I have to say that although I've been reading quite a lot of paranormal romances in the past few years, I've been sticking to the mainstream kinds - or perhaps, I should say, the authors have sticked to the mainstream kinds. However, this is changing and authors are starting to diversify the paranormal beings in their books. As a result, I've been wanting to read Hell's Belle ever since I've heard about it, because the main character is a succubus.
Hell's Belle by Jackie Kessler: 3.75/5
published in January 2007 by Zebra/Kesington Books (Trade paperback format)
Hell on Earth starts here…
Jezebel’s not your average exotic dancer. For one thing, she’s a 4,000-year-old succubus. For another, she’s on the run from Hell (which isn’t easy to do in high heels). Hiding on the mortal coil as a human doesn’t protect her from muggers, lactose intolerance…or having feelings for Paul Hamilton, a man haunted by his past. Demons are closing in, which is enough to make Jezebel shiver in her G-string. But it’s her love for Paul that’s going to have deadly consequences. (Humans, she laments, really should come with instruction manuals.)
I tried writing a synopsis for this book, but figure out that the book's back blurb was doing a better job than I was :P I'll just add this:
Jezebel was unhappy with the changes and new leadership in Hell and decided to pack and leave. As a result, the new Lord of Hell put a bounty on her head, sent his hunters after her to set an example. To escape, Jezebel obtained a human body through witchcraft, borrowed the look, identity, credit cards and amulet, which protects from Evil beings, of Cailtin, the witch who helped her and left Salem for New York. In the train station, she met Paul, a NY cop, and there was this instant connection between them. While adapting to her life, with the help of Paul who wants to help her (he thinks she was abused and forced into prostitution), she finds a job as an exotic dancer which is right up her alley. However, it doesn't take long for friends and ennemies to find her...
Series: Jezebel the Succubus
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Succubus
Review: I like the book and I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, I read the back blurb and wanted to read it for awhile, but that didn't guarantee that I would like the book right? Also, succubus are a bit out of my comfort zone. Another pleasant surprise was the beginning of the book. From reading the black blurb, I thought she was already settled and everything. Instead, we accompany Jezebel on her run and learns about the reasons through flashbacks. All in all, I thought the series had good potential, enjoyed the book which made me want to read more. However, the writing style takes a bit of getting use to and Paul is not developed enough ^^;
The Characters - I like Jezebel and I like how she stood up and decided to take her life in her hands when she was unhappy, even if it put her in danger. She definitively has more depth than you'd think a demon has and she's something :D I'm also happy that she's not entire clueless as how to behave like a human, since as a succubus, she did have to appear human.
Now Paul is yummy :D No wonder Jezebel falls for him so quickly :D He's a cop who has lost his fiancee to a hit-and-run a few years ago. Because he couldn't handle the pressure his soon-to-be-in-laws were putting on him, he moved to New York. There's an instant connection between Jezebel and him and he's determined to pursue it. I have to say, although he's yummy, there was something that bothered me: he was hanging out in a strip-club ^^; Not usually an attractive trait in a hero, but then, at the end it made sense. Also, I liked how he tried to understand and help Jezebel. I know that I did say that he was not developed enough, but I guess that given the fact that Jezebel is the main character, it is understandable that the focus is on her and so, the author did a good job.
Other characters we get to meet are Jezebel's best friend - a fury, Daun - an incubus and also, Jezebel's friend and Lilith - queen of Hell. There's also a few of Jezebel's co-workers, but really, the book mainly focused on Jezebel, which is good :D
The Style & Writing - This is where it started getting tricker. Basically, I didn't have any problem with her writing style, as in how she formulates her sentences, dialogue and so on. What took a bit more of getting used was how Ms. Kessler broke down the book. Basically, Hell's Belle is divided into many parts (I think 6) and each part is given the name of a character. First was Jezebel, than the fury friend, Paul and etc. So the story is told, but in each part, there'll be a flashback of Jezebel and whoever is the character of this part. This wasn't a bad idea, but the problem was the transition between the parts. The transition wasn't always smooth, which results in breaking the flow, and it was a bit confusing at first. So it took a little bit getting used to, but still, I was able to enjoy the book.
The Cover - I think the cover is nice :D I guess there's a leg fetish going on in the cover industry, but I don't mind. I think it's better than a man's torso ^^;
Am I keeping this book? Yep, I am. I'm also going to buy the next one when it comes out :D
Anything else? Well, I wasn't sure I would like to read about a succubus, because of all the sex... I'm the kind of person who likes faithfulness and usually one man-one woman relationship. However, the characterization, setting and story won me over, but I'm still ticked at Jezebel for having sex with Daun, even if he was in the disguise of Paul...
anyway, here is Ms. Jackie Kessler's website.