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Matters of the Blood
Maria Lima
Juno Books, 368 pages

Matters of the Blood
Maria Lima
Sometime before the Revolution, Maria Lima was born in Matanzas, Cuba, to a family of voracious readers and would-be writers. After her family emigrated to the United States, Maria discovered the magic of books. She started writing her own stories and has been at it ever since. Her writing turned corporate as she used her journalism degree and cranked out marketing copy, feature stories and book reviews. The fiction muse kept calling and in the spring of 2005, was finally fed as Maria's first published short story, "The Butler Didn't Do It" was published in Chesapeake Crimes I and garnered an Agatha Award nomination for Best Short Story. Maria spends most of her days working as a Senior Web Project Manager in the DC area. Her evenings and weekends are spent writing.

Maria Lima Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Katherine Petersen

In Matters of the Blood, the first installment of Maria Lima's Blood Lines series, she introduces us to Keira Kelly, a descendant of a paranormal family. Keira doesn't know much more than that as she hasn't come into her full powers yet, but the process has started. She could be a mind reader, healer or shape shifter, but until the change has run its course, she may have bits and pieces of each talent. The beginning of "the change" could explain some of her extraordinarily vivid nightmares including two dead animals on a nearby resort and the murder of her not-so-intelligent human cousin, Marty.

The book takes place in Rio Seco, a small town in the Texas hill country, where Keira grew up. Her family -- or rather, her clan -- has left but her matriarchal grandmother has allowed her to return with the caveat that she look after Marty. Unfortunately, her nightmarish visions prove prophetic as both dead animals and dead Marty end up coming true. Keira has her hands full, trying to solve both, and many individuals including some friends, wish she'd kept her nose out of it.

To complicate matters, Sheriff Carlton Larson, Keira's lover from 15 years ago, hasn't lost his passion for her. She tries to fend off his advances and then runs into Adam Walker, an acquaintance from her clubbing days in London. While nothing came from their mutual attraction abroad, Keira just might break her no-human-lovers vow with the sexy Walker. Keira's favorite brother, a shape shifter named Tucker, shows up to help her through the change as well as throw himself into the romantic mix with a liking for Keira's best friend, a wise-cracking café owner named Bea.

In her debut novel, Maria Lima has created a terrific urban fantasy, a must-read for fans of the genre. The independent-minded Keira makes an excellent protagonist with strengths and weaknesses just like the rest of us. She's a bit lazy, has a wry sense of humor and can't start a day -- or is that nightówithout breakfast tacos and coffee. Her best friend, Bea, the only one who will always be there for her and without her own agenda according to Keira, has loyalty and one-liners to spare. And Lima's male characters -- Carlton, Adam and Keira's half-brother Tucker -- vibrate with personality, charm, sexiness and passion. I hope to see more of Tucker in future books.

Matters of the Blood has a fast pace that never lags, suspense to keep the reader turning pages, paranormal beings including shape shifters and vampires and a personality of its own. We all struggle with urges or habits and the characters in this book are no different: the vampires try not to hunt, no mean feat for a blood-thirsty race. My only criticism is a lack of information about Keira's background and family. Hopefully Lima will reveal more details as the series progresses.

While the action takes place in Texas, the story explores the past including the concentration camps of World War II, which brings up issues of right and wrong, whom to trust and why certain choices are made. While the book sends the reader to some dark places, the mood is lightened with bits of humor sprinkled throughout. It's a complex plot with the requisite twists and turns of a mystery, the passion of a paranormal romance and the unearthly elements of urban fantasy. All in all, Matters of the Blood is a wonderful start to Blood Lines. I look forward to reading Blood Bargain, the next book in Lima's Series.

Copyright © 2009 Katherine Petersen

Katherine Petersen started reading as a young child and hasn't stopped. She still thinks she can read all the books she wants, but might, at some point, realize the impossibility of this mission. While she enjoys other genres, she thrives on fantasy, science fiction and mysteries.

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