Saturday, November 8, 2014

"Locks: Rapunzel Unhinged" by Sarah J. Pepper

Rapunzel Unhinged
by Sarah J. Pepper

Locks: Rapunzel Unhinged is currently on tour with Making Connections Blog Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Death of the Mad Hatter.

Rapunzel isn’t the stereotypical Damsel in Distress. Her Bad-Boy Prince Charming is a renowned mercenary, and their Happy Ending plays out like a bad movie. However, she is determined to breakout from her tower prison - love be damned - and do it in a fabulous pair of heels.
Gunned down by the Mercenary, the deadliest assassin in The Badass Archives, isn’t exactly Rapunzel’s end-game. Falling for him isn’t either, but his Rated-R demeanor is strangely charming. Even though most girls wouldn’t fall for their captors, Rapunzel isn’t like most dames. Her major girl-boner for the Mercenary is so pathetic it verges on cliché. Yet, in spite of his appeal, Rapunzel must escape before she’s locked away in the Château de Immortelle’s highest tower - forever.

Mr. Tall, Dark and Deadly beckoned me like he was a manifestation ripped from my fantasies. A girl in my position shouldn’t have appreciated the ripped stature of his torso, the curvatures of his arms or how his black shirt stretched over his broad chest. The way he filled out his pants surely teased everyone who had an x-chromosome. R-rated thoughts played over and over in my mind. If he hadn’t been sent to kill me, I might have made a move.
Nevertheless, after a solid minute of not blinking, our provocative staring contest started to freak me out. His gaze was hypnotic yet startling. His intelligence was glaringly obvious, but so was his noxious disposition. It was damn unsettling and the standoff had to end sometime. Therefore, I faced my impending doom by walking into the glow of the street light. As soon as the light hit my face, the wind picked up. I shivered. Taryn’s presence swirled around me like she was an element of the sky instead of a sorceress who could control it. Taking a deep breath, I reminded myself she was miles away.
I cleared my throat so that my voice wouldn’t crack. “I’d rather die than be her prisoner.”
He smirked. The smile almost reached his eyes. “That’s your choice, Rapunzel,” he said, just before he pulled the trigger.

Featured Review
Locks is a revised version of Rapunzel, but unlike other fractured fairytales I have read (my favourite genre!), Sarah J. Pepper has retained the fantastical setting, rather than moving the characters to a contemporary world. This is a clever idea and only serves to enhance the plot.
The relationship between Zel and Flynn is a volatile one, mainly because they antagonize each other to ignore the attraction they feel. The conversations between them range from funny to sweet to angry, and the reader never feels that a romance is inevitable. Yet singularly they are both awesome characters; Rapunzel is feisty, witty and tough but still sensitive with a huge likeability factor. Flynn, on the other hand, is handsome, courageous, playful and talks in constant innuendos!
The chapters of Locks are irregularly interspersed with 'storyteller' sections, which appear to be taken straight from the more traditional Rapunzel fairytale. Although the Storyteller interrupts Sarah J. Pepper's narrative, I feel as though it gives Locks more credence.
The title of this novel is interesting and relates to many elements of the story. For example, Zel wears literal locks on her wrists which Taryn uses to keep her imprisoned in the tower, but Flynn is locked into his Mercenary contract with Taryn, forcing him to be loyal and meaning that he is unable to kill her. The word 'locks' also refers to Rapunzel's hair, which is the source of her healing power, the means she uses to escape and one of Taryn's greatest torture devices; the scene in which she shaves Zel's hair is perhaps one of the most emotionally powerful in the whole story.
Although the reader thinks they might know the story of Rapunzel - I had a very well read Ladybird copy - Sarah J. Pepper fills her version with more action, romance, sexual chemistry and suspicion.
Locks is already one of my favourite books of 2014 and I cannot wait to read more by Sarah J. Pepper, who has already secured her place as one of the authors I must have on my bookshelf.

From the Author
I specialize in dark, paranormal romance – think “happy ever after” but with a twisted, dark chocolate center. Real-life romance isn't only filled with hugs, kisses, unicorns, and rainbows. True-love can be more thoroughly described in times of darkness and tribulation. It’s in those harsh moments where you see what a person is truly capable of – both the good and bad. Sometimes prince-charming isn't always on time, and the glass slipper is a little snug. However, it doesn't mean Charming is not Mr. Right, and who says every shoe is the perfect fit?

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Locks by Sarah J. Pepper (US only).

Plus, everyone can download a FREE copy of Forgotten by Sarah J. Pepper (if it's not free for you on Amazon, try B&N, Kobo, or Smashwords).