Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blog Tour Review, Guest Post, & Giveaway: Cover Him with Darkness by Janine Ashbless

Title: Cover Him with Darkness
Author: Janine Ashbless
Release date: 10/14/14
Publisher: Tempted Romance/Cleis Press
Purchase: Amazon | Cleis Press

Book Blurb:

If You Loved an Angel... How Far Would You Fall with Him?

What happens when the daughter of the village priest falls in love with an archangel banished from heaven? Milja’s heart is struck when she catches a glimpse of the preternaturally beautiful prisoner her father keeps captive beneath his church’s altar. Torn between tradition, loyalty and her growing obsession with the fallen angel, will Milja risk losing her family, and her eternal soul, for the love of this divine being? Janine Ashbless will transport you to a world where good and evil battle for true love.

Guest Post:

by Janine Ashbless

I’m not sure I should be saying this, but I never expected to write a novel – never mind a trilogy – about fallen angels. I thought all that was behind me. You see, Cover Him with Darkness started life as a short story in which it was never made entirely clear what the gorgeous male prisoner in the cell was – pagan god, titan, angel or demon. Then Cleis Press mailed me out of the blue with “What happened next? We need to know!” and suddenly, WHAM, I was up to my neck in the Old Testament, Orthodox iconography and the Apocalypse.

Not that this was unfamiliar territory – far from it. My family were (and are) Christians, and I’d been brought up in a Bible-believing/charismatic/evangelical circle, so angelic intervention was something categorized in an understated British way as ‘Not Impossible’. And we didn’t picture them as hunky guys with wings!

I was always, it must be said, one of those uncomfortable Christians that asked doubting, awkward questions about things in the Bible. Now of course there are (complex) answers to those awkward questions. Personally I ended up, in my twenties, cutting the Gordian knot and taking the simple solution, i.e. deciding that the Bible was fiction and God did not exist: “TA DA! The Problem of Evil dissolves into nothing! Hurray, now I can go worry about something else!”

But with writing Cover Him with Darkness, suddenly I’m back asking those questions. I’ve got angels who come to earth and have sex with human women (Genesis 6: 1-2). I’ve got a hot, messed-up anti-hero who’s standing up against God Almighty, and been punished horribly for it. And within my fictional universe there’s no room for doubt or atheism – given that several of the characters have actually met God. Eeeeek! How am I going to make sense of it all?

Well I promised myself from the start I wouldn’t dodge the issues, even though I was “only” (as some might see it) writing an erotic romance. I wouldn’t pretend that the questions of sexual sin, divine justice and free will were just invisible; I would face them down and try to come to some answers. Inevitably I’m going to upset people for whom my conclusions, in the fictional world, don’t fit their real-world view.

My mother has bought Cover Him with Darkness, by the way. Maybe I need to make my own plans for Christmas dinner...

Janine Ashbless

About the Author:

Janine Ashbless is a writer of fantasy erotica and steamy romantic adventure – and that’s “fantasy” in the sense of swords ‘n’ sandals, contemporary paranormal, fairytale, and stories based on mythology and folklore. She likes to write about magic and mystery, dangerous power dynamics, borderline terror, and the not-quite-human.
Janine has been seeing her books in print ever since 2000, and her novels and single-author collections now run into double figures. She’s also had numerous short stories published by Black Lace, Nexus, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Harlequin Spice, Storm Moon, Xcite, Mischief Books, and Ellora’s Cave among others. She is co-editor of the nerd erotica anthology Geek Love.
Her work has been described as: "hardcore and literate" (Madeline Moore) and "vivid and tempestuous and dangerous, and bursting with sacrifice, death and love." (Portia Da Costa)
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I wasn't entirely sure what to expect with this book when I first agreed to read it. I admittedly haven't read too many books that deal with angels, fallen or otherwise. All that being said, Ashbless has set the bar for my expectations of angelic paranormal romance. I positively loved Cover Him with Darkness.

A large part of why I liked this book lies in the settings. It's set in a modern world, with the lead character Milja going to school in Boston. However, her home is a remote village in Montenegro that seems like it's set centuries ago. There's no running water or electricity, everyone knows everyone (and everyone's business), religion is still very close to the heart of the village, which is in the mountains. It's charming in a rustic kind of way, and if we're being completely honest, put me a little in mind of Belle's village in "Beauty and the Beast". I really liked this old-fashioned setting mixed with the modern world of cell phones, airplanes, and the internet.

The other main reason why I liked this book is simply Azazel, the fallen angel. He is deceptive and possessive and absolutely dreamy. What does that say about my own character? Eh. That's a discussion for a different day, I think. He's seduction and evil manifested into one body and much like Milja, I didn't want to be attracted to him but I found it to be impossible. Mmm.

If you are really devout or easily offended by blasphemy, let me tell you something, this is not the book for you. Fortunately, I am neither of those things and am a bit of a closeted heirophiliac myself. (If you don't know what that means.... Don't Google Image search it. I warned you.) This in short means adding an erotic, lusty love to a church setting is just my type of reading fun. But don't let that fool you. It's clear that there's a lot of study and familiarity with religious texts present in this book. I appreciated that I wasn't just expected to know passages or scripture quotes- I'm a little rusty these days.

There's a lot of lust in this book, yes, but there's also quite a bit of action and suspense that left me wanting to read more. I finished this book in a manner of hours simply because I didn't want to put it down. The pacing is excellent, and there's hardly a dull moment when it comes to fallen angels who have escaped from their prison.

Overall, this book is just really well written. I liked the characters. I liked the settings. I enjoyed the steamier romance scenes and all of the Biblical/holy knowledge that was sprinkled in throughout the text. It's good story telling, plain and simple. This isn't my first time reading a story by Janine Ashbless (I actually highlighted her short stories in my review of The Sexy Librarian's Big Book of Erotica & Anything for You), but I sincerely hope to read more full length books like this one from her. I will also, after I finish this review, go back and read the original short story of Cover Him with Darkness.

This is a good book for anyone who likes the combination of sin, angels, sex, romance, domination, religious ideals, and steam. Thanks so much to Tempted Romance/Cleis Press for my copy in exchange for my honest review.


-This giveaway will run from October 29th to November 5th, 2014
-This giveaway is US & CAN ONLY
-This giveaway is open to those 18+
-It is open to anyone over that age who can legally enter, receive, and use their prize.
-One (1) winner will win a copy.
-This giveaway is sponsored wholly by the publisher. I am not responsible.
-This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity.
-Winner will have 48 hours to reply, or a new winner will be chosen. Winner will be chosen using
-Invalid entries will be removed, so please don't cheat.
-Void where prohibited. Odds will vary. No purchase necessary.
-My opinions are my own. Information will not be stored or sold, and will be used only to contact the winners.

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  1. I like angels when they struggle with (or embrace!) human feelings. Clare London has a really lovely m/m story called SAY A LITTLE PRAYER, where an angel named Admael falls hard for a young ice-cream vendor in Brighton, England. Admael is both pure and lusty in a sweet and guileless way--it's just darling (and hot).

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  2. No. I have a few angel books on my shelf but the only books that had angels that I have read are The Moral Instruments and The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare or The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. I have been looking forward to reading one soon. Thanks for having this great giveaway.

  3. I've read maybe a handful of books with Fallen or Heavenly in them, but they must not have been very memorable because I don't remember much about them. I would rather romance a Fallen angel though.