I am embarrassed to say that I somehow completely missed this book when it was released in 2013. I call myself a pretty solid Ilona Andrews (husband and wife Ilona + Gordon writing team) fan, and I have seen the book mentioned on the website, but must have completely bypassed the publication. I was fortunate to get a hardcopy of the book and meet the couple at the Romantic Times Booklover Convention in New Orleans. Gordon and Ilona signed the book for me, and they are very funny and easily approachable in person, even for people who are fangirling pretty hardcore. This story (and the second book) has been shared piece by piece with devoted fans, allowing the fans to push feedback to the authors while they write and compose the story. I do not think it is necessary to point out that these authors are completely unique in their genres, and I count myself very lucky to have met them in person. The paperback book comes in a dark blue-ish black with an artfully done female centering the cover. The female is wearing a dark blue-ish gray hooded robed, her long blond hair mostly hidden by the hood, but you can see four bracelets dangling from her right wrist as her hand wraps around the handle of a broom. Magic is evident on the cover, as the broom bears wisps of something unexplainable, and in the background a dark Victorian house…every aspect of the artwork on the cover comes to play in the story.
The genre of this book easily touches paranormal, but I think the bulk of this book remains firmly in urban fantasy with (of course) romantic flavor. The Innkeeper world that the couple has created is virtually limitless, incorporating planets, aliens, and seemingly anything that the mind can imagine. Everything has its place, as they say, and there is a place for everything. When Dina realizes that the community surrounding Gertrude Stein, the inn to which she is connected, is under attack from other-worldly entities – she decides to break with Innkeeper strictures and make a stand. Throw in the new kid in the neighborhood, an alpha strain werewolf named Sean, and a vampire serving as the Marshall of House Krahr named Arland, and things start to heat up for the young Innkeeper. The skirmishes between allies and the aggressors in this book are exciting, colorfully written, and above all realistic (as realistic as you can be when you are talking about aliens and magic).
With a female lead that is capable of defending herself and those she feels responsible for and romantically interesting male characters, this series has a lot of promise. Do not expect dishrag females in these books – as with The Edge series, the fights are rough and unlike many fights I have read in numerous books, both sides come away with damage. I highly encourage this book for fans of all ages because despite the romantic flair that is in this first book, there is no hanky panky (and it is not required to keep the book flowing). I file this book under Young Adult, New Adult, I’m Never Going to Grow Up, and Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. I will be purchasing more of the series!