Girls*Heart* Books: Unguarded by Ashley Robertson: Review, Interview, and Giveaway

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Unguarded by Ashley Robertson: Review, Interview, and Giveaway

Guardian angel Selene was so close to becoming an archangel--the supreme of all beings--until she fell in love with Cole, a forbidden dark one. Once she discovers her vampire lover has been kidnapped and the only way to save him is by abandoning her number one priority--Caitlyn, her human charge--there really is only one answer in Selene's mind, even though leaving Caitlyn unguarded will most likely cause Selene to fall from grace.

But her choice to save Cole doesn't come without a price...and now Selene is racing against time to not only save her dark lover, but find a way to keep Caitlyn alive as well.

With the help of a new vampire ally, Luke, Selene will push her diminishing angel abilities to the point where her very existence lies in the balance. Now threatened with the chance of becoming a fallen angel or even dying, Selene can only pray she'll have enough time--and good grace--to save the ones she loves.

Unguarded, I will say, has potential. The plot is intriguing, the drama is thick and runs through the entire novel, and the writing is well done. The chemistry between Luke and Selene was electric, and pulsed right off the page, easily drawing me into the book. Finally! A love story where the girl and/or the guy doesn't immediately fall in love and forget everything else in the world, besides the other member of the relationship! How many times have I whined about that, guys? Seriously. 

That being said, the other side of the love triangle miffed me a little. I kind of feel like I missed the first book in this series. Cole and Selene were already together when UnGuarded starts, but you don't see them interact until about...oh, 50% through. But by then, the reader (me, at least) has already seen Selene and Luke semi-flirting and teasing each other, and you see Luke really cares for Selene, and that Selene is confused about her feelings, but as soon as Cole is back in the picture she suddenly doesn't care anymore. 

In all honesty, Selene infuriated me until ~86% through. I won't tell you all WHY I liked her near the end, but during the rest I wanted to smack her. Considering she is an angel, and isn't fallen, her number one priority should be Caitlyn, just by nature (as is in any other angel story I've read, and I have read several). But it's not. Caitlyn almost feels like an afterthought to Selene, and Cole is her entire center. Sound the alarms, you all should know by now I hate when girls, in books or in real life, do this...

Though, I will say, I'm very glad that "God" wasn't a giant WHAP in the jaw for this book. A lot of the angel books I've read mention God so much, and personally, I don't like it. I don't like talking about it and I don't like reading about it, so I'm really glad it wasn't so "GodGodGodGodGod" in this. The matter was obviously mentioned--we are talking angels, here--but Robertson didn't rub it our faces and I was relieved by that.

The world Robertson created has a lovely air about it, though I wasn't blown away, I still think it was a nice little read, and I would most likely pick up a sequel if Ashley were to write one (for the hopes that Luke is given another chance, because...I really like those two.)

My Rating:

And now, our review with Ashley Robertson!

Hi Ashley! First I'd like to say thank you so much for taking the time to do this with us!

*What made you want to become an author?
I’ve always loved writing. Ever since I was a young girl I would write songs and poems that eventually—as I got older—turned into short stories and plays. I remember loving my English classes in high school, always got great grades on my essays, and not long after that, those essays began evolving into things with a more fictional twist. Fast-forward fifteen years from then (and me working 24/7 as a real-estate agent) to when I was finally given an amazing opportunity by my husband: to abandon a career that consumed all of my time and focus on one that was more flexible and would allow me more time with my family. Immediately, I dove back into writing. I have one poetry book published and two urban fantasy/paranormal romance thrillers—all of them falling into a YA or Mature YA sub-genre.

*Out of all the things, paranormal or otherwise, out there to write about, what made you decide to write about angels and demons and vampires?
 For me, this answer is simple. I’m obsessed with vampires—always have been—which is a main part of Crimson Groves and its upcoming sequel, Crimson Flames (formally titled Crimson Rain). However, I wasn’t surprised when Selene (the guardian angel protagonist in UnGuarded) came knocking on the door of my mind until I caved in and embraced her story, though there are still vamps in this one too, just not the main character as in CG.

*Do you consider yourself like Selene in any way? If yes, how so?
 I’d surely hate to ever be in her position of choosing between her duty of protecting her human charge and the deep-rooted love she has for a vampire. But honestly, we all make mistakes, and consequently we all have to pay the price. Selene’s ability to shift into human form at will has caused her to experience more human-like emotions, and I can easily see myself struggling to make the right choice, yet still falling to the greatest temptations of my heart.

*Are any of the characters based on or inspired by people you know in real life? 
Sort of. As a writer, it’s easy for me to look at people’s situations from a different viewpoint, gathering what I need to make my characters more relatable to my readers. I also think I’m influenced by other heroes and heroines that I’ve read about in other books.

*UnGuarded has a very definite ending; did you have that finale planned throughout the entire novel?
 Yes. I was undecided if this book would be part of a series or a stand alone, so I tried to construct an ending that could either finalize the book or possibly leave it a little bit open-ended.

*Myself personally, I can see the book continuing, even though it did have a wonderful little bow on it. Do you intend to continue on with Luke, Selene and Cole’s story, or is it simply a stand-alone novel?
 Part of this is answered above. But adding to that, I’ve received several requests for a sequel, so I’m actually considering it, but not before I finish Crimson Flames (due out this winter) and then the novella series I plan to write in 2013.

*Do you prefer writing with music in the background, or complete silence? 
Both. Some days I’ve got to have some subtle house music or jazz. Others I’ll need more progressive-sounding tunes. But of course, there are plenty of days where silence is a necessity. I like to change things up, creating different environments so I don’t get bored.

*And lastly, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
 I’d love to share some tidbits of info for anyone wanting to get into this business. First of all, make sure this is your passion—writing not only for yourself but to entertain others with your stories. Keep your readers in mind by making each page thrive with drama, action, romance, betrayal, and just about anything else that will provoke emotions and keep your readers turning the pages. This is a very competitive business (I’d actually compare it to those aspiring to be actors/actresses). Yes, it’s that competitive. So you’ll need to grow a thick skin to the many rejections and negative reviews you’ll face along the way. Don’t take it personally! Use it to grow as a writer and improve your work. And remember, you can’t make everyone happy—no author can. Make sure you have a good editor to clean up your work, as no one likes to read anything with numerous grammar errors that will actually detract from your story and more than likely cause a lower review for your book. I use the amazing Stephen Delaney with Close Reader Editing Services. Everything I write—even my interviews and guest posts—is overseen by him. And finding an editor is very much like finding a literary agent: you must research and find the ones that specialize in your genre; otherwise it’s a big fat NO from them. Everyone loves a personal touch, and editors, agents, bloggers, reviewers, etc., are no different. Spend the time learning their likes and dislikes (most of them tell you this in their submission guidelines or on their Facebook pages) and then use that to your advantage to stand out above your competition. Trust me, this is a MUST, as I’ve received countless thank-you letters from various bloggers and reviewers who appreciated that I listened to their requests and shared information about things we had in common.

*Thanks for doing this with us, Ashley! Hope to see more from you soon!
 It’s been a huge pleasure with you and Mel. Much success to your blog, and I’ll definitely be back with my future books. **hugs

And now for the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

Ashley Robertson resides in sunny Orlando, Florida and loves reading and writing about everything urban fantasy and paranormal romance. When she isn't writing you'll find her spending time with family and friends, training in her home gym, traveling and exploring new places, drinking fine red wines, and making gourmet coffees with her Nespresso machine. Visit her website to learn about her upcoming releases, guest blog posts, and featured giveaways at: AshleyRobertsonBooks.com

You can find Ashley on:

1 comment:

  1. Great honest review, nice interview! Thanks for giveaway! :)


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