Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Date of publication: February 8th, 2019
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, New Adult
Three years ago, Rikki Albemarle watched her best friend die at the hands of a supernatural evil. Certain she was slated to be the next victim, Rikki fled her small Smoky Mountain hometown, vowing to never come back. Plagued by nightmares and knowing she’s the only one who believes Mina’s death was no accident, Rikki returns with hopes of finding answers and holding the killer accountable.
Rikki is convinced the key to unlocking the secret of Mina’s death lies with Owen Amir, the alluring young army vet who once claimed her heart. But the deeper Rikki digs into Owen’s past, the more she’s torn between the urgings of her heart and her memories of him on the night Mina died.
After falling further into the rabbit hole, Rikki lands at the feet of an ancient and powerful evil determined to finish what it started years before. To survive, she’ll have to make a decision: believe Owen is the monster she always feared he might be or trust him enough to stay and fight for a second chance at love.
Touch of Smoke was a fantastic read. I don’t give 5-star reviews easily. A book has to capture my attention and keep it. I have to form a connection with both the male and female lead. Touch of Smoke hit all those and then some.
Touch of Smoke has a dual plotline. One takes place in the past and the other in the present. Usually, I don’t like that type of plotlines. In my experience, this type of plotlines generally gets me confused. Which in turns makes me lose interest in the book. In this case, though, the author was obvious when she was switching from the past to the present/the present to the past. She also did not give away what happened in the past. There were hints, but nothing prepared me for what happened. She also did a fantastic job of merging the two storylines mid-book. It was flawless.
The main plotline of Touch of Smoke centers around Erika (or Rikki), Owen and what happened that night her best friend, Mina, was killed. Rikki came back to town to face her demons, which meant that she had to face Owen and his role in what happened that night. When an ancient evil arrives in Evansville, Rikki needs to make a choice. Will she trust Owen and help him? Or will Rikki stand aside and let that evil destroy him? If she does help him, what will be the price that she pays?
I loved Rikki. She was a tough cookie. She was also the hardest working character that I have come across in a while. This woman worked two jobs while going to a community college. She was an EMT, and she worked in stable, cleaning stalls. I did think she was silly for pushing Owen away. I wanted to reach through the book and shake her. Her actions at the end of the book were amazing. And selfless.
I fell in love with Owen every time he showed up in the book. Who wouldn’t? He was an Army veteran who fell head over heels with Rikki. I loved that he didn’t push her into doing anything that she didn’t want to do. He let her set the bar for their relationship. He did have his secrets, though. I liked how the author revealed them.
The romance angle of Touch of Smoke was terrific. I loved seeing Owen and Rikki’s relationship evolve. It wasn’t Instalove (far from it). The author chose to have Owen and Rikki date and go from there. The scene where Rikki decides to throw caution to the wind was poignant. Mainly because of what happened a few days (at least I think it was a few days) later.
The fantasy angle of Touch of Smoke was terrific also. I liked how the author took the jinn myth and made it her own. I had no issue believing that jinns weren’t like Genie from Aladdin. Instead, they were out for themselves. The story that Owen tells about the boy, the ring and the jinn explains everything.
The end of Touch of Smoke broke my freaking hearts into little bits. Like I mentioned above, what Rikki did was selfless. I was ugly crying in the chapter after that. Of course, I liked how the author had Owen explain everything to Rikki in a story, including what he did after. But still. Ugly Crying. In the middle of the day. Enough said!!
I would give Touch of Smoke an Older Teen rating. There is sex (nothing graphic). There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.
I would reread Touch of Smoke. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**