THE REVIEW: Influential Magic by Deanna Chase

influential-magic-copy1

Crescent City Fae Series Book One

Genre Paranormal Published 8 March 2013 Publisher Bayou Moon Press LLC

It’s tough being a faery in New Orleans, a city fraught with vampires… especially when their very existence drains your life-force. Willow Rhoswen, owner of The Fated Cupcake and part-time vampire hunter for the Void is having a rough week. Four years after her twin brother’s mysterious death, Willow’s life is threatened and the director saddles her with a new partner—her ex-boyfriend, David. To her horror, he’s turned vamp, which causes her physical pain whenever she touches him… and any other specimen of the undead.

Caught between two gorgeous men and a director who’ll stop at nothing to control Willow’s gifts, she’ll have to follow her instincts and learn who to trust. Otherwise, she risks losing more than just her life.

The Urban Book Thief Review

urban book thiefMs. Chase has invented a rich world of magically infused cupcakes, faerie tree huggers, Shih Tzu-Wolf shape shifters and a mafia-like vampire family who keep getting in everyone’s darn way.

This book was a fun, fast paced read. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. But! it did take the first couple of chapters for me to really warm up to the story. There was no insta-love here, but by chapter 10 I started to become a little more invested with each of the characters. And this has absolutely no correlation to the fact that Talisen (faerie boy, cutie pie) started to get a little more air time at this point. Nu-ah. Okay… well… you twisted my arm… he was so pretty and sweet – and I’m not usually into sweet guys. A cute and dreamy flutterfly. Be still my beating heart.

The book follows the story of earth faerie Willow, cupcake store owner by day and reluctant vampire hunter by night. Which I love! Who doesn’t love cake, dream of having wings and staking naughty fang-boys as a side job?

Willow

Willow

Living in New Orleans, Willow was forced to draft herself into helping the Void for five years, a supernatural crime fighting agency led by her evil Aunt Maude. Not only can Willow sense vampires within a one mile radius but she also bakes food which contain magical properties that manipulates victims into doing what they want. Yum! So she’s a useful lady to have around and the Void have every intention of using her many ‘talents’. Though with nasty side-effects. Vampires drain her energy levels down to the point where sometimes she can’t even pick herself off the floor and fly away. Luckily for her, Willow has a dog called Link who morphs into a wolf and helps her out when she gets into tight spots. Also waiting in the wings is Phoebe, her kickass disguise wearing best friend. As her fellow house mate and Void partner, Phoebe is a witch with a penchant for carrying daggers in her knee high boots and dusting vamps before they have a chance to speak.

My kinda lady completely.

Considering Willow is a vampire hunter her first encounter with a vampire isn’t very impressive. Without her bestie Phoebe at her side she stood paralysed with fear waiting to be made into chump food. Lucky her wolf Link was there to save her ass. Normally, this wouldn’t impress me. But what I love about Willow is that she doesn’t want to use violence to get out of a sticky situation. She’s a sweet but determined pacifist who’s hesitant to break the law, hates violence and doesn’t agree with manipulating people. If she had a mantra it would probably be something like – magic is a privilege, not a weapon. But Willow’s not a pushover – not at all.

“You’ve never been one to ask permission from anyone. And you sure as hell don’t wait around for a man to do anything. It’s not a surprise you’d disregard any plan put in place by anyone other than yourself or Phoebe.”

David

David

A free spirited faerie, Willow thrives on life magic and is naturally abhorrent of all things dead. So it’s a bit of a shock when her ex-boyfriend David shows up all fanged and friendly three months after he dumped her ass in a text message. He doesn’t know that Willow can’t physically stand the touch of a vampire, one thing that wasn’t a problem when they were together because back then he was human.

“I’ve missed you,” David mumbled into my neck and wrapped his arms around my waist. He rested his cheek on the top of my head and hugged me to him, like a long-lost lover he’d never wanted to let go.

Now I’m incredibly biased against this vampire hottie as I know personally how it feels like to be dumped by an electronic device. Not cool man, not cool. This isn’t something that you can easily bounce back from, particularly if that same ex comes back as a vampire. David is a mysterious character with a lot of hidden depths and I imagine that these won’t all come to light until the next book in the series. As a human, Willow thought that he was sweet, gentle and caring. But now he’s mister badass vamp with his dark clothes and silk shirts, the gloves have come off and a darker, crueler side has come out to play. This I like. This I’m sure many other readers will like too. But he’s not completely cold and dark.  David still retains some of his lost humanity and isn’t above giving Willow a pain-filled look every now and again. But the big mystery for most of the book was why David chose to become a vampire in the first place.

David sat, crossing one leg over his knee. To anyone else he would have appeared casual, unconcerned. They wouldn’t notice the tiny squint of his right eye. His one and only tell that he was seconds from losing his patience. Last time I saw that look was right before he’d fired one of the contractors who’d worked on his company’s oil rig. The guy had made one too many inappropriate remarks about tasting my faery bits. Yeah, those bits.

A big plus for David is that he is into bedroom picnics, which are the best kind of picnics in my humble opinion.

There are two main occurring plot lines in Influential Magic. One involves the mystery of how Willow’s twin brother Beau died four years ago. The other is about Willow’s undercover operation with David within the shady vampiric world of Cryrique. This brings her into contact with Allcot, a walking cliché of a silk wearing, double entendre making, lip smacking vampire master. Unfortunately, he also happens to be David’s Sire. This does not bode well for their rekindled relationship. Willow can’t possibly trust David now as he plays double agent to both the Void and Cryrique.

Talisen

Talisen & Link (Sorry, they were all out of Shih-Tzus)

So what’s a girl to do?

Get right on the phone to Talisen, the best-friend of her dead twin brother that’s who. A pretty, green-eyed faery, Tal and Willow have been flirting on and off for the past nine years. But he likes to play around – a lot. And Willow doesn’t want to be another notch on his bed post. Fae gifted in crystal magic, Tal doesn’t feature heavily in the book but can usually be found after a fight scene healing people with his magic stones (which I am happy for him to use on me whenever he wants).

My heart skipped a half beat, the way it always did when he started flirting, even though I knew he didn’t mean anything by it. Tal behaved the same way around all women. He was an equal-opportunity flirt.

There is an easy and charming banter between the two. Though at one point Tal calls Willow ‘dude’ – and I’m not sure how I would react to a hot guy making me feel like a ninja turtle. In my humble opinion there aren’t enough sexy faery men in booklandia, oh… plus he makes cookies – so I’m all for team TalWil – go team! Though my spidey senses tell me that there is going to be a second book and in that second book David’s toothy charms will make some serious headway.

Overall, this was a good introduction to a new series. There was a little world building, a hint of romantic tension, some light petting between characters, a cheesy villain and a mystery arc that will probably play out until the last book. The author has built a very interesting world, yet unfortunately it’s not as solid as it needs to be to really draw the reader in. I had so many questions about the world on a larger scale. Maybe that will be addressed in the next book? There was very little profanity and no real violence – which makes for a nice change if you are tired of or wanting a break from books which contain too much sex and blood.

I’m intrigued as to where the author will go next with the storyline so I will definitely be reading book two when it comes out in November 2013.

The Urban Book Thief has awarded Influential Magic a kiss factor rating of three – bravo!

Kiss FactorKiss FactorKiss Factor

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