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.