Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: The Hot Zone by Jayne Castle

Title: The Hot Zone
Series: Harmony, Rainshadow
Author: Jayne Castle
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Jove
ISBN: 0515154725
ISBN-13: 9780515154726

Halloween—with its tricks and treats—is a dust bunny’s dream come true. Just ask Lyle, Sedona Snow’s faithful sidekick. But for Sedona, it’s a nightmare. Though her new job managing a small hotel and tavern on Rainshadow is helping her move on from her tragic past, a bizarre disaster down in the catacombs has brought a pack of rowdy ghost hunters to her inn.

And now, Sedona’s ex has arrived on the island, claiming he wants to get back together, just as a newcomer appears to have a strong interest in her. Cyrus Jones is the new Guild boss in town. He has his own agenda when it comes to Sedona, but even the best-laid plans are no match for the passion that springs up on Rainshadow….

My rating:

Oh, wow. These Harmony/Rainshadow books are getting better and better.

Even with the world already built, Ms. Castle keeps adding more and more, but without overdoing it, without piling up too much or maybe descending into 'ridiculous'. There's just enough old to keep things familiar and enough new to keep things interesting.

The rest was the usual fare with two strong leading characters, what is it about men of Harmony that is so appealing? Ms. Krentz has had male characters with supernatural powers appear in both her historical and contemporary novels, yet those men, formidable as they might be, just cannot compare with the men on Harmony.
They're not that different, the man of the past, the present, and the future. They're all dark and sometimes broody, sexy, protective, passionate, sometimes arrogant, self-confident, and not particularly afraid of their feelings or expressing them, yet there is a subtle 'something more' present when it comes to the man of Harmony. Maybe it's the futuristic setting, maybe it's the alien world...I have no idea, there's just something extra there.

Okay, Cyrus Jones, the hero of this story, was no different. And the fact of his 'strange' talent that has resulted in him being nicknamed Dead Zone Jones, made him even more compelling. The only problem was the name Cyrus, but that is a minor hiccup. ;) So it came as of no surprise his heroine would have to be his match—at least on the paranormal levels. I loved Sedona. She was your usual Krentz/Quick/Castle heroine, but without that extra baggage of extra stubborness, arrogance, and opinionated stuckup-edness that irks me sometimes while I'm reading Quick's historicals.
I guess the ladies of Harmony have their charms as well, one of them being the fact they're not annoying, know their limitations, and are not afraid to let the men lead sometimes. I guess that 'knowledge' comes with time, and emancipation of the female gender through history.

I admit this sounds more like an essay than a review, but I just can't help but concentrate on the characters more than the story. Because, unlike in some novels, the characters in this one (and its predecessors) carry the story and not the other way around, they're not just there for the story to be told, and that's what makes me want to return to the world of Harmony again and again. I'm invested.
The characters are the main deal here, and the story is just a means for us readers to get to know them.

The fact that each and every story, although set in the same universe of a far-and-away planet, Alien catacombs, paranormal powers, suspense and intrigue, is different, and I never get the feeling of being-there-read-that, is a major plus.

This story was no different. The suspense was great, and I had no idea who all the bad guys might be, which is always wonderful news to me, the romance was the usual fare as far as romance on the planet Harmony goes (the instant attraction on both sides of the spectrum, the initial knee-jerk reaction on one or both sides, the inevitable slide down that slippery slope, the scorching coming together of two so very different talents that nevertheless end up complimenting each other...), there was even more info as to what makes Rainshadow island so very different (I can't wait to read more about the Wonderland)...One thing I missed was more involvement of the Shadow Bay residents. I've become accustomed to the eccentricities of the town and its inhabitants, and the fact they were pretty much absent in this story, was a bit say.

But there was too much going on, so I'm not disappointed. How could I be with yet another great addition to the series. I'm looking forward to the next installment.


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