May 5, 2014

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Part of Me (Damaged Hearts #2)

I'm excited to be one of the blogs to kick off the Part of Me blog tour, organized by Xpresso Book Tours. Paranormal NA? Um, yes PLEASE. Read on for my review, then enter the giveaway for a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour to learn more about this series. 

Part of Me (Damaged Hearts #2), by A.C. Arthur
To Be Published May 13, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: e-book, received the author and Xpresso Book Tours
Genre: new adult paranormal romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Shadow Shifters: Damaged Hearts—a deeply emotional, unforgettable New Adult paranormal romance series by A.C. Arthur about the men who are sworn to protect the females—human or otherwise—from the savage fury of his own nature.  

Lidia Morales has always felt out of place. The one stable presence in her childhood has always been Brayden. Every major moment, every growing pain, everything in her life has been shared with him since they were little, so it makes sense to her that they will stay friends at college together. Until one night, emotions are revealed in a heated kiss, and Lidia’s world is turned upside down. Brayden has always been just a friend and she knows she should look somewhere else for love. But the memory of the passion between them is undeniable—and Brayden isn’t about to let her forget it. As trouble brews, Lidia may need Brayden more than she realized and Brayden will do whatever it takes to convince her that they are soulmates…bonded for life.

It's rare that new adult books are also something else. Like, dystopian. Or, paranormal. Or, really, anything except for "contemporary romance." So, when I saw a new adult book that was also a paranormal - and a shifter book at that - I was all 

Lidia, a Shadow Shifter who can turn into a large cat, was raised among others of her kind, but not her parents, who chose the wrong side and left when she was just a child. For years, Brayden and his two brothers were her best friends, but soon Brayden started seeming less like a friend and more like a mate. As one of the only people on Earth who accepts her and loves her for who she is, Lidia fears that moving beyond friends would ruin everything. So, she starts shunning his advances and denying what she already knows - he's really the only mate for her.

I have to admit - for awhile, Lidia wasn't really my favorite person. One minute she's making out with Brayden, and the next, she's telling him she doesn't want anything more than friends between then. Then, she sees him with another girl, and she gets all mean and jealous. Then, they're kissing again. And she's pushing him away again. ARGH. Can you say frustrating? 

I get Lidia's reasoning. She only cares about three guys in the whole world - the three brothers she was raised with. Let's face it - when you enter into a relationship with someone and it goes badly, you don't really want to spend any time around that person anymore. Which really, REALLY sucks when that person is your best friend. So, I understand why Lidia was reticent. But, criminy. Throw the guy a bone. 

Brayden is completely in love with Lidia and he only wants to convince her that they are made for each other. This guy is so patient and sweet and... patient. Yeah, I don't know how he put up with Lidia in the beginning. She was downright nasty to him for no reason other than trying to guard her heart, and that was really frustrating for me as a reader. 

It's something I seem to be seeing more and more lately, or perhaps, I just seem to be choosing those types of books more frequently, but whatever. It's still annoying. There are two friends, and one wants to try for something more, but the other is afraid it will ruin what they already have. The former pursues relentlessly and the latter treats the former like crap for 75% of the book. It makes me feel awful to read about someone treating someone they love so badly. I don't want to feel awful when I read a book. 

Besides the fact that both Lidia and Brayden turn into large gorgeous cats when they shift, the other saving grace is the fact that Lidia DOES come around, and when she does, she and Brayden make an amazing couple. In their culture, when they mate, it's like a forever thing. And they make an amazing team. Sucks that it took Lidia so long to realize that. 

I like the mystery surrounding the rogues and how they plan to go to war with the Shadow Shifters. The worldbuilding is done really well here - I look forward to reading more books in this series to find out more about these two fighting factions. And, the romance isn't too shabby either. I loved the sexual tension and the heat between Lidia and Brayden. Despite Lidia's nastiness, the obvious love between these two and how they acted upon it is what kept me going. Part of Me is a short book - it's more of a longish novella, really. I wish it had been a little longer - I want to know more about the rogues and about Lidia's and Brayden's plans following where the book left off. 

Part of Me was exciting and frustrating and well worth my time. It sets up future installments well, and I look forward to finding out what happens next.

About the Author

Artist C. Arthur was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland where she currently resides with her husband and three children. An active imagination and a love for reading encouraged her to begin writing in high school and she hasn’t stopped since.

Working in the legal field for almost thirteen years now she’s seen lots of horrific things and longs for the safe haven reading a romance novel brings. Her debut novel Object of His Desire was written when a picture of an Italian villa sparked the idea of an African-American/Italian hero. Determined to bring a new edge to romance, she continues to develop intriguing plots, sensual love scenes, racy characters and fresh dialogue—thus keeping the readers on their toes!

During the course of her writing career Artist has won the YOUnity Guild’s Best New Drama and Romance Author Award in 2005/06; been nominated 3 years straight for EMMA Awards, with the fourth time being a charm she took home the 2007 EMMA Award for Favorite Romantic Suspense; and has also received her first Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award Nomination for Best African American Romance. She is represented by Christine Witthohn at Book Cents Literary Agency, LLC.

Learn more about Artist C. Arthur --> Website / Facebook / Twitter


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Giselle said...

Great review, Krista! I also love to see NA books that aren't contemporary romance and I start to see them more and more too, finally. I like the sounds of this one I'm a sucker for a good shifter novel. I'm glad that even though it wasn't instant you grew to like the characters. They do seem like the kind that grows on you as the story progresses. Glad you liked it! :)

Alisha S. said...

Great Review and thanks for the awesome giveaway!
Entered Rafflecopter as Alisha Sienkiel

Bestdayblogger said...

Great review! Thanks for a wonderful giveaway!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the chance!

Unknown said...

sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway.