I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Reaper Rescues the Genie by Kristen Painter
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Mystery
Published by Sugar Skull Books on April 17, 2018
Source: my own shelves
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Also by this author: House of the Rising Sun, City of Eternal Night, Garden of Dreams and Desires, Book Review: Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case, All Fired Up, "Prologue to The Vampire's Mail Order Bride", The Vampire's Mail Order Bride, The Werewolf Meets His Match, The Gargoyle Gets His Girl, The Professor Woos the Witch, The Vampire's Fake Fiancée, The Shifter Romances the Writer, "The Witch's Halloween Hero", The Dragon Finds Forever, The Vampire's Accidental Wife, The Detective Wins The Witch, The Vampire's Priceless Treasure, The Werewolf Dates the Deputy, "When Birdie Babysat Spider", Miss Frost Ices the Imp, Miss Frost Saves the Sandman, Miss Frost Cracks a Caper, "The Werewolf's Christmas Wish"
Ninth in the Nocturne Falls fantasy magical realism mystery series revolving around Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year. The couple focus is on Lucien Dupree and Imari Zephara.
This is an incredibly sweet story of a very lonely man stricken with grief. And, man, Painter is so good at being intriguing. She very slowly reveals bits and pieces as the story goes along, including the truth about his forgiving grandmother who has her own exciting past, lol.
I absolutely love this cozy series with its caring, supportive characters! If only every group of people could be like them!
Both protagonists — Painter uses third person dual protagonist points-of-view from Lucien’s and Imari’s perspectives — have some hefty price tags attached to their being alive. Imari’s is particularly nasty and has everything to do with jinn culture. If she must be married, she wants a partnership, not a dictatorship.
Lucien’s house is pretty amazing, as are those secret passages. Imari’s bottle is also secret. In her own hands, it’s her freedom. In the hands of others . . . it’s not.
Imari’s entire aim in life is to remain free and make her own decisions, which means protecting her bottle and conserving her allotment of wishes. Talk about rock and hard place! Marrying will come with all sorts of problems.
Oh man, guys would pant to have even a small percentage of Lucien’s car collection! It is cute that Lucien has all these cars and yet doesn’t go out much.
Hmm, it’s interesting how much Lucien has contributed to Nocturne Falls just to keep his isolation intact.
Okay, it is so annoying when characters “interpret” what everyone else is “really” thinking. Oy. Yeah, I’m saying Lucien is beating himself up and yet he’s such a hero! Even with his “trashy” taste in magazines, lol.
It’s a blend of action, character, and culture — of hollow pride and of honor without love.
Grief and guilt strike when grim reaper Lucien Dupree’s powers run amuck. Now he’s living in a self-imposed exile to keep humanity safe. Sure, it’s a lonely existence, but it’s the best thing for everyone. Except him.
Retired genie, Imari Zephara, has found her happy place in Nocturne Falls.
As happy as she can be considering the alternative returning home would bring her. Then a dark force rears its ugly head and throws her life into turmoil. Suddenly the only way to save herself is to join forces with death, who turns out to be a pretty amazing guy.
But Lucien’s defective powers might not be enough to overcome centuries of jinn tradition, meaning Imari’s life would no longer be her own. All he wants is to give her the chance to choose her own future. Hopefully, one that includes him. What more could a guy a wish for?
The paranoid, thousand-year-old Imari Zephara is a “retired” genie who works as a massage therapist at the Nocturne Falls Spa.
The hermit-like Lucien Dupree is a retired grim reaper who now runs Insomnia, the supernaturals-only hotspot located in the derelict Caldwell building. Hattie Dupree, a.k.a. Mémé, is Lucien’s ghost of a grandmother who lives with Lucien. Kora is his problem daughter, half-vampire, half-reaper. Pavlina, a vampire, is/was Kora’s mother.
Nocturne Falls, Georgia, is . . .
. . . the small town where the tourists think it’s all a show: the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the occasional gargoyle flying through the sky. But the supernaturals populating the town know better. The Ellinghams, a family of vampires, owns most of the town. Elenora Ellingham is the matriarch of the family. Alice Bishop is Elenora’s powerful witch secretary. Sebastian is the oldest grandson and engaged to Tessa Blythe, a valkyrie and librarian (The Vampire’s Fake Fiancée, 5). Greaves is Sebastian’s rook. Hugh is the middle of her three grandsons, and he’s married to Delaney who runs a sweets shop, Delaney’s Delectables (The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride, 1). Stanhill is Hugh’s rook, and he’s engaged to Corette Williams, the mother of three witches and the owner of the bridal shop (“The Witch’s Halloween Hero“, 4.5). The Basement is an operational area that runs under most of the town.
Greyson Garrett is a daywalking vampire who works for Lucien on an as-needed basis. Hmm, actually Greyson seems to work for anyone on an as-needed basis . . . Willa Iscove, a fae jeweler, owns Illusions and creates the most incredible jewelry. Jasper is her cat. She’s engaged to Nick Hardwin, a gargoyle (The Gargoyle Gets His Girl, 3).
Birdie Caruthers, a werewolf and Hank’s aunt, works as a receptionist at the sheriff’s department. Sheriff Hank Merrow is a werewolf married to Ivy (The Werewolf Meets His Match, 2).
Jayne Frost, niece of Santa Claus, daughter to Jack Frost, and heir to the Winter throne, manages Santa’s Workshop. Marigold Williams, a green witch, runs the Enchanted Garden flower shop. Charisma Williams is her sister and a life coach. Pandora Williams, another sister, is a real estate witch who’s with Cole Van Zant (The Professor Woos the Witch, 4). Guillermo’s is an Italian restaurant. Trina, a fae, is one of the shift managers at Insomnia. Shelley, a wood nymph, does hair at the spa. The Excelsior is an elite apartment building that caters to supernaturals.
The Chaos Realm is . . .
. . . the world the jinn call home, where everything must be in order. Imari’s betrothed-from-the-cradle is an ifrit, Prince Khalid, who is the captain of the guards who patrol the Well of Wishes as well as the son of the king, Khan Memnat. Imari’s parents are Farozza Zephara, vice-minister of Oasis Management, and Zakir, the king’s vizara of Strategy, a.k.a. Secretary of Defense. Ravi manages the Zephara home. There is always a marid — Hammad this time — who acts as mediator in disputes.
Wish merchants capture genies to use them for their wish-granting abilities. Adira is the genie he holds captive.
Lucien had been part of the War Angels division, each member stripped of their ability to see color. Phantom had been Lucien’s assigned horse.
Sword and Scepter is a TV series about a made-up royal family in a made-up country who experience all sorts of drama. Hattie and Imari both love it! Mr Black, Mrs Crabapple, Ms Simmons, and Mr Franklin are unexpected new clients for Imari.
The Cover and Title
The cover is black and blue — probably what Imari’s parents would like to do to her. A black background with sparkling stars in the background that help frame the central oval that is focussed on the sheer blue harem-outfitted Imari with her long black hair, her arms up and bent behind her head, her legs disappearing in a sparkly jeweled cloud that flows into her elaborately jeweled bottle. On the right side of the bottle is the dark-haired Lucien, his reaper blade over his right shoulder, incongruously dressed in a gray shirt and navy sweater vest and trousers. His left hand holds the emerald stopper. The white title covers one-third of the upper part of the cover while an info blurb and the author’s name, all in white, are at the bottom. The orange series jack-o-lantern and the brown signboard with the yellow text that announces the series info is on the left and relatively level with the bottom of Imari’s bottle.
The title is the truth, for it’s The Reaper [Who] Rescues the Genie, who turns around and “rescues” the reaper.