I know I'm probably a little crazy. I accept this as part of my life and move on. I'm obsessed with rereading books.
It probably started when I would be stuck in the car for hours, going on soccer trips or up to the lake. It got reinforced during college when I was in and out of physical therapy and orthopedic centers. It was cemented in after college when I wanted a bit of nostalgia and reached back into my old bookshelves at home to old comforting books and my high school anthologies.
So here I am, rereading a wonderful series by Donna Augustine.
Don't you freaking love the cover?
The cover shows the main character, Jo, against a moon with her sunglasses on (hey, it is Vegas) and shit-kicker boots. It doesn't give much away about the book but I love how the model is looking over her shoulder, like Jo does for the majority of the first book. It is dark, mysterious and the model matches the character well.
Jo is a kick ass heroine who is trying to work her way through college. She takes her friend up on a job at a new casino in Vegas, hoping that it will give her a little more free time and better tips than at the dingy diner that was her previous place of employment. Jo lives by herself, in a trailer park. She distances herself intentionally so people won't know what a freak she is. If it wasn't such a cheesy reference, I would say that song "Independent Woman Part 1" by Destiny's Child would fit her. Jo has been alone so long that she doesn't know any other way, except to take care of herself and mind her own business.
“Only honest people take you at your word. Liars and thieves expect the same in return. Unfortunately for him, I didn’t have a problem lying when it came to saving my own ass."
Jo never anticipates that this casino job is about to become a lot more than that. The distressingly attractive owner of The Lacard is part of the problem. The other problem is that her secret may not be as unusual as she thinks and covering it up is becoming more and more difficult.
I have to put this character together in my mind. I imagine the strength and size of someone like Chris Hemsworth, the voice and power of Richard Armitage and the personality of Rick from Casablanca, wonderfully portrayed by Humphrey Bogart. He is the kind of man you can picture in a battle with a sword just as well as you can see him prowling the tables of a casino like an overlord. Which I guess is part of the point
"He smelled too good, he looked too good and it was just completely unfair. Villains were supposed to be ugly. Just another was I was getting screwed in this deal My villain didn't even look like he was supposed to."
This character works. Cormac is awesome and I understand his motivations. He is a strong man who has been in control for a long time and knows what he is doing. He knows his purpose in life. He has a job. He has a direction. He is successful and he has fun when he has time for it.
But he is just as isolated as Jo in all of this. Yes, he has staff and acquaintances but he doesn't have a partner or a confidant. He has to be overlord all of the time but has no time for friends which can be a lonely existence for him. Sure, he can distract himself with the other women at the casino but Jo seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Jo, as I said, is an independent girl. She was passed around through the foster care program as a child, never really having a place to belong. Her foster parents figure out that she has powers and she gets shuffled off. For the first part of the book, her powers aren't exactly specific. Telekinesis? Things tend to start floating around her and she seems to have some sort of electroshock thing going on but it is never really explained and that adds to the mystery.
A girl named Lacey is her lab partner and as close to a friend as she has. She gets Jo a job as a waitress at a casino to bring in more money over a shorter amount of time. Jo is resistant at first, she hates accepting favors, but eventually caves. She quickly meets the owner of the casino and realizes why everybody is so intimidated by him. He is the epitome of hot alpha male. Cormac is too sexy for his own good and knows it. Furthermore, he likes to watch Jo and seems to be the overlord of his own little kingdom of The Lacard.
When Jo sees something that she shouldn't, things go downhill very quickly. That sexy alpha man of a boss? Yeah, he orders her to be shot.
That's really the beginning of her story to figure out who she is and what she is doing with her life. The Lacard is hiding a huge secret that includes aliens, wormholes, Fae and werewolves. Cormac needs Jo's abilities to help keep things moving along and keep the peace between all of the societies but there are more problems than just her not knowing what she can do.
The Fae are after her. The werewolves are after her. All she wanted was to be able to drift into the crowd and now she is expected to help keep the Earth in one piece, Talk about pressure.
Why I Love It
There really isn't anything that I don't like about this book, or this series in general. There is no insta-love. There is attraction and jealousy and petty rivalries. Jo is vindictive and Cormac can be just as bad. It's sort of refreshing to see people fighting and duking it out, just like real people do. They don't pull their punches and are horrendously rude to each other. I've gotten so sick of these books that is all serious drama where people aren't just being stubborn and they don't just accept things. Jo stands up for herself and I think that Cormac respects that and finds it hilarious at the same time.
It's also laugh out loud funny. Jo is so sarcastic and grating. I'd probably hate dealing with her as a person but Cormac is just as bad. She uses it as a defense mechanism but she can always be counted on to say something unexpected.
So 5/5 stars. All good.