Monday, July 11, 2011

Review The Embrace of Life and Death by Liz Strange

Title: The Embrace of Life and Death (A Dark Kiss Tale)
Author: Liz Strange
Source: Requested Review
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: Paperback, 220 pgs
Release Date: June 3, 2011
Author Website

The Embrace of Life and Death Book Cover

Kieran is a hundred-and-twenty-year-old immortal, originally hailing from the harsh, famine-stricken life of 1880s Ireland. He has surpassed death and thrived, gaining wealth, power and knowledge. Azrael is the angel of death, but his mission is far from ominous. He is the protector of the grief-stricken and the champion of lost souls. The two are polar opposites in mission and nature, yet are inexplicably drawn to one another. The Supreme One sees all, and when he discovers the truth about the relationship he is enraged. Their commitment to be together must be stronger than his determination to keep them apart.

Bat Divider

Rating -
one good howl

Sexual -
Four Alarm Fire #@!%$

My Review:

What an interesting and inventive storyline! With vampires, high level angels, the Supreme One, aliens, time/reality travel, a skirmish and a strong enduring love, what's not to like in this paranormal romance? Don't let the 3 of 5 on the content rating scale create prejudice in your mind. I did enjoy this story quite a bit. What it takes to move from a 3 to a 4 or a 4 to a 5 can be such small degrees and totally arbitrary and subjective. And this review is not the place for that discussion, just please don't dismiss the book due to the 3 rating.

This is a stand alone story based on Strange's The Dark Kiss Trilogy. Not having read this series, I was glad to find that it really reads as a stand alone.

The first half of the book is told from Kiernan's first person point of view. In the second half we get Azrael's and Daniel's first person point of views in addition to Kiernan's.

Kiernan is your typical vampire; he takes the lives of those he feeds upon, he never wants for entertainment or sex and when he wants to be alone, he simply leaves. He takes the friendship he has with his roommate and best friend, Daniel, for granted. Upon meeting Azrael, Kiernan finds himself intrigued and drawn to him in a most unusual way. Finds himself lusting after Azrael in between visits which are few and far between. Kiernan has never been with a man and this actually turns him on more.

Azrael, the Angel of Death -- a huge and powerful angel, is perplexed by Kiernan. He doesn't understand what it is that makes Kiernan different from other vampires and needs to know. Azrael finds he cannot do his duty; he cannot destroy Kiernan. Being an angel, Azrael does not think in terms of male/female. He stuns Kiernan when he confesses that he has fallen in love with him.

The Supreme One, Azrael's boss, is not a nice, benevolent being. He simply cannot understand how there can be love between an angel and a vampire. He strips Azrael of his wings and powers and sends him to Kiernan in the hopes that he will change his mind. When this doesn't work, the Supreme One takes Kiernan on a Scrooge-like trip into the past to try to convince him he would have been better off not becoming a vampire. He actually leaves him in the "what might have been" reality in the past as a human.

Even though this is a m/m romance with a little bit of m/f interaction, the sexual interludes are what I consider tame. There is very little descriptive action, other than the kissing which is detailed. The rest is mostly glossed over including most of the few oral portions. Instead of the sex, love is the focus of most of the encounters. In fact if it was strictly m/f, I'd rate it a 2 of 4 on the sexual rating scale but because of the m/m, it has to carry a 4. This is not a criticism, only an attempt to assuage or alleviate the "ick" factor some may have with m/m sex. Don't let that be a concern here, read this good, sweet story to see all the obstacles true love can overcome.



  1. I am a m/m fan, but I like the ones that focus on the love and romance portion of the relationship. You have convinced me this is a book for me! Thanks.

  2. @Sharon: It sounds like you'll like it very much. Enjoy. It is a good story.


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