Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review: ‘Madison’s Life Lessons’ by Gracen Miller

Fate can mark one early for a particular future.

Madison Wescott’s life is Hell on earth. Her father, a Baptist Preacher, convinces her she’s morally corrupt when men notice her blooming beauty. She strives to be unnoticeable, but nothing satisfies her condemning parents.

And sometimes fate has nothing to do with one’s potential.

Temptation rears its head when Micah Dominus visits her father’s church on Christmas morning, but she is unprepared for her physical reaction to him. Frightened by her own emotions, she is grateful she’ll never see him again. But when he shows up again at a friend’s funeral, and at other times in her life, she’s swayed by his charisma. Micah becomes her white knight through the good and bad, but can they create the perfect life together? Or has she just located the beginning of the Road to Hell?

Supernatural forces more powerful than fate can claim one’s destiny…

(Amazon product description)

Madison's Life Lessons (The Road to Hell series)

This novella is the introduction to Gracen Miller’s Road to Hell series.  Knowing that, I fully expected it to have some major cliffhangers--after all, the purpose of it is to get you to read the rest of the series--however, I didn’t feel there was enough of a completed plot arc in the novella to make it a satisfying read.  I appreciate what the author was trying to do here, but if they are not able to bring a novella to a conclusion, it makes me wonder if the series is going to be one long, never ending story spanning over several books. 

As far as characters go, I liked Madison enough.  She was a bit stupid and naive, but then she was supposed to have been super sheltered by her preacher father, so that sort of made sense.  What I had a big problem with was the skeevy old men constantly sexualizing this fifteen year old girl.  Her father was the worst!  I swear there was something incestuous in his preoccupation with his daughter’s sexuality. 

Micah was intriguing.  I found him intelligent and dangerous and sexy...all the things that make a good alpha male.  If I go on to read more in this series, it will be because of Micah.

Normally, opening novellas for paranormal series serve as a vehicle to set up the world.  Unfortunately, this story really didn’t do that.  I get there is something paranormal going on here, but the novella never explained anything.  Is Micah a fallen angel, a demon?  I don’t know.  I get the feeling Madison is not just a normal human, but what is she?  What is her mother?  I didn’t get the mother at all.  How could she be this idealistic preacher’s wife for fifteen years of Madison’s life, and then get it on with guys right in front of her daughter with no problem?  That scene was just creepy and gross.  There are too many unanswered questions. 

Overall, I give Madison’s Life Lessons...

Plot - 3 bookmarks (was interesting enough, but lacked conclusion)
Character development - 3 bookmarks (Madison grew and matured as she learned her ‘life lessons,’ but she still came across as too innocent and kind of stupid. Not much character growth in the other characters.)
World building - 1 1/2 bookmarks (Very little set-up or explanation)
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Ashley Benson (Madison), David Anders (Micah), Monica Porter (the mother), Aaron Eckhart (the father)

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