I’ve posted a few times about Vicki Leigh’s new YA paranormal romance/urban fantasy Catch Me When I Fall, and I’m very excited today to share both an excerpt and my review with you! But first, let me introduce you again to Catch Me When I Fall and Vicki:
Recruited at his death to be a Protector of the Night, seventeen-year-old Daniel Graham has spent two-hundred years fighting Nightmares and guarding humans from the clawed, red-eyed creatures that feed off people’s fears. Each night, he risks his eternal life, having given up his chance at an afterlife when he chose to become a Protector. That doesn’t stop a burnt-out Daniel from risking daring maneuvers during each battle. He’s become one of the best, but he wants nothing more than to stop.
Then he’s given an assignment to watch over sixteen-year-old Kayla Bartlett, a clinically depressed patient in a psychiatric ward. Nightmares love a human with a tortured past. Yet, when they take a deep interest in her, appearing in unprecedented numbers, the job becomes more dangerous than any Daniel’s ever experienced. He fights ruthlessly to keep the Nightmares from overwhelming his team and Kayla. Soon, Daniel finds himself watching over Kayla during the day, drawn to why she’s different, and what it is about her that attracts the Nightmares. And him.
A vicious attack on Kayla forces Daniel to break the first Law and reveal his identity. Driven by his growing feelings for her, he whisks her away to Rome where others like him can keep her safe. Under their roof, the Protectors discover what Kayla is and why someone who can manipulate Nightmares has her in his sights. But before they can make a move, the Protectors are betrayed and Kayla is kidnapped. Daniel will stop at nothing to save her. Even if it means giving up his immortality.
Adopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. By the sixth grade, Vicki penned her first, full-length screenplay. If she couldn’t be a writer, Vicki would be a Hunter (think Dean and Sam Winchester) or a Jedi. Her favorite place on earth is Hogwarts (she refuses to believe it doesn’t exist), and her favorite dreams include solving cases alongside Sherlock Holmes.
Vicki is an editor for Curiosity Quills Press and is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.
Find Vicki Leigh Online:
And now, an excerpt from Catch Me When I Fall
One of the nice things about being a Dreamcatcher was that you were a close relative of the spirit world. You could not be seen unless you chose to be. All you had to do was close your eyes and picture where you wanted to go, and when you opened them, you would be there. And anything or anyone you touched, while corporeal, could go invisible or travel with you. So when moving across the world, you were done in about five minutes.
The flats Giovanni had chosen for Tabbi and me were much nicer than I anticipated. The one I had spent eighty years in when I watched over Eva had been a studio piece of shit with beer-stained carpet and a sliding door that didn’t open. My new apartment overlooked McFerson Commons, a beautiful park in central Columbus whose focal point was an ornate, stone arch that reminded me of Rome. The place was a one bed, one bath apartment with a separate living room, dining area and kitchen. Everything was clean and well maintained. The walls were painted a light gray color, and the carpet was spotless and white.
Tabbi decided to “fix” my apartment, so I leaned against a wall and watched as she disappeared and reappeared with rugs, lamps, and other pieces of furniture. By the time she was done re-arranging everything, my flat looked like it could have belonged in a magazine.
“That’s better.” Tabbi plopped down on my sofa with a smile on her face.
“Yes, and now all those stores are without their merchandise. You better hope no one needed that navy blue rug or… what the heck is that?” Tabbi had hung a picture on the wall above the sofa of what looked like a black and white candy cane—if they had painted on an acid trip.
“It’s a zebra.” She gave me a look that suggested I was an idiot for not being able to understand abstract artwork. Or, at least, that’s how I interpreted her.
“Ah, I see. I can’t imagine anyone wanting that, so you should be safe.” I smiled at her.
“Ha, ha. Very funny.” She stood up. “So, are we going to go visit Kayla?”
Uncrossing my arms, I straightened up. “If you’re done making my place hideous, then sure.”
Tabbi stuck her tongue out at me then made sure the front door was locked. Although the humans couldn’t see us or hear us unless we wanted them to, our furniture was definitely real. We didn’t need anyone breaking in and stealing anything—one reason Giovanni had us burn our charges’ files. Nixon’s Dreamcatcher had left a piece of information out once about that Watergate scandal. It was supposed to be part of the weekly report he sent to Giovanni, but the file had been intercepted. Didn’t play out well for Nixon—or his Catcher.
Tabbi took my hand. Together, we closed our eyes and brought up the image of Kayla in our minds. When we opened them, we stood in her room.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book overall. Full disclosure, I know Vicki through Curiosity Quills. I also received a free e-copy of this book from the publisher to review as part of Vicki’s blog tour.
CATCH ME has a lot of great things going for it. The mythology is amazing. I love the specific twist on a guardian angel concept, and I liked that while there are hints of a fully rounded supernatural world, this book remained focused on one aspect, the Protectors.
Daniel is a wonderful POV character. I’m a huge fan of single point of view novels, and they can be quite difficult to write. Vicki chose well by making the supernatural being the POV character, rather than the human being introduced to the world. It seems like such a small choice, but it makes a huge difference and contributes a lot to keeping me engaged. It helps that Daniel’s voice is also thoroughly developed. He was distinct to me right away, and that hooked me.
I also love the ensemble cast. It can be tricky to juggle so many supporting characters, but you can tell that Vicki knows them all, and I look forward to seeing more of them. The only one I felt could have used a little more was Samantha–I never quite got the sense that she went deeper than her jealousy.
I confess that while the concept was great, I do think the plot was a little wanting. There wasn’t anything surprising in it. The reveals, the betrayals, Kayla getting kidnapped over and over and relationships being leveraged…it’s all pretty standard. I was particularly irked by the constant damselification of Kayla. I look forward to that not being a thing in later books.
However, the writing is strong enough that, though noticeable, the predictable elements weren’t a deal-breaker for me.
My biggest complaint is the relationship between Kayla and Daniel. Generally speaking, I’m suspicious of romances between humans and centuries-old supernatural beings, mostly because it’s rare that the supernatural beings ACT like they are centuries old. That was one thing I loved about the Sookie Stackhouse books–90% of the ancient creatures were really disdainful of humans, and being in relationships with them didn’t necessarily change that. I get why it’s easy to forget, but that kind of dynamic is so interesting it should be explored.
I also felt that this was a lust-at-first-sight thing on Daniel’s part, and the subsequent development of the relationship didn’t satisfy me because it was all based on big romantic gestures, like touring beautiful foreign locations, instead of smaller, more realistic, meaningful moments. This wouldn’t be an issue for me were it not for the confessions of love between Kayla and Daniel at the end. It felt premature–maybe not from Kayla, young as she is, but definitely from Daniel.
As I’ve said, though, I enjoyed this read and I look forward to reading more from Vicki in the future!
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