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Only Human (Kirsten O'Shea Book 1) (Volume 1) Paperback – June 17, 2015
It's been quite awhile since I've read a true Urban Fantasy book and I hadn't realized how much I'd missed it.
Books 'n Cozy Spots Book Reviews:
I can't recall when last I was this excited about a new series, nor when last I was captivated before the end of the first page of a book. This story isn't just about magic; it IS magic ... Right out of the gate is the uncomplicated telling of a complicated world. The build is perfectly executed and easily sucks the reader in such that it becomes an experience as opposed to a mere read.
Sizzling Hot Books:
Ms. Blevins has always had the gift of creating characters that speak to me and this is exactly what I got in Only Human. In addition to Kirsten, there is a plethora of fascinating, three-dimensional characters that I wish I could meet in person. I don't know how Ms. Blevins created paranormal characters so life-like that I could easily imagine them standing next to me, but I am grateful for her ability to make them believable.
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews:
Candace Blevins raised the bar with "Only Human" for me. She added a new layer to her unbelievable writing skills. She has brought herself out of BDSM and into the Urban Fantasy world. She enthralled me, had me turning pages to see what was going to happen next. She had me cheering for Abbott, feeling sorry for Aaron. I have no inkling as to what Nathan really feels. Mordecai is areal unknown to me and I can't wait to see if Kirsten takes him up on his offer. But, most of all she had me smiling.
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I am gonna go out on a limb here and blanket a bunch of different groups when I state that this book is gonna appeal to those who absolutely just LOVE the paranormal, shapeshifting, vampire, Gods and mythology, BDSM and every other aspect of LIFE.
Candace Blevins gives us some really good story lines, characters and imagery. Another aspect I adore about this book is that she brings characters from her other series into this one. Now I am not gonna tell ya' all to buy all of her books, but well, yeah, if you are looking to delve into another universe and enjoy escaping into that reality, pick up this book.
I enjoy the facets of the personalities that all the characters have and we get to learn more about each of them. Being a woman it is so important to read and experience strong female characters who do not lose their human-ness. It is more believable that our bad-ass heroine Kirsten is unbelievably strong and keeps it together while the proverbial Stuff hits the fan, but she has melt downs as soon as danger is over.
After reading some of this author's other books and how the characters weave in and out of the books, I find myself really wanting to move to this believable community and immersing myself there. But alas, it will have to be in the late/early hours of the day when I can have my time to travel to this world and visit with these friends.
First, I have to admit that what held me back from reading Only Human is the fact that Kirsten is a sexual submissive and Ms. Blevins’ Safeword series is a bit outside my comfort zone, not in a bad way, but they run more towards the masochistic side than I like. I really wish I hadn’t waited so long because I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The BDSM parts weren’t as instructive feeling as in Ms. Blevins’ Safeword series, and as an added bonus I felt I had more of an understanding of that type of BDSM (without feeling like I was reading a manual on it).
Only Human is not a romance per say, it’s definitely pure Urban Fantasy but there was romance involved. This did not bother me a bit since there was no shortage of hot, dominant, alpha men running around which made me a happy little camper.
Kirsten is a therapist by day, but the unique powers that she wields (she can shoot lasers out her fingers!) mean she is seriously good at fighting supernatural bad guys, especially demons. Unbeknownst to her, the way she fights demons along with the fact that she tends to kill them instead of sending them back has gotten the attention of some pretty heavy hitters and not all of them are good guys. To add to it, someone is killing people using powers that are the same as hers. As she navigates her way through the politics of the supernatural world, she seems to amass just as many allies as she does enemies.
One such person is Abbot, the master vampire of the area. As she weighs the pros and cons of starting up a relationship with him, she also captures the interest of the alpha werewolf of the local pack, a powerful God-like being, and even another vampire. I loved how cautious she was, weighing her options, taking into account all the pros and cons, and gently turning most down but aware of the political ramifications of doing so. Kirsten is a lucky woman since any one of the men around her would be a great choice.
I was impressed how Kirsten took care of her patients, took care of bad guys, and took time for herself but the number one priority in her life was her teenaged daughter. In some books with lots of action, the children seem almost like accessories, paraded around for a bit then shoved in a drawer somewhere. Kirsten took her daughter to practices, helped with homework, and generally just made sure she was available. I loved this.
I also loved the world building involved in this book. There are shifters galore including dragons, along with lots of vampires and even some yet to be determined species. The politics involved that Kirsten had to wade through were fascinating to me. The fight scenes were impressive too. Add in lots and lots of smoldering chemistry, BDSM that wasn’t OTT, and the “OMG” steamy hot sex scene and I found myself not caring there wasn’t a happy couple at the end with an HEA. Now I wish I had read this before starting Ms. Blevins’ other series. You can bet I won’t miss anymore.
I can’t recall when last I was this excited about a new series, nor when last I was captivated before the end of the first page of a book. This story isn’t just about magic; it IS magic and I’m both hooked and dismayed that I have to wait until later in 2015 for the next Kirsten O’Shea adventure. But wait I will, and meantime I will expound on the virtues of book one:
Right out of the gate is the uncomplicated telling of a complicated world. The build is perfectly executed and easily sucks the reader in such that it becomes an experience as opposed to a mere read. The characters are, as usual with Ms. Blevins, full-bodied and rich on the finish, like a good wine. The good guys are many and varied and hopefully each deserving of a key, concentrated role in future books. Some of the bad guys are…let’s just say “in limbo” and may ultimately play a pivotal role on either side of the street. The beauty is, the reader just doesn’t know yet. The other truly bad guys are suspected but not as yet actually identified, and the whole course of events seems based on an supernatural inter-species political game of power being waged through the manipulation of unsuspecting humans. I assume the real life parallels are intentional.
The lone human in the midst is not without some serious skills and game of her own, though she does have some very human vulnerabilities in her make-up and her personal life that will no doubt keep the story energy at high alert with the distinct probability of elevating it to DefCon1.
There seems a background romance or three in the infrastructure of the story, as is typical of urban fantasy and this retrograde level will keep UF readers happy. But the Alphaness of the characters, their diverse backgrounds and resultant romantic possibilities, and the mild forays into the BDSM needs of Kirsten O’Shea will keep PNR readers happy as well.
Its the perfect balance of all genres, tropes and sub-genres and woven together by a Master storyteller. Its a very different book for Ms. Blevins and yet will be completely familiar to her erotic romance readers in its forthright form of strong world and even stronger character. I’m often left cold by first-person interpretations, but this book excels so well and so comfortably, that its effortless. Everything the perfect escape should be.
I’m psyched for the series and the next book, and I could not recommend this read more heartily.
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