Two of my many interests lie in anime and books. When a publisher combines them (a rarity, I'll admit), I definitely take a second look, which is what I did when I picked up Colby Hodge's "Twist" the week before Christmas. The book was categorized as an action/romance and was published under Dorchester Publishing's short-lived Shomi Romance line, which featured sci-fi, fantasy, and action-oriented romances written by fresh female authors. Sadly, Shomi was cancelled two years into its inception, and the anime covers only lasted the first year of its existence.
Despite that, Miss Hodge introduces us to Abbey Chase, our heroine, by giving us a piece of the novel's ending first. The story then backtracks to how Abbey got to that point by starting at the beginning--she's a poor college student who lost her dad in a car accident and flips houses to make money. She's currently flipping a house from the 1920's that has a brick wall built over the fireplace. Sledgehammer in hand, Abbey tears down that wall, proving that she's NOT sugar, spice, and everything nice. Plus, I always liked the idea of a girl with her own set of tools.
Abbey finds a time-traveling device behind that brick wall which hurtles her one hundred years into the future and into the arms of Doctor Shane Maddox, who she remembers from her past life. Shane is now the leader of a band of resistance fighters who battle the "ticks"--time-traveling alien vampires who invaded the day Abbey disappeared into her brick wall, one hundred years ago. Shane blames Abbey for the post-apocalyptic world humanity now lives in while she's fighting her attraction to him, just as she did in her old life. Abbey is forced to find a way to survive in this brave new world, which isn't easy, considering that every "tick" within fifty miles wants to kill her.
Miss Hodge constructs a very interesting, if somewhat hard to digest, world for this book to take place in. The time-traveling alien vampire thing fades over time, leaving us with Abbey, Shane, and the supporting cast of rogues who fight alongside them. Hodge's strength lies in her characters and in her dialogue, which moves the story along at a comfortable pace. The rhythm of "Twist" took a little time for me to get used to, but once I did, I really got hooked on Abbey's first-person narrative and her affable way of describing the events in the book. It sounded the way a modern twenty-something woman would talk, which is the key when writing from the first-person perspective, and Hodge had that down to a "T."
While there's certainly no shortage of paranormal/supernatural romances out there, Colby Hodge has created something unique in "Twist"--a good blend of action and romance that leaves you feeling satisfied when all the dots get connected and the heroine saves the day. The last time I read a book like that I was in my teens, and if you can say the same, then it might be time to pick up "Twist" and revisit the days when things really DID end happily ever after.