Carina Press Week-ARC-review: The Bloodgate Guardian – Joely Sue Burkhart

Worlds within worlds await through the Maya Bloodgate….

Dr. Jaid Merritt doesn’t do digs. The last time she ventured into the jungle, someone died. Now she’s content to decipher Maya glyphs from pictures sent to her by her famous archaeologist father. But when he goes missing while trying to perform a ritual based on her translations of an ancient codex, Jaid must put aside her fears and travel to Guatemala to find him.

After misusing the Bloodgates to bring his twin brother back from the afterlife, the Maya priest known as Ruin was cursed by the gods to stand as the guardian for all time. He was unable to stop Dr. Charles Merritt from opening the gates, and now demons roam this world. The last thing he wants to do is hurt the beautiful woman who is somehow infused with his magic, but if she uses the codex to retrieve her father, Ruin must do his duty. And this time, he won’t fail. Even if it kills him. Again.

When her father goes missing while opening the gates to the Mayan underworld, Jaid Merritt must put aside her fear of digs and head to the last place he was seen alive, a Mayan dig in Guatemala. There she not only discovers her father’s whereabouts, but a Mayan Warrior and the people her father was working for also hunt her. Rescue and help come from an unexpected corner in the form of Ruin, a Mayan Priest and shifter, cursed to be the Gatekeeper to the Mayan underworld. While trying to undo the damage her father did and finding him, Ruin and Jaid grow closer and an impossible and heartbreaking love story develops.

Jaid is brave, smart and stubborn. She lives and breathes Mayan glyphs and has dedicated herself to helping her father in order to gain the approval, love and admiration he’s always withheld from her

Ruin is broken, loyal and so powerful power just radiates off him. He oozes danger yet at the same time he has this vulnerable side that comes out when he’s with Jaid. He acts impulsively out of the love he has for the people close to him, which leads to unintentionally hurting them, and this eats away at him.

I struggled a little bit in the beginning with all the different creatures, characters, terms and world building but that was soon forgotten when I was pulled into a fascinating tale of Mayan mythology and romance. With every turn of the page fascinating events unfolded in developments and revelations that kept me riveted to the pages, enjoying the engaging characters and the thrilling plot. It didn’t take me long to become completely immersed in the story.

THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN is a very dark paranormal romance and thriller and I must say it hovered on the edges of my comfort zone. I am not one who easily reads about gory stuff like people getting gutted, with intestines tumbling out and blood spurting around. There were two scenes in the beginning and one in the end that were pretty graphic in violence but I must say Joely Sue Burkhart pulled it off for me.

The ending was action-packed and nerve-wracking for a moment but I got the HEA I was rooting for so for that I thank you, Joely Sue! The ending also set up the next step in the overall story arc that can’t but become ongoing. Though Jaid and Ruin have their HEA the world is about to be devoured by evil, an evil they have to stop somehow and I am very curious to read how.

This was my first taste of Joely Sue Burkhart’s non-contemporary/erotic work and I definitely want to read more of it. I absolutely loved the extensive look into the Mayan world of mythology. It was truly fascinating and worth reading through the few violent scenes. THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN is suspenseful and brilliantly set up. Romance is not the focus of this book in the first part of the book and that was absolutely okay with me as I was entranced and captivated by mythology, magic and plot. However, this doesn’t mean the chemistry between Ruin and Jade wasn’t impressive. It was definitely there, threaded through everything else going on in a subtle, clever way. To me the romance took a secondary role in the first part of the book due to the room needed for world building but it became a very strong emotional element in the last third of the book, which I loved.

THE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN once again proves that Carina Press has committed to bringing the reader exceptional, unusual books that definitely aren’t a-dime-a-dozen and books that give the reader an amazing reading experience.

He’d forgotten. In all these years of trying to die, he’d forgotten how good something alive could feel.

8.2 out of 10


As announced last week my Carina Week will not be without a fabulous giveaway, courtesy of Carina Press! Up for grabs here on the blog is one coupon code worth $ 15 to spend at Carina Press, buying the books you’d like to try out. Believe me, if what I’ve read is an indication, there is something for everybody and the books I’ve read were gems in their genres, each and every one of them. Okay, now to the important part. How can you win this coupon code? That’s easy.

  • Just leave a (meaningful) comment on the posts during my Carina Week.
  • Each comment will give you an entry.
  • There will be 6 Carina Week blog-posts so that gives you a maximum of 6 entries if you comment on every post. Mind you, you don’t have to comment on every post, it just gives you more chances if you do.
  • Make sure you leave your email address with your comment (or email it to me, through the contact link in the left sidebar if you don’t want to publicly leave your email address) because it’s needed to be able to claim the code.
  • On Saturday June 12th I’ll tally up the entries and pick a winner via

I also announced last week that there would be 2 coupon codes of $ 15 each so you might wonder, what of the other code. That one will be the prize in a Twitter-giveaway so if you want another chance at it…keep an eye on my Twitter-account this week and get tweeting because each tweet including the hashtag #CarinaWeek will be entered for the Twitter-giveaway.

So there you have it…2 chances to win an opportunity to get your mitts on some Carina Press gems!

Have fun! And hope to see a lot of you this week!


8 thoughts on “Carina Press Week-ARC-review: The Bloodgate Guardian – Joely Sue Burkhart

  1. The Bloodgate Guardian kinda screams my name LOL At least your review really triggers some of my hot buttons :) I love worldbuilding, cultures, customs and of course romance. I'm definitely looking forward to finding out what Joely Sue Burkhart did with the 2012 theme :)

  2. Yet another Carina title that's just jumping out at me now! I happen to really love dark twisted dark fantasy. This one seems to push a lot of different genre buttons that make me interested. Add in a heavy dose of mythology, and I'm so there. Thanks for highlighting this!

  3. This book had me at "blood sacrifice". Joely always delivers heartache and gut-wrenching rewards to go with any blood spill. And she never spills a drop that isn't paid for in some way or another.And Ruin… ah, Ruin. Definitely one of the more tragic heroes I've ever read. He takes my breath away.

  4. I. want. this! The premise sounds gripping, love the tragic conflict of poor Ruin. I'm also a big myth/legend bluff, love the Mayan angle!I haven't read anything by Joely yet, but your review and what I've seen in other comments make me believe she is a great author. I can't wait to discover her novels.stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

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