by Nicole Peeler
I'm a fairly prolific reader and reviewer, but my reading year got off to a terrible start. I couldn't seem to find the time to read, and what I was reading wasn't holding my interest. In short, I couldn't seem to finish a book. It was at this point that a friend recommended Tempest Rising. She said it was light, funny, and had a protagonist who worked in a bookstore. All points in its favor.
On the other hand, it's one of those paranormal romance-type books that I generally hate. Vampires, werewolves, as a rule I avoid them like the plague. Nicole Peeler's debut has them, but the novel also has selkies, gnomes, kelpies, succubae, goblins, elves, and a whole bunch of creatures I've never heard of. Peeler embraces a broad cross-section of world mythology, but she makes it her own. She keeps the traditions she likes, and changes what she has no use for. The world she's created is interesting in its departure from the conventional mythology--for instance the vampire who's a lover not a fighter. More on him in a moment.
I summarized the novel's plot in the title of this review: How Jane discovered she's a selkie and got her groove back. Okay, I was having a little fun, much as author Nicole Peeler seems to be. Tempest Rising is the story of Jane True of Rockabill, Maine. As the novel opens, 20-something Jane is living with her dad and despite being a total hottie is something of a pariah around town. It's partially due to her oddball mom who ran off years ago, but it's mostly to do with the role she played in the drowning death of her popular boyfriend. Jane's resigned to the life she leads and tries to take pleasure in her father and few friends. And then she finds another body in the water.
It is this event that opens the door to a life and a world that Jane would never have dreamed of. A world where people she's known her entire life are not what they seem--including her long-absent mother. So begins an adventure and a romance with, yes, a hunky vampire. Be forewarned, this is not an innocent little cozy mystery. Peeler seems to delight in frequent, somewhat explicit sex scenes. Look, no one likes a bit of erotica more than me, but eventually it just became page-filler.
Ultimately, the book managed to live up to expectations. It was light, funny, and a very, very fast read. Jane had an amusing voice. There really wasn't much to the novel, clearly the beginning of a series, but it was something of a palate cleanser for me. If I were looking for a bit of mindless entertainment, yeah, I would consider reading the next in the series. For readers who are really into this sort of thing, it would probably be a slam dunk.