What Kind Of Review Can You Expect?

If I could describe what kind of reader I am, I would hands down say I was an emotional one. When I read I want to fully experience the book, from the emotions coursing through the characters to reacting to the twist and turns of the storyline. I'm looking for those books that fire up my imagination and leave me breathless when it's over. It's for this reason why the reviews I write aren't so much what I think and are more on how I feel. My hopes in sharing my review in this way is that something will spark an interest and have you wanting to have the same experiences. This isn't to say I don't have issues with grammar, word choices etc. Trust me I do and most times all it takes is waiting for the story to grab hold for it not to matter. When I do include things about what I thought about the book (for example I've included comments about word choices and being too descriptive), I only do so because it directly affected how I felt. I hope this helps. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shades Of Desire by L.M. Pruitt

Shades Of Desire
A Jude Magdalyn Novel - Book #2
L.M. Pruitt / Urban Fantasy

All I wanted was a little peace and quiet. Instead, I've got dead Covenant members and a steady stream of letters from the new guy in town. His beverage of choice? A 2002 Merlot, with a shot or two of powerful virgin blood. On top of that, I'm breaking in a new police liaison, failing at playing matchmaker, and fighting nausea like it's a full time job. Did I forget to mention that I've also got enough girls living at the Crossroads to start my own boarding school? Peace and quiet? Out the window. 

(click on title for review)

I was so excited when I was given the opportunity to read Shades Of Desire because I was still riding high from reading the first book, Shades Of Gray. I eagerly downloaded it to my Kindle, got nice and comfy and started to read, fully expecting to be blown away again. NOTHING could have prepared me for the experience because it blew me away and then some.

I’ve said it once and so you’ll have to figure me when I say it again what a master L.M. Pruitt is when it comes to the way she writes her stories. From the opening words even, I was quickly connected back with the characters and I stopped seeing mere words on the page and instead started seeing the story unfold in my mind. There was however a HUGE difference that I noticed straight away as I read – not only could I see and feel what was happening, but somehow the author had written in a way that I could seriously HEAR the characters talk with one another. I could hear the frustrations, the bantering, the loving tones and it really intensified the experience for me. All the action was there – another bad guy to vanquish (and an evil piece of work he was) and the story was FULL of heart as Jude and those around her rallied together to fight him. Everything felt so real as I read, not once did the story let me go and not once was I bored because I was so involved with everything that was happening. Nothing else mattered while the book was opened and even when I was away from the book, it lingered and I found myself talking about it with others. Just like Shades Of Gray, this book packed a powerful punch and there was definitely a darker feel to it but if anything it enhanced the story and helped keep me completely enthralled to the end. I can’t gush enough how much I love the author’s writing style and how much I loved this new edition to her series.

Jude was my hero in this book. I love the tough and sassy female lead and Jude took it to the next level for me. In each scene she ripped a new emotion out of me, having me experience the book with her to the point where I was running down the streets of New Orleans with her, standing at the desk talking with Mr Evil himself, Jack or lying in the arms of Theo enjoying those very few moments of quiet alone time. She was POWER personified in this book and I loved how there was nothing holding back with Jude. The author gave her free reign to be how she should be which gave Jude that raw edge and continued to make her feel extremely real to me. I have loved watching Jude go from the unsure newcomer with an overwhelming responsibility to a woman who clearly defines being a true leader with her strength and ability to do whatever it takes to protect her people, no matter how difficult it was. It required her to be at times ruthless as her rage and sense of justice screamed at her to take action and I can’t tell you what a rush it was to see her in all her glory. The connection I made with her in Shades Of Gray was solidified in this book as I continued to identify with her and by the end of the story, she had me so invested that if given the chance I would have jumped into the scene, taken up her cause and killed Jack myself. Jude is absolutely, hands down THE character worth reading.

There were a few relationships in play through the book and each one of them was wonderful to read. I loved how in the middle of all the ugliness of the story, the author found time for her wonderful characters to have those moments of connection with each other – whether it was that blissful intimate moment, the discovery of the other person you were meant for or the feisty passion that often resulted in potted plants exploding. Jude and Theo’s relationship was as solid as ever and I really enjoyed watching how they interacted with each other. They continued to bond with each other, especially now Jude is pregnant and I can’t begin to tell you how much I LOVE reading these two. They are so comfortable and honest with each other and there’s nothing remotely fake about them. They support one another but also aren’t afraid to pull the other up to tell them they need to be careful. I have to say the thing I loved most about Jude and Theo is their incredible sense of humor and how in the middle of a deadly serious situation, they don’t let that seriousness leak into their relationship and are able to have those light, loving moments where everything doesn’t feel so dire. Some of my favorite scenes and quotes from the story came from those bantering moments and as always I can’t wait to see where the author takes their relationship, especially seeing in both books, she’s foreshadowed an event that will tear Jude and Theo apart. Nail biting stuff!!

I have to mention it because it had me snorting so loudly in parts that would have to stop and read it to my husband but one of the crowning glories of this book is the development between Elizabeth and Rian. OMG, to be a fly on the wall when these two get in the room together because Elizabeth was just so incredibly feisty and Rian was just so incredibly… well he was such a guy!! You really get a sense of the author’s sense of humor reading the scenes between these two where the undeclared passion they felt for each other had the couple either butting heads and words or snuggled unthinkingly into each other for comfort. You never knew what you were going to get with them and it was extremely entertaining to read.

Jack is the resident evil in Shades of Desire and I’m not ashamed to say that he left me a little breathless the more I learned about him. Never has there been a villain who had me sighing from how seductive he could be, chilled by how calculating and cold he was and extremely repulsed by the levels of depravity he would visit. Jack proved my point that evil doesn’t always take the form of a devil with horns or the little man in black suit and hat, standing over the damsel tied to the train tracks, twisting his moustache in devilish mirth. No, to me evil would look like Jack – charismatic, strikingly handsome and seductive with all his charm and well spoken manner. The man gave my GOOSEBUMPS chills each time I read one of his letters and his phone calls with Jude because everything about him just oozed civility while lightly veiling the calculating coldness of a killer. The just when I thought I was sucked into his web, thinking that I finally understood him, out of NOWHERE the author brought a dimension to Jack that literally had me pausing for a moment while I forced the bile back down my throat. I talk a lot about the books I read but this week, EVERY conversation was dedicated to how amazing I felt Jack was and just how much his role in Shades Of Desire challenged me. I LOVED the way the author wrote Jack and loudly cheer for her decision to hold nothing back. There is no “prettying up” evil or diluting it. It is what it is despite how uncomfortable it makes people feel and Jack – he made me uncomfortable and it was LIBERATING !!! LOL Is it wrong for me to say that he was my favorite character?

For the most part I read to be entertained and for those brief moments where I can let my imagination take me away from the stressfulness of life. But sometimes, I come across a book that teaches me something, that causes me to pause and take the time to think. It may not be some life altering lesson but it is something that changes the way I see things and ultimately it alters me. Shades Of Desire is one of those books. I don’t like doing things that make me feel uncomfortable in any way, shape or form. I think that’s a natural reaction for most people and I find that it strongly reflects in the books I choose to read. I was told that this book was a little more on the darker side than Shades Of Gray and I was excited about it right up until I started to feel uncomfortable. Here’s where the lesson came in for me – trips into the darkness aren’t always a bad thing, that in those moments where you feel most uncomfortable, there are also great opportunities for insight. Reading about Jack and all his depravity and how Jude went about defeating him showed me that sometimes nothing helps more in recognizing how truly blessed you are for the good in your life than for those moments when you have to stand in the dark. It makes you more appreciative and reading this book gave me a deeper understanding of the benefits in experiencing life to the fullest and that it really is okay to explore outside my comfort level when reading. That it’s more than okay and definitely not something to hide from. It was a very unexpected lesson but one that I’ll always cherish so regardless of the fact that Shades Of Desire is an amazingly well written and emotionally charged story, I’m giving it my O.M.G.S.H. Award because what could I possibly give to a story that moved me as much as this one did. Shades Of Desire is definitely a book everyone should read so don’t forget to bring your heart because for me, that’s the only way to fully experience a book like this.


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