Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Book and a Cuppa - Rapture


That`s the sound of a Para/Rom junkie getting her fix of The WARDen. How can I describe it to non-WARDen fans? It`s like getting the first mouthful of coffee swirling over your taste buds in the morning, or if you`re a smoker, inhaling that first lungful of Newport or Marlboro. The rush is the same. Thankfully the folks behind the WARDen have her books timed just perfectly. They give us a hit of angel in the fall then make us wait, quivering in anticipation, for a toke of vampire come spring. Today, over a fresh cuppa, we`ll be chatting about the latest book in The Fallen Angels series, Rapture.

I know you`re already thinking I`ll be giving this novel a five star rating. Well, you`re wrong. I don`t just hand out those five stars easily. A novel or series of novels really has to blow me off my feet. I adore the WARDen. I worship at her diminutive feet. I wish I could write books like she does, and Lord knows I wish I could pen men the way she does. But my fan girl admiration aside, Ms. Ward is not without faults, as small as they may be. What I found wrong with Rapture we`ll discuss in a bit and it will contain spoilers, so don`t read after the large SPOILER ALERT caps that you`ll find down a few paragraphs if you haven`t finished the book, okay? You`ve been warned. So, let`s get talking about a great book, shall we?

Rapture revolves around Mels Carmichael, a reporter for the Caldwell Courier Journal and Jim Heron, angel extraordinaire and hot-hot-hottie. Fans of the BDB will know that the CCJ is where Beth worked before she ran into the towering wall of ebony hair, wraparounds, and don`t F with me attitude that is Wrath. I may need a minute….

Okay, I`m good now. So, Mels works at the CCJ and is stuck in a rut of a life until a man stumbles in front of her car one night right outside the local cemetery. After she runs the poor man over his amnesia is just the sort of mystery that a woman like Mels can sink her teeth into. It doesn`t take long for Mels to discover she is dealing with a man with a very dark past that is involved in a war between good and evil. Will she lose her heart to him, or will she lose her soul to a demon?

And then there is Jim Heron. Jim is still in a battle with the demon Devina, fighting for a soul in a game where the score is kept and overseen by the big guy in the sky. I`ll admit that I am falling hard for Jim Heron. He is not your typical angel. You know, all softness and wings and pretty white robes? I will also confess to having warm tingly feelings for Adrian, Jim`s partner in the war against evil. You got to love an angel in leather with piercings and a sex drive that could rival a bull moose in rut, am I right? Darn Skippy. Since we lost Eddie in the last book (Yes, I cried over his death) I`m now clinging to Ad tightly. I don`t think I can stand another loss like that.

The plot is wonderfully paced. The action superb, the romance is fan-your-face-get-me-some-ice-to-dump-down-my-shirt hot, and the secondary characters crackle. I love that The WARDen slips in little references to my beloved Brothers in her angel series. Both series take place in Caldwell, New York, so if there weren`t glimpses of leather-clad behemoths from time to time it wouldn`t seem feasible, would it?

I enjoyed Mels a great deal. Once again Ms. Ward gives us a strong, determined leading lady that takes no crap. I love that. And our romantic leading man….Didn`t see that one coming! Nope. Knock me over with an angel feather. And now we`ll have that warning I spoke about earlier---


We can`t talk about the leading man without saying his name. We also can`t discuss what I found disappointing with the book without bringing Matthias into things. There, I typed his name and it`s out. Matthias. Who the heck would have imagined that rotten, dirty, son-of-a-nutcracker from the previous books to come back and turn into a great leading man?? Not me. Ms. Ward got me and got me good with this choice. I loved it! Talk about showing character development and growth! He really worked for me as a romantic lead. Anytime a five hundred and two page book purchased on a Tuesday is done forty-eight hours later, you know I am hooked but good. And I was. Up until the last few chapters….

Don`t get me wrong, as a romance novel the ending was what is required. The leading lady and man must have an HEA (Happily Ever After) and 99.9% of the time I`m onboard with that. This time, it fizzled for me. We had a gripping, dramatic, making the right choice, death scene with Matthias, Mels, and Jim all involved. It was powerful, perfectly executed, tight, emotional, and detailed. And then Matthias comes back to life?

What? Why? The HEA, I know, I know. But for me, unless the big guy in the sky has brought Matthias back to work with Jim and Ad, who really need another angel (Lassiter, are you free?) this return to life cheapens the whole act of Matthias stepping in front of a bullet for Jim, in my humble. I fully understand we are reading about angels and vampires here. But death, especially in such a heroic setting, should stay vivid and stunning and real.

I applauded Ms. Ward for her decision not to bring Wellsie back in the last BDB novel Lover Reborn. To bring back Tohr`s love would have made her death meaningless and tainted the loss we readers felt. Yet, here she does what she would not do to Wellsie, which is bring a lost character back just for the HEA. Perhaps I`m alone in this view, and that`s okay. This is my review and my feelings. I totally understand if others think it worked.

So this book is definitely an easy four and a half stars. Since we don`t have that choice though, I`m giving Rapture a solid four stars. It is everything we have grown to expect from The WARDen. Now I just have to bide my time until Qhuinn/Blay hits the stands next spring.

Wonder if they have BDB transdermal patches I can buy?