Saturday, July 4, 2015

Review: To Hell and Back (The World Around Us Series) by Beth Ann Masarik #UrbanFantasy #Paranormal Romance

To Hell and Back

by Beth Ann Masarik

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Take a journey to Hell with Elise Stevenson as she braves meeting Hades and his companions in this compilation. To Hell and Back consists of the short stories Murderous Regrets, Hell Bound and Hell’s Captive. In these three stories, Elise is sent to Hell to uncover the secrets of the villains in The World Among Us. She dodges the worst of demons, and goes to the very depths of Hell just to interview Hades and the Prince of Darkness themselves among other monsters that appear in the series.

In the short story, Moon Spirit, however, we are brought back to earth, where we meet Raul Blackoak and his family. While Raul is out on patrol, he hears the cries of a damsel in distress. A battle begins between the werewolf and two demons, but before long, the night is saved by a surprise visitor. Raul and his new partner save the day, only for things to become more serious when they bring her back to Raul’s home. Will Raul be able to come to terms with the strange twist of events? 

My Reviews:

Moon Spirit:
Moon Spirit is a quick 20-ish page short story that is first up in the To Hell and Back collection.  Raoul, a werewolf, comes face-to-face with two vampires draining a female human.  Intent on saving her, Raoul winds up toss about like a ragdoll.  Surprisingly, an additional guest join the little party but who's side are he really on?  Raoul's or two vamps?

Barely escaping with either of their lives, Raoul and the female, named Kylie, head to his home with the surprise guest, in tow.  Here is were Kylie enters the story line.  Will Kylie accept the strange and unusual or will  Raoul's pack have to handle her the hard way?

The story is interesting and engaging and kept me reading to find out how the mystery person was.  I also was intrigued by how Kylie fit into the story line.  There wasn't as smooth of dialogue between characters as I would have liked.  Kylie's introduction into the paranormal world was to quick and she was way too accepting.  The overall length made the revelations seems rushed and choppy.
My Rating for Moon Spirit =

Murderous Regrets:
Elise Stevenson is a journalist tasked with interviewing a convicted murderer, Leon Greene.  Except, Leon isn't your usual suspect; he's a werewolf.  His victim?  Leon's best friend and leader of the magical world, Jason Aysel.  And in this short story, Leon explains what lead up to his attack on his best friend.

Murderous Regrets will give the reader a bit more insight into the author's creativity.  The main players are Hades, his son Damien, the moon goddess, Selene, and the god Gaia.  Beth Ann takes these characters and masterfully weaves a tale of jealousy, power, and deceit.

The second story in the To Hell and Back collection is very interesting and engaging.  I was pulled in from the beginning and found the story line to be new and different.  I enjoyed the writing style in this story and the dialogue between characters was smooth.  A quick jaunt into the mind of an assassin gives a clearer path into The World Among Us.
My Rating for Murderous Regrets= 

Hell Bound:
Elise Stevenson gets embroiled in the paranormal world just a tad more in Hell Bound.  Now that she's impressed her boss with her interviewing skills based on her time with Leon (in Murderous Regrets) he has a new mission for her.  It's time for a face-to-face interview with the devil himself, Hades. to Hell she goes, although she has no idea how to get there or if she'll be able to get back once she does.

The third story in the To Hell and Back collection, Hell Bound, finds our main character, Elise Stevenson, who is a human, with a ~ hopefully ~ two-way ticket to Hell.  Her interview with Hades isn't all wine and roses considering when Elise gets to Hell, her first encounter is with Hades' right-hand woman, DuVessa.  A rocky start to her trip ends with finally sitting down with Hades to find out that he wants to overthrow Gaia and take over the world.

Hell Bound is another fascinating additional to the author's short stories in The World Among Us series.   I was pulled in from the beginning and found the story line to be new and different.  I enjoyed the writing style in this story and the dialogue between characters was smooth. Quick and engaging, this story is filled with the explanations of a crazy demon and his equally nasty female side kick.  If they are able to wrestle power away from Gaia, we are all in big, big trouble.
My Rating for Hell Bound= 

Hell's Captive:
In the final story of the To Hell and Back collection of short stories in The World Among Us series, Elise now finds herself meeting with Damien, the son of Hades.  As the key player in the upcoming war between good and evil, interviewing Damien is a must.  He is after all, the epicenter of the the events that have unfolded and are continuing to unfold.

What Elise discovers is an epic love story turned tragic.  Damien's love for a moon goddess was used against him by the one person that he should have been able to trust.  His punishment was handed down by Gaia, which he is fulfilling even now.  The best interview she's conducted to-date is going to be the hardest one for her to write up.

Hell's Captive completes the collection of short stories in To Hell and Back quite nicely.   I was pulled in from the beginning and found the story line to be new and different.  I enjoyed the writing style in this story and the dialogue between characters was smooth.
My Rating of Hell's Captive= 

Collectively, these 4 stories make up the novella, To Hell and Back.

Review copy of To Hell and Back provided at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating of To Hell and Back:

Amazon Link for To Hell and Back:

Meet the Author:

Beth Ann Masarik was born on Long Island, NY in the year 1984 with an over-active imagination. She used to love playing make-believe games, and now loves creating her own fantasy worlds. Masarik has been writing since she was 15 years old, and had her first newspaper article published in her high school newspaper in her sophomore year. She has taken several creative writing classes, and started writing her very first novel in college, and is currently searching for the right literary agent. Aside from writing novels, Masarik enjoys bowling, gaming, and role playing online. She enjoys reading fantasy novels written by Richelle Mead, L.J. Smith, and J.K. Rowling, and looks to them for role models.

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