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Chasing Victory is a delightful debut novel by first-time author Joanne Jaytanie.

Our beautiful protagonist, Victory Winters, is a veterinarian and geneticist specializing in molecular biology for Claremont Research in Poulsbo, Washington. She also has a special innate ability she keeps secret: she has almost a telepathic gift to communicate with animals. As head of her department, she’s currently researching canine DNA and its potential benefits to humans.

Then one day, Victory receives a cryptic call from Jeffrey, an old friend and colleague who she hasn’t seen or spoken to in 5 years. Like her, he’s also a veterinarian and geneticist working for a competitor company, Biotec. Jeffrey insists he needs her help and asks her to meet him in a picnic spot. But, to her horror, once there she secretly witnesses his murder.

Soon after, she’s approached by a representative of Biotec with an offer to work for them. They claim that Jeffrey is working overseas, and they want her to take his place. Though she doesn’t trust them, she decides to play along in order to investigate her friend’s murder. But things go unexpectedly wrong when instead she’s kidnapped to a secluded island and forced to do research, injecting humans with wolf DNA. Unbeknown to Victory at first, the madman CEO wants to create the perfect invincible army.

Thus, Victory is soon pulled into a vortex of intrigue, blackmail and murder. Together with the hero, Tristan Farraday, a naval officer who also has telepathic abilities and who is sent undercover to investigate Biotec’s experiments, Victory must find a way to stop the company from carrying out their horrific plans and to get out of the island alive.

This was a fun, light, entertaining read! They story is compelling and the hero and heroine sympathetic. Victory is intelligent, yet caring and sensitive. Tristan is the perfect combination, not too alpha, not too soft. The action moves at a pretty quick pace, and there’s a lot of action and romantic suspense to keep readers turning pages. One thing I especially enjoyed about this story is that the love between Victory and Tristan develops gradually and organically. I certainly look forward to reading more works from this author. Recommended for fans of paranormal romance!

Visit the author’s website: http://www.joannejaytanie.com/

Purchase from Amazon.

My review previously appeared on Blogcritics.

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What propels a mother to suddenly ‘snap’ and murder her own children?

janeology_9lziThe premise for Karen Harrington’s first novel, JANEOLOGY, is certainly ambitious and fascinating. I couldn’t help thinking, with a premise like his, she better know how to pull it off.

Tom and Jane are the ‘perfect’ American couple. He is a college professor, she is a homemaker. Together, they are parents of two beautiful twins. That is, until one day Jane ‘snaps’ and decides to kill her toddlers. She succeeds in murdering one and almost killing the other. We later find out that she previously ‘rehearsed’ on their family dog.

The story beings after Jane has been sentenced to life in an asylum for murder under temporary insanity, so the reader won’t have to go through any type of gruesome child homicide descriptions. The main focus now is Tom. A year after the sentence, Tom is charged with negligence and failure to protect the children, and for not being able to forsee his wife’s mental instability and somehow prevent the murder. After all, who knows a wife better than her own husband? Or so it seems. Of course, the answer is a lot more complex than that.

Tom’s ambitious attorney decides to take an unusual approach to the case and brings forth a psychic (who’s also happens to be Jane’s relative) to help them. The psychic is able to ‘see’ into the past and through backflashes we get a glimpse of Jane’s troubled ancestors and the mental instability prevalent in her family history. Should Tom have seen through his wife’s depression and prevented the murder? What propelled Jane to murder her own children? How much is her DNA at fault?

JANEOLOGY is an engrossing, fascinating read, though I have to say that after a great beginning that succesfully grabs readers by the throat, it slows down in the middle as we go through the past lives of Jane’s family members. I was surprised by Harrington’s psychic in that for me it took away a bit of the serious tone presented in the first chapter. This is, however, a minor criticism. Harrington’s prose is forceful and compelling, and her style elegant and evoking. Tom’s character is excellently drawn, so much more than Jane, who for me stays shrouded in mystery somewhere in the background. The dialogue sparkles with genuinity. The ending is surrounded by ambiguity–Jane’s reasons for murder and Tom’s level of guilt, if any.

JANEOLOGY is one of those books that stay in your mind for a long time after you’ve read it–if only because you’ll keep trying to come up with answers! Karen Harrington is a new talented author to be reckoned with and I seriously look forward to reading more of her work.

Visit the author’s website at www.karenharringtonbooks.com

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