May 9, 2015

Velvet Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Author: Temple West
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Genre: YA Paranormal

Rating: 4 Stars!


First rule of dealing with hot vampire bodyguards? Don't fall in love.

After losing both her parents before age seventeen, aspiring designer Caitlin Holte feels like her whole world has been turned upside down, and that was before the terrifying encounter with a supernatural force. Then, she learns that her hot bad-boy neighbor, Adrian—who might have just saved her life—is actually a half-demon vampire.

Suddenly Caitlin is stuck with a vampire bodyguard who feels that the best way to protect her is to become her pretend boyfriend. Trouble is, Caitlin is starting to fall in love for real, while Adrian can never love a human. Caitlin trusts Adrian to keep her safe from his demon father, but will he be able to protect her heart?
Velvet is a thrilling young adult paranormal romance novel. The story follows our main character, Caitlin Holte, as she tries to put her life back together after her mother's death - and then having to move to a different state to live with an aunt, uncle, and cousin she's never met. Caitlin just wants to be invisible in her new town, until she graduates and can finally leave to pursue a career as a designer. Things don't go the way she hopes, and Caitlin is anything but invisible - especially with the hottest guy at school taking an interest in her. After Caitlin survives a horrifying experience with a paranormal force - she also learns that Adrian (the hottie) just happens to be a helf-demon vampire. Adrian's convinced that Caitlin needs protection after the attack, and the best way for him to protect her is to pretend to be her boyfriend. This is all fine and good - until Caitlin begins to fall for Adrian. Knowing that he can't ever love a human is a hard thing to accept, and Caitlin is starting to worry that it won't be a demon attack that hurts her - it will be Adrian breaking her heart.

As soon as I read the description for this book, I knew I had to read it. I've always loved vampire fiction, but haven't really read any lately. Luckily, this book was the perfect blend of paranormal romance, a realistic main character, and a thrilling plot. The book took me a while to get into - I wasn't able to immediately connect with Caitlin or slip inside her world. It took a few chapters for me to get accustomed to the writing style and for the plot to pick up before I was able to fully lose myself in the story. I was hooked once the pace quickened and lots of things started happening in the book, and I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. I ended up loving Caitlin as a main character. She's incredibly realistic and easy to identify with (once I was able to slip into the story). Her mom just died and her grief is coming out as anger. She's got a major chip on her shoulder and isn't afraid to let us know about it either. I loved how snarky her attitude was throughout the book - it was refreshing and pretty funny the majority of the time. Caitlin does experience some character growth throughout the book, and I enjoyed watching her change a little at a time. The other characters were well written with distinct personalities and unique details - especially the secondary characters of Adrian and Trish. By the end of the book, I felt as if I personally knew these three characters - especially in Caitlin's case. 

The major reason why I could connect with Caitlin's character was because of the author's use of first person point of view with Caitlin as the narrator. As I've said many times before in other reviews, this is my favorite writing style by far. It allows the reader a peek inside the narrator's mind, where we learn the most intimate details about her - her hopes, dreams, fears, grief, inner dialogue and thoughts, and several other aspects. The reader gets to experience the story through Caitlin's eyes, which obviously makes it easy to connect with her. By using the first person POV, the book takes on a more laid back and conversational tone - almost like you were there yourself alongside Caitlin while everything happens - or if she's a close friend who is telling you the story in her own words. I love this writing style because it feels so natural and intimate. The pace picks up, and I found myself eagerly reading as fast as I could to see what would happen next - but it wasn't overwhelming or confusing and the overall flow was seemingly effortless, which also helps the reader slip inside the world the author has created.

The plot itself wasn't wholly original - it did remind me a little of certain other vampire books at the beginning, before things picked up. It's sort of obvious what's going to happen just by reading the description - we already know that Adrian's a vampire and his father is a demon who wants to kill/harm Caitlin. Adrian decides to be her protector and bodyguard to keep her safe. No surprise here when Caitlin finds herself falling in love with him. Duh. And, of course, he's going to have feelings for her even though he can't love a human. Again - saw that coming a mile away. Even though most of the plot was easily figured out, there were some parts that were full of suspense and twists. And even though I knew it was coming, I seem to be a hopeless romantic, and I loved watching Caitlin and Adrian get to know each other and see their relationship grow during the book. You've got to love a good romance every now and again, even if it's not usually your cup of tea. Overall, this was a fantastic YA paranormal romance that fans of the genre will not want to miss out on. Although the beginning was a bit rough for me and I couldn't get into the story for a few chapters, once it got going - I was done for. By that time, I didn't care that the majority of the plot was a little generic and predictable. I was consumed by Caitlin, her personality and snarky attitude, along with her relationship with Adrian and the threat they both faced. I highly recommend this book to readers who like paranormal romance, vampire fiction, and fantasy - along with readers looking for a fresh breath of air into the genre itself. 

“Sorry I dragged you away from dinner,” I said, realizing the time. “You want to eat with us?”
He seemed to consider it, then shook his head. “I’d better get back. Gotta take my medication.”

I arched a brow questioningly. “I thought your immune system kicked ass?”

He laughed. “Sorry, ‘medication’ is what we call it when we need to drink blood. It’s kind of an inside joke.”

“Oh.” I said, blushing for some reason. I should have kept my mouth shut, but curiosity got the better of me. “Does it…taste good?”

He stared at me for a long moment, before his gaze drifted down to my neck.

“You can’t imagine.”

My pulse jumped, half in fear and half in…something else. His voice had gone low and liquid, his eyes were burning silver.

“Hey Cait?” he murmured, and though he hadn’t moved an inch, it felt as though he were leaning towards me.

“Yeah?” I whispered.

He wasn’t looking at me in the eye anymore, just staring somewhere above my chest and below my jaw. The sound of my own heart seemed loud in my ears, and if I could hear it, so could Adrian.

His eyes flicked to my face. “You should really get out now.”

I blinked. “Yeah.”

I scrambled to undo my seatbelt and almost fell out of the truck. I could hear the click of the automatic locks snapping into place the moment the door was closed. Adrian peeled out of the driveway, back into darkness.
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Follow the Velvet by Temple West Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Temple West, debut author of the YA paranormal romance Velvet, is as nerdy in real life as she is on the Twitter. Armed with a very shiny English degree, she spent four months in Oxford holed up at the Radcliffe Camera amongst the hush of ancient books and the rich musk of academia. Returning to Los Angeles, she acquired a concurrent degree in film, mostly as an excuse to write essays about The Princess Bride and Hook. She can sew (poorly), drive stick (please fasten your seatbelt), and mostly lift her feet off the ground while stuttering into first gear on a very small motorcycle. She currently lives in Seattle and is the proud mother to a one-year-old laptop and a vintage Remington typewriter.

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