Gena Showalter – Playing with Fire

“Isn’t it amazing how one seemingly innocent decision can change your entire life? For me, that decision came in the form of a grande mocha latte.”

Quick synopsis: Belle Jamison was your typical barista until one day, she drank a mocha latte laced with a super serum formula. Now, she can wield four elements with the proverbial click of her fingers. Rome Masters is sent to retrieve her for his paranormal agency, but a supernatural criminal – read, ‘scrim’ – is also after her. Can Belle master her newfound powers before the scrim captures her, or will she be too distracted by Rome’s painstakingly good looks?

Thoughts and feelings: This was a last minute addition to the book list, after I spotted it in The Works [FYI, most of my books are from the 3 for £5 range at The Works, it is a dangerous, dangerous place]. Naturally, being as anxious as I was after I purchased it, it was the first book to read on the list. Oh, naive Becky was too naive with this one.

I don’t know if it’s because I spent my teenage years reading Twilight, and Playing with Fire being full of the things I didn’t like about the Twilight series. I don’t know if it’s because the character in the book is 24, and being 23, I couldn’t identify with how the character acted. I just did not like this book, aside from the first paragraph. I wanted to stop reading this book at the 100-page mark, but in the nature of this challenge I stuck out the full 370-odd pages.

Here’s what I did like: the concept. I like how something so innocuous as drinking your usual coffee could have such life-changing effects, such as wielding the four elements.

Here’s what I didn’t like: everything else. Instead of the superhero origins story, I trawled through the 300 ensuing pages about how much Belle was attracted to Rome. Attraction, I can identify with, but the minutiae of which I learned about Rome’s body was overkill. In fact, the minutiae of which I learned about Belle’s desire for Rome was overkill. Also, what’s a paranormal romance without some racy scenes? At 23, I’m no stranger to ‘mature’ content. I admittedly have read some erotica in my 23 years, but I can only describe Belle and Rome’s interactions to be cringey. It was just decidedly not for me.

Would I read it again? No, sorry. Just not my sort of book. Sad start to the summer book list, if I’m honest.

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