"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Read! - Etagere Gardien

"He looked back at the mystery girl,
but she was nearly out of sight. Shit."
- The Missing

As you know, I've just 'built' my dream Diva-walk-in-closet (Woo Hoo!) There are a few finishing details to be ironed out. And the one that has been bothering me the most - what to do with the last unfinished corner (in the above photo). Originally it was a bookshelf, mon etagere gardien (keeper bookshelf). I own thousands of books (not including my e-books). Books that I have been collecting since I was 10 years old. My keeper bookshelf houses all of my favorites (that I read again, and again), in my most private sacred space.

So, you can well understand my dilemma - convert that corner into more precious closet space or leave it as is. Okay, by the name of this post, I'm sure that you can tell which direction I've chosen. I've decided to not only leave it as is but to go bigger - a floor to ceiling bookshelf. [*I'll devote a Paris Inspired post to my bookshelf project soon.]

But this 'new' bookshelf will hold only a fraction of my book collection - my absolute favorites, and a few shelves for 'rotating' books. So, in preparation, I've been culling my original keeper selection and looking over my larger collection. I've added one particular novel to my keepers (how could I have forgotten it?). A novel so awesome in its awesomeness that I knew it would be perfect first official Read! Let me introduce you to The Missing...  

The Missing by Shiloh Walker
Contemporary Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Berkley Trade, 2008
$8 paperback and Kindle @ Amazon)

"Bad didn't even begin to describe the torment that awaited her. Sheer hell didn't describe it. It was an evil unlike anything she had ever felt in her life, and Taige had dealt with a lot of evil.
She felt their presence screaming at her, felt their pain. The shock." 

Warning: mild spoilers

The Missing spans the first 16 years of the love affair between Taige Branch and Cullen Morgan. The two meet as teenagers in a small beachfront Florida resort town - Taige is a 'working-class-townie,' Cullen comes from the rich 'tourist-class' that spends their family vacas in their luxury beach homes and condos. Walker (the author) leaves some pretty heavy hints that Taige is Black and Cullen isn't. But that's not the wrinkle in this love affair...

"After he found out, Taige had been ready for him to either laugh at her or just walk away...But he hadn't walked off. He hadn't laughed...His calm, simple acceptance was nothing short of amazing, and Taige didn't know if she'd ever get used to it."

Taige is a powerful psychic. A power that first manifests in 'weird dreams.' Several times, Taige's dreams enable her to save lost and/or endangered children, as well as recover the bodies of murder victims. Then someone Cullen loves is kidnapped, raped and murdered. Why hadn't Taige known in time? "I don't want to see you again. Ever."

12 Years Later...

"Death wasn't the issue for her. Most of the time,
she felt more dead inside than alive."
"Taige. All that restless, useless energy pulsating through him suddenly sharpened, focused.
Finally - son of a bitch..."

Taige's 'gift' is her entire life, earning her living as a freelance agent for a special F.B.I. Paranormal Team of investigators. Cullen is a successful author. Two lives, just about as far apart as you can get. But there is still one connection that remains - they dream of one another. Dreams that are as real as reality. 12 years of dream-world loving, until Cullen turns to Taige to help him find the greatest love of his life. Oh and did I mention the serial killer? Yeah, things get really interesting...

"So, are you going to look at me or just let me stare at the back of your head all night?" He asked softly... She spoke, and her voice sounded just as it had in all those dreams. "I already know why you're here. You need my help."

From the first page, I was hooked. Clinically speaking, The Missing has everything that the voracious reader hungers for: an engrossing, fascinating plot; believable characters that are three dimensional; several plot twists, turns, and surprises along the way (all seamlessly connected); and lots of very hot love scenes (explicit erotic romance).

The Missing is divided into two parts:
Part One spans the lover's teenage years (from first meeting to break-up). Ms. Walker uses Part One to fully, painstakingly build her characters (major and minor) and the world they inhabit. Her attention to detail (environmental and characteristic) is simply wonderful. The world Walker builds around Taige and Cullen is dark and light, beautiful and ugly, violent, peaceful - real. And you believe every moment (difficult to do do well in only 300 pages - but Walker does it excellently)

Part Two brings us to the adult Taige and Cullen - dealing with their feelings for each other and their own personal demons, all while in the midst of a scary violent situation. I'm telling you, you're going to love this book and I suspect that you'll put it on your keeper shelf too ;-) Let me know what you think.

*Of course you know that I had to read The Missing again. I also visited Shiloh Walker's 'site for the first time in a long time. And you know what I discovered? Ms. Walker has just released the sequel to The Missing - The Departed...

The Departed by Shiloh Walker
Contemporary Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Berkley Trade, 2012 
$10 paperback and Kindle @ Amazon

"Taylor raised his own gun and fired, but the bastard managed to get a shot off. And as the sick fuck fell, lifeless, to the floor, Taylor turned. and the first thing he saw as he turned was the brilliant, dark wash of red staining the side of Dez's neck."

The Departed takes up a few years(?) after Taige and Cullen's story. The main characters, Tayler Jones and Desiree "Dez" Lincoln are members of Taige's F.B.I. Paranormal Team of investigators. Unfortunately, my mamma and professor's life leaves me little opportunity to read for pleasure, for extended amounts of time. I've got to take this one a little slower, so I'm not ready to tell you about it. I'll update this post when I do and I'll give you a head's up.

In the meantime, here are my preliminary thoughts, after reading the first two-ish chapters. Thus far, The Departed is almost as good as The Missing. But I've noticed that Ms. Walker is not developing her characters as fully from the get-go and there are virtually no love/sex scenes; and the ones that are there are pretty tepid - very 1980s Harlequin, very dissapointing. I'm dissapointed because, not only does Ms. Walker usually write some smoking hot love scenes (which she's doing less and less - why?), but because I firmly believe that love scenes in a love story should be bubbling hot. Particularly when the passion between the main characters is a prime motivator in the plot - sigh. That being said, the Paranormal Suspense plot is excellent! Then again, in a Shiloh Walker novel they always are ;-)

Happy Reading!

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!


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