Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'm vacillating between "it was ok" and "I liked it", but decided to be generous.
Haven Terra (yes, the name has import) was abandoned as a child - found bruised, bleeding and alone at the side of the road when she was five, with no memory of her past. Taken in and raised by Joan, she's one of the top students in her class and firmly focused on the future. One day she and her BFF, Dante (and why is it that the male BFF is always gay? seriously, it's bugging me that we can't show boys and girls just being friends without one having a same-sex orientation) learn that they've been chosen to participate in an exciting internship, assisting with the opening and running of a new luxe hotel in Chicago.
Once there she feels outclassed by the gorgeous, glamorous members of The Outfit (named after Al Capone's gang) but is made to feel like a critical member of the team by Aurelia, the owner and her mentor. Her assignment seems normal at first, but slowly she realizes that something is not quite right - and her friendship with Dante is starting to loosen. Luckily, there's Lucian to romance her, and Lance to pick up where Dante's friendship has left off. There's also a mysterious book blank book that gives her instructions and orders via writing that appears.
Sounds familiar? Yep, I thought so, too. Without going into spoilers, let's just say that this is paranormal romance/suspense and there's nothing really surprising here. At times the writing was a little florid and a good editing would have helped. Yes, there's a huge Capone component (the hotel is where the Valentine's Day Massacre took place, and there's even a minor mention of Geraldo's ill-fated opening of the hidden vault) but the history is glossed over - it's there for atmosphere and nothing more.
ARC provided by publisher.