Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wednesday #Review - Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller #Urban #Fantasy

Series: Soul Charmer # 1
Format: E-Galley, 312 pages
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Talos
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Callie Delgado always puts family first, and unfortunately her brother knows it. She’s emptied her savings, lost work, and spilled countless tears trying to keep him out of trouble, but now he’s in deeper than ever, and his debt is on Callie’s head. She’s given a choice: do some dirty work for the mob, or have her brother returned to her in tiny pieces.
Renting souls is big business for the religious population of Gem City. Those looking to take part in immoral—or even illegal—activity can borrow someone else’s soul, for a price, and sin without consequence.
To save her brother, Callie needs a borrowed soul, but she doesn’t have anywhere near the money to pay for it. The slimy Soul Charmer is willing to barter, but accepting his offer will force Callie into a dangerous world of magic she isn’t ready for.
With the help of the guarded but undeniably attractive Derek—whose allegiance to the Charmer wavers as his connection to Callie grows—she’ll have to walk a tight line, avoid pissing off the bad guys, all while struggling to determine what her loyalty to her family’s really worth.
Losing her brother isn’t an option. Losing her soul? Maybe.

Borrowed Souls is the first installment in debut author Chelsea Mueller's Soul Charmer series. As the synopsis indicates, 22-year old Callie Delgado is the protagonist for this series. She's put in a difficult situation because of her older brothers habits. Habits that have cost more than any one person should be subjected to. But, still it's not enough. Not after he is taken. Not after she agrees to work with the thug who vows to hurt him. Not after her motto is that family comes first no matter what.  

It's because of this motto, that sends Callie to the town's Soul Charmer to borrow a soul to do something for the person who has taken her brother. Callie finds herself working for the Soul Charmer in order to make enough money to borrow a soul for a day. But, what she doesn't count on is Derek, her partner in the soul collection business. What she doesn't count on is that she is given magic by the Soul Charmer himself. Magic that is more than comfortable in Callie's skin.

I find myself hesitating to review this book for fear of offending the author who really does come up with a story that is part original and part Downside Ghosts. I give Chelsea a whole lot of respect for putting herself, and her writing out there for all the world to see. I am encouraged that she has set a pretty high bar for herself to ensure that the sequel will be as good, or even better than this book. 

My Rating Reason(s):

1. I wanted to jump into this book and punch Josh in the throat. I appreciated that he did a whole lot for Callie in the past, but making someone put their life on hold in order to continually help him out well, the hell with that. Doing the same thing over and over and over again and then not taking the blame for your messed up life just makes you a pathetic loser.
2. I wanted to push Zara (the so called mother) down a flight of stairs, but changed my mind. Not going to waste a whole lot of time or effort describing what a truly awful person she is. 

3. There are similarities between Borrowed Souls and Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane. However, let's not compare Callie Delgado to Chess Putnam. Chess was involved in drugs, and found herself owing Bump lots of money, and chases after ghosts to debunk their existence. Callie's brother is into drugs not her. Callie puts her own life on the life for her brother and ends up retrieving souls from borrowers who use them to do stupid things, sometimes breaking the law. 

4. Drug dealer Bump meets Drug Dealer Ford. Simple. Avoid them both if you can.
5. If you want to compare Derek to Terrible, well, I'll stand over here on the sidelines and just watch. I happen to adore Derek for his patience, his concern when it comes to Callie, and yes, OK, their connection that stirs up what may come later. Derek may soon become one of my favorite male characters in an Urban Fantasy setting.
6. Kane's Church of Real Truth meets Mueller's Cortean Catholic Church. I'm Ok with bashing churches for past failures to reign in things, or past mistakes, but let's make it bashing of ALL religions across the board fair and balanced. We can't blame one religion for the worlds problems, while ignoring all others.

7. I would love more of an explanation pertaining to the soul magic, and why Callie seems to have a connection to it, while Derek doesn't. I would also love a bit more world building. This book seems as though it takes place in New Mexico. The setting is very similar to Albuquerque. I love it. I do dare to hope any sequel is as good, or better than this first installment.

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