She came to the woods to heal and found evil lurking among the trees….
Upon her grandmother’s death, Kendra inherits a cottage deep within the sequoia forest, along with the powers given only to certain women in her family—powers she doesn’t know she has. Recovering from a vicious attack in Phoenix, Kendra returns home to the remote cabin determined to heal both her body and her spirit. But the forest is ailing, too. Evil lurks in its dark places, turning its quiet glades into a battlefield. When a strangely beautiful man appears at her cabin intent on punishing her for a crime she didn’t commit, Kendra needs all her strength to protect her forest, her life… and her heart. Can she learn to use her powers and to trust Mykhael in time to save the ancient forest?
He came to the woods to redeem himself and found innocence that would be his undoing….
Throughout his long life, Mykhael has struggled, often in vain, to please the Atrahasis, immortal overlords of the sacred places in the universe. Now they have given him one last chance to redeem himself. He must punish the person they think desecrated an ancient forest in Northern California. But when he meets Kendra, he realizes he’s doomed to disappoint them yet again. Not only is she innocent of the crime the Atrahasis have accused her of, Kendra is the missing part of the soul he didn’t know he still possessed. Can he defy the Atrahasis yet again and live long enough to save the only thing in his life that matters?
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: I had mixed feelings about My Killer, My Love by Mona Karel. While there is a great deal to like about this book, I had some trouble with Karel’s characterization. Not that her characterization isn’t good. It is, in fact, it’s excellent and deeply layered. In this reviewer’s opinion, however, Karel pushes the boundaries of the romance genre. I tend to like strong alpha males and females as main characters. Sue me, but that’s just the way I am. Although I do have to admit, I absolutely loved the fact the heroine had a limp and was flawed. Karel’s main characters are neither completely alpha nor are they beta. Instead, they walk a fine line between these two personality types. Karel has given them with strong character traits like courage, determination, and a firm sense of justice. She’s tempered these traits with emotional baggage, physical disabilities, and a charming innocence.
The female lead, Kendra, is especially interesting. With her strong heart, shy courage, and broken body, she’s not the usual type of heroine we see in modern paranormal romances. Her innocence comes from being a misfit. Her father wanted a boy and got Kendra instead. Her cousin Clarissa is beautiful and sophisticated, all the things Kendra wishes she could be and feels she isn’t. Clarissa is also the one most men choose, leaving Kendra to languish in the background, a perennial virgin. So Kendra has never felt at home with anyone but her grandmother. Mykhael’s innocence comes not from his lack of sexual experience, but from his inexperience with modern-day humans, particularly innocent, unassuming humans like Kendra. Mykhael is also a misfit in his world and unable to find the success he desires. Of course, being in solitary confinement for the past two-hundred years didn’t help.
Having said that, there is no question Karel is an exceptional writer. Her plot is well thought out and very tight. While her characters aren’t the type I usually like to read about, they are realistic, well-developed, and very three-dimensional. The world she created feels authentic, what sex there is, is hot, and the interaction between the characters rings true. So while my score doesn’t quite match Regan’s, that’s probably because she’s not a hard-core, alpha fanatic like I am. I’m giving the book 4.2 stars.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: My Killer, My Love by Mona Karel is an outstanding achievement for a debut author. I can’t find enough good things to say about this book. Why do I like it? The title for one thing. How could you not read the book with a title like that? For another thing, the characters are different. Take the heroine, Kendra Weiss. Kendra is not beautiful. Not only is she not beautiful, she’s handicapped. She is recovering from the injuries she received when she was pinned under a heavy object for hours with the weigh across her knees. Now her knees are scarred and ugly. She walks with a cane, and she wears glasses. Not contacts, glasses. How many heroines have you seen recently in romances that wear glasses? Or have ugly physical scars. Most heroines these days are tall, slender, and beautiful. All the things most of us are not. It’s delightfully refreshing to find a new author with the guts to deviate from the norm and give us a heroine who actually feels like a real person. I’m impressed.
Then there’s Mykhael—the way she spells the name is so killer. Mykhael is immortal, or close enough, but he’s not all powerful or even very successful. While he is beautiful, he’s a failure in his world. Unable to fulfill the assignments of his masters—or controllers or whatever those guys are—Mykhael has spent most of the last two hundred years in the gods’ version of solitary confinement, and believe me, you don’t want to go there. A warrior who can no longer abide the shedding of blood, Mykhael is a misfit. Just like Kendra. When these two wounded, unhappy souls get together, it’s not love at first site. Mykhael has been sent to kill her. Kendra thinks of herself as a coward and is suspicious of any man. Especially a beautiful man who makes her seem to be more than she thinks she is.
As their relationship develops, the complications only get worse. If Mykhael kills Kendra, he will finally achieve the success and rewards from his masters he’s been hoping for. If he doesn’t kill her, the masters will send someone else to do it, and Mykhael will go back into solitary confinement. What a no-win situation! Throw in evil humans and even more evil immortals, and you have a page-turner you’ll want to read again and again. In my opinion, My Killer, My Love rates 4.8 stars. That’s the highest I’ve ever rated any book.
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From H. R. Holt
Kendra is physically broken because of an attack she experienced; Mykhael is mentally broken because he’s been tormented for two hundred years. Together, they make a good match… like two pieces of the same puzzle, managing to mend each other while the world is caving in around them.
Kendra moves into her grandmother’s cabin shortly after the doctors (who didn’t believe she’d walk again) gave her the all-clear. She finds the cabin’s environment in disarray—even the slugs, who always seemed to behave when her grandmother lived there. Mykhael walks into the picture, and, shortly after they realize how much they need each other, we learn his reason for being there—to kill Kendra for causing a disturbance in the balance of one of the sacred places of the universe, as overseen by the Atrahasis. Only… she wasn’t the one who caused it. Her cousin, Clarissa, is responsible… and the unctuous real estate guy in town. The Atrahasis don’t care who is responsible; they just want someone punished, because they believe all people are the same.
The descriptions throughout this novel make it shine. They are highly poetic in their foundations, as is the love between Kendra and Mykhael. The character development progressed along well, even allowing some light for the sheriff, who really wasn’t all too sure about Mykhael, but trusted him a whole lot more than Gabriel, Mykhael’s demented half-brother… who definitely gets his comeuppance in the end. Of the characters, Kendra fascinated me, because she went from cursing her setbacks (glasses, damaged legs) and grew some intestinal fortitude—all with the help of her leading man, Mykhael, who loves her with all he is… even if he can’t understand her sometimes.
I found myself smiling at the ending; I don’t think it could have ended better. After all, fifty or sixty years, if done right, can be an improvement over immortality, especially if you have the right person to spend them with. Ms. Karel did an outstanding job with this piece, and I look forward to reading more of her works in the future.