ARC review: Devil’s Kiss by Zoe Archer

Filed in 3 1/2 Stars , Review , The HEA Lover , Zoe Archer Posted on December 6, 2011 @ 3:00 pm 5 comments

Format read: E-Arc provided by the author
Series: Book #1 in the Hellraisers series
Release Date: December 1st 2011
Number of pages: 370 pages
Publisher: Zebra
Formats available: ebook, paperback
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Amazon



1762. James Sherbourne, Earl of Whitney, is a gambling man. Not for the money. But for the thrill, the danger—and the company: Whit has become one of the infamous Hellraisers, losing himself in the chase for adventure and pleasure with his four closest friends.

Which was how Whit found himself in a gypsy encampment, betting against a lovely Romani girl. Zora Grey’s smoky voice and sharp tongue entrance Whit nearly as much as her clever hands—watching them handle cards inspires thoughts of another kind…

Zora can’t explain her attraction to the careless blue-eyed Whit. She also can’t stop him and his Hellraisers from a fiendish curse: the power to grant their own hearts’ desires, to chase their pleasures from the merely debauched to the truly diabolical. And if Zora can’t save Whit, she still has to escape him…

My Thoughts:

Much like the hero, I took a gamble with this new series. I’ve read and enjoyed Zoe’s writing before and I had to read the first book in her new series. It was a gamble because the pact with the devil theme has never been a favorite theme of mine.

Zoe Archer never does things like the others, so it’s not a surprise that her heroine is not your usual Lady. Zora is a Rom, she’s been telling Gorgios‘ fortune for money, telling them exactly what they wanted to hear. She’s good at reading people’s faces and it’s no wonder she attracts the attention of a huge gambler. Whit is a wealthy aristocrat who loves gambling, and he and his friends have won the title of  ‘Hellraisers’ in society.  When he meets Zora he wants to know her secrets, he’s fascinated by her.

Somehow (well I won’t tell you everything!) Whit and his friend find themselves freeing the devil from his prison.  I know it sounds weird when I say it but it was actually interesting in the book.  I had some trouble with this scene because it felt, well, surreal. I mean maybe it’s just because I’ve read too many books about making a pact with the devil but they should have somehow realized it couldn’t end well. In short, Whit and his friends receive a gift (the ability they want most) ye as a reward. They don’t question the drawbacks or wonder what is the fine print attached to such a gift. This is what bothered me most. As a gambler, Whit received the gift of controlling the odds…and he gets to ‘keep’ Zora until she reveals her secrets to him…but that part turned out pretty interesting so I’m not complaining.

Zora finds herself trapped by Whit. She knows what happened with the Devil and she knows Whit is still under his influence. Zora is a feisty woman, she doesn’t go calmly into the night. She fights .  I liked that about her but she’s a Rom at heart and I had trouble imagining her settling down or having any future with Whit. Whit IS an aristocrat let’s not forget that.  He’s a Gorgio, the exact opposite of what Roms value.  For all my complaints I can say I can’t fault Zoe Archer’s smex scenes. Hot is what they are. I’ve really enjoyed them, they are intense and hard. There’s at least a whole half star for the smex scenes only *g*

There was a couple of things I didn’t completely fall for. For once, Zora’s new abilities felt  like they appeared out of nowhere and she doesn’t even stumble through test and errors. She nearly masters them at once. A bit too convenient. We also meet a ‘helpful’ ghost. The whole ghost thing didn’t work much for me. Again a bit too convenient. The supernatural appears slowly at first but when it’s there…it’s there. A bit too much too soon, I felt a bit overwhelmed, it felt like an epic battle at some point. But that’s the risk with an action-packed  paranormal adventure.

If you’re still reading you probably think I didn’t like the book…not true. I did like it but some things just didn’t work. On the other hand I really enjoyed how Whit’s dark side (the gambling) was portrayed with a paranormal twist. I liked how he had to fight himself (the whole Geminus part was pretty interesting). I had a few good surprises I didn’t see coming. Whit’s friends for example revealed more complex than I’d have guessed. I am looking forward to see their stories, their battles.

I WAS grumbling at the ‘happy for now’ kind of ending, it left me wanting more. But I should have guessed since it’s part of a series. I hope we see their HEA in the following books.

All in all it was a nice book with some bumps in the road.I wasn’t always following what was happening and I felt like they took leaps  in the story but it kept me interested until the end. It’s an action-packed historical adventure with hot hot hot sexy times. I will be reading the next book, the series ARC has a lot of potential and I’m very interested to see what’ll happen next.

I give 3.5  stars!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Caro The HEA Lover

Caroline is a HEA loving, yarn addicted French who's desperately hoping to get a HEA of her own. If she's not reading then she can be found knitting while listening to Audiobooks or watching Tv shows. Her secret addiction is reading websites that make fun at other people's expense (DYAC, Failbook)! Caroline also blogs at the Secret HEA Society with Susi.

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  • blodeuedd December 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    I sure read a book recently where I was not actually following everything that happened and I just do not like that feeling

    • pattepoilue December 7, 2011 at 1:19 am

      I think it’s because I was asking myself too many questions while reading it. The writing is good but I couldn’t get over some details of the story.
      Sometimes what’s not said in the story is more important than what’s said, but I sure have a hard time following 😉

  • aurian December 7, 2011 at 2:13 am

    I like your review, and would like reading this book myself. Sounds like a promising start to a new UF series.

    • pattepoilue December 7, 2011 at 2:45 am

      🙂 it is! I hope you’ll enjoy it.

  • Mary Kirkland December 7, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Nice review, it does sound like a book series I might like. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the heads up.

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