Review: Immortal Trust

Reviewed by Jen

One of the things I like about The Curse of the Templar series is that each hero is deliciously tortured and alpha. Though admittedly, Lucan doesn’t come off as quite as tortured as Merrick and Farran, he made up for it with earnestness and charm.

This installment in the series is actually different in a few ways. Not only is our hero a bit less miserable than his predecessors, unlike them, he knows who his seraph is from the start. As the story begins, he is already seeking Chloe out at the archaeological dig she is leading in France.  Chloe doesn’t know it, but she is about to uncover a vital artifact to the Templars, the Veil of Veronica.  Not only do the Templars want the items, but so do the evil minions of Azazel.  The dark lord has infected her brother in order to get to the item by any means necessary.

Lucan is determined to handle his mating better than his brothers did. He is resolved to take things slowly, and to court Chloe properly.  It’s not that easy, though. Chloe has been plagued by demons for years. Between that, and a bad relationship in her past, she is dead set against a future with the man she sees as a representative from the Church at her dig.  Her brother’s negative influence makes it even harder for Lucan to gain any ground. But, of course, it’s only a matter of time until destiny becomes a reality.

I liked Lucan a lot. He is gentle and loving with Chloe and takes great care with her emotions. It’s nice to see a hero who isn’t so dominating that he loses sight of his woman’s wants and needs. It is frustrating at times to see the hesitation he has –as it will so clearly burn him in the end.  You see, both Lucan and Chloe hide the truth from each other for most of the story. Chloe keeps her demons a secret because she doesn’t think Lucan will believe her. And Lucan keeps the Templar truths quiet, because he fears Chloe may already be compromised by Azazel.  Secrets, as always, lead to misunderstandings, which can drive you crazy when you see them coming a mile away.

However, the romance is sweet, and I like that this is a bit different from the previous books, because that keeps the series from getting stale. The sexual tension is great and the bedroom action is definitely worth the wait!

We’re still keeping up with some of the other familiar knights… but I am coming to think Claire Ashgrove is only giving me glimpses of Declan and Tane to torment me. When will they get their books, for crying out loud???

Overall, it was sexy and sweet, though a little predictable.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Tor

Click to purchase: Amazon
Immortal Trust
by Claire Ashgrove
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Tor Books

Review: Immortal Surrender

Reviewed by Jen

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  It’s the second in Claire Ashgrove’s Curse of the Templars series.  And one of the things that I like best about these books is that each one features a tortured hero with a heroine who can save his soul.

In this case, our hero is Farran. Like Merrick before him, he doesn’t want a seraph. He thinks he is too far gone. He wants one of his brothers to receive the gift. Beyond that, though, he is still nursing a 900 year-old heartbreak brought on by a treacherous and unfaithful wife.

Noelle is an unlikely choice for a seraph. She doesn’t even believe in God, which makes the whole immortal Templar thing sound all the more insane to her.  She does, however, trust in science. She dates and authenticates ancient relics for a living.  She doesn’t have much of a life beyond her work. Apparently, Noelle is plain and flat chested and no man has ever really been interested in her.

Once the angel Gabriel does his thing and orchestrates a meeting between Farran and Noelle, he realizes immediately that she is his fated match. He decides he must speak his oath to bind with her, in order to honor his duty, but he will never allow anything real to grow between them.  He essentially kidnaps her, drags her back to the Temple and spends the rest of the book trying to force her to speak the oath back to him while he fights he growing feelings for her.

I like the world-building and the story is rich with great secondary characters. It gives the entire book such a great canvas.  I enjoyed the tender moments between Farran and Noelle, but he also frustrated me at times with his thoughtless comments designed to put emotional distance between them.  He wasn’t a bad guy, but he was thick-headed. And 900 years is a long time to hold a grudge against women.  As for Noelle, it kind of stretches credulity to think that any functional 29 year-old woman can be that innocent in 2012.  Beyond that, I liked her well enough. She has a sharp mind and demands the kind of proof that most rational people would need.  I just hated to see her feelings hurt so often.

When the walls finally start to come down between these two, the heat factor was fantastic.  The love scenes were great and there was a fair amount of action worked in –as well as enough intrigue to keep me guessing.  –Not everything is tied up neatly. There are definitely loose ends that will branch over to the next book. But the ending gives good closure on the relationship, so it’s by no means a cliffhanger.

I liked it. And I’ll read the next one when it comes out.  I’m hoping for Sophie’s story… with Tane perhaps? Or maybe Declan?  I’m looking forward to it.

Rating: B

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Immortal Surrender
by Claire Ashgrove
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Tor

Review: Immortal Hope

Reviewed by Jen

Long ago, nine men –Knights of the Templar– unearthed sacred relics best left hidden to humanity… one of which was the scroll that reveals the locations to the portals to hell on earth. As a punishment, they were rendered immortal… cursed for their souls to darken as they fight demonkind. Their only hope for the redemption of their souls is to find their seraph –the fated woman to bring light to each knight’s darkness.

Anne has spent her life studying the Templar Knights, but never dreams she’ll actually meet one face to face. Of course, she doesn’t know her boss is the angel Gabriel either. Gabe knows that she is not only a seraph, but the very first one that has been found for the knights. And she will lead the way for the other women yet to come.

A string of events lands her in the midst of the knights, with her destiny revealed. To find her mate, she must match the tattoo on her body to the knight who bears the same mark. She is assigned one man in particular to help her through the process. That man is Merrick.

Of course, Merrick is the man she is supposed to be with, but she is afraid to tell him. You see, Anne has visions and she’s had one of Merrick that shows him dead. She fears that their official joining will set off the chain of events that lead to his death, so she keeps her mouth shut. At the same time, Merrick stays mum on the fact that evil will take over her mate’s soul if she doesn’t join with him soon. Communication barriers abound, leading me to great frustration.

The book was slow to reel me in. But once it did, I was hooked. When Anne and Merrick realized and accepted their attraction to each other, the sexual tension and eventual payoff was really, really good. Merrick is such an honorable man. And he thinks that Anne isn’t his, so he fights his need of her… making it all the more satisfying when he finally gives in. Deeee-licious.

Hoarse and thick, his voice held torment. “Wrong it may be, but I can no longer fight this. I will choose shame and disgrace if it eases the ache that consumes me.” His onyx eyes flashed with something she couldn’t recognize. It reached in deep, wound its claws around her heart, and held on tight.

Quietly, he murmured, “Touch me, Anne.”

(*fans self*) Where was I?

There’s a great cast of secondary characters found in Merrick’s fellow knights. Each, a great tortured hero in the making. (I’m holding out for Tane’s story, myself.)

The book’s not perfect. Like I said, it took me a little while to really warm up to it. The secrets our main characters kept were frustrating. And I got lost once or twice in the Templar background and world building. My biggest question was why there ended up so many knights immortal and in-need of a seraph if only nine were originally cursed. But it was still a really engaging read. Sexy, with a lot of heart. And I will definitely be reading the next installment. 4 stars.

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Immortal Hope
by Claire Ashgrove
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Tor Books