New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) has published over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.
Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. is also a two-time RITA finalist, the winner of Romantic Times‘ Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Contemporary Paranormal of 2001, the winner of the Reviewers International Organization’s award for best romantic suspense of 2004 and best paranormal of 2005, and the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award for best mainstream book of 2005.
She writes a range of stories including sexy and quirky romances, young adult novels, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures. Her current book, Release Me by J. Kenner, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller and has sold to over a dozen territories/sub-rights.
Julie lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.
on Sep. 01, 2013 :
Great book, really keeps you guessing. Lots of twists and turns, a wonderful read.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on June 03, 2013 :
I liked this, though not as much as I thought I would. On the surface, it reminded me a lot of J.R. Rain's 'Moon Dance' (Vampire for Hire #1), which I really enjoyed, in that both feature a woman trying to balance parenthood with various supernatural goings-on, both are set in California, and both use frequent pop culture references. But that's where the similarities end.
This starts well, as the heroine, stay-at-home mom Kate, tries to juggle her two kids, her aspiring-politican-husband's impromptu dinner party, her best friend (Laura - who turns out to be pretty awesome!), and murderous demons who have reentered her life after a 14-yr absence. Her family and friends do not know about her past as a Demon Hunter. This whole opening section is a lot of fun. As the book goes on past that, it does drag a bit in the middle before picking up the pace again in the 2nd half.
My favorite things: that opening section, Laura the kick-ass best friend, Kate's relationship with her teenage daughter Allie, and of course the generally snappy writing.
The heroine, Kate... I'm a little ambivalent about. I can't quite put my finger on why. It could be something about the depiction of her being emotionally torn between her old life and her current one, but I think it has more to do with her parenting style and complete lack of feminist consciousness. It's not entirely fair of me to factor that into my review, but it is what it is. There were a few times when Kate would make or think some sort of weird, off-hand, non-plot-related gendered comment such as "My 2 yr old son will never ever wear makeup ever!", and it would kick me out of the story. And with all due respect to stay-at-home mothers everywhere (and political wives, too), Kate is really over-the-top in her unquestioned commitment to Donna-Reed-like appearances.
Also, because the demon-hunting world here is rooted so firmly in Roman Catholicism, there is a little too much religion for me. I'm not a religious person at all, but I'm usually willing to take it with a grain of salt when reading books that have demons and vampires and whatnot in them. However, in this book, because Kate's a former hunter and therefore a self-proclaimed Believer, she's involved in her community church and all that. And the demonic mythology isn't even all that well-developed, actually, so the author could have gone a different route.
Lastly, although this is set in California, that setting wasn't really a "character". That is, it felt like it could have taken place in Anytown, U.S.A. I'm hoping that the second book will fix that. I mean, it's even called 'California Demon'! I will definitely be reading it soon.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on May 21, 2013 :
I just purchased this book. I have read all the books in this series and am looking forward to the next one. In preparation, I am rereading them in order. If you have not yet discovered this series, you are in for a treat. Even though this is a paranormal/fantasy book, the characters and even most situations are believable in an everyday way. Kate Conners "retired" from her demon hunting days when her husband was killed. She is remarried and the mom to a teenage daughter from her first marriage and a toddler from her second marriage. Her husband is blissfully ignorant of Kate's past and her abilities. After years of peaceful living, the demons are once again a threat - to her, her family, and the community.
Get to know Kate, her family, and friends. You will be glad you did.
(reviewed long after purchase)
(reviewed long after purchase)
on May 21, 2013 :
This book got me hooked on the demon hunting soccer mom series! It's like Buffy the Vampire Slayer grew up and had a family. I love Kate's sass & can relate to her relationship with her daughter, you know, without the demon-slaying aspect of it...
(reviewed the day of purchase)