09 November 2009

Review: Joey W Hill - A Witch's Beauty

~Buy a copy here~
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (January 6, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425225674
ASIN: B002NPCVW0

Genre; Erotic Paranromal Romance
Main Characters: Angel David and sea witch Mina.
Book Origin: Personal Library

Summary:
Mina is the daughter of an unholy union-a mermaid taken by one of the malevolent Dark Ones. While helping to rescue Prime Legion Commander Jonah, she exposed herself as a potentially dangerous weapon, susceptible to the darkness in her own blood. Now, for the general good, Jonah has angels watching over her...

Though Mina is resistant to being protected, her attitude begins to change when David, the human-born angel, is awarded the duty. Looking into his eyes, she can sense that he too knows what it means to fight the darkness within. But-as their passion threatens to take over-will it lead them to Heaven or Hell?


I have been pondering a few days on what to say about this novel and sometimes words cannot adequately describe or express the reading experience you’ve had and this is the case for me with A Witch’s Beauty. I am baffled, awe-struck and swept of my feet in a story that is brimmed with diverse, enigmatic and colorful characters who voiced an erotic romance that I cannot define as simply erotic or as a romance. Nothing is simple in A Witch’s Beauty; not the characters, the choices they needed to make, the love they feel, or the events that take place. Joey W Hill gave me two characters, the angel David and the sea witch Mina, and in the mere few days this story encompasses it felt like I’d spent a lifetime with them.

In the very first chapters it became evident there was so much more going on that I instinctively slowed down my reading to absorb as many character nuances and details as possible. I wouldn’t classify A Witch’s Beauty as an easy read. The emotional dilemmas are not black or white, good or evil, right or wrong and it seeks a unique balance between all facets because Mina is such a unique character. She is born from a sea witch and a Dark One, and because of that she is born with a natural evil and good side. It is by her own moral sense and sheer willpower she doesn’t tip over to her Dark One side. Complexity is Mina’s middle name with her scarred beauty, her powers, her sea witch body and often Dark One’s attitude which is rooted in pain and darkness. It would be an understatement if I say that she is an extraordinary heroine.

Opposed to Mina is David, a relatively young angel by their standard but one who is inexplicitly drawn towards Mina. As result of certain events Mina has angels guarding her and when the last one comes back with bat wings David pleas with Jonah to give him guarding duty over Mina. David has a contemplating personality, can be pensive at times, he is serious and has an earnest intensity about him. His quiet resolve throws Mina off balance but with his former life as a human David has his share of memories to deal with, memories that speak of dark heinous acts.

Because this novel is so character driven every single character is fully fleshed out and lots of pages went in to unfolding Mina and David’s past and present story. I could feel their separate and combined inner turmoil. I absorbed each shred of emotion between them. The heart tugging and endearing first times, the beautiful cadence of trust given by one which is treasured by the other, a love and eroticism blossoming between two very unlikely characters who fit each other at the core. It is also a story of sacrifice, of pain and loss that screams for healing and acceptance. The loneliness and inner strength that hides behind Mina’s salt and vinegar attitude is at times heart breaking. It is also exceptionally well captivated by the author that despite, or perhaps because of Mina’s tendency to lean towards evil, what makes her such a fascinating character. The synergy of David and Mina delivers a contrast of good and evil which is done with such an understanding of the concept that actions become understandable. But most of all, it shows how the emotional sides can war inside the soul, providing such conflict that on many moments my emotions were triggered in answer.

I feel like I should include a warning for other readers that A Witch’s Beauty can be an acquired taste due the physical description of Mina, in sea witch form her lower body exists out of tentacles, and I can imagine this could be too much for a reader to handle in the erotic department. I feel like I should tell you all that if you don’t “get” either Mina or David then a lot of this story will be lost to you. But I didn’t mind the tentacles of Mina’s sea witch body as it is such a defining part of her, and I “got” their personalities and issues. Their passion feels so natural, so fierce and sensual that I accepted it for what it is; a sea witch and an angel falling in love with every up and down that they needed to experience to fully come together in heart, mind and soul. I had no issues regarding the character development, which is a rarity all on its own. From A to Z it has been done with a fabulous perception and understanding of both David and Mina, of the world this author created with heaven and hell, and the oceanic world was one I loved to be in.

The dialogues sizzle with each character’s personality, be it Mina, David, Jonah, Raphael or anyone else the author conjured in this story. One of the greatest pleasures in reading this novel is getting to unravel and understand the characters, their pros and cons, their doubts and fears and most of all, how their joy and love soars. Also, I need to mention Dante, if there is one character who was introduced in this novel and caught my immediate attention then it was this cross between a vampire and Dark One. The romance gradually builds to a cresting intensity, each struggle, tender or erotic moment, each fight or emotional battle of wills, each holds a meaning and each event shares a piece of the protagonists personality with the reader. I was completely succumbed to this world, these characters and their story. Hubby could call me, I wouldn’t answer. Dinner preparations were forgotten and TV series held no appeal to me. For three days my mind and imagination was occupied by this novel and I didn’t mind it one bit.

The plot holds a minimal of action but when it happens it is formidably displayed in aggressive splendor. The primary focus of A Witch’s Beauty remains on the progress of the personal journey though and it speaks of various choices to make and maintaining a balance. If the right choices are made and a certain balance achieved, ultimate love is the reward. If they would fail a barren emotional abyss would be awaiting them. I always love this kind of high-stake romance and makes the read increase in its intensity. As I continued to read the chapters all minor and major things interconnected together. It created circumstances where I would think a happily ever after wasn’t going to happen. Emotions soared for me in those final chapters like only a few authors have the ability to do so with me. Joey W Hill made that list of authors!

As the author led me towards the ending I was already jubilating about the awesomeness of this novel but then there was the epilogue. I always enjoy an epilogue but then there are those very few that add something more to the story, something that suddenly becomes unique to the tale. There only comes one to mind that shares the same impact as the one in A Witch’s Beauty and that is the epilogue of The Immortal Highland by Karen Moning. I already had that five star feeling but with the elaborate epilogue it was hard to come down from that place I call ultimate reader’s bliss.

A Witch’s Beauty is a story that was a rare read of perfection and poured emotions from each page. It held out on nothing, not in the good nor the bad side of life, nor the powerful passion, or the romance. I will savor this story for the rest of my life.

I will not hold out on any of the quotes I written down:

Quote Mina:

“I don’t love anyone. I don’t laugh. I don’t hope for anything, and you’re the only one who imagines I might have a soul.”

Quote David to Mina:

“Forgiveness is something given by someone who sees all of you, every dark and light corner, who knows where you’ve been, where you’ll walk, where you’ll misstep again, sees it against what everyone else is or has done, and knows it’s going to be okay. That things are the way they were meant to be, that everything has a reason, even those that can’t be explained. That it’s just okay to just be, to take that precious moment of stillness and hold on to it, use it to give you the strength to fuel everything else.”

Quote David:

Mind-shattering orgasm, a violent argument, a harrowing revelation, and now food. Mina would never be a dull companion. (<- when I read this all I could think was: “That’s an understatement of the year!”:)

Quote Mina to David:

She tilted her head. “I don’t think you have to worry so much. He’s a little psychotic for me.”

“Oh sure, that’s what girls always say. Then they go for the bad boy. Look at me, I’m an angel. Harps, haloes, purity and goodness. What chance do I have?”

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20 comments:

  1. Another wonderful review... I remember seeing this at Amy C's place and just like you she was blown away by it..

    This book must be something else...

    I love the cover on this one..

    E.H>

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  2. I adore Joey Hill! She's so talented, and voice is beautiful and lyrical. Like you, I take my time reading her books. It's her prose, I think, that lull's you. she's so damn gifted, and as a reader I consume anything written by her, as a writer, I'm envious!

    I read this book a while ago, and it hasn't left me. In anticipation of A Mermaid's Ransom, I'm going to re-read it. Thanks to your review, I think I might even pull it out today!

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  3. Wow! It sounds like I need to check out Joey Hill. Wonderful review.

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  4. Leontine, I totally agree with your review. This book is...INTENSE! And wonderful! And beautiful, unexpected, amazing....I could go on and on. :) I can't wait for the next one in the series.

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  5. Hi :)
    Thank you for the thoughtful review. I hadn't been aware of A WITCH'S BEAUTY before. I put it on my Get&Read list now.
    Thank you for sharing,
    All the best,
    RKCharron
    xoxo

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  6. Oh Leontine, I am so glad that you are loving this series up! I have heard both sides of this series. Either you like it or you don't. I have the first book, which I will be trying later, but I so thrilled to see that you are enjoying it!
    And what an amazing review you did honey. You always blow me away with your reviews.
    Hope you had a great weekend and a wonderful Monday!

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  7. @EH - Hey girl,Amy C and I have various similar authors we love to read so it doesn't come to me as a surprise she loves Joey W Hill too. And I agree, the cover gods were smiling on this series!

    @Sophie - Dang...you said it!! I so could've mentioned her lyrical prose, because I'm with you, it adds something powerful to the way i experience the story as a whole.


    @SarahT - I hope you'll give her a try Sarah ;)

    @Penelope - I'm also highly anticipating Dante's story. The moment he makes his appearance in Witch's Beauty I knew I would love to sink my teeth in finding out the how, what and why of his personality.

    @RKCharron - I hope you do and enjoy it as much as I did!

    @Cecile - That is why I wanted to state some kind of warning, that this book might not be for everyone's taste. But Joey W Hill pushes all my hot buttons as a reader and she is one of my 2009 discoveries :D

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  8. If I can handle the "barb" with Lora Leigh's series I think I can handle tentacles {anxiously bits lower lip}. I must read any book you give the coveted 5 stars to!

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  9. **sneaks out of Beefcake Preview Club**
    Leontine you're back,I hope you had a great time visiting family.We behaved ;)

    **smooths hair down while reading review** Great review. I have one of Joey Hill's vampire books but have yet to read it. But I think I might have to get my hands on this book first.
    Cecile mentioned she's got the first book.How many are in this series and how many are out so far?

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  10. @Smokinhotbooks - I appeal to your adventurous side and give Joey W Hill a try. If you wait until December you can win A Mermaid's Ransom at my Beefcake club ;D

    @Elaing8 - Behaved?....a slumber party with the guys is what you call behaving?? LOL This book is the 2nd book in the Mermaid series and the third book is released in december 2009. But you will get an up close and personal with Dante since he is Beefcake of Dec.

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  11. I always behave :D LMAO

    Thanks for the info.I can't wait for the next Beefcake Preview Night :D

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  12. Hi Leontine,
    Actually, it wasn't me who reviewed this book :). I haven't read it. I did try to give the first one a go, and while I totally agree that Joey Hill has an amazing way with her prose, A Mermaid's Kiss didn't work for me. I'm not sure, just a combination of a few things. but I gotta say, if I hadn't already given the first book a try, after reading your review, I would definitely go out and buy it. You write some beautiful reviews, my dear! Very prosey! I love it :).

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  13. *skimming* *skipping* I have this one in my queue in anticapation of A MERMAID'S RANSOM. Joey W. Hill has always been a favorite of mine and I loved the first in this series, A MERMAID'S KISS. But man, are they emotional!!! You really have to prepare yourself to be torn in two.

    So happy you gave this five stars. I can't wait to read it and come back and take a closer look at your thoughts.

    Hugs, VFG

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  14. That is one goregous cover! And another great review girl! Awesome

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  15. Okay, I'm sold..
    *runs to amazon*
    ...book will be here soon. *grins*
    Can't wait!
    Fabulous review hon!

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  16. @AmyC - Yeah I get that, if certain elements don't work certain magic is lost. Glad you still enjoyed the review ;)

    @VFG - ROFL you go skipping and skimming...it's good to go in with only your own mind. I just couldn't wait anymore, I wanted more of Joey W Hill but now have to wait. Thank the lords it's just 4 weeks or so.

    @JennJ - I so heart these covers, though bk 1 and bk 3 cover have my preference. Have you checked out her vampire series *thud* fabulous covers *thud again*

    @SusiSunshine - LOL you go girl...go find yourself some mermaids and angels.

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  17. Oh Wow! I loved your review! I'll have to start this series soon!

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  18. I think I'll have to start reading this series now! It looks like a fun read!

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  19. OMG - I HAVE to buy this book!

    Thanks hon for telling us about!

    Hugs
    Hawk

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  20. @Tricia - Enjoy the angels, the mermaids and the hot passion!!

    @A Buckeye Read - It’s a rollercoaster ride, I guarantee it.

    @HAWK - You're very much welcome HAWK, I wanted to serenade this book on the top of my lungs...you think I accomplished it LOL

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I love to hear all your voices and opinions so thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.