Mini summer reviews: Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon 01), Hell Fire (Corine Solomon 02) by Ann Aguirre

Book info:

Form: e-book (pdf)
Genre: Urban fantasy/romance
Target group: adults (well, female adults to be honest)

Blue Diablo

Corine Solomon is a lonely woman but it suits her. She has  broken up with her super-handsome but selfish boyfriend, Chance, who used and abused her for financial reasons (no, he wasn’t a pimp but close) making her sometimes even risk her life. Now she is living in Mexico as an illegal alien (no matter how silly it might seem but such things happen), earning a modest living in her own little pawn shop. If she thought that, by leaving the USA, she was able to escape her problems forever she couldn’t have been more wrong. Unexpectedly, one day  Chance darkens her door again. Why? Oh, business as usual – he wants Corine’s help to find a missing person. The problem is this time it is his own mother.
We find out that Corine possesses a rare, supernatural gift – she is a ‘handler’. It means that touching different objects she is able to ‘see’ what has happened to their owners. Such a gift is frowned upon by the police and other officials but often it is also the last chance of discovering the truth about somebody who has disappeared without any trace. Corine used to be very successful with her gift, earning a lot, but it always came at a hefty price – every time she used it she felt pain and objects made of metal left her hands burning and scarred. Not to mention the fact that she often had to chase after very nasty, very angry criminals and she has never been exactly fit.
Corine decides to help Chance one more time. She liked his Korean mum very much and she is still not insensitive to her ex’s charm (although she would prefer to believe otherwise). Apparently Chance have been missing her, not her money (or so he says) and generally he seems to be really contrite. Finding his mum will be a problem, though – apparently she has had her own shadowy secrets, involving human traffickers, Mexican mafia and some local witches. The clock is ticking – will Chance and Corine succeed once again? Will they kiss and make up while doing so?

Titillating factor:

Plenty of kissing and some nice memories revived. You will be pleased and welll…titillated but not grossed out.
What I liked:
  • The main heroine, Corine Solomon, is a very likeable girl – she has an unusual gift, wears grunge, hippie clothes, can run a business on a shoestring budget and never gives up, no matter what. She has also some flaws J I love flawed heroines. The book is told from her POV.
  • The book is set in Mexico and then on the US- Mexican border which I found rather exotic.
  • The pace of narration was quick enough to keep me interested
  • The fact that Corine deals with an ex, not a prospective or current boyfriend, I found rather original
  • Her ex, Chance was really portrayed in an intriguing way – he is Korean (ok, perhaps half Korean, we aren’t told much about his dad) and he is literally very lucky but his gift is presented from all possible angles – bad and good as well.
  • Tex-Mex food…yummy! I love it! I was hungry almost all the time! Other necessities of life are presented in a very balanced way – we know the characters, being humans, have to bathe, change clothes, buy petrol and do the washing-up but we are not given any boring shopping lists or other step-by-step descriptions of daily routines. Well-done!
What I didn’t like:
  • The main baddie, a certain ugly warlock…we are shown too little too late and his motivations are never fully exposed. Pity.
  • The ‘magick’ in this book; I found it rather to be an unnecessary complication than an additional bonus – as if Mexico with its culture, food, coyotes and narcotrafficantes wasn’t enough.
  • The plot was a bit predictable – I was able to decipher the identity of said bad warlock somewhere in the middle of the book without any problem and of course it was obvious how the book would end from the very beginning.
  • I didn’t like the romance a lot in this one, especially the fact  that the authoress ALMOST decided to use a love triangle scheme. ALMOST. Fortunately she checked herself just in time to make book palatable to me.
  • A talking, intelligent chihuahua? One bark means yes, two barks mean no…do me a favour (sigh). Legal Blonde, somebody has stolen your dog!
Final verdict:
If you like stories which can make you shiver even in the middle of a hot summer day this one is for you. It has zombies, witches, magic, a nice heroine, some romance. Just don’t expect a very original or very surprising plot which makes you think. HEA guaranteed, though and don’t forget to prepare some food beforehand – you might get hungry and thirsty!

Hell Fire (Corine Solomon 02)


Corine and Chance, her ex boyfriend, visit Kilmer, a sleepy town where Corine used to live and where her mom died. Or rather was murdered. Corine wants to solve that mysterious death in order to move on with her life. It won’t be easy. Kilmer is truly a town straight from a horror movie and apparently nothing changed much there since 1950s – no internet, no ATMs, no public phones, no contact with the outside world.

When things get dangerous Corine is joined by her almost-love-interest-cum-mentor Jesse Saldana, an empath who feels she is in dire need of help. With the help of another gifted girl, Shannon, they will try to find out what it wrong with Kilmer and its sleepy, backward inhabitants. Evil magical powers will gather and fight back, defending their status quo.

Titillating factor:

There is more romance than in the first part. Still nothing substantial. By the way, be warned – Ms Aguirre, not unlike her heroine, Corine, is a woman after my own heart – to quote her former boyfriend (Corine’s, not Ms Aguirre’s of course 😉 ) she has a mean streak as wide as Mississippi river. Those chicklit fair fans who like supporting different “teams” in their free time should be especially careful – no matter whether you take lovely Texan Jesse’s or smoldering and exotic Chance’s side, the author will make you suffer. Every kiss, every steamy bathroom scene must be paid heavily for afterwards.

So…we are back to the classic triangle – two hotties are vying for attention of a close-to-average but gifted gall…the one difference is that she is not so sure about either of them. After a while it can make you irritated. Well, don’t get me wrong – it’s really nice that our Corine learned to appreciate her own value and to make her own choices like an adult woman. I just wonder whether she isn’t overpricing her assets. Let’s face it – both guys are very interested in a long-term relationship with her and have already shown an uncommon degree of commitment. To no avail. Corine wants them constantly on their knees, begging and groveling time and again. In real life such a woman, be it even a supermodel with heavenly voice and brilliant career,  would wake up one day, look at her empty bed and sang after Cher: “If I could turn back time, if I could find a way…” (yes, I quote Cher deliberately in order not to disappoint a girl called Melissa…;) ).
Maybe the third book will do the charm. I would advise Corine to invest more in a certain Internet acquaintance…

What I liked:

  • Corine is still a nice character I can relate to. Not fully but nobody is perfect.
  • The mystery and horror atmosphere were well rendered indeed
  • The book was very readable and the narration flowed seamlessly.
  • I like the titles of this series – all names of interesting drinks 🙂 which are featured in the plot. Nice touch!
  • The ending was satisfactory to me.

What I didn’t like:

  • Baddies were as usual a bit flat, a tad to dark and evil, without some deeper psychological portraits. One demon was strangely not scary…
  • Chihuahua still alive…so Legal Blonde failed to collect it back? I understand…such an irritating animal.
  • I preferred Mexican climates to Kilmer Georgia, with all due respect. You know, some like blondes, some like brunettes…
  • both covers are a bit graceless…I would prefer the drinks.

Final verdict:

I liked the second one but I wasn’t overly excited about it. I am willing to give the next part a try, though, so it wasn’t totally bad. Typical summer chicklit with not very typical ending.

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7 Responses to Mini summer reviews: Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon 01), Hell Fire (Corine Solomon 02) by Ann Aguirre

  1. I'm glad you quoted Cher… I would have been disappointed. Yes, I have heard good things about these books. Oh and I wouldn't say that the border is very exotic… unless in books. 🙂 However, southwestern food is better than TexMex. 😀

  2. Blodeuedd says:

    I liked book 1 but have not read anything more than that :(Lol, I liked the almost love triangle 😉 But then you know me

  3. anachronist says:

    However, southwestern food is better than TexMex. 😀Melissa unfortunately I can't compare – I tried TexMex but never southwestern food. One more thing to try before I die! ;DBlodeuedd I think you would like the rest of the series as well – if you have an opportunity read Hell Fire as well.

  4. Mel says:

    Ahhh, see I liked that Corine didn't immediately fall into either of her guys arms. Yes, she made them wait but I don't think she truly knew what she wanted herself! 🙂

  5. anachronist says:

    Well, waiting to find out what you really want is ok…waiting and teasing your prospective boyfriends mercilessly is quite another matter…Let's face it, Corine is a bit of a cock tease ;p. I hope the third book will be conclusive, though.

  6. Lena says:

    Great reviews. Seems like being a handler would be an awesome talent, yet how sad it must be to see everything that happens by touching an object. Intriguing factor…I like it.

  7. anachronist says:

    Lena you are definitely on the right track – Corine's talent doesn't come without a hefty price tag and sometimes it is very difficult for her to see all these stories behind an object. In several cases she was close to death.

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