The sun is shining, I don’t have to be to work until later than usual and it’s a Sunday morning which is perfect to post my review on a book that I finished recently. Generally I like to post a review shortly after finishing the book so that the details are fresh in my mind but I’ve been busy with work lately so alas haven’t had the time.
Once Burned is the story of a woman named Leila who touched a downed power line by accident in a storm several years ago and upon waking in the hospital, found that it left her with the power to literally shock or electrocute someone depending on the voltage that happens to be running through her body at the time. She’s haunted by having unintentionally killed her mother who tried to help her when she passed out after being shocked by the power line. The power to shock someone also came with the ability to touch an object or person and be able to see their past as well as their future which she generally tries to avoid as she briefly finds herself living that person’s life while temporarily seeing their past or future including their pain. Realizing that she can’t have a job that’s considered normal, she joined a traveling circus and her best friend is a dwarf vampire named Marty.
When she finds herself kidnapped by three vampires, she links with a man who has the ability to control fire and reaches out for help, not knowing that she’s connected with Vlad Tepesh, the notorious vampire that Dracula was inspired by though Bram had all wrong. Vlad has the fascinating abilities to control fire, read minds, fly, is very fast, can regenerate and has amazing strength. When he comes to the rescue of Leila, she at first has no idea what she’s gotten herself into and just assumes that she’s able to walk away. When she finds that she can touch Vlad without hurting him and long exposure to her touch doesn’t seem to bother him, she finds herself intrigued while also looking for ways to get back to her life. Vlad whisks her off to his private jet and she at firsts resists going to Romania until she realizes that there isn’t a choice and her curiosity wins out.
Leila soon learns that there’s an enemy who is willing to do anything to capture her to get to Vlad. Though she’s not keen on helping out Vlad at first, she doesn’t like being a pawn in someone’s game and just wants to get to the bottom of things so she can get back to her work and life that’s waiting for her even if it can be a rather lonely existence at times. Vlad is often bossy, frustrating, sending mixed signals but also will do anything to protect his people which Leila can admire to an extent but doesn’t appreciate having to be under the rule of someone. Then she finds herself being drawn to the moody Vlad the more time she spends with him and has a night of passion which she thought she’d never be able to experience with a man due to her abilities.
After a still unknown enemy puts Leila in danger and those she has come to care for with a fire at a club one night, she no longer is an unwilling sidekick but wants to get to the bottom of who his enemy is and be done with him. When the identity of this enemy is learned, it sends Vlad for a loop and someone who he thought was long dead is very much alive.
Then Leila finds herself kidnapped yet again while searching for the whereabouts of the enemy who also has her dearest friend Marty held captive and drives her to such a desperation that her powers take on a whole new deadly force. Her kidnappers learn too late that she’s a force to be reckoned with and that you should not make a woman who harnesses electricity angry. Then you add in a very angry Vlad who can link to Leila through thoughts and the enemy soon learns that he was way in over his head. Crispy vampires anyone?
I really enjoyed reading this story particularly that it seems to have been inspired by the movie Van Helsing with Jeaniene mentions in her foreword. At times while reading, I was reminded of Beauty and the Beast which is one of my favorite fairy tales and I love reading a variety of different versions. This book had quite the funny moments which I found myself laughing out loud particularly the banter between Vlad and Leila. At times she’d forget that he could hear her thoughts and he was often amused by what she’d often think but not say.
I loved the fact that Leila didn’t let what happen to her keep her down and she was a tough woman who refused to be pushed around. She was scarred due to the accident and would often see a variety of different reactions from people to her disfigurement but she chose to ignore that and wasn’t offended when people would comment. She chose to turn what was a terrible tragedy into something that she could make a living of and didn’t wallow in self pity. Leila is a woman with a big heart who fiercely guards those that she cares for and refused to let Vlad boss her around.
Vlad is a very interesting character though at times he reminds me of a beast. He’s formidable, pushy, often grouchy and really isn’t a people person. But beneath that gruff exterior, is a man who chose to rise above the tragedies he’s faced in his long life and be the protector of those who have been brought under his care. He’s drawn to Leila and soon realizes that she’s his match in ways that past lovers weren’t able to live up to. He’s certainly got his hands full and secretly loves the challenges that come with having Leila as a lover.
From the moment I turned to the first page of this book, I was hooked and was eager to see what next would happen particularly between Leila and Vlad. They really are quite the dynamic duo and balance each other out. This was the first book in a new series that I picked up shortly after it came out. I was busy with other books at the time so didn’t get a chance to read it until now. Much to my surprise, I found out that there are now two other books in the series and I can’t wait to see what next is in store for Leila and Vlad.
Currently I am still reading three books which is keeping me very busy in between having to do that thing called work to support my book habit and other stuff that I have to pay for. The first book that I am reading is an ARC of Caged Magic by Jennifer Lyon which is number five in the series. I’ve just started it yesterday and so far I am really enjoying it. From what I’ve read, it’s the story of Risa and Linc who are formidable in their own ways. Risa is a powerful witch who is trying to help her best friend Blythe and her friend’s infant daughter Kendall escape Archer, the former boyfriend and father of Kendall and tried to kidnap Kendall for some nefarious scheme. Risa soon learns that Archer isn’t just some thug but is in fact a very powerful demon that didn’t want anything to do with Kendall until recently and she will do anything to protect Kendall who is her goddaughter and owns a good chunk of her heart. Linc is a Wing Slayer who has a tortured past and goes out of his way to help those in need, particularly women who are in trouble. He’s often haunted by those that he couldn’t save and has just helped save a woman in need when he finds himself drawn to Risa just before she’s kidnapped with Kendall and knows that he’ll do everything he can to save her from Archer particularly now that he knows she’s the mate he’s searched for all his life. I had to stop reading just at the part where Linc shows up at the place Risa finds herself trapped in which is a strip club with an electric collar around her neck. I can’t wait to get back to it!
The second book I’m reading is the Fellowship. I’m really enjoying reading this book though it’s taking me a while to read as I keep it at home because I worry about carrying the book around with me and having it get damaged. I’m about one hundred pages in and Frodo has made it to Crickhollow with his faithful friends Sam, Merry and Pippin. They’ve been followed by the creepy dark figure on a dark horse but have managed to make it safely to Crickhollow with the help of Mr. Maggot and since crossing the Brandy Wine River, haven’t seen the dark figure since. As I read the book, I’m thinking about the movie and love the fact that the book gives more details into what happens from the Shire to where they are now. I’m curious what next will happen and what adventures they’ve come across. I’ve seen the movies several times so have a general idea but am eager to see what different adventures will be in the book.
The third book that I’me reading is the Revised Edition of the Outlandish Companion though I haven’t had a chance to read much of it in the last few weeks. I’ve read a bit about the details of what’s gone into the t.v. series and enjoy reading Diana’s take on things. She’s a very descriptive writer who often mixes in whit and fascinating aspects that keep me very interested. Again, I can’t wait to read Volume 2 of the Outlandish Companion which won’t be out until late October.
Books Mentioned and their links
Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7039218-once-burned?from_search=true&search_version=service
Caged Magic by Jennifer Lyon- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25480329-caged-magic
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34.The_Fellowship_of_the_Ring?from_search=true&search_version=service
The Outlandish Companion (Updated and Revised) by Diana Gabaldon- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23995404-the-outlandish-companion-revised-and-updated?from_search=true&search_version=service
The Outlandish Companion Volume 2 by Diana Gabaldon- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24974121-the-outlandish-companion-volume-two?from_search=true&search_version=service
So that wraps up my ramblings for the day and will be continued once I finish one or two of the above books. I can’t promise that I might not get distracted by other books in the meantime but rest assured that I will be back with a review or two so tune in soon.