Friday, July 1, 2011

Review: Touch If You Dare

Touch If You Dare (Soulfire - Book 2) by Stephanie Rowe

Publication Date: July 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Urban Fantasy
Pages: Paperback, 416pp
ISBN-13: 9781402241963

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Stephanie Rowe on the WEB: website, facebook


Jarvis Swain is fast turning inot a hate machine, and if that happens the whole wold is doomed. Unless he can get Death's sexy assistant Reina Fleming to help him...

When Death presents Reina with a dreadful ultimatum, Reina knows she needs to call in someone ruthless, powerful, and confident...

Jarvis Swain is the warrior Reina needs at her back, and she's go the magic touch that ameliorates his dark side. But the two of them together are one heck of a volatile combination...


Touch If You Dare is the second book in the Soulfire series by Stephanie Rowe. Rowe has created characters for this series that readers will love to read about, including super hero type warriors who have some really incredible abilities. Her latest book's hero Jarvis Swain, uses hate as a weapon. Readers will love Rowe's sense of humor and her ability to write strong male and female characters. This is a great Paranormal romance that fans of the genre won't want to miss!

Jarvis Swain is the Guardian of Hate, who has been enslaved for over 150 years. Now he's free but he has another problem. The hate is building up in him and there's nothing he can do to stop it, without the help of his brother the Guardian of Love. Jarvis dislikes women vehemently because of his captivity but he must trust in Reina Fleming if he wants to keep from exploding and letting the hate seep into the world and destroy it. Reina is Death's assistant, and she may be able to find Jarvis' brother in time, but she has problems of her own. Her sister is about to die from deedub bite, unless Reina can become the new Reaper and save her. She needs Jarvis' help to complete her task and save her sister. Together Jarvis and Reina find out that love can conquer all, even hate.

Stephanie Rowe has a knack for creating edgy interesting characters. In the first book in the Soulfire series,
Kiss At Your Own Risk, the two main characters were a man who was virtually made of fire and a woman who was a literal black widow, killing anyone she fell in love with. In Touch If You Dare, Rowe gives readers another intriguing hero. Jarvis Swain is the Guardian of Hate. He not only contains the hate but he can use it as a weapon. Unfortunately for him, Guardians only last so long before the hate consumes them and they explode, unleashing the hate inside them on the unsuspecting world.

His counterpart is Reina Fleming, Death's assistant, who is charged with harvesting the soul of an assassin. Reina has a gift, it is the ability to give her heart completely. Death is also a fascinating character that I think readers will find appealing and full of surprises. I thought all of these characters were just wonderful. They are different from the normal paranormal fare, no vampires or werewolves here (at least not as a hero...) These are complex and absorbing characters, that are full of potential. I thought Rowe did a fantastic job of creating something new and refreshing for the Paranormal Romance sub-genre. These characters rock!

The relationship between Jarvis and Reina flows in a somewhat predictable way. They met briefly in
Kiss At Your Own Risk and continue to develop feelings for each other throughout this book. One of the things that I did find really interesting was the fact that when Jarvis touches a woman and gets to the point that he loses control for even a moment, the hate inside him seeped into her and turned her into a raving hate machine who wanted nothing more than to kill him. It was an exciting idea and readers find it entertaining. The fact that Reina somehow quiets the hate within Jarvis is also a great premise for the story. The love and the heart that she displays conquers the evil within him. That's kind of like the ultimate show of love. Very interesting idea that I thought Rowe pulled off with style.

The is only one character in this one that kind of bugged me a little bit and that was Jarvis' brother the Guardian of Love. In the beginning, Cameron comes across as depressed, and is seeking his own death. To me, that's not what I think of when I think of love. He is also portrayed as kind of girly, or feminine to an extent. When I think of love I think of passion and heat and deep emotions. A firey spirit that is amorous and full of surprises. I just didn't understand why Rowe chose to make love so wishy washy. But, that certainly didn't take away from the Guardian of Love's role in this book. He is very necessary and I suppose Rowe's idea was to make him the total opposite of his brother the Guardian of Hate. I liked the way Rowe used the idea of there being a fine line between love and hate, but I thought she could have brought the two characters a little closer to the line, I suppose.

I recommend this one to lover's of Paranormal Romance and to readers who love strange and interesting characters. I think Rowe's strength in this series remains her wonderful character development. Readers will find her characters different, edgy and refreshing. If you loved the first book, you are sure to love this one as well.

Touch If You Dare is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Four-time RITA Award nominee and Golden Heart Award winner Stephanie Rowe is a nationally bestselling author, and has more than twenty-five contracted titles with major publishers such as HarperCollins, Dorchester and Harlequin. Stephanie has charmed reviewers with her unique blend of humor and otherworldly magic. She lives outside Boston, MA.