Saturday, November 9, 2013

In the Spotlight: Keep You From Harm by Debra Doxer

Released: September 27, 2013
Upper Young Adult/New Adult Paranormal Romance


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 never could have imagined.

There were so many things to love about Keep You From Harm - it is beautifully written and the story unfolds at a pace that hooks you in, keeping you engaged right to the end. It is a fabulous mix of paranormal and romance, and Raielle is a wonderful character with strength and integrity. I just wish it didn't end when it did!
Raielle has spent her life believing her mother is her only family. Having inherited her mother's 'special gift' Raielle has invested considerable effort in staying apart from others, rather than risking people discovering what she is capable of. Her mother has battled addiction as she has tried to bury the pain from the consequences of using her gift. Raielle is torn between the love she feels for her mother and the frustrations of living with an addict. Her mothers death reveals a family that Raielle never knew existed and has Raielle questioning almost everything she believed about her life. 

As Raielle settles into her new life with her older brother, his wife and their daughter she starts to discover a desire to belong and be part of a family. She also starts to establish friendships at her school and from the very first time she sees Lucas, there is an attraction between the two that neither has felt before.

I really liked Raielle. Despite an incredibly challenging childhood that forced her to grow up way to quickly she had an incredibly balanced and mature head on her shoulders. She was also a genuinely nice person and her interactions with others, particularly Lucas were a delight to read. Lucas was also a fabulous character. Hiding the pain and trauma of a mother with a severe mental illness Lucas had created a rather aloof persona that keeps people away from his home life. Of course that fact that he is simply gorgeous means he has no shortage of attention from the girls at school, but it is not until Raielle that a girl catches more than a passing interest from Lucas.
I loved that the paranormal element was not overwhelming. I'm actually a huge paranormal fan, so love all the extreme aspects that usually come with the genre, however, in Keep You From Harm the gift that Raielle had was something that you could almost believe as being real. The romance between Raielle and Lucas was gorgeous to watch unfold and again very realistically portrayed. It wasn't all hearts and flowers all the time and the struggle that each of them had coming to terms with their feelings was evident in many of their interactions.

At the outset I didn't realise this was the first book in a series and I was wondering how the story was going to end. As I read further and started to recognise that the end of the book was fast approaching I realised it wasn't going to give me a proper conclusion and I'll admit that I was really frustrated by that. I'm not a huge fan of cliffhangers, but I did develop a strong connection with the characters in this story and I do really want to know what is going to happen next for Raielle. She is such a generous spirit and has suffered so much that it doesn't seem right the she didn't get a 'happily ever after' in this book and in all honesty, there is not a clear indication that she will get absolutely get one - although I really hope she does.

A check of Doxer's blog revealed a post from 27 September 2013 that says "the second book in the series ... is tentatively scheduled to release this spring. I'm working away on it now. We'll be hearing some of the next story from Lucas's point fo view". I'll be watching for this one.

4 out of 5 stars

*Into the Night Reviews was provided with a free copy of Keep You From Harm in exchange for an honest review.

Debra Doxer has always loved to write. She also loves to read, often finishing several books a week. Debra works as a writer in the network and software security field. For fun, she writes fiction novels.

Debra lives with her family outside of Boston and is currently working on her next book.

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