(I will buy a copy of this book for one lucky person who comments before the end of May on this review). Monica’s titles are described at her website.
I’ll get this out of the way up front. I offer to buy and review books here, and hardly anyone takes me up on it (hey, I’m not the greatest reviewer, I admit it). Ms. Jackson took me up on it, because we’ve had conversations about the great racial “divide” in the romance community. I really don’t feel the need to go into it further, except to say I can’t figure out who wouldn’t love this book (okay, my husband wouldn’t, but you know what I mean). Please don’t read anything very heavy into that statement. I’ll say it again. I loved this book. I think you will too, whoever you are.
This is a contemporary paranormal erotic romance hidden under a chick-lit cover, with a beginning that smacks of a short work. But that short somewhat fluffy work builds and builds until the cork just blows off the bottle. Somewhere half way through, you realize that this quirky, lovable heroine, Jasmine, just might be in for something big. And the reader realizes it slowly with her.
Jasmine, a CPA and fish-out-of-water in Manhattan, is lonely, fairly normal, sad, smart, and very funny. So when she buys a pretty little bottle with a genie inside, one imagines that chick-lit wackiness will ensue. It does. His name is Raziq, he’s gorgeous, and he’s ready to grant a wish. Right away, page 2, I’m sure I know what this book is about. “Jasmine had always known that a for-real horror film couldn’t have black folk in it because as soon as the freaky stuff started, that was when any sensible brother or sister would hit the door.” The clever part about this funny, somewhat stereotypical schtick, is that the freaky stuff does start, and the black folk are right in the middle of it, saving our belief in happy-ever-afters, as well as saving all our butts. But that comes later.
Did I mention Raziq is really adorable? A sad, tortured Djinn, a lonely hunk with a sense of humor? I could see Jasmine’s wish coming a mile away, and you might too, and feel very clever about it. But Ms. Jackson doesn’t pull plot punches, and things go very freaky for our couple. Demons and good vs. evil stuff. Love’s Potion takes on aspects of horror, always laced in humor and romance. It’s a mix I’ve not read much, and she makes it work exceptionally well. The sex is hot, the love is believable, and the characters are strong and very well balanced. But the true genius in the genie story is Ms. Jackson’s voice. What is a voice? I heard it described recently as personality. The personality of this book is wonderful, true and vibrant. And damn it, I cried at one point. Okay, so there’s a “mom” bit tied into this book, and that’s a hot emotional button for me these days. But it’s hard for books to make me tear up.
Jasmine is as memorable as any romance heroine I’ve read recently. I wish I knew her in three dimensions. I look forward very, very much to more of Ms. Jackson’s work. Since she gave me this one, I will buy a copy and you can have a chance to win it, here!