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I Belong

Review: Boyfriend from Hell by Jamie Quaid

Title: Boyfriend from Hell

AuthorJamie Quaid

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Saturn’s Daughter (Book 1)

Publication Date: September 25, 2012

Format: Paperback, 387 Pages

ISBN-10: 1451656351 (Pocket After Dark)

ISBN-13: 978-14516350 (Pocket After Dark)

Reviewed by: Michelle


They say justice is blind. But Justine isn’t. Justine (Tina) Clancy is just an ordinary law student with a faulty arrest record, a part-time job in Baltimore’s radioactive Zone, and a family secret so bizarre even she doesn’t believe it. That is, until in a fit of fury she damns her boyfriend to hell—and it’s exactly where he ends up.

Much to her surprise, Tina is apparently one of Saturn’s daughters, with the power to wield vigilante justice. But poor Max didn’t deserve to go up in flames, even if he did almost run her over with her own car. Tina’s convinced someone cut the brakes—and now a relentless nemesis is stalking her through the Zone’s back alleys, where buildings glow, statues move, and chemical waste exposure comes with interesting consequences. Tina’s usually a loner, but now she needs a posse like no other: a shape-shifting kitten, an invisible thief, a biker gang, a snake-charming private detective, a well-meaning cop, and her sleazy, sexy boss. But in between freeing Max from hell, saving her own neck, and solving a mystery that threatens the Zone and her newfound friends, how is she ever going to study for finals?

Quick & Dirty: An interesting book with a great concept, but just was not for me.

Opening Sentence: Over the door, the tin scales of Lady Justice dipped ominously to the wrong side as Andre Legrande strolled into Bill’s Biker Bar and Grill.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Boyfriend from Hell by Jamie Quaid was an interesting book. Urban fantasy and Paranormal romance has a 50% chance of a make-it or break-it moment in my mental library. With so many stories in the genres, it’s difficult to completely stand out and make a mark. Plus, my personal reading preferences sometimes prevent me from liking a story. With Boyfriend from Hell, I couldn’t make a decision after finishing the book.  But let me talk it out and we can come to a conclusion in the end.

Justina “Tina” Clancy has a few goals in life. Pass her law school finals to then pass the bar. When she becomes a lawyer, she will no longer have a need to be in the “Zone.” The Zone is a toxic radioactive area in an alternate Baltimore, altered by chemical spills and pollution. The Zone changes people, giving them strange powers, different characteristics and mutations. Tina works for Andre Legrande, keeping the books for his many businesses around the Zone. On a normal deposit run, she witnesses a government car run over children crossing the street, only to then witness her boyfriend attempt to run her over and crash into the bank, which resulted in instant death. Tina and her boyfriend had issues, but she never truly intended him to be sent to hell.

Tina and I had a slow start to connect. She is a determined young woman, set on her goals to graduate and move on to a better career. Once she witnessed the accidents, she brought it upon herself to investigate. She is this straight-arrow type of girl, except she has this temper that reveals her different oddities a la the Zone. At times, I felt she was a walking contradiction. I couldn’t pinpoint her actual personality nor could I understand what she wanted. One moment she hated Max, only to miss him the next. She had this tension with her boss, Andre, only to bicker with him the next.

But maybe it was Quaid’s world that I couldn’t connect to, and the characters were just an extension. The Zone was something I couldn’t understand until the end of the book. To me, it wasn’t clear exactly what the Zone was. It was a part of Baltimore that became this paranormal oddity filled place due to a chemical spill several years ago. Quaid didn’t explain that complete train of thought, so I couldn’t understand it. I felt there were gaps in the world, the history, the culture and it was hard for me to connect.

I wanted to love this book. The concept was great. But there were holes in the plot that I didn’t relate to or understand. Maybe it wasn’t my time to read a book like Boyfriend from Hell. Mixed with conspiracy theories, Boyfriend from Hell spoke about secrets covered by the privileged and powerful corporations. But I found that a few highlighted aspects of the story (boyfriend hauntings, oddities turned superpowers) were more favorable than others (arrest records hindering her law career).

Boyfriend from Hell was interesting enough. I enjoyed the overall story, even if I wasn’t a big fan of several key elements. But that could be me and my reading preferences. Give it a go, and let me know what you thought of it.

Notable Scene:

He flashed a wicked white grin. “Yeah, and that, too.”

Damn, even though I knew he was a lying cheat, he rattled my hormones when he smiled like that. I had always been a sucker for a bad-boy smile. And we all know how well that had worked out.

Max had been fun, but Andre was just plain toxic.

Saturn’s Daughter Series:

1. Boyfriend from Hell

2. Damn Him to Hell (June 2013)

FTC Advisory: Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books provided me with a copy of Boyfriend from Hell.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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