Raven’s Kiss by Toni LoTempio

Posted 13 June, 2011 by Danny in / 0 Comments

Raven’s Kiss
by Toni LoTempio
Published April 2011

Description (From Goodreads):

Raven Grace was a college senior with ambitions of a career in law enforcement when she met the demon Aega, whose bite turned her from mortal to Shapeshifter. Now a member of the Recovery Organization, Raven keeps the peace between humans and errant Hellhounds, trolls, wizards and the like while trying to track down Aega and bring him to justice. After a particularly dicey encounter one night with a Hellhound, she goes to the aid of a girl who’s been attacked and near death—and is amazed to find Aega’s bite mark on the girl’s arm. Determined to get to the bottom of this, she revisits the victim’s apartment and there discovers her closet is a portal to a parallel universe, where people she knows lead vastly different lives. She also gets a glimpse of the Recovery Captain there—a six foot, redheaded Scotsman named Finn McPhee, whose sexy accent and even sexier bod sets her senses aflame. Seeking answers, Finn takes Raven to the magickal underworld, where an ancient fae informs them the demon’s quest is rooted in Scottish mythology and magick. As they delve deeper into legend, the truth comes to light—Aega is only a pawn, subservient to another, darker demon…a being who knows the truth about Raven’s heritage, and who orchestrated her return to this parallel universe for the ultimate showdown. Now, Finn and Raven find their passion for one another must take a backseat to Raven’s battle with a dark force who won’t be satisfied until he’s claimed her soul for his very own…

My Thoughts:
Raven Grace was a normal college student, just trying to blow off a little steam before exams in a bar. But after an encounter with a human-looking demon left her robbed of both her virginity and her humanity, Raven was left a shapeshifter. Always interested in law enforcement, she shifted her focus towards keeping the peace between the supernaturals and humans as a member of the Recovery Organization.

Raven is a little bitter due to the demon attack she suffered and her stressful job doesn’t help. When she seems that she is about to break, her commander gives her two options: go on a forced two week vacation and get some much needed rest or see the unit’s psychologist. As most tough, hard nosed females tend to be, of course Raven picked the forced vacation. But two weeks of rest weren’t meant to be when she stumbles upon an attempted murder and the victim bears a demon bite exactly like the one she has. Before she knows it, she’s jumping into a parallel universe to track down the demon who is murdering virgins in order to please a more powerful demon.

Finn McPhee, an attractive Scotsman who is the head of the Recovery Organization unit in the parallel universe teams up with Raven (after some convincing that she isn’t totally crazy and making everything up) to catch the demon. But in the end, it’s Raven who must face the darker demon as prophesized all alone.

One of the big strengths of this story is the mystery of how all of the female victims are connected and why they are picked as victims. The clues weren’t easily guessed and I really enjoyed not being able to see where the story was headed. And the strange animal combinations that Raven can shift into are really interesting.

Toni LoTempio has created a rich world full of witches, demons, and other supernatural creatures. This book is very fast paced and action packed. The relationship between Raven and Finn doesn’t build too quickly, especially when you consider how short of a time period this book covers. Since this book has a prophecy as its base, I was glad to see that it wasn’t a predictiable and unescapable prophecy.

My final verdict: four and a half. I really enjoyed this paranormal mystery-romance. I would probably call it an urban fantasy more than a paranormal romance. I would have liked to have seen more romance between Finn and Raven, but I can wait for book two in the series for that. The ending was satisfying and wrapped up nicely while leaving enough open for a sequel.

Come back here tomorrow for an installment of Indie Spyglass with author Toni LoTempio, where I’ll be featuring an interview with Raven. And there will be a chance for you to win a copy of Raven’s Kiss.

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