Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Red Dirt Road by Annie Rose Welch

The Saving Angels Series continues…

A new cast is introduced, while journeys already taken start to merge with the present, leading you down the old Red Dirt Road.

Death has always seemed just one step behind Layla Hill, taking almost everyone she’s ever loved. After she loses the love of her life, Layla vows to never love again—how could she, when she’s a death magnet?
Trying to outrun fate traveling with her uncle Willie and his band, Layla meets Michael Roberts, a beautiful Irish boxer as gentle on the piano as he is brutal in the ring. He proves as relentless in life, fighting for a place in her world even as she pushes him away, trying to protect him from her killer tendencies.

But neither foresees the sinister presence waiting for Layla at the end of the Red Dirt Road.

This is the 2nd book in the Saving Angels series; however, it does not leave off where Marigny Street leaves off. In the 1st book, there really isn’t closure. I thought that in this book, Red Dirt Road, we would continue the story of Evangeline and Gabriel, but we don’t. We are introduced to a new set of main characters, Michael and Layla, and a whole group of supporting characters. It is a brand new story. While Eva and Gabriel are mentioned in passing, we don’t really learn anything new about them. At first, I was disappointed. I wanted to know how they turned out; but, as the story went along, I came to REALLY like Michael and Layla’s story a lot more. 

Layla, Lotus as she is also called, believes the universe is out to get her, but is confusing those she loves for her and killing them instead. She has lost her mother, father, husband, and unborn child, and has built up a wall around her heart as a result.  She tries not to let anyone new in. She goes on tour around the country with her uncle, Willie, and his band.  At their last stop, they decide to do ProMature night, where they choose someone out of the crowd to sing with someone from the group. It is during Layla’s turn that she meets Michael. They have an instant pull towards one another. After their song, Michael and his friends, Seamus and Andrew, hang out with the group for a bit.

After they go their separate ways, fate seems to step in at 7-11. As Layla is buying some late night snacks, there is a robbery in progress and Michael saves her life. They rest they say is history…Willie offers Michael and gang and place to stay and jobs at his bar and hotel. However, there is rising tension in the group between Michael and one of the band members, Yuma. He is suddenly showering Layla with attention and it seems he is not going without a fight. He tries to put a wedge between the two, as if Layla isn’t doing the job herself already. Yuma is creepy and everyone gets really bad vibes from him. He seems to follow her around and cause destruction wherever he goes. Where Michael is good and light, Yuma is evil and dark.

This book mainly focuses on struggles, Layla and Michael’s struggles individually, and their struggles to come together and stay together as a couple. Layla has to learn to let the walls down. She struggles with loss and misplaced guilt. She really believes she is the cause of death. She has to find her purpose in life and make the choice to start living life. Michael believes his purpose to life is fighting. He is a boxer, and a good one at that. He has to choose to keep his life on the same path or forge a new one.

I really enjoyed the supporting characters as well. My favorite was Madam Catalina. She is a blind woman with a gift of sensing and reading people. She knows if they are good; where their strengths and weaknesses lay. She just has an uncanny ability to “know” things. After reading people, she tells them what their mothering flower is, kind of like what flower represents them. That is where Layla gets her nickname, Lotus. The author did an excellent job creating the characters in this book.

I’m still curious about the characters of Marigny Street; I thought the author did a great job with this one. I can’t wait to, hopefully, read more about them in book 3.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Annie has a habit of shortening her words and telling long stories. She speaks with a southern flair and cooks with it too. At the tender age of twenty- one, she hitched up her wagons (took her first plane ride) and moved out west to the big shake (California). Her writing career began one sleepless night when she imagined a gorgeous woman and a man with maniacal hair floating above her like lightening bugs falling from the sky. Curious about them, their story, and why they were floating around in her head, she sat down and penned (typed) her first novel, Marigny Street. A dream come true for her, she hasn’t stopped writing since. She loves a damn good love story, always has, no matter what the genre. She is particularly moved by imperfect love that in its own unique way is perfect, the notion of love at first sight, soul mates, and things that are generally out of the norm.

When she’s not writing she enjoys dabbling in photography and finding new, inspirational music to add to her collection. She currently (still) resides in the big shake (although her southern roots are calling her home) with her husband, daughter, and their two peculiar dogs, Boudreaux and Tabasco (who, call her crazy, bark with an accent).

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