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Friday, January 30, 2015

ARC Review: In His Keeping by Maya Banks

As of this moment, I have now read two of Maya’s novels including In His Keeping, which is the second novel in the Slow Burn series. The first novel, Keep Me Safe, I read so I would be prepared for the soon to be released second novel. The first was easily five stars, and I enjoyed Caleb and Ramie; hell, I loved the Devereaux family in its entirety. However, In His Keeping easily surpassed the quality of the first, which I would not have thought possible. Therefore, stating how wonderful this read was could not possibly convey how imperative I feel that any avid romance lover should devour this book with passion and anticipation.

After being introduced to the Devereaux family which includes Caleb, Beau, and Quinn, you are aware of the pure alpha male in each as well as how protective they are. Now, I will admit that I think it better to start this series from the beginning (which luckily we’re only on the second novel), but it could be read as a standalone since each book is focused directly on a particular member from the Devereaux family. This one focuses on Beau, the middle brother, and his current case with the security company he and his family started following their sister Tori’s abduction during the first novel.

Beau is a hard-ass, brutally honest, tough guy with a soft spot for women who have been brutalized (understandable of course). Not one to lose his head in any situation, and ruthlessly focused on any task acquired, he was not expecting his defenses to vanish when Arial Rochester walked into his office. She is a beautiful, seemingly vulnerable young woman who grew up under complete protection; sheltered by her loving parents Gavin and Ginger Rochester. What one does not suspect about her, is that she is actually a strong, decisive, and loyal woman with the gift of telekinesis. Even better, she is unbelievably capable of adapting in any situation.

When we first meet Ari (Arial), she is delicate and feels as though she is incapable of hurting another human being, even in self-defense. Of course, this changes when she is forced to save her own life from disturbed privileged youths who seek vengeance. In the wake of her dormant powers going viral from a live video, she is forced to go into hiding as instructed by her father. Then, as if she wasn’t fearful enough of the potential aftermath of her slipped secrecy, her parents are kidnapped.

As if to intensify her growing unease, she is attacked by one of her fathers’ own men guarding her. Without knowing where to turn, Ari finds Beau and asks for his help (her father told her to find Caleb or Beau Devereaux if she found herself in a dire situation). Beau has seen the existence of psychic powers in Ramie (his brother, Caleb’s wife) so he is not surprised that Ari’s reluctant confession proves she may be more than gifted. However, finding a way to protect her and save her parents simultaneously may prove near impossible. This is especially true when both are attacked within moments of his acceptance of Ari’s case, and decision to help her.

Clearly, whoever is after Ari, must be funded by someone quite powerful who is aware of her special abilities. Unfortunately, Ari has no knowledge regarding her enemies’ goals, nor does she know about all of the lies surrounding her upbringing. Aside from the Rochester’s not being her biological parental figures, those who brought her into this world were part of a scientifically engineered study regarding the creation of infants with psychic abilities. To say that Ari is dealt shocking news throughout this story (and what I mentioned is nothing when all other information is revealed), would be an understatement. Despite all that, Ari becomes stronger throughout the course of the book. Truly, her development is constructed beautifully, and I loved watching her grow from a confused, sheltered young woman into an indestructible force of nature.

From kidnapping to murder, from floating stuffed animals to strategically snapping multiple necks at once, this book has plenty of awesomeness to accommodate every individual in need of suspense! After all, who doesn’t love mystery, suspense, action, murder, and sex mixed with supernatural elements? Plus, Ari is a kick-ass heroine with a reason to live, and a reason to thrive in a chaotic, murderous environment. Beau, on the other hand, is the perfect hero. If you loved Caleb, well, he has nothing on Beau (to each their own though). Beau is protective of Ari, but he had complete and utter faith in her, which was comforting. I love it when leading characters complement each other rather than the male lead being obsessive about treating his counterpart as a fragile wisp. So, seeing Beau be slightly over-protective concerning Ari, yet trusting her capabilities was refreshing.

I mustn’t forget Beau’s ability to be volatile in the best way when it comes to beating the hell out of someone either. I am not above admitting that watching a man go a little psycho to exact revenge upon another, or retaliate in order to save his woman doesn’t hype me up (Mel Gibson anyone?). Granted, we use our imagination whilst reading, but well, that is even better than the memory of an actor is it not? So, it is quite understandable to utilize the imagery, perhaps, in order to convey the wonder that is Beau while chasing down the bad guys! Of course, there are also the superb secondary characters (Dane and Eliza whom we met in the first installment), and Zack, oh my goodness. I am hoping beyond hope that maybe we’ll get a closer look at the men in the DSS working for Caleb, Beau, and Quinn. Seriously! Zack is hardcore. I find him sexy with ferocity in him like a hawk awaiting his perfect kill, as well as potential for an unadulterated raw passionate side (yum, right?).

Ramie is in the book quite a bit, and I have liked her since the first book; she is so compassionate and no-nonsense. Tori was in the book a little, but I gather we won’t get to delve deep into her character much more until later on (which I am okay with). She is still reeling from horrific abuse, and torture at the hands of a psychotic sociopathic freak of nature (understatement). With that said, I look forward to maybe seeing her character learn to cope with her past and move forward, possibly with a great man, and start a new life.

Understandably, it is obvious that I cannot wait to read more from Maya, and from the novels within this amazing series! I loved the race for saving Ari’s parents, and her discoveries about herself along the way. Plus, the connections between Franklin Devereaux (Beau’s father), and her own father Gavin were intriguing! Not to mention, all the action put into Ari defending herself from the men out to control her and her powers! There is just so much to love about this book. Additionally, Beau and Ari have my vote for best couple thus far of the New Year. I think they had explosive chemistry, and I felt so much emotion while reading this book. Thank you Maya for your hard work!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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