Monday, September 17, 2012

[Archive] LITERAL ADDICTION's Review of Immortal Surrender

Claire Ashgrove has been writing since her early teens and maintained the hobby for twenty years before deciding to leap into the professional world. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction's Stakes, sold to The Wild Rose Press in 2008, where she continues to write steamy, sexy stories for the Champagne and Black Rose lines. Adding to these critically acclaimed contemporaries, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars, will debut with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat under the pen name Tori St. Claire.

Claire lives on a small farm in Missouri with her two toddler sons, fifteen horses, four cats, and five dogs. In her “free” time, she enjoys cooking, winning at rummy, studying ancient civilizations, and spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters. She credits her success to her family's constant support and endless patience.

Immortal Surrender, THE CURSE OF THE TEMPLARS Book #2
Author: Claire Ashgrove

Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.

Ordered by the archangel Gabriel to protect Noelle, the possessor of a sacred relic that could give Azazel incredible power, Farran swears to do his duty—but in name only. Fighting an attraction that grows with each day, he’s determined that he’ll never pledge himself to her.

As they war over her future, their mutual passion ignites a conflict far more damning. But before Noelle will agree to eternity with him, she demands the ultimate sacrifice – his heart.

Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson:
Another incredible installment in THE CURSE OF THE TEMPLARS series by Claire Ashgrove. Not quite as action packed as Immortal Hope, but engaging and thrilling just the same.

Picking up where Immortal Hope, book #1, left off, the Order is still guarding the gates, fighting back Azazel’s minions, their fallen brethren, and doing whatever they can to keep the darkness within themselves at bay.

Dr. Noelle Keane, the 2nd of the prophesied seraphs, is commissioned to carbon date and validate another of the sacred relics. In keeping with his meddling ways, Archangel Gabriel presents Noelle with her Templar torc, thus setting in motion events beyond her control. As the prophesied 2nd seraph, Noelle is said to be ‘The Blind’. That is at first taken literally due to her declining eye sight, but what it comes to mean is much more profound – the fact that she’s blind to the truth and the glories of the Almighty. She’s a true scientist and struggles with faith.

When one of her appointed guards, Farran de Clare, realizes that Noelle bears his matching mark and that she is HIS seraph, things get a little dicey. Farran is quite possibly one of the only Order Knights who wants nothing to do with a seraph. He has some pretty heavy duty baggage from his past and refuses to be made a fool again by any woman. His honor and allegiance to the Order supercede everything, however, and he resolves to take the oath with Noelle, if only to strengthen his sword for the cause.

Grumpy, duty bound Farran and na├»ve, insecure Noelle are an interesting match. Despite their mutual passions, their combined stubbornness is overwhelming and quite the roadblock. Misunderstandings abound, and the entire situation is quite volatile. Farran does everything in his power to distance himself from Noelle, and Noelle simply thinks Farran is insane. The back and forth of these things and the growth of the characters both individually and as a pair is a large part of the tale. Unlike Immortal Hope, Immortal Surrender didn’t get action packed until the end, but was an enjoyable read none-the-less.

Outside of Farran and Noelle’s story, Claire begins several side tales in this installment. The growing darkness within the other unmated knights, the side sects beginning to form, the organization of Azazel’s army, etc. The prologue confused me a bit though. It was about a Knight named Iain and his seraph Bianca, but after that initial action packed sequence Iain was never mentioned again. I can only assume that it was a segue to a future book and that we’ll find out what happens to him at a later date…

Once again I give Claire huge kudos for her attention to detail and the obvious research that went into writing these books. She has created an amazing world full of wonder and mystery and it’s obvious that she has taken the time to research what she’s writing about. I also like the journey she took with the growth of the characters in this book. Acerbic, unshakable Farran’s edges get softened and he caves to his heart, and Noelle’s insecurities and naivety give way to an inner strength and determination I wasn’t sure that we’d see from her.

LITERAL ADDICTION gives Immortal Surrender 4 Skulls and would recommend it to Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance lovers who are looking for something a bit different. I would suggest that readers start out with Immortal Hope before reading Immortal Surrender, however. While it can be read as a stand-alone, the introduction to the world and the supporting cast will be much more appreciated if the series is read as a whole.

Immortal Surrender

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