I picked up Amanda Pillar‘s Graced, late last year, as an Amazon freebie.
In a family of psychics, Elle Brown is a failure and she’s just fine by it. Especially since being gifted means being a target, and Elle has enough on her plate trying to keep her little sister safe from the surrounding vampires and shifters.
Clay is a shape-shifter who was just meant to be passing through town. But when the enigmatic Elle Brown crosses his path, he’s unable to turn away; even though pursuing Elle could result in a death sentence – for the both of them.
Be prepared for the sparks to fly in this plot driven forbidden romance! Graced is an urban fantasy and paranormal romance genre-merge that provides a whole new spin on the vampire and werewolf legend.
I’ll be honest, I almost DNFed this early on. The beginning was very rough for me. I thought the plot and world chaotic and underdeveloped, and the characters unlikable. But past the halfway mark, once the four characters came together, I thought the whole thing hilarious and enjoyed the heck out of it.
I’m not entirely sure I was meant to find everything I found funny, funny. And maybe I should feel a little bad about laughing at some of it. But I enjoyed it enough to consider buying book two, and would have if it followed the same group. I wanted more of the sarcastic, family-bickering dynamic the group formed by the end. But I also think that’s one of the book biggest weaknesses (other than the rough start)—just as the book finally gives you what you’ve wanted all along, it ends and the next book is about someone else entirely.
And while I thought the four people clearly forming a found-family was fun, I didn’t understand the purpose of there being two couples (and it was two separate couples, not a poly group). According to the blurb, Elle is very clearly the main characters and her romantic partner is Clay. Which leaves Dante and Anton’s romance feeling like extra and the plot feeling stretched and diluted.
Speaking of Dante, I super resent that I spent most of the book appreciating the asexual rep, only to have the suggestion sneaked in, at the end, that he might like sex after all, now that he found His Person. Outside of side-eyeing that, there were characters of multiple races, ages, and orientations and no obvious -isms involved, which I was able to appreciate all the way until the end.
All in all, like I said, I wanted more by the end. So, I finished this happy enough to forget about how it started.
I find it really amusing that between my review and the three below, this one book has four different covers and (at least) three separate blurbs; all of them giving disparate vibes. Heck, they don’t even all focus on the same characters. Every review I found had a different version of the book. I feel like I should keep searching, just to see how many I come across. LOL
Review: Graced by Amanda Pillar