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Divide – Jessa Russo GUEST POST & REVIEW


  • Divide_e-book_coverTitle: Divide
  • Author: Jessa Russo
  • ISBN: 149540899X (ISBN13: 9781495408991)
  • Series: Stand Alone
  • Published:  April 15th 2014 by Createspace
  • Format: eARC
  • Genre: YA/Paranormal Romance
  • Page Count: 270
  • Source: Tour Operator
  • Rating: B+

Book Description:

From senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match.

After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks.

As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate—that she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairy-tales—she unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson.

Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love after the betrayals of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, this may be difficult to accomplish.

Complicating things further for Holland and Mick, time runs out, and Holland’s change begins way before schedule. With Holland quickly morphing into a dangerous mythical creature, Mick struggles to save her.

Should they fail, Holland will be lost to the beast inside her forever.



by Jessa Russo – Penny Dreadful Book Reviews http://www.pennydreadfulbooks.me

DIVIDE’s Villain . . .  and why I hope you love him.

Oh, Donovan, how I love you. Let me count the ways . . .

1) Good grief, you are a handsome devil.

From the dark mop of slightly-messy hair, to those chocolaty, soulful eyes . . . to the rippling of abs covered in dark tattoos, to the v muscles that dip down into low-slung jeans, deliberately left unbuttoned . . . mmm. He’s a villain you can’t help but swoon for, and he knows it.

2) That accent . . . SIGH.

There’s just something about a British accent. Seriously. It’s panty-dropping with the right voice to go along with it. Donovan’s voice is deep and sensual, and he’s cocky and a bit cheeky, which — combined with that sexy accent — proves to be one charming combination.

3) Confidence. You’re a cocky bastard, Donovan. And we like it.

Man, is he arrogant! But, shoot me for saying so, it’s arrogance in the sexiest of ways. Just how I like my men. Heehee. (Seriously, though, one of my favorite lines is at the end of the excerpt I’ve provided below. He’s just so cheeky!)

4) What’s that? A hardened manly exterior hiding/protecting a broken little boy?

Say it with me now, “Aaaaaw.” Poor Donovan. Mommy issues and a cursed fate. Redeemable villains—even if only slightly redeemable, like my Donovan—are the very best kind.

Now, because I’m sure you don’t want to only hear about all the reasons I love Donovan, I’ve asked some readers this question: What is it about Donovan that makes him such a sexy villain?

“He’s mysterious and confident. And has an accent. And IS IT FATE? *no spoilers*” ~ Tamara Mataya

“For me it had a lot to do with his confidence. He just was SOOO sure of himself and what he wanted 🙂 Plus, HOT. Ya know.” ~ Karen Bynum

“The glimpses of genuine compassion we’re treated to in between his arrogant, condescending behavior.” ~ Lydia Aswolf-Carey

“The descriptions of him do well to create an image in your mind, but definitely how mysterious he is. For me what does it is the anticipation of “wow, this is a hot character, is he going to change and be good?” Because that would be the ultimate sexy, to see him become a hero instead of a villain.” ~ Bridgette Annalyse

And, since I want to make sure you’re really enticed, here’s an excerpt from my favorite moment with Donovan. He’s a bit of a scene stealer, in my opinion.

EXCERPT – “I didn’t come down here so you could insult me, okay?” “Why did you come down here? I’m sure it wasn’t just to gawk at me, though you can go back to that if you’d like. I don’t mind.” He leaned forward, then ran his knuckles across my hand. I yanked it away, crossing my hands in my lap, ignoring the way his closeness brought memories of his earlier salvation to the forefront of my mind. Something in the way my skin vibrated beneath his touch made me desire something I didn’t actually want to desire. Him.

“Wow. You’re something else.” I looked away as he stretched his arms and the blanket fell an inch or two lower in his lap, exposing that patch of neatly trimmed dark hair right above his still unbuttoned pants. He was doing this on purpose, I was sure, but it was more offensive than intriguing.Or so I told myself, anyway. I scrunched my nose at the thought, reminding myself that this was not the kind of guy I would ever be attracted to.

“Careful, love, your face may freeze like that.” “I came down here for answers. Got any?” “Got any?” he said in a mocking tone. “Do you mean, do I have any answers? Then yes, of course. Forty-two.”“Forty-two what? You have forty-two answers?” “No, forty-two. It’s a reference to . . .” He gaped at me as if I was crazy, then shook his head. “Oh, never mind. What are your questions, then?”

I positioned myself to sitting cross-legged on the couch, with my hands still in my lap, facing him. With my back pressed into the arm of the couch, as far on my end as I could go, I thanked my lucky stars this wasn’t a love seat. Though I’d already learned that the short distance between us wouldn’t keep him away. “First of all, how long have you known about me? About my family’s curse?”

“I told you, since a few days ago when I stumbled on dear old Dad’s cabin here.” “That’s a crock.” Donovan gave a mock gasp, then smirked. “Well done. You’ve caught me. Seems you’re a bit brighter than the others.” “Great. Now, tell me the truth.” “If I say I’ve known about you my entire life, does that change anything? Does it break the spell? Does it bring whatever silly feelings are happening between you and my little brother to an end?” “You tell me.” His eyes tightened for a split second as if trying to figure me out. There was nothing to figure out—he was the puzzle, not me. “Let’s say I am the one who’s supposed to break the spell. What then, Holland?” “I don’t know. Why don’t you get to the point?” “This is the point, is it not? It’s simple, really. Hypothetically speaking, I’m supposed to be the one to break the spell and save our future generations from this shared fate of ours. I’m the guy. But you don’t want me, and I don’t want you—I like my women a little more . . . eloquent, shall we say?” He raised an eyebrow. “Unless of course you just want a quick shagging. That I could grant you, with little-to-no discomfort on my end.”


Beauty and the Beast and its many variations have long been one of my favorite foundation plots but to find a truly new and unique interpretation is a rare treat. Holland Briggs in this case occupies both characters of Beauty and that of the cursed Beast. The beautiful former class president  was utterly destroyed by the betrayal of her best friend and boyfriend. Not only has she lost her two closest friends but following a vicious attack on them she is now a social outcast as a result.

Divide has a duality that is reminiscent of the division within Holland herself. The first half of the novel deals with the aftermath of the betrayal of her best friend and boyfriend and the suspicious attacks on them that have taken place. Which may or may not have been perpetrated by Holland herself? Initially the reader is as confused as Holland, did she attempt to murder her ex best friend and boyfriend by setting the beach house on fire? Does she have a split personality? Are the physical manifestations she observes just a product of a damaged mind? The evidence is damning, after all she did attempt suicide. The normalcy of the setting belies the possibility of a curse as the source of Holland’s inexplicable transformation.

The latter half deals with the mysticism and history of the curse, which makes sense that the author designed this duality of plot intentionally though at the turning point you may wonder where all this is this going. Ms Russo went as far as introducing a major character almost 60% into the story. However once this transition takes place the story flows briskly to a surprising conclusion.

Divide is an enjoyable story with wide reaching appeal beyond its YA and fans of fairy tale retellings. I found it to be a wholly original reinterpretation of Beauty and the Beast, which is saying something. There are more than fifty interpretations of this classic fairy tale listed on Goodreads alone. More sophisticated, possibly due to malevolent influence of a Mr Hyde type character, than a number of retellings I am intrigued at what this writer will produce in the future.




Jessa_RussoJessa Russo believes in fairy-tales, ghosts, and Jake Ryan. She insists mimosas were created for Sundays, and that’s not up for discussion. She’s obsessed with the great city of New Orleans—where she’s collected too many beads to count, eventually married her sweetheart, and visited graveyards they don’t include on maps.

She’s loud, painfully honest, and passionate about living life to the fullest, because she’s seen how abruptly it can be taken away.

What began as a desire for reading and writing young adult paranormal has bled into stories of all kinds. From fantasy to pre-dystopian to erotic contemporary, Jessa’s stories always include romance, though she’s given up on pigeon-holing her work into a category or genre box.

Jessa was born and raised in Southern California, and remains there to this day with her husband (a classic car fanatic), their daughter (a Tim Burton super-fan), and a Great Dane who thinks he’s the same size as his Chihuahua sister.

ENTWINED, the final installment of Russo’s Ever Trilogy, will be released later this year, as well as an erotic romance written under the pseudonym Parker Jameson, so please stay tuned!

If you’d like to connect with Jessa online, please visit the following pages: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook


Book bundle that includes:

  • 1 signed paperback of DIVIDE
  • 1 signed paperback of EVER (Book One of The Ever Trilogy)
  • 1 signed paperback of EVADE (Book Two of The Ever Trilogy)

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