Tuesday, December 16, 2008

#37 Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland

My Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

Taking a slight detour from her Nightcreature paranormal romance series, Lori Handeland tries her hand at urban fantasy in the first of a new series called The Phoenix Chronicles.

Elizabeth Phoenix is a psychic and former cop for the Milwaukee police department. Growing up in a foster home, her foster mom Ruthie was a no nonsense woman who instilled tough love in Liz and the other children she fostered, one of those other children being Jimmy Sanducci—Liz's first love and the man who broke her heart.

Now, Ruthie's been brutally murdered, and during her dying moments, she psychically calls Liz to her side. Her body mangled and lying in a pool of her own blood, Ruthie takes Liz's hand to depart some dying words: "The final battle begins now." A searing pain then erupts through Liz's head and she passes out. Upon awakening in the hospital, the police tell her that ex-lover boy Jimmy is wanted for questioning in the murder as his fingerprints were all over the house, including the bloody knife found at the scene.

With Jimmy back in the picture, and Ruthie's cryptic message not making much sense to her, Liz is looking for answers. Fortunately, she still seems to be able to converse with Ruthie from the grave, even if she can't seem to get a straight answer out of her. But apparently, these special powers she's possessed all her life are only the beginning of what's in store for her. For the battle between good and evil has been placed on her doorstep, and the fate of the world is truly in her hands! Talk about a bit of responsibility, huh?

I enjoyed this first book in the Phoenix Chronicles. It was fairly fast paced and engaging. Though if I must be honest, for a book that's billed as urban fantasy, I thought there was a bit too much romance and relationship stuff going on for me to really love it (and I found those parts kind of slow going). Perhaps I could detect the author's background as a romance novelist in the writing style, the terminology used in the sex scenes, etc. Lori Handeland herself has labeled this series as urban fantasy, while calling her Nightcreature series paranormal romances which is why I even mention it. But there were a few scenes where the style would go kind of romantic and I'd find my mind wandering and my eyes starting to glaze over. Yup, that's my built-in romance detector: space out! LOL Sex scenes? Not a problem so long as we're keeping it real and slightly raunchy! ;) But the flowery text and descriptions used in romances sets my mind a wanderin' every time! (For Ms. Handeland's interpretation on the difference between the two genres, see her blog post Paranormal Romance vs Urban Fantasy, written Nov. 5, 2008.)

But overall, I would have to say I did enjoy Any Given Doomsday. The story line drew me in and the ending left me looking forward to the next book, Doomsday Can Wait, which is due out April 28, 2009.

BookCrossing journal page for this book