Candy Houses (Grimm’s Circle, Book 1)

Candy HousesBy Shiloh Walker

Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Publication Date: October 6, 2009
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Purchased

So you think you know fairy tales? Guess again. Greta didn’t get her happy ending her first time around. And now that she’s a Grimm-special kind of guardian angel and official ass-kicker in the paranormal world-romance is hard to find. Besides, there’s only ever been one man who made her heart race, and the fact that he did scared her right out of his arms. Now Rip is back. And just in time too, because Greta needs his help. On a mission he knows is going to test all of his strengths and skills, the last person Rip expected to see is the one woman who broke his heart. Working together seems to be their only hope. But, when faced with a danger neither of them anticipated, the question is, how will they face the danger to their hearts-assuming they survive, of course. Warning: Dark, sexy, a little bit scary-this fairy tale is for grownups and is best saved for bedtime.

Goodreads Summary

Greta is on a mission but she’s not sure exactly what it is; she knows she’s been sent to Ann Arbor for something, but it’s only after a boring week that she finally feels the pull of something evil.  Following the trace, she finds a teenaged girl in possession of a tainted book, about to invite the demons (the orin) hovering over her into her body.  When Greta charges in to the rescue, she finds herself suddenly at the mercy of a Grimm’s nightmare: a bocan, an unearthly killing machine, capable of killing even her.  Fortunately for Greta, she’s got back-up in the form of ex-lover Rip, who’s been sent to Ann Arbor on a mission of his own.

Rip’s been ordered to there to find and execute a Grimm gone rogue, his former mentor Fae.  He had no idea Greta was there, but now that he’s found her, he’s determined to keep her with him.  He’s never forgotten the week of passion that they shared, even if she seems to have.  When it looks like Fae may have been the one to have given Mandy the demon book and may be the one unleashing the orin, Rip decides he needs to work with Greta to protect Mandy first and worry about killing Fae later.

It’s revealed at the beginning of the story that Greta’s origins are from the story of Hansel and Gretel (or vice versa), with an ominous twist.  She was horribly abused before choosing to become a Grimm and mentored by the witch in the gingerbread house, who was actually a beautiful woman in a nice cottage.  Rip would be Rip Van Winkle, although his story came after he became a Grimm, not before, and it was slightly less ominous.

Their romance is the best part of this novella; Greta is hesitant to start things with Rip again, believing that he never wanted anything long-term to begin with, while he’s always known Greta was the one for him.  The story alternates in first person narrative from Greta’s perspective and third for Rip and it makes for a very unique look at their romantic thoughts for each other; you “hear” her hesitation and “see” his dogged determination.  The sex between them is explosive and erotic; scorching is about the best term to use.  Walker writes some of the best contemporary steam out there.

The action was very good, but considering all the world-building that had to go on in this first book, coupled with the romance between Greta and Rip, it ended up being the one element that had to suffer a little bit in the necessary space constraints of a novella, I think.  Both Greta and Rip can kick some serious butt, and I already covet that double knife of his, but the resolution felt a little quick.  I still liked that this wasn’t the end for one character, that there is obviously going to be continuity for the series.

My Rating: B+



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