Literally (and I mean that literally), I picked up a book around 10pm and read for 8 hours straight. I couldn’t put down the book. I couldn’t let go of the story and pick it up the next night. It was difficult around 5am when my eyes started to get really tired, but I was so close to the end. I saw it through and read every single word. I even cried at the end; maybe because I was exhausted, but more so because the ending took me there.
My tattoo artist in Ohio, Celeste Easton, is also an author. She had a contest a month or so ago to promote her book, “Deal with a Demon.” I felt like it was cheating when I entered because I know her, but besides Facebook, I haven’t seen her in nearly 5 years. I threw in my hat, and re-tweeted her promotion tweet. Maybe everyone who re-tweeted and shared won and I was cool with that idea because I won! She sent me a copy of the book, signed by her, along with a necklace made by a friend. Weez snatched the necklace and I placed the book on my table with all of the others I needed to read.
A month went by before I picked it up. I was reading “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown and really wanted to finish it before starting another. I know, I know… any true book geek has several being read at once and I do, but I really wanted to finish this one. It was important and it was taking me a while to read it because of the subject matter. I’d read and then reread. Absorb and apply. It’s a fantastic book. I’ll reread it completely again.
Once finished with “Daring Greatly,” I picked up “Unfinished Business” during a recent trip and read a bunch of chapters on both legs of the flight. It’s a great read as well. Interesting plot and reminded me a lot of the Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell; one of my favorite authors. I couldn’t put that one down either, but it only took me about 3 hours to finish it since I already had a head start. The author, Tim Baker, is a Facebook friend of mine who lives on the other side of Florida. I hope to meet him someday soon. I won his book as well. My luck has been pretty awesome lately. Independent authors need support and I’m happy to help.
“Deal with a Demon” is paranormal fiction. I’ve been entrenched in non-fiction lately and thanks to Tim’s book, I’ve found relief in fiction. I cannot write fiction to save my life. Poetry is another hang-up. It amazes me when authors bring characters to life. I wonder how they sleep. I’d love to be part of their dreams so I can see how it works. I picked up Celeste’s book and plopped myself down on my couch. I had no idea I’d still be reading it well into the next morning.
The characters and so real. The way she describes them, you can see their features and very easily their surroundings as well. The plot developed in my mind so clearly I swear I was watching television. The main character, Nic, has the responsibility of looking out for her drug addicted brother. He’s gone missing and she quickly realizes that it isn’t because of his drug habit. Something isn’t right. The second main character, Arden, finally convinced Nic that her brother has been taken to the Fourth level of Hell. Arden is a demon. A really smoking hot demon. He’s actually half demon and half human. The story gets into those details as it plays an important role throughout the book.
Nic is determined to bring her brother home. Arden knows this will be risky. Humans are generally only in Hell for reasons after death; Hell isn’t a place you visit and then return home. Arden’s father is the King of Demons, best friends with Lucifer, and lives with his seven sons in the First level of Hell. It’s described much like any city neighborhood except the sky is red and the colors are magnificent. The author does an amazing job illuminating the scene. Like I said, I saw it all in vivid detail which was one of the reasons it was hard to put down and turn off my mind to sleep. With the help of Arden’s father and after much fight from Nic, Arden is apprehensive about Nic journeying so far into Hell; the two main characters begin their journey to the Fourth. The Antagonist, Sorro, is a demon you don’t want under your bed. He’s kidnapped Nic’s brother for a purpose besides the thrill of yet another slaughter. There’s a reason he’s taken the brother to his lair and has kept him alive.
The story is packed with descriptors that bring the scenery to life. You can feel the emotion of what it might be like to be in Hell, walking through praying you’re not detected. The author describes the silence, the maddening silence. The deeper Nic and Arden travel through the levels, the more sinister Hell becomes and the more at risk Nic is for being human. Her bravery and tenacity along with Arden’s protection and help from his father keep her out of harm’s way only as long as she’s able to not let her fear be known. She stands zero chance of getting out alive and with her mind intact if she doesn’t squelch her fear. You hold your breath for her when her strength wanes.
Nic and Arden have tension between them that is palpable. He desires to be an Incubus; his power is convincing people to do as he wishes. He uses this power on Nic when needed, but the chemistry between them grows as the story develops. There are twists and turns in their relationship and the scenes between Nic and Arden caught my breath. There was no way in the world I was going to put down the book. The author explores their intimacy that well, wow. The arousing details left me breathless.
The ending grabbed me. The Fourth level of Hell kept me on the edge of my seat. The final encounter between Nic, Adren, and Sorro is everything scary movies are made of. The visuals I had, the sounds playing in my mind, the emotions, it was amazing. My heart was racing. I know my facial expressions echoed the words on the pages. I was in tears at the end of the story.
I hung on every word of “Deal with a Demon.” When I finally went to sleep and woke up an hour later and continued to think about it all day as I trudged through work. I had to talk about this book; everyone heard about it. I love when a story stays with you. I am so looking forward to the continuation. I hope Celeste is already writing it. The epilogue gives me hope that she is indeed.
Alicia Wozniak was born and raised in Cleveland. “Woz” now lives in Tampa, with the rest of Ohio. This 40 year old can be found teaching Zumba, all over Facebook, figuring out Twitter, blogging, and working her full time gig in a marketing division of a textbook publisher. She wonders how many jobs she really needs. If she isn’t moving, she’s unconscious. Life, which includes a Weez, is good and as long as the beer is cold and it isn’t snowing, she’ll keep moving forward – Xanax close at hand.