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Blue Diablo [Paperback]

4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Paranormal Romance Oct. 26 2013
By Connie TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
I can't remember the last time I was this excited about discovering a new author. After reading all of J.R. Ward, Karen Moning (probably the closest in style) and Jeaniene Frost, I have spent months looking for an author who would make me feel PASSIONATE about what I was reading. Sadly, I read (despite good ratings) a number of books that were just okay -- predictable plots, cookie-cutter characters and writing that never got beyond adequate.

Everything changed when I started reading BLUE DIABLO -- a totally original plot, fascinating characters, great writing, witty dialogue, passion, and suspense. AMAZING! Few writers of paranormal or urban fantasy are really able to do a credible of encouraging readers to suspend their disbelief without a number of eye-rolls along the way. Not once in BLUE DIABLO, did something seem over the top to me. Although this is urban fantasy/paranormal, everything is believable due to Ms. Aguirre's incredible ability to layer information, rather than just dump facts on the reader. Welcome to a world where witches and incantations exist and where the person beside you might have some unique power. The paranormal aspects are just one facet of the book. On the simplest level, it is the story of a man and a woman struggling to deal with their own issues while working toward a common goal.

Corine Solomon has been in hiding in Mexico for eighteen months after the break up of her relationship from Chance. She lives in fear that she will be discovered by the enemies she has collected over the years, most through no fault of her own. Corine has the ability to read objects (psychometry). Her talent has led her to be exploited in the past and comes at a hefty price to her own health.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Unsure May 28 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoy another series from this author but I couldn't get into the story with this one. I couldn't really connect with the characters and was annoyed that all Corine thinks about is men and sex. A lot of eye roll from me. I will stick with the story that I like from her.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rare gem May 6 2009
By ocelott
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is the rarest of gems: an urban fantasy novel that doesn't involve vampires, shapeshifters, or faeries. Every single character is human, and the supernatural aspects don't necessarily translate to being able to kick the bad guys' heads in a dozen different ways without breaking a sweat. In short, Blue Diablo is what you need to check out if you've been tiring of the angsty bloodsuckers overpopulating your nearest bookstore.

I've become an Ann Aguirre fangirl, so of course I enjoyed the story. Aguirre excels at creating flawed, endearing characters, and her narration style sets readers right in the middle of the action and inside the protagonist's head.

I loved the way the magic worked in Blue Diablo. It was subtle, and required work on the part of the person using it. When Corine reads objects, she not only has to concentrate on it, the object burns her hands, leaving a whole mess of scars on her palms. Chance's luck works out nicely for him, but usually puts anyone with him at a disadvantage (ie: the falling anvil will miss him... and hit the person standing next to him). Jesse is an empath, and sometimes has problems telling his own emotions apart from other peoples'. You'll note none of these abilities are big, flashy things. Unlike superheroes, these powers are subtle things, and aren't generally a whole lot of use when it comes to actually facing down anyone with malicious intentions.

What else makes the book stand out? The setting. With flavours of Mexico and southwest USA, this is a welcome change from the gritty Chicago-esque feel of most of the urban settings we see. There are plenty of little southwest touches in there to add flavour, and that flavour is delicious.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Corine Solomon", Awesome While Reluctant Heroine April 4 2009
By LeaF
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Blue Diablo", is an Urban Fantasy written in the first person and what I liked about the heroine and narrator of the story, "Corine Solomon", is that she is real. Corine doesn't see herself as beautiful; in fact she talks about her imperfections, and dressing "hippie chic". She possesses a dry wit that permeates the narrative of this novel and had me laughing out loud on numerous occasions. Corine isn't a gun toting, martial arts expert; her mother gifted her with a unique, rare ability that while provided her a source of income for a time also causes her heartache and nearly cost her life. She is a "handler", which means she has a psychic or magical (whichever you believe it to be) ability to touch an object and visualize what the owner was doing at the time they last handled it. And, her gift gets her into a truckload of trouble.

Blue Diablo

After leaving her lover and manager, Chance 18 months earlier, Corine Solomon has made a life for herself in Mexico City. She opened a little pawnshop and sells goods of all description, making a decent profit. She has been comfortable and made very sure she covered her tracks when she walked out on Chance and her previous life.

However, we would have no story without a hitch right?

Chance turns up at her shop to plead for help in locating his mother Yi-Min-Chin who has gone missing and considered kidnapped. Chance presents Corine with a little pewter Buddha that his mother considered her "luck" and begs her to handle it so they can glean some information with respect to Min's whereabouts.

Corine and Chance's relationship history is extremely tumultuous and needless to say, it goes against her better judgment to become involved with him again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  78 reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Urban fantasy with a twist April 7 2009
By Kimberly Bea - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
f you haven't read anything by Ann Aguirre yet, what are you waiting for? Blue Diablo is a refreshingly new entry in the urban fantasy genre, featuring a sassy protagonist who is haunted by her past. Corine Solomon is a handler, who can read the history of an object by touch alone. Her ability was given to her by her mother as she died in a fire; consequently, every time Corine uses the ability she experiences extreme pain and burn scars. Formerly Corine used this ability in partnership with her lover Chance to locate missing persons, but when their last case went horribly wrong, Corine fled the country and opened her own antique store in Mexico City. But when Chance's mother goes missing, Corine agrees to use her abilities to help find her, and she finds that chapter of her past hasn't quite closed yet.
I really loved this book, and Corine in particular. She's sassy and a survivor, but she's not the stereotypical kickass hard-bodied heroine you usually find in urban fantasy. She's short, dresses in bohemian chic, and likes to eat; she could be me or one of my girlfriends, except for her ability and the tragedy of her past. To me, she seemed quite real, as did her relationship with Chance; these are people who knew each other deeply in the past, but are uncertain how to relate to one another in the present. There's chemistry there all right, but Corine is uncertain whether she wants to go down that road again.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this book is how real Corine's world felt. Aguirre is herself an ex-pat living in Mexico, which no doubt helped in portraying Corine's life in Mexico City. What really impressed me, however, was how the supernatural details were intricately woven with the details of daily life. It was really easy to believe in the magic that powers Corine's world because there are a lot of people who do believe in it; among the magically skilled are curanderas and practitioners of wicca and voodoo, who are credited with such abilities in the world outside the novel as well. I like urban fantasies with winged fay and gargoyles, but it's also a nice change to read something that doesn't stretch my credibility too far. Highly recommended, for its appealing characters, fast-paced plot, and authentic magical world.
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I might be the odd women out here but I didn't particularly fancy this book April 13 2009
By Kathy E. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not really sure what to say about this book. I read three-quarters of it and then just threw in the towel. The main character and the slow pace of the story really tried my patience. I felt like the author was dragging out the storyline and had way too many page fillers. Pages upon pages of explanations for Corine's feelings, her surroundings, the carpet, the tile, the curtains, what she's wearing, what her ex is wearing, what she's eating. The main character Corine has a cool gift of the "touch". Instead of actually "touching" things, she spent most of her time reminiscing about her ex-husband. Who, I might add, has come to her for help because his mother, the mother-in-law she loves so much, has been kidnapped. While they go on their road trip back to the scene of the crime, she's not only insensitive to his pain; she's making dates with another man. It took me three days to get through three-quarters of this book; it was that bad for me. Dark Urban Fantasy readers beware; to me this book seemed more like a paranormal romance disguised as UF. The book never seem to get anywhere and the author was way to repetitive. Therefore, I cannot recommend this book to urban fantasy readers but paranormal romance readers may find it intriguing.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Blue Diablo April 18 2010
By Ithlilian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've been looking forward to reading this for a long time. Disappointed does not even begin to describe how I feel. Usually, I can read any UF and enjoy it, but Blue Diablo was not enjoyable at all. I see that many do not agree, but I would like to present some of the reasons I did not enjoy this book so that prospective readers have both the positive and negative viewpoints. First, the novel is largely bickering between the main character and her ex. I understand that they are exploring why their relationship went bad, and one or both parties are trying to rekindle something, but it was not enjoyable to me. The first 100 pages consist almost entirely of dialogue between the ex lovers with a few other characters thrown in occasionally. I do enjoy dialogue heavy novels, but not when the dialogue is banter between two people that already know each other, whom the reader knows nothing about. I like to find out about my characters before having to deal with their relationship issues, but that's just my personal preference. My second issue was the plot and mystery behind the novel. We are told fairly quickly that the novel is about finding the mother to Corine's ex, but the mystery solving is agonizingly slow to me. Everything unfolds in a fairly predictable manor. Corine starts by using her power to tell where an object has been to find clues to where the missing person is located. Then they follow one obvious clue to another obvious clue. Talking to one person leads to another person that is helpful. It's really too simple for me, and not enough to get me through a book with characters that I did not enjoy. Even with all of the dialogue between characters, I have to say I never got a feel for Corine. There isn't one thing that sets her apart from anyone else. I personally found her flimsy, and not likable, again that is just my opinion. I'm trying not to step on any toes with my review. I find that UF books are largely mystery, world building, and characters. If any one of those things are strong, the others do no have to be perfect for me to enjoy it. I didn't enjoy the characters in Blue Diablo, the world building and magic were not strong and were not unique, and the mystery solving was too linear for me. That, of course, is not to say that others will not enjoy this book, but I personally did not like it at all.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Corine Solomon", Reluctant But Awesome Heroine April 7 2009
By LeaF - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Blue Diablo", is an Urban Fantasy written in the first person and what I liked about the heroine and narrator of the story, "Corine Solomon", is that she is real. Corine doesn't see herself as beautiful; in fact she talks about her imperfections, and dressing "hippie chic". She possesses a dry wit that permeates the narrative of this novel and had me laughing out loud on numerous occasions. Corine isn't a gun toting, martial arts expert; her mother gifted her with a unique, rare ability that while provided her a source of income for a time also causes her heartache and nearly cost her life. She is a "handler", which means she has a psychic or magical (whichever you believe it to be) ability to touch an object and visualize what the owner was doing at the time they last handled it. And, her gift gets her into a truckload of trouble.

Blue Diablo

After leaving her lover and manager, Chance 18 months earlier, Corine Solomon has made a life for herself in Mexico City. She opened a little pawnshop and sells goods of all description, making a decent profit. She has been comfortable and made very sure she covered her tracks when she walked out on Chance and her previous life.

However, we would have no story without a hitch right?

Chance turns up at her shop to plead for help in locating his mother Yi-Min-Chin who has gone missing and considered kidnapped. Chance presents Corine with a little pewter Buddha that his mother considered her "luck" and begs her to handle it so they can glean some information with respect to Min's whereabouts.

Corine and Chance's relationship history is extremely tumultuous and needless to say, it goes against her better judgment to become involved with him again. She is about to send him packing, however when she sees the pewter Buddha, she knows something horrible has happened to Min, because she was never without it. Min is a woman who Corine had grown to care for. When Corine "handles" the Buddha, she senses Min's feelings, her fear and resignation at being taken, and she sees a white van she is escorted to. Corine's gift does come with a physically painful price that you will understand if you read the book.

Chance is gifted with luck. Essentially, wherever he goes things seem to go in his favor, no matter how bad the situation, nothing happens to him. However, his power doesn't extend to protecting those around him and because of this Corine was very nearly killed during their last "job" together.

Corine agrees to go to Laredo with Chance where his mother was last seen and Detective Jesse Saldana, from the "Crimes Against Persons Unit" or CAPERS is working on Yi-Min-Chin's disappearance. Chance knows the police have his mother's purse because it was found in the blood-spattered corner of an abandoned warehouse. Chance wants the purse so Corine can handle it.

Saldana, it turns out, is an empath and he and Corine feel and instant connection because of their gifts.

Here is a short example of the wonderful prose and Corine's (Ann Aguirre's) inherent wit. Chance and Corine arrive at the police station in Laredo and she is introduced to Jesse Saldana for the first time:

"My hormones gave a little skip as I gave him the once-over: an intriguing mix of long, tall Texan in battered boots, touched with Latin heat. He had legs that stretched forever in jeans faded almost to white, not the kind bought with designer "wear" but Levi's washed till the seams and creases got thin. He'd clipped his badge to his belt in plain sight.
As I checked out the rest of him, I admired shoulders showcased by a rumpled white shirt and a forest green blazer. He had a striped tie stuffed in his right jacket pocket, probably to satisfy the letter of the dress code. Nice face, I decided, if scruffy and unshaven. Frosting the hunk cake was a tousled mess of tawny, sun streaked hair."

Can I say, yum?

The stage is set for readers to be taken on a thrill ride where Corine and Chance battle a warlock, demons, spirits, zombies and a crime syndicate. The setting, steeped with Spanish influence is perfect for majic and the occult rituals. The first person narrative allows us to see, feel and hear the events that take place through Corine who is frightened half to death most of the time, but somehow prevails despite enduring one harrowing experience after another.

Then there is her frustration with her ex lover and I understood her cynicism given their history and Chance's occasional indifference. There is no sex in this book; however the story is steamy because it is rife with sexual tension and temptation, which Corine struggles to resist in the extreme. I was grinding my teeth wondering whether she might give in to Chance who wants her but has significant relationship issues and communication problems. And, there is Jesse who considers himself a mentor to Corine because of her gift, but a burgeoning attraction flames between them.

Ann Aguirre developed a strong cast of supporting characters who are drawn into a plot that is full of intrigue, and twists and turns.

It is not clear until the closing pages of the book whether Corine and Chance will succeed in their efforts to rescue Min.

I am looking forward to the next chapter of Corine Solomon's story.

Oh and by the way, the title of this book? You will never guess what it is derived from.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ann Aguirre is the BOMB! April 8 2009
By Leslee Sears - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Corine Solomon is a woman in hiding, hiding from her past. Mexico City is where she ended up, running a pawn shop trying to have a normal life. When she was twelve, her mother was murdered. With her death, Corine was haunted by the loss and gifted with magic but not the way her mother probably intended. Handling involves touching objects, metal is the best and worst as it burns her palms, seeing what happened to that object. But doing it for a living with her boyfriend Chance brought her in contact with the most heartbreaking of cases and almost killed her. So she fled from her life and crossed the border in order to get as far from it as possible. Then one day, Chance comes to the store with his mother's pocket Buddha and asks for her help. His mother has been kidnapped and he needs to handle the Buddha. In return, he will help Corine find the people who murdered her mother. Corine is torn between staying safe in her new life or helping the man she still loves.

On April 7, 2009 you must go to the bookstore as fast as your car can carry you and buy this book!!!!!! Ann Aguirre is the BOMB! I loved this book, loved it so much that I could only make myself read a chapter at a time and then put it down. Otherwise, I would have flown through it in a big gorging rush! But there came a point in the story a little over halfway that I just couldn't do it anymore. I read in big chunks desperate to see what was going to happen. The character of Corine is so awesome; I wish she was real so we could go have margaritas with tequila shots. I loved the fact that just because she had a gift (or curse depending on your point of view), it didn't make her all knowing and all powerful. I liked the tug of war between her old life with Chance and the possibility of a romance with someone new. I loved the descriptions of Mexico and Texas that really gave a wonderful atmosphere to the story. This is one of the best urban fantasies I have read. I urge everyone to give this book a try as it will rock your socks off!
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