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Monday, February 25, 2019

Double Sheep Book Review: Touch of Smoke by Karissa Laurel

Touch of Smoke
by Karissa Laurel
February 12, 2019
Genre: Paranormal romance
299 pages
Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Three years ago, Rikki Albemarle watched her best friend die at the hands of a supernatural evil. Certain she was slated to be the next victim, Rikki fled her small Smoky Mountain hometown, vowing to never come back. Plagued by nightmares and knowing she's the only one who believes Mina's death was no accident, Rikki returns with hopes of finding answers and holding the killer accountable.

Rikki is convinced the key to unlocking the secret of Mina's death lies with Owen Amir, the alluring young army vet who once claimed her heart. But the deeper Rikki digs into Owen's past, the more she's torn between the urgings of her heart and her memories of him on the night Mina died.

After falling further into the rabbit hole, Rikki lands at the feet of an ancient and powerful evil determined to finish what it started years before. To survive, she'll have to make a decision: believe Owen is the monster she always feared he might be or trust him enough to stay and fight for a second chance at love.

Reviewer Bianca Greenwood
Five Sheep

After a three-year absence, Rikki Albemarle is returning to her hometown in the Smoky Mountains. And there’s gonna be a reckoning. Rikki’s life has gone off the rails. She knows she needs answers. Unfortunately for her, the answers can only be found in the town she swore she was leaving behind. Rikki’s desperation leads her to confront everything she wanted to bury. Touch of Smoke is the new standalone paranormal romance novel by author Karissa Laurel.

You know when you’re wholly engrossed in a book, and your partner wants to talk, and you just want to read so badly you consider throwing your readin’ cocktail in their eye, just to shut them up? That was me while reading Touch of Smoke. Nearly nothing else mattered except reading this book. Laurel is a superb storyteller. The non-linear plot enriches the story by adding dimension and mystery. I haven’t given much away about the plot because the slow reveal is integral to the reading experience.

Laurel’s characters are exceptionally well-developed, which can be a rarity in this genre. The author also excels at carefully building real, believable romantic, friendship, and familial connections. The connection between Rikki and the beautifully mysterious Owen Amir is touching, well crafted and deliciously developed. Laurel’s books also include empowered, intelligent, brave female characters. The women are true partners to their male counterparts. Often, it’s the females who orchestrate and execute the rescue.

Standalone books are great, but as a series devotee, I have a hard time letting go. I immediately dove into another Laurel book, Molten Dusk, the finale to her Norse Chronicles series. It too was an immensely gripping, engaging read. In addition to Touch of Smoke, I highly recommend readers add the Norse Chronicles trilogy to their TBR. 

Double Sheep Review: Midnight Burning: (The Norse Chronicles – Book 1)
Bianca's Review: Arctic Dawn (The Norse Chronicles #2)

Reviewer Denise B
Getting 4 sheep
Rikki was devastated when her best friend Mina died, and she blamed herself. Instead of facing reality she did the next best thing and ran with the thought of never returning home. After three long years, Rikki returns home with the intent of facing the monster she blames for the death of her friend and all the heartache she has encountered.

Owen and Rikki have tangible chemistry that leaves you wanting more. The book alternates between the present and the past as you piece together the mystery of Mina’s death. The first half of the book was a little slow, but I’m not sure if that’s because I was impatient to find out what happened or what. The second half of the book was exceptional and had more than one secret to unravel.

About the Author:
Karissa Laurel is a science fiction and fantasy author living in central North Carolina with her son, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky named Bonnie. Her favorite things are coffee, super heroes, and Star Wars. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. Karissa's latest project is Touch of Smoke, a paranormal romance novel coming soon from Red Adept Publishing. She's also the author of The Norse Chronicles, an urban fantasy series, and The Stormbourne Chronicles, a young adult, epic steampunk fantasy series

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