downfall. Though he fights duty, destiny and his first addictive taste of desire, his toughest battle will be the one for Nicola’s life-even if he has to sacrifice his own….

The Urban Book Thief Review

urban book thiefAs soon as I read the prologue I knew this was going to be a tear jerker – and I was correct goddammit! Who can resist the tale about an unloved boy who grows into an equally unloved man?

Raise your hands please ladies… come on… and you at the back… so now that we are all in this together I’ll continue…

This is the tale of Koldo and Nicola. Koldo is one of the Sent Ones, a little like an angel, but different in the sense that he was born to parents rather than made by the big man upstairs. He’s been around for a hell of a long-time, has a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas and is terribly angry and upset about the fact that nobody wuvs him. Nicola on the other hand is human and a pretty frail and pathetic one at that. She suffers from a heart defect and doesn’t have long to live.

And yes – the drama descends pretty early on in the book.

After being rejected by his mother and tortured by his father, you’d think that would be enough crap for one lifetime. But oh no, Koldo has to one up himself and in payment for his crimes has been drafted into The Army of Disgrace, led by Zacharel (the smokin’ hot angel from book one). He’s on his last chance of last chances and now is not the time for him to f@$k up. So it’s unfortunate that he’s imprisoned mummy dearest, the evil skank who tore off his wings as a child, and shaved off all of her hair. Let’s hope no one finds out, ay?

The Army of Disgrace have been given a year to mend their wicked, wicked ways or they’ll be drop kicked into hell. The army is made up of Sent Ones who’ve broken one or more of the heavenly laws (my personal favourite being thou shall not covet your neighbour’s wife). Saucy.

Koldo

Koldo

Nevertheless, what I love most about this character is that while he plays the typical tortured hero, Koldo has these really adorable idiosyncrasies. He has a thing for names and their meaning. Everyones. He is way too serious and throughout the book sweetly develops a dry sense of humour. Sadly, Koldo is not used to being shown kindness so feels that he has to pay any person who helps him out – the concept of friendship is beyond him. But what I like best is that he’s a virgin, as in not even shared a kiss with someone else virgin, (rubs hands together with glee). Oh boy – come to mamma!

Koldo meets Nicola when she is visiting her twin sister in hospital. Poor Laila is dying and she’s due to go at any moment. But there’s something that they don’t know – both of them are surrounded by demons filling them with deadly toxins and feeding off the fear and anxiety generated by their heart conditions. Theses toxins are shortening their lives and sending them incredibly close to the grave. Laila’s impending doom is imminent and Nicola isn’t that far behind her. So life pretty much sucks for these two.

Intrigued by her. Koldo starts following Nicola around and it’s not long before she gets her first glimpse of him – and I must say, she is pretty darn impressed upon first sighting of our sexy angelical host:

Oh, wow. Okay. In the far corner, a very tall, very muscled man shifted from the shadows. How could she have missed him, even for a second?

The doors closed, sealing her inside with him. I don’t judge by outward appearance. I really do not judge by outward appearance. But oh, wow, wow, wow, he had to be a time-traveling Viking sent here to abduct modern women to give to his men back home—because they’d killed all the women in their village.

I watch too much TV.

He certainly gave off an all-dangerous-all-the-time vibe. And now, it was too late to avoid a possible pillaging.

Nicola

Nicola

Due to her heart condition, Nicola has barely lived a full life. She craves excitement and adventure but is always terrified of having a heart attack. It’s now gotten to the point where she’s never done the nasty with anyone – not even reached third base. Poor sweetie. Nicola is an accountant (I guess somebody has to be one) and she finds Koldo a wee bit scary at first. He’s an intense man with a hard-on for liars – even the joking kind. Upfront and straight to the point, he tells her that she’s so afraid of life she’s killing herself. Koldo advises that he can help Nicola rid herself of her demons and live a better life by tutoring her for one hour a day on how to be happy and calm.

But once she meets Koldo, Nicola starts to see demons, they follow her to work and tease her because they know no one else can see them but her. After this, Nicola is made Koldo’s charge because it appears that he can also sense when she’s in trouble. The attraction between the unlikely pair is pretty hot from the start. But he has had a brutal past and thinks he’s not good enough for the delicate heroine. In addition to this, every time they start to make-out she falls into a dead faint from the overexertion to her heart. Awkward…

Axel – oh Axel. Koldo’s partner and fellow Army of Disgrace member. Sonnets will be composed on his light-hearted bantering ways and moments of comic relief. Plus, I lurve the bromance the two have going on:

“Not afraid of a man hug, I see,” the warrior said, clearly uncomfortable.

Koldo gripped him tighter.

“Really? This is happening?”

“I love you, male.”

Axel cleared his throat and wrapped an arm around him, too. “I love you, too. But I’m going to pretend that’s the pain talking—for both of us. And if you ever tell anyone you heard any kind of trembling in my voice, I’ll kill you.”

**************************

“Mind sharing with the rest of the class?”

“I do.”

“Fair enough, since I wasn’t really interested. But I gotta say, I am so proud right now.” Axel flattened his hand over his heart. “You borrowed my patented move, proving I’m made of more than awesome. I’m awesalicious. Is that a word? It’s probably a girl word, but who cares! Seriously. Do you see a tear in my eye? Because I’m pretty sure I feel one.”

Koldo didn’t understand the man’s humor, and yet, he realized he was coming to like Axel despite that. He was strong, courageous and never backed down from a fight. He never allowed Koldo’s moods to affect his own, and he was happy to do anything Koldo asked. Or demanded.

What was the male’s history?

“You’re very weird,” Koldo observed.

“Nah. I’m mysterious. There’s a big difference.”

“You’re definitely weird.”

William from the Lords of the Underworld series also makes an appearance – woo-ya! Getting his hair highlighted at an elven salon of all places… but he’s still a gorgeous hunk of man lovin’ in my eyes. His part in the book reveals a very revealing bit of information about him that got me squeeing for more, more, more of this bad boy. This section of the book also sets up a story arc that will continue into the next book, where the Sent Ones are charged with tracking down and killing six naughty demons. This means that the Sent Ones need to separate across the world to accomplish this. Unfortunately, none of them were sent to Australia otherwise I would offered them my spare room. Darn.

So – it took me a while to figure out what was missing from this offering by Ms. Showalter and I soon realised that it was the snark. This lovely lady always writes such good snark and while it was present in other characters, it wasn’t enough, in my ‘umble opinion to keep the book afloat. Lords of the Underworld this book was not. Now, this may seem like a bad criticism – but I don’t mean it to be, the book was still a really good read. But when I found Thrane to be the most exciting character in the book, someone is definitely missing. Plus, the author spent so much of the book fleshing out Koldo that Nicola comes off as a bit of a Mary-Sue. The romance, while a heavy thread within the main plot line, was not as exciting for me as to what antics our angel boys were up to. I believe that this has also led to some slightly lower than average ratings for this series on Goodreads. But you know what – I did enjoy this and I really want to read the next book in the series. Bring on the carnage I say. Bring. It. On.

Oh yes – my book gremlin spies have brought to my attention that the next book will feature Thrane. But which heroine? The lap-dancing Harpy? Maleah the Fallen Angel? My bet’s on Maleah, the tattooed white haired beauty. I can’t wait.

The Urban Book Thief has awarded Beauty Awakened a kiss factor rating of four – bring out the big guns peoples!
Kiss FactorKiss FactorKiss FactorKiss Factor

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