Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite ****
Ascension by Lorelei Bell is the first book in the Sabrina Strong Series. Sabrina's money has dwindled since her father's death, but her luck seems to change when she answers a job ad seeking a skilled clairvoyant. Sabrina is a super sensitive that has visions brought on through touching an object. Before her interview can even start, she's attacked by a werewolf, and she's saved by a vampire that seems way too familiar. If she takes the job, she'll be working for the exclusive Tremayne Towers, under the leadership of Vampire Master Bjorn Tremayne, and for the North American Vampire Association. Tremayne seeks her services to solve the murder of his lover, Letitia, which leads her to a startling discovery. As she's drawn further into this world, she finds a connection to the vampire she's dreamed about since she was a child, and uncovers secrets behind her mother's disappearance that could change everything. When someone close to her goes missing, she has to trust her new friends and the powerful vampire vying for her attention.
Sabrina is a gifted clairvoyant, something which has always made her feel different. Her only true confidant is her best friend, Jeanie, who has never doubted her abilities and has always believed her. When she's brought in to work for Tremayne, Sabrina starts to discover a new side of herself in this dangerous new world that's away from the town that she's always known. Lorelei Bell pays homage to the dangerous and seductive vampire trope, with plenty of blood and lust, glamour and riches, but adds a modern twist with vampire laws that forbid them from hunting humans, and a chain of government. They have their own ranking, status, and politics, with powerful vampires following the same rules as any other vampire. Sabrina is quickly engulfed inside this supernatural world that is more than just werewolves and vampires. Throughout she meets a variety of beings from shapeshifters to demons, from elves to shamans. Sabrina's relationships with her new found companions are intriguingly complicated. The vampires are technically good by their standards, but they're highly dangerous and predatory.
However, Bell doesn't just show the surface of the characters, she digs deeper and shows different sides to the characters. Sabrina's relationship with Tremayne is probably the most complicated. He takes an automatic interest in her, so he begins to sway her with glitzy presents and seduction, while also maintaining the fact that he's a super powerful and dangerous vampire. Nicolas is the first vampire she meets and, though he has a definite connection and flirtation with her, he assumes a protective role toward her. Dante is a shapeshifter shaman that acts her partner and bodyguard, who forms a strong connection and friendship with her. Her relationship with Heath is probably the sweetest, because he's laid back and always seems so genuine, an easily likable personality, and he never seems to have an agenda. A thrilling start to a series, Ascension is equal parts vampire romance and equal parts murder mystery; a story that's charming and endearing with a strong-willed heroine that will captivate you.