Wednesday, June 17, 2015

2015 TBR CHALLENGE REVIEW: "Playing with Fire" by Gena Showalter

Playing with Fire (Tales of an Extraordinary Girl, #1)
Playing with Fire by Gena Showalter
(Tales of an Extraordinary Girl #1)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality, Violence)
Paranormal Romance

Harlequin -- Published on September 1, 2006
Mass Market Paperback, 379 pages
Read in June 2015
Purchased from Half-Price Books

Rating: 4 Stars

First Person Narrative, Alpha Hero, Kick-Ass Heroine

Used to be my greatest achievement was holding a job more than three days. Now suddenly I can shoot fireballs, chill your drink, or blow-dry your hair at fifty paces with a blink of my eye!

It all started when this crazy scientist dropped something in my Grande Mocha Latte. Of course I got wicked sick. Next morning I'm waking up with this total hottie bending over me. He tells me 1)his name's Rome Masters, 2)he's a government agent and 3)I can control the four elements with a thought.

He seems even less pleased by my (apparently irreversible) transformation than I am . . . Because now he'll have to kill me.

"Isn't it amazing how one seemingly innocent decision can change your entire life?"

Read for the 2015 TBR Challenge--June--More Than One. The challenge is hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian.

Why I Chose it for my TBR Challenge ReadI bought Playing with Fire from a used bookstore almost five years ago right after discovering Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series.  I was intrigued by the blurb yet, like so many books that I am reading for this challenge, it got lost on my TBR shelf and I never picked it up.  I have three other Gena Showalter books on my TBR shelf so I thought this would be the perfect month to give it a try.

This is basically a superhero-themed paranormal romance.  The narrator is Belle, a normal girl with a smart mouth and issues keeping a job, whose entire life is changed when she drinks a potion-laced coffee and gains the ability to control the elements.  Things get even more complicated when a sexy paranormal investigator named Rome appears and claims that he has been sent to neutralize her.

I found Playing with Fire to be a very fun book.  The characters were engaging and well-developed.  Belle was really funny and reacted in a similar way to how I probably would have acted in such a scenario.  She starts out scared, but quickly gets back on her feet and does everything she can to save herself and those she cares about.  Rome was a sexy, bad boy hero with a major soft spot that had me and Belle sighing with happiness.  I also had a blast getting to know the side characters like Belle's blue-haired sidekick, Tanner, and even Rome's ex-lover, Lexis, who avoided the bitter ex cliche well.

Belle and Rome's relationship developed quickly, but it never seemed like it was unrealistic due to the dangerous situations they were in.  Showalter also made sure that they actually talked about things besides the supernatural and their physical attraction.  Their chemistry is obvious from the first moments they meet and I had not trouble believing that they were a good match.

Most of the plot of Playing with Fire surrounded Belle and Rome's attempts to find the doctor who created the formula that gave Belle her powers.  This, obviously, was a lot more complex than they initially thought due to the fact that various paranormal organizations wanted Belle for experimentation and were willing do anything to get their hands on her.  The action scenes were well-written and I enjoyed reading about how Belle learned to control her abilities.

All in all, I am glad that I chose this book for this month's challenge.  It was very easy to read and just made me smile the entire time.  I will definitely be on the look-out for the sequel, Twice as Hot, in the future and recommend it for anyone who enjoys superheroes or just ordinary girls who discover how extraordinary they can be if given the chance.

I did not want to go down in history with a lame-ass superhero name.

1. Playing with Fire
2. Twice as Hot

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  1. I've never really been into adult paranormal romance, but i have to say that this one intrigues me. And since you liked it, well, it intrigues me every more. Is it weird that Rome is supposed to kill her or whatever? Because that freaks me out a little.

    1. It really isn't weird since the book actually uses "neutralize" rather than kill which the blurb uses. And it becomes a running joke with Rome having to explain to Belle what neutralize actually means. Plus, when he first meets her, she isn't able to control her powers and is a threat to everyone including herself.

  2. Oh yay! I love her books but haven't read in this series. I think I might even have it (a used bookstore pick up years ago too!). Definitely sounds like a fun one :D


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