Cat’s Lair

Oh wow this is hot, hot, hot. The Leopard People series is my favourite of Christine’s and I loved this book.

Cat is frightened and mistrustful of everyone (with good reason), while Ridley Cromer manages to get under her skin in every way possible. She is just starting to trust him when her world comes crashing down and her past catches up with her.

Cat's Lair (Leopard People) Cat Benoit has finally escaped her past. She’s off the grid, underground but watchful, and creating a new life for herself in Texas, far from the torrid dangers of her native New Orleans. She’s safe. He’ll never find her this time. Cat has to believe that, it’s the only thing keeping her sane.

Oh wow this is hot, hot, hot. The Leopard People series is my favourite of Christine’s and I loved this book.

Cat is frightened and mistrustful of everyone (with good reason), while Ridley Cromer manages to get under her skin in every way possible. She is just starting to trust him when her world comes crashing down and her past catches up with her.

The main characters in this book are strong and well written. Often I find the author’s alpha males just a bit too misogynistic for my taste but oh I loved Ridley. Yes there is the pattern of a very alpha shapeshifter but I did not think it was over the top. Cat is scared of what is within her and Ridley has to make her see that her leopard is as much a part of her as breathing. As a result there is a large part of the book just with the two of them which means lots of discussion and hot and heavy sex, with little moving forward with the plot; but hell I didn’t care  – who needs Fifty Shades is all I can say! I don’t think it detracted from the story at all and fit with Ridley trying to prepare Cat for the confrontation we know is coming.

The bad guy in all this is a nasty piece of work although very much on the periphery for most of the book.  However, when the showdown comes it is brutal for all concerned and my heart was in my mouth at times.

This book can be read as a standalone, but we do get to see characters from other books and reading the earlier ones in the series will give you more insight into the world of the Leopard people. However, having said that you could happily read this one and then you will like it so much you will want to go back to the beginning. Nothing in this book would spoil earlier books.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Christine Feehan
  • Series: Leopard People (7)
  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: Piatkus
  • Genre: Paranormal Romance
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Dark Witch

… this is a wonderful story of love, family and legacy and a very engaging read.

Dark Witch: 1 (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy) Iona Sheehan has always felt a powerful connection to Ireland. So when her beloved grandmother confesses an extraordinary family secret, she can’t resist visiting County Mayo to discover the truth for herself. Arriving at the atmospheric Castle Ashford, Iona is excited to meet her enigmatic cousins, Connor and Branna O’Dwyer. And when she lands a job at the local riding school she is soon drawn to its owner – the charismatic, fiercely independent Boyle McGrath. Perhaps she has found her true home at last…

But Iona’s arrival is no accident. The three cousins have each inherited a dangerous gift from an ancestor known as the Dark Witch. And they are about to discover that some old legends can return to haunt the present.

This is a book that ticked several different boxes for me.  The magick and its legacy, the characters and the ties that bind them together and a wonderful romance woven around it.

The first two chapters focus on the past and the birth of the Dark Witch legacy and this was truly heartbreaking.  Sorcha’s choices were limited and the ultimate desire to keep her children and their future bloodlines safe despite the cost to herself was heroic and made me tear up.

The rest of the book is in the present day and the main characters are descendants that resonate very strongly with the magick of the Dark Witch.  The legacy means there must be three, one for each of the original children and together they can make up the power that Sorcha bestowed on the bloodline.

I loved the setting, rural Ireland, and the home of brother and sister Connor and Branna is very close to the site of the tragedy, so many centuries before.  Iona is American but never felt as if she belonged there and gave up everything to come to live near her cousins.  When the two became three and each bonded to an animal the same as the original children, events kicked off and the great evil that destroyed their ancestral mother is after them again, blind in his hatred for Sorcha’s line and greedy for their power.

Along with the cousins are Meara and Boyle – two non magickal characters but with a fierce bond like family to the three.  Finally there is Fin, a descendant of the Crobhan, and a powerful Witch in his own right.  He fights against his nature and the destiny chosen for him by his evil forefather and remains loyal to the three.

All the characters have their own charms and eccentricities that I came to love in very short order (including the horses) and this is one of Nora Roberts’ greatest talents.  Her writing is nothing short of sublime and it’s so easy to read and so hard to put down.

The plot is intricate in the way the legacy works and I did get a little confused as to where Iona’s Nan fit (other than being one of the line) but it wasn’t a big issue, it was enough to know she was there and was the only person before Iona came to Ireland that truly loved her.

The romance between Iona and Boyle was extremely sweet, quite hot and often funny.  She loves with all of her heart, has an endearing innocence and a tendency to jump in both feet first.  Her habit of speaking before she thinks was again something that I liked about her and maybe as a character she resonated quite strongly with me.  Boyle himself was her opposite, doesn’t say much and is wrong-footed by the strength of his attraction to Iona.  As a couple they were believable and I loved them a lot.

The magick side I thought was very well done, very ‘traditional’ and the spells and abilities all grounded in history.  Whether you believe in it personally or not, it works very well for the story.

The thing you can believe in, is that this is a wonderful story of love, family and legacy and a very engaging read.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Nora Roberts
  • Series: The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy (1)
  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: Piatkus
  • Genre: Paranormal Romance
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Chained by Night

Hunter and Aylin together are something really special, their interactions were funny and sweet, heated when arguing but you felt the underlying tension – and oh my, Ione really turns up the heat for these two, the yearning and longing were almost more than I could take.

Chained By Night (Moonbound Clan) As I suspected at the end of Bound by Night, this is Hunter’s story and oh my is it a good one!  Yet again Larissa Ione manages to create a protagonist who I love, can respect and also leaves me feeling the need to fan myself.  It’s a skill that leaves me in awe as you would think they would start to get similar when you create so many alpha males but honestly, they all have their own personalities and flaws and are very different from each other.

The female lead is Aylin, the twin from ShadowSpawn clan who helped Nicole escape and that made me really happy as I loved her already from the first book.  There is so much more to her than I thought and she is as strong as she is compassionate. Her sister Rasha is a complete and utter bitch however, and I was worried that Hunter was really going to do something he didn’t want to.  She has balls though, I’ll give her that!

Hunter and Aylin together are something really special, their interactions were funny and sweet, heated when arguing but you felt the underlying tension – and oh my, Ione really turns up the heat for these two, the yearning and longing were almost more than I could take.

The MoonBound Clan is a progressive one led by Hunter and you really get to see the differences within other clans.  The other Clan Chiefs we get to see are utterly despicable and a few things happen there that gave me great satisfaction.  The members of the Clan are a pretty lovable – if lethal – bunch and I already loved Riker and Nicole from the first book.  Myne, oh Myne, I wonder what is in store for you.  A lot gets revealed about him and I’m hoping the next book will be his but I don’t know if he is ready yet.

I liked the plot of this book a lot, we learn the true origins of the vampires and what legends are real and which are meant to hide the truth.  It’s pretty fast paced too which worked really well given the time frame involved and it’s all starting to come together for some pretty major action and change in future books.

All in all this was an engrossing fast read that you won’t want to put down and you might want to have a fan handy when you read it! Now the wait begins for the next book, argh!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Larissa Ione
  • Series: Moonbound Clan (2)
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The Book of Life

The Book of Life: (All Souls 3) It’s finally here!  The final instalment of the All Souls Trilogy!

I thought I was prepared for everything coming together but oh my, I didn’t know the half of it!  The blood rage becoming more real and more defined was worrying, especially where the twins were involved.  From almost the start I was in tears  and as the book progressed, other things made me emotional. The surprise from the past – YES!  I admit I cried with joy 😉

The Book of Life is written as beautifully and as cleanly as the first two books.  Sometimes the pace was slow but it’s something I have come to expect and there was always something interesting going on so it didn’t feel like wasted time.  Diana, oh I just love her and everything she does and, without giving away spoilers – Ashmole 792 – WOW, I expected something spectacular but I didn’t see that twist coming.

If I have one problem it is that the De Clairmonts are seen as so powerful but they don’t seem to actually do anything.  Eventually however they hatch a plan – and once they do you kind of see why they took a while to get to it!

Matthew is much better being back in the 21st Century and away from the time when women should be seen and not heard.  He seemed much more together and aware of his tendency to overprotect and try to reduce it.  Diana always gave as good as she got, mind you, which is one of the things I love about her.

The birth scene was just perfect – everything I had hoped for, with humour as well.  Poor Gallowglass!

I’m really sad the series has come to an end but I can’t wait to see what Deborah Harkness will bring us next.

Book Information
  • Author: Deborah Harkness
  • Series: All Souls Trilogy (3)
  • Genre: Paranormal Romance
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Rating: ★★★★½ 

Dragon Bound

Dragon Bound: Number 1 in series (Elder Races) Pia Giovanni has spent her life trying to keep a low profile, so why did she steal from one of the most feared members of the elder races? She is running for her life knowing it is only a matter of time before he catches her, but she doesn’t plan on making it easy for him.

Dragos Cuelebre is a very powerful dragon and is furious to hear someone dared to steal from his hoard. He has only one thing on his mind – to kill the thief, that was until he caught her.

This book was absolutely fantastic, as good as any other paranormal series out there, and with so many characters there will clearly be lots of books in this series.

I was drawn in pretty much from page one and was glued to the book until I finished it. The descriptions were vivid, the sex was smoking hot, and the female protagonist doesn’t take shit from anyone.

Dragos is your typical alpha male but I loved the way his character developed the more time he spent with Pia especially as she verbally slapped him a few times. The author’s imagery was very good and I had no problem imagining Dragos as a dragon soaring through the sky, but it was equally easy to picture him very clearly as a man.

Pia is fantastic, she was able to hold her own with both Dragos and his sentinels, although the latter probably because they didn’t dare go against Dragos! Her inner dialogue was at time very funny and I did have a few chuckles to myself while reading. We get an indication at the beginning of the book that she is something special among the Wyrkind but I definitely did not see the revelation coming.

All of the secondary characters are brilliant and I am already invested in them and their stories yet to come. The world building was superb and I look forward to finding more about the different elder races.

If you enjoy paranormal series’ like the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Demonica and Midnight Breed you will love this. Sorry for the gushy review but I cannot stress enough how good this is – buy it, read it and fall in love with a whole new world – I did!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Thea Harrison
  • Series: Elder Races (1)
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Opal Fire

Opal Fire (A Stacy Justice Mystery Book 1) Stacy Justice is an investigative reporter related to the Geraghty Girls, older women who are known around town as the local witches/nutters.  Stacy would rather concentrate on her everyday life than being branded a witch, but her aunts just won’t let up.  Her life takes a turn for the bizarre when her cousin’s bar is torched, seemingly to hide a sinister secret. Stacy’s curiosity gets the better of her and before she knows it dead bodies are turning up everywhere she goes, and her witchy powers just keep poking through.  With the help of her faithful Great Dane, well meaning if irritating relatives and to the annoyance of her chief of police boyfriend, Stacy follows lead after lead in an effort to find out what the hell is going on.

It took me a while to get into this book but once the story took off I enjoyed it. Not a romance which is my preferred genre but it had a good smattering of comedy and suspense so the story line kept me interested. The plot-line kept me guessing although I did suss who did it before the reveal, but not by much!

The female characters were generally good, although some of the decisions they made beggared belief and I found the male characters very irritating at times. Stacy’s boyfriend might be the chief of police but he really seems to have no way of maintaining order and Mario made me want to puke! I think I agree with Stacy in that the only male she can rely on is her dog! I loved the older Geraghty girls who seem totally nuts in their own way and Thor is so cute!

This was an easy read and although a lot seemed to happen it was easy to keep up with the plot, the ending was satisfying and threw up a new mystery that made me want to go get the second book – so I did!

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Barbra Annino
  • Series: A Stacy Justice Mystery (1)
  • Format: Kindle
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)

Bound By Night

Bound By Night (The Moonbound Clan Vampires Book 1) A WOMAN OUT FOR BLOOD

Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories-along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there’s one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most . . .

A VAMPIRE OUT FOR REVENGE

A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognizes Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his soul obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation-a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever.

A new series by Larissa Ione??  Yes please!

With the Lords of Deliverance series ending and the characters merging with the Demonica, it did feel like there was now a void that needed filling (until Reaver is released!). Happily we now have Bound by Night and our introduction to the MoonBound Clan Vampires.

Nicole and Riker are just magic together and their interactions are brilliant whether it’s romantic or confrontational.  They have every reason to hate each other but being ‘with’ them as they worked through everything just made me love them more, even when they are being idiots. Such is the charm of Larissa Ione’s characters!  Intriguing glimpses of the other members of the MoonBound Clan give me hope that this series will have a good few books and I am really looking forward to reading the next, which I think will be Hunter’s story.

Initially I was a bit doubtful about ‘yet another vampire series’ but in all honesty, I loved the premise of this one.  Vampires are out in the world but are treated as little more than animals – kept as slaves, farmed and experimented on, yet there are also clans of ‘wild’ vampires who remain hidden and fight to live their lives with honour in spite of the human threat.

The lore is drawn from Native American history and again, while this is not an interest of mine, Larissa Ione made it interesting and added her own twist to it which I loved.

Everything I love about Ione’s clean writing style and visual storytelling is in this book; emotional conflict, characters you want to kick one minute and love the next, tense battle scenes and hot, hot sex.  By the end I was completely in love with the new characters and wish I could pick up the next novel already. The pace of the story was nicely judged and when mixed with fluid prose, it made for an extremely easy to read, but no less enthralling book.

Bound by Night is just amazing – more please!!

Book Information
  • Author: Larissa Ione
  • Series: MoonBound Clan Vampires (1)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★★ 

 

 

Styxx

Styxx (The Dark-Hunter World) Tracey’s Review

This is the story of Styxx, the twin brother of Acheron – prepare to have everything you know about him turned on its head. As Acheron says “there are always three sides to every event – yours, theirs, and the truth that lay somewhere in the middle.”

This book is absolutely amazing. I expected that I would grow to love Styxx eventually but had no idea it would come within a few pages, when he was just a five year old boy!

I would definitely recommend reading Acheron just before reading this, as many events from that story are retold here but from a very different perspective. Ms. Kenyon is a genius with her writing, and the retelling of events throws a very different light on Styxx, Acheron and in particular, Ryssa, but the events are very recognisable from Acheron. Suffice to say this story paints a very different Ryssa to the one we know from Acheron’s memories and not a nice one!

It soon becomes clear that Styxx has had a much harder life than we were previously led to believe, he suffered even more than Acheron due, at least in part, to the way their lives are linked.

We get to see a lot of the Gods from both the Greek and Atlantean Pantheons and how their interference in the human world can have devastating consequences. I thought Artemis was horrible but hell, with Apollo you ain’t seen nothing yet.

I was emotional in a number of places and yes, I did cry for Styxx. His emotions simply fly off the page, and If possible it’s even more heart wrenching than Acheron.  As with Acheron, the first part of the book is raw, violent and graphic in places – so not for the faint hearted but everything is appropriate for the setting and story.

The majority of the story is set in ancient Greece with only the last quarter or so being set in present day but it doesn’t matter, the ancient Greece part of his life is by far the most important. We get to see lots of Ash and Tory, and of course Simi who is absolutely adorable in the latter part, even if she does cause total chaos by trying to do a good turn. Savitar also makes a larger than usual appearance and I am hopeful this means we may be getting his story soon, there is so much he is hiding!

I have been disappointed with Ms. Kenyon’s recent Dark Hunter offerings that focus on the Mayan prophecy but she is definitely back on form with this book, it’s by far the best one since Acheron and I am still amazed how quickly she managed to transform Styxx from a hated character to a very much loved one.

Grete’s Review

I’m honestly a bit speechless.  I’ve been thinking about what to write since I finished the book at 2.30am and I’m still struggling.  Mainly words flash into my head; raw, brutal, profound, sublime, honest.  Without much context though, those words say very little but mean a lot.

I agree completely with Tracey at the skill Sherrilyn Kenyon has for turning what you think you know completely around, causing you to love a character you thought you hated, to want to punch your favourite character for being a complete bastard only to fall in love with them all over again when they set things right. I am in total awe.

More so than in Acheron, I found Styxx’s history very hard to read because of the emotions Kenyon displayed so nakedly.  Some people will feel it’s too much, or a trigger, and anyone who has experienced those emotions, through whatever cause, would be right – I did have to take some reality breaks, but I will also say this with complete honesty – she got it right.

If you can work your way through Styxx, it is completely worth it.

The story itself was the perfect complement to Acheron and again I agree with Tracey that it’s SO worth reading that book first so you come into Styxx with a fresh eye.  Events I’d completely forgotten are examined in detail, so for me, it helped having the knowledge without having to rack my brain for it.

I can’t really say much more than that without spoilers or repeating what Tracey has said but if you love the Dark-Hunters and loved Acheron, you HAVE to read this book.

I’m in love with this series all over again, every dark, gritty, sexy, violent and romantic part of it.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Series: Dark Hunters (23)
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Acheron

Acheron (The Dark-Hunter World) Grete reviewed this book back in 2008, so I will not go over the same ground.  Having just reread it in preparation for the release of Styxx on the 3rd September though, I really wanted to add my thoughts.

I have read this book five or six times since I first got it in 2009 and it remains one of my favourite books ever and is definitely the best in the Dark Hunter series. I had not read it for a year or so however, and I had forgotten just how truly brilliant it is.

If you have never read any of the Dark Hunter series DO NOT pick this book up as a starting point, you need to read previous ones to get a feel for Ash and the world he now lives in. Jumping straight into this book will not give you the right background to truly appreciate this amazing character.

Acheron’s story is gut wrenchingly emotional and if you have come to love him throughout the series, I defy you not to cry numerous times during the first half of this book (and in the second half but for totally different reasons!) Every time I read it, I cry!

The first part of the book focuses on Acheron’s life as a human in Ancient Greece and is dark and violent in places, but you can’t stop reading. The second part takes us to the present day and is much more the sort of writing we associate with the Dark Hunters, including their trademark humour. Seeing Ash get his happy ending after everything that happened to him is even sweeter.  If I could, I would give this book 6 stars!

I am looking forward so much to reading Styxx. He is Acheron’s twin and played a major part in his suffering and humiliation as a human. While there has been some indication that he is not as black as he was painted, I am intrigued as to how Ms. Kenyon will justify his treatment of Ash, to allow us to love him like all her other heroes.

Thanks to Grete for introducing me to the Dark Hunters back in 2009, and an even bigger thanks for refusing to let me read Acheron until I was at the right point in the story.

If you enjoy paranormal romance then I am sure you have read some of this series, if you have not, go and do so now!!! If you have never tried paranormal romance but enjoy romance give this series a try, you will not regret it I guarantee it. Fantasy Lover is the first book.

Roll on the 3rd September!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Series: Dark Hunters (15)
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All That Bleeds

All That Bleeds (Novel of the Etherlin) Alissa North is a Muse, one of only a few – her magic has the power to inspire humans to achieve greatness for the good of mankind. The Muses are protected in the Etherlin community and have little freedom to be themselves.

Merrick is Ventala, a half vampire, and thus forbidden to fraternise with Muses. Since meeting Alissa years ago he has not been able to forget her and they strike up a secret friendship communicating via letters.

Alissa finds herself betrayed to her enemies by someone in her inner circle and does not know who to trust. With nowhere else to turn she places her trust and faith in the one person she should never be alone with.

The world this novel is set in was never really fully explained and although we were given a very brief  history lesson, I didn’t feel fully invested in it. Having said that, I found myself being dragged further in the longer the book went on and by the last third I was  enjoying it much more.

Alissa is clearly used to getting her own way and as a result is a strong heroine who surprisingly does not come across as spoilt. Merrick is obsessed with Alissa but not in a creepy way, although he does find it impossible to say no to her! There were a lot of characters in this book who played quite major roles and I would have liked more information on them. However, I suspect some of them will get their own books in this series and therefore we will find out their secrets then. There were plenty of twists and turns in the book and as I stated above, it got better as it went along.

There was a lot of action and not as much romance as I would have liked, but overall it was an enjoyable read. I will probably look to read the others in the series as they are released, in the hope I will find out more about this world.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kimberly Frost
  • Series: Etherlin (1)
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