Author: Debra Doxer
Genre: Mature YA/New Adult Paranormal
Source: ARC provided by AToMR in exchange for an honest review.
They weigh you down. I’ve kept a secret all my life. It’s my mother’s secret, too. I inherited it from her along with a unique ability that only we possess. She’s gone now, another victim of addiction. If her death isn’t enough to bring me to my knees, her betrayal flays me to the bone. Because the secret my mother and I have been keeping is just one of many she’d kept. She never told me I have an older brother. And now he’s here, eager to be my guardian.
There is no one else. So I move across the country to live with this stranger, my brother. But experience has taught me that most situations are temporary and forming attachments only leads to hurt in the end. That’s why I’m determined to keep to myself in this new place, struggling to seem aloof while I’m quietly breaking apart.
Then I meet Lucas…
His magnetism is hard to resist, and most girls at school aren’t resisting. I don’t fall so easily though, especially not for guys who use their good looks as a weapon. From the start, our interactions are tense and volatile. I know it’s because I’m denying the unwelcome desire that grips me when he’s near. I think he feels it, too. He looks at me with an intensity that threatens to unhinge my resolve. Soon he’s trying to break through the walls that past hurts have built.
But I’m not what I appear to be, and it wouldn’t be fair to get involved with him. At least that’s what I tell myself. Until a terrible act of violence reveals that Lucas has a secret, too. It’s a secret that links us together and ties us to an evil history I could never have imagined
Flirty Review: FOUR LIP BITES
Okay, that's the grabber of the story. I really liked the realism of the first couple of chapters. You get a clear picture of Raielle's life, her struggles, her hardships, and the loss of her mother. Then you get to feel the shock of her brother showing up out of nowhere wanting her to come live with him and his family. Already my interest is peaked. Where will this story go? It thought at first it was more of mystery than paranormal at that point. It wasn't until I was some ways into the book where we find the paranormal connection. Now, I thought may have missed it before (the paranormal element of the story) and I went back and checked but I didn't find any references to Raielle's special ablity. It felt like Raielle's gift just appeared. Nothing in her internal narrative mentions this gift. But all of a sudden it's a thing.
I wasn't going to get all bothered by the late introduction of Raielle's gift. I got it and moved on. With a new town, a new family, and a new school, Raielle has a lot of adjusting to do and a lot of questions. She keeps a clean matra in her head that she only has to get through graduation and then she is out of everyone's hair. What she doesn't expect is to have real friends for the first time and a new boyfriend she she quickly falls in love with.
I don't want to give away spoilers. I honestly really enjoyed this book and it was a total page turner outside of a bunch of mundane detail I tended to look past... And disembodied action... And creative dialogue tags... And a couple of plot holes. But whatever. That's not the reason I gave this book only four lip bites. The main reason it lost a bite from me was the cliffhanger ending. It's a common no-no that you don't leave the reader with a big cliffie if you don't have a projected release date for book two or an excerpt of book two to help wet the whistle. Generally, if I'm not reading an ARC, I will not start a book in a series with a cliffhanger. It's like torture. The author instead left a note for the readers to check back with her website to find out updates on books two. First, who's going to do that? Readers forget faster than... well, really fast. You want to leave your readers with something tangible to keep them wanting more. Two, it's too much work for the reader to keep tabs on your updates unless they are diehard fans and all readers who will buy your book are not diehard fans. They're are fans of interest. They are interested in your book and will come back if they have a reason. Doxer didn't really give them a reason. That was a letdown for me.
Also there was a lot of sexual content in a book labeled as YA. I'm sorry, but Mature YA is not a genre. You're giving yourself a pass for publishing sexual content for minors. Raielle is seventeen for crying out loud. I felt a little squicky reading their sexy times at the park where she felt his length and he sucked her nipples. That's not YA, New Adult maybe but not YA. But this book is also listed as New Adult, so is Doxer trying to give herself a pass for the sexual content but still stay relevant to the YA market? I can't see how you can get away with both. I would have loved to see them of legal age. Ya, I know it's not a big thing to some and I'm a big old h00r as it is, but places like Amazon are cracking down on books that are marketed toward the under eighteen crowd with very strong sexual content. Authors beware.
In conclusion, Keep You From Harm is good, great even. The plot is intriguing, there is a little bit of action, a lot of emotion, angst, and mystery. I will be reading the next book because I can't stand she left us with a cliffie! AHHHH!!!
I see a lot of promise on Doxer's writing. Her prose is not bad. It was fairly clean and flowed well. The cover is eye-catching and I would definitely stop to check it out.
About The Author
Debra lives with her family outside of Boston and is currently working on her next book.
Author social media links/website, etc.:
Blog - http://www.debradoxer.blogspot.com
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/debradoxer