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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Urban fantasy with a twist
f you haven't read anything by Ann Aguirre yet, what are you waiting for? Blue Diablo is a refreshingly new entry in the urban fantasy genre, featuring a sassy protagonist who is haunted by her past. Corine Solomon is a handler, who can read the history of an object by touch alone. Her ability was given to her by her mother as she died in a fire; consequently, every time...
Published on April 7, 2009 by Kimberly Bea

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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I might be the odd women out here but I didn't particularly fancy this book
I'm not really sure what to say about this book. I read three-quarters of it and then just threw in the towel. The main character and the slow pace of the story really tried my patience. I felt like the author was dragging out the storyline and had way too many page fillers. Pages upon pages of explanations for Corine's feelings, her surroundings, the carpet, the...
Published on April 13, 2009 by Kathy E.


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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Urban fantasy with a twist, April 7, 2009
This review is from: Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
f you haven't read anything by Ann Aguirre yet, what are you waiting for? Blue Diablo is a refreshingly new entry in the urban fantasy genre, featuring a sassy protagonist who is haunted by her past. Corine Solomon is a handler, who can read the history of an object by touch alone. Her ability was given to her by her mother as she died in a fire; consequently, every time Corine uses the ability she experiences extreme pain and burn scars. Formerly Corine used this ability in partnership with her lover Chance to locate missing persons, but when their last case went horribly wrong, Corine fled the country and opened her own antique store in Mexico City. But when Chance's mother goes missing, Corine agrees to use her abilities to help find her, and she finds that chapter of her past hasn't quite closed yet.
I really loved this book, and Corine in particular. She's sassy and a survivor, but she's not the stereotypical kickass hard-bodied heroine you usually find in urban fantasy. She's short, dresses in bohemian chic, and likes to eat; she could be me or one of my girlfriends, except for her ability and the tragedy of her past. To me, she seemed quite real, as did her relationship with Chance; these are people who knew each other deeply in the past, but are uncertain how to relate to one another in the present. There's chemistry there all right, but Corine is uncertain whether she wants to go down that road again.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this book is how real Corine's world felt. Aguirre is herself an ex-pat living in Mexico, which no doubt helped in portraying Corine's life in Mexico City. What really impressed me, however, was how the supernatural details were intricately woven with the details of daily life. It was really easy to believe in the magic that powers Corine's world because there are a lot of people who do believe in it; among the magically skilled are curanderas and practitioners of wicca and voodoo, who are credited with such abilities in the world outside the novel as well. I like urban fantasies with winged fay and gargoyles, but it's also a nice change to read something that doesn't stretch my credibility too far. Highly recommended, for its appealing characters, fast-paced plot, and authentic magical world.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I might be the odd women out here but I didn't particularly fancy this book, April 13, 2009
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This review is from: Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
I'm not really sure what to say about this book. I read three-quarters of it and then just threw in the towel. The main character and the slow pace of the story really tried my patience. I felt like the author was dragging out the storyline and had way too many page fillers. Pages upon pages of explanations for Corine's feelings, her surroundings, the carpet, the tile, the curtains, what she's wearing, what her ex is wearing, what she's eating. The main character Corine has a cool gift of the "touch". Instead of actually "touching" things, she spent most of her time reminiscing about her ex-husband. Who, I might add, has come to her for help because his mother, the mother-in-law she loves so much, has been kidnapped. While they go on their road trip back to the scene of the crime, she's not only insensitive to his pain; she's making dates with another man. It took me three days to get through three-quarters of this book; it was that bad for me. Dark Urban Fantasy readers beware; to me this book seemed more like a paranormal romance disguised as UF. The book never seem to get anywhere and the author was way to repetitive. Therefore, I cannot recommend this book to urban fantasy readers but paranormal romance readers may find it intriguing.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Blue Diablo, April 18, 2010
This review is from: Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
I've been looking forward to reading this for a long time. Disappointed does not even begin to describe how I feel. Usually, I can read any UF and enjoy it, but Blue Diablo was not enjoyable at all. I see that many do not agree, but I would like to present some of the reasons I did not enjoy this book so that prospective readers have both the positive and negative viewpoints. First, the novel is largely bickering between the main character and her ex. I understand that they are exploring why their relationship went bad, and one or both parties are trying to rekindle something, but it was not enjoyable to me. The first 100 pages consist almost entirely of dialogue between the ex lovers with a few other characters thrown in occasionally. I do enjoy dialogue heavy novels, but not when the dialogue is banter between two people that already know each other, whom the reader knows nothing about. I like to find out about my characters before having to deal with their relationship issues, but that's just my personal preference. My second issue was the plot and mystery behind the novel. We are told fairly quickly that the novel is about finding the mother to Corine's ex, but the mystery solving is agonizingly slow to me. Everything unfolds in a fairly predictable manor. Corine starts by using her power to tell where an object has been to find clues to where the missing person is located. Then they follow one obvious clue to another obvious clue. Talking to one person leads to another person that is helpful. It's really too simple for me, and not enough to get me through a book with characters that I did not enjoy. Even with all of the dialogue between characters, I have to say I never got a feel for Corine. There isn't one thing that sets her apart from anyone else. I personally found her flimsy, and not likable, again that is just my opinion. I'm trying not to step on any toes with my review. I find that UF books are largely mystery, world building, and characters. If any one of those things are strong, the others do no have to be perfect for me to enjoy it. I didn't enjoy the characters in Blue Diablo, the world building and magic were not strong and were not unique, and the mystery solving was too linear for me. That, of course, is not to say that others will not enjoy this book, but I personally did not like it at all.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Corine Solomon", Reluctant But Awesome Heroine, April 7, 2009
By 
LeaF (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
"Blue Diablo", is an Urban Fantasy written in the first person and what I liked about the heroine and narrator of the story, "Corine Solomon", is that she is real. Corine doesn't see herself as beautiful; in fact she talks about her imperfections, and dressing "hippie chic". She possesses a dry wit that permeates the narrative of this novel and had me laughing out loud on numerous occasions. Corine isn't a gun toting, martial arts expert; her mother gifted her with a unique, rare ability that while provided her a source of income for a time also causes her heartache and nearly cost her life. She is a "handler", which means she has a psychic or magical (whichever you believe it to be) ability to touch an object and visualize what the owner was doing at the time they last handled it. And, her gift gets her into a truckload of trouble.

Blue Diablo

After leaving her lover and manager, Chance 18 months earlier, Corine Solomon has made a life for herself in Mexico City. She opened a little pawnshop and sells goods of all description, making a decent profit. She has been comfortable and made very sure she covered her tracks when she walked out on Chance and her previous life.

However, we would have no story without a hitch right?

Chance turns up at her shop to plead for help in locating his mother Yi-Min-Chin who has gone missing and considered kidnapped. Chance presents Corine with a little pewter Buddha that his mother considered her "luck" and begs her to handle it so they can glean some information with respect to Min's whereabouts.

Corine and Chance's relationship history is extremely tumultuous and needless to say, it goes against her better judgment to become involved with him again. She is about to send him packing, however when she sees the pewter Buddha, she knows something horrible has happened to Min, because she was never without it. Min is a woman who Corine had grown to care for. When Corine "handles" the Buddha, she senses Min's feelings, her fear and resignation at being taken, and she sees a white van she is escorted to. Corine's gift does come with a physically painful price that you will understand if you read the book.

Chance is gifted with luck. Essentially, wherever he goes things seem to go in his favor, no matter how bad the situation, nothing happens to him. However, his power doesn't extend to protecting those around him and because of this Corine was very nearly killed during their last "job" together.

Corine agrees to go to Laredo with Chance where his mother was last seen and Detective Jesse Saldana, from the "Crimes Against Persons Unit" or CAPERS is working on Yi-Min-Chin's disappearance. Chance knows the police have his mother's purse because it was found in the blood-spattered corner of an abandoned warehouse. Chance wants the purse so Corine can handle it.

Saldana, it turns out, is an empath and he and Corine feel and instant connection because of their gifts.

Here is a short example of the wonderful prose and Corine's (Ann Aguirre's) inherent wit. Chance and Corine arrive at the police station in Laredo and she is introduced to Jesse Saldana for the first time:

"My hormones gave a little skip as I gave him the once-over: an intriguing mix of long, tall Texan in battered boots, touched with Latin heat. He had legs that stretched forever in jeans faded almost to white, not the kind bought with designer "wear" but Levi's washed till the seams and creases got thin. He'd clipped his badge to his belt in plain sight.
As I checked out the rest of him, I admired shoulders showcased by a rumpled white shirt and a forest green blazer. He had a striped tie stuffed in his right jacket pocket, probably to satisfy the letter of the dress code. Nice face, I decided, if scruffy and unshaven. Frosting the hunk cake was a tousled mess of tawny, sun streaked hair."

Can I say, yum?

The stage is set for readers to be taken on a thrill ride where Corine and Chance battle a warlock, demons, spirits, zombies and a crime syndicate. The setting, steeped with Spanish influence is perfect for majic and the occult rituals. The first person narrative allows us to see, feel and hear the events that take place through Corine who is frightened half to death most of the time, but somehow prevails despite enduring one harrowing experience after another.

Then there is her frustration with her ex lover and I understood her cynicism given their history and Chance's occasional indifference. There is no sex in this book; however the story is steamy because it is rife with sexual tension and temptation, which Corine struggles to resist in the extreme. I was grinding my teeth wondering whether she might give in to Chance who wants her but has significant relationship issues and communication problems. And, there is Jesse who considers himself a mentor to Corine because of her gift, but a burgeoning attraction flames between them.

Ann Aguirre developed a strong cast of supporting characters who are drawn into a plot that is full of intrigue, and twists and turns.

It is not clear until the closing pages of the book whether Corine and Chance will succeed in their efforts to rescue Min.

I am looking forward to the next chapter of Corine Solomon's story.

Oh and by the way, the title of this book? You will never guess what it is derived from.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ann Aguirre is the BOMB!, April 8, 2009
This review is from: Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
Corine Solomon is a woman in hiding, hiding from her past. Mexico City is where she ended up, running a pawn shop trying to have a normal life. When she was twelve, her mother was murdered. With her death, Corine was haunted by the loss and gifted with magic but not the way her mother probably intended. Handling involves touching objects, metal is the best and worst as it burns her palms, seeing what happened to that object. But doing it for a living with her boyfriend Chance brought her in contact with the most heartbreaking of cases and almost killed her. So she fled from her life and crossed the border in order to get as far from it as possible. Then one day, Chance comes to the store with his mother's pocket Buddha and asks for her help. His mother has been kidnapped and he needs to handle the Buddha. In return, he will help Corine find the people who murdered her mother. Corine is torn between staying safe in her new life or helping the man she still loves.

On April 7, 2009 you must go to the bookstore as fast as your car can carry you and buy this book!!!!!! Ann Aguirre is the BOMB! I loved this book, loved it so much that I could only make myself read a chapter at a time and then put it down. Otherwise, I would have flown through it in a big gorging rush! But there came a point in the story a little over halfway that I just couldn't do it anymore. I read in big chunks desperate to see what was going to happen. The character of Corine is so awesome; I wish she was real so we could go have margaritas with tequila shots. I loved the fact that just because she had a gift (or curse depending on your point of view), it didn't make her all knowing and all powerful. I liked the tug of war between her old life with Chance and the possibility of a romance with someone new. I loved the descriptions of Mexico and Texas that really gave a wonderful atmosphere to the story. This is one of the best urban fantasies I have read. I urge everyone to give this book a try as it will rock your socks off!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing, August 17, 2009
By 
This review is from: Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
I checked out Blue Diablo because I absolutely loved Grimspace. I found it a little boring and a little annoying, although it did compel me just enough for me to finish reading.

Corine Solomon's mom was a witch who was burned to death by intolerant Southerners. Upon dying her mom gifts Corine with all her powers, manifesting in a psychometric ability--she's able to read the history of objects when she touches them. Not without price, though, as every time she reads something she feels the pain of her mother's death anew. So she ran away from her ex-bf Chance with whom she'd done a bunch of paid gigs searching out criminals and in the beginning of the novel, has built up a tenuous new life in Mexico.

In Blue Diablo, Chance finds Corine because his Korean mom Min has been kidnapped. They soon discover that a powerful warlock is behind the kidnapping, one who keeps killing people before they can get info on Min. In the process of their sleuthing, Corine gets hooked up with an Internet site full of other "gifted" people like her, and they discover that Min was involved with some shady stuff in her past.

Pros:
Some good action writing.

Cons:
As much as I wanted to like this book, I just couldn't buy it. If it had been set in a different world or time period, maybe it would have been easier. But it was obviously a contemporary novel, with all the brand name labels and stores and perfume titles constantly thrown at me (this was also a point of annoyance--I'd rather have perfume scents or clothing described to me than brand names given when I have no idea what those perfumes smell like and don't know 3/4 the brand names used) (Furthermore it bugged me that people were turned on so much by other people's perfume because I hate perfume and think it's stinky). And contemporary knowledge of psychic abilities, pagan practices, witches and warlocks, doesn't divide people up into "gifted" and "non-gifted," simply everybody has some ability, and everybody can work on honing that ability. The idea of all kinds of ultra-talented psychics/mediums/paranormal people networking at bars and online is just silly. I suppose not any sillier than, for instance, the Twilight sparkling vampires premise, but this book just takes everything remotely paranormal and lumps it into this one "gifted" category and I just didn't feel enough of a cosmology was created to support its existence in the society I live in.

I thought Corine was rather likable, but her character was almost exactly like Sirantha Jax's in Grimspace. I found Chance really irritating, unlike the male lead in Grimspace. Maybe it was because of the whole mom thing, I dunno. Going after a kidnapped mom shouldn't make a man a mama's boy, but combined with him being so pretty and also very thin, and also not doing a lot of memorable manly things, I just couldn't get into him.

I'm going on rather long here so I'll just add that I thought the plot rather disjointed--still don't quite understand what was going on in several places--and I agree with the other reviewers who thought there was a bit too much in the way of food descriptions. And I don't get why we had to pay so much attention to her hair being red or why it was red even.

Conclusion: If you haven't read Grimspace, go read it! It's WAY better--I don't understand how Blue Diablo could be rated higher.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review from the book review blog, Book Faery, May 7, 2011
By 
This review is from: Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

BLUE DIABLO is the sort of urban fantasy that effortlessly sinks its claws into your mind and demands your undivided attention. The problem is, once you become its victim (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, since it's one hell of a journey), the story begins to run in circles the further you progress.

The romance between Corine and Chance both had me salivating for more, and rebelling in disgust. Chance's character felt more on the two dimensional side at some points, making me wonder what Corine saw in the man. I wasn't sold on their love completely, and I think this had more to do with Corine's doubts and thoughts than anything else. Despite that, I felt he was the perfect match for his ex, and their bickering amused me.

A few hiccups in the story ripped me out of Corine's universe and left me scratching my head from either the weirdness (ex: Kel), or because of the repetition (ex: Corine continually mentioning how she should get a passport. Also, the group's lack of having any idea of where to go made the book not only seem like it was losing focus, but also made it felt temporarily monotonous/the situation hopeless). This only occurred once or twice, but it was enough to make note of that. Also, there were a few moments where the story slowed down, and in these moments, I was more than happy to walk away and take a breather (but not for long). Those not fully invested in this world may walk away for good during any one these lulls.

Overall, BLUE DIABLO's a great read, but one can easily discern that Corine's birth into the publishing world occurred years ago; the writing and the storyline barely hold a candle to Aguirre's newly released dystopian, ENCLAVE.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great Aguirre book, April 7, 2009
By 
Michele Lee (Louisville, KY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
One of the biggest complaints I have with urban fantasy as a whole is that it tends to lean very far into the paranormal and make realism second place. Not so with Ann Aguirre's latest offering, Blue Diablo, which, put simply, is To Cast a Deadly Spell meets Commando.

Corine Solomon is a woman on the run. She's settled in Mexico City and managed to keep up a life as a shopkeeper for eighteen months when her ex-boyfriend, one of the many people she's hiding from, walks in her shop door. She still isn't over Chance, not what he put her through or her love for him. But none of it matters because Chance asks for Corine for the one thing he knows she'll give-her help finding his kidnapped mother.

Corine isn't the only person whose past has caught up with them, but she is the only one who can help because Min, Chance's mother, has left a trail of clues that only Corine's gift of psychometry (psychic reading of events through objects) can decipher.

Blue Diablo stands out from the genre, not just because it wholly encompasses "bad guys" outside of the serial killer and supernatural varieties, or because of its higher than typical body count. One of the biggest stand out features of this book is the cast of realistic, almost entirely minority characters and non-Celtic/European magic mythos.

In comparison to Aguirre's other books (Grimspace and Wanderlust) Blue Diablo is a true blend of the genres that make urban fantasy; fantasy, mystery, romance and horror, whereas the former are science fiction with romantic elements. Blue Diablo's heroine and hero are no less emotionally tortured, in either their pasts or their feelings for each other.

Aguirre likes the devastated hero, and the heroine whose power costs something. Readers who like mixed blessings in their magic and desperate, delicious heroes will find a lot to like in Aguirre's books. Nothing comes easy, if at all. Not defeating the bad guy, or winning the day or even getting the guy/girl. It makes Blue Diablo not an effortless read, but a tension-filled exciting tale nonetheless.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not Urban Fiction ---, September 21, 2010
By 
N. Javvaji (Villa Park, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
Imagine the show Dead Zone, but without the emphasis on the supernatural part but more focused on the 'is she going to sleep with him or not' part.

The heroine can see things by handling them, but there is a cost to her. The first couple of chapters sort of elaborates that it cripples her slightly if she tries to handle items more than once a day. Her love interest in the book can manipulate luck to his advantage, but in addition to that... he is devilishly handsome and a wunderkind in bed. (really? couldn't you try for something a little bit more original than that?)

She leaves the life that she created for herself to help Chance (once again, mind boggling in the name choice) find his mother. All through out this adventure they are just moments away from jumping each others bones. Every place that they stop, every situation that they get in is just something that helps set the stage for their enevitable coming together.

My Opinion: I couldn't skip enough of the book to make this book interesting. I don't mind a book that has a little bit of fore-shadowing, but in reality I purchased this book hoping that the author has created an unique universe that I could get emotionally invested in. What I ended up getting was a Harlequin Romance novel with a sprinkling of science fiction/fantasy thrown in there.

My analogy: Imagine a cake with a tofu center with butter-cream frosting. Really, what's the point.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Heroine was in a constant state of angst about her love life. It distracted., April 25, 2011
By 
This review is from: Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
2.5 stars.

When this book started off, I thought I was going to end up liking it much more than I did. It had a more adult Urban Fantasy tone in the reminiscent of Sign of the Zodiac series for me. It was a little noir-ish & the dialog was a bit hard boiled but not OTT. I really thought I was going to appreciate Corine, the MC as a smart yet conflicted (for good reasons) heroine. She seemed to know her mind well enough & could handle herself.

The premise also seemed interesting & not too fantastical.

However, that degraded & by 75% the way through the book the eye rolls began.

Aside from being predictable...

***SPOILERS BELOW***

Corine's lamenting over Chance, the ex she walked out on, became tedious & immature. I felt her insecurity about him & the way he felt about her was borderline asinine b'c it was obvious the entire novel how he felt. Her lack of self-esteem pretty much to permeate in almost all instances, no matter how inappropriate the timing.

Example; Scooby Gang member #2, Chuch is complementing his wife Eva (member #3) on how hot she is but really, it's an obvious flattering tactic to keep her at home so she's out of harm's way. Corine's inner monologue about this?

"I probably could've taken offense that nobody thought I was so hot I'd distract the Mercs from conversation, but I decided I'd let that go. I did OK after all, Some guys dug the long hair hippie chick."

Really? She could've taken offense by what a husband was saying to his beloved wife in order to distract her to keep her safe at all costs? That earned an eye roll. Give me a break please...baring in mind the context of the situation this was a juvenile bit of dialog to throw in there & only made me come to feel Corine is too insecure for her own good so why should I be reading an entire series about her?

Her observations about Chance & what she needed from him where at highly inappropriate times on most occasions. Let's face it, they were in a supernatural war/rescue mission & a highly dangerous one at that. Yet as Chance is formulating a plan in front of the Scooby Gang & leaves to go call an integral person to help them, Corine's self-pity hit an all time pathetic level for me.

"While Chance went to look for Booke online & Chuch checked the weapons cache, I ate a bowl of bean soup breakfast. No one came to see about me. I sighed & took my bowl to the sink. I had my wounded palm & festering zombie bite on my shoulder that needed tending to. Was it unreasonable to want Chance to put me 1st? The way he blew hot & cold compromised my chief objection of resuming our relationship. With that dance, I thought he changed, but now I stood in the kitchen with a burned hand & no help. "

Ummm...earth to Corine, your in the middle of a WAR. His mom has been kidnapped which is why you were enlisted in the 1st place & oh for goodness sake....ASK SOMEBODY like a big girl to help you tend to your wound instead of standing there like Norman-No-Mate's waiting for someone to notice you!

Added to which, the woman had just pitched a fit, left Chance stranded somewhere b'c she though he was doing someone one else & so started kissing the formulaic 3rd in the love triangle. It's just so contradictory & hypocritical, it defied logic for me.

The examples go on but I'll stop there.

And on top of the redundant & inappropriate love life moaning, there was also a lot of BS about food, eating , bringing dishes to the sink, etc.. her red hair (what's the deal with that? So what she changes her hair a lot & now it's red), her bad hippie chick style (embroidered Khaki's & a enough peasant blouses to choke a gypsy) & how Chance has tiger eyes & a whipcord build. My point is that I felt it needed to be edited better b'c it read for me in fits & starts.

The world building also needs to be fleshed out and the contradictions need to be noticed in order to stop.

For example Jesse, the 3rd in the love triangle. He is am empath. Yet he had no idea that his partner was a sociopathic warlock enslaving women for God knows how long or that Corine was not guilty when he shoved her face into the ground & read her her Miranda Rights at a crime scene. He actually tells her she's lying.

Er...OK. not only does Jesse suck as an empath, but he sucks at this "mentor" thing he supposed to be to her (supposedly if you find another gifted - you become their mentor - the whole thing has yet to be properly explained) & lastly, he sucks as a potential lover.

One of these days I'm going to find a new series that I love but I'm afraid it's not looking like it's this one. I usually have a 3 book minimum rule so I'll try the 2nd but I'm not going to get my hopes too high. Although I would like to. I really think it does have potential in spite of it all.
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Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel
Blue Diablo: A Corine Solomon Novel by Ann Aguirre (Mass Market Paperback - April 7, 2009)
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