Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Book Musings - Touched by AJ Aalto

Title : Touched
Author : AJ Aalto
Series : The Marnie Baranuik Files
Genre : Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Source : Free e-book from Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review

Blurb : 

The media has a nickname for Marnie Baranuik, though she’d rather they didn’t; they call her the Great White Shark, a rare dual-talented forensic psychic. Twice-Touched by the Blue Sense--which gives her the ability to feel the emotions of others, and read impressions left behind on objects--Marnie also has a doctorate in preternatural biology and a working knowledge of the dark arts. She is considered without peer in the psychic community.
Then her first big FBI case ended with a bullet in one shoulder and a chip on the other, a queasy heart and a serial killer in the wind, leaving her a public flop and a private wreck. When the FBI’s preternatural crimes unit tracks her down at a remote mountain lodge for her insight on a local case, her quiet retirement is promptly besieged by a stab-happy starlet, a rampaging ghoul, and a vampire-hunting jackass in tight Wranglers. Marnie figures the only real mystery is which one will kill her first.

Too mean to die young, backed up by friends in cold places, and running with a mouth as demure as a cannon’s blast, Marnie Baranuik is about to discover that there’s no such thing as quitting time when you’re Touched.

My Musings : 

What I expected from the book after reading the blurb was totally different from what I got from it.

In a good way :) Or rather in a great way!!

The book blurb hints at a tough protagonist who has retreated to lick her wounds in a corner after her embarrassment and then being forcibly involved in a mysterious case. Yes, that is the plot of the book. But it has so many layers to the story that it isn't as simple as the blurb makes it sound.

The main character, Marnie is spunky and snarky. She is a tiny package of goodness. She comes alive through the pages of the book. I loved the way she copes with her failures and yet forges ahead to get stuff done. The part I found dubious was the stress on her skills while she couldn't do anything right. But that's her life and she ends up doing something right near the end! I am looking forward to knowing her better Talent-wise in the other books. But she makes up for it with attitude and her helpful nature. She has very colourful language which kept me laughing under my breath throughout the book. Then there's Mark with his stoic personality. He is a complete mystery with his understated feelings. But there was more reaction from his side as the story progressed. I loved the sexual tension between Marnie and Mark, the M&Ms! Last but not least is Harry, who makes my heart go pitter patter. He is my favourite in this book. He gives life to his role with his language and repartee.

While the characters form one of the layers of the tale with their complexity, the plot also adds additional tensions which keep the book going in the right manner. The mystery of the perpetrator behind the death of the girl, Kristin kept me on the toes. That was a twist for me. I didn't guess till the the bad person was revealed. The story moves at a steady pace, a few surprises along the way. I didn't even realise the passing of time till I was at the last page.

The unique feature of the book is the relationship between Marnie and Harry which is actually the basis of the entire book. There isn't a Marnie book without the special link. I have never seen this kind of co-relation so far. It sort of makes sense in a manner and this forms an important part of the plot.

Other than Marnie's less than stellar performance in her role as The Great White Shark, the book cover was the only point to make me frown. I totally didn't connect the cover with the story. The skull and the smoke might be indicative of the villain but I think it could have had a better image. That doesn't mean I would not follow the series!

When I was reading the book, I was reminded of Kate Daniels of Kate Daniels' series by Ilona Andrews. This book has that special feel to it and I would recommend it to paranormal/urban fantasy/romance readers without any reservation. Try it out and let me know!

My one line review : A Cold Company twist to a Talent-ed Marnie in a supernatural fantasy tale.

My rating : 4/5

My reread factor : 5/5


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