Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review: The Keeper of the Key, by Debra Smith

Title: The Keeper of the Key
Author: Debra Smith
Source: author request
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: Novella
Reviewed by: MsPink

Kate, an everyday book store owner, is thrown into a world of danger after receiving a letter from her deceased husband. She follows the clues into the arms of Xander, a tough guy she can’t stop herself from responding to. Her body ignites from a single glance, and she is unable to control her passions. Despite her love they are doomed to fail, because a human can never survive a vampire's hunger.

Xander admires the fiery temper of the seductive human he’s determined to help follow the dangerous trail her dead husband sent her on, ending in the mythical land of Shangri La. In an effort to save her, Xander bonds them together, sentencing her to death unless he can undo the blood tie. Though he craves her touch, he's forced to push her away while they battle their way to the chaos at the heart of Shangri La. Can he protect her from her family’s secrets and find a way to be together, or will their love be lost in the pits of a crumbling castle?

This was a story that looks to begin a series about a group of various paranormal characters of many different species.  Shangri La appears to be over run by bad guys due to a brutal killing of the royal families many years ago.  The only way to restore it to its full glory and strength is to locate the lost Key and the sacred fountain. 

Kate is just a humble book owner and a widow.  She receives a mysterious letter a year after her husband's death from him.  He basically tells her there are many secrets she doesn't know and she needs to be brave and go on a quest to find out the truth behind her true background. This also involves a very special necklace enclosed in the letter.  He gives her many clues and he guides her to Xander to help her. Xander is a vampire who apparently knew Tom, her late husband. As soon as she meets Xander, under very risky circumstances I might add, there is a pull between them. The story is fast paced. So their immediate connection is very quickly sealed. This is followed by many revelations about her true identity, her brother Devon, her family, as well as the quiet normal world she thought she lived in. She is forever changed and her life will never be the same. It is a very quick story so if I go in to too much detail it would be very "spoilerish".

Their love story... Very sweet and also sexy. It was a short book but the love scenes were aplenty! Of course lots of sexin and biting and blood-sharing. Xander and Kate very quickly fall for each other. But until Xander realizes how strong Kate can become, he is too scared to have a future with her for fear of hurting her. He bit her and sealed the "bond" with her in order to save her from some nasty characters that wanted to take her. But he knew that he needed to find a way to break the bond in order to let her go. Their quest to Shangri La, along with her "brother" Devon would hopefully provide him with that solution. They kept getting closer and closer and he knew it would be difficult but he had to let her go. **I was bothered by how quickly she was able to just connect with him. She didn't even know his name, then he had just saved her from slave traders, in a place her dead husband guided her to and woke up in a stranger's bed after being rescued. And the first thing she could think of us how nice his ass was and eating breakfast. The questions should have been racing to the forefront of her mind to get answers to this crazy quest her late husband sent her on. They embarked on a physical relationship almost immediately. The almost desperate way Kate wanted to be with Xander, even after he rejected her, was frustrating for me. But that's just me. She was a woman who just wanted her man and didn't care what she had to do to keep him.
Questions... how in the world did her husband know all this? Who was he really? There were a couple of characters popping in and out of the story with no real explanation. The VERY jealous and vindictive ex-girlfriend of Xander who swore vengeance against him. Zack, who was Xander's friend was a very small side character that didn't bare much impact on the story either. Once they reached Shangri La and more characters came in to play, it was a bit more exciting. Lots of potential for more stories. Crystal and Devon, Trevor and someone we don't know yet....
There were humorous parts that made me laugh as well. Crystal and Kate were a funny pair as they set out to punish Xander a little bit. He soon realizes he can't be without her and loves her. All in all a cute story. Just VERY fast paced and a bit of jumping around that sometimes had me rereading pages to make sure I didn't miss something. I liked the story and am curious about future installments. But it had enough great potential that it could have been double the length in order to really flesh out the characters, the cool world the author is building, and the background details of the storyline. Cleverly abrupt ending though!  Leaves you very curious about the follow up story...  I appreciated the opportunity to read it!

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