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Out of Time  (Out of Time, #1) - Monique Martin Here's the thing: I turned 40 last week, and while I know that 40 is the new 30, and I'm only as old as I feel, (blah blah blah, whatever else my birthday cards told me,) I look in the mirror, and I see that my hair is turning grey at an alarming rate, I have wrinkles near the corners of my lips where they never were before, and my boobs are hanging about an inch lower than they were last year (dammit.) The worst of it is that my eyes get tired if I try to read half the night; of course, that's only if I don't fall asleep and wake up with a crick in my neck...Life is too short to read things I don't enjoy. That's not to say I think there's anything wrong with the book, but romance is just not my speed. Most of my friends read them, and I'll cop to enjoying a little bit of a love story mixed into my novels, but as the general theme - not so much.Anyways, for my 40th birthday, my gift to myself (besides a manicure and a {redacted},) was permission to no longer compulsively attempt to finish every single book I buy/receive/find on the bus. Right now, at this moment, I have some 300+ books that I already own, but have yet to read. Not one of them is a romance novel. Well, except for that Boleyn thing, but I borrowed that, and I'm trying to convince myself that it's more historical than romantic, and just how romantic is it when there are old wives locked in castles and rutting old men with STDs? This book doesn't have any of that as far as I know. I only read 30% before I realized I wasn't having any fun. It flows well, I like the 3rd person omniscient perspective, (it's been awhile since I've read one of those,) but I guess I'm just too pragmatic for the machinations, confusions, misunderstandings, and tiny suspenses it takes to make a romance novel. I find myself rolling my eyes at every pained glance, moan, and glower. (I don't watch straight romance movies either, as a rule. Mainly because my friends don't like to hear me guffaw at the main characters' "pain.") Anyways, back to that 40 thing... I'm going to die before I get to read all the books I want to read, although hopefully that will only be after 1000s more books, and I'll be an impish, cranky and exceedingly old lady. Life is too precious to spend with books you don't enjoy, even if those books are wonderful - for someone else.No rating on this one for now. It just wouldn't be fair. The other thing is, sometimes, (very rarely,) I do read a romance novel, especially if there's a good story behind it. From every review I've seen on this one, there IS a good story lurking. "For now." Moods change. There are probably days when a romance novel won't make my brain try to claw its way out of my parietal sutures. Today is not that day. Still, after sleeping on it, I find I'm curious about the rest of the story (not the love story,) the part about trying to make it "out of time." Update 12/28: Okay, okay, I lied. My OCD is stronger than my Birthday Gifting Powers, I finished this last night really quick because I wanted to see what the Vampire part was going to be. The vampire didn't really make an appearance though, until the 70% mark (hints at about 50-60%,) and there was some action at that point through the end, then a neat little wrap-up. It was probably fine as far as romances go, but the subtitle "-A Paranormal Romance," definitely does NOT lie. It's very decidedly a romance novel, with the expected formula and plot development. As clichéd as romance novels can be, the language is handled well, with little in the way of the awkwardly rhapsodic dialogue and musings I remember from the angsty romance novels I devoured in my late teens and early 20s. I've no idea how to rate this story, so I'll have to go with my typical emotional rating. I actually did sort of like this one, once I got past certain passages - this one in particular threatened to melt my brain with its classic romance-novel effusiveness:He’d wanted other women, had been with other women, but not one of them had gotten under his skin the way she had. Even her friendship, if he could call it that, ran deeper than the trysts at Oxford or the stunted relationships he’d bungled in the years after. Intimacy was simply not part of his makeup. It required skills he’d never cultivated and he felt no inclination to do so. Until now. But it was too late for that. He was comfortable with the life he’d built.He spent years refining the layers that buffered him from the outside world. His work had always been enough. The search for answers. Facts could be categorized, put in their proper place. Text books were conveniently black and white, but now the world was a swirling mass of murky grays. Feelings he couldn’t grasp, much less control, were getting the better of him day by day.And now, the one thing he’d been able to cling to, the one thing that centered him, was gone. If there were no way to get home, he thought and felt for the watch in his pocket, he’d be trapped here without his work. He supposed he could start a research project here, check some texts that were lost to the future. But it would do little good. She’d become an inexorable part of that too, he realized. There wasn’t a facet of his life she hadn’t slipped inside of, even his past-the one thing that separates each of us from the other. {snip text for length}It was impossible. She was impossible. The way her eyes sparked with fire when she argued with him. The way her cheeks flushed. The way her pulse pounded out her fury. He wanted to strangle her with one hand and caress her with the other.Why did the simple act of watching her sleep make him feel more content than he could remember? Why did he care so much what she was thinking? What she was feeling?Why did he want her so very much?This was where I put the book down originally, and swore I wouldn't finish it. But I REALLY wanted to know about the gangster vampire. Heh. Aside from some tastefully done intimacy, the rest of the story started to kick in not too long after the point at which I picked it back up, so I was rewarded for my compulsion once again. I'm totally Pavlov's reader: Seeing a book triggers an automatic read response. Hopeless, that's what I am. So... I'm going to give it 3 stars, because... meh, not really my bag, BUT, I would totally recommend this to my romance-devouring friends.