My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC politician, she has grown to be a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world. But after Clea’s father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea’s photos begin to feature eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful man—a man she has never seen before.
When fate brings Clea and this man together, she is stunned by the immediate and powerful connection she feels with him. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father’s disappearance, and they discover the centuries old truth behind their intense bond. Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fates, together they race against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their lives—and their futures.
I will rate this a 3.5/5 overall, though at times I felt like it could be a 4.
I feel like well known celebrities have a hard time earning good reviews on books they publish because they are compared to big named authors, and the only reason their book is able to be published is due to the fact they are a big name celebrity. This is the only reason I can come up with the poor reviews for this book.
It was not bad by any means. There were a few times I thought the editor could have looked at grammar more attentively. Or the last couple pages for that matter could have been written better. The cliff hangar had so much potential in the last couple chapters, but the last couple pages almost ruined it.
Warning! Spoilers Ahead!!!! Stop reading if you don’t want to discover some spoilers.
Character development was average. Clea is the daughter of a well known surgeon and a politician mother. Her father travels to Brazil to study he Elixir of Life, something he has spent great amount of time and money to learn about. When her father disappears, her and her mother must continue on with their lives. Clea, a progressing photographer that publishes her photos under an alias, travels Europe with her best friend, Reyna, capturing every moment on her camera. While in France, Reyna gets caught in a penthouse fire while Clea is back in her hotel room. When she hears of the fire on the news, she departs the hotel in a sprint, but not before she grabs her camera. I’m sorry, but if my friend was in a massive fire, last thing on my mind is grabbing my camera to snap pictures with the intention of selling them. My 1st problem with the book. When she begins reviewing the photos from the fire, she discovers an intriguing man that she had not seen present. She happens to begin to review all other pictures she took from their vacation, discovering every picture features the same mysterious guy, from locations of Italy to France, he is in every photo. She returns home from their European trip and begins having vivid dreams of this man in 4 different eras as 4 different women.
She lands a photography job for Carnival in Brazil, the same place where her father disappeared, and sets off to see if she can find clues regarding her father’s disappearance while in Brazil. While at a beach dancing with some Brazilians and her friend Ben, she catches sight of the mystery photo man. But when she tries to talk to him, her and Ben are chased by a group known as Cursed Vengeance. Mystery man, now known as Sage, helps Ben and Clea hide in a cave. While in hiding, he explains how he knew her father, why her father found him, the Elixir of Life, and the two groups that are after him, Cursed Vengeance and the Saviors of Eternal Life. I was a bit frustrated that not enough was described about these groups to give them much background.
Ben, Sage and Clea decide to fly back to her home and search her father’s office regarding a woman her father called “The Dark Lady.” Her mother just happens to be entertaining the Israeli minister and various Senators. Her mother randomly pauses the lunch they’re having and drills Clea on her new friend Sage, who Reyna says is her boyfriend to allow Clea and Ben time to sneak awake to search her father’s office. Problem #2: The Senators and Israeli minister begin quizzing Sage, then somehow the minister says they can use one of his homes as a honeymoon location. This would never happen in real life!!!!!!!!!!! Problem #3: Clea’s house maid/cook is an over superstitious Hungarian woman in which her ethnicity is used as an excuse for her crazy superstitions that she enforces on all members, including visitors, of the house. I am Hungarian, my great-grandfather straight outta Hungary. No crazy superstitions as used in this book were EVER passed down! It is offensive to say, “Oh she’s Hungarian,” as an excuse!
After some quick research, they figure out the Dark Lady is in Tokyo and in order for them to help Sage and get the Cursed Vengeance off their tails, they must fly to Tokyo and find this woman. They decide to stay overnight in a hotel near the airport before leaving. This is where I bring myself to Problem #4: Hilary Duff isn’t the best at writing romance. It is obvious where she wants it to lead, but she is almost too subtle yet not subtle if that makes sense? Clea and Sage go for a drive to get snacks, and they stop too have a deep talk. Clea explains the dreams she’s been having and Sage explains that she is seeing her past lives. Suddenly she is filled with an abundance of love for the guy she has known for a hot couple days, though I guess four different lifetimes that she only recalls small memories from her dreams. They start making out in the car and sex is horribly insinuated taking place in the passenger seat. Also the car belongs to Reyna. But why is it page 238 out of 327 that she is finally kissing the guy?? So much I felt was wasted where you could have developed a little bit more of a relationship where the romance scene would have been more exciting for readers.
The ending really escalated in the last 2 chapters. The cliff hangar was alright. I can’t understand how Clea would blame Ben for getting Sage captured by the Saviors of Eternal Life, when she was the one who notified them through Sage’s phone! Ben only ran after Clea when they were being chased and shot at by Cursed Vengeance.
I found I was able to get into the book very easily, though like I said. there were a few issues that just left me shaking my head. I still am excited to read the second book. For her first book, good job Hilary Duff!
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