Doug Meeks usually sends over the reviews for the books he has enjoyed (more wanting to share a great story and not wasting the time to review a bad one). but this time around he focused on a series. The Promise series is written by Tara Fox Hall, and at this point there are three stories available in either e-format or paperback version.
What Doug said…
This is the Promise series. An eclectic mix of Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance/Thriller/Drama with a supporting cast of vampires, various shifters, half demons and some we may not have seen yet. The series for the most part covers the life of recently widowed Sarelle McGarran.
When young widow Sarelle McGarran finds the vampire Danial Racklan unconscious and hurt in her woods, intuitive concern quickly becomes passionate love. Together Danial and Sar work to overcome their own past heartbreaks, their vastly different lifestyles, and Danial’s relentless enemies. Yet Danial needs more; an Oath of forever. But Sar is surprised by a betrayal of her trust in Danial. Shocked at Danial’s betrayal, Sarelle returns to her old home to consider her options. Yet even as Sar plans a reconciliation with Danial, things take a turn when Terian (another life she has saved) arrives, confessing his desire.
When Theo witnesses Terian and Sar kiss, he angrily confronts Sar, leading to startling consequences. When Theo disappears, Sar is left bereft, the uncertain guardian of Theo’s newly born werecougar daughter, Elle. As months pass, clues emerge about Theo’s disappearance, yet the twisting trail ends repeatedly without answer. In her grief, Sar turns to Danial and hesitantly begins to build a life with him and Elle. The search for Theo will ultimately yield some answers but what other dangers are still following Sar that she has forgotten about …
First of all I should mention the entire series with some very minor exceptions, is from Sar’s point of view so if she does not know it, we do not know it. This series starts with a bit of action as Danial Racklan becomes the target for a hunter who wants him dead for reasons Danial does not even realize and when he ends up collapsing behind Sar’s home she brings him in and even though she realizes that he must be a vampire from his teeth she decides to give him blood to save his life (mainly because she finds him so desirable and she actually has a soft heart). The story evolves into a romance from there with multilayered plots that unfold as the reader goes along in the series, many if not most are quite surprising and add to the enjoyment of the reader.
The only danger of this type of writing is that the reader can become a bit fatigued from constant stress of the life of Sar, who seems to attract angst and tragedy at every turn. I should mention that I read all three novels in 2-3 days back to back so that might not be something that would affect everyone and though stressful at time it is not depressing as many of this type tend to be. The turning tides of the romance in this novel can be a bit confusing and Sar is continually trying to do the “right thing” but it seems to bring her as much heartbreak and sadness as it does brief periods of happiness. We have Sar, Danial, at least 2 or more other possible love interests (no this is not an erotic, Anita Blake type setup), at least 2 evil antagonists (the ultimate status of one of them might be in question), a couple of friends and a host of ancillary characters that you are given just enough information to remember their names but not really assign anything beyond a 2 dimensional personality, they are mainly pleasant and soldier-like but when one of them is killed you hardly even take notice. The diversity of vampires, shifters, demons and partials of such and it is a great mix of characters. The overarching story which is the constant thread through the whole series I found enthralling although at times I think it was a trainwreck attraction of how bad things get at times but it also makes the main characters and their lives compelling and they stay on your mind even when you are not reading (always a good sign).
While there are not textbook “cliffhanger” ending there is usually a big reveal that drives you to the next book in a similar fashion. Book 3 “Taken in the Night” was the worst but the author posted a teaser of the first 2-3 chapters of the next book online so you are not left frustrated for months waiting for the book (which will be released approximately 1 May 2013 – “Taken for his Own”) to know the answer you are left dying to know at the end of the book. The thing you should know before you start this series is that it does evolve; the story in book #1 is unlike the story in book #3 as our characters have changed as become more familiar, this is a mix of heavy romance, some urban fantasy and a lot of drama and angst. Assuming that somewhere down the line at the end of 6-7 books we will get a HEA but most are HFN at best in these first 3 books.
I am giving them a 5 Star review that I attribute more to the addictive quality and the fact that I enjoyed them immensely even though I spent a l0t of time mad, sad, shocked and a few “WTF are you doing!” moments . This is a series that plays on your emotions so you should be aware, the sex is probably a 3-4/5 range and the number of pages devoted to those situations is a bit more than needed but far from an erotic level. The overwhelming majority of the pages are devoted to moving the plot along (which I always appreciate, I hate authors who waste my time on pages and pages where nothing really happens). Take a look at the teaser on Amazon of book 1 “Promise Me” and see if you are hooked into this story which still has several more tales to tell in the future it seems.