Book Review: Charmed – Mirror Image by Jeff Mariotte

390384Title: Charmed – Mirror Image
Author: Jeff Mariotte
Genre: Young Adult, Witches, Supernatural, Charmed
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books
Publication Date: September 1st 2003
Rating: 2 stars
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Phoebe Halliwell is stunned when her latest vision involves her younger half sister, Paige. The vision reveals to her that Paige is actually an imposter who will infiltrate the Power of Three and break it apart. However, Piper is dismissive when she learns of Phoebe’s concerns — so much so that Cole and Leo end up taking sides as well. Before long, all involved are on edge.

Paige senses that her sisters are acting strangely around her, so when she meets Timothy McBride, an attractive young stranger who purports to be a witch, she decides not to tell them. She wants to have something of her own, separate from her Charmed duties. Secrets are estranging the sisters from one another, and the timing isn’t good. Women are turning up all over the city, dead by supernatural causes. The perpetrator may be connected to the sisters’ past — but if they can’t work together, they might not be able to stop him.

I personally find Mirror Image one of the less original Charmed books I’ve read. The premise is the following. Some crazy mist arrives in town, and with it comes a force most terrifying. It evades the Charmed Ones in their dreams, leading Phoebe to having a vision while in a dream-like state. Said vision involves an old armoire stationed on the attic, and something evil pouring from it. Upon awakening, Phoebe and Cole head to the attic, find the armoire and discover an old, hidden letter behind it. The letter was written by one of the Halliwell ancestors, who warms them about a traitor in their midsts, in the shape of a fake sister betraying their trust.

Phoebe discusses this with Piper, who immediately turns her down. Piper trusts Paige, and she’s not planning on ruining the rocky bonds of sisterhood they only just formed over some stupid letter Phoebe found. Because of her sister’s immediate no, Phoebe gets more and more worked up about these events, and she starts to trust Paige less and less.

Meanwhile, the third sister is not entirely oblivious to the obvious quarrel between her two older sisters, but she’s determined not to intervene, mainly because she has no clue what it’s about. Until she begins suspecting it might be about her, and all those self-doubts she long cherished rise back to the surface. Luckily, Paige meets a very charming, interesting and funny guy named Timothy McBride. He’s a witch as well, and knows a bit about the Charmed Ones. Although that might be alarming, Paige chooses not to acknowledge it mostly because she finally thinks she’s met Mr. Right. Unfortunately for Paige and her two sisters, that might not be the case. With a series of unsolved murders, the discovery of an old and abandoned house with more than a dozen skeletons in the basement, the Charmed Ones will need all the help they can get to get rid of this ancient evil. Including the help of one of their ancestors, the same one who wrote the letter warning them about Paige…

The premise might be interesting, but the story is really, really predictable. It seems to have come right out of some cheap romance novel, the writing is messy, the characterization could use some work (especially Phoebe is totally out of character) and I missed the intense action and humorous undertone I usually find in other Charmed books. Plus, in my opinion the plot of ‘one sister having a secret boyfriend who turns out to be one of the bad guys’ has been done over and over again. It was interesting once, but it got boring fast and it’s tremendously boring right now. Additionally, I have to mention that the Law of No Coincedences is ignored all through-out this novel.

As you probably already gathered, I’m not a huge fan of this book. I think the plotline is overused, unoriginal and drop-dead boring at times. The sisters are occassionally out-of-character, I miss the humor I usually encounter in other Charmed books and in the series itself, and the entire story is predictable. I don’t recommend this book to anyone except maybe for Charmed fans who still enjoy the ‘secret boyfriend’ plotline for some reason, or people who just want to make sure they’ve read the entire series. I don’t regret reading this book, but it does come close. The only reason why it does get two stars, is because I found the storyline of murders happening one hundred years ago linked with present-day events remotely interesting. The rest, not so much. Read at your own risk.

Book Review: Charmed – Mist and Stone by Diana G. Gallagher

109773Title: Charmed – Mist and Stone
Author: Diana G. Gallagher
Genre: Charmed, Witches, Young Adult, Supernatural
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books
Publication Date: July 7th 2003
Rating: 4 stars
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Paige Matthews is accustomed to the requirements of her job as a social worker, and she’s willing to endure substandard pay, long hours, and emotional drain. After all, she wants to make a difference — sometimes in a non-Charmed capacity. But she is unprepared for the anger and rage she encounters in Todd Corman, a young boy who has been bounced from caregiver to caregiver for so long that he doesn’t trust authority. Still, Paige is sympathetic and determined to break through.

But when Phoebe stops by the agency for a quick hello, she is rocked by a vision that involves Todd. Strangely, the vision is shrouded in fog. After some investigation, Leo explains that this particular mist has nothing to do with the weather, but rather suggests that Todd’s fate may not be set in stone. Todd has been targeted, and if the Charmed Ones are going to reverse destiny, they’re going to have to race against the clock!

Paige deals with young delinquents on a daily basis, and she can sympathize with most of them. A rocky childhood, wrong friends, parents who couldn’t care less…You can’t blame most of these children for the way they are acting. Usually, when you show them that you genuinely care about them, they open up to you and share their fears and anxieties. They start to trust you. And that’s when social assistants like Paige feel like they’ve gotten a breakthrough. But with Todd, there are no such breakthroughs. He remains unmoved when Paige tries to talk him into trusting her, he reacts indifferently to his environment, he’s reckless, violent and unable to show any emotion other than anger. Of all the children she’s ever worked with, Paige finds him the most difficult one to relate to, and to make him trust her. But it’s not like Paige to give up, not even on children like Todd. She gets him the best help she can, and the only alternative to a youth wasted in juvenile prison – a help center for young but troubled children, like Todd.

Little does Paige know that the things going on at the center aren’t exactly conform to the rules. Fortunately, Phoebe gets a vision involving Todd, and…Leo. In her vision, which is mostly covered in mist, Phoebe can see a man standing next to Todd, a man who is trying to kill Leo. The Charmed Ones only have to add two and two together to realize the man is up to no good, and that him being with Todd is no coincedence. Paige goes to the investigate, but that may not have been the smartest move ever. The danger they are all in is far greater than they anticipated, and Todd is right in the middle of it…

The good thing about Mist and Stone is that it has a decent background story. I’ve always wanted to read more about Paige and her job as a social assitant, because it’s a topic rarely touched upon in the TV series and certainly she must have had her share of troubles at work as well. I also liked Todd, even if his personality is everything but encouraging, and the story of someone trying to make children evil enough so they’d be accepted by the dark side. It seems like a good idea to take children like Todd to do the job, but that’s without taking into account that people, no matter how badly they were treated by society and no matter what horrors they went through, aren’t going to turn up bad per sé. Todd is no exception. Although being bad, violent and mean may come natural to him, that’s really not the person he wants to be.

The major problem I had with this book, is the introduction of the “mist and stone” concept. Since when do Phoebes visions have mist surrounding them, indicating the events can still change, and then the mist lessens as the events come more and more closer to actually happenin? If that concept was ever introduced in the series, then I obviously missed the memo. It also seems odd to introduce it now all of the sudden in this book, when in other books they never talk about it again. Of course the books are stand-alone and all, but it just doesn’t seem right to add a major change to Phoebe’s powers and then to only use it once, like some deus ex-machina thing. I’m obviously not a fan. And to put it as the title of the book seems just silly as well. This book could have easily been written without the change to Phoebe’s visions, and with just the story of Todd and his fight against the dark side as central focus point. It would have been just as interesting, if not even more.

Mist and Stone is the eight book in the Charmed series, not counting the Charmed Classics, which involve Prue, Piper and Phoebe, rather than Piper, Phoebe and Paige. It’s action-packed and plot-driven, not focusing too much on the sisterly troubles between the Charmed Ones or the other members of their family, and instead focusing on the events involving Todd. Although the sister’s personalities are a bit generic – it’s obvious that the attention is on the action, not the emotions behind it – this book is very enjoyable, and has a premises that lies closely to the TV series, and it’s too far-stretched. Excellent reading material for all Charmed fans!

Book Review: Charmed – Something Wiccan This Way Comes by Emma Harrison

146387Title: Charmed – Something Wiccan This Way Comes
Author: Emma Harrison
Genre: Charmed, Witches, Supernatural, Young Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books
Publication Date:
Rating: 3 stars
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Sister Wiccas gather round. By our power we are bound. Hand in hand and heart to heart, force all evil to depart! Paige Matthews is new to the whole “Power of Three” thing, and looking to explore her powers. So when she reads of a Wiccan convention taking place just outside of Las Vegas, she thinks it’s a great opportunity for her and for her sisters to learn more about their witchy ways. Though the girls are all over saving innocents, they aren’t that heavy into Wicca practices, and Paige thinks the retreat could be enlightening. Piper and Phoebe, however, aren’t so sure. They’re certain that while they spend their days battling honest-to-badness black magic, their so-called supernatural sisters will be nothing more than a bunch of blessed wanna-bes. Soon though, they hear of a rash of murders committed against practicing Wiccans, and making an appearance at the convention becomes top priority. But as they head for the desert campgrounds, are the Charmed Ones headed straight for disaster?

Something Wiccan This Way Comes has a great title. Hands down for that one. The premises is nice as well, with the Charmed Ones heading to a wicca convention – that’s a new one, eh? And we have Paige to thank for that idea! – mostly because something or someone is killing innocent witches, and as usually, it’s up to the Charmed Ones to do something about it. At least, that’s why Piper and Phoebe agreed to join their sister on a trip to Las Vegas. Or well, that’s the reasons they give to her, although we all know that even the Charmed Ones can’t resist Las Vegas.

Upon their arrival at witch-camp, the three magickal sisters soon learn that unfortunately they won’t be staying in one of those uber-cool, extremely luxurious hotels. Instead, they’ll spend their time in a small tent. But that can’t ruin the fun, which only gets greater as they meet their fellow wiccans and realize half of them don’t even have any actual magic skills. But innocents are innocents, and the Charmed Ones are determined to help. Then, in the middle of the night, the leader of one of the covens present gets kidnapped and is later found murdered. The Charmed Ones rush into action, aided by two wiccan sisters who lost one of their sisters to the wicca-kidnapper as well, and who Piper immediately sympathizes with, reminiscing her pain over the loss of Prue.

When they finally get a clue of who the kidnappers are, it looks like chances are turning for the Charmed Ones and the wicca community. But unfortunately, things aren’t always as they seem, and sometimes danger comes from a corner most unexpected…

I enjoyed the interactions between the three sisters a lot in this book, and also the fact that Cole and Leo – although I love them to bits – weren’t always present. As I said, I love them, but having them around always can be annoying, especially when the Charmed Ones desperately need some sisterly bonding. Plus, having the Charmed Ones communicate with other witches, most of them wannabes, is hilarious and entertaining as well. It’s totally like Piper to get worked up over people pretending to be witches, but possessing no actual magic, and it’s totally like Phoebe to absolutely not worry about that.

The plot twists, especially the one at the end, were outstanding in this book. It reads more like a mystery novel than an actual Charmed novel though, a murder-mystery, and our three favorite sisters are the detectives in this book. The author did an excellent job getting the personalities of the Charmed Sisters right, and I loved how authentic all three of them were. Phoebe remains my all-time favorite, but I’d give an arm and a leg for Piper’s powers. This book also shows that albeit powerful, they are not without failure, and they too can make mistakes.

Something Wiccan This Way Comes is a fun, original (although not one of the most original, mind you), character-driven book that focuses a lot on the relationship between the three sisters and their coming to terms with the existence of other wiccas who aren’t all that bad, even if they have no real powers. They also learn a valuable lesson about trust and about what it means to be a Charmed One. A nice book for Charmed fans, but not the best one in the series.

Book Review: Charmed – Shadow of the Sphinx by Carla Jablonski

146385Title: Charmed – Shadow of the Sphinx
Author: Carla Jablonski
Genre: Charmed, Witches, Young Adult, Supernatural
Publisher:Simon & Schuster Children’s Books
Publication Date: January 1st 2003
Rating: 3 stars
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Paige Matthews is having a minor identity crisis. She is slowly but surely embracing her long lost sisters’ witchy ways, but she doesn’t want to overstep her boundaries. After all, she wouldn’t ever want to replace Prue Halliwell — even if she could. So Paige considers it a stroke of luck when, one day, her experiments with magic turn her into a cat. Who knew she had a knack for shape-shifting?

One problem: She can’t shift herself back. Her sisters inadvertently betray her when they deposit her at a local animal shelter. Suddenly she finds herself the familiar of a cult that worships ancient Egyptian deities, and is catapulted into ancient Egypt! Piper and Phoebe discover the identity of the stray cat and rally a rescue mission, only to discover another cat-woman, also entrapped within a fortress-like sphinx. This kitty is one feline femme fatale, and the sisters are going to have to put their human heads together to defeat her!

Shadow of the Sphinx is the sixth novel in the Charmed Series, not counting the Charmed Classics. The Charmed Series features the main characters from Season Four and up: Piper, Phoebe and Paige. Cole and Leo appear a lot as well, the first one either in his human form, happily in love with Phoebe, or during his descend into evilness. I thought this book was one of the most enjoyable Charmed novels, especially considering it’s original setting (time travel to Ancient Egypt? Count me in…) and charismatic but socially-awkward (I’ll explain later how these two things can be combined) Tyler. But it’s also one of the books that is extremely far-stretched, even for the Charmed Universe. Paige shapeshifting into a feline is one thing, but time travel is something else alltogether. We see it occassionally in the Charmed Series, but even for the Charmed Ones, Ancient Egypt is a bit far-stretched. Also, the fact that little Tyler supposedly relies on Paige’s power, raised quite some question marks with yours truly.

The story starts off with Paige being extremely stupid, as usually, mainly because she still feels bad for not having as much power as her sisters have. Or so she thinks, because in my opinion orbing things from one place to another, is pretty damn awesome. To prove her skills to herself and her sisters, she decides to shapeshift into a cat, obviously forgetting the fact that felines don’t talk and they certainly don’t say spells out loud. A mistake that will cost her dearly as her sisters, oblivious to Paige’s shapeshifting experiment, mistake her for an actual feline and bring her to the animal shelter.

Her sisters realize their mistake later on that night, when they started to wonder about Paige’s whereabouts and catch the Book of Shadows showing a shapeshifting spell. As fast as possible, they race to the animal shelter, only to discover that Paige has already been taken. Paige’s new ‘owner’ is a young, socially-awkward but undeniably handsome fellow named Tyler. Since his nowadays life somewhat sucks, Tyler has grown obsessed with Ancient Egypt, their Gods (Bastet, the cat goddess ring a bell to anyone?), their habits and lifestyle. Luckily for Tyler, he isn’t the only socially-awkward person with a knack for Ancient Egypt, because he has succeeded in putting together a group of Egypt-fanatics and they perform bizarre rituals every other week, in hopes of accomplishing…well, what exactly they hop to accomplish, they don’t know. Tyler does though, but his wannabe-Egyptian-Gods friends don’t have a clue. That doesn’t keep them from actively participating in the rituals though, and the chanting, and the weird dress code.

Except this time, Tyler’s plan actually works, mostly because he’s channeling magic from Paige. Tyler and his new feline friend are transported back in time to Ancient Egypt. But although cats are worshipped there like the divine little creatures they are, and Tyler undergoes a sudden personality change – gone is the timid, awkward young man and hello to the confident and charismatic version of him – that doesn’t mean they can stay in Egypt forever. For one, Paige would like to be able to fit into her clothes again, and actually have a conversation with someone other than Tyler. But things are strange in Ancient Egypt. For some reason, Tyler can understand Paige when she talks to him in cat-form, and he can channel her magic as well. But the mystery only grows greater when the other Charmed Ones go on a trip back in time as well, and accidently kidnap the wrong feline.

Of all the Charmed books, Shadow of the Sphinx is one of the most original. It was difficult imagining the Charmed Ones in Ancient Egypt though, and I would have liked it if the book focused more on how they would behave/react/try to fit in, rather than burst into energyball-throwing action. I liked the character of Tyler, someone who’s painfully aware that he doesn’t really fit in this world, but reacts all the more naturally to an Ancient, long forgotten culture. I also love the idea of time travel – always have, always will, Back to The Future-fan all the way, but I do think a lot of stuff happened too fast, and the time travelling was a bit too easy in this one. Certainly the Charmed Ones have a lot of magickal skills up their sleeves, but going back in time and altering events with just a flick of a wand (so to speak), is a bit far-stretched. Especially considering the fact Tyler did that all on his own, simply by channeling Paige’s magic while she’s in feline form. A nice thought, but it could have been explained better.

Apart from that, the story is original, action-packed and at times downright hilarious. Although we get a whiny Paige at first (for some reason, nearly every Charmed book starts out with Paige whining about not having awesome powers, not being able to control her powers, or about not having a boyfriend like both her sisters have), she soon develops into the powerful and confident Paige we all know and love. Recommended to all Charmed fans, and bonus points for being funny and original.

Book Review: Eternal Hearts (A Darkness Within #2) by Jennifer Turner

11114576Title: Eternal Hearts (A Darkness Within #2)
Author: Jennifer Turner
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Dark Dreams Press
Publication Date: June 1st 2011
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Author Website
Rating: 3,5 stars
Review copy received for as host during the Eternal Hearts Tour.

Toni Tutoro just wants to go home. Banned from Chicago’s vampiric society after cutting a swath of violence through the city, she must now successfully complete an investigation for the Lord of Chicago to regain the right to live in her hometown again.To ensure Toni’s safety during her probationary period, Drake Black, a feared assassin, is secretly contracted to protect her. Even with direct orders to keep his relationship professional, and his own personal vow to never get involved with a female vampire again, Drake finds himself drawn to Toni in ways he can’t explain. But unbeknownst to him…he’s tied to one of the people who drove Toni to her night of destruction.
Drake’s legendary heritage holds the key to Toni’s survival and success, but will she be able to forgive his connection to the brutal night that robbed her of those she loved most? Will Drake be able to forget the betrayals in his past and risk taking one more chance? But most of all – can they find a way to reach each other in the darkness?

Read my review for Eternal Seduction, the first book in the series.
Read the interview with Jennifer Turner AND a sneak peek into Eternal Embers, Odin’s book!

Toni Tutoro’s reason to take revenge on the vampires who allegedly killed her entire family was totally understandable, and although even some of the ancient vampires feel for her, that didn’t keep her from being banned from her home town, Chicago, when breaking the Veil by killing vampires in public. Now, three years later, Toni is back in town, her presence requested by the very people who banned her in the first place. Unfortunately, the Vampire Lord of the city, Christian, has a very peculiar reason for wanting Toni in town: there’s some sort of werewolf plague going on, and he wants Toni to find out what the four-legged creatures are doing in vampire territory. Failing is out of the question. Meanwhile, we meet up with a familiar person from Eternal Seduction, Drake Black, a man torn and scarred by his long lost love for a vampire woman. While he was unable to let his dead heart beat for centuries, so to speak, with Toni around it does come pretty close. The two of them share an instant attraction, mainly because in Drake Toni finds the protector she seeks, and in Toni Drake finds the honest, reliable woman who would never manipulate him or hurt him intentionally. He can trust her, and it’s that trust he’s been craving for centuries now. It’s a match made in heaven…or somewhere a lot darker. As Toni goes on werewolf hunt, she is forced to face enemies from her past, the most prominent one being the woman who was at least partly responsible for Toni’s exile three years prior. As emotions run high, Toni and Drake must keep their cool…

Toni is a very…annoying character. Initially, I liked her. I felt for the tragic heroine who lost her family during an extremely violent crime, who was forced to flee her hometown for something as silly as taking revenge, and who is now finally able to return, only to learn that her return is only on the condition that she gets information involving the local werewolf population. However, my initial bond with Toni soon dissapeared into thin air as she went from one emotion to the other about as easily as another person takes a breathe. I mean, I don’t change my clothes as much as Toni changes emotion and partly personality as well, and I like changing my clothes two or three times a day. That’s just to give you an example of how much moodswings you have to get through in order to get to the essential plot. Toni just seems all over the place. I like her backstory, her basic personality, her ultimate goals, but I don’t like her extended personality, including the silly moodswings. I felt like slapping her and telling her to stick to one mood already. Even if it was just for a day, or even an hour. It’s exhausting to read about a heroine who’s either insanely happy, insanely sad, insanely scared or insanely angry, or everything inbetween. I like how the author tried to give her heroine a deep and meaningful personality with a lot of different layers, but whereas Jennifer Turner definately succeeded in this in Eternal Seduction, I think she went a bit over the top in Eternal Hearts. Toni is definately never going to be on my friend-list. Even for a traumatized fledgling vampire, she’s just a bit too moodswingy to make me appreciate her.

Drake Black is probably the opposite of Toni. Charming, powerful, but also cool and distant. At least that’s how he is towards everyone else, but oh no, not towards Toni. He instantly warms up towards her, and is all too eager to give her the place in his heart which long ago belonged to a traitorous vampire woman who supposedly scarred him for life. Well, great way to get over that…go for Mrs. Moodswing Extraordinaire. I know I’m being a bit sarcastic, but I couldn’t help but feel that Toni and Drake’s relationship was a bit rushed and a bit…unusual, if not implausible. Honesty alone isn’t going to cut in I’m afraid, not even for Toni, who is the epitome of honesty. This is the classic story of ancient vampire falling for highschool teenager on a bad hormone trip again, except that Toni isn’t even a highschool teenager, which makes this all the more annoying. I wanted Toni, but with a grown-up and adult personality, and perhaps then she would’ve been a nice match for Drake. Now I’m not so sure, and I actually feel kind of bad for the guy, who is thrown into a relationship with the equivalent of a hormonal high school teenage girl.

I liked the storyline, the plot twists and most of the supportive characters. One comment though is that, for a story as plot-driven as Eternal Hearts, the number of supportive characters was just too large. Some simply dropped by to say how much they missed Toni. Yes, and you’re important for the plot how? Your purpose in this life is what exactly? I mean, I’m all for supportive characters, but they ought to have a meaning. And you can say all you want about them getting larger roles in further novels, but if you cannot explain the reason of existence for one third of your supportive characters in this exact novel, then you simply have too many of them. I couldn’t even keep them apart! And I don’t like the name 8-Ball. Especially not for a vampire. I can’t help it.

Moving on, I have to say that another thing that bothered me about Eternal Hearts is how cliché it is. Eternal Seduction was practically a revelation – oh my god, someone can actually write paranormal romance without sounding totally cliché? And, did you notice the original and awesome vampire hierarchy, politics and history? And like, how it’s totally not predictable? Well, that sort of goes kaboom in the sequel. The story is still not predictable, mind you, but I missed Jennifer Turner’s impressive world-building skills, her interesting and original characters, and her unique and innovating take on vampire romance. Eternal Hearts is like a step back. A major step back. We’re thrown back into the realm of cliché, been-here-before stories of weak girl with annoying personality falls for insanely powerful, handsome and protective vampire with a dark side. Sounds familiar?

Well, now I’m officially done complaining. Because beside the fact that I’m not going to join a Toni-fanclub soon, and I’m not exactly cheering with self-made flags and fitting tshirts for Toni and Drake’s relationship, I still enjoyed this novel thoroughly. Eternal Hearts may not have pleased me as much as Eternal Seduction did, but it’s still an outstanding book in the genre of adult vampire romance, it has some kick-ass characters that’ll definately keep me reading (read: Odin…mmmhmm) and I would definately like to learn more about the paranormal world Jennifer Turner created for her Darkness Within novels. I can’t wait for book three in the series, Eternal Embrace, and I hope I get the opportunity to read it, even if I wasn’t as praising in this review as I was in my review for Eternal Seduction. Jennifer has a wonderful narrator’s voice, and she always comes up with a breathtaking, action-packed plot. I’m still impressed and eager to read more. Recommended to all paranormal romance fans.

Author Interview: Jennifer Turner

The Books

11114576Jennifer Turner
1. Eternal Seduction (A Darkness Within #1) | See my review.
2. Eternal Hearts (A Darkness Within #2) | See my review.

Toni Tutoro just wants to go home. Banned from Chicago’s vampiric society after cutting a swath of violence through the city, she must now successfully complete an investigation for the Lord of Chicago to regain the right to live in her hometown again.
To ensure Toni’s safety during her probationary period, Drake Black, a feared assassin, is secretly contracted to protect her. Even with direct orders to keep his relationship professional, and his own personal vow to never get involved with a female vampire again, Drake finds himself drawn to Toni in ways he can’t explain. But unbeknownst to him…he’s tied to one of the people who drove Toni to her night of destruction.
Drake’s legendary heritage holds the key to Toni’s survival and success, but will she be able to forgive his connection to the brutal night that robbed her of those she loved most? Will Drake be able to forget the betrayals in his past and risk taking one more chance? But most of all – can they find a way to reach each other in the darkness?

In this interview, not only was Jennifer kind enough to answer some of my questions (even the ones supposedly everyone asks, like: when are we going to have a book about Odin?) but she was also nice enough to add a spoiler for Eternal Embers (A Darkness Within #5), Odin’s book! Yay! Scroll down to the bottom of the interview to read the preview 😉

The Interview

1. Hey Jennifer! I’ve read both of your books: Eternal Seduction and Eternal Hearts. What made you decide to write paranormal romance in the first place?

Howdy! I’ve always loved vampires and otherworldly creatures. And the idea of being able to create my own world for not only vampires to play in, but other supernaturals as well, was just too tempting to pass up. 😉 Plus, the paranormal romance genre allows for a good dose of horror before the characters find their happy ending, and I can’t imagine ever writing a novel that doesn’t have at least a few mild horror elements in it.

2. The main characters in Eternal Seduction were Logan Ellis and Kerestyan Nelek. Logan is a homeless drug addict who has trouble emotionally relating to the world around her. That’s very unusual – and original – for a paranormal romance heroine. Why this personality for your main character?

The idea for Logan actually came to me while I was standing in the bookstore. I kept picking up book after book where the beautiful heroine had a high paying job/fancy house/college education, and I wondered what would happen if a heroine didn’t have any of those things. I wondered, what if she didn’t have a job, or a high school diploma…or even a home? Then I wondered, what if she isn’t what most people would consider pretty? What if, since she lives on the streets, she isn’t able to shower regularly and is really skinny because she isn’t eating the way she should be? Believe it or not, a lot of my ideas actually come from a good “What if?” session. And that’s exactly how Logan was born. 🙂

3. In Eternal Hearts, the main character is Drake, who we briefly meet in the first novel in the series. Why flip the perspective from Logan to Drake, and why make him the new main character?

Why flip perspectives? Because, to be completely honest, if I had to focus on the same character for more than one book I’d probably get bored and stop writing. 😉 Why make Drake the new main character? Well, there were a few reasons. One, of all the secondary characters in Eternal Seduction, Drake was probably the most emotionally prepared to find his match. Two, Drake lives in Chicago, and the majority of the series is actually set in Chicago. And three, he’s one of my favorite characters, and since he plays such an important role in Eternal Seduction…it just seemed natural to shift to him. 🙂

4. Although mainly dark paranormal romance, your novels also have a great deal of urban fantasy elements: New York City, Chicago, … Was this a conscious choice and if so, why go for the urban element?

The Urban Fantasy (UF) element wasn’t a conscious choice at all. Between you, me, and your readers…I still don’t know what the hell UF really is. 🙂 I’ve heard some authors and readers say UF is basically Paranormal Romance without the romance, yet I’ve heard others say it’s now a genre of its own, where the romance is left out but the hero and heroine constantly face dire circumstances together. Personally, I say if there’s a hero and a heroine, one of which is supernatural in some way, and they make googley-eyes at each other at any point during the story – it’s a freakin’ Paranormal Romance. 😉

5. I have to admit that, probably like a lot of people out there, I absolutely fell in love with Odin right from the start. Is he going to have a book dedicated to him sometime? And if so, when? Or do we find out more about him along the way in the other books.

I can easily say this is the question I get asked the most. 😉 Yes, Odin will definitely get his own book. His book, Eternal Embers, is book #5 in the series, and has a tentative release date of October 2012. But don’t worry, he makes appearances in nearly every book in the series, so even after his book comes out he’ll still be around. 😉

6. What do you love most about writing?

What I love most about writing is the challenge of bringing out realistic character personalities in a world that’s anything but. Creating complex characters that range from just-turned-eighteen to thousands upon thousands of years old, who’ve not only triumphed in their lives, but failed just as spectacularly, is probably what keeps me going when I swear I’ll never write another word. 🙂

7. What are you currently working on? Can you tell us something more about it?

Let’s see…I’m working on the final revisions for the third book in the Darkness Within series, Eternal Embrace, which will release this October. I’m also finishing up the first novella in the Ascension trilogy (Vouclade & Kasey’s story), Ascension: The Revelation – which I hope to release this summer (late August). I’m also working on the final revision of Eternal Desires, the fourth book in the Darkness Within series. And I just recently finished the first draft of Eternal Embers, the fifth book in the series…and probably the most awaited because it’s Odin’s story. 🙂 And I could tell you something about one of the stories, but I’d rather share. 😉

An *unedited* excerpt from Eternal Embers, Odin’s Story (book #5):

“You’re about as arrogant as one individual, human or vampire, could possibly be.”

Odin wrinkled his nose. He might have been crude every now and then, might have been boastful on occasion…but he’d never been called downright arrogant before. And the way she’d said it, how she’d sneered the insult at him, her lips curled like the universe itself agreed with her every word.

He narrowed his eyes and turned to stare at her. “You’re the last person who should be calling anyone, human or vampire, arrogant. You walk around with a chip on your shoulder like the world and everyone in it owes you something.” He motioned around them. “You’re the arrogant one in this room, not me.”

She returned his glare with a searing hatred he hadn’t felt in years. “You don’t know me. You don’t know whether this world owes me something or not. Don’t think I don’t know what your last name means, or what comes with it. You’ve been handed your vampiric existence on a silver platter. Bloodstained it might have been at times, but handed

nonetheless.” She uncoiled from the chair and stalked towards him, still keeping a good ten feet of space between them. “Tell me one time, give me one example of when something in your life wasn’t orchestrated or fixed by your precious father.”

“You think everything in my life’s been perfect just because Stefan Nelek is my Sire?” He took a moment to laugh. “You have no idea what it’s like to be a member of my family. I haven’t had anything handed to me. I’ve had to stand on my own on more occasions than I care to count.”

She didn’t back down. “Name one.”

He folded his arms over his chest. “Early autumn, year of our Lord 1109 A.D. I broke from the Napoli army and stopped to water my warhorse in a small fief outside of England. It’d been raining for a week straight, mud was caked on my horse, my armor…damn, it was all over everything.” He relaxed his arms when the memory burst to life behind his eyes, as though he was living it again. “But the rain had finally stopped. I remember looking up at the full moon and thinking it was nice to see something other than swollen black clouds. And the smell.” He closed his eyes. “Damp earth, crisp leaves, and smoky fires burning in the hearths of the tavern and homes scattered about. I swear that smell doesn’t exist anymore.”

He opened his eyes to see her standing a little closer, head tilted slightly. Her beautiful blue eyes had relaxed, no longer stinging his skin like red-hot daggers. “Continue.”

He nodded, surprised by her tone. The word didn’t sound like an order this time, but more of a request. “I handed the reins to a young boy who offered his service, then headed towards the tavern. I could hear the laughter and singing from down the street.” He smiled as the haunting melody drifted through his mind, but let it fade when the sound that followed sent cold tingles racing up his spine. “I was only a few feet away from the door when I heard her scream. It cut through everything. The terrified edge to it…the desperate, almost hopeless pitch. Before I knew it, I was running between homes, following the ghostly echo.

“In between two merchant’s storage barns, in this thin, dark stretch of ground, I saw three figures hunched over. At first I wasn’t sure what they were doing. I didn’t know if they were men or children, but when the tearing of cloth rent the air, mingling with muffled cries…I knew exactly what was going on.”

Odin shifted his stance and stared down at the carpet. “Her hair was tangled with chunks of mud, blood smeared across her pale shoulders. They’d torn the bodice of her peasant gown nearly in half. The skirt bunched around her waist. I’d no more than unsheathed my blade, ready to return all three men to whatever depraved God made them, when pain exploded in my back. I remember seeing the glint off the tip of the blade as it punched through my breastplate; remember the large arm circling my neck from behind, holding me back the way a parent holds a child. Effortless. Easy.

“I should have known he’d be there.” He fisted his hands. “Enemies, true enemies, always know where you are. They’re always watching, waiting for ways to lay you low.” He shook his head. “Demetrius. That bastard always knew how to draw my attention. He forced me to watch as his men defiled her. Kept his blade steady, skewering my chest as they abused her. The more I fought against his Ancient power, the more brutal his men were. Eventually…I just froze. For the first time in my life I was afraid to move. I was terrified of what they’d do to her next.”

Odin pressed the heels of his palms against his eyes as a nauseous feeling churned his stomach. He grazed a thumb across his bottom lip as a bitter smile spanned his mouth. “The scar on my bottom lip was his last gift to me that night. He told me to remember it. Told me that every time I looked at myself, he wanted me to remember I was just a Nelek Child…just a flawed copy of a relic who should have died millennia ago.”

He dropped a hand and raked the other through his hair. “I remember what he said…but I remember her even more. She couldn’t have been much more than fourteen. The image of her climbing to her feet after Demetrius and his men had vanished, clutching the scraps of her dress to her chest. The tears staining her cheeks, how the crimson fingerprints seemed to glow against the bare skin of her thigh. Every single shred of innocence her eyes should have held was gone. And it was my fault. I failed her. I should have been able to save her…at least help her.”

Odin fisted his hands again, so hard he felt his fingernails digging, burning crescents into his palms. “But in a moment where I wanted nothing more than to weep for her, for what I’d allowed to happen to her, she stood strong behind her tears. And what I remember more than anything, is hearing her say thank you before she disappeared into the night. I recall the sting of her quiet voice as she thanked me for helping her when—”

“When no one else would.”

Odin’s entire body tensed as the quiet voice from so long ago enveloped him. He slowly raised his eyes, finally realizing why the icy blue set staring back at him seemed so damn familiar. No mud tangled Dahalia’s golden hair this time, no blood stained her soft, pale skin…but those eyes, as tear filled now as they were then, hadn’t changed in nearly 900 years.

The Author

Jennifer Turner lives in Bowling Green, Ohio, with her husband, twelve year old daughter and two cats. She regularly claims one of the aforementioned takes far more work than the others to maintain – but she won’t share which one. She’s the middle child between two brothers, and the favorite child of her parents. Of course, that’s always subject to opinion. Jennifer began her writing career as a self-published romance author, but is now represented by Robert Gottlieb, Chairman of Trident Media Group. Visit her website.