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Kissing Sin (Riley Jensen, Guardian, Book 2) by Keri Arthur

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Riley Jensen, Guardian, Book 2
Formats: Mass Market Paperback, Kindle

Kissing Sin (Riley Jensen, Guardian, Book 2)3 Stars
Okay, Riley, We Get the Point

Riley Jensen is a half-werewolf, half-vampire dhampir with a love of her wolf heritage and overall contempt for most vampires. She's a liaison for Melbourne's Directorate of Other Races - an aussie equivalent of the FBI for supernaturals. Or she was. Now she's being pulled closer and closer to the one job she's never wanted - being a guardian. Kissing Sin begins with Riley waking up next to a dead body, and her life takes another horrified spin when she realizes she's been caught and experimented on in the continuing conspiracy to get her pregnant. 

The plot of Kissing Sin is a continuation of the one begun in Full Moon Rising (Riley Jensen, Guardian, Book 1), so I'd recommend you start there if you're so inclined. Unfortunately, I'm afraid I'm not feeling remarkably charitable about recommending this series so far. It's not bad, really, it's just...while I'm by no means prudish, Riley's sexual promiscuity in Kissing Sin crossed a line for me - going from a species-centric celebration to something pathetically gratuitous for the sake of titillation. I understood the reason behind having so much sex in Full Moon Rising - we were told over and over and over that the full moon almost completely commands a werewolf's sexual needs for that night and the seven days preceding it. I didn't particularly like that mythos, as it always seemed like sort of a flimsy excuse for a week long orgy (these people do have to work and a week of mindless sex isn't something I would get leave time for) and I personally believe the survival need supersedes sexual ones, but at least there was a reason given for it. That reason was no longer relevant in Kissing Sin and yet I couldn't see any difference at all between Riley's sexual behavior in this book versus the previous one (other than the names of the partners) - and that is a failing. I'm sorry, but when the sexuality of a heroine of a book doesn't just become the plot, but completely obliterates the plot (like LKH's Anita Blake series) there's something wrong. 

Not to mention the vampire mogul Quinn is back and in a complete about-face, is now clamoring for an exclusive relationship with the werewolf who just last book he had made no bones about leaving behind. There's a very flimsy and unbelievable reason given for that abrupt change of heart that never quite works. That's a shame, actually, because I like Quinn. More so than Riley. Unfortunately, Kissing Sin suffers from some of the same issues that Full Moon Rising does. Both are at times muddy and plodding, and other times frenetic and confused. Both are flawed. 

Still, not all is bad. Riley is a competent, intelligent protagonist who stands on her own two feet (or four paws) and doesn't walk around waiting for a male to save her. She's a bit saucy and a bit wicked and she tends to get into trouble...I sure wouldn't let her drive my car...but when she isn't "celebrating" her sexuality with every interested male, she's a solid heroine. Quinn, the ubersexy and ultrarich vamp, is less layered and complex in this one, but still a favorite character, and I sincerely hope to see more of him in future books. Riley is still supported by a solid group of secondary characters - Riley's vampire boss (Jack) and one of Rhoan's mates (Liander) in particular - who are interesting and sympathetic with a lot of development potential, and the bad guys are still really repugnant. 

I think I'll be giving Riley one more try, but unless the sex in the next book is either toned down or given a more believable connection to the plot, I doubt I'll stick around for more than that.

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Ratings Guide

Here is a rundown of what the star ratings mean to me! It's not a perfect system, so you may see me add in a .5 star here and there if my impression of the book falls somewhere between these:

5 Stars - Loved it
4 Stars - Liked it
3 Stars - It's okay
2 Stars - Didn't like it
1 Star - Hated it

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2014 Reading Challenge
Tracy has read 22 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Zero at the BoneHead Over HeelsLord of the WolfynIn Total SurrenderA Win-Win PropositionNorth of Need

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