I have a very scientific way of stocking my personal bookshelf. If the characters stick with me and it makes me laugh or cry then I keep it. I have every one of Jude Deveraux’s books. Same with the awesome Jennifer Crusie. I have a lot of Dean Koontz’s stuff, too. Aside from collecting books from those writers, I have an unimpressive stash of what I like to call “the classics.” (Can’t you just hear the air quotes?) To Kill a Mockingbird, The Last Unicorn, The Diary of Anne Frank, A Wrinkle in Time, Walk Two Moons, The Chicago Manual of Style, The Giver and Stephen King’s On Writing. I was pretty content with my three go to authors, “the classics,” and the rest of my non-fiction how-to books that I like to keep around in case I actually want to do something like change out the kitchen sink or, you know, treat a snake bite. I didn’t feel the need to start collecting more books, but then I opened my big mouth.
You might recall a while ago I hosted a pity-fest party of one about being fat and NOT being a best selling author like Julie Kenner. No? Good. Not one of my finest hours. Funny thing about blogs in which you mention people by name – they tend to find out. Fortunately for me Julie Kenner does not have bad breath (that’ll make sense when you read her books – starting with Carpe Demon) and, instead of saying what she should have said (You don’t know me! Why you got your dipper in my Kool-aid when you don’t even know what flava-flav it is, bizzotch!), she was very kind and assured me that her family lived on take out sometimes as well. She also sent me a copy of Carpe Demon.
It took me three days to read Carpe Demon only because I have three demons of my own who are well-skilled at finding me. If they hadn’t grown suspicious of the amount of time I spent in the bathroom on Friday I probably wouldn’t have put it down. Carpe Demon was a great ‘when two worlds collide’ read. Julie is snarky and funny and her heroine Formerly Retired Demon Hunter Kate Connor has inherited her maker’s sense of humor. The premise of a demon hunter is not new, but Kate Connor is and her situation is unique yet strangely universal. (I’m not even sure that’s possible, but yeah, I went there. Wanna fight?)While I’m fairly certain none of the ladies in our PTA moonlight as stalkers of the undead (except maybe Kristi), I do know that each one would fight to the death anything that would threaten her family and most especially her children. They’d also make damn sure that the 3 dozen cupcakes their darlings forgot to tell them about until the morning they were needed were decorated and at the school on time.
While the overall tone of Carpe Demon is light, there are a lot of very real emotional moments thrown in. Obviously Kate’s love for her children is one. I like that Allie and Timmy aren’t the typical tew tewt, wise beyond their years, conveniently disappearing children that are found
everywhere but my home too often in novels. I also like how Kate continues to deal with her first husband’s death while nurturing and growing her relationship with her new husband Stuart. Julie did a fabu job handling the emotional conflict someone in Kate’s position would be experiencing and she did it honestly, with humor, and without mellodrama, which earns her major points in my book.
When you read Carpe Demon – which you will because you’re going to your local bookstore the instant you finish this review – you’ll also find a great cast of secondary characters. (Color me wrong, but I soooo wanted Cutter and Kate to become an item. Again, something you’ll understand when you read the book.) Trust me, you’re gonna love Eddie. You’re also gonna want to punch Marissa in the face.
I just realized that I kind of suck at writing reviews (finally! Something I’m bad at!! The pressure of being perfect was really getting to me) so I’ll bottom line it for you.
Bottom line? Carpe Demon is a great read. It has a fun plot with enough twists and turns to make you think you know who the bad guys are, but then on the next page doubt yourself. It’s funny and witty and just a wee bit sarcastic. The characters are well-drawn and stuck with me even after I finished the book. So much so that I broke my budget and bought 2nd book in her series California Demon. I would have bought Demons are Forever, but sadly it twas not stocked. If this were a series on television, I’d totally put it on T*vo’s to do list. Julie, have your people contact the appropriate people and make that happen will ya? *
Oh, and Julie? Welcome to my bookshelf. I believe your novels will fit right in with Crusie, Koontz, and Devereaux.
*A quick search tells me that this has already happened! Color me freakin’ excited. Also? I’m available if you need someone to help with casting.