Review: Beauty Awakened

Reviewed by Jen

This book was almost great.  It pains me to say that, because the parts of it that were good were very, very good.  But the two issues I had with it really took away from my overall enjoyment.

This second installment in Gena Showalter’s Angels of the Dark series features Koldo, and though I wasn’t that excited to learn he was getting his own book, he ended up a really good tortured hero.  He was raised by a mother who hated him and cut off his wings. Then he was abandoned to be tortured and kept by his evil father, until he was eventually freed to fight on the side of the angels.  He has never known love or tender emotions from anyone.  But that changes when Nicola enters his life.

Nicola and her twin sister were both born with heart problems and both face an uncertain future.  But when Koldo comes across them in the course of another mission, he can’t ignore how he is drawn to Nicola. He makes it his task to free her from the demons who foster her illness and to teach her how to fight their influence.  And in the process, they fall in love.

I think what I liked best about the story is how effortless the romance is between Nicola and Koldo.  I can see how and why they fall for each other. There is no great misunderstanding or hurtful mistake one has to forgive the other for.  Koldo just wants to be loved and Nicola is the balm to his tattered soul.  It hit my romance happy buttons all over.

Unfortunately, the book failed big time in the sexual arena. Usually Showalter’s books really deliver with the sexy times. Here, I reread their first sexual encounter three times and I’m still not sure what the hell happened.  It was that vague.  Then, when they finally do seal the deal (a measly one time) again, the language is vague and totally unsatisfying.

“Nicola,” he said, and finally –finally– claimed her…
Hesitantly, he leaned down and kissed her again.  Softly, gently.  It didn’t take long to renew their passions, and then, oh, then, they wed in body, as well.  She yielded to him without reservation, accepting him, burning for him, loving him, enfolding him in her arms, crying his name, begging him for more, nipping at his lips.

They wed in body?? Who is this author and what has she done with Gena Showalter’s sex scenes?  This was a total missed opportunity, since Koldo is a sexy virgin hero who is just exploring his sexuality for the first time.

My second big issue?  It’s a little too… religious isn’t the right word.  But it felt dangerously close to having a “message.”  The angels have been a part of the Lords of the Underworld series for some time now, but not until this book did it have more of a traditional ring for me.  Essentially in the sense that it is faith in the Most High that can make or break you in this book.   It felt like PNR with a little bit of an inspirational bent.

The romance was really good though, as was the construction of the characters.  I felt like I knew them and I was 100% invested in them. So much so, I might have given it an A, had it not been for the disappointing sex and the feeling that I was supposed to find God when it was all said and done.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Harlequin

Click to purchase: Amazon
Beauty Awakened
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin

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