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Sunday, May 15, 2011

'Vulnerable' Little Goddess #1 by Amy Lane

From the BLURB:

Working graveyards in a stop & rob seemed a small price for Cory to pay in order to get her degree and get the hell out of Nor-Cal. She was terrified of disappearing into the aimless vortex that awaited the lost and the young that haunted her neck of the woods. Until the night she actually stopped looking at her books and looked up. What awaited her was a world she had only read about--one filled with fantastical creatures that she was sure she could never be. And then Adrian walked in--and she discovered that risking your life was nothing compared to facing who you really were. And then falling in love.

Cory had a plan to get out of the California Foothills. She was going to study hard, escape her parent’s double-wide and hitch a ride on a University scholarship. In the mean time, she works the graveyard shift at a gas station.

The graveyard shift is pretty monotonous and soul-sucking. So it suits Cory’s Goth-bitch persona pretty damn well. But in between crunching out English essays and barely tolerating her customers, Cory stumbles across a whole new world as it tramples through her gas station . . . because the late-night shift brings strange folk through Cory’s door. A cache of weird and wonderful people – impossibly beautiful and sensual with sharpened teeth and pointed ears.

It’s all in the back of Cory’s mind, until one of her customers opens her sight to the real world. Suddenly Cory can see them. Sidhe – they are the stuff of myth and legend, Shakespearian sonnet and paranormal erotica. Goblins, elves, vampires, shifters, red-caps . . . they all pass by Cory’s counter, buying Malboro’s and Dr. Pepper on a nightly basis.

And then he walks through her door. Adrian. Impossibly beautiful and lethal – a predator in heart-throb’s clothes. Adrian is a vampire, and he wants Cory. For months and months Adrian courts her, drawn to her sarcasm, brutality, honesty and potential greatness.

Cory resists. Adrian is one-hundred and fifty years old and beautiful to boot. What would he want with Cory – who is nineteen, plump and unhappy? But want her he does . . . until Cory simply can’t resist.

Adrian brings Cory back to his faerie hill home. Adrian built the hill with his mentor, brother, lover and soul-mate, Green. Green is a high-Sidhe and he is the one who discovered and saved Adrian from a terrible human life. Green is the centre of the universe for Adrian and all of the Sidhe who live in the hill. But when Adrian brings Cory home, it changes everything . . .

Adrian loves Cory. Green wants her. Adrian and Green want each other, and Cory is only just starting to realize her own sensuality. But a dark presence looms, threatening to destroy Adrian, the hill and all that Green holds dear.

‘Vulnerable’ is the first book in Amy Lane’s ‘Little Goddess’ paranormal romance series.

I read Amy Lane last year, her beautifully erotic book ‘Truth in the Dark’. I've had her on my TBR shelf for a while now, and finally decided to give her series a read.

I initially thought that ‘Little Goddess’ would be a young adult series – because of the somewhat tame front covers, nineteen-year-old protagonist and a blurb that failed to hint at the lustful couplings within. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that ‘Vulnerable’ is a cross between Sunny’s ‘Monere: Children of the Moon’ and Laurell K Hamilton’s ‘Merry Gentry’ series. This book is like a modern Midsummer Night’s Dream; with a frenetic plot and fiery romance.

The story is told from alternating points of view, swinging between Cory, Adrian and Green as their romance intertwines, the stakes are raised and danger looms.

Cory was a wonderful and very human protagonist. She’s a teenage girl with a chip on her shoulder and a dream in her heart; a self-conscious Goth who feels the need to act tough in order to get by. Cory is hyperaware of being mediocre – plain instead of pretty, somewhat smart and all together too average. She reminded me a little of Juno, for her quick wit and sharp tongue, her self-deprecation and unrelenting humour. So she’s a little amazed when the Nor-Cal fae take an interest in her. It starts with an elf called Arturo giving her ‘the sight’, and suddenly Adrian is walking into her life and determined to have her heart. Cory is doubly surprised when she meets Adrian’s first true love, the high Sidhe Green – because pretty soon it becomes apparent that Green wants and loves her too.

I'd see him again, but suddenly I missed him when he left. It was like being the last two people at a party – lonely and companionable at once.
I looked at Adrian’s eyes, beautiful, mesmerizing. Not human. I didn’t feel lonely at all. “You’ll take me places?” I asked. His answer was important, even though my decision was already made.
“You can’t imagine where we’ll go.” He said, sincerely. He no longer looked vulnerable. He looked assured. He looked happy. He smiled, and doubt and sense and worry all fell away. “You’ll enjoy the trip.” He murmured, lowering his head.

I really loved Green and Adrian’s romance. Adrian had a shockingly awful childhood, until Green saved him – and they’ve been lovers and best friends ever since. Together, Adrian and Cory built a faerie hill sanctuary where every piskie, elf, gnome and vampire could seek refuge in the foothills. Though Adrian is besotted with Cory, he still knows deep down that he won’t ever truly give himself to anyone who can’t also accept Green into their relationship. So Adrian is relieved and amazed when Green’s lust for Cory matches his own.

Green is a high Sidhe with a magic touch, literally. He heals emotional and physical wounds through love and sex. So he’s always helping people through intimacy and affection, but it has been a while since he was last truly in love – until Adrian brings Cory to the hill.

The romance in this book is pretty wonderful. Adrian and Cory have enough sensual chemistry together, but add Green into the mix and things really heat up. First it’s a longing kind of love – and then it evolves into a strong and steadfast triangular relationship that also helps Cory to experience her personal powers.

‘Vulnerable’ is first a foremost a romance, but there’s also a lot of great magic and myth in the story too. Lane writes a frenetic winsomeness that’s initially hard to follow, but merges into a wonderful and distinctive voice. She writes an outlandish and extravagant storyline with plenty of fae explanation and new twists to old legends.

I was all ready to give this book 5/5 stars and happily delve into the next three books of the series . . . until the ending crept up on me. I don’t want to give anything away, but the ending was a total kick in the pants. Really, I felt blindsided and a little short-changed by the explosive finale. I thought I knew what the ‘Little Goddess’ series would be exploring, and I was excited to read a series that promised such love in the first book. But with the ending I did wonder if Amy Lane was a little too trigger-happy. I suddenly found myself a little reluctant and unexcited to breach the second book because of the game-changing end of ‘Vulnerable’.

‘Vulnerable’ is the first book in a sensuous and extravagant paranormal romance series. Amy Lane has written fae and myth with her own unique twist and offered up a deeply satisfying and sexy romance. I am disheartened by the surprise ending because it changed the entire outlook of the series for me, but I will soldier on and try the second book.

4/5

3 comments:

  1. I would never in a million years tag this as PNR, wow! it sounds great! and I'll def keep this series in mind!

    btw, Im almost done with Tender mercies... wow!

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  2. This was one of the very first paranormal romances I read after I finished the Twilight series.

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  3. @ Larissa - I *know!* I mean, I read Amy Lane's 'Truth in the Dark' which was a fairytale M/M romance ... but I just assumed by the cover and age of the protagonist that this series would be tamer somehow, and YA? Just goes to show, never judge a book by its cover!

    @ Patti - Aw shucks, and here I was thinking I'd 'discovered' this series :) did you like it?

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