by Kathleen Nance, paranormal (2002)
LoveSwept, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52484-8
Memo to Kathleen Nance: you do not redeem the Other Woman by turning her into a wide-eyed ignorant idiot. Yeah, yeah, lil' chicks get run down by trucks or are devoured by foxes (and me), but you don't see me shedding tears before I tear off a big chunk from my Kentucky Fried Chicken. Leila the Djinn? So dingbat and she acts like a spoiled, petulant Lil' Miss Thing to boot. So annoying.
Leila is the not-so-nice Other Djinniyeh Woman in this author's previous genie books Wishes Come True and More Than Magic, and she starts off this story by casting a spell of seduction on Jack Montgomery, Hugh Jackman gone nerd. Jack's sister married Darius in More Than Magic, and now Jack is determined to find a scientific way to ward off these magic spells of those pesky djinns. He has no idea that Leila is one of those pesky critters until they both are whisked back to Leila's world. The amulet he is carrying somehow robs Leila of her magic, and now she is completely dependent on him.
Because we all know that no romance story is really a romance story until the heroine is completely inferior to her man, subjugated by her circumstances, and impregnated by Heroic Sperm all the way to menopause.
Oh yeah, Leila wants a baby. Because that's what she wants in life - that's all she wants. Look, just because God or biology - depending on your beliefs - gives us women the bits to make babies, that doesn't mean we lose our head and beg and wail to be impregnated now and forever, amen.
And so they go. "Help her, Jack!" soon becomes an overplayed theme song. I wish the author will allow Leila to learn that there is more to her strength than a pair of djinn ovaries and her ma-at (magic). I wish these two spend more time doing something rather than bickering. I wish this story doesn't feel like a MST3000 bad road trip fantasy wannabe.
The last few chapters when Leila gets captured by the bad guy - gee, didn't see that one coming, really - Jack makes some nice, rather dramatic noise and gestures. That's when this story comes to life finally. But then it's the end, and it's back to Dingbat Djinniyeh and her Babysitting Hubby all over again.
The Enchantment, people, is just not there. It's back to the hallucinogens once more for best results.
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