Title: Hold Me If You Can (Soulfire Series #3)
Author: Stephanie Rowe
Format: Mass Market Paperback & eBook
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
The other day I posted on Twitter that Stephanie Rowe’s Hold Me If You Can is crazy goofy but lots of fun. That pretty much says it all! This was one hilarious paranormal romance, full of all kinds of silliness. I happen to love that sort of book, but if you’re more into gritty urban fantasy or less humorous paranormal romance, this book is not for you.
I have to admit that I haven’t read any of Ms. Rowe’s books before, and when I started reading this book, I didn’t realize that this was the third book in a series. In some series, you can dive right in at any point in the series with few problems. This is not one of those series. In fact, I was seriously annoyed and frustrated at the very beginning, because I had NO idea what was going on. References were made to certain creatures and magical terms, and I was completely lost. However, the zaniness soon drew me in, and I was able to catch up fairly easily once I’d read a little further. By the time I’d finished the book I’d definitely changed my initial opinion. For that reason, I’d recommend that you begin the series with the first book, Kiss At Your Own Risk, rather than starting with this one. If you do decide to begin with Hold Me If You Can, you might want to read a synopsis of the other two books or a review of this one to catch up on some of the terminology. I think you’ll have a more pleasant reading experience that way.
The heroine, Natalie Fleming, is a sweet. She has magical powers and her blood attracts demons called deedubs. Natalie has just finished renovating her magical sweet shop, called Scrumptious, for an inspection by the Michelin-O (for otherworld) guide. Natalie makes chocolates that can help with sensual matters (ie – chocolate goodies that have a Viagra effect), but her magic seems to be failing her and her recent escape from death at the hands of a deedub has made her infamous, making her a target.
Nigel Aquarian is a warrior and healer who spent the last 150 years being tortured by Angelica, Satan’s grandmother, in a place called the Den of Womanly Pursuits. (Prepare for the zaniness!) In the Den, Angelica and her minions used beauty implements as weapons and torture devices (curling irons and bobby pins as weapons), to change warriors like Nigel into more sensitive men. Now that Nigel and the others have escaped Angelica’s clutches, they still eat sushi pizza and engage in more “sensitive” pursuits, even while they watch sports on their large screen tvs, which frankly had me busting a gut from laughter.
Nigel is drawn to Natalie and vows to protect her from the deedubs, but he and his fellow escapees are under attack by one of Angelica’s former minions. The two would-be lovers must find a way for Natalie to get back her former mojo so she can defend herself against the deedubs, while rescuing their friends from the Den of Womanly Pursuits.
The humor in this book is a big selling point. Ms. Rowe’s use of beauty implements as weapons is hysterically funny, and the lighthearted tone of the novel makes for easy reading. Nigel and Natalie are both afraid to let go and be themselves, but in the end they learn to accept who they are, granting them even more power. All of this is accomplished with lots of bad puns, and silly, over the top villains, but that just makes the book all that more fun to read.
My biggest criticism is that it’s very difficult to immerse yourself in the world without having read any of the earlier books. There were many times in the first 25% of the novel when I found myself lost at some of the terms (smut, Magicks, Mystics, deedubs?), which was discouraging. Fortunately, I kept reading and was able to follow along fairly easy once I was into the book, but I fear many new readers will give up before that point.
Also, if you’re not into silly, comic paranormal romance, you just won’t enjoy this book. I loved it and found the craziness to be a big selling point, but I know that not all readers would agree.
Overall, this was a lot of fun to read, and I’m planning on checking out the rest of the books in the series to catch up. Any author who considers beauty tools torture devices is a-okay in my book!