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Whitney Hill
Author
Secrets and Truths (Otherside Heat 1)
Whitney Hill, author
Book 1 of Otherside Heat, the paranormal romance spin-off to the Shadows of Otherside series. Sparks fly when the hunter becomes the hunted. Half-elven bounty hunter Lya Desmarais is living in exile in North Carolina after getting into trouble back home. When her boss makes it clear he's got a target on her back, she seeks dangerous allies to regain control of her future. Vampire vagabond Cade is running from his past and thirsty for more powerful blood than mundanes can offer. Most of Otherside is off-limits, but the human-blooded are fair game. When he and Lya cross paths in a scandalously sexy way at a Raleigh nightclub, Cade finds the perfect target. But nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems in the supernatural community, not even lust. And for love to win, predator and prey must find a way to meet in the middle—or die trying. Told from two perspectives, this red-hot, action-packed vampire romance has no cheating, no cliffhangers, and a happy ending. Fans of the Shadows of Otherside series will see some familiar faces alongside the new, with this story set approximately four years before the events of Elemental. Newcomers can read this book as a standalone entry. Content warnings: consensual on-page sex, physical violence, on-page death, blood-drinking, swearing, slurs (not toward any real racial or ethnic group/identity), alcohol use, threat of sexual violence, implied past sexual violence, and remembrance of a past abusive relationship.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.00 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot/Idea: Secrets and Truths features an interesting and intricate plot regarding vampires, elves, humans, and the general magical world depicted. With danger at every corner and sexy moments in between, it will keep the reader hot and interested.

Prose: Hill has a talent for describing people and scenery. She can place the reader into a setting and make it feel very real and tangible. The dialogue can be a bit cheesy, but this is also charming. The sex scenes are naughty enough without being overtly raunchy.

Originality: While the vampires and werewolves tropes are pretty tired, Hill has been able to make them feel new and interesting with her dark world of bounty hunters, clubbing, and intricate storytelling arcs.

Character Development/Execution: Hill's main characters are sexy with dark backstories. The reader will be compelled to find out more about them as the story goes on.

Date Submitted: April 14, 2022

Reviews
This first installment in a new paranormal romance series from Hill (Eternal Huntress) offers a fun, sexy romp through a North Carolina that has been divided between magical Othersiders. Lya, a half-elven bounty hunter, and vampire Cade cross paths and immediately feel a connection. Complications ensue when Lya receives an offer of a lucrative bounty on Cade, enough to clear the debt she owes for having had a romantic relationship with an elven prince. Unsure as to why someone would be willing to pay so much money to have Cade killed, and conflicted about the possibility of carrying out the act, Lya is determined to figure out Cade’s secrets. Their relationship is made even more complicated by the fact that Cade, too, could pose a significant threat to Lya.

Hill has created a lived-in world in this spin-off to her Shadows of the Otherside series, using the background of North Carolina to create a structured society of “othersiders” and “mundanes.” She manages to keep the plot engaging and tightly-written, with adequate detail in her worldbuilding, and the themes of powerlessness, class, and race are handled deftly without dragging down the story’s pace—and still increase the stakes in a satisfying way.

Cade and Lya’s dynamic bond is complex and exciting. Readers who prefer a slow burn might feel that the two get together too quickly, but others will be relieved that Hill has avoided a protracted will-they/won’t-they lead-up to the relationship. While Cade and Lya aren’t quite enemies-to-lovers, fans of the trope will enjoy their banter and eventual team-up against a greater foe. Secrets and Truths offers a few spicy sex scenes, but some moments feel less natural, including stilted conversations between Lya and Cade during steamy interactions. At times, Hill sacrifices more powerful language in favor of the explicit, but fans of smoldering romance will look forward to more stories to come.

Takeaway: Paranormal romance enthusiasts will enjoy Hill’s fast-paced, steamy contribution to the genre.

Great for fans of: Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Blood and Ash series, Nalini Singh.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-

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