I was done with my Jinn ex-boyfriend—but now I’m the only one who can save his life.
I’m already in enough trouble with my magic going crazy right when I’m opening a storefront for romantic crimes consulting. The last thing I need is interference from Kiran Singh, who failed spectacularly as a boyfriend, and now wants me back with some crappy excuse of helping him track down illegal, dangerous love potions.
Then one of his other exes tries to kill me in a fit of jealous, doped-up rage—and ends up dead herself, with all evidence pointing to Kiran.
My vegetarian vampire mate, Cendric, is convinced Kiran is up to something. But homicide isn’t Kiran’s style, even if he’s starting to show serious psycho-jealousy of his own. Someone else is pulling the strings, and they don’t care how many people die from fake love.
If we can’t track down the real mastermind, my ex is going to disappear. And not in the way I’d wish.
Janeen Ippolito believes you should own your unique words—and make them awesome! She’s a multi-published author of bestselling fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She’s also an experienced book editor and marketing strategist, plus the CEO of Uncommon Universes Press, a publishing company with award-winning books. She hosts the podcast Own Your Unique Words, which helps gutsy fiction authors grow their businesses without burning out. In her spare time, she helps her missionary husband with his youth swordfighting ministry, indulges her foodie ambitions, reads whatever books she feels like, and explores a slew of random hobbies. Her life goals include traveling to Antarctica and riding a camel while wearing a party hat. She loves to connect, so join her on social media or at janeenippolito.com
I've heard it said many times with regard to both book series and TV series that you can't keep the audience interested once the protagonists have gotten married. Wish You Weren't Here proves that to be a load of hooey. Because marriage can be exciting too (or so I'm told), even without introducing the possibility of the happy couple splitting up (looking at you, Season 6 of every TV show in existence). True, Book 2 of the Steel City Genie series does feature the return of main character Allis' Jinn ex-boyfriend, but while this creates some realistic conflict in the story, one never really gets the impression that Allis and her vampire-lawyer husband Cendric would actually split up. Despite that, their relationship remains just as engaging as it was in the first book, even with the total absence of a will-they/won't-they element. Take note, all writers of romantic subplots.
The mythology continues to be as fresh and intriguing as it was in Book 1, If Wishes Were Curses. It gets a lot more layers here as the workings of Jinn magic are explored in more detail, as well as the politics of Allis' world (and beyond). The lazy route in urban fantasy is to just take a city setting and throw some magical creatures into it without really exploring all the ramifications of this scenario, but Ippolito steers clear of this pitfall. There's great depth to the world-building here, which serves to make the reader feel more invested in the story.
But above all, this book is just fun. World-hopping elves adopting sheep made of living cement? Yes, please. This story is not afraid to let its hair down (do stories have hair?) and be completely wacky. That's exactly the kind of book I love. And I suspect you'll have a great time with it as well.
Postscript: Vampires and genies arguing about Reformed theology is something that I didn't know I needed in my life.
I received an ARC from the publisher. This review contains my own honest opinions.
In Wish you Weren't Here, Janeen Ippolito creates a complex interplanetary/inter-dimensional universe. One that not only connects her own works but also draws in the works of other authors. And she does it seamlessly.
Two characters show up about halfway through the book through a portal to another world. Diza and Casimir are from Haladya and Rothana by Sarah Delena White. Another character shows up from Janeen's older, book Blood Mercy. Both Crosssovers were handled very well giving the borrowed characters more than just a cameo. The borrowed characters were fully included as key players, making them indispensable to the plot.
I have it on good authority that more crossovers are planned for future books. This is unheard of! We can only wait to see what stories future crossovers will connect.
The characters that return from the first book are just as snarky and fun as before. Allis and Cendric have the best chemistry. They bring out the best in each other. I love them together more than when they are apart.
Even the minor characters shine. Cendric has a vampire friend named Akira, he's French and he can cook and I love him even though he's only in like two scenes. All future stories should have more Akira.
In the end, Wish you weren't here is a fun urban fantasy mystery with snarky and sympathetic characters. I highly recommend it.
*I was given an ARC of this book in addition to being a beta reader. All thoughts are my own and are given freely and honestly.*
I really enjoyed the first title in the Steel City Genie series, and this continues in Ippolito's fantastic urban fantasy world. The author has made something unique, and that's often hard to do in the over-crowded world of urban fantasy.
One of specific things that sets this apart is that it is less sexually explicit than other novels in the genre. It doesn't sacrifice the sizzle between the two main characters, though, who are newlyweds and trying to figure that out while dealing with a deceitful genie.
One of the things this store does that is similar to other fantasy books is that the main character has a team. She's gathered this together in the first book, and it continues to grow here. I am a fan of a good team, and this one has a variety of people who contribute an interesting variety of talents. That doesn't take away from the main character who is learning how to master her chaotic power.
I listened to this with an audiobook, and the performance was very good. It all worked in service of the story and didn't draw undue attention to itself.
I laughed a lot reading this book. Like out loud, genuine laughter. Allis and Cid's story continues to be sweet with a hint of spicy (but still blessedly clean). The character development is fantastic and I love the world building. Very excited for #3.
This second in the series does not disappoint! Continuing the story from the first book (yes, I highly recommend reading the first in the series), several months after the action, Author Ippolito does it again.
Tainted potions, ex-boyfriends showing up, and trying to get a handle on her magic are just some of the joys in the book. Other characters return and continue their development in this book.
Dialogue, descriptions, magical politics, and the Pittsburgh setting are spot on and make this a fun book to read.
Allis will keep you laughing with her quips and shenanigans while remaining entirely relatable in her struggles for control and desire for acceptance. Lots of fun to be had in this second book of a fresh urban fantasy series.
After the first book, which was fantastic, this one was aggressively okay. I liked it, but I probably wouldn't read it again because my main feelings for most of the book were boredom or frustration. It did begin well and end well. I thought there were a lot of good lessons, but it took the whole book to get to them.
While the first book was a lot of fun, a lot of what made the fun in that book was missing in this one:
1) In the first book, Allis has a great balance with her snark. Her occasional blowups make sense and her sarcasm is fairly witty. Not so in this one. In this one, between 70-80% of the book just felt like being inside of her tired and bitter brain. While it would be understandable that her insecurities aren't totally overcome and her situation sucks, 70-80% is just too much to trudge through unhappiness. It made me feel tired and unhappy. It isn't until the book is almost finished when she has a deep talk with Cendric that the tone kind of kicks back into fun. While I thought the emphasis on communication fixing things was good, it just took way too long to get there. I also felt like Allis was pretty mean to Cendric here and there.
2) Romance banter and relatability carried a lot of the first book. The banter slid into bicker in this one and it wasn't as enjoyable. Not to mention, Cendric was absent for a lot of this book and it was just Allis being angry all the time. I guess it's a good lesson on not bottling emotions because it makes you kind of a jerk. I really struggled with Allis's attraction to Kiran, because once someone starts hurting/killing someone you love, I feel like attraction would be completely out the door and nonexistent.
3) I didn't take off stars for this because it was just kind of an off feeling I got when reading, but the insertion of religion felt...weird in this book. I mean, I am all for putting faith and God in books. It's pretty cool when church is depicted as a normal everyday thing because in many, many people's everyday life it is. I am all for supporting faith and religion in books; however, there was a scene where specific religions came up and it just felt... like it didn't fit. Like it was thrown in as a token and for some reason it felt more negative than positive. Like it belittled and trivialized what it's really like to have a relationship with someone of a different religion. Also, what REALLY put me off was the meant-to-be-funny-but-felt-mean-spirited joke about how the Amish are "out of touch." That just felt like being rude for no reason.
4) The first book got a pass on the telling instead of showing because it helped the more important things move along, but in this book I felt like important, fun, and entertaining scenes were cut out and summarized in favor of boring or angsty scenes. I felt like the author chose to focus on the wrong scenes I got tired of being told that Allis was good at helping others with romance without being shown that she was ( which goes for most things that are said about Allis's abilities), tired of being told that Cendric did things that bothered Allis without being shown, tired of being told about positive things that have been going on but never getting to see the fun scenes for myself.
In the end, this series is really going to hang on book 3 for me because I loved the first book and only enjoyed about 20% of this one.
Wish You Weren't Here is full of colorful characters, humor, and action. It will take you on a wild ride that's lots of fun too with subtle deeper themes. Be sure to read If Wishes Were Curses first as you get introduced to the complex characters and their unique team dynamic. I enjoyed Book 2's storyline more than Book 1. Both books have a certain randomness, because Allis' magic is all over the place wonky. She learns more about her parentage and magic while facing powerful enemies. But she realizes one important detail, to never face danger alone. Thankfully, she has a solid group of friends and a new husband who have her back.
Some favorite quotes:
Someone was in control, and that destiny was good. I had to trust that, even when I felt as useful as a box of matches in the ocean.
"...The Dreamscape traveled by ravens is cold and eerie enough to drive the strongest Fae or Unspoken mad." "Really?" I crunched my face. "I find it very cozy and peaceful." At that, Cendric threw back his head and laughed. "Allis, the question of your sanity was answered long ago. You've gone fully native in wonderland."
Disclosure: I received an ARC. This is my honest and voluntary review.
I started and finished this in only 2-3 days, and it probably only would've been finished in ONE day, had I not worked at all on Monday.
Yes, it is that good.
Yes, if you love Janeen's stuff already, you'll love it.
Yes, if you love Sarah Delena White's stuff already, you'll love it.
Yes, if you love genuine character growth, magical political territoriality, complex characters, cross-overs, urban fantasy, just fantasy in general, snarktastic convos, OR A CERTAIN SPECIAL BUNDLE OF SPECIAL FROM SARAH'S SFT SERIES (*cough* SHAWN DA SHEP *cough*), YOU WILL ADORE. THIS. BOOK. 10/10 recommend, along with Janeen's other booky goodness. Her worldbuilding books are phenomenal. Her Ironfire Legacy books are to die for. And this new series? It really takes the cake! :D
And not just saying that because fellow alumni, either. ;)
I've received an ARC copy from the publisher; this review contains my own, honest and deeply held opinions. :)
Although this story hit the ground running, and I’m a big fan of Allis, I had trouble staying engaged. First, I wanted more of the Cid and Allis romance, and it just wasn’t there. Not really even as a B story. Second, it seemed like too many problems kept being thrown around and unknown characters appeared to save the day too conveniently. In the end, I did want to keep reading. Allis is fabulous and the alternate universe is well-drawn. And Gideon made plenty of otter appearances while working alchemical magic and looking cute.
Allis and Cid are now mated/married, but then Allis’ Jinn ex-boyfriend keeps popping up, trying to entice Allis from her new husband. Meanwhile, Gideon, her otter shifter brother is kept busy trying to discover the source of very lethal love potions. Throw in some out-of-this-world visitors, a raven curse, and you have another crazy Adventure in fae Wonderland!
A must read... Allis and Cid are the most...well the most
You will just have to grab books 1&2 . Allis is a misfit do holder who always seems to be on the razor's edge. In the very convoluted magic ride of the two stories"if wishes were curses" and " wish you weren't here " Allis, Did and a crazy group of friends fight evil and themselves enough to someone on top. Cannot wait for book 3. Marathon read book 1&2 over 36 hours... You will find it very hard to put down....
If you like genies, vampires, dragons, shape shifters, and the fae folk, you will enjoy this book. A snarky part Jinn (a powerful race of genies) part human woman leads this varied cast of characters. Many surprises lie in wait. Kept me interested. I found a few typos along but nothing terrible.
Disclaimer: swearing and format/grammatical errors, so I can't recommend it to everyone. I know it bothers some. I glossed over that and enjoyed it. I liked the modern world filled with magic and mythological beings.
I somehow didn't rate this back when I read it? Weird. I enjoyed it, though! I think I remembering liking book one a little bit more, partly because of ex-boyfriend drama, but this one was fun, too! (They also are slightly bleeding together in my memory, haha)
I’m reminded yet again why Janeen is one of my favorite authors. Allie and Cendric are adorable together. They’re learning to make their relationship work...while trying to keep the city, or Allie’s magic, from blowing up in their faces. Contains intrigue, magic, friends who help you bury the bodies, and polka dotted penguins.
Another fun ride from Janeen Ippolito, Wish You Weren’t Here continues Allis’ journey of finding her place in the world of fae and learning to control her crazy Jinn powers. This book kept my attention from start to finish with both high stakes and high snark-levels. I loved seeing all the characters from the first book return in this book, especially Cendric and Gideon, because who doesn't like a reformed, vegetarian, raven-shifter vampire and a musical otter-shifter? The world-building in these books is wonderful, giving the reader the general rules of the world while still leaving room for surprises along the way!
UPDATE for audiobook: Once again, Melissa Schwairy does a fantastic job with the material. I need to find more books she narrates!