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Friday, June 6, 2014

{Blog Tour} Secrets by Dawn Kirby -- with giveaway and review

Title: Secrets
Author: Dawn Kirby
Series: Serenity Series (#1)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Twisted Core Press L.L.C
Release Date: April 2013
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print

Leah has locked away secrets her entire life; secrets from her friends, secrets from her mother. To Leah they were simply quirks. Little things she couldn't explain...phenomenal senses, light sensitivity, the ability to read people using their unique scents.
The darkest secret of all was hidden inside Leah. A secret her mother, Mia was determined to keep silent. Trusting an old friend with her daughter's safety, Mia kept Leah's secret well-guarded. A vow made long ago never to let the monster that took Leah's father step foot in their daughter's life again.
In a fit of revenge fueled by years of jealousy, Mia's secret is revealed, throwing Leah's life into a free fall. A trail of blood and bodies soon follow Leah wherever she goes.
Leah is suddenly thrust into a world she never knew existed; A world as fascinating as it is deadly. Beings foreign to her step in to protect her. As Raine takes his place beside her, he is forced to face a few secrets of his own.
Will they uncover the secrets that bind them? Will they succumb to the devil himself?

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 *I was lucky enough to receive a print copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was offered or accepted. *
The storyline for this book was enjoyable and completely refreshing as the main character readily accepts what she's told. The explanation is that her mother subtly prepared her to accept any kind of news, including the paranormal kind, but it was very refreshing to have a young, bright, capable woman readily accept what she's told. She takes a moment to process it and then accepts it. How could she not given that she has unique capabilities herself that seem otherworldly?

Leah did frustrate me at some points, especially when it comes to one of her attackers. I can understand the desire not to see more bloodshed, but her decision is stupid and leaves a huge vulnerability that will come to haunt her in the future. *SPOILER ALERT*For one who can  read auras and tell what kind of person she is looking at, this move was extremely idiotic.*END SPOILER*. David also frustrated me, but it was understandable, too. He found peace in knowing that Leah was an adult and didn't truly need him, so I understand his decision. I think my favorite characters were Kale & Drew. Happy and straightforward, both used to getting their way, I hope to read more of these two and see the sparks fly!

The romances are lovely and I enjoyed seeing how they react to one another, even if it is an insta-love, with declarations of devotion occurring after a mere few days of knowing one another. I found this acceptable, however, because both were waiting for THE ONE and it was a heck of a few days with trauma and turmoil extremely abundant.

Sigh. And now the bad: This book suffers from an extreme lack of editing. There were only a few pages that I did not make a mark on the page with my pen. (I am a very active reader and often take notes as I read. I will also correct punctuation, grammar, word choice, etc as I read. I blame my background as a former English teacher!) Copious misuse and abuse of the semi-colon, lack of punctuation in other sentences, misuse of homonyms such as "too" and "to" and "conscious" versus "conscience", random capitalization, lack of consistency in how a character phrases something with inflections that do not match the personality as described, and formatting issues such as random spacing run rampant throughout this book and were distracting to this reader. I found myself correcting and editing this book while reading as if this were one of my proofreading projects. Nearly every page needed corrections! I found the errors distracting to say the least and consistently knocking me out of reader zone, taking away my enjoyment of the story as it unfolded.

If you can read past those errors, I think you will enjoy this paranormal tale. If you haven't read many books that feature dhampirs, you'll enjoy this take on it and the descriptions of Leah's incredible sense of smell and aura reading. I loved the scents associated with each kind of person and thought they were well-thought and appropriate to the character the author was describing.

The book does leave off with the hint at more, the story unfinished. However, it is not a cliffhanger. There is a resolution for this initial part of the story, although now there is a new threat with new leadership that should be coming in the next books.

Overall: An enjoyable story with characters that are likable for the most part. Severe lack of editing, however, distracts the reader and lowers enjoyability.

Author Information

Dawn Kirby lives in Odessa, Texas, with her husband, and three children. When she is not busy being a mom, Dawn draws her inspiration from the night to create memorable characters in wonderful worlds. Secrets is her first novel in the Serenity Series. Her short stories have been published in several 7DS Anthologies and 13 Tales of the Paranormal. For more information on Dawn Kirby, please visit her website

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    “You look fabulous,” I sighed. “It’s a shame you’re only going to a business dinner.”
            “That’s all I need, Leah,” Mom said firmly. She cupped my chin in her hand and kissed my forehead.
            “No, it’s not,” I said pushing her hand away. She smiled and went to sit back down at her desk. “I’m twenty-two years old. I hate seeing you alone all the time. Mom, you deserve to have a life away from the store and me. I promise I won’t fall apart if you find somebody.”
            “It doesn’t matter how old you are, baby. I know you would love for me to find a man who could love me, but my heart belongs to your dad. No other man will ever be able to change that.”
            “You can’t even try? I’m sure he never expected you to be alone forever.” I may not have known him, but if he had loved her the way she does him, it’s a safe bet I was right. “What would he say if he knew you’ve been hiding behind him all these years?”
            Silence prevailed for a minute. I even thought I might have finally made my point. Then she looked back up at me. I knew then I’d gone too far. Upsetting her was the last thing I wanted to do. Tears flooded her deep blue eyes even as a soft, patient smile formed over her perfect porcelain face. 
            “I don’t know what he’d say,” she said quietly. “But, baby, I think he’d understand. The last night I saw him I found out how cruel and unpredictable this world can be. There are things, people in this world that can change your life in an instant, Leah. Most times you don’t even know who or what to look for until it’s too late. I lived through the pain once; I refuse to go through it again.”
            “You think he’s dead don’t you?” Finally, the one question I’d never had the nerve to ask was out there.
            “I know he is, honey,” she answered, turning in her chair to face me. “Death is the only thing that would keep him away,” she said, sitting down at her desk. “If only I had listened.”
            “What do you mean by that?” 
            “Nothing, sweetie. I just wish he could have been here for you,” she said quietly. She turned back to her mirror, tears rolling down her cheeks. “He would have been such a good father.”
            “You know one of these days you’re gonna have to tell me about him,” I said softly. For years I’ve wondered about him. What did he look like? Did he have bright green eyes and dark brown hair like me? Did he have the same rich olive skin tone I do? Was he strong? Kind? What did his laugh sound like? Did he even have a sense of humor? Would he be proud of me now?
 “I know it hurts, but I don’t even know what my own father looks like.”
            “And one day I will,” she said, wiping away the tears. “But right now it’s still too hard.”
            “Maybe if you actually talked about him it wouldn’t be so hard.”
            “With talk comes questions, Leah,” she said looking up at me through the reflection in mirror. “With those questions come answers I can’t give. Not on my own.”
            “I’m willing to listen if you’re willing to try.”
            “I know you are,” she said softly. “But I can’t.”
            “Then who?” I asked desperately. “It’s not like we have family I can go to.” An only child, my mom’s parents had been killed in a horrible automobile accident weeks before she found out she was pregnant. Then my dad disappeared. Shortly after I was born, his parents passed away as they slept when their house caught fire. He’d had a sister, but nobody had heard from her after she’d run away from home. “Like it or not, you’re it.”
            “Leah, not now. Not tonight.”
            “When then? When I’m forty? When you’re ninety and need to clear your conscious?”
            “I don’t know,” she sighed. “But when the day comes you’ll be the first to know.”

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