Skip to main content

Bloodgate Guardian by Joely Sue Burkhart ~ A Recommended Read!

5/5 - Deep in the caves of Guatemala, a secret ancient ritual takes place opening up a gateway to the Mayan underworld. Months later, Dr. Jaid Merritt receives the video feed only to find out her father was the man leading the ritual. Despite her fear of going on dig sites, Jaid must decide whether to face her fears and find her father at the Mayan temple, or risk losing him forever. 

Full review after the jump!

Bloodgate Guardian was awesome! I really enjoyed this book filled with action, adventure, a little bit of romance and a lot of suspense. One of the many strengths of this book was the characters and story pacing. I loved that Jaid is not a generic kick butt heroine who rejects all feeling except her libido to do whatever needs to be done. She has a weakness (she injured her knee as a child during a dig with her parents), and although she shows signs of strength, she isn't afraid to break down with vulnerability when the weight of the world falls on her shoulders. She's a realistic heroine who shoes genuine fear and hesitance before going into a situation but when the chips are down, the girl's got moxie and will do what needs to be done. In other words, she's a great 3 dimensional character.

I also loved the hero, Ruin (especially his and his brother's name), and going into the book I tried to stay away from any spoilers or too much blurb info so it was a surprise to see how he ties into the story and not only serves as a gatekeeper in the temple but also a bridge for Jaid and her father as it ties into the story. Ruin is an appealing hero, but make no bones about it, he is also a ruthless killer with an edge. I love dangerous heroes and Ruin definitely qualifies as he teeters between killing Jaid or saving her at times. He makes no excuses for who and what he is and still there are qualities that make him redeemable so that the reader cheers him on.

Another thing I really liked was the tension that was built over the course of the story. Sometimes romances feel manipulated in that character's bodies react to one another within seconds of meeting each other instead of allowing the tension and need to grow naturally over time. In Bloodgate Guardian the characters reacted to more pressing matters and only later in the story did they start finding each other attractive. Even then, it slowly took its time while they focused on what was important which added to the "will they get together or won't they" that also added to the suspense in the story and made the actual consummation all the more rewarding after what they've been through. I love it when this course of action is taken because it keeps me guessing and flipping pages to find out how things unfold and how (or if) they will be together after the last page.

Another thing I really liked about the story is the dialogue. The story started out with a bang of an opening line: "He never hated his magic until it compelled him to kill" and just kept floating from there. Another fave of mine is "If men were as easy to decipher as Maya glyphs, then perhaps Jaid would have been able to translate "beware" carved in her boyfriend's handsome forehead and saved herself the trouble." Jaid often referred to herself as the Un-Indiana Jones which I thought was cute and during her revelation to how she hurt her knee and carries guilt due to her mother's death, there's a lot that's revealed through clever dialogue.

For instance:

"Do you know what they call me in the archeology circles? The Un-Indiana Jones."

Head tilted, he studied her, a small smile flickering on his face. "I have no idea what that means, but it amuses you."

"Yeah," she admitted, nodding. "But it's embarrassing too. Indiana Jones is a movie archeologist, an action-adventure hero. I've built up ruins and archeology in my mind, believing I had to be a great risk0taker, an action-adventure heroine of my own."

"Deep down your heart you're still the little girl trying to impress her father."

Ouch, but oh so true."

Not only is there a great overall conflict, there is also a great inner conflict as evidenced in the dialogue above. Jaid's relationship with her father has been strained ever since her mother died at the dig where Jaid injured herself and ever since then she's stayed away from digs while her father became well known for his. There's a lot she has to overcome outside and within herself that was a joy to explore.

One last aspect out of many I really enjoyed about this story was the world building and the history of the Mayan culture. I have to admit, I didn't know much about it going in but after reading this, I'm eager to read more about the ancient civilization. I love how it was weaved into every aspect of the story and it helped drive the story at every turn. I also got to learn a lot about the belief systems and mythology, all of which was very interesting.

I have a few Joely Sue Burkhart books in my TBR that I've been collecting from Drollerie Press (one of my fave publishers) and after reading Bloodgate Guardian, I'm eager to dive into them. Ms. Burkhart has a way of writing a great story with snappy prose and dialogue to accompany such well rounded characters. I'm jazzed that Bloodgate Guardian was my first taste of her work and I can definitely say it won't be my last.

Bloodgate Guardian is now available in ebook format from Carina Press and other online bookstores. This is a review based on a book galley from Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher.

Also check out an excerpt of the first chapter and a free read inspired by Mayan mythology over at Ms. Burkhart's site.

Edited to Add: Joely Sue Burkhart is also offering a giveaway to help spread the word about Bloodgate Guardian. Check out the post on how to enter and then give her some book love after you check out the awesome read!


Thank you so much for the review--I'm so happy you enjoyed The Bloodgate Guardian!
Rae Lori said…
My pleasure! Thanks for the great read. I can't wait to check out your other works. :-)

Popular posts from this blog

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop 2017 @ A Writer's Dream

It's that time again for the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop! And what better way to bring on the winter than with books and hot, cozy drink!

Since I'm up to my ears in seasonal tv romcoms, I thought I'd share the love and give away your choice of the book version of the movies. So if you've been eager to read 'em sign up below!

Prize: Your choice of a Hallmark winter romance book: Journey Back to Christmas, Love You Like Christmas, Christmas in Homestead, A Heavenly Christmas

A $10 Starbucks Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by and happy entering!

Giveaway Ends 12/31/17 and open to all who can legally enter.
Must be over 18 or have your parents permission to enter.
Winner will be announced within 48 hours at the end of the giveaway and also notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen.
Giveaway is organized by Bookhounds and sponsored by the BookHounds.
Void where prohibited.
Not Responsible for lost, sto…

It's August!

Hey folks!

Can you guys believe it's August already?

Lots of stuff going on in the world of Rae at the moment both personally and professionally. The newsletter will be going out soon and I'm diligently trying to get out a new release ASAHP that was held back a bit due to me not being happy with the end results. Stay tuned because I feel the end is nigh!

I took a breather from book reviewing and reading to deal with my current rental situation, but I miss it! I love the feeling of coming across that epic book you want to shout from the rooftops and losing myself in epic worlds. Sooooo....I'm diving back in. :-D I'm going through the list of books I had waiting in the wings and will try to play catch up. As I'm only one person with a busy schedule, I may not be able to get all the books reviewed right away and some I may sadly have to put aside if they don't grab me enough. Argh! I want to read and review everything but I can see now why so many bloggers have t…

Book Review ~ Who R U Really? ~ A Highly Recommended Read

Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly

Thea's overprotective parents are driving her insane. They invade her privacy, ask too many questions, and restrict her online time so severely that Thea feels she has no life at all. When she discovers a new role-playing game online, Thea breaks the rules by staying up late to play. She's living a double life: on one hand, the obedient daughter; on the other, a girl slipping deeper into darkness. In the world of the game, Thea falls under the spell of Kit, an older boy whose smarts and savvy can't defeat his loneliness and near-suicidal despair. As Kit draws soft-hearted Thea into his drama, she creates a full plate of cover stories for her parents and then even her friends.

Soon, Thea is all alone in the dark world with Kit, who worries her more and more, but also seems to be the only person who really "gets" her. Is he frightening, the way he seems sometimes, or only terribly sad? Should Thea fear Kit, or pity him? And now, Kit wan…