Tag Archives: “Immortals After Dark” series

Recent Reads (2)

17 Mar

Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole

In exchange for her life, Lucia the Huntress has made a promise to the Goddess Skathi, a promise she is determined to keep. Like her saviour, Lucia is now an Archer, but her immeasurable skills as a hunter are on loan, and conditional upon her word.

If she is to defeat the evil Cruach once and for all, and save her world from apocalypse, she cannot risk her talents as a hunter. But when she meets Garreth MacRieve, prince of the Lykkae, her extraordinary strength of will is truly tested.

MacRieve is determined to win the Valkyrie, as mysterious as she is beautiful. He aches to mark her as his own, and keep her safe from harm, but despite the surprising force of her attraction to him Lucia will not give in, she cannot. It is not safe for her to be with MacRieve, but whenever she sees the fierce werewolf with his smouldering eyes, Lucia’s resolve weakens.

The secrets she harbours could destroy her – and those she loves – and every day brings more danger. MacRieve could help her, but will she trust him with the truth?

I was astonished to see that this is the 9th book in the series. But then, I only read the single titles so that maybe explains it. Pleasure of a Dark Prince was an okay read to me. Nothing special, nothing surprising. In general, I had the impression that it was a repeat of other books in this series in terms of character and how the story develops. I also thought it less humorous than some of the others. In particular, I was disappointed with the romance. I actually was looking forward to this couple because of the glimpses I had of them in the previous novels but alas, I thought they lacked chemistry. The romantic conflict and tension relied too much on the heroine keeping the reasons why they couldn’t be together to herself. It didn’t help that I thought her reasons for not telling him were explored too flimsy to make me take them seriously. So an okay read but nothing more.

A Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore

What happens when a lady desires not one man, but two?

Sophie, the Duchess of Calton, has finally moved on. After seven years mourning the loss of her husband, Garrett, at Waterloo, she has married his cousin and heir, Tristan. Sophie gives herself to him body and soul. . . until the day Garrett returns from the Continent, demanding his title, his lands-and his wife.

Now Sophie must choose between her first love and her new love, knowing that no matter what, her choice will destroy one of the men she adores. Will it be Garrett, her childhood sweetheart, whose loss nearly destroyed her once already? Or will it be Tristan, beloved friend turned lover, who supported her through the last, dark years and introduced her to a passion she had never known? As her two husbands battle for her heart, Sophie finds herself immersed in a dangerous game-where the stakes are not only love . . . but life and death.

Reading A Hint of Wicked, I realized once again that I read romance novels above all for the falling-in-love part. While I was really intrigued by the premise of this novel – one woman between two men – and looking forward to reading it, I felt cheated reading it. The characters were already in love, it was the question who the heroine would choose (as far as she could choose, that is).

I don’t know what I expected – I knew what the story was about – but reading A Hint of Wicked I couldn’t lose the feeling that I wanted to read how Sophie fell in love with her first husband or how she fell in love with her second husband much more than reading about Sophie caught between the two. It didn’t help that I was fairly sure who Sophie would end up with (although there were some intriguing twists to keep it from being too obvious). And even more than that, I thought the mystery took away much from the internal conflict of the three. Sure, it helped to make the final solution more palatable, but in a way, that was an easy way out and in general, I thought it too much drama and slightly over-the-top.

So, interesting premise, some surprising twists I liked a lot concerning the love triangle, but overall, A Hint of Wicked didn’t really grab me.

Also read:

Liked them all.

Paranormal Reads Over The Weekend: Adrian, Cole, Ione

6 Apr


Veil of Midnight by Lara Adrian

paranormal romance; Dell 2009; “Midnight Breed” series #5

Veil of Midnight on Lara Adrian’s website

I like this series and Veil of Midnight is probably my favorite novel in this series so far. It was only near the end that I thought the story faltered (a bit). Interestingly enough, for a romance novel, I thought the action and suspense part better developed. There are quite a few twists and turns, and in the beginning, it doesn’t look all that good for Nikolai and Renata. I liked this “edginess.” By comparison, the romance seemed a bit underdeveloped. Nikolai and Renata appeared to be in love mainly because of a vision and some blood drinking.
I think the new development (Hunter) interesting and I’m looking forward to reading Andreas’s story, Ashes of Midnight.

Verdict: I liked it (4/5).

* * * ~ * * *


Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole

paranormal romance; Pocket 2009; “Immortals After Dark” series #6

Kiss of a Demon King on Kresley Cole’s website

Oh, how could I forget how much fun this series is? Really, I think this series funny, tongue-in-cheek, and clever at the same time.
My favorite part in this novel: the heroine, Sabine. She has the best lines and just cracked me up. I loved her character and her unapologetic behavior, and really, she has a point: she was raised to value different things. I liked this clash between “good” and “evil” and how sometimes “evil” can be just what is needed.
I loved Rydstrom’s bafflement and bewilderment about Sabine and how his world and his priorities got turned upside down by her. And I really like that the world in this series is so “alive” – stories seem to be everywhere but they don’t necessarily are sequel bait.
Kiss of a Demon King is one of my favorite entries in this series. When does the next one in this series come out again?

Verdict: I really liked it (4,5/5).

* * * ~ * * *


Desire Unchained by Larissa Ione

paranormal romance; Grand Central 2009; “Demonica” series #2

Desire Unchained on Larissa Ione’s website

Desire Unchained is a novel full of interesting ideas and it’s an action-packed novel. It’s fast-paced and because there’s a lot going on, sometimes it seemed too busy as in all the interesting ideas didn’t get played to their fullest because the next thing was just around the corner. While this isn’t necessarily bad, more like a matter of taste, there’s one thing I thought the lack of time/pages mattered: Shade’s “special gift.” To me, it appeared to be there more to up the kink than really integrated well into the story.
Runa and Shade face near unsurmountable odds and there’s a lot of high and low in their relationship. Overall, Runa and Shade make a well matched couple. Gem’s and Kynan’s story continues in Desire Unchained and they have a scene that nearly had me teary-eyed. I liked the darkness in this novel, the glimpses of other characters, Wraith especially, and I thought the three brothers had a nice dynamic to their relationship.
I’m looking forward to reading Passion Unleashed.

Verdict: I liked it (4/5).

Kresley Cole – “Dark Desires After Dusk”

15 Sep

GENRE: Romance / Paranormal
PUBLISHED: Pocket Books, 2008

WHY THIS NOVEL: Part of series

The back blurb:
“Cadeon Woede will stop at nothing to atone for the one wrong that will haunt him forever. But once he secures the key to his redemption, the halfling Holly Ashwin, Cade finds that the woman he thought he could use for his own ends and then forget haunts him as much as his past.

Raised as a human, Holly never knew that some frightening legends are real until she encounters a brutal demon who inexplicably guards her like a treasure. Thrust into a sensual new world of myh and power, with him as her protector, she begins to crave the demon’s wicked touch.

Yet just when he earns Holly’s trust, will Cade be forced to betray the only woman who can sate his wildest needs – and claim his heart?”

Dark Desires after Dusk is the story of Cade, a demon, and Holly, a human. At first, this might look like the “paranormal problem” is the main conflict of the story but that changes right with the first chapters when Holly gets turned into a Valkyrie. Holly is a heroine not-often-seen in romance novels. She’s seriously ill, a severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder. This illness impacts her daily life in all kinds of ways, from avoiding cracks in the pavement to opening bottles without touching the rim to arranging things in groups of three. It’s so severe that traveling is a nightmare she prefers to do without, which means her boyfriend represents their work at conferences.

Cade was introduced in No Rest for the Wicked. He’s known as the Kingmaker, a mocking title, because he actually gets blamed for the loss of his brother’s crown nine hundred years ago. It was a loss that made Omort, their worst enemy, king of their lands. Since then, he and his brother are trying to find a way to get the crown back which is slightly problematic since Omort is also called “the Deathless,” and not without reason. But at the start of Dark Desires after Dusk, it looks like things finally will go their way. All they have to do is delivering the Vessel to the half-brother of Omort, Groot. In exchange, they get a sword that’s able to slay Omort.

Holly and Cade meet because it turns out that Holly is the Vessel. So far, so good, and Cade wouldn’t have a problem with handing Holly over to Groot except it also turns out for sure that Holly is Cade’s mate. Cade suspected that for about a year now, and during that time the unsuspecting Holly was, as Cade says, “the highlight of a millennium-old demon’s disappointing existence” (p. 11). For everyone, Cade delivering Holly to Groot means the last chance to win back his brother’s throne. For Cade, delivering Holly to Groot means losing his mate, the only woman he can be whole with and have children. For Holly, trekking all over the country in search of Groot’s castle (she doesn’t know that she’s about to be delivered into Groot’s hands) means being challenged not just by traveling, it means being challenged on all levels. Let’s just say, both Cade and Holly are tested thoroughly on the trip to Groot’s castle.

In Dark Desires after Dusk Cade and Holly both wrestle with their identity. Cade is defined by other people, most notable by his brother, as the one who always screws up and that’s an image he has taken to heart. The decision between losing Holly or losing his brother’s crown really puts him on the spot and forces him to think about who he is. It comes down to the question what’s more important: what others think about him or Holly. It’s a clever constructed conflict because getting both, the crown and the good opinion of others on the one hand and Holly on the other hand, doesn’t seem possible.

But the identity theme is even more important for Holly. She needs everything to be in order and that’s easiest to achieve with no change at all. So being turned into a Valkyrie (and the Vessel) right at the start of the novel (her mother was a Fury) is something Holly could do without. And going on a cross-country trip with a demon is also not very high on her list of things to do. But she goes along because 1) she’s told that Groot can reverse her Valkyrie nature and 2) a bunch of immortals is after her because she’s the Vessel. On the trip, Holly has to deal with constant change and disorder and she has to find out who she really is because, like her aunt Nix says: “you have no idea” (p. 85).

Holly has no chance but to loosen up a bit on the trip (it also looks like a big part of her illness was fueled by her repressing her Valkyrie nature with pills) and Cade is the perfect man to help her with that. He teases her, gets her food that’s prepackaged and gets the lenses in her glasses changed to clear glass when she doesn’t need them any longer but can’t work without her glasses. Cade doesn’t try to change Holly, instead he works with her compulsive behavior and views it as her “quirks,” and everyone has them. He just plain adores her and that he can’t have her for various reasons, and she isn’t equally taken with him (at first), is really getting to him.

I had a lot of fun reading Dark Desires after Dusk. What stood out the most for me was Holly and the way Cade treats her. They make a cute couple and are just right for each other.

Final thought:

– Can the Vessel get pregnant by everyone? So far, all the males were only able to father a child with their mate.

Would I recommend this novel? Yes.

Would I read this novel again? Yes.

Grade: 4 / 5

Kresley Cole – “Wicked Deeds On A Winter’s Night”

22 Jul

GENRE: Romance / Paranormal
PUBLISHED: Pocket Star Books, 2007

WHY THIS NOVEL: I enjoyed Dark Needs at Night’s Edge a lot, so I had to go back and read the other books in the series.

The back blurb:
“Her breathless kiss haunts him …
Bowen MacRieve of the Lykae clan was nearly destroyed when he lost the one woman meant for him. The ruthless warrior grew even older, never taking another to his bed – until a smoldering encounter with his enemy, Mariketa the Awaited, reawakens his darkest desires. When sinister forces unite against her, the Highlander finds himself using all his strength and skill to keep her alive.
His slow, hot tough is irresistible …
Temporarily stripped of her powers, Mari is forced to take refuge with her sworn adversary. It’s rumored that no on can tempt Bowen’s hardened heart, but soon passion burns between them. Though a future together is impossible,she fears he has no intention of letting her go.
No deed is too wicked for her seduction …
If they defeat the evil that surrounds them, can Mari deny Bowen when he demands her body and soul – or will she risk everything for her fierce protector?”

Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night begins with an encounter between Mariketa, a witch, and Bowen, a Lykae, during a hunt for artifacts (main event in No Rest for the Wicked). Right away, they are attracted to each other even though Bowen hates witches. Bowen traps Mariketa and other competitors in an ancient tomb to take them out of the competition (he thinks they can get out without too much trouble). After the Hie is over, it becomes clear that Mariketa and the other competitors are still missing. Bowen is the only one who knows the location of the tomb. He has to rescue them otherwise the witches would go to war.

I didn’t get why Bowen has to do this alone especially since he’s still severely wounded (because Mariketa cursed him when he left them in the tomb) and the full moon is just around the corner (a time he can’t control his inner beast). Anyway, Bowen goes off and gets the others out of the tomb. They didn’t exactly have a picnic in there thanks to the imprisoned incubi so especially Mariketa is pissed off at Bowen that he imprisoned them. Bowen believes he’s under an enchantment because he fancies Mariketa as his mate and that can’t be since his mate died nearly two centuries ago and he moped around ever since. Start of the “they can’t stand each other, but they can’t keep their hands from each other either” story line.

The group is forced to hike through the jungle to get back to civilization with time being an important factor. Mariketa has to keep the witches from going to war; Bowen wants to get it over with before the full moon hits because it won’t be pretty when he loses control with Mariketa around and his strong attraction to her. Then the group gets divided, leaving Mariketa and Bowen alone for some time, and with the others not around, it gets even more important to get Mariketa to the safety of civilization.

So Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night has a lot of things going on:

  • the internal or main conflict of the story: is Mariketa Bowen’s true mate or not?
  • the external conflict or background story: why Mariketa is called “the Awaited”
  • the structure giving action: the rescue and the hike through the jungle

Most of the time I thought that the balance between the story lines worked well. But there are some parts which felt slow or even tedious. Some of the jungle parts read like a variation of the same scene(s) and dialogue (s) and made me think that there was no advance whatsoever. These parts were mostly connected to the main conflict. I had the impression that there was a certain repetition to conversations and the sex scenes seemed to get interrupted for the same reasons again and again.

The main conflict of this story is: is Mariketa Bowen’s mate or not? If yes, how can that be? For most of the story, Bowen believes himself enchanted by Mariketa and it doesn’t help that Mariketa isn’t sure; she could have done it accidentally because she was attracted to him when she first met him. Bowen wavers between Mariketa and his lost mate with the “I don’t like you, but let’s have sex anyway” line while Mariketa wants someone who can love her for herself because all her life she was the one left behind and got the impression that she wasn’t good enough and only second best. Now with Bowen it looks like a repeat of the same with his “my mate died but raow, you turn me on” thing. Bowen has to learn to accept Mariketa for herself, witch and all, for their relationship to have a chance. There are quite a few situations where Bowen fails Mariketa in that way until they manage to kind of sort it out.

Compared to what Bowen has to learn, it seems not much that Mariketa has only to learn to master her magical powers. But that’s connected to the background story, and gets very important for the climax of the story. It’s not without reason that Mariketa is called “the Awaited.” If she fails, it won’t matter what Bowen learned or didn’t learn.

I liked this story for the strong connection between the things Bowen and Mariketa have to learn and the main conflict and the background story. I liked the way the background story was woven into the story. Throughout the story, there are hints and at the story’s climax, all things come together. In that way, Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night is a well plotted novel. It’s the slow and tedious parts that kept this novel from a better grade.

Last thoughts:

  • I didn’t see much of the sly humour I connect with this series in this one
  • weird cover
  • totally unrelated: the transfer of magical powers reminded me of my favourite video game where something similar happens (yes, such things make me squee)

Would I recommend this novel? Yes.

Would I read this novel again? Yes.

Grade: 3,5 / 5