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Book CoverDevon’s review of Dead After Dark by Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, Susan Squires and Dianna Love
Paranormal Romance Anthology released by St. Martin’s 2 Dec 08

This anthology was truly a mixed bag. One story I loathed, one I loved, one I liked, and one…meh. At least I had a clear reaction to each, that makes it easier to review. I can’t wait to finish this review, because then I can check out other’s reviews. So let’s get to it, shall we?

Shadow of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon

This story features Fury Kattalakis, Katagaria wolf, brother to Fang and Vane, and familiar to longtime readers of the series. After many years, Fury comes across Angelia, the Arcadian wolf who stabbed and betrayed him hundreds of years ago. The (gag) connection between them is still there, though.

Yeah, whatever, I’m going to cut to the chase. I loathed Angelia. HAAAAATE! I can’t ever remember hating a heroine this much in my life. She stood idly by (twice) while Fury was tortured, both in the past and in the present day. She was involved in some really repugnant stuff. Perhaps if the story had been longer, with more time to develop her psychological issues and her redemption…but I could not believe that she turned from a cold bitch to realizing her love for Fury in 24 hours. Man, I wish Zarek had killed her with his pointy claw jewelry. Poor Fury got screwed. Sherrilyn Kenyon’s usual style is much in evidence, but if you haven’t read her before, please don’t start with this one.

Grade: D

The Summary:
Angelia has fought her entire life to make herself strong. Now, with her patria under fire, she has to protect her people from Fury and his werewolf clan. Vowing to bring him to justice, Angelia sets out alone…until the hunter becomes the hunted, and the only way for her to survive is to trust the very wolf she’s sworn to kill.
Read an excerpt here

The Story of Son by J.R. Ward

I’m very curious to find out the reader reaction to this story. I absolutely loved it. I thought it was pretty sick and twisted in tone. If Ward ever turns her hand to Southern Gothic or something, I’d buy it. I mean, a vampire who has been kept prisoner in a basement for 50-odd years, and who doesn’t even have a name? And the career-obsessed lawyer who’s kidnapped and thrown in there with him?

Son’s situation is treated with the gravity it deserves, not some glowy, sentimental way. And he was quite an appealing character, vulnerable, odd, with an inner strength. I totally bought their attraction and love story. The genius of J.R. Ward’s writing is that it is so immediate and vivid, I find it easy to suspend all disbelief or qualms.

Despite the fact that I thought this was a fascinating and romantic story, I must point out the issues that troubled me (once I wasn’t totally caught up in the story). Astute readers have pointed out the penchant for isolating her characters. In this story, we have an extremely isolated hero, and a heroine who becomes isolated along with him, even in their HEA. The hero is so vulnerable, and will be so dependent upon the heroine, that I found it off-putting. The guy needs therapy for sure.

I’m also sometimes put off by Ward’s characterization of strong women. In the throes of passion, Claire thinks about how she has always felt like a “man in a woman’s body”, I guess because she is career oriented and not girly. Yeesh. She doesn’t find fulfillment until meeting her man, of course, and totally changing her life to suit his. Sigh…oh well. ‘Cuz I still love this one. Great story, great characters.

Grade: B+

The Summary:
Claire Stroughton is a beautiful lawyer who would rather spend the night with a legal brief than the man of her dreams. Then a routine client meeting turns dangerous—and deeply sensual—when she is held captive by a gorgeous man with an unworldly hunger…
No excerpt found

Seize the Night by Susan Squires

This is the only story with a historical setting, and it is connected to Squires’ Companions series. Followers of the series will get the most out of it, I think. This is my first read by Susan Squires, and I found the concepts of “Harriers” and “Aspirants”, especially the role that sex plays, to be a bit unclear. I enjoyed the story though. The hero, Drew Carlowe, and the heroine, sad vampire Freya, had good chemistry and the romance developed nicely. I did find the two characters to be a little bland. And there was something off about Freya, a distance and otherness, which was interesting, but kept me from really getting into the story. Overall, the story kept my interest, and left me curious about the series and what Squires can do with a longer length.

Grade: B-

The Summary:

When Drew Carlowe returns home to win back a lost love, he is quick to dismiss rumors that his estate is haunted by a stunning young ghost…until one passionate encounter leaves him mystified—and aching for more.
No excerpt found

Midnight Kiss Goodbye by Dianna Love

This one was okay, but underwhelming. Everything in it reminded me of something else. We have a secret band of warriors with telepathic powers who fight dark supernatural forces. We have a hero who had to leave his lover for her own good, but has watched over her from afar. Despite his stalking and powers, he has neglected to realize that his ex is a witch. There are evil immortal warriors. The brotherhood is connected to a Goddess (a Celtic one), and there are a bunch of other figures from various pantheons popping in and out. Even the storytelling, the description and dialogue, sounded familiar. The only refreshing thing was the inclusion of Indian mythology and religion, though I was not sure about the accuracy of the usage of the word “Hindu.” I think I’m just burned out on this type of story.

Grade: C

The Summary:

Trey McCree possesses an insatiable desire for Sasha Armand—and supernatural powers that could endanger her life as a human. But when they team up to stop an evil warlord, Trey discovers that Sasha can do way more than drive men wild…
Read an excerpt

Check it out of the library and read the Ward. And let me know what you think!

reviewer iconOverall Grade: C+

With these four tales of paranormal romance, it’s never been hotter to be close to death…