Sunday, 26 June 2011

Review: Hell's Belles - Jackie Kessler

Once upon a time, Jezebel was a powerful succubus, capable of seducing men and sucking out their souls.  But that was before Hell put a bounty on her head.  Now Jesse's only chance to escape a fate far worse than death is to live as a mortal, losing herself in a place where sinners walk hand-in-hand with saints - a place like Belle's strip club in New York City.  Working as an exotic dancer is a piece of cake for a former demon that once specialised in sex.  Taking money from men?  Please.  But she hadn't counted on meeting sexy Paul Hamilton, a man haunted by his past.

Learning all about how complicated - and pleasurable - love can be, Jesse thinks she's turned her back on Hell.  But Hell hasn't stopped looking for her.  The secrets she holds are the most dangerous of all, the kind every demon in the Underworld would do its worse to protect, and the demons are closing in . . .

Hell on Earth Series:
Hell's Belles
The Road to Hell
Hotter than Hell
Hell to Pay

Visit Jackie Kessler's website for more information

Review:
Jezebel is a succubus who has spent thousands of years collecting men's souls and taking them to hell but now she is on the run.  It's not easy to go AWOL from Hell though and her only chance of escaping the demons who are after her is to hide amongst mortals.  Finding a job as a stripper in New York Jesse tries desperately to remain hidden but how long will it be before Hell is on her heels?

When we are first introduced to Jezebel (or Jesse for short) she isn't an easy character to like, she is selfish, bitchy and does some really unpleasant things to someone that was trying to help her.  I did start to wonder if I wanted to continue reading but I'm glad I stuck it out because as she starts to settle into her new life we do get to see a nicer side to Jesse.  It was quite funny watching her settle into her new life as a human, she may have spent the last 4,000 years seducing men but she obviously hasn't spent much time in the human world and is easily confused by things that we wouldn't even have to think about.

I did have a few issues with the book though, the first of which was the use of flashbacks.  I don't actually mind flashbacks in general and I was very interested in the glimpses of hell that we got through them but I found the way they were inserted into the story was jarring.  The first time it happened I was completely thrown out of the story and had to flick back a few pages to see if I'd missed something and try to figure out what was going on.  You do get used to this as you continue reading though so it's just a case of getting used to a different writing style.

I didn't feel the romance between Jesse and Paul, we don't know enough about Paul for me to care much about him and I didn't really think there was much of a connection between the two of them.  It was obvious that they had the hots for each other but it didn't seem like anything more than that for me.  I was also about ready to throw the book across the room if Jesse used the words "sweetie" or "bless me" one more time.  I just couldn't get my head around a succubus saying "bless me" - what self-respecting demon would want to be blessed?  It didn't sit right with a character as crude as Jesse could be and really bugged me while I was reading.

Although this wasn't the strongest start to a series compared to others I have read I'm still curious enough about the revelations at the end to want to find out what happens next.  I also really want to find out more about Meg and Daun (2 of Jesse's friends from hell) and hope we see a lot more of them in the next installment.  Considering this was a debut novel I think the series has potential and I'll be interested to see how Jackie Kessler's writing style has developed over time.  If you enjoy an erotic paranormal story it might be worth giving this a try.

Source: Received from Piatkus in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

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