I've loved romance novels since...like forever. I read across most subgenres of romance. I also write fantasy/paranormal and new adult romance.
Tales of the Djinn: The Guardian is set in both present-day NYC and a djinn-dimension. Djinn is another term for genie. Yes, that kind of genie. But don't worry. You won't get distracted with thoughts of Robin Williams.
Arcadius and his faithful servant Joseph have been sent to NYC so they can save their djinn Glorious City. They are looking for a nexus, or portal, through which they can return home. They find one in the brownstone that Elyce Solomon lives in and manages. Elyce's uncle and cousin are very interested in finding a small journal her late husband borrowed and go to dangerous, threatening lengths to get it and find their way to the nexus.
With help from Joseph, who is a talented magician too, they escape to the djinn-realm, but not quite where they need to be. Arcadius protects Elyce and comes to appreciate and rely on her for she takes an active role in helping them.
Arcadius is strong, gentle, and funny. I love these types of heroes. Elyce is plucky, brave, and caring. They are sweet together. Oh, and extra hawt together. Like WAY HOT.
*still fanning myself. This is why I read Emma Holly! There is a line about how a certain part of Elyce feels about a certain part of Arcadius. Ahem. It worked for me. :)
Holly's world-building was great. I loved the way Arcadius' backstory was told, through several instances of story-telling by various characters. It worked for the djinn-world and was entertaining (read: the opposite of info-dump). Thrilling, actually.
I also loved Joseph, who, essentially, becomes more of a friend than a servant to Arcadius and Elyce. He is just as much of a fully-realized character as Elyce and Arcadius. Here's hoping he gets his own story some time. Cara, Elyce's cousin, is in the first part of the book. I would have liked another female character around for the second part.
Another fab read from Emma Holly. Highly recommend.