Jan 4, 2011

Posted by in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Skin Heat by Ava Gray (Skin #3)

Paranormal Romance
January 4 2011
Mass Market Paperback
320 pages
Berkley

Received from publisher

Yummy Man – Zeke Noble
Kick Ass Chick – Geneva Harper

From Goodreads
“More wild thing than man…
Zeke Noble has escaped from a secret facility; he has no idea why he was abducted, but the experiments were cruel, soul-killing, and they changed him forever. Now free, his natural affinity with animals has evolved into a dark and dangerous instinct, a curse that costs him too much of his humanity. But he has to rebuild his life, or his tormentors win. To that end, he goes looking for work and finds so much more.

Born to be wild…
Veterinarian Geneva Harper finds herself reluctantly drawn to the lean, mysterious young man to whom the wild is second nature, but she has troubles of her own. She’s the black sheep in an old moneyed Southern family, and she never had any interest in learning the family business, or being the good debutante daughter.

Though Zeke’s wanted Neva for as long as he can remember, their attraction can never go anywhere. They both know that for different reasons. But when a killer starts leaving behind a trail of victims, Zeke’s need to protect her is as fierce as his desire to claim her as his mate. And love may be the only thing that can save them both…”

Skin Heat the third book in Ava Gray’s ‘Skin’ series.  I have read the previous books and really, really enjoyed them.  Creative story building, strong and interesting heroines and heroes that make you glad you’re a woman.  I remembered that about this series.  I also remembered how I found Ava to be one hell of a story teller.  What I had forgotten about this series is how, once you reach the ‘pinnacle’ of the story, it’s impossible to sleep!  Either because you want to keep reading or because you are so worked up about what you just read!  And boy did that happen to me while reading this book.

It’s all good though.  What I really liked about this book was the way the story was set up.  It’s all headed somewhere and you’re thinking to yourself the whole time that you know exactly where it’s going.  And you are right, mostly.  But when you reach that part of the story where you thought it was headed, it doesn’t quite happen how you thought it would.  And it doesn’t linger like it could have.  And that again, is a good thing because if it had lingered, it would have become ‘done before’ and not as thrilling.  But Ava wrote the climax of the story wonderfully and made it all come together with an interesting twist.

Now that I’ve said all that, let me tell you a little about what you are reading about in Skin Heat.  In the second book, we find out that people are being taken and experimented on.  Zeke Noble was one of these people.  Skin Heat is about what happened to Zeke after he escapes and makes his way back home.  With his parents gone, he alone is responsible for the family farm.  When he finally gets back to it, it’s in pretty rough shape.  The power is no longer on, the house is in need of some repair and the crops and animals are gone.  Zeke needs a job to help his achieve all he needs at his farm.  He goes into town and applies where ever he sees a Help Wanted sign.  One of these businesses is a veterinary clinic run by Neva Harper.

Zeke does not only have to rebuild his farm, he also has to deal with the aftermath of that was done to him while in captivity.  He doesn’t really understand much of it, but he’s getting hints of things here and there that are making him question his sanity.  He can see and hear better than any human should, he can run faster too.  Also, he can no longer really feel the cold.  He’s worried – who wouldn’t be?  And when he starts to feel something towards Neva, he’s unsure what to do.  He feels she deserves better than the freak he has become…whatever that is.  Do you ever feel for this man.  I never felt the need to hug him or anything.  He was strong through this whole thing.  But you feel his anguish.  Sometimes I wanted to tell him “You know what buddy, she wants you.  You.  Stop trying to be a hero!”   But mostly I just wanted him to be at peace with things and relish what he has and what he’s been given.

Neva I quite enjoyed.  She comes from a wealthy family but is determined to make it on her own.  She’s very smart and quick and has a big heart.  Again, all things that can be very ‘done before’, but Ava’s style makes Neva familiar without being overdone.  I really liked how it was explained how similar Zeke and Neva were and how it makes them perfect for one another.  They were a cute match.  Not overtly obvious, but good once they came together.

And the villain…Wow.  Creepy with a capital C.  Hell, creepy with a capital C R E E P Y!  A serial killer looking to perfect his method before his ultimate kill.  Whoa.  And when it was revealed who it was…boy I did not see that coming.  Even though I felt that the ‘why’ of the serial killer villain was somewhat out of place for the series, I found the ‘how’ was very well done.  And it’s a testament to Ava’s writing that once the villain comes to his brick wall, you actually feel sorry for him, and happy that he’s finally going to feel peace.  How messed up is that?!  lol

The lovin’ in this book was h-o-t.  Ava Gray can write some steamin’ smex!  Most of the time, I wasn’t sure whether to crinkle my nose or fan myself…but that’s only because, even after reading so much smut, there’s still a bit of a prude inside this girl.  But Ava went a couple places I didn’t know authors dare go in PNR books.  Not long drawn out scenes of it, just tidbits here and there that made me squirm…in the very best of ways.

The last 20% of Skin Heat made me my heart pump faster while I sat at the edge of my seat.  The first 80% made me remember how much I love how Ava Gray writes.  Top notch characters and gripping, emotional stories.  I only wish we learned why Zeke was taken in the first place.  And I would like to know what they were hoping to accomplish with him.  I don’t know if we’ll ever get those answers though since these books are linked but not connected, but overall I quite enjoyed Skin Heat and I’m looking forward to Skin Dive coming to stores in July 5th 2011.

4 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“‘I’ll let you get one then.  We got shopping to do anyhow.  I’m just glad your aunt ain’t making me buy her woman junk anymore.  Change of life and all.’
He could’ve survived without hearing that.”

Books in the Skin series –
Skin Game
Skin Tight
Skin Heat
Skin Dive (July 2011)

  1. The villain is SUPER creepy!!! EEK!

    I think these books are connected…but that is just me 😉

  2. I really like all the reviews on this series and the more I read about them the more I want to move them up to the top of my TBR list. It was another wonderful review Julie and I can’t wait to pick this series up and see what all the talk is about. 😀

  3. (gasps) I was supposed to buy this one last night and I fell asleep. For shame!

  4. Thank you for this lovely review.

  5. Mandi – I just mean that the story is not always about the same characters and continue one story line. 😉

    Deanna – This is a gritty, yummy, intense series!

    KC – Yes, for shame. lol

    Ava – Thank you for writing such wonderful stories!!

  6. Hnm, when I read Mandi’s review I did not know if the book was for me…now, a bit more on the positive side

  7. blodeuedd – He’s a quiet hero. There’s a creepy villain. And the story telling is great. It’s good.

  8. Not long drawn out scenes of it, just tidbits here and there that made me squirm…in the very best of ways.

    This and this alone has me adding this series to my TBR 😉

  9. Jess – I think you would like this series.

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