Saturday, February 16, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Protector by Tressa Messenger

When Anna-Marie’s boyfriend, Dylan, dies under mysterious circumstances it drives her into a deep depression. She desperately clings to his memories for solace.
After reports come out of a second mysterious death, Anna-Marie climbs her way out of despair as she throws herself into a search for the assailant, who is callously tearing so many lives apart. During Anna-Marie’s search, she has a chance encounter with a mysterious man who flips her world upside down once again. Alessandro Pierre appears just as normal as the next guy, but he is far from it.
The further Anna-Marie digs into a world she isn’t quite prepared for; she gets caught up in a deadly game from her worst nightmares and eventually learns that it is her own world as well.
 It was Anna-Marie’s dream to go to college at the University of Wilmington in North Carolina, so he was destined to go there as well. He doesn’t mind the big city life most of the time, but he finds himself missing the slower pace of their little hometown, Oriental. Nothing compares to lying around lazily on a pier that is stretched out towards the river and listening to the rhythmic sloshing of the water against the wood as the seagulls cry out from up above. There’s no noise from traffic, horns, or sirens to intrude on the tranquil sounds of nature. Wilmington is a beautiful coastal town as well, but much bigger and busier than Oriental. Oriental is only two hours up the coast from here, but it seems worlds away sometimes. Quite frankly, Dylan could live anywhere and be content as long as he has Anna- Marie to share it with. So as long as Anna-Marie wants to be here, here is where they will stay.
About a mile from his apartment, he decides to stop in at the Matrix Jewelry store that is owned by his best friend, Charles. He had made the decision that fourteen years of dating was long enough and had secretly sworn if he were to land the account he would finally propose. They never talked much about marriage throughout their relationship, but he figured it would happen eventually.
He looks through all three of the engagement ring cases, scanning each ring as he goes, until his eyes settle on the perfect one.
“Hey Charles, can I look at this one” he says, pointing to a platinum princess-cut diamond ring with emerald stones on both sides.
Charles notices the beautifully crafted ring that Dylan is pointing to and gives him a sly knowing smile before he hands him the glistening ring.
“How big is this diamond?” “That diamond, my friend, is a karat.” Dylan looks up at Charles, “Is that good?” Charles laughs and shakes his head, “Yes Dylan, it is. Do you know how screwed you
would be right now had I not been your friend and you asked that question?” Dylan laughs and pulls his attention back to the tiny object in his fingers tips. He turns it
all around as he exams the unique ring. He had never seen a ring so beautiful. The emerald green stones match Anna-Marie’s emerald green cat eyes and sets off the princess cut diamond perfectly.


I'm just going to get this out of the way. I liked the premise of Protector. I was drawn in by Dylan's sweet thoughts and then BAM- tragedy. Total shock to the system. And now we're stuck with Anna-Marie's grief. She is of course devastated. But while I sympathized with her I didn't feel the empathy I normally would when reading of someone else's heartache. I was really detached. Was it me? Anna-Marie's voice? Not really. It was the author's narrative style. It didn't grab me. It didn't feel like I was "there". Like I was going through this with Anna-Marie. It felt... more like a recounting of events, going through the motions (and of course Anna- Marie is- she's in shock and utterly heartbroken, hell she's barely functioning),  but I was looking on the outside looking in, not really feeling those emotions.
I couldn't quite figure out why I was feeling this way, but I was interested enough in the story to keep going. And I'm glad I did.
While I still struggled with the emotional detachment, and unfortunately that lasted for most of the book, Anna-Marie and her desperation to find out what happened to her lifelong love kept wanting to discover the truth of her situation as well.
Her world is now dark and frightening and yet her need for discovery and comfort drives her to take life threatening risks. She is caught again and again in fear for her life. Is she following trouble or is trouble following her?
And though what she can and can't see scares her, she feels at once protected, safe and more driven to discover the truth.
We see glimpses of a guardian angel. Someone keeps saving her from the monsters that haunt her in her sleep and seem to seek her out as she seeks answers. But is he really an angel or a threat?
We finally meet Alessandro. He's a reluctant hero. He doesn't understand why Anna-Marie appears to be targeted and why she keeps putting herself in danger. So he approaches her under some pretense- you'll have to discover that for yourself and continue to watch over her.
We go back and forth following Anna-Marie and Alessandro. We listen as they both question their pull toward each other. And the danger increases. Because of the narrative we're able to see a lot of what Anna-Marie cannot. This doesn't take away from the mystery and intrigue. The need to find out along with Anna-Marie what has really happened to Dylan and what's  happening in her beloved town is strong- as is the speculation.
The growing relationship between Anna-Marie and her protector leads to both making grave mistakes, and what was somewhat frightening becomes downright terrifying.
What holds this story together is the undeniable attraction between these two. They both want and need each other and they find that they can't bear to be apart. And what transpires is a natural progression. Two people brought together seemingly by chance and misfortune.
Anna-Marie and Alessandro are both wonderful characters.
I really liked what they brought out in each other. But it's not easy and there are lot of unanswered questions.
As I got further and further into this tangled web that Anna-Marie's life has become I found I couldn't pull away. I, like Anna-Marie, had to know the truth- the whole truth.
Tressa Messenger does a wonderful job keeping you on pins and needles. Constantly in fear of what may happen and what will be discovered.
And just when we think we've made it through the worst she leaves us with the most fantastic cliffhanger.
All in all I really enjoyed this very eventful journey with both Anna-Marie and Alessandro. And while we've gathered some important information and grown comfortable in their love, there is so much more to discover and endure. Their story will not end quickly- and that's a good thing. I'm prepared to go along for the wild ride.
We're giving away an ecopy of Protector. All you have to do is leave a comment--- tell us why you want to read this book to enter and random.org will pick the winner.

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