Series review: Shadow Falls (3-5) by C. C. Hunter

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Taken at Dusk
whispers
chosen at nightfall
Taken at Dusk

Whispers At Moonrise

Chosen at Nightfall

Buy at Amazon


Series Rating:


Chosen at Nightfall rating:


Previous reviews on this series:
Born at Midnight
Awake at Dawn

Review:

Huge hunking spoilers are listed below in the ‘spoilers header’.

I finally did it. I completed the Shadow Falls series that I started way back in 2012. I actually reread the first two books to refresh myself and they reminded me how much I love this series. However, books 3-5 started to…grind my gears a bit.

Kylie hits the too special category not just one time, but three (or is it 4?)! As if Kylie didn’t have this special pattern, we find out she’s a protector, and another incredibly rare thing at book 5. This is too much special for one girl and I found myself constantly sighing at every moment’s notice (I’m looking at you book 5). All of this falling on a sixteen year old’s shoulder is a bit much. I did enjoy her ghost whispering abilities though (I admit, book 4 was something that made me uncomfortable).
If I’m going to continue being truthful I wanted to strangle her with a lamp cord at her constant back and forthing. It’s the most annoying thing to have half a book (or more if you count all the books) dedicated to her being unable to decide what to do with Lucas or Derek. There was never any head-way with these thoughts and that was the worst.

The one thing I truly love about this series is the friendship between Della, Miranda, and Kylie. It’s a breath of fresh air, even when the vamp and witch are trying to verbally kill one another.

Our love triangle flattened anti-climatically and suddenly. The way it was done and the feelings of that person as they jumped to another girl so quickly was unbelievable. I’m almost convinced that he never loved her to start with. You know, considering that by the end of the series she has been at Shadow Falls for just 3 months!
Derek started to bother me in the last three books. Always there, always knowing what Kylie was feeling, always wanting to take that friendship into more, he was just there too much. He might be a great guy, but I definitely did not root for him in the last books.
As for Lucas, he screwed up in book 4, but that didn’t make me like his character any less (maybe I was mad for awhile there, but come on, Kylie strung both Derek and Lucas along for 3 months). I may be a Lucas fan, but even I can see how his character did a 360 in book 5 to become more like Derek. His behavior became unnatural compared to how he was before. Is that a good thing? Well, by the end I was over both Derek and Lucas and thought Kylie should have just went after her teacher Hayden. After all, I didn’t even get a smouldering sex scene- HA!

I’m mainly disappointed with the plot and its ending. As a whole, it’s fine, but when Kylie began to resolve what’s been brewing it fell to ugly pieces. Since we know Mario (not the guy in the red cap) is our bad guy and he’s did really bad things, we expect the ending to be full of tears and heartbreak. Instead, we find ourselves with a new villain and the easy eradication of the old. It becomes a jumbled mess and hard to believe that so much time was spent on Mario and his ‘wicked’ ways.
Even now that I’ve finished the series, I’ve yet to really figure out why Mario considered her such a threat (to him) and did everything possible to taunt her. He could have just continued to do evilness away from her and the people she loved and nothing would have happened. Anti-climatic villain to go with anti-climatic love triangle? I’ll take that to go.

Between overused phrases, constant group hugs (it’s a little weird to constantly hug your camp leaders, lbr), the Shadow Falls series has something that just calls to you despite there being many flaws. The writing is simple, easy to understand, without giving long passages of grueling detail and the characters are not always what you’d consider the perfect character, but it’s hard to let them go.

I recommend the Shadow Falls series for the sheer reason that it’s an addictive page turner, but be prepared to be aggravated and throw your book(s) at the wall.

Spoilers:

And here we are.
Chameleons, Holy Warrior, Protector, Ghost Whisperer- seriously?! She’s all the different species, plus a Protector, making it impossible to use those powers to protect herself. Ok. That’s fine. Top it all off with becoming a Holy Warrior which is NEVER fully explained and so super rare that the sword bubbles up from the falls. No. Nope. Nuh-huh. She’s supposed to have this sword, that can only be used when she’s in protective mode, and she’s supposed to kill Mario with it? DO YOU UNDERSTAND MY DISBELIEF?

What takes the cake is Mario’s son killing him and turning out to be John. The man we feared, the villain who was so ~scary~ that they wouldn’t let Kylie pee by herself is easily stabbed in the back and dies, just like that. What is this?

The Death Angels were incredibly disappointing. I wish they had been expanded on instead of being pushed to the side. Book 5 there were scenes (lots of scenes in fact) that felt like fillers that were just stepping stones to real scenes. Instead of focusing on pregnancy tests and sex, the Death Angels could have been expanded on.

Chosen at Nightfall just had such a rushed and uneven ending that it didn’t live up to the previous books. It wasn’t just a few pages, it was the last third of the book. Really, Chosen at Nightfall was just a mess for me- an addictive mess, but a mess nonetheless.

I will forever side eye Lucas’s change of character. To go from secretive and all for the pack and his quest, to dumping his dreams for Kylie and announcing his love for her, it was weird and wrong. Then for his dad to just become understanding and all that jazz… ):

And one can’t forget Kylie running away from Lucas and going to grandfathers for the grand total of 2 weeks. She wanted to learn about what she was and how to control it, but the rules were too much? I can’t with you Kylie.

Book Review: Taming the Wolf by Stephanie Nelson

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Taming the Wolf (Anna Avery #1) by Stephanie Nelson
218 pages
Publication Date: June 13, 2012
Buy at Amazon


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Attacked by a wolf while hiking in the mountains, Anna Avery’s life just got a little hairier. Living in the Big Horn mountains in Wyoming, with a group of werewolves who are more animal than human, Anna must try to hold onto her human side. It’s not easy when the alpha continues to persuade her into his bed, while another wolf is chomping at the bit to become her mate. To top it all off, dead bodies are showing up and it just so happens that Anna was the last to see them alive. She’ll have to work to prove her innocence and taming the wolf who bites first and asks questions never.

Review:

Anna is an everyday girl like you and me who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (or technically, right place at the right time, but who cares for technicalities?). Either way, her bad luck turned this story into a magical getaway.

There’s a few cliched things that I would go bonkers over if it hadn’t been for the fact that they worked for Taming the Wolf. That’s right they worked! Girl gets trapped, gets bit and magically becomes a werewolf, falls in love, is special, but I’m telling you- it honestly works.

Anna is such a great character. I just want to squeeze her because I love her so much. She falls into the category of heroines who are ~special~ but it’s not shoved down my face every other sentence, not to mention that being special just seems like another side to Anna and not something that keeps her from being relatable. Too often are heroines thrust into that space where they just lose whatever they had that I could relate to. With Anna, it becomes something that if I were in that situation I would hope I could keep my chin up as well.
Our hunky Alpha Adam stole the show on occasion, but I’m disappointed that he let his emotions get the best of him at times. I felt that in those moments there was no way that that man could be alpha material. You can communicate telepathically but you can’t give a direct order and have them mind it? I’m also surprised he let his mate Eve get away with half the stuff she did- killing women of the pack that threatened her position when there aren’t lot of them to go around to begin with? Um. No. He just doesn’t spell good leader material, you can’t act out and throw a tantrum or put your pack in jeopardy- you’re in that position for a reason.
Actually, I think MOST of the Alphas or persons in leadership positions had this problem. They were quick to spark a temper or showed emotions that just didn’t seem to befit a person in their position. Not only that, but they were way too accepting of killing a person they weren’t sure was guilty or innocent and they even had evidence that their was another person involved, but hell, what difference does it make when you ARE the law? It just strikes me as odd that persons of authority, especially in this world where they don’t want their secret to get out, would decide to kill a person despite protests and no damning evidence.

There are some wonderful side characters, my favourite being Sawyer. Wonderful Sawyer. He started off pretty rough around the edges, but he started to shine right at the good part. Anna dated him briefly thanks to her alphas orders (which Adam then acted like a jealous two year old) and I honestly think Sawyer is just the best thing for her. Definitely one of the best triangles I’ve read in a while and one that I thought might actually have a chance to win out (if the author had let it, that is. Inserting my sad face and crying rivers of tears… T_T).
I also really love Wade. I can’t say too much about him, but I also feel he would be a good contender for Anna’s heart- not that anything happens between them.

Story pacing is spot on. There was enough going on that I didn’t feel bored or overwhelmed at influx of information. The storyline itself was terrific. It wasn’t just about finding a true love, but finding out who was killing humans, while not being too sure who it was or how it was being done. However, I do feel like the second half the story started to wane and go a bit…crazy. We also had the dreaded ASSUMING relationship woes. Things were fine and dandy up to the point where Anna was starting to get committed (or as commited as one could in that momnet) and then she just goes off into assumption land and ignores Adam’s telepathic messages. Get your head on straight girl and think about the situation you are/were in! A relationship isn’t a one-way street.

We do get some sexy scenes as this is a book geared toward adults and NOT young adults. There’s a lot of mentioning of sex since werewolves are apparently very sexual creatures who get turned on at the drop of hat. However, I do admire Anna for stamping her inner wolves flames for as long as she did, when it was sort of expected of her to sleep with every male there.

I definitely recommend Taming the Wolf if you are into werewolf books that not only have sexy times, but an engaging storyline and mystery.

Book Review: Stray by Rachel Vincent

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Stray
Stray (Shifters #1) by Rachel Vincent
618 pages
Published June 1st 2007
Buy at Amazon


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There are only eight breeding female werecats left . . .
And I’m one of them.

I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.

Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I’d been warned about Strays — werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back . . . for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I’m no meek kitty. I’ll take on whatever — and whoever — I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays — ’cause I got claws, and I’m not afraid to use them . . .

Review:

**Possible spoilers, very slight and will not ruin the story.

There are a few things that keep me from loving the crap out of this book and yet, at the same time, I practically salivated over every scene. Stray tosses in a lot of things that just don’t work for me and yet somehow, in the end, it manages to completely ensnare me regardless of what I didn’t like and thought was wrong.

Prides/Alphas/and Women: I’ve read this before. The females of the species are rare and ~super special~ because there’s not a lot of them. We never get a full answer of why in Shifters and that bugs me. Why? Because Faythe (what an awful spelling), although ~super special~ is ordered around, over-protected, pushed and tripped, and not taken seriously (for the most part) because she is a female. Not only that, but she basically has an arranged marriage which her father forced her into, or as she said, she fell hard- into his bed and then was told to take it slow. I mean, COME ON NOW. The double standard between the males and females is way too harsh. It’s something that Faythe constantly protests, and in return she’s riddled with threats that make her fearful. Of course, Faythe argues her case like a sixteen year old argues about staying out late- the wrong way (Not to mention she’s 23!!). She doesn’t like the way she’s treated, but she never calls out the double standard. She never says, “I want to be treated exactly like the boys. I want the same privileges and the same course of discipline.” in her arguments. What’s worse is while wanting to be ~free~ she indulges (? No, wrong word…takes for granted) in the fact that females are not disciplined by the same rules, if at all (which her brothers and not-so-boyfriend overlook and give her a hand slap). I’d have skinned her hide on multiple occasions. You want to play with the other big cats? You’ve got to learn to follow the same rules. You can’t have it both ways if you’re fighting for equality.

There’s a slight love triangle, or should I say, lead him on triangle. Marc, Faythe’s ex-boyfriend, is an over-possessive don’t touch my ex or I’ll kill you type with a temper. Why is this type of guy sexy? Yes, he has his sweet moments (and I can’t deny that I drooled a little during their, um, adult scenes), but his possessiveness is off the charts. Then, there’s Jace, smooth talking, make your mouth water Jace. She never denies his advances even when she KNOWS she doesn’t need to take it further. This results in Jace being beaten, all because her ex-boyfriend can’t keep his temper in check. Yes, Faythe leads Jace on, there’s no denying it because she never does anything to stop it. Unless Marc chills with the possessiveness, I’m rooting for Jace hands down.

Don’t even get me started on Faythe. The girl can eat raw deer in werecat form, but can’t stomach fried chicken skin. Am I the only one who sees the problem? Girl, you eat nastier things than the best part of fried chicken. Not only that, but because of certain circumstances she’s says she’d rather die than be raped. She wouldn’t want to save her life, she’d end it so she didn’t have to go through rape. I can’t understand this because I’m entirely the opposite. I would do anything in my power to survive, because my survival ensures that I can kill the bastard and make him suffer. She wants so badly to be independent and free of the Pride, but decides so easily that she’d rather die. I will never understand it and it’s one of the reasons why I can’t relate to her. She’s a damn good fighter and holds her own, but to give up over something when you can survive and dish payback…? *sigh* Faythe is also wishy-washy when it comes to Marc and basically all things. She can’t make up her mind and her attitude is just…I expected more of an adult personality, not a brat.

The story itself is a little predictable if you follow the hints. It’s not a bad story, in fact, like I said above, I was salivating over it. There was some over descriptive paragraphs which I speed read, but mostly the writing had a nice flow that made it easy to read and follow and at the same time was able to keep me on my toes and wanting more. I’ll also say that the side characters are fantastic. From her parents, to her brothers, to even the evil villains- I give them all straight As. They’re what helps give this story life. Without them, Faythe’s story just wouldn’t have been the same.

Base line: Faythe is an annoying character with tendencies that drive me nuts, but not so bad that I can’t feel anything for her at all. Same goes for Marc, I don’t hate him, but he’s got to shape up if he expects me to actually root for him.
There is rape and a sex scene and of course, attempted rape. This isn’t a YA book, at times it can read like one, but it definitely is NOT.

Side observation:
I’m gonna come out and say that it makes no sense for her dad to be pushing Marc onto her. First of all, he’s a Stray and because of such is a ‘second class citizen’. Faythe is, pure-blooded, I guess you could say. Her father is pretty strict on Strays and it’s said Strays are not usually allowed into the Pride. DO YOU SEE? It makes no sense! They fight so hard to patrol and punish Strays, and yet, her dad wants her to…breed with Marc. My mind is blowing. I don’t care if he was saved or whatever. I need a more thorough explanation.

Also: her clothes. (I might be thinking of the next book, but she did wear revealing clothes in Stray too.) It’s just crazy that she wears clothes that show her cleavage and her stomach, then has low riding pants on, but she doesn’t like it when men stare or observe. No, dressing like that does not give men a free pass, but expecting them NOT to look is just stupid. If you hate it so much cover up, otherwise, shut up and suck it up.

Book Review: Lover Enshrined by J. R. Ward

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7161496
Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood #6) by J.R. Ward
534 pages
Published June 3rd 2008
Buy at Amazon


PREVIOUS REVIEWS ON THIS SERIES:
Dark Lover
Lover Eternal
Lover Awakened
Lover Revealed
Lover Unbound

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In this “frighteningly addictive” paranormal romance saga there’s a war raging between vampires and their slayers. Here are the stories of a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. And now a dutiful twin must choose between two lives…

Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood’s bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is obligated to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive, and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.

As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body, but his heart for herself. She is drawn to the noble responsibility behind the emotionally scarred male. But Phury has never allowed himself to know pleasure or joy. As the war with the Lessening Society grows grim, tragedy looms over the Brotherhood’s mansion, and Phury must decide between duty and love….

Review:

Well ladies and gentlemen, I knew it was too good to be true. The dreaded love with conflicts and “You’re too good for mes” has returned. Can’t say I’m happy to see it back, especially considering how awesome the Jane/V combo is. Maybe I hoped that we’d finally get another character like Jane. Who am I kidding, we all have read about Cormia before this, so we knew what she was like. Definitely not the worst character ever, but I can’t say I’d come to her rescue for any kind of reason either.

What gets me is that part of Lover Enshrined is very, very, very good. So good I was practically salivating. Everything to do with John is brilliant. I love it. Unless something changes in the future books, John is one of the main reasons I keep reading. Then, we have his friends Blay and Qhuinn. Talk about a shot between the eyes, I wasn’t expecting what happened between them- and hey, I freely admit I read the summary for Lover At Last after finishing Lover Enshrined, because I’m a glutton for punishment (and I secretly thought maybe I was going to end up with Qhuinn, hey, I’m a fangirl what do you expect?). Then we have that not so little thing with Lash which, again, shot between the eyes because I was so totally not expecting that.

Basically everything that about this book that doesn’t have to do with Cormia and Phury is A++. Which leaves me to say that most parts between the two were very, very, bad. At times I felt like I was reading a wall of text because Phury has so much going on. I mean, yeah, I definitely liked his character before, I wanted to know his story, and now the only thing I can really say is that it didn’t live up to what I was expecting. Maybe I just don’t find his reason for being an addict for two centuries reason enough. Sure, he had a lonely childhood and it sucks that his parents shut themselves down and were awful and it’s terrible about what happened to Z, but seriously? Phury has serious problems. Enough to warrant such an addiction? Meh. I especially hated to read about The Wizard, Phurys, basically, imaginary friend.
I do think Wrath and Z were way to hard on him. They could have put more time into rectifying the problem. They ignored and let it get out of hand. They didn’t help. You can’t just say, “Stop what you’re doing.” and then believe the persons answer- especially if their dependent on drugs. A little too much in my opinion.

Needless to say, I’m disappointed with Phurys side of the tale. Honestly, I was really expecting a novel full of Chosen sex. Honest. One massive orgy and it went unfulfilled.

There’s no skipping Lover Enshrined, however. There’s way too much stuff that’s overly important. If you can get through the wall of text that is at times boring and sleep inducing, you’ll be just fine because what awaits you afterwards is a party of awesome.

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