Crazed Hearts (Grimm’s Circle, Book 3)

Crazed HeartsBy Shiloh Walker

Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
Genre: Parnormal Romance
Source: Purchased

He’s no fairy-tale prince. But he just may be the hero she needs.

Ren has always danced along the fine line between being a little bit crazy and being overcome by a darkness that’s haunted him since his mortal days. As an empath, he prefers to live far from people who would leak their emotions all over him, so he’s not expecting the woman who drives right into the heart of his wood. She has a cursed book with her and demons hot on her heels. Even more surprising are her abilities and the reaction Ren has to her.

Aileas is on the run. She just isn’t certain if she’s running from something real or imagined. One thing is for sure, her brother is dead and she’s certain the book she found has something to do with his death. She really starts to doubt her sanity when she meets a hot but somewhat crazed man in the middle of nowhere.

He calls himself Ren, and although he doesn’t seem to be out to hurt her, he definitely wants something. She just doesn’t understand what. She does know what she wants though. She wants him, and the shadows and darkness she glimpses inside him don’t matter. At least, right up until he claims to be a guardian angel.

And she thought she was going crazy.

Goodreads Summary

Ren finally gets his story (yay!); he was first introduced in No Prince Charming (Grimm’s Circle Book 2) as the occasional lover of Elle, a woman he was in love with who didn’t love him back, then he appeared in the short story, I Thought It Was You (Grimm’s Circle, Book 2.5), as he continued to struggle with his feelings and felt on the brink of insanity.  At that time, Grimm usher Will appeared with a new project for him: mentoring future Grimm, the teenager Mandy, who’d been saved from demon possession in the first Grimm’s Circle book, Candy Houses, by Greta.  I know, it’s a lot to take in, but if you haven’t already started the series from the top, it’s well worth going back and doing so.

As the story opens, Ren is forcing Mandy out on a run in rural Wisconsin, when they’re nearly run off the road by a woman.  Aileas has been trying to escape something, evil, voices, a presence..something, for more than a week now, and all she knows is that it’s related to the book she’s been carrying in the back seat of her car since she found it after her brother’s death.  When she nearly runs the strange couple off the road she’s not sure if she’s grateful for their help or more afraid, because suddenly they’ve got even more company, it’s not of the human kind, and these two seem a little non-human themselves.

There are actually quite a few things capable of being spoilers in this book, so I’m going to keep my comments to Ren and Aileas.

Ren’s talent is empathy (some of which manifests itself in a sort of endearing communication with all sorts of animals in the area).  Aileas also has some of the same, so the two of them were always jumping around on each other’s emotions because she wasn’t able to shield very well from him.  Ren had some major baggage with his pre-Grimm past; because of his gift, he’s always needed both a degree of isolation and some internal control which he didn’t have then and there were difficult situations with his family.  He’s a wounded soul and at least to date, my favorite Grimm.

I didn’t get much of a feel for Aileas, maybe because Ren overwhelmed her or maybe just because she wasn’t Grimm and didn’t have the same sort of back story that they always do; of course, I’d had three books to get to know Ren too.  I will say that I loved how supportive she always was of Ren, especially when she learned of his past.  What can be said about when they gave in to the inevitable (he is a sexy beast)?  Smoking hot.

There’s a nice big gory battle at the end with a glance at some extra Grimm and a couple of very big choices are made in the story.  Will gets a good little story time here too and there’s a more expansive look into his personality.  It’s finally revealed at the end exactly who Ren is and exactly what his past is and how his legend evolved.

I did all sorts of adding, subtracting and adding again for my rating, but in the end, Ren won out.  I like the way the series is evolving; I would say darker, but I’m not sure that’s the right word.  It’s more serious, the subject matter is weightier, maybe.  The back stories on the Grimm are half the fascination of the story and are amazingly inventive.

My Rating: B+

Barbara

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