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Embracing Forever (Blood Resonance) Paperback – September 26, 2019
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In this sequel, besides Noble and Sarah (Colby), Book 1's MCs, Aten expanded the roles of 3 secondary characters from it, namely Sarah's sister, Annie, her ex and BFF, Jill, and Louve, Noble's oldest and closest mate, the Alpha of her French werewolf pack, who part-owned Cirque du Loup aka The Wolf's Circus and...had a summin'-summin' (*wink-wink*) with Noble and Sarah in Book 1 (read it and you'll know what I mean!). Anyway, the plot this time revolved around the were/vamp family, so to speak. So, it's a "family affair," essentially. Without revealing anything, just know that with Aten's brilliant writing style, plot structure and story development, you'd want to read it to follow the breadcrumbs plus all the humour, the always-engaging conversational dialogue, not to mention, the ever-delish romance mixed in it!
Ok, truth. I loved Jill, Sarah's ex and BFF, who was a veterinarian. Speaking of, I thought it was a brilliant idea for Aten to make Jill a vet because... well, just imagine. A vet finding out about the existence of werewolves?! Obviously, she had all sorts of questions about them, the A&P (anatomy and physiology), the nature, essentially the ins and outs of how they behaved as animals, getting all nerdy and vet-y, so to speak! There was a scene between Jill and Jesse (Annie's nerdy girlfriend), which I thought was simply hilarious when Jesse discovered that she was a vet! Why? Well... Just read and find out for yourself! Best if you read Book 1 first! Just sayin'! Anyway, I enjoyed every scene that involved Jill. I wonder if Aten would expand her role if there's a Book 3 in the series, as a "renewed" vet and her relationship with Louve, taking a more active role in the Scooby Doo gang as they continue their adventures in the urban fantasy world of vampires and werewolves and/or other non-human species.... Just a thought.
Speaking of Louve, she had a small part in Book 1, but in this sequel, Aten delved deeper into her character, especially about her leadership as her pack's Alpha, as attacks on humans became more daring and open, which could be an open defiance against Louve or perhaps her involvement/friendship with Noble, Sarah, Jill, Annie and Jesse. Needless to say, I thought Aten crafted a good plot twist in the midst of the gang trying to figure out the nature and reason for the uptick in human attacks all of a sudden. The antagonists whom Aten brought into the fold to disrupt the "peace" as far as the Scooby Doo gang was concerned, were devilishly malevolent and beastly. I kind of enjoyed them even though I shouldn't! Oh, they were all ghastly but you know how baddies are! So bad they're intriguing! Heh! Back to Louve, I loved that she was best mates with Noble, like these two age-old vampire and werewolf who'd gone through so many generations, seen so much, done so much (good or bad), and I always felt a sense of zen-ness between them whenever they were together contemplating their lives and journeys, their unbreakable kinship and how they would face whatever was happening, be it love, friendships or unpleasant ones, like, getting rid of monsters out to destroy not only them, their way of life, but their friends and loved ones, too. I loved their camaraderie. I do hope to see more of their relationship in the future. As for the rest of the Scooby Doo gang, I just loved the sense of family they all exuded especially when they shared the same scene together. Aten's smooth, conversational dialogue style made the feeling of warm comfort and resonance, not to mention, wit/humour (family-style!) amongst this group of people even more fun to read about and explore!
Besides Jill's character who was my favourite in this book, I also was looking forward to how Aten was going to expand her development of Annie's role in this sequel, after playing second fiddle, albeit a strong, impressionable one, in Book 1. I wanted different, I wanted more involvement from her, either as a sister or girlfriend or friend or working professional, I wanted a contrasting character development. Needless to say, Aten did NOT disappoint. At all. Well done and cheers, Ms. Aten, thank you! Just wait until you find out what Aten had in-store for feisty, sassy Annie!
Also worth mentioning, in Book 2, Aten included quite a few more scenes about Sarah's music career, her songwriting, including a pleasant surprise - an introduction of a music band which happened to be Sarah and Annie's favourite. I kind of guessed it when they were introduced, well, maybe it was more wishful thinking that came to fruition but regardless, the inclusion of a band in conjunction with the MCs made the backdrop of this urban fantasy series even more relevant - the rock band/music scene.
Before you wonder if it's a romance, it is. Aten expanded the romance and love story not only just between Noble and Sarah, but also Annie and Jesse, and a new coupling. It was more than just an update to their love stories, but it was intriguing to read about how they adjusted to their "new" normal, what with Sarah becoming more powerful (and darker?) as a vamp, and and "invigorated" Jesse and her relationship with Annie, how they manoeuvred their way of life together. I thought Aten balanced the romance and action/intrigue plot well as they played off of each other in absolute relatability.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel. I thought Aten crafted and structured the story even more tightly this time around, although, overall both stories were uniquely different than other UF ones, hence, exciting to explore! In true Aten form, her aptitude in creating and crafting original, refreshing, out-of-the-box stories/plots in different genres, makes her stories always invigorating to read, explore and experience! And I would be remiss if I didn't mention this - I think it'd be a bloody good idea to read Book 1 and Book 2 back-to-back so you could appreciate how Aten developed and built the characters from the start to what they'd become by the end of Book 2 in one single chronicle. Plus, you'd appreciate how the Scooby Doo reference came to be. It's a subtle nudge, a tinge of flavour that would make you think, "Ah! They're like the Scooby Doo gang!" Read both Books and see if you'd agree! Or...Disclaimer: maybe it's just me!! Oh well, just my own interpretation, mind!
So, yes, you've guessed it. It was a bloody good, intriguing read for me!! I highly recommend this to fans of urban fantasy, romance and basically anyone who happen to love vampires and werewolves and the French! Heh! Let's see if there's gonna be a Book 3, eh?
*An ARC copy was furnished to me by the author in exchange for an honest review*
Sarah Colby, a fairly new vampire, lives with her lover Keller, a woman who has lived for centuries, always looking for her soul-mate. Their life together, and that of their family, comes under attack, and they must find who is threatening them. Before it’s too late. There was an interesting tension throughout as they struggled to find and subdue those who wished them harm. There was also a sexual tension that was amped up to eleven! It was scorching - and very imaginative. Some of these scenes should be read in private, that’s all I’m saying. I loved the family vibe of the story, as those with other blood became bonded to each other, out of necessity but also out of love. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, ‘Running From Forever’, but this is even better. I highly recommend it.
I was given this ARC for review.
This book is even better than the first and that is saying a LOT!!! The writing is perfect, the plot exciting, the characters awesome and this one even has some comedic moments that are a hoot and a half!! The story is full of action and intrigue, love of all sorts, old friends and new and of course all the lovely sexy bits we have come to expect… (Even another HOT threesome!) There are plot twists that will leave you guessing and then dropping your jaw in disbelief. I loved spending time with these women, they feel like friends and I have missed them and was happy to see their little family grow. This whole book was a joy to read and I was so sorry to see it come to an end. I will miss these incredible ladies!