Saturday, March 28, 2015

Review: Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler

Jinn and Juice
(The Jinni #1)
Nicole Peeler
Ebook Release: November 25, 2014
Paperback Release: April 7, 2015
Goodreads  Amazon
Cursed to be a jinni for a thousand years, Leila nears the end of her servitude—only to be bound once again against her will. Will she risk all to be human?
Born in ancient Persia, Leila turned to her house Jinni, Kouros, for help escaping an arranged marriage. Kouros did make it impossible for her to marry—by cursing Leila to live a thousand years as a Jinni herself.
If she can remain unBound, Leila's curse will soon be over. But Ozan Sawyer, a Magi with the ability to See, Call, and Bind jinn has other plans.
Oz needs Leila to help him penetrate Pittsburgh's steel-soaked magic, a juice potent but poisonous to supernatural creatures, in order to find a missing girl with her own mysterious connection to Kouros. Unfortunately for Leila, becoming Bound to Oz may risk more than just her chance to be human once more—it could risk her very soul...
Jinn and Juice is the first in a new series by fantasy writer, Nicole Peeler, set in a world of immortal curses, powerful jinni and belly dancing.

Nicole Peeler begins a new series full of Jinni, Magi, psychics, oracles, sirens, spider wraiths, bugbears, and more with Jinn and Juice. If you read Peeler's Jane True series you know that she is famous for urban fantasy heavy with sarcastic humor and heroines with inappropriate thoughts, and this start to her new series continues those traditions ten fold. Readers who enjoy fast-paced plots and light romance will love this book.

Jinn and Juice is hopefully the first in a new series, as the series title implies. This book was released in ebook format back in November, but is now coming out in paperback in April. I don't yet see any sequels posted on Goodreads, but the end of this one certainly leaves this open to series material so I'm hoping there are more to come.

I typically enjoy darker urban fantasy with deeply damaged heroines and a good balance of ass kicking and romance. Light UF isn't usually my thing, with a few exceptions. And Jinn and Juice is one of those exceptions. This book is light in the sense that no one here has a dirty, dark past and there's not a ton of angst, however the firing off of language unbecoming of a lady and the wicked quick pace of the story are very much to my liking. So, while this is on the lighter side of UF, it totally has that voice - occasionally raunchy, sometimes pushing boundaries - that I have come to recognize in Peeler's writing. She gives her heroines a spine and great comebacks, as well as a witty inner monologue that often borders on just plain dirty. And I like it.

Leila is our heroine here, a human who was cursed to become a Jinni (emphasis on the second syllable) and has been alive now for just over 1,000 years. She is nearing the end of her curse and jusssstt barely makes it before meeting new Magi, Oz who - yep, you guessed it - binds her to him thus putting her in danger of having to remain a Jinni for another 1,000 years. Oz and Leila have an attraction to each other and more possible romance in future books, but their romance here is timid and light because there is so much story going on, and the little issue that Leila has to do whatever Oz says, as part of the binding between a Magi and a Jinni. Therefore, both are hesitant to enter into any kind of romantic or sexual relationship while she is bound to him...and understandably so.

I really enjoyed the mythology of these two fantasy characters, the Jinn and the Magi, as well as some of the others introduced here that we don't see often in UF and PNR. Leila's Jinni has special abilities using a black fire that is within her that I really loved. I also really enjoyed the balance between her strength in magic and being alive for so long vs. her natural human weaknesses that haven't gone away no matter how long she lives as a Jinni.

Side characters abound here, and they are strange and entertaining to say the least. Some readers will laugh out loud at the bizarreness of characters like drag queen Rachel and creepy ass Trip and Trap, while other readers will find them not quite their cup of tea. I like the diversity in the characters - from the variety of various creatures to their diversity in ethnicity, sexual preference, and personality. Leila's crew is a freaking riot and I definitely snorted a couple times.

I will say that I missed more romance here. It would have been nice, but we do get small teases between Oz and Leila throughout the story and hopefully we will get more smexy times in the future. Oz, with his anchor tattoo in the hollow of his neck, is an unusual and nerdy with an academic background...WHAT!? I want to see him bring confident Leila to her knees with some more swoon worthy behavior in the next book!

I really liked this book, and I especially liked that I enjoyed it more and more as the story went on. I hope to get some more character development of the side characters and some more romance in book two - which I will be keeping a close eye out for!

Recommended for fans of: Jinni with dirty mouths, Jinn and Magi myth, unusual fantasy creatures, drag queens, the Jane True series, and the Sabina Kane series.

This review is based on an early finished copy provided by the publisher.

  4 / 5 stars

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