Friday, March 14, 2014

5 Star Review & Giveaway - Golden Stair by Jennifer Blackstream

Title: Golden Stair
Series: Blood Prince #3
Author: Jennifer Blackstream
Release Date: February 1, 2014
Pages: 202
Goodreads Rating: 4.27 stars
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
My Content Rating: 18+ (Explicit sex)

Summary from Goodreads: Ivy has lived in a tower, locked away from the rest of the world, for her entire life. Her mother, a witch who leads the resistance against the bloodthirsty kings of the five kingdoms, is her only company. Ivy knows that her battle-weary mother relies on the golden power flowing through her veins for the energy to continue the good fight, but she can’t completely smother the selfish yearning to see the world beyond the safety of their hidden valley. When the demon prince of her mother’s horror stories literally crashes into Ivy’s life, she finds herself facing her wildest dream…and her mother’s worst nightmare.

Adonis is a demon determined to bury his desire for love in the pleasures of the flesh. Bound by a vow to maintain his physical form, Adonis requires a great deal of energy just to live, energy he can only absorb through the carnal arts…more energy than any one woman could ever provide. Adonis knows he could never offer a woman the fidelity she would deserve as his wife, and so carries on with his wild ways, his cryptic smile hidden behind a puff of smoke. No woman can reach beyond the heat of his embrace to touch his heart. Not even the golden haired maid whose lonely eyes keep wooing him back to her side.

An incubus can only deny his nature for so long. Long golden hair. A tower with no stairs. A witch with serious possession issues. Debilitating blindness. None of these are enough to keep a demon from climbing…the Golden Stair.

***This review is spoiler free - even if you haven't read the first two books in the series.  Check out my reviews of Before Midnight (a Cinderella retelling) HERE and One Bite (a Snow White retelling) HERE,***

Golden Stair is a an incredibly enjoyable Rapunzel retelling. I was honestly surprised I loved this installment of the series as much as I did.  I was kind of expecting, based on the synopsis and what I've known of Adonis up till this point in the series, that it was going to be heavy on the "carnal arts" that the blurb refers to and therefore possibly lacking in the actual story department.  That actually wasn't the case at all - I thought that the Rapunzel story was really engaging and quite complex and the focus of the story wasn't on the sex at all (though there was definitely a steamy scene or two toward the end of the book).
The old cover

The negatives:
  • The cover.  I know that Adonis is supposed to be a bad boy known for his smoking and debauchery, but this cover makes him look like a wise-cracking gangster or something. Not how I picture him at all!  (UPDATE: I just found out that there's a new cover for the book and Blackstream even gave me a sneak peak - SO much better!!!  FURTHER UPDATE: I've just changed the cover on this post and moved the old cover to this spot - in case you're curious what I was talking about. :-)
  • The Rapunzel story.  I don't want to give too much of Ivy's story away because it was fun to learn more and more about her as the book went on, but suffice it to say that Blackstream held on to a lot of the elements of the original fairy tale and then added some really interesting fantasy twists (the characters in this series are often something other than human and that holds true here).  Ivy has been so sheltered her whole life that she doesn't know anything about the world - or, in fact, about herself.  I really enjoyed her journey of self-discovery and there were plenty of twists and turns in the story to keep us interested along the way.
  • Adonis.  I love that even though Adonis is an incubus and therefore a total playboy, he is actually very gentlemanly when it comes to women. Despite his reputation, he treats women with respect and care and he really does want something more than quickie one-night-stands, even though he doesn't think he can have that (due to the fact that his life force comes from sex - he needs a lot of it - and he actually drains his partner somewhat in the process, so one woman couldn't comfortably provide what he needs!). The fact that Ivy knows Adonis' reputation makes their meeting quite interesting and eventful!
  • The series tie-in.  The first and last chapters of the book are dedicated to the overarching story that ties each of the individual books in the series together.  I liked getting some more tidbits about the prophecy that has brought the princes together and I always enjoy their humorous interactions!
Once again, Blackstream has managed an intriguing and engaging fairy tale retelling.  I think that the next book is going to be a take on The Little Mermaid, so I can't wait to see how she handles that one!  I think this is my favorite in the series so far (with book 1 as a close second). I give it 5/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

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About the Author

Jennifer Blackstream is a psychology enthusiast with both a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology. Her fascination with the human mind is most appeased through the study of mythology and folklore as well as all of Terry Pratchett’s novels.

Jennifer enjoys listening to Alice Cooper, trying new recipes (to which she will add garlic whether it calls for it or not), watching television with her family, and playing with her woefully intelligent four year old son. 

Jennifer spends most of her time drinking coffee from her X-Men mug and desperately trying to get all her ideas written down before her toddler can find that all magical button on her laptop to make all her work vanish. 

Author Links:
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Jennifer has graciously agreed to give away five copies of the first book in her series, Before Midnight (or another book in the series if you've already read book #1).  To see my review of Before Midnight, click HERE.

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