Thursday, July 17, 2014

SUNNY - BOOK REVIEW: Twisted Miracles by A.J. Larrieu

Cass Weatherfield’s powers come with a deadly price.

Cass knows it was her telekinetic gift that killed a college classmate five years back, even if no one else believes her. She’s lived in hiding from her fellow shadowminds ever since, plagued by guilt and suppressing her abilities with sedatives. Until the night her past walks back into her life in the form of sexy Shane Tanner, the ex-boyfriend who trained her…and the one she left without saying goodbye.

When Shane tells her that his twin sister, Mina—Cass’s childhood friend—is missing, Cass vows to help, which means returning to New Orleans to use her dangerous skills in the search. But finding Mina only leads to darker questions. As Cass and Shane race to learn who is targeting shadowminds, they find themselves drawn to each other, body and soul. Just as their powerful intimacy reignites, events take a terrifying turn, and Cass realizes that to save the people she loves, she must embrace the powers that ruined her life

Urban Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to read.  I enjoy complex, well-written world-building - mostly because it requires a kind of imagination that I just don't have.  I want strong, interesting supporting characters. I want suspense and I want at least a dash of romance (okay, usually more than a dash).  I'm pleased to say that Twisted Miracles gives me all of that and then some.

A.J. Larrieu brings us into the world of the shadowminds where there are healers, guardians, and enforcer all gifted with supernatural powers. And like in all parts of society, there is good and evil in their kind. 

Cass Weatherfield is a telekinetic.  She can move objects in her sleep, she can transport and most unusually of all, she can pull energy from life around her to enhance her powers.  Without having any of this knowledge as a child, she grew up alienated from the world, moved from foster home to foster home until she meets Shane, another shadowmind and future boyfriend.  From Shane and his Uncle Lionel, Cass learns more about this hidden world, but it doesn’t help when she is involved in a tragic accident.  An incident that makes her run from her adoptive family. It is only the disappearance of Shane’s sister (and Cass’s best friend) Mina that brings her back to New Orleans and involves her in a deeper mystery with a serial killer.

I'm biased toward stories that are based in the South.  Having now visited New Orleans, I can imagine the places about which the author writes.  But more than that, stories in the South seem more sultry - the warm winds, the humidity, the exotic scents. Characters seem to have extra flavor as well.  The author offers up a good crew of side characters that enhance the story:  Lionel, another shadowmind and father figure to the kids; Bruce, a normal human with the superpower of optimism; Mina, bereft of her powers, must now learn to cope; and Jackson, another shadowmind living in San Francisco, who helps Cass discover and start to harness her special strengths. 

I also took note of a subtle, but not often included, element in this story.  Shane and Cass are an inter-racial couple.  The focus of this book is not about their inter-racial relationship or about race and racism, but it acknowledges that Shane is of mixed race and the author chooses to make that relevant.  A.J. Larrieu chooses to acknowledge their diverse experience.  I believe that in order to normalize diversity, we must acknowledge varying experiences, not ignore them.  So, when Cass's foster mother, Kate, meets Shane for the first time, Cass can hear the subtext of what she is saying: 

"It hadn't taken her long to forbid me from seeing him.  'Think of your children, Cass,' she said.  'Would you want them to got through life like that?' Like that was Kate-code for black."  

This is done with a subtle hand, but to me a significant inclusion and one I truly appreciated.

My one small critique is that I would have like to learn more about Shane.  We know he’s protective, brave and passionate, but his story starts with Cass.  I’d like to learn more about his story and his point of view.  Maybe an novella from his perspective?

IN A NUTSHELL:  If you are interested in checking out a fresh voice in the Urban Fantasy genre, or if you just want a darn good story, don’t miss out on this book.


  1. I'm eager to read this! Might bump it up, thanks!

    1. With pleasure! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  2. I really enjoyed this one. I got to read an early copy, and I loved the characters and the inventiveness.