Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Review- Total Eclipse of the Heart by Crystal Jordan

Total Eclipse of the Heart: In the Heat of the Night, Book I

by Crystal Jordan

Oct 3, 2008

Contemporary/ Paranormal

Short Story


Buy it Samhain

What’s a werewolf to do when she finds her soulmate twice? It’s a total eclipse of the heart.

In the Heat of the Night, Book One

It was only a few years ago that humans found out magical creatures existed. Now, they’re all out of the closet and leading their lives freely when they once used to hide their true identity. Werewolves, vampires, fairies and everything else that goes bump in the night.

When Lena walks into the Eclipse bar, she turns Rachel’s world inside out. She’s a werewolf who scents her mate, and nothing will stop her from claiming what’s hers.

Rachel has always assumed that when she mated with Jerrod she’d never know another lover, despite her longing for both men and women. No werewolf would be unfaithful. Ever. She’s heard of werewolves having two mates in one lifetime, but after the first one died, not at the same time. She’s terrified of how the man she loves will react when he finds out the instincts that drew her to him five years ago now pull her to another woman.

Right off the bat, I’m going to admit that I bought Total Eclipse of the Heart because it’s a f/f/m story and it didn’t disappoint on that level at all. It’s a very well written story about three weres who are mated, which I found to be a unique take in the were paranormal genre. What also intrigued me was that there is a female were character who is bisexual, a rarity in a werewolf paranormal where nature, meaning fated mates, and biology play huge role.

Rachel and Jerrod are mated for life. They run a bar that caters to all species, including vampires, which the were pack that they belong to isn’t happy about. So they are already treading on shaky ground when Lena, a were from another pack, shows up and it’s apparent that she is both Rachel and Jarrod’s mate as well. This throws a huge wrench into Rachel’s safe and comfortable world and she accidentally insults Lena as she struggles to deal with it. She’s bisexual and wants Lena, however, Lena’s presence in their life can now get them kicked out of the pack and they could loose the secure life that Rachel has desperately worked hard towards and which is very important to her. They are mated though, so they have to work it out.

Total Eclipse of the Heart was a very quick read and for the most part I liked it even though I’m kind of off on the whole “mine” thing, which I think has been done to death. Or at least for me it has. That said, Crystal Jordan has a yummy way of writing and the characters in this story are developed enough to get who they are and how they relate to each other. While short, the story still cruised along at a nice pace and the sex, which was quite a bit for the length, was smokin hot and completely relevant to the story.

What turned me on about this story is that all three: Rachel, Jerrod and Lena are into each other and no jealousy comes up, which I liked. Of course they are mated, which is a nice excuse to get three characters together in a monogamous, polyamorous relationship. However, outside of that fact, they just seem to really enjoy each other as a threesome, which felt good. It’s definitely one of the more satisfying f/f/m threesomes that I’ve come across.

While this story satisfied on many levels, there are a few things that I got stuck on, but I believe that it was more an issue of trying to confine what I think should have been at least a novella into the small space of a short story. The big problem for me was that there wasn’t enough relationship/ emotional development between the three characters to warrant some of their reactions to each other.

Mated or not, they only have one night together and outside of a biological need for each other, which would be instantaneous in that situation, I really couldn’t see why Lena got so insulted when Rachel freaks out on her when they are caught and might get thrown out of the pack. There was really no build up of an emotional connection to warrant that. It created a nice tension in this story, but it felt a bit unbelievable. Also a bit unbelievable is that before their one night is over they’ve been outted to the Alpha by the evil pack control freak when they’ve done nothing in the open.

While these issues did have me going huh, they are minor. And as I said, I think they would have been alleviated with a longer book giving more time for relationship and story development. For what it is though, it’s a nicely written short story with juicy characters. I hope the “Book I” tag implies that this world will be more developed in another, longer book as I think a series has a lot of potential at Crystal Jordan’s hands.

Sex rating: Orgasmic- the f/f in this is very hot. f/f, f/f/m.

Grade: B


kirsten saell said...

I'm going to preface my comment by saying I am not a fan of paranormal romance, especially of the werewolf variety. I've not read much of it, but even I know that the "mine", fated mate thing is overused. But because I am not well-read in the genre, it isn't as irritating to me as it might be to some for whom the trope is well-worn.

But. It was refreshing to find the dynamic between the three protags more reflective of what I think is most common in the animal world--the single male with more than one female. I've seen were m/m/fs and m/f/ms out there, but they just seem completely unrealistic to me from a biological standpoint. I found a m/f/f in this context much more believable. Plus, well, m/f/f is just hot to me. What can I say? I'm biased.

I also have to hand it to the author that she put Rachel at the center of the menage. It's Rachel who is the POV character, and she has the first sexual contact with Lena, too. She wants Lena and worries that Jerrod will accept this. I loved that aspect of this story: the fact that it's about a bisexual main character, not two women playing at being lesbians to get their man worked up.

That said, I was kind of disappointed that the connection between Jerrod and Lena goes unconsummated (other than the mate-bite thingie). I wanted to see them *ahem* take things to the desired conclusion while Rachel watched or assisted or took part. The whole pack politics angle was just bluh to me (again, I'm just not a fan of the were paranormal), and I wish the author had used that page space to show Jerrod and Lena together.

And I had the same reaction as you to Lena taking such huge offense to what I thought was just a careless response by Rachel to the stress of the situation. It was a bit overblown and I didn't really buy it.

But the sex scenes were hot, for he most part I liked the characters, and the things I enjoyed about the story definitely outweighed those that annoyed me. I would have given the story a B or B- despite the fact that I am "meh" at best about were paranormals. I don't know if I'll revisit the author's Heat of the Night world again--unless she writes another m/f/f, that is. Because DAMN.

Crystal Jordan said...

Hi ladies,

Thanks for taking the time to read and review my book. I really appreciate it...and your thoughtful comments.