Tuesday, August 13, 2013

In the Spotlight: Gilded Destiny and Jaded Touch by Nola Sarina

Today we are featuring Gilded Destiny and Jaded Touch (the Vesper novels) by Nola Sarina. 


Gilded Destiny

A woman's memory returns when she falls in love with the monster who took it from her.

Calli tattoos her skin to fill the holes in her memory, thanks to an accident that left her mind damaged and empty. But a nasty encounter with a fired employee leaves her in the arms of her unlikely savior: Nycholas, a predatory, serpentine Vesper on the run from his brutal master.

Nycholas’ clandestine world holds the secrets to mankind’s origin and survival… but he only wants one thing before his time is up: a few colorful nights with Calli, the fragile, tattooed, human woman he pursued and saved.

The more Calli learns about Nycholas, the more her own darkened memories return to her. Despite her haunted past, she loses herself to passion and desire with her immortal captor.

Now, Calli must overcome the demons of her past, or allow Nycholas to kiss her memories away and spare her the trauma of loving a doomed immortal. But each choice comes with dire consequences – some that endanger not only herself, but her family as well.

Gilded Destiny - 3.5 out of 5 stars

It's been a little while since I've read a paranormal novel and I had forgotten just how much I enjoy that genre.  The exposure to a parallel world in which immortal (or other supernatural) beings interact with humans, sometimes without the humans understanding exactly what it is they're dealing with; a reality that just verges on impossible to believe, but also has enough substance to it that you really can't completely discount it - I do love paranormal!!

Gilded Destiny introduced me to the Vespers.  An immortal, vampire like being with a history reaching back to the Garden of Eden.  The Vespers are an interesting 'race' and I found myself wanting to know more about them and their history.  What became apparent was the battle between the expectations of their 'maker' (Levitiqas) and their residual, human morals/beliefs.  While Levitiqas controlled the Vespers with violence, cruelty and by removing their memories, the Vespers, particularly Nycholas, retained enough of themselves to challenge the rules.

Calli is the 'female lead' in Gilded Destiny.  A strong woman, grappling with the aftermath of a serious accident and memory loss associated with that.  She encounters Nycholas one evening and her reality alters significantly.  I liked Calli, although I did think she handled some of the situations she faced a little too stoicly.  She was witness to some rather gruesome events and she managed to keep her composure entirely. While I appreciated in many cases her survival instinct was driving her reactions I did find it a little hard to believe.

Gilded Destiny is described as a novella - around 120 pages, so not long.  While I really enjoyed the pace at which the story moved, there were some sections where I would have liked a little more detail.  Of course not having the information printed on the page didn't stop my mind from wandering and creating my own scenarios!  

Jaded Touch

Three is tormented by the branding scars on her back, broken memories of her fallen creator, and the looming consequences of her secret friendship with Sychar - a male of her kind - a high crime in her world of serpentine guardians.

Then along comes Jack - the human train engineer she saves in an explosion. His touch weakens both her knees and her sense of duty. Now Three must choose between her immortal duties, her forbidden friendship, and her human lover.

With every choice comes a cost, but not every cost is hers to pay.

Jaded Touch - 4 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Jaded Touch.  I think there is definite value in reading Gilded Destiny first as it does provide the back story to the Vespers.  While I think you could still read Jaded Touch without it, there are some elements that will just make more sense if you do.

Three is a wonderful, head strong character.  Different from other Vespers in that she was not made by the original pair, but rather made by a ‘Gent’ (a male Vesper).  As a consequence she is taunted by other ‘Maids’ and susceptible to control should a Gent choose to impose himself upon her.  Unlike Levitiqas, Vashni the female Vesper queen, does not banish memories from the maids unnecessarily – consequently Three has some recollection of her origins and her maker, although his precise details have been expunged from her mind. 

Jaded Touch is well written.  The relationship that evolves between Jack and Three is fabulous.  The banter between the two is entertaining and charged with sexual tension, not to mention the underlying risk of death to them both should the Vespers discover their secret.  Jack was just wonderful – his willingness to confront Three, despite the consequences clearly conveyed the depth of his feelings for her. 

There are other wonderful characters in this story too, I particularly liked Sychar.  Despite all the rules and restrictions imposed by the Vespar culture Three and Sychar develop a friendship – something completely forbidden.  This was actually one of many transgressions from the rules by both Three and Sychar, and it had me wondering just how much control Levitiqas and Vashni really had.  It also had me wondering whether there would be a future story about some sort of Vesper revolt. 

As much as the Vespers are terrifying creatures I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Three and Sychar – clearly just wanting to have a level of comfort with their existence but this was simply not allowed.  The manipulation by Levitiqas and Vashni is extensive and it is not until almost the very end of the story that you understand its full extent.  I do hope we get a Sychar novella in the not too distant future.

There was enough in the two Vesper novellas for me to watch out for any further instalments.  Jaded Touch had a bit more substance to it for me and shows great promise for more in this series.

Nola is a mother, wife, writer, and giggle-a-holic, living in Canada and raising a pack of kids. She is represented by Michelle Johnson of Inklings Literary Agency. In her spare time she can be found geocaching, guzzling coffee, or tending to her garden.

WILD HYACINTHE, a paranormal romance co-authored with Emily Faith, about the incubus who must resist the girl he wants to save her life, will be published by Crimson Romance in winter 2013.

Nola's VESPER novellas are available on Amazon, with the VESPER novels on submission by her agent to publishers.

Gilded Destiny:  Amazon
Jaded Touch:  Amazon