Tuesday, June 14, 2016

ARC Review: Dirty Angel by Barbara Elsborg

Dirty Angel
From the blurb:

Dying Sucks

Particularly when you discover there really is a hell. Aden thinks there’s no way he can avoid going down, but when an angel and demon can’t agree over his fate, Aden is given one more month to gain redemption. He doubts he can find a way to become a better man in so short a time. But it’s worth a try, right?

Living sucks

Particularly when you can’t shake free of an obsessive ex. Brody might be managing to hold down his job as a vet, but his personal life is a mess. If he doesn’t pull himself together soon, he’s going to be sliding downhill too fast to stop.

One wet night, on a dark country lane, two worlds collide and destinies change forever.

Heather's rating:

I usually am not one to post about trigger warnings, but with this book it needs mentioning. I'll post them at the end for those who like to be surprised by these things.

I usually find one or more of those trigger warnings to be a hard limit for me with reading, but I decided to read on because I love, LOVE Barbara Elsborg. I think very few authors do witty dialogue like Barbara Elsborg, and though this book wasn't quite as funny as some others by her, the dialogue still had that signature snappy wit about it. I really adore that about her stuff, and it is part of the reason that I keep reading everything that she puts out.

I usually am pretty good with angst, but this book was angsty. It really was a heartbreaking read at times, with MCs Aden and Brody both having such devastating histories. Both men have been abused and mistreated, and the internal and external scars that they carry are extensive. I was really in awe of how the author really made me believe the love story, without a "magic dick" solution to all of their pain and trauma. Aden and Brody had so much baggage between them that it could fill a jumbo jet. However, Barbara Elsborg didn't dwell on it in a way that made it impossible for the book to have lightness. There was lots of darkness, to be sure, but there was also some humor and happiness there.

Aden was returned to earth after death to make a turnaround in his behavior and beliefs to save his soul. The paranormal aspect of the story was intriguing, but it wasn't the most important part of the plot. Sure, the whole premise has to do with Aden being a "dirty angel" and the powers-that-be trying to figure out if he should go to heaven or hell, but the powerful parts of the story had to do with Aden and Brody and their relationship. That was the whole bread and butter, and what I think was the most successful part of the story. I loved the chemistry between Aden and Brody, and I really understood them as a couple. I liked how the author took her time developing the trust between them, which really fit with their characters.

I wasn't super into the whole sexual tension with Brody and his boss, but that was a side note and not really important to the story. I'm actually kind of hoping that we see more from the boss in the future- maybe a whole town full of angels getting their redemption??

I really liked this story, which is impressive because it was a tough read for me (see trigger warnings). I think viewers expecting an emotional, well-written, intense read will be very happy with this one.

Trigger warnings: This book contains scenes of a rape, statutory rape, physical violence, incest, and explicit references to sexual abuse of a child younger than ten.

**Copy provided in exchange for an honest review**


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