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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Kim Lenox - Night Falls Darkly

Genre: Paranormal
Book 1 in the Shadow Guards series
ISBN: 978-0-451-22537-5
Releasedate: October 2008
Publisher: Signet
Format owned: HC Rhapsody & MPB
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

A cunning immortal who's been called upon to reclaim a marked soul...

Ever since an accident took away her memory, Miss Elena Whitney can't recall the secrets of her own past. All she knows is that with her mysterious benefactor Archer, Lord Black, returning to London at the behest of Queen Victoria, she should seize the chance to get some answers.

A member of the immortal Shadow Guard, Archer has been summoned to London to eliminate the soul of an evil demon - Jack the Ripper. Archer feels not only bound to protect the women of the night, but also his beautiful young ward, Elena, whom he spared from death two years before. But with a wave of panic spreading across London, Archer fears that Elena is his weakness - a distraction he can't afford, especially since she's likely to become the Ripper's next target...

Elena finds herself in the claws of a killer and her savior appears on the rooftop to help her out. In her getting saved from said kiler she falls of the rooftop making her memory blank out. After she spend her time recovering she tries to built up a life for herself, she knows there is a guardian Lord Black but he’s not in London.

With a killer on the loose in the streets of London she has to be careful on the Eastside of town but she eagerly wants to start a study which is on that side of town. One day she comes home and finally gets the chance to meet her guardian, things aren’t what they seem, but the attraction between them is evident and not avoidable-no matter how hard they try.

I had to get into the writing in the beginning as when some speak as it’s written is exactly like the lower class speech. I had to get used to that a lot, but once I got settle into that I was hooked onto the story!

The twist between the shadow guards, the Transcended in combination with the Jack the Ripper history gives this story something rather unique and thrilling to read. Especially as it’s set in a Victorian Historical timeperiod which – by the way – was captured marvelously in my opinion. Throughout most of the book the attraction between the hero and heroine lingers and gives a more “Regency” like vibe to it all, but it’s out there and that satisfied my need for a bit of romance in each story I read.

Elena is a woman who has no memory of who she was from before her previous encounter with a ‘dark encounter’ and is trying very hard to remember her past, her loved one’s - all the while trying to make herself the purposefull life she craves. She is smart, sweet, loveable and passionate as well as very brave.

Lord Archer Black is this thousands year old Shadow Guard who has seen it all. He has this intensity around him making you want to peal back the layers around him to get to the centre of his being. He is one of the guards who has to deal with Jack the Ripper on the lose, whom is giving them a hard time in catching him. Archer has to deal with the duality of the excitement of something new on his plate to deal with and the need on a personal level to keep Elena from harms way. Elena - who by the way - stirs feelings inside him he thought had been long gone.

There are a few other characters coming to scene who play a keypart in this novel and Mr. Leeson is one of them. I find him amusing as well as entertaining. The twins Marcus and Selena and dr. Charles Harcourt stick to mind mostly. Some with just the blishfully normal life and others with some – how do I call it – interesting quirks which gives this book a great twist.

This story takes place in 1888 which brings this setting into a world of beyond the average historical regency and historicals I have read so far and to me that stirred up my need to read on. You can taste the way of living changing a bit more to what we are used to these days. The struggle of women wanting to make it on their own and the dangers that come along without the protection of a strong protocol and guardian by their side.

There is a particular scene between Queen Victoria and Archer that made me instantly aware of how far the paranormal abilities of the Shadow Guards can reach, and how they have to have the ability to constantly keep reaching between the moraly right and wrongs for the “humans”. It struck my emotions and left me amazed by Kim Lenox’ writing skills – in that one small scene between them she was able to hit my emotions full force!

The romance/love connection between Elena and Archer builts up gradually making it a lingering sub-plotline. I really liked the fact that Elena has the struggle of wanting to take some action on it, but the shyness as well to not do so promptly when she experiences the fluttering feeling of attraction. It stipulates the fact that in this timeperiod the world was already changing a bit to the likings of nowadays. Because the love between them is taking it’s time to built up, it was all the more important to read about the attraction they felt for both their point of view. The story changes from both sides on and off so it didn’t leave things to be desired in the romantic department for me whilst reading this novel.

As the story builts up in the first half, Kim Lenox takes her time in letting the reader know the characters and giving bits and pieces of the Shadow Guards world and how Archer fits in that. In the middle Jack the Ripper starts stirring up giving more and comes to scene more often. The ending is climactic and though it rounds up things concerning the love between Archer and Elena it leaves plotlines open in which the next book will continue. The duality of their love building up and the murders getting more brutal and viscious makes this novel the addicting blend you just cannot put down. It’s making you crave to get your hands on the next novel so it made me straight away go to the buy-button and ordered So still the night.

Kim Lenox is a firm believer of Happily Ever Afters and that shows in this story. In the love-connection between Archer and Elena she focusses on the feelings and emotions of it and eventhough there are ofcourse sensual scene’s they are really that! Because the focus is on the emotions it comes across as sensual instead of sexual and I loved that because it made this book a real Paranormal Romance!

4,5 Stars

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Shayla Black - Tempt Me With Darkness

Shayla Black – Tempt Me With Darkness
Genre: Paranormal
Book 1 in the Doomsday Brethren
ISBN: 1-4165-5858-6
Releasedate: August 6, 2008
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format owned: MPB
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

He’s an immortal knight hungering for satisfaction. . . .
As soon as Marrok sees Olivia Gray, he’s sure they met in eons past. He’s felt her soft, gentle curves writhing in pleasure beneath his own powerful body. . . Morganna! For centuries, towering Marrok, once the mightiest of King Arthur’s warriors, has endured a terrible curse the witch cast upon him when he spurned the witch.

She’s a modern woman about to discover ancient magic. . . .
Olivia shares a mystical—and irresistible—connection with brooding Marrok. Soon after the sexy warrior appears in her erotic dreams, he abducts her, demanding she uncurse him. Their intense passion is more powerful—and intimate—than either of them has ever known. Olivia may be the key to unlocking the diary that will break Morganna’s hold on his life. But in the wrong hands, the book also holds the power to destroy magickind. As they search for answers, a ruthless wizard returned from exile is building an army of evil. When he discovers Marrok and Olivia have the diary, only their love—with the help of a powerful group of magical Brethren—can save them.
Marrok, an ancient warrior from the reign of King Arthur, trapped by a spell cast upon him by the witch Morganna La Fey to immortal life, has been around for a very long time. Once he had the dream that he would have a way out of this immortal life he quickly finds himself in a situation not foreseen taken care of a girl he claims is Morganna herself.

Unbeknownst to Olivia, Marrok thinks she is the key to unlock a book known to be able to uncurse him. However there is also the catch that this book is powerful enough to destroy mankind in the wrong hands. To make matters worse a dark and rogue wizard returns from exile and is making a steadfast group of followers to help him get what he wants.

An century-old pact of hatred between wizards and witches has to be laid to rest, to help safe the world, henseforth the Doomsday Brethren are introduced!

It starts up with a very demanding and erotic dream that introduces Marrok and connects the dots to why he, as an ancient warrior, is still allive in the 21st century, why he so much seeks revenge on Morganna and why he wants to undo the curse she bestowed upon him. As expected from Shayla Black this first book in the Doomsday Brethren has it’s scorching hot scenes, starting with this one!

Tempt me with Darkness, is a classic and solid introduction to a new series by this author. It holds a thorough basic explanation on worldbuilding and characters. It shows very much the potential that this series can be brought to further heights with the follow-up books. Though the theme of a brotherhood (Brethren) protecting the world from evil is one that we come across a lot in books as of late, Shayla Black is able to give it a different surrounding environment, using old legends in new settings, where good stands against evil once more. Ofcourse with the incredibly hot scenes between the hero and heroine!

Marrok is the warrior type loved amongst many. Alpha Male, demanding, seeking revenge, creative (who doesn’t love a man who can create with his hands!), brooding, reluctant to follow rules, but sensitive and tender once you found a way to his heart.

Olivia however, is a woman on the brink of finding the magic she unbeknownst to herself holds within. A girl who is trustworthy, follows feeling over rational interpretation, passionate but very sweet and strongminded as well.

Their interaction is strong and sharp, verbally, and has to overcome issues as trust and betrayal. What really got me connected to them as a couple was the fact that the everyday emotions of doubt and trust (being able to lay your heart in another’s hands), were difficult for them to surpass. Especially as the world around them, gives them obstacles to solve whilst working out their feelings for eachother. It took this romance from the fairy-tale like of it all and threw it back into reality. Some ‘Romance’ readers might not perceive it well but it does fit within this world an the way Shayla Black set this world up so for me it fits right in.

The story unfolding in Tempt me with Darkness grabbed me from page one. I was intrigued immediately by the fascination of the erotic-tinted dream Marrok had and made me want to read on to find out how it would unfold and which part Bram was playing in it all. What did he know and would his premonition come to be! I was completely surprised with the mate-bonding ritual. It wasn’t strong and urged but it came natural and unexpected to both Marrok & Olivia. It holds a nice little quirk that will leave the expectations of Shayla Black’s readers of other books satisfied.

The secondary characters are as fascinating as the hero & heroine and gives you a certain longing to keep reading on in this series. Ofcourse there is one character within this build up of series that is like an encyclopedia into this world and in this series Bram is that person. Mysterious and with that appealing to me! But these are the good guys. Amongst all this, a brooding chilling evil is raising and it’s one of the few evils that I can say leave my heart cold and frosty and instantly disliking him to every fiber of my heart. I loved it. It’s great to see that contrast and I have to say that every storyline in this book was well balanced and creates a great thrill for the fan of erotic paranormal romance!

Certain plotlines however might come across as a bit of shocking and it made me raise an eyebrow for a bit as well but strangely enough it fitted the picture of good vs the evil portrayed in this book and shows that this author is not afraid to use it to balance it out.

All in all Shayla Black was able to grab hold of me with this sereis and made me a fan of her writing-style even more. I’m so glad I’m able to dive straight into the next installment Seduce me in Shadow to see what will happen next!

4 Stars

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With everything new, I ofcourse, had to get used to the idea of making, owning and maintaining a blog but I have to say, now that I’ve got the hang of it, it’s quite fun to do. Let me introduce myself, I’m Natascha, in my early 30’s and from a little place called Winschoten in the Netherlands, I’ll be your host on this blog.

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