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Monday, June 20, 2011

Can’t Stop Me by Becca Dale

Can’t Stop Me by Becca Dale
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (74 pgs)
Heat Level: hot
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Prophecy proclaims a child of three worlds will lead the strong one to victory. Threatened by the church since birth and imprisoned by Lucifer’s elite force for over five years, Kernan Malanous represents demons, angels, and mankind, but who will be the strong one—God, Lucifer, or someone intent on overthrowing them both?

Born the blind daughter of the greatest mediums in history, Luca Smith sees more than anyone suspects. Screams of the damned slash at her sanity as demonic visitors hide a stranger in her home. To quiet the horror echoing from the underworld, she seeks the prisoner’s soothing thoughts, offering him peace while finding her own.

When the devil’s top gun comes to reclaim his prize, Luca risks her life to liberate the pure soul in her attic, but Kern won’t leave his beautiful innocent at the mercy of the merciless. Desperate, the young couple flees with hell on their heels. Unrestricted for the first time in their lives, Luca and Kern discover rare joy in one another, but all good has its counterpart. Torn between personal peril and world-wide destruction, will the young lovers run from fate or take a stand to fight and live as free beings?

Ms. Dale wasted no time in setting up the emotional hooks that would appeal to and snare a reader’s curiosity about the two different factions whose very lives will be the most affected by what happens in this story. Innocence and love, torment and tentative hope set the stage for a well rounded and unique tale that started entertaining me from the first hint of a mystery unfolding.

The story opens with Luca. Her physical pain and the things she hears intrigued me. What follows is a fascinating journey of growth. Despite what bogs the heroine down and holds her back, she is not without an inner strength. As the book progresses, a reader not only watches a girl become a woman but also sees what others consider an insurmountable weakness turn into an asset that gives her a core of steel. Not only that, but the power of faith is explored in a very amazing fashion that registered high on my “cool” meter.

Kernan is the wild card. He’s the hero that everyone seems to want to hurt, help, or wish was never born. His situation is dire and yet he’s a well developed and intriguing character with just the right amount of depth to make me melt. His needs, his fears, and his previous isolation make him an easy personality to care for and I really wanted good things to happen to him.

This is a short story so the speed with which things happen is accelerated. The place I noticed it the most is pretty much in the beginning when Luca first met Kern. The budding of their physical yearnings is introduced, but the author quickly tamps it down with revelations of what Kern really is and the setting up of their adventure and possible outcomes. It was a good balance.

The story actually has three points of views. Luca and Kern each take a turn but his parents have one as well. Not only is it emotional but it provides insight into the background of the hero. The author has Kern’s mom and dad popping up at a couple of strategic places to illustrate the emotional torment and then the fragile hope that the tale eventually works toward.

There is of course, the internal conflict of two people learning about each other and what they mean to one another. In the process I believe they grow to be more developed personalities a reader can relate to. The external conflict is what pushes this story to entertaining levels of suspense and drama. There’s a scene where Kern has to make something look real and authentic. It‘s the first hint that he is a man who has the strength of character to act in a crisis and get the job done. It’s a powerful moment. Another thing that contributes tension is wondering if the delicate trust between the hero and heroine will survive especially when outside forces try to poison and destroy it.

The dialogue was quirky, loving, and oftentimes humorous but it evolved. In the beginning, there’s a youthfulness coloring the interactions between Luca and Kern, but as they race toward the final confrontation, it matures and becomes so much more. I also found that the dialogue clued me in as to how the love between Kern and Luca was progressing. I liked the pace of it and how each character was clearly unique in his or her speech. I thought the duck part was cute not that I recognized it. I liked how the author injected upbeat moments throughout the story. Life is never absolute; it’s not all bad nor is it all good, it’s a balance and I think Ms. Dale illustrated that well.

I don’t know if readers are going to get a kick out of the visitors that Luca had but I sure did. I liked how the author straddled the line of good and evil and put her unique spin on it. I also liked the surprise Ms. Dale had in store for me. I was so sure the big secret was one thing and the author did a great job of misleading me. What it eventually turned out to be made Can’t Stop Me an even better reading experience than I expected.

Can’t Stop Me is a story spiced with a race against time flavored with light suspense and drama, which made the perfect background for a successful and entertaining romance. It was a fast read because I simply couldn’t put the book down. Ms. Dale has created an interesting world in such a small space and balanced all the necessary elements needed to make a well-told story. I think the concept of a middle man is genius, and I hope Ms. Dale lets us explore her world some more. I would definitely visit again.