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These Boots Were Made for Stomping (Paranormal Romance) Mass Market Paperback – 25 Apr 2008
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When three very different woman place orders at the same online shoe store, they discover that their magical new purchases not only look fabulous, but give them the power to take charge of their lives and find true love.
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The book's back cover adds: "Whether facing the forces of evil or simply battling a bad hair day, fantastic footwear is key... Sometimes a woman's gotta be fierce as well as feminine, fiery as well as fragile. And when the legwork required is a roundhouse, when a girl's mantra has to become 'I am woman, hear me roar,' those are the times it's good to know there's magic in the world... because in super-powered pumps, the shrinking-est Violet or the nervous-est Nellie can do anything. Every step in magic shoes is sure to be a big one."
Well, what amazing twaddle! I've rarely read anything that ridiculous on the back of a book. Let alone the marketing idea of having the three characters in these short stories buying their books from a website that actually exists in the real world and from which one can buy shoes (which I briefly looked at after reading this book). Sometimes one wonders what the marketing people who came up with this idea were thinking.
But underneath the strange marketing blurb lies a book of three short stories by different authors. The first story, 'A Step in the Right Direction' by Julie Kenner, introduces the non-human Protectors, people with superpowers. Nikko is in trouble for messing up one of his assignments and being revealed to the general public who have now made him into a comicbook character named Silver Streak. When Lydia Carmichael's purchase of some new boots seems to give her extra backbone and bravery - as well as an ability to rescue people - she finds herself meeting her hero Silver Streak and discovering that he thinks she's just like him, one of the Protectors. She goes along with it for a little while, having unwittingly interfered with an operation to catch Rex Ruthless, a man who is planning to shrink New York to a tiny blob with a special weapon he is creating. When Nikko and Lydia find themselves trapped by Ruthless they have to work together to save New York and Lydia has to discover whether her superpowers and bravery are linked to the shoes or whether she can do good on her own. It's an enjoyable read if a little formulaic.
The second short story, Kung Fu Shoes by Jade Lee, features teacher Micki Becker whose confidence in her teaching skills in a rough school in Indianapolis is rapidly ebbing away. Micki is trying to encourage student Lucy to leave her dodgy boyfriend Damien and make something of herself. When Micki finds herself tangling directly with Damien, including fighting him, she discovers an unexpected skill at kung fu. The School cop Joe DeLuce seems to be taking an interest in Micki, apparently to encourage her to move on to a better school where she can be safer, but soon also becoming involved in her new kung fu ability. When her skills are linked to her new pair of shoes she offers them to Lucy to help her - but perhaps this means that Joe will no longer like her as she returns to her mousy nature. Can Joe see beyond the kung fu shoes?
This story was also reasonable, particularly with the setting of the school and the difficulties facing many teachers, especially those like Micki who are perhaps not as streetwise as they should be. However the underlying plot was pretty thin and I found my attention wandering at times. I wasn't too sure about Joe's motivations initially but he seemed to improve as the story progressed. It was a reasonable read but nothing special.
The third story, 'Karma Kitty Goes To Comic Con' by Marianne Mancusi, was rather better. In this story Hailey Hills, author of the Karma Kitty comic strip, is attending a convention with her artist, Thomas, when she bumps into her old fiancé Collin. Hailey had often had problems during her relationship because weird things kept happening to her and Collin found it hard to believe in them. When Hailey stood him up at the altar and disappeared for three weeks because she had been abducted by aliens Collin gave up, moved away and became a successful film producer. When Hailey sees him again at the Comic Con and he wants to reconnect with her she vows to be as normal as possible. Unfortunately Hailey's new Karma Kitty boots aren't going to let her as they give her Kitty's superpowers and Hailey finds herself rescuing another comic writer from attacking Ninjas. Her date with Collin is a disaster and she thinks it's all over. But there's something going on in the world of film rights for the comics and it might take Hailey with her boots and Collin to save the day.
This was more fun than the previous two stories and although I had to suspend my disbelief just as much as for the other stories this one felt more rounded and had better pacing. Mancusi has a good writing style and Hailey was an appealing, if rather ditsy, character.
All in all this book didn't live up to the overblown marketing hype to me. It contained three stories of medium interest and the shoe website thread seemed rather tenuous. Those who like superpowered heroines might enjoy reading this but it's not worth a special trip to the bookshop.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2008
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This was silly but it kept my interest in a comic book way.
Lydia is a mouse-like shrinking violet. She is too shy to speak her thoughts. She can’t stand up for herself. For example: She is an accounting clerk. She finished a report and put it on her boss’ desk. He doesn’t see it and comes to her, yelling at her for not finishing it. He tells her to have it on his desk the next morning. She should have said it’s already on your desk, but she mumbles an apology and says ok. I wasn’t sure I was going to like reading about her, but it turned out better than I thought. She puts on a pair of magic shoes which turns her into a martial arts fighter. She then fights bad guys.
And there is a love interest: Nikko has super powers. The super-power-guys are called Protectors. Nikko is searching for a bad guy and crosses paths with Lydia.
Narrative mode: 3rd person. Story length: 95 pages. Swearing language: mild. Sex content: about one scene, not much detail. Setting: current day New York city area, NY. Copyright: 2008. Genre: fantasy romance.
2 stars for KUNG FU SHOES by Jade Lee.
Kind of interesting, but it didn’t hold my interest.
Micki is a high school teacher in a low income area. She is depressed that her students are not learning or responding well to her. Micki tries to help Lucy who is dating a drug gang leader. Micki purchases a pair of magic shoes not knowing they are magic. When the gang leader starts to hurt her she beats him up. Later when his gang is attacking someone Micki fights them all at once.
Joe is a former policeman who is working at the school. He and Micki fall for each other.
Narrative mode: 3rd person. Story length: 105 pages. Swearing language: strong. Sexual content: about 3 scenes, not a lot of detail. Setting: current day Indianapolis, Indiana. Copyright: 2008. Genre: fantasy romance.
3 stars for KARMA KITTY GOES TO COMIC CON By Marianne Mancusi.
I liked the first half, but the second half annoyed me.
Hailey and Collin love each other, but weird things happen to Hailey causing her to be late for seeing him. When she tells him what happened, he always thinks she is lying. For example, on her way to their wedding, aliens abduct her and keep her for two weeks for a reality TV show they are filming.
The story begins a couple years after the cancelled wedding. Hailey is the author of a successful comic book series called Karma Kitty. She buys a pair of magic boots (that she does not know are magic) to wear as part of her Kitty costume at a comic book convention. When she puts them on she gains martial arts and other super powers.
Example from the second half:
They were in a hotel starting sex. She could have easily said, "Come here and look, there is a ninja standing in the hall." But she lied to him saying she was going out for ice. Then she fought the ninja and returned with no ice. He thought she didn’t want him so he was angry. She could have told him the truth since the ninja was easily seen. The problem in the relationship was that he didn’t believe her when she told him things. This was easily verifiable -- if she had told him. The second half had too much of this type of conflict.
Narrative mode: 3rd person. Story length: 101 pages. Swearing language: strong. Sexual content: about one scene. Setting: current New York city. Copyright: 2008. Genre: fantasy romance.
A Step in the Right Direction by Julie Kenner
Magic shoes and superheroes. An ordinary girl gains confidence and strength in a pair of shoes. Normal, you say? Well, in this case there is tue magic involved.
A bouncing good time. Continuation of the author's Superhero Central series. You do not need to read the directions books to enjoy this one.
Kung Fu Shoes by Jade Lee
Magic shoes, but more than that, a strong woman trying to make the world a better place, and a man that recognizes it and then falls in love.
Loved this little gem of a novella. Fast moving, unique storyline, some steamy sex and a save the world attitude. More please!
Micki Becker is a teacher out of her element but trying with everything she's got to help her students succeed.
Joe DeLuce is the school cop. He thinks Micki is naive and unlikely to survive the year before running back home to her privileged background.
Then a gang leader and a pair of magic shoes mixes things up. Surprises and love follow.
Karma Kitty Goes to Comic Con by Mari Mancusi
Totally enjoyable superhero fantasy novella. The boots are magic and turn her into her superhero comic character. Now she just needs to decide if the guy that got away is worth the effort to chase or not. Fun and campy.
Hailey Hills writes a comic called Karma Kitty. While at the NY Comic Con, strange things start happening in Hailey's life. Again. It seems her new shoes, ordered from hiheelia.com have the ability to turn her into her comic book character. So now she's fighting ninjas and protecting innocents while trying to connect with her former fiancé.
A Step In The Right Direction by Julie Kenner
Protectors/Superhero Series Book 4.5 (7th story)
Nikko has been called out as a Protector after five years of quiet living. He had skills the Council needed and he was ready for action once again. Even if he was under probation. Could he help it that when he needed to help a mortal he was noticed by someone who wrote comics and made him famous under the character name of Silver Streak? No, not his fault at all.
Lydia Carmichael needed to get some backbone. Her friend Amy had the solution. A pair of shoes from Hiheelia, an online shoe store. Amazingly the boots she gets really do let her be the stomper rather than the stompee. She even impresses the man of her dreams who seems to be a real life superhero.
Kung Fu Shoes! by Jade Lee
Michaela Becker was a rich girl in an inner city school trying to make a difference. Kind of hard when everyone calls you by the nickname, Micki Mouse. Worse yet it was the truth. She believed in winning the kids with kindness. Which is why she was shocked when she suddenly was throwing roundhouse kicks and being a real Kung Fu fighter. The only thing different had been her new Mary Jane shoes with the Chinese symbols for love and kindness.
Joe DeLuce was a cop until a strung out teenager shot him in the knee. These days he was a school cop. If he couldn't be on the streets then he'd stay close to the kids using the drugs to find the source. What he didn't expect was Little Miss Rich Girl to end up being quite different from the image he had of her. And he liked what he saw.
**Sexual content and language
Karma Kitty Goes to Comic Con by Marianne Mancusi
Hailey Hills had been in love with Collin Robinson. Actually, she probably still was in love with him. Hailey and her artist Thomas were at the Comic Con to sign for their popular comic, Karma Kitty. And for the first time in five years, she sees Collin. The problem in their relationship had been that strange things happened to Hailey at the worse times and Collin never could believe that she really had to help a ghost or was abducted by aliens. Just when she thought a second chance was possible....her new boots did more than cover her feet.
**Sexual Content and language