Let me begin by saying that writing a novel is a terrific achievement. I know, having written one ~ and only one. My hat is off to anyone who can complete a novel.
That said, here is my honest opinion of Charmeine, a paranormal romantic adventure by Emily Guido, which I finished reading last night.
Characters: Some unknown, but evidently catastrophic event has cast angels Tabbruis and Charmeine adrift on earth with no memory of their heavenly origins. Tabbruis has become a vampire-like “blood-hunter;” Charmeine an angelic “light-bearer” ~ though she doesn’t know it. She also doesn’t know that light-bearers and blood-hunters are sworn enemies, since she hasn’t heard of either. Our first glimpse of Charmeine on earth is as an elementary school teacher named Charleen Davis. Yet there is still something of the angel about her. Here she is with some quarreling kids:
Ignoring the mess, Charleen sat the boys down on the floor matt and sternly said, “I want everyone to get along here. If you don’t, you’ll make Miss Davis very unhappy.” Charleen looked at them with her big brown eyes and a sweet look which melted the boys. Very sweetly she said, “Now, please say you are sorry to each other, shake hands and we will all go to recess, okay?” The boys bobbed their heads up and down and shook hands.
Tabbruis has visions of Charmeine that he can’t understand, though they fill him with longing:
Tabbruis was looking in the mirror as it was fogging up and he saw a shadow of a woman’s face. At first, he was anxious. After reaching out with his senses, Tabbruis knew it was just an effect the steam had on the glass. The face was beautiful, airy and calm. It had a translucent quality with eyes which were deep and dark. He felt the eyes looking straight into his soul.
Another main character is Shane. He’s a former military man who grew up in an orphanage with earth-bound Charmeine, and has a brother-sister relationship with her. All three are attractive, high-minded and devoted to one another once events bring them together.
Plot: Driven to seek out “the face” of his visions, fate brings Tabbruis together with Charmeine and Shane in New York, where they face danger from another member of Tabbruis’ evil and powerful blood-hunter race. The leader of the blood-hunters wants Charmeine for unspecified reasons, and it’s up to Tabbruis to protect her, with Shane’s help, even though it means death for him to defy his own kind.
Setting: Mostly set in New York City. Locations include a Billy Joel concert, the beach, and this nice view from the penthouse suite in the Ritz Carlton:
Uneasy and feeling on edge, Tabbruis looked around at the suite. He opened the bay doors off of the living room to the terrace and looked over the New York Harbor. The sun was just about to come up and Tabbruis saw the sparkle of the dark purplish hues on the un-lit ocean. He could hear boats going about their duties in the Harbor using horns and bells to mark their path. As Tabbruis breathed the cool dawn ocean breeze, he felt more relaxed.
There’s also some background action that takes place in Romania and Greece.
What I thought could’ve been done better: The story is a bit wordy in places. For instance:
Tabbruis’ looked at her and his eyebrows went up as he made a small grin looking at her. Charleen’s stomach fluttered and she blushed fully.
Dried out a little ~ Tabbruis raised his eyebrows and grinned at her. Charleen blushed. Her stomach fluttered.
There are some grammar problems as well, sprinkled throughout. “I am here to help our brother, Hameal, which has been condemned because of his friendship with the Light-Bearer.”
Of course, it should be “…our brother Hameal, who has been condemned…”
Tabbruis and company deserve our undivided attention. Typos like these, inadvertent as I’m sure they are, distract from the wonders Emily serves up.
Instances of telling rather than showing also make the story a bit less vivid than it could be, in my opinion. For instance, here Emily tells us how Tabbruis feels: At that moment, she nestled her head in his neck. This made his longing to protect her even more ardent.
Showing how he feels makes the story more colorful: She nestled her head against his neck. In that moment he knew in his bones he would defend her with every weapon he could lay hands on, and with all the fury of his blood-hunter’s soul.
Also, I would’ve like to have learned what great calamity landed Tabbruis and Charmeine on earth, and why Tabbruis became a blood-hunter, while Charmeine became a light-bearer. There are sequels out, however, so perhaps these questions are answered there.
What I thought was good: I liked Emily’s simple, straightforward style of declarative story-telling, and the passion with which she infused it. Her heroes, Tabbruis, Charmeine, Shane and Dimitri are all forthright, good-hearted characters, despite, or maybe because of their tortured pasts — Tabbruis, Dimitri and Shane, anyway — Charmeine’s past is still a mystery.
I got a kick out of the name Tabbruis chose for himself when traveling in New York — Tab Hunter. Some of us might remember movie star Tab Hunter from 1950s films like Battle Cry, Gunman’s Walk and Damn Yankees.
The intensity of Tabbruis’ and Charmeine’s longing for one another was also a plus. But, as a guy, I have to say the fight scenes were my favorite. There are some spots in the book that could benefit from greater use of active voice, but Emily did a good job of keeping the battles active — and vivid:
The Blood-Hunter quickly got up and punched Tabbruis in the gut slamming him down on the pavement. Blood was spewing out of Tabbruis’ mouth from the blow. The Blood-Hunter bent down strangling Tabbruis.
Charmeine ran over to the Blood-Hunter and shocked him with powerful waves of white light coming out of her hands. The Blood-Hunter was in pain but he still had a hold of Tabbruis’ neck. Charmeine stood above the Blood-Hunter saying with an extreme viciousness she never knew she had, “Take your damn hands off of him right now or I will end this with your putrid body burning you alive from the inside out!”
You go girl!
Overall: So who writes a perfect book? CHARMEINE is emotionally straightforward and simple, with really virtuous good guys, and really wicked bad guys. Even so, Emily doesn’t give anyone a pass, and all sides come in for their share of lumps.
In the end it’s about love, and despite some typos, wordiness and grammar errors, the intensity of Tabbruis’ and Charmeine’s feelings for each other kept me reading.
Good job Emily!
And for a sexy superheroine paranormal sci fi romantic adventure thriller, check out my own novel American Goddesses ~ thanks for visiting Honest Indie!