Thursday, October 01, 2009

Virtually Hers by Gennita Low

Disclaimer: Heeding Wendy's piece on objectivity (cuz she's right), I'll stand up right here and say: "My name is Jennifer and I'm an unabashed fangirl of Gennita Low." This isn't to say that I've "friended" or "followed" her online. Rather it is to say that I LOVE her books. All of 'em.

Because she knows of my love, she asked me to review an ARC of Virtually Hers, releasing next week from Samhain Publishing. I replied, as my first grader often does, "Well yeahhhhh." My squeeeeing, Fucking Fabulous category review follows---timed, linked and labeled for promotion--but written for me. Seriously, I loved it. Flat-out loved it. This is some honest, objective squee ahead.

Title: Virtually Hers
Author: Gennita Low

Published: October 6, 2009
Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Why: Low became an auto-buy author for me as soon as I turned the last page of Into Danger. And the first book in this trilogy, Virtually His, knocked me on my ass.

Thoughts: Fabulous read, I'll get that out of the way. In the Fucking Fabulous category, yes. But very, very interesting as well. Interesting in that Low was able to pull me out of my character-enamored haze and grab my plot-thickening attention. I'll explain.

First, I'm flat out in love with these characters. In Virtually His (the first in this trilogy), Low surprised me with the appearance of a character from her prior work. One of her more enigmatic characters, Low revealed Jed's identity only near the very end, after a book-long deepening of his character. Her reveal at the end of Virtually His pulled this three-book-long story together in a startling and powerful way. Like I said, it knocked me on my ass.

Not only because I was stunned to see Jed again, but because Low's heroine of Virtually His demanded this eerily quiet powerhouse hero. A Super Soldier Spy, the heroine is no where near weak, or even vulnerable. She is highly intelligent, highly trained, experienced and savvy. And I'll admit, I'm usually more of a sucker for a heroine who needs the protection and safety a strong hero presents. But here, Low tapped an altogether different attraction for me. A hero--silent, still, patient--with the power (or so he thinks) to control the heroine. In this setting, it was both emotional and sexy. Because...

In that first book, Low also introduced a third, integral character--the technology. A writer of military romantic suspense, Low offered this remote viewing / virtual reality technology as state-of-the-art intelligence gathering and deftly bound hero and heroine through its execution. For me, it was arguably one of the sexiest means of forced proximity I've seen in romance. We've seen plenty of H/H's thrown together on military missions or stranded together, dependent on one another for survival. Low took this further, demanding synergy and ultimately, intimacy, at mind and brain level--each and every time Jed (mentally) accompanied Hell on one of her remote viewing sessions. May sound far-fetched or sci-fi-ish, but trust me, Low keeps it all firmly grounded in human emotion and motivation.

You've heard the expression "keepin it real"? Well think "keepin it romance" for a moment. There is conflict. There are trust issues. Again, Low uses the technology to its absolute sexiest potential. In order for the technology to work, the handler, Jed, must be able to command the remote viewer; control her if you will. To give her handler total control, the remote viewer, Hell, must trust and obey her handler. Being a strong-minded heroine (not a submissive bone in her body), that's not so simple an equation. But for the hero, a ruthless operative, it's the simplest of equations. What ensues is a battle of wills that is both tender and scorching.

He anchors her, commands her from base; but, in his mind, travels with her through the ether, reliant upon her and, ultimately, powerless to protect her there. Great, great conflict. And layers and layers here, all working to cement Hell as the newest kickass heroine; and to challenge one of Low's most powerful heroes. I was hooked in the first book, drawn completely into this struggle, only marginally aware of everything else going on around them.

By the end of Hell's training, her and Jed are inextricably bound, by a sexual imprint and trigger neither can completely control. It sizzles, heightens that conflict and, to my delight, Low devotes a lot of book two exploring that connection. There is some hot, hot stuff in here.

In Virtually Hers, Low also peels more than a few of Jed's layers away, lets his guard down a bit and draws him and Hell closer yet. IOW, she doesn't belabor their personal conflict(s). Instead, she smooths the sharp edges and eases the tension by revealing Jed's long-buried romantic. It's a release--for hero, heroine and reader.

Then, just when you're comfortable, Low pivots the camera outward and successfully jolts readers to a new awareness of the external threat. Again, it's tied inextricably to the technology and to an international mission Low first spun in earlier books. In short, our hero's Super Soldier Spy joins the hunt for weapons missing worldwide--a hunt Low fans will recognize and cheer. Along the way Hell encounters more of Low's previous characters (in really, really unexpected ways, love that) and--this is where she sucked the breath from my lungs--Hell will battle both the unknown effects of remote viewing and an enemy remote viewer (through which Low threads more of the eroticism inherent in the mind-level technology). On that count, I can't even begin to guess where it will go next. Let me just say that this will not be a typical military/operative rescue.

So, long explanation behind me, I'll just say that I'm sitting here, emotionally vested, on the edge of my seat, with Jed's screams echoing in my ears. Waiting for the third and final book, Virtually One.

Also: Being honest, I can't really say if Virtually Hers will work for you as a standalone. I can only say that my enjoyment of it was inextricably tied to the build up for me in book one. You won't be lost in book two--Low provides all you need to know--but you may not be as near to orgasm as I was.


  1. Cuz Wendy is right. Hmmmm. I need that embrodiered on a decorative throw pillow - LOL

  2. I've only read one book by Ms Low and I don't know, it didn't go very well... However, perhaps I could give her another try? Was the first book also published with Samhain?

    and LOL Wendy, you know you're right, you don't need it embroidered :D

  3. Squeee! I've been waiting and waiting for this book to come out!

    So good to see Hell and Jed again! Very sexy, did you say? Sexier than Book 1?


  4. K; I'll have it read "Cuz Wendy is right" and on the little annoying care instructions tag I'll put "but I'll still say I'm being objective." LOL

    Nath - Do you like military romantic suspense? Cuz that's pretty much where this trilogy falls--with a touch of the cool but not really futuristic/scifi techno stuff in there. Personally, I love this sub-genre for its alpha males--like being a military guy is the perfect "excuse" for being alpha. And I think Low's alpha males are better than most (more depth, darker). She doesn't go as far as Anne Stuart, but she comes close.

    So if you like the premise, then yes, I'd recommend you try this trilogy. Virtually His was originally published by Mira and is still available as an ebook. Samhain has the last two books of the trilogy.

    Joy - Yes, LOL. Book two qualifies as a hot read.

  5. Thanks for the great review! I'm glad fans of the first book are responding so positively to it and love it as much as I did the first time I read the manuscript!

  6. I don't buy ebooks but for a new Gennita Low book, I'll do anything, even if it means sitting at the puter and carrying my laptop to cuddle in bed instead of hubby and book.

  7. I'm not an e-reader myself Leslie--but Low is a must-read / auto-buy author for me, so I'm right there with ya!

  8. Thanks Jen. I think I'm going to pass. My problem is I'm burning out on military heroes... but if I can find Virtually His, I'll get it and give it a try... :)


Have you read it? What do you think?

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