Sunday, August 2, 2015

VENUS RISING by Celia Kennedy

VENUS RISING by Celia Kennedy

I'm going to change my book review format. No more book synopsis, just the description the author has already posted on Amazon. I doubt I can describe their books better than they can. Besides, I hate coming up with one. It's hard enough for my own stories. :)

My ranking elements are:

1) Book cover/title - How appropriate is the book cover/title to the story?

2) Characters - Are they well-developed? Do I like them? Are they believable?

3) Plot/story line - Is the story well-developed? Are there plot twists?

4) Editing/formatting - I will be lenient with this ranking. But if there are so many errors which take away from my reading enjoyment, or the formatting causes confusion, my review will reflect it.

Book Description: Akshaya Bertrand is a Professor of Art History at an elite college in New England. The patina of the ivy league campus is the perfect canvas for the exotic beauty from India. It is also an environment that Akshaya can safely navigate. A small world that she has minimized and made manageable.

Dr. Jared Harrison, a journalist who has been based in the Middle East, has accepted a position as a guest lecturer at the college where Akshaya teaches. Arriving just in time to attend a faculty mixer, he catches a glimpse of Akshaya Bertrand. Immediately, he learns from those who have tried and failed, that the beautiful professor, compared to Lakshmi, Venus and Aphrodite, is an enigma, a seductive sculpture behind a wall of glass.

While searching for a way to slip past her armor and into her life, Jared confronts the images and tragedies imprinted on his psyche by those left behind in the war torn world of the Middle East. Akshaya and Jared find themselves drawn to each other, hoping to find compassion, someone they can expose their inner demons to.

Funding from the college provides an opportunity to combine Akshaya's love of art with Jared's resources as a war correspondent. Together, they travel to Afghanistan and India, where both finally face the past that has shaped them and the present that defines them.

Amongst beauty and poverty as well as war and friendship they find the answers to their individual truths.

 1) Book cover/title - This is a very beautiful cover.  I’ve had my eye on this book, and the cover is what made me interested in reading it.  The picture and title are appropriate to the story.  5 feathers

2) Characters - The characters are extremely well-developed.  Akshaya and Jared are not one-dimensional paper cutouts.  Celia does a fabulous job at keeping the dialogues fresh and fun and I I loved the flirty banter between them.  Both characters are believable and I felt their pain and their joy.  Even the secondary characters, like Tim Owens, Jared’s friend, and Akshays’s family members, were exactly who they were meant to be.  5 feathers

3) Plot/storyline - As this is a romance story, we all know how it’s going to end.  After all, 99% of them are HEA.  But, it’s the journey getting there, which counts.  And journey we do.  I thought at times the story line went longer than it should have, but both characters had to find and face themselves.  In Akshaya’s case, it was all the way back to India.  I really enjoyed the different cultures that Celia brought into the book.  I love learning new things.  There’s plenty of drama and emotions, so you’ll have some teary moments.  There is definitely a progression in Akshaya and Jaed’s personalities.  Both had scars, whether physical or mental, but I felt Akshaya did the most growing, as she had to learn to overcome both.   5 feathers

4) Editing/formatting - Unfortunately, this was an issue.  There were no chapters, so if I wanted to go back to a specific place, I couldn’t.  The formatting was terrible, at least on my kindle.  There were no paragraph indents, most of the time double spaces separated them.  But sometimes, those double spaces became single, and when there was conversation, it made it confusing to know who was actually doing the talking.  I had to go back several times and reread part of a page just to find out.  There were also some proofreading problems, but those didn’t detract from my enjoyment.   3 feathers

A very enjoyable story, and I highly recommend it.  My rankings come to 4.5, which I’ll round up to 5 feathers.

Click book cover to be directed to Amazon.

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