Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spotlight Review: MARKED BY PASSION by Kate Perry

The Guardians of Destiny Series, Book 1
Grand Central's Forever
ISBN-10: 0-446-54100-1
February 2009
Paranormal Romance

San Francisco, California – Present Day

Gabrielle Sansouci Chin has escaped her prior life and is a bartender in San Francisco, immersed in painting in her spare time. She is just about to have a showing in an art gallery when her past returns full force to interrupt her previously placid life. A delivery person brings back the destiny she's tried for years to avoid, the sacred scroll of which she apparently is the new Guardian. The only reason the scroll is now in her hands means her father must be dead, and the mark on her hip names her as the chosen person to guard the scroll. The scroll is one of five showing the art of war that were written by monks centuries ago. The Chin family was entrusted with the Scroll of the Earth and comes complete with the ghost of her father, Wu. Along with the scroll comes tu ch'i, an inner power Gabe has heard about, but has trouble controlling. Before tu ch'i goes out of control and causes another earthquake and drops San Francisco into the ocean, Gabe must decide what to do with the scroll.

Right after receiving the scroll, a mysterious man with an English James Bond accent comes into the bar, and they seem to have an instant connection. He moves like a warrior, intent on conquering...something. Rhys Llewellyn is a wealthy businessman but also something else, the Guardian of another Scroll. His initial intent is to take the Scroll of the Earth for himself, but after meeting Gabe, all his plans change. Gabe desperately needs to learn how to control the tu ch'i before it tears her apart, but her fear over his real motives makes her fight Rhys at every turn. Gabe is excited when her brother Paul offers to take the scroll from her, but since she has the mark, how can she give up her destiny, as much as she wants to be rid of it?

Of course, men are following Gabe, and her fighting techniques are getting a serious reminder of how out of shape she is. Should Gabe give the scroll to her brother? Should she keep it hidden in the refrigerator? And will her lack of control of tu ch'i cause either California to be devastated by an earthquake or her inner self explode?

Written from Gabe's point of view, the story feels as though Gabe is viewing her life second hand. The legend of the scroll was central to the story, and there have probably been many lifetimes of stories about its Guardians. We are privileged to get a peek at what its power can do.

The people in Gabe's life are an odd assortment, to say the least. Jesse is her old boyfriend to whom she could never really reveal her inner person; she always held herself back from him for some reason. Her friend Carrie works at the bar with her, along with Vivian, who always rubs her the wrong way. Madame La Rochelle is her artistic mentor and is helping with her gallery showing. Paul is Gabe's brother whom she hasn't seen in fifteen years since the death of her mother. Wu is the ghost of her father, trying in vain for Gabe to take her Guardianship seriously and learn the details of protecting the scroll.

MARKED BY PASSION is the beginning of a new series and starts off laying the foundation featuring a culture and a group of special scrolls that will quickly grab your interest. An intriguing set of characters makes MARKED WITH PASSION a different and absorbing read this month. Watch for it at your nearest bookstore!

Carolyn Crisher

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