Badass Book Reviews Welcomes:
I recently had the pleasure of reading AJ Larrieu’s debut novel, Twisted Miracles, and I loved it – a solid 4 skull read! I’m super excited to have AJ stop by the blog today and introduce you to her world of Louisiana shadowminds because I think this is a perfect read for fans of Badass urban fantasy. But enough from me, let me introduce you to the book and then AJ will take over. Be sure you keep reading for your chance to enter the amazing giveaway we have and see my full review of the novel.
Twisted Miracles by AJ Larrieu
Book #1 in The Shadowminds
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: April 7th 2014
ARC Provided by Author and Carina Press
Writing Outside the Paranormal Canon
There’s a rich history of folklore and myth underpinning canonical paranormal creatures. Legends of vampires, werewolves, witches, zombies and angels go back hundreds or even thousands of years. Damon Salvatore of The Vampire Diaries, Clayton Danvers of Bitten—they might not look much like their literary ancestors, but they still carry those ancient creatures’ DNA, and I think that’s part of what makes their stories feel so real. The characters tap a rich vein of cultural memories we’re only barely aware of. They feel familiar.
When I decided to write something different—telepaths and telekinetics, people who can manipulate energy with their minds—I didn’t have that deep well of myth to draw from. There have been plenty of books written about people with psychic powers, but most of them are more modern. When it came to making my made-up world feel real, I had to use something other than legends.
At first it felt very freeing. After all, if there are no traditional rules, I can make up whatever I want! But that way leads to madness. For any paranormal world to feel real, it has to obey some sort of rules, and those rules have to make some sort of sense. The legend that sunlight kills vampires is so well-established, we don’t stop to wonder if it’s “true” or not—it’s part of the canon, and if a vampire can walk around in daylight, we want an explanation. But telekinetics? There aren’t enough of them out there to establish a set of laws.
But maybe that’s okay. In this case, maybe the laws aren’t historical, but logical. Instead of researching mythology for my book, I did a kind of “thought experiment” and asked myself: If people can move things with their minds, how much can they move? If I pretend for a moment that this is actually real, what are the limits, and what are the possibilities? This led me to all kinds of crazy places. I gave different flavors of power to different folks and came up with people who could convert energy (telekinetics) or simply detect it (dowsers) or change it in precise, intuitive ways (healers). It ended up being even more fun than a free-for-all—like a puzzle I got to figure out as I went.
As for some of those other paranormal creatures? Well, they definitely show up… they’re just a little bit different. 🙂
About The Author
Buy Twisted Miracles today:
AJ has been so kind to offer an amazing giveaway. To celebrate the release of her debut novel, she is offering an amazing prize pack for one Badass (US-only) winner. It will include:
- one handmade bookmark made of reclaimed Louisiana cypress
- one mug “advertising the fictional B&B where Twisted Miracles takes place.
- one lavender sachet
- one e-copy of Twisted Miracles (But if you’ve already bought it—don’t worry! I’ll give you any one book by one of my writer buddies Jenn Bennett or Kristin Miller instead. Your choice, print or e-book, any available title.
Enter using the rafflecopter below and click here to learn more about the items in the prize pack.
Christal’s Review – 4 Skulls – A-
AJ Larrieu’s debut novel, Twisted Miracles, took the basic ideas of telekinesis and telepathy and ran with them. She created a fascinating new world and filled it will flawed, but determined characters. I really enjoyed my introduction to this version of Louisiana and I can’t wait to find out more about Cass, Shane, Lionel, Bruce, and the rest of The Shadowminds crew!
Cass is telepathic and hails from Louisiana, but don’t come to this book thinking you’re getting another Sookie Stackhouse. Cass is a very different character personality-wise and she also has the added power of telekinesis. A traumatic event in her past spends her running from Louisiana and the shadowmind community, but she gets pulled back in with the disappearance of her friend, Mina. Cass begins to learn more about her powers and what was the real cause of the tragedy in her past. She also begins to get close to her ex-beau, Shane, again. I appreciated the AJ let Cass struggle; she wasn’t instantly a mental powerhouse. She had setbacks and was scared of her abilities, but overtime she learned to wield them to help others. I was also happy to see very little of a love triangle. I actually don’t even think you can really call it that because Cass is never truly interested in the other man.
It took me a little longer to warm up to Shane in Twisted Miracles. He seemed like a solid guy, but he just could not believe Cass when it came to how far advanced her powers were. He wants to believe her, but he has doubts because he’s never seen an ability like that before. It did make his action seem more “real,” but I didn’t fully enjoy his relationship with Cass until he accepted everything as truth. I liked that he and Cass has a long-established history as well; it made everything that developed between them much more realistic than insta-love.
Twisted Miracles also had really fascinating secondary characters. I would love to see more of Jackson, the man who helped Cass with her powers before she returned to Louisiana, and the other San Fransisco shadowminds and guardian. I absolutely loved Lionel and Bruce, Cass’s surrogate family. They had a great relationship and I loved the extra little elements of them running a B&B. Bunny, the shadowmind healer, also seems like she has more up her sleeve than was shown here and the guardian Susannah will definitely be a force to be reckoned with. The one character that I wish had had more development was Mina. We are told she and Cass were close, but I never felt that way. They were separated for much of the book, but even when they were together I didn’t really get a sense of their friendship.
The eventual villain of Twisted Miracles might not be too surprising for some readers. A few hints are thrown out at the beginning, but then the background starts to fill in and earlier assumptions may fall into doubt. Even if the ending wasn’t too shocking, I still enjoyed the ride and was never bored with Cass and Shane’s investigations. The end did wrap up rather quickly, but I think it left plenty of loose ends for the next book to build on.
Thank you to Netgalley, Carina Press, and AJ Larrieu for providing a review copy of this book.
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