Tuesday, February 19

Review: Nightingale by Jennifer Estep

This is the fourth book in the BigTime Series by Jennifer Estep.  I read the first 3 - Karma Girl, Hot Mama & Jinx - a couple of years ago.  I really enjoyed the stories, and am totally in love with Ms. Estep's Elemental Assassin's series about Gin Blanco.  One of the things that just tickles me as a reader, is finding the little references to her other books series in whichever one I am currently reading.  Take for instance the Gin Blanco series, there are several references to the fashion designers in the BigTime books.  And in this book, the lead character, Abby Appleby, makes a reference to her favorite BBQ joint, the Pork Pit, down Ashland, North Carolina, Gin's restaurant.  I am unsure if the two series are in the same universe, since the 2 series don't really share anything in common other than both having elements of Fantasy.  

In the Big Time series, there are superheroes and ubervillains roaming the city of Bigtime, New York.  The first 3 covered several of the Fearless 5, the major superheroes, and were Romantic Fantasy novels.  So I expected this one to be along the same theme and I wasn't disappointed.  This time however, we met a young woman who had been granted supersenses one night after an incident with a spilled drink and an amp gone haywire.  Abby Appleby is the top event planner for Bigtime.  She uses her supersenses to make sure that the parties and events that she plans go off without a hitch and keep everything running like clockwork.  We are first introduced to her during a combination engagement announcement and corporate merger party.  

After the party, on her way home, she stumbles across a conflict between a superhero, Talon and his nemesis, Bandit.  Abby manages to scare away Bandit, but only after he has managed to injure Talon.  Not knowing what else to do, Abby rigs together a mock sled and drags Talon back to her apartment.  There she patches him up.  When Talon awakes and has been temporarily blinded, she lets him stay and wait out the blizzard that has descended on the city.  Abby doesn't give Talon her name, but tells him to call her Wren.  He insists on calling her Nightingale, since she sings to him and has patched him up.  When it looks like he is about to regain his vision, she drugs him and takes him to the convention center to keep her identity a secret.

Since it has been so long since I read the first three books in the series, I was a little worried that I would have a hard time jumping back into it.  But I found that wasn't really the case for this book.  Since the story is told completely from Abby's perspective, and she doesn't know the identities of the superheroes, I didn't need to remember who was who either.  Some of the came back to me, and others were so obvious that I couldn't understand why the  characters couldn't figure them out.  But I think that is part of the charm of the old time comic book stories.  What is obvious to us looking in, those involved in the day to day of the world, just never see.  

I am giving this book a solid 4 stars on Goodreads.  Yes, the story was a little cheesy, but in a good way.  It is at heart a romance novel, set in a B-movie world.  One you can't help but laugh at and enjoy for its light hearted fun.

Anxious brides. Drunken businessmen. Panicked partygoers. As Bigtime, New York’s premiere event planner, Abby Appleby is capable of handling almost any crisis, but even she’s not prepared when she finds herself in the middle of a fight between superhero Talon and his ubervillain nemesis Bandit. Abby manages to save Talon, but the superhero is temporarily blinded, so she takes him back to her loft, where the two wait out a snowstorm. During a blizzard that shuts down the city, Abby and Talon grow close, and he starts calling her Nightingale because of her love of music and singing.

But Abby is afraid of what Talon will think when he can see the real her, so she conceals her identity from the sexy superhero, and they go their separate ways. However, Abby discovers that Talon is looking for Nightingale, looking for her—and so is Bandit. The mercenary ubervillain thinks that Abby has information that belongs to his boss, the mysterious Tycoon. Abby knows that she’s in serious trouble and that not even Talon—or the Fearless Five—may be able to save her …

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