Review: To the 5th Power by Shirin Dubbin

 

Title:  To the 5th Power

Author: Shirin Dubbin

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Three years ago, Zola Noite’s nemesis killed her sidekick and forced her to watch. The guilt drove her to hang up her cape. Zola knows one thing for certain. She will never be a superhero again.

Psychologist Dr. Arturo "Fort" Forte specializes in super-powered mental health. He’s the only reason Zola can once again call herself sane—although, truth be told, the heat between them is slowly driving her back to mad.

When three mega-villains escape the prison Fort oversees, all Zola’s best laid plans go up in flames. Fort asks her for help, and she can’t turn down the man she’s secretly come to love. As battles ensue and clues add up, the one thing Zola trusts is called into question: Fort’s true agenda and which side he’s on.


Review:

I love comics and superheroes. so when I saw To the 5th Power, I really wanted to read it.  I’ve had good luck with other Entangled Ever Afters, too, so I was quite eager to dive into this one.  I enjoyed it a lot.  The world building was  a little weak, but for a novella, I wasn’t expecting a highly detailed explanation behind all of the super powers the heroes possessed.  Instead, this is a kick ass adventure, following Zola on her path to rediscovering herself.  The romance wasn’t as prevalent, with the focus instead being on Zola’s battles with the escaped villains.  The tension between Fort and Zola is nicely established, though, and because Zola is so strong, Fort’s character was painted with the complexity to deal with her.  He’s a stubborn, strong-willed man, and he has to be, or Zola would call all of the shots, and that’s just a little boring.

Fort approaches Zola and requests her assistance recapturing three escaped criminals that were under his care.  They are all powerful, convicted murderers, and insane.  Sounds like fun, huh?  Zola is still suffering from a mental breakdown after her sidekick was murdered in front of her.  She is consumed with guilt because she couldn’t protect and defend one of the people closest to her, and she blames herself for his death. Every second of the day.  She’s hung up her superhero costume and is trying to be a “normal” person, though in her case, “normal” is far from it. 

Fort was her psychiatrist, and he tried to put the shattered pieces of her mind back together after her breakdown.  Zola doesn’t trust him, and she knows that he’s not giving her the whole story about the escapees, but she’s attracted to him so she’ll at least hear him out.  When the villains attack her one after the other, she is thrust into survival mode.  She is forced to pick up her super powered persona, to fight for the lives of all she holds dear.  Will the battle cost her her already fragile mind?

To the 5th Power is basically a comic book in prose.  I loved it.  Despite some occasional confusion at some awkwardly explained background, Zola’s race to recapture the bad guys and save herself at the same time was impossible to put down.  She is a legendary superhero, suffering from a complete, and quite possibly, permanent, mental breakdown.   She doesn’t want to have anything to do with heroes (or villains, for that matter), but she still feels obligated to protect the citizens around her.  She is grappling with serious, overwhelming issues, and it made for a compelling read.  How can you be expected to save the world when you are two steps away from being committed to the insane asylum? 

While there is a romance between Zola and Fort, this is primarily an action read, with an engagingly damaged protagonist.  I hope we can visit with Zola and Fort again in the near future.

Grade:  B/B+

Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours

Interview with Shirin Dubbin, Author of To the 5th Power

Please welcome Shirrin Dubbin to the virtual offices this morning.  She’s here to chat about her actin-packed super hero romance To the 5th Power.  Make sure to enter the giveaway she’s hosting, too! Click here to read an excerpt and  enter the giveaway.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less [Shirin] aka haiku?

[Shirin Dubbin] Deeply feeling, she

walks, talks, breathes art forever

loves just as deeply

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about To the Fifth Power?

[Shirin Dubbin] My editor said it best, "A badass superheroine, a sexy smart guy, and the fight of a lifetime."

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Shirin Dubbin] For me superhero stories always start with comic books. For To the Fifth Power I thought about the story arcs and characters I adore. I also wanted complexity. And no character is more complex and multi-layered than Batman. Then I asked myself what if Batman were a woman, and after her nemesis murders her sidekick the guilt causes a mental breakdown? What if her love interest was a big sexy psychologist with a twisted past of his own? From there it began to flow.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Zola?

[Shirin Dubbin] Brilliant, deadly, heroic

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Fort had a theme song, what would it be?

[Shirin Dubbin] Maybe Tomorrow by Stereophonics.

He has little black clouds of harsh memories following him around. He’s living an outwardly beautiful life but he’s definitely on the upperside of down and the inside of out. He wants a home, a safe place to be himself. Yet he’s not sure he deserves it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Zola is never without.

[Shirin Dubbin] Azure Eel, her electric whip. She hides it in various places depending on the outfit she’s wearing.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Fort’s bedroom?

[Shirin Dubbin] 1. A television. Fort says the bedroom is for three things: reading, sleeping, and loving

2. Any signs of his day job. His bedroom is a work free zone.

3. Boredom

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Shirin Dubbin] In my writing it’s probably Shaw Brothers movies, anime, fantasy novels, romance, action flicks, and ElfQuest.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Shirin Dubbin] Music, good energy, and a great idea

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on To the Fifth Power?

[Shirin Dubbin] Time. I was working against a deadline.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Shirin Dubbin] Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. It’s like a mash-up of legal thriller and contemporary fantasy. The writing is vivid with wonderful world building and distinct full-bodied characters. If it were food it would have been a feast.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Shirin Dubbin] I can’t decide whether it was my book of Burmese folktales or a collected works of Hans Christian Anderson. Both pushed the boundaries of what I believed was possible. There were talking heads, and shoes that wouldn’t stop dancing. The scent of fish paid for with the shadow of a coin, and a wicked Snow Queen with an ice shard in her heart. Those stories have stayed with me.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Shirin Dubbin] Mostly misbehave. I’ve gotten quite good at it too! On Thursday nights I do happy hour with Loki, Coyote, Puck, and Anansi. You really have to watch out for those guys—they’re tricky.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Shirin Dubbin] Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

About the book

Three years ago, Zola Noite’s nemesis killed her sidekick and forced her to watch. The guilt drove her to hang up her cape. Zola knows one thing for certain. She will never be a superhero again.
Psychologist Dr. Arturo "Fort" Forte specializes in super-powered mental health. He’s the only reason Zola can once again call herself sane—although, truth be told, the heat between them is slowly driving her back to mad.
When three mega-villains escape the prison Fort oversees, all Zola’s best laid plans go up in flames. Fort asks her for help, and she can’t turn down the man she’s secretly come to love. As battles ensue and clues add up, the one thing Zola trusts is called into question: Fort’s true agenda and which side he’s on.

Excerpt and Giveaway! To the 5th Power by Shirin Dubbin

Shirin Dubbin is visiting this morning to share an excerpt from her action filled and extremely fun read To The 5th Power. After the excerpt, enter for a chance to win a very special swag pack hand picked by Shirin!

 

EXCERPT To The 5th Power by Shirin Dubbin

Forty-five minutes later and after a shower, the thrill of the foot massage lingered. Fort could be an enemy, a charlatan or betrayer, and all Zola could think about was the feel of his fingers on her skin.

If she took the problem from a logical viewpoint, she could let go. The damage had been done. He’d been deep inside the most sacred places in her mind already. That knowledge occupied a far more intimate space than him entering her body. If he planned to destroy her he already possessed the tools. She could at least enjoy the devastating sex his touch promised. Then deal with the aftermath…after. Her vision blurred, her stomach flip-flopped. Zola grabbed the nearest poster of her canopied bed and blinked the wooziness away.

On the second blink, she rematerialized in the 1920s suite of Bella Noite. The room’s walls and finishings were largely done in olive. Although varied textures and hues from pink-tinted cream on the damask bedding to amber silk club chairs enlivened the palette.

Fort paused mid-stride, halfway between the Louis XV rosewood bed and the en suite bathroom. He appeared to be on his way to the shower. Zola deduced this not only because a towel hung loosely from his fingertips but also because he was bare-behind-balls-out-nude. No glasses. No nothing.

His impenetrable gaze held hers as he dropped the towel and crossed the room. He stopped a few inches away. The heat of his body brought a hot blush to her skin as he gazed down at her, his expression unchanging. She slid tentative fingers along the musculature of his stomach. She’d been right. His body was a blend of superhero and basketball superstar. Long, lean, perfection.

In response, Fort ran the backs of his hands down her arms. Zola hit air turbulence and closed her eyes. Opening them immediately, she took a step back. “An eye for an eye,” she said.

If he’d give her that, entrust his past and his pain to her safekeeping, maybe she could trust him again. Perhaps then she’d put aside her doubts.

“No,” he said, continuing the caress.

“Fort.” She damn near moaned his name.

“No.”

Distrust did nothing to avert her desire, she ached hot and heavy in her womb, but how could she reconcile the two? Indecision stilled the hand on his stomach. He took her fingers into his and brought her palm to his lips. The tender kiss singed her and she pulled away.

Fort gripped her shoulders, the edges of his closed expression melting with dismay. “Don’t you trust me, Zola?”

She wanted to. “No. I lust for you. I don’t trust you. It’s purely a sexual urge.”

A muscled ticked along his jaw. “That’s good enough.” He scooped her off the floor, his muscled forearm braced beneath her bottom. “At least for now,” He growled the words, his gaze on her mouth. Their lips met in a crash of sea meeting shore. Later for consequences. Her whole body strained against him, as though she couldn’t get close enough. She’d give herself tonight. Trust or no, she could kick him out of her house and her mind later. ?

 

Tour Wide Giveaway

Superpowered Love – The Swag Pack

To celebrate the release of my new superhero romance, To the Fifth Power, I’ve matched the book up with an equally hard hitting, highflying, romanc-a-thon of a swag pack called SuperPowered Lurve. . .and there are snacks too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Here’s what you’ll win:

The Amazing Spiderman see clip

First love’s first blush is so amazingly adorkable in this movie. There’s no doubt Spidey is one of the greatest to ever rock a mask, but the romance here starts off awkward then blooms. That love story and its growth center the movie. Plus, there’s spinning and skipping in this clip. D’aww.

Read more