Friday, February 8, 2008

Skin by Bernadette Gardner

AUTHOR: Bernadette Gardner
PUBLISHER: Ellora’s Cave
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 30k)
GENRE: Paranormal erotic romance
COST: $5.20

Makena Brady is finally getting the tattoo she’s always wanted – no more boyfriend to tell her no, no more parents to stop her from doing it. When she walks into SkIntense Body Art, however, she’s completely unprepared for the visceral reaction to its co-owner, Darq Stone. Suddenly, she’s taking risks she never would have before, including nearly stripping down for Darq. How far can he actually take her?

The appeal of Skin isn’t the plot, or the characters, or the paranormal elements that get introduced halfway through the story. It’s not the gorgeous cover – though that’s appealing in its own right – and it’s not the fact that it’s short so you’ll have it done in a single sitting. This one is all about the tattoos, and how body art can evolve into an erotic experience. For the first half of the story, when Darq (and I’m sorry, but a hero with the name of Darq Stone is one of the most eye-rolling names I’ve ever been sucked into reading) and Makena are working through their attraction, the story is electric, charged with so much sensuality that it scorches off the screen. There is an extreme sense of indulgence in reading it, too, like you’ve been granted firsthand permission to watch these incredibly intimate moments. They leap into life, and by the time the next morning comes rolling around, the reader is almost breathless.

Unfortunately, it starts to fall apart a little after that. In an attempt to make this about the romance, there’s a whole business of finding “the one” as the story tries to segue into a love story. Darq is given this entire paranormal existence that never really contributes anything to the story, and Makena gets a moment of hesitation when the truth of it comes out, but it never really gelled for me. It also loses some of the sensuality that characterized the first erotic scenes. I found myself skimming at points then, because in a romantic light, Darq and Makena just weren’t as interesting to me.

But the hot…oh my yes.


9/10 – Hot, hot, and more hot, which helps ease some of the plottier section that don’t work as well


7/10 – Enigmatic and ultimately not hugely memorable


7/10 – Likable enough, though again, not very memorable

Entertainment value

8/10 – This one’s all about the hot for me, with the romance and other details falling a very distant second

World building

6/10 – The paranormal details feel tacked on and too much like the author setting up additional stories rather than an integral part of this one




Teddy Pig said...

Cover is better than the story.
Everything keeps getting talked about or alluded to. No real threats just talk talk talk.

Then the roommate sworn friend just up and disappears and they decide to walk right in the front door of this magical kingdom full of enemies he got exiled from and he is on the run from and who could kill everyone etc etc etcc....



Book Utopia Mom said...

Oh, every single bit of the paranormal stuff is totally a waste of time. There's no detail, and what there is just gives Darq an excuse to prolong the inevitable.

This is another of those stories were more an erotic short rather than tried to be an erotic romance. If it had stuck to that one night, it would have been *so* much better.

Book Utopia Mom said...

...I wish were more an erotic short...

I really should have read that before I hit publish, lol.