These Boots Were Made for Stomping

Julie Kenner, Jade Lee and Marianne Mancusi
2008, Paranormal Romance
Dorchester, $7.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 050552760X

Grade: B-
Sensuality: Warm

These Boots Were Made for Stomping features three short stories, in which women order boots (or shoes) from more than just your usual online store. Overseen by the goddess Shoestra, hiheelia.com provides women with more than just kick-ass footwear, it gives women exactly what they need and want.

Paranormal Romance
A Step in the Right Direction
Lydia, the heroine of Julie Kenner's entry, is a long-time fan of comic super heroes. In real life, Lydia lets everyone walk all over her. Finally, a friend comes to her rescue and does a complete makeover of Lydia, complete with a kick-ass pair of boots from hiheelia. The minute Lydia puts the boot on, things start to change for her; suddenly the meek woman turns into a superhero herself. Even better, she encounters Nikko a Protector who's out to save the world from Rex Ruthless and his Miniaturizing Machine.

Lydia and Nikko are both a lot of fun. I was a big fan of super hero comic books as a child, and this story reads like some of those comic books come to life, but with the added benefit of sizzling romance. There are some truly funny moments as Lydia decides to devote a day to practicing being a super hero, only to do nothing much more exciting than rescuing a cat from a tree. This was a very enjoyable read for me. Grade: B

Paranormal Romance
Kung Fu Shoes
This story features timid high school teacher Micki known to her students and colleagues as Micki Mouse. Micki left her position as a teacher to wealthy students in a Detroit suburb to try and really make a difference by teaching English to students in a tough Indianapolis school. Rather than making a difference, she's failing miserably. To make matters worse, she's had a crush on Joe the school security officer since she started teaching, but he's shown no interest in her. Micki puts on a new pair of velvet Mary Jane's from hiheelia, and she's no longer pushed around by anyone.

There are some funny parts to this story, in particular when Micki decides she's been possessed by Vampira and Jet Li. But, overall, the problems Micki faces in her inner city school are very real. Jade Lee does a good job combining the comic book powers Micki now has, the very real problems of Micki's inner city school, and a believable romance between Micki and Joe. I truly enjoyed this story. Grade: B+

Paranormal Romance
Karma Kitty Goes to Comic Con
I really wanted to like Marianne Mancusi's story and in fact, at first I did. Hailey Hills is the author of Karma Kitty comic books, and is in New York along with her artist to attend Comic Con, a huge gathering of comic artists, writers, and fans. They decide to go to their signing in costume, with Hailey dressed as Karma Kitty. When she puts the costume on complete with hiheelia boots she suddenly develops real furry cat ears and a cat tail. Along with these features, Hailey also has super cat powers, including Karma Kitty's ability to fight off bad guys, which come in handy at a Comic Con overrun with ninjas out to kill various attendees.

Odd things have always happened to Hailey, including seeing dead people and having animals talk to her. Five years earlier, on the day she was to marry Collin, the love of her life, a truly outrageous thing happened that led to their breakup. Collin never believed Hailey about any of the strange things. So, of course, who does Hailey run into at Comic Con, but Collin?

The story is quite fun, with the exception of Collin, and that's where my problem comes in. I don't believe in Collin and Hailey's HEA. They spent most of the story apart, and the only way she could be with him was to lie about what was happening to her. Eventually Collin believed her, but it was too late for me. Grade: C-

If you keep current with our reviews, you'll already know that hiheelia.com is, in actuality, a media tie-in with Dorchester. There is an hiheelia website, and they do sell shoes and books...but all of the books are published by various Dorchester imprints. In fact, the entire Dorchester catalog (for current and out of print releases) appears to have been included at hiheelia.

I'm not usually a fan of short stories, but I enjoyed the first two stories in this anthology enough that I will give more anthologies a try, and will definitely seek out other short stories and novels by Julie Kenner and Jade Lee. Marianne Mancusi...not so much.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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