Friday, June 24, 2016

Black Rose by Jenna Ryan

Will the bayou with its mysteries protect them or pull them down into its depths?


Proprietress of the Rose Noire salon and New Orleans native Mia LeMay has secluded herself in the French Quarter—a place safe for those with secrets—for as long as she can remember. But when Mia is witness to a murder, fear and desire morph into one when agent Rick Ryder barges into her cloistered world.


With Mia as his guide they enter the glades of Louisiana looking for a killer, but find more mystery and specters in the swampland. The darkness is a lure to Mia and Rick as they discover attraction in the shadows that are a welcome cover for a killer. Together, as they start to fall in love, nothing is what it seems—least of all the ghosts of their pasts.


Series: Shadows #1 | Publisher: Harlequin E-Shivers | Genre: Gothic Romance | Source: Review| Rating: 3.5 Cups

Challenges Read For:  Blogger Shame

Two strangers must work together to bring down a killer, if the bayou doesn’t kill them first.
After witnessing a murder outside her salon, Mia LeMay finds her life in danger. When Rick Ryder shows up claiming to be the federal agent sent to protect her, Mia takes him at his word. Now Mia finds herself being dragged deep into the swampland with the killer hot on their heels.
It’s only when she starts falling in love with Ryder that she discovers who he truly is.
This one was nearly a DNF. I went into the book expecting it to be purely gothic given that it was in the Shivers boxset. What I got was something more along the lines of a thriller with paranormal elements. I ended up putting this one down several times before actually picking it back up to finish it.
Mia and Ryder were both enjoyable characters. They were strong characters but they both had their flaws and they both made some questionable decisions along the way. Ryder was a bit mysterious. He lied about who he was and he’s hiding something. It felt that his character was a bit more fleshed-out. Mia was one of those what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of characters. She was easy to like but she felt a bit flat.
The murderer was thoroughly creepy yet I’m not clear on his motives. Seeing as this is the first short story is a series, I’m hoping to see more about the murderer’s motive.
The romance between Mia and Ryder seemed a bit out of place and off kilter. There was a touch of chemistry and attraction between them but because the suspense aspect drove the storyline—and it was a novella—, it just seemed to come in at awkward times. A killer was following them and they were staying in a dodgy, sleep-with-one-eye-open establishment yet they had time to have an all-night shag fast just seemed a bit out of place.
I went into this book expecting a full-on gothic romance. I’ve read several other novella’s from the Shivers line and they have all had that strong gothic feel. This just didn’t deliver that. It had paranormal aspects but it was far from that spine-tingling gothic atmosphere that I was looking for.   
What made me return to this novella was the thriller aspect. The suspense kept me on my toes and really made me want to see the outcome.
Overall, I think I would have enjoyed this one if I had went into it knowing it was more of a paranormal thriller rather than a gothic romance.

Are you a fan of gothic romances?

Have you tried Harlequin’s Shivers line?

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