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Friday, August 1, 2014

ARC Review: Forbidden Kiss by Shannon Leigh

This is the first contemporary romance I have read from Shannon Leigh and I was drawn in from the blurb instantly. Covet Publishing puts a spin on contemporary romance by throwing in some form of paranormal intrigue, and the concept behind this story was definitely unique. It is a modern day spin off of Romeo and Juliet; only the characters are named Rom Montgomery and Jule Casale. Rom is a reclusive, almost nomadic male, whom is famous for his expertise of ancient weapons. He appears to be cold, observant, and calculating in the beginning of this story but turns out to be poetic, protective, and righteous by the ending. I was drawn to the mysterious and guarded nature of Rom from the beginning. I liked that he assessed every piece of information and that he went from seeming suspicious of everything to being trusting and kind later.

Jule, on the other hand, was very surprising. I liked her tenacity and courage nearing the end of the book, but she was also very flaky. I am happy she grew throughout the book, because I would not have liked her if she hadn’t. After all, we want our heroine to find a way to win whatever battle she is fighting, and end up with the man of her dreams right? Well, until about three-fifths of the way through the book I was unsure if she would take the rockier, but indeed, wiser path. Despite the fact that our Rom had been through a hell of a lot more than her, he was better at accepting facts than she was. With that said, I liked how Shannon developed Jules’ character.

It was interesting to see Jule begin as an art historian looking for her big break by discovering the artist behind an unidentified painting and turning to Rom to help her identify the paintings origins. I liked being brought back into the world of Verona and the setting. Jule really began to blossom as a character once she was back in the old country where she belonged. The villain, Jule’s Uncle Pio Mascaro (whom her father sells her to…ahem…yes, quite disturbing) is our modern day Paris; the man Juliet was forced to be with despite her love for Romeo. Yes, Shannon managed to weave and entirely new tale concerning Romeo and Juliet while still keeping the general conflict very similar; impressive. For the record, I despised Pio; he made me want to vomit. I think the author did a great job at painting him as an evil, desperate, and vengeful male. With Jule’s family selling her out, her “Uncle Pio” forcing himself on her, and a need to find independence, it is no wonder she needed a hero.

Therefore, I believe the romance brewed perfectly between our hero and heroine. At first, they were both stand-offish and timid; sizing each other up and testing one another. Jule is driven, determined, and a little eccentric which made Rom that much more curious. The two of them worked well together and trusted each other. Part of what made them work is that neither character over-shadowed the other. Yes, Rom was protective, but he trusted Jule to use her intellect and instinct to help herself. It is refreshing when the female is not shown as a complete damsel in distress, even when it would not be surprising for her to be in such situations.

Additionally, I liked how Shannon utilized the idea of immortality in the book; leading us to believe that Shakespeare’s story was completely incorrect. I did not expect to read that Romeo actually lived on, while Juliet passed on. Not to mention, I certainly did not see reincarnation as a plot point either, which is why I was drawn to keep reading from the beginning. Ultimately, I admit that despite my misgivings of the book somehow being a reconstruction of Romeo and Juliet (because I do love the classics), that I truly enjoyed it by the time I was finished. I would definitely consider reading more of Shannon’s work.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |


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