Police officer Ty McIntyre was cursed to find a girl no one had seen in twenty years. And it was his job to save her from the dark forces swirling around her. He found her locked away in a psychiatric hospital, where she thought she was losing her mind. Born a witch, Irina Cooper was able to read other people’s thoughts. She had never known the source of her power, or her true heritage–until now.
Irina could read Ty’s true intentions and sense his deepest desires. But with a witch killer seeking to destroy the Cooper legacy, could these ill-fated souls embrace Irina’s gift and end her family’s curse? And beyond that, would they be able to save each other?
Sometimes I need a quick feel-good read. My go-to books tend to be young adult contemporary romance and Harlequin publications. For this review, I have read a paranormal romance from a Harlequin imprint, Nocturne. I’m not sure if the imprint is still around, but it has been a favorite choice of mine. As well as those billionaire romances with the virginal heroines. You know the types, they all have a red cover and tend to have the word ‘virgin’ or phrase ‘secret baby’ on the title. Anyway, the book I read was Damned by Lisa Childs.
Damned is the third installment of a paranormal romance trilogy that follows the magical life of three sisters separated as children. Though I haven’t read the other two, the third book does well standing on its own and following through the joined storyline with a climactic ending. What is the over-arching storyline?
The three Cooper sisters, Elena, Ariel, and Irina, were separated as young children, each placed into foster care or adoption. They are descended from a long line of witches and each has a special ability. In the midst of this, they are fighting for their lives because there is a man hunting them down. In each book, each sister finds their true love.
Overall, the over-arching storyline is very organic. You don’t need a lot to gather what is going on, but it is enough to tie the three separate narratives together. It was very easy to understand the bulk of it and to gather up an idea of what happened in the previous books, all the while still gaining new knowledge to keep the story going.
However, I am not sure if this is a good starter into Lisa Childs’ works. I haven’t read her before, but I can see the potential in Damned and felt that the narrative was just slightly off. There were some instances that my own preconceived ideas pulled me away from the story and there were moments when I found myself feeling that the pacing was off.
For instance, one of those “preconceived ideas” was continuity. I felt that one of the safe houses felt a bit convenient and probably shouldn’t have had the number of resources inside given the circumstances as to why it became a safe house. Another moment was just in timing. There isn’t a set number of days or months that show how long Irina was in the run and I was left scratching my head at the idea of it being months or days. If days, one aspect of Irina’s personal items would make sense. However, that made her memory loss a bit wonky for me.
Now, I know memory loss can happen almost instantly, but Irina seemed to remember things when the plot demanded it. Therefore, it made the story a bit shaky. And then there is the pacing. In the beginning, I had no complaints. But somewhere in there, the “romance” seemed to rush in. I didn’t get a chance to feel for the characters or their chemistry.
There is nothing wrong with insta-love and with Irina’s ability, that trope isn’t surprising. That said, I was just not a fan of how it was executed.
This isn’t to say that I disliked the book. The dialogue was well done and I did feel a slight urge to read the other two books. I also can see the potential in Childs’ writing. I know this isn’t her first book, but I am betting it also wasn’t her best. I would like to try another book of hers, perhaps one in this trilogy.
Overall, Damned served its feel-good purpose and gave me a breather from the day-to-day stress. And that is what is really important. Would I read this book again? No. Would I read Lisa Childs? I am interested to see more. If you have any suggestions, please tell me.