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Holloway Pack #1

Darkness & Light

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Jem Stonehouse, a housewife with a neurotic husband bent on keeping her in line, dreams about werewolves in, what she believes, is a bid to escape boredom.

Sean Holloway is a werewolf, living a charade within the human race, whose mind drifts to a bond he shares with a woman he hasn't met--at least, not in this lifetime.

Apart, the two are safe but live unfulfilled lives.

Together, they'll become prey to rival packs just as they have been for hundreds of years.

When their worlds collide, and not for the first time, instinct takes over. Dreams become reality. Futures are uncertain. To keep history from repeating itself, Sean must teach Jem about his heritage, convince her of her role, and win her love.

Can Jem accept her destiny before it's too late, or is her inner wolf buried too deep to save her future with Sean?

412 pages, Paperback

First published June 6, 2011

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About the author

J.A. Belfield

51 books341 followers
Best known for her Holloway Pack Stories and The Therapist, J.A. Belfield lives in Solihull, England, with her family, a spoiled dog, and a cat who likes to vomit in unfortunate places.

Once upon a time, she was a little girl with a vivid imagination. Not much has changed in the last forty years.

J.A. Belfield writes paranormal romance, with a second love for urban fantasy. And now she writes saucy romance, too. Because she can. ;)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 109 reviews
Profile Image for ✰ Liz ✰ .
1,348 reviews1,253 followers
September 21, 2015
3.5 Dark and Light Stars


Darkness and Light is a PRN romance novel with elements of a modern day romance.

Jemma is a housewife living in a loveless marriage. She is constantly driven to please her husband and take care of his ever whim.

"I was a happy wife and provider of food and sex."

At first her "stepford wife" behavior felt akin to a dystopian lifestyle. I almost couldn't believe that a modern women would behave in such a manner. And yet, the timeline was in fact in the present and modern world. Jemma was just so naive and insecure. She does however find solace in her dreams. She dreams of a werewolf and a man named Sean.


"Fate and destiny go hand in hand."

At first glance it may seem that Jemma's husband isn't a bad guy but maybe "old fashioned", and yet he transforms into an abusive man. Jemma finally meets the man Sean that she has been dreaming of. The two become friends. When Jemma's husband discovers the relationship, Jemma's life is placed in danger. She escapes her abusive husband and runs to the arms of Sean. She moves in with Sean and his family. Is Sean the werewolf from her dreams? Is he her soulmate? Can she escape her abusive husband?


"We'll always have each other."

Overall, Darkness and Light has a great deal of potential. The plot is well crafted and the characters are extremely likable. Additionally, the romance between Jemma and Sean was quite tender. However enjoyable I found parts of the story, there were quite a few problematic elements for me to accept and it certainly hindered my ability to enjoy the read. I felt like the shifting between Jemma's dreams and the real world (in the book referred to as dark and light) were a bit disjointed. Additionally, there were several driving plot elements that didn't' coincide well together. Although the romance between Sean and Jemma was tender, at times he seemed no different from her abusive husband (overly protective, controlling, etc.). Jemma seemed to transform somewhat as a character and yet, she seemed to go straight from the frying pan into the fire. I wanted so badly for her to grow more as a character and find her own place in the world. There were moments in the read when the action picked up and I was engaged in the story but then things would slow down drastically and I felt like the read was just taking too long. Even with the problematic areas, I would certainly be willing to read other works by this author in the future.


This is a special BR with my girl LOYDA as part of the upcoming release of:
Paranormal Obsessions A Boxed Set of Nine Paranormal Romances by Calinda B.
Paranormal Obsessions: A Boxed Set of Nine Paranormal Romances

~~ARC graciously provided via authors in exchange for an honest review!~~
For more reviews/reveals/giveaways visit:
Profile Image for Charity.
1,215 reviews10 followers
October 5, 2011
At the risk of sounding completely cliché…OMG! If you love Paranormal Romance and specifically Werewolves then you have got to read this book. If you love the transformation of a weak submissive woman into a strong willed woman then you have got to read this book.

I first read Fated Encounter, which takes a scene from this book and switches the point of view to Sean, and was intrigued to delve right into Darkness & Light, and I am SO glad I did! Being introduced to Sean and his point of view really helped me connect with his emotions.

From start to finish I could not put this book down! It has the ability to grab on to your emotions and not let go. I actually cursed out loud, fist pumped, laughed, and jumped up and down while reading this book…that is a sign of the quality of writing. The characters are amazing. Sean was so patient with Jem, but pushed her forward when it was warranted. I cannot say enough about Jem, I fell in love with her. She transformed from a submissive housewife who let her husband beat on her to this strong powerhouse of a woman…very inspiring! The secondary characters fit so well, I absolutely love Ethan and Josh.

Darkness & Light is book 1 in the Holloway Pack Story, but the story can stand on its own with no problem. I am putting J.A Belfield on my watch list and I am definitely recommending this story to my PNR reading friends! I LOVE IT!
Profile Image for Jocelyn Adams.
Author 14 books423 followers
July 1, 2011
I had the awesome pleasure of getting my hands on a copy of this little beauty even before it was released. ::snicker:: Yeah, I've got connections. :) This book was a pleasure to read from cover to cover, the smooth as silk writing style, a diverse cast of characters with distinct voices and a great story that carried my interest until THE END.

J. A. Belfield did a great job with Jem. She begins as a housewife, mostly resigned to her life married to the ultimate aresehole. Once dreamy Sean comes into the picture, I really felt her mental struggle between what society and duty told her was right, and what her heart knew was right.

And Sean ::sigh:: yeah, he's yummy enough I could eat him up with a spoon and lick it clean afterward. All three of the Holloway men were sexy in their own way. I'll be eagerly awaiting the next book about the Holloway Pack.
Profile Image for Sandra "Jeanz".
1,154 reviews162 followers
April 2, 2012


Oh Wow! I never thought I would say I had found another series of books as good as the Rachel Vincent Shifter Series, or Dee Tenorio's Resurrection Series or Kelley Armstrong's Women Of The Otherworld Series but The Holloway Pack Series well and truly lives up to their standard and at time surpasses them!
I loved the historical element in the book. It's difficult to say more without giving spoliers which I refuse to do! The same historical element is dealt with in Instinct, so if you have read that you will totally know what I mean!
I thought the relationship between Jem and Peter was very realistic and portrayed really well. The domestic violence was depicted well without being over the top. As someone who has both seen and also experienced domestic violence I can vouch for Jem's behaviour and her feelings being so realistic. I loved the way her friend, Poppy and then of course Sean rescued her. (Where was my "Sean" when I needed one?! )
The relationship between Sean and Jem is *sigh* beautifully written, you feel that they are besotted with each other , that they are soul mates and meant to be together.
The wording in the book and how it is written draws you in, you feel like you are in the midst of the action rather than being a watcher from the sidelines. You really become involved with the book. You certainly don't want to put it down! Twice I found myself reading J. A. Belfield books at 1am in the morning!
I would say *warning* this book is for adults or very mature teens that is down to the domestic violence and the er....bit of bedroom action between Sean and Jem. having said that it really is no more than the teens are watching on tv these days and I do believe teens need to be more educated about such subjects as domestic violence anyway.
One section of the book stands out to me as being true in real life too, I hope J. A. Belfield doesn't mind me sharing it with you all in my review.
"Fate and destiny go hand in hand. It is impossible to change our destiny. Only the path upon which we walk to reach our destination alters. If we should stray from that path, fate will take control and guide us in the right direction."
The above quote fits in with what happens in the book with Jem and Sean but I think it's relevant to the reader in real life also. What a beautiful quote.
I like the cover as it represents the dark and light in Jem's life, as well as her dark night dreaming and her daylight hours.
So did I enjoy the book? A definite Yes! Would I recommend? To the correct age group or maturer teen then yes. Would I read more by J. A. Belfield? Yes there will be more reviews of her books to come for sure!

Available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk £11.49 paperback or £3.08 on kindle
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,069 reviews11 followers
April 29, 2014
Darkness & Light introduces us to the Holloway Pack and as the series title suggests….we’ve got us some werewolves. In the beginning, we met Jem – a 30something housewife to Peter – and to me she is definitely a ‘stepford wife’ - dinner done on time, nice little housework routine going on, lets her husband choose her clothes…. Basically happy to do her husbands’ bidding – boring! But when she starts having dreams involving werewolves, runs through the forest & feeling the change from human to animal…. Things start to become interesting, particularly when the name ‘Sean’ keeps being uttered by her dream self and starts affecting her waking life too. So, at her sisters urging, she starts a dream journal to try and work this puzzle out. She doesn’t however bank on the appearance of said man because when Sean enters her life claiming to know her, know everything about her and the fact that she is his….. her world is about to change, in more ways than one as destiny takes it upon herself to bring the lovebirds back together for one more go.
Darkness & Light has been on my ‘to read’ list for what seems like forever (ok, it’s a year) but I never got around to reading it until I won a copy at the release party for book 4 and decided I would make time for it – and I’m so glad I did because I loved everything about it! I’ve been having problems connecting to characters lately and I find werewolves are good for that certain type of ‘loving feeling’ and loyalty so it will come as no surprise that I connected to Jem and Sean straight away. I think it was very easy with Jem, he situation isn’t good, she was basically a zombie and whilst that was all that was offered, it was normal, she was happy in her stability and her ‘stepford wife’ persona and probably would have stayed that way until her dreams invaded her live and showed her something new, a different life, a vibrant life – which unfortunately needed a catalyst for change and showed us just how vulnerable Jem was. It’s through that however, that the real Jem begins to emerge, building herself up, becoming more assertive, accepting of her true self and being who she was meant to be all along and it just so happens that Sean is there to help the process, not in a co-dependent way but in a partnership way. It has to be said that Sean is a sweetie, I loved him and he had all of my favourite attributes of my favourite wolfmen – loyalty, alpha personality, growly (but not too much), stubborn, physically hot & capable of defending his pack and the main one … the ability to love & adore his woman above all else – you can swoon now ;) I really enjoyed the initial meetings of them both, he was so enamoured and knew way more about her than she did about him but that was fun too, he was so easy going aswell and it broke my heart a little to see him devastated about her being married… so not hard to feel for these two at all and when you become invested in the characters, the storyline is just a plus.
As for the storyline, well it was really good, so easy to read and the story just flowed. Obviously it’s about the pack, meeting all of them, finding out about how they live and getting a little of all of their personalities –I would say that Ethan, Nathan & Josh have definitely made an impact & piqued my interest. Then we have Jem and Sean’s relationship to get to grips with, it goes beyond boy meets girl and I love these type of connections, I’m a sucker for soul mates plus as I mentioned earlier…werewolves have the loyalty, mates for life thing going on which always adds to my enjoyment. I liked the way they came together in this, the anticipation was great, keeping you on your toes for when they would meet and when they did waiting & wondering what fate has in store for them, I also enjoyed their shared history and the way it was shown throughout the book – hopefully we will get more from this too. I liked the threats that brought danger to the story, a rival pack and a vengeful ex are very fitting to the story and I loved the fact that they underestimated Jem which you will discover, is a big mistake! I’m already eager for book 2, I don’t think things are totally closed on the ex husband so maybe he will reappear, I would also love to meet Jess (Jem’s sister) but what I’m really hoping for is getting to know the pack a little more because the Holloway Pack have made an impact in a huge way!
Profile Image for Ronda.
853 reviews123 followers
February 7, 2014
So!!! I read both prequels, set in the back drop of history and it's about our furry friends the werewolves... so when I come to read Darkness & Light, imagine my surprise when the book is set in present times!!! (No, I don't read the synopsis like normal people)

What was even more surprising was it seemed to be about the same people, Jem and Sean but Jem was married to Peter - then, cleverly, the story came to light - talk about rebirth!!!!

I have to admit, reading the prequels kind of set the back drop to the story but I didn't realise this until I cottoned onto the plot (go me!!) and what a plot it's turned out to be!

The Holloway pack are... hot! Loveable! Protective (to say the least) and a pack I'd love to be a part of (OK, scrap that last bit, maybe they are to rough and tumble for me)...

J. A. Belfield didn't pull any punches with the gory details in places but it made the story line more realistic for the reader, these wolves are a far from the pussy footed Twilight characters...

This first book is a fabulous piece of writing and there were times I became so engrossed in it that I almost remained on my public transport instead of alighting!! There were other nights I'd come in from work and want to go straight to bed for the peace and quiet to read... a compelling book!

I have to say, my biggest shock of this book was the cellar at the end - boy was I NOT expecting that and I thoroughly enjoyed the surprise!

What I'm dying to know is what the future books hold, this first book in the series is as it should be, captivating enough to want you to read the rest and I already have the next books in line and ready to read real soon.

I have to complement the author, not only has she provided me with a thoroughly enjoyable ride of emotions; holding the breath moments, wanting to speed up the reading moments, biting the lip moments and the obvious bad language that sometimes escapes me, she additionally took an interest in how I was finding the books by 'liking' or 'retweeting' my progress updates. Personally, I like it when an author takes time out of their busy schedules to make contact with their readers, whether we like the journey or not, it's nice to know they they are there.

I really recommend this first book in the series and of course read the prequels if you can, I won't be leaving it too long to jump back into the lives of the Holloway pack, that's for sure.
Profile Image for Terri Rochenski.
Author 13 books176 followers
October 16, 2012
Good Lord have mercy. What a rush.

Not a huge paranormal romance reader, but Mrs. B grabbed my attention with the first line & swept me through to a satisfying ending like few can do.

If you thought Jacob's pack from the Twilight series was hot, well. *clears throat* The Halloway boys will ignite an unquenchable fire for more muscles, more wolves, more gnashing of teeth, more, more, more!

***** 2nd time read through review *****

This was my second time reading D&L and let me tell you - I thought the first time through deserved 5 stars. Much better this time. I knew to expect (which bothered me last time) the British English, so it flowed with a nice, fresh flavor in wording. The language is distinctive & different since most authors I’ve found anyway, tend toward American English regardless of where they live.
But I digress. Onto the goodies.

Yummies: Everything. Seriously. Characters, plot, tension, climactic ending - love, hot men, the steamy … oh yeah. Ms. Belfield knows how to put a story together. There was nothing for me to nitpick.
Believability? No issues. Imagine that! ON the believability factor though - the character of Jem’s husband, Peter, hit a little close to home for me. Won’t say much more than that, but from someone who knows, Jem’s responses, thoughts, & emotions toward that arsehole are spot on. Completely believable.
To see Jem’s transformation, to see her come to life is very refreshing. I could have been reading about myself. Without the werewolf part, of course. ;)

Yuckies: Um … none? Some might find scenes a little violent, but let’s face it folks - animals are animals. They protect their own. Other’s might cringe, but I have to admit I was like ‘Hell yeah!’ as blood splattered. Yup. I’m a farm girl who grew up with three brothers & guns. Bring it on.

Recommend: Absolutely. Even if you’re not a PNR fan the beautiful transformation of a wounded, hindered life is perfectly portrayed. Perfectly. Trust me - I would know.
Profile Image for Carole-Ann.
2,630 reviews73 followers
August 9, 2011
I loved the idea of reincarnation - which helped the way Sean and Jem connected. I also loved the dream sequences which helped Jem to come to terms with what she was experiencing (now I understand the title )

This was a lovely alternative to the "usual" werewolf-type novels, and I thoroughly enjoyed it !!
Looking forward to the next installment - of course :)

Profile Image for Mara.
2,468 reviews233 followers
February 4, 2012
Here comes a book with no rating. But a review.

I have a real problem in giving a number of star to this novel. I did not like it, but at the same time I realize it had some real good parts. So I was torn between the 1 o 2 star that my experience rated or consider it the better book it surely is. At the end I decided to go Pilate. And in this instance I think it's fairer.


*A story that read fresh
*A good plot
*Above all, a writing style that in same pages was really lyric

--Absolutely no world-building. And this lack made the reading experience particularly difficult for me. If you do not give me a reference frame I do not know how to react to your characters and their action.
The heroine dreams of werewolves and then meets one. I have no idea if in her world magic is known. From the setup it seems her world and mine are the same. If this is so, were are the nurses and the doctors? Why her family is not calling for help? A fantasy novel asks for a suspension of belief, but there are always rules. Here this book is asking me to believe too much just because. Without this reference frame, I think her sister's and best friend's behavior aren't acceptable/normal.

I'm not sure I'd like a friend like Pop. She knows Peter (the heroine's husband) is a (quote) "arsehole". Her help? Pushing her friend towards a stalker, a man she claims she has seen in a dream, a werewolf. Because he is gorgeous. Yep. Normal. Sane... not. Clearly, she can't predict Peter's reaction (a beating), still. She seems shallow.

--The leading characters.
I understand that the author wanted us to see how Jem improves from victim to strong woman. My problem is that I never really saw this. I see a battered woman who never fights back and for 80% of the book she remains so. (Honestly I don't understand why she is so.)
At the end I admit she is a different person. But in the meantime there's a huge chunk of the book in which she is simply bipolar: extremely weak-willed with her husband/Sean/his family, then snarling all of a sudden with the others. In fact even with her "soul mate" and his family she is still a prisoner, even if for opposite reasons. (The super she-wolf at the end made me laugh. It was a bit over the top.)

Sean. I never connected with him. Moreover, in both cases I never got the impression they were adults. They were supposed to be in their 30s. They read late teens, mid twenties to me.
Their love story did not click. They were still strangers, even if lovers reborn. I did not feel this connection. I was told it was there, but I was cold to it.

So what can I say. If you like romance, go for it. Just remember that the first half drags around. If you prefer pure PNR, know this: weres could be something different for most of the book (only at the end the were part became somewhat important). I prefer my PNR more para than normal. But this is surely something different you might be interested in.
Profile Image for Sue Tint.
604 reviews21 followers
August 1, 2011
Ahhh... Jem and Sean! I have to say, I really loved this book! I am so impressed that this is J.A.'s first novel,,, it was so beautifully written. Jem is a boring housewife in a marriage without sparks. Jem is dreaming of werewolves,, one particular werewolf that she finally gets to see in her dreams, and then in reality. She finds that she and this mystery dream man, Sean, have a history.

Although the relationship between Jem and Sean was awkwardly written at first - feeling almost forced and unnatural, I learned to love the two of them together. The passion they felt for each other, and the quiet joy that Sean leant to Jem that led her to become a whole person when with him was touching. The supporting Holloway Pack boys were wonderful, especially Josh (so cute and so fun, I hope he finds someone as special as Jem is to Sean).

I am very happy that there was a resolution at the end of this book, while still keeping the door open to another installment, which I know J.A. has in mind. I thoroughly enjoyed this and am looking forward to the next installment!
Profile Image for Pam.
Author 2 books23 followers
July 17, 2011
I loved the fast pace of this book. Even more importantly, the emotional tug of the words was just simply astounding. To see Jem transition from a boxed-in housewife to living up what her destiny proves, it's breathtaking. Through her many trials, one thing prevails: Love.

Can't get more prettier than that.
Profile Image for Carmel (Rabid Reads).
706 reviews382 followers
July 22, 2013
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

Darkness & Light starts off with Jem married to this a$$hole named Peter. Her husband didn’t begin this story as a complete jerk but the speed at which he progressed from “there’s something off about this guy” to full-out “run for your life!” was staggering. I found it weird that it took 8 years for Peter’s crazy to surface in their marriage. Mind you, Jem seemed a little out there as well but in a wolf-like kind of way so I was ok with that. Her definition of what it means to be a wife was simple, instinctual almost in nature but in a human it still came across as a little odd. The werewolf fan in me understood that wife does equal food and sex provider in the wild but my feminist side had a hard time connecting with Jem because of her willingness to stay with and even defend her abusive husband.

I enjoyed the way that the chapters were divided into “Light” and “Dark”; the first being Jem’s real life and the second being her werewolf dreams. The blurb gives you a pretty good idea of what this all means. Jem’s dreaming about her past lives and eventually (as was bound to happen) they collide when she meets Sean. I also really liked Belfield’s werewolf prophecy; it’s complex, unique and I quickly found myself getting sucked in by her Holloway Pack universe. J.R’s beautiful, descriptive writing style definitely played a huge role in my overall enjoyment of this novel as well. My only complaint is that more fat could have been trimmed from this story because it ran a little unnecessarily long.

Jem continued to rub me the wrong way right up until the very end, even after she’d accepted her new reality. Her naivety only seemed to escalate after all that unpleasantness with Peter. For one, she confronts her husband alone after he’s clearly demonstrated that he intends to do her harm. And two, Sean’s pack vehemently warns Jem that she’s in danger because of her heritage and that she needs to be extra cautious. So, what does she do? Wanders off into the woods alone and gets kidnapped. Her stupidity was the driving force behind this story’s plot and I have no patience for dumb heroines. Thank goodness for Sean and his sexy alpha maleness! I love me some good werewolf man candy that this guy had me drooling all over my eReader in no time. He’s never far from Jem’s side so at least you get plenty of good to accompany her bad.

Overall, I had mixed feelings about this book; I loved Belfield’s writing and her werewolves are top notch, especially Sean, but I couldn’t stand her lead female character, Jem. I am going to continue reading this series because I want to know more about the Holloway Pack and the werewolf prophecy, hopefully Jem gets a bit wiser with each new installment or at the very least, Sean forgoes wearing a shirt… and pants.

Profile Image for Keri Lake.
Author 39 books2,792 followers
November 18, 2011
Darkness & Light is a paranormal romance written from the perspective of Jem Stonehouse, a seemingly content housewife, married to a despicable excuse for a man, Peter. Life for Jem is predictable. Routine. That is, until sexy Sean Holloway steps into her world. What was once a mundane existence soon becomes shaken and stirred by a rambunctious group of mouthwatering, hot-bodied werewolves. Jem is forced to choose between her morals and her heart.
This book is fast-paced and engaging from the moment the reader is forced to ask, **Who is Sean?** to the very end when the answers are revealed. I found myself frantically turning pages to find out the secrets embedded in her dreams. J.A. Belfield did an excellent job of developing the individual characters. I admired Jem’s growth by the end of the story; her acceptance of her circumstances and courage to face her fears. Sean is the perfect leading man – mysterious, sexy, affectionate without being sappy. I’ve also got my eye on Ethan…yes, I’m VERY interested in discovering more about this fierce fighter with a huge protective heart. I found both men sated my need for the good boy/bad boy, making the story an absolute pleasure to read. Jem’s interactions with the men are adorable. Even though this is a work of fiction, the author brilliantly weaved the world of werewolves into real life so seamlessly that it left no gaping voids.
I’m looking forward to more of the story unfolding. The epilogue just wasn’t enough…I am definitely hooked on the Holloway Pack now.
My favorite scene in the book was the struggle over the car keys...I got some strange looks when I chuckled out loud to that one.
Profile Image for Maghon Thomas.
1,287 reviews1 follower
July 23, 2012
OK, so I had heard some great things about this book as well, so I decided to buy it and jump on this band wagon as well. Boy this is a good one. Jem is in a TERRIBLE marriage, and Lord forgive me, but I would have killed him in his sleep! But, she's always had these dreams of wolves, and this one in particular, Sean, and then things get really real when she actually meets him!! This one has werewolves, witches, prophecies, awesome good guys, scary bad guys, and a seriously nutty husband, with fantastic human friends!! :) all around awesome right!! :)

I liked how this one plays out, as it's written in a slow pace, but the story is never slow, and the characters grow, and love, and live, and become who they are supposed to be. It's a beautiful story, with some terrible moments, and some life changing events, but a true fairy tale with bite! LOL

I know most people wouldn't make some of the stupid choices Jem makes, sometimes she is so naive, but some people make those exact mistakrs in real life, so it's so believable! I can't wait to read more of this series!! :)

5 PAWS!!
Profile Image for Rebecca Hart.
Author 18 books126 followers
July 5, 2011
I finished this novel up over the long weekend, and I have to say I really enjoyed an hour or so each morning getting into Jem's head and travelling with her as she comes to terms with who she is. As she comes to believe in Nathan's fairy tale, so do we as the reader.
Just a really engaging story and a refreshing break from the glut of vampire tales out there.

Heartwarming, fiery, and romantic. One heck of a trifecta there.

4.5 of 5 stars (just cant use half stars here).

Profile Image for Maya.
488 reviews3 followers
October 10, 2011
I fell in LOVE with this book. It's such a beautiful love story.

If I did not have to eat or sleep I would have read in one seating.

It was great seeing how Jem matured from a submissive door mat to her abusive husband to strong female alpha in control of her life.

The fight scene at the end was heart stopping and kick a** great.

Love everyone in the pack and hope to see books for all of them.
Profile Image for Janel.
328 reviews1 follower
May 11, 2016
i loved this book it was amazing!!!!!!! i can not wait for book 2 in this series i just love sean and jem and ethan and josh.
Profile Image for Ambur.
796 reviews429 followers
August 4, 2011
To say that I'm a fan of paranormal stories would be a major understatement. I absolutely love them, and when you look at my bookshelf, that love is incredibly obvious as most of my books are of that genre. I'm not picky when it comes to paranormal creatures. I like faeries/fairies/fey (or however else you want to spell it :P), vampires, witches/wizards/sorcerers, and of course, werewolves. The series that really cemented my love for werewolves was Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, although her YA Series also played a huge role. I loved the personality behind her werewolves, and their relationships amongst their pack. The fact that Elena was the only female, and also her feisty relationship with Clay. I love Clay. :) Now...you're probably wondering why I'm just rambling on and on about one series while reviewing another, well there is a reason. After reading Kelley's series, I haven't really looked for another couple that compares to Clay and Elena for me, but in Darkness and Light, I found one. :)

Jem and Sean aren't really like Clay and Elena when apart, but put them together and like Clay and Elena, they make for one super feisty duo. However, their story is completely different. Jem and Sean have an amazing backstory, seriously amazing! I don't want to give too much away, but I will tell a little bit. Jem and Sean have had lifetimes together. When they finally meet in this one, Jem's already married to a "gem" of a husband. Yes, that was a terrible pun, and it was also filled with sarcasm. Her husband, Peter, seems like a great guy right when you start reading, but as the book goes on, little pieces of their life are revealed. He tells Jem what to wear, doesn't let her work, and doesn't seem to like her having friends. I'm sure I don't have to tell you what eventually happens, since most emotional abuse eventually evolves, and you all probably know that it doesn't end well.

Amidst all the darkness that has developed in Jem's life, comes Sean. She'd already been dreaming about him, and then there he is. I absolutely loved everything about Jem and Sean's meeting, and their developing relationship. I especially loved how it changed Jem. With Peter, she was meek and didn't stand up for herself at all, but with Sean, her true self comes out, and she starts to actually liven up. I loved her transformation, absolutely loved it! By the end of the story, Jem was a strong, and amazing character that I loved reading about, and even when she wasn't strong, I was always eager to know what she was thinking.

Just like in Kelley's series, J.A. Belfield has created a pack with an amazing bond. I thought they were all amazing, even though some remained rather mysterious throughout the book. ;) Sean's brother, Ethan, was the pack muscle...and I'm sure I don't have to tell anyone how sexy he was. :P Their father, Nathan, was the pack Alpha, and I loved his relationship with Jem. He was so welcoming to her, and practically treated her like a daughter right from the start. Then there was Connor, and his sons, Kyle and Josh. We didn't learn too much about them, other than the fact that Josh has a bit of a crush on Jem, and that he's the young one in the group. :) I loved their dynamics together, and I never get tired of hearing about how much werewolves eat. haha

My favourite part of Darkness and Light was definitely Jem and Sean's relationship. I loved it! I loved seeing it develop, and seeing them discover and deal with the fact that this isn't their first lifetime together and that fate has entwined them forever. I loved their training, and their recreational activities...which can both mean very different things, and in the case of this story, they do. ;) haha I'm trying not to give anything away, but I must give a warning that there are sex scenes in this book. They aren't incredibly graphic, so I don't think they will bother anyone, unless you really don't like reading any kind of sex scene at all. I, personally, thought they were fantastic. ;) haha

Darkness and Light is an amazing story, and I loved reading it! It has an amazing main character, some fantastic secondary characters, and one remarkable storyline. I think that fans of Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series (mostly of Clay and Elena) will really enjoy this story, and I know I will anxiously be awaiting more stories from J.A. Belfield! :D
Profile Image for Denna.
Author 21 books139 followers
July 8, 2011
Rarely do I read a romance novel, or any novel for that matter, and find myself with a big smile on my face the entire time I’m reading it. What can I say? I have a soft spot in my heart for hunky guys who adore everything about their better half, even when she does silly things, gets herself into trouble, and irritates the hell out of him.

Jem and Sean have lived their lives together before, and are destined to do so again and again and again. Only this time around Jem finds herself already married to another man when Sean steps back into her life. Not only married, but tied down to an abusive controlling monster who is willing to beat her, or worse, to keep Jem under his thumb. Visions about werewolves and running free as a wolf invade her dreams at night, a prequel to the real thing about to crash down upon her and turn everything she has ever known (in this life) upside down.

I’ll not give much away about the story except to say I enjoyed my time reading about Jem and the journey she took, not only to learn about her past lives, but to learn about who she really was inside, the strength she had been forced to lock away because of her present living conditions with an abusive husband. Without great courage some women can never escape it. A few times I found myself getting irritated with her apparent willingness to let men control her every move. In fact, several times I found myself actually talking to the book, telling her to take charge and do what she wanted. No one reacts like that unless you’re caught up in the story, and I was definitely caught up. :) But I’m happy to say by the end she became the person I wanted her to be right from the start. She took a bad situation and turned it around, growing from the experience instead of allowing herself to be destroyed by it.

The only down side I found is probably only one of my own pet peeves when it comes to writing and not an issue that will bother anyone else. I found the over use of names in dialogue slightly irritating. I felt it made the text read repetitious and probably wasn’t necessary in a good many places. But if this is the worst I could come up with, then I think it has to say a lot for both the writer J.A. Belfield, and her story. Well worth the price I paid for my Kindle copy. It’s a story I’ll likely read again several years down the road and enjoy it as much, or more, than I did the first time around.
Profile Image for D.J. Weaver.
Author 5 books56 followers
September 14, 2011
Jem is married to Peter; in a relationship that he is very satisfied with, but she is not. She has a good life, but must bow to his wishes and wants and does not always feel as if she is in control of anything in her life. Then the dreams start… Dreams that are strange, but at times wonderful, and full of Sean. But who is Sean and what does he want from Jem? She is not sure but when the dreams become overwhelming, she must find out why. Jem is thrown into a relationship and situations that she is not sure she can handle and is introduced to a group of gentlemen with a terrifying, yet liberating secret.
Darkness & Light is the first novel in the Holloway Pack Stories and hopefully, there will be more to follow. Ms. Belfield’s take on the old werewolf story is fresh and interesting and her writing is well thought out and exciting. The characters are described in a manner that enables the reader see them and their surroundings during the changes which helps keep the action moving right along. With just enough romance to keep things exciting, Darkness & Light is well worth your reading time. I recommend it to any reader of paranormal romance.
I’m giving Darkness & Light a 5 spider rating and anticipating Ms. Belfield’s next novel in the series.
DJ Weaver
Profile Image for Danielle Smiley.
290 reviews12 followers
October 25, 2011
I loved this story.

Honestly, I was a bit leary when I realized Jem was already married when she meets her soul mate. Being a happily married girl, I would have a hard time accepting the idea of her leaving her husband for another man, but Belfield does a great job of making Peter, the husband in question, horrible enough that merits Jem leaving him with or without Sean in her life.

Jem really grows and develops as the novel progresses. The Holloway pack loves and nurtures Jem, allowing her to discover her true self. Their support allows these changes, which do occur rather quickly, to seem natural.

There's a couple of times when I found myself thinking, "wouldn't it have made more sense if Jem just...." I can't really call these story flaws as there's many times when I actually do do something that doesn't make the most sense.

I loved Jem and how her pack cherishes her. I liked Sean, but his character felt slightly flat to me. I plan on reading "Fated Encounter" which reads from Sean's point of view. I think that will help me connect more with Sean.

Overall great story of which I can't wait to read more.
Profile Image for J. Ford.
Author 7 books140 followers
August 21, 2011
I have to say I am not a huge fan of werewolves but this story really blew me away. It was intense, funny and a delightful read from start to finish. The story is basically about a married gal, Jem, who has been having these dreams of this man name Sean. Little does she know at the time of her dreams who or what Sean is or how important he is and always has been in her life. Her journey to find out is steeped in danger and intrigue and sexual awakening.

I had a small issue with Jem jumping out of one flaming frying pan into another, but I understood the author's intent and can only hope that Jem will grow some cahoonas of her own and put this Holloway Pack in it's place.

It is definitely a great read, especially if you like romantic werewolves, and I have recommended it to so many people. I can't wait for the next book.
Profile Image for Michelle Willms.
518 reviews42 followers
September 16, 2015
Darkness and Light by J.A. Belfield told of a woman who lived through a horribly abusive marriage. At night, she’d dream strange dreams and awaken screaming a man’s name in her mind. This woman’s bravery and rediscovery of self made a wonderful love story. Belfield has an interesting writing style and has created a series that is worth following. 4*

I received a copy of this book for review purposes. Opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Profile Image for Tawna.
137 reviews
February 1, 2012
Okay I couldn't decide between five stars or four...then realized the only reason I was going to put four stars down was because I had stopped reading the book for about four days and wasn't as emotionally involved for the last 30 pages as I had been through out the rest of the book (getting so sick that you can't even read is no fun!) in the end it would technically be 4.75 stars

So anywho, here's my review:

things I liked
The way the author pulls you into Jem's head and gets you emotionally attached to her and the things that happen to her.

The fact that Sean was not the muscle guy of the group! That was Ethan :)

I wanted to jump in there and just say get over certain things and move into other things (say this to Jem)

I was very emotionally involved in the characters that I wanted to be in there shouting at them...which always makes me score higher with stars

things I didn't like
prolly just cuz i'm fully blooded american though: whilst, I was so sick of reading this word, why couldn't you just say while...do people in other countries actually say whilst instead of while alllll the time?

the fact that

Also, that at one point and then for the rest of the the book there was so much going on that Jem quit calling her sister and best friend.


whew! if you read all that!! My last thing that is not a negative or positive was that I was confused as to where this was supposed to be staged, I obviously knew no the U.S. (cuz they ate something called gammon and I've no idea what that is). I've only been to the middle east and Adelaide, AU, so sometimes I got a bit confused. But that is not a big issue because I'm sure some American slang gets confusing to follow along in other countries as well.

Lastly, I loved loved this book. There were great parts where I wanted to laugh out loud and parts where I wanted to cry and yell out. I can't wait to see if JA gets another book this series published. Good luck girl!!!
Profile Image for Tamara.
504 reviews7 followers
March 31, 2014
Darkness & Light is the first book in the Holloway Pack series. Although many characters are introduced, this book is mainly about Sean and Jem. When the story starts, Jem is married to a complete a**hole named Peter. For eight years, she has basically been a submissive housewife catering to Peter's demands and abuse. He even picked out her clothing to wear.....way to controlling. Peter is a piece of work and all throughout the book, I was wishing that horrible things would happen to him.

Jem has been having dreams that she is a werewolf and making an appearance in her dream world is Sean. While she has no clue what the dreams mean or who Sean is, they definitely make her curious and provided some escape from her boring life. Little does she know, but the dreams are from real events that took place in her other life.

This is my favorite quote from the book and it really captures the theme of the story:

"Fate and destiny to hand in hand. It is impossible to change our destiny. Only the path upon which we walk to reach our destination alters. If we should stray from that path, fate will take control and guide us in the right direction."

Jem is quite the character. I was either loving her or hating her. Half the time, she isn't listening and heeding the advice that is given to her, and she is way to compulsive, which of course lands her in trouble throughout most of the book. I will say though that by the end, Jem did become the strong, independent woman that I had hoped she would become.

Sean came across as overbearing at times, but I really tried to understand the situation he was in, so I gave him a pass just hoping that he was not going to be a repeat of Peter. Sean is over the top good looking, sexy, strong and well, he's a werewolf. Can't get any better than that! He has is hands full when it comes to Jem though! I really enjoyed reading as the relationship between Sean and Jem grew. They are totally connected in heart, mind and soul.

This was an amazing, well-written book that was intriguing throughout. It was a fresh take on the traditional werewolf/romance story. I will definitely read the other books in this series (I have to know more about the other sexy Holloway brothers!) and highly recommend Darkness & Light to anyone who loves a good paranormal romance book.

Profile Image for Kate.
196 reviews
January 9, 2012
Darkness & Light was a very absorbing read, perfect for my travel day. I lost track of the plane and was focused entirely on the story. It's just one of those books that you can't put down, and I'm very glad I read it.

However, whenever I did have to put the book down, I had a few issues with it. Jem and Sean's relationship didn't seem all that much healthier than Jem and Peter's, although it was definitely warmer and safer. For a lot of the book, I had the feeling Jem became the pack's housewife, though circumstances did improve toward the end. But something about Jem and Sean's relationship bothered me for a long time. I guess one of the reasons I dislike insta-love is that it severely decreases the chances of both partners being equals, and watching everyone hover around Jem trying to compensate for her vulnerability wasn't much fun. Happily, as I said, things did improve some by the end of the book.

I did like seeing Jem become more confident and willing to express herself during the course of the story. I was especially pleased that she was willing to fight with Sean, even though I kind of thought that making up five seconds later wasn't entirely believable.

For some reason I have difficulty accepting reincarnation (even in books about werewolves. Go figure.) So while it was an acceptable explanation for Sean and Jem's connection, I didn't really like it. Plus I'd much rather see an actual relationship develop, and regaining memories of a past life isn't really the same thing.

Even so, I did enjoy this book a lot and definitely recommend you give it a try.

For detailed ratings and recommendations, check out the original review at http://neverbakeinblack.blogspot.com/...
Profile Image for Aimee Laine.
Author 6 books236 followers
April 2, 2011
I was privileged to read Darkness & Light as a 'beta reader' almost a year ago. Then, in the process of J.A. Belfield's road to publication, I got the opportunity to read it again... after editing. I loved it even more. The funny thing is ... I RARELY read a book twice. So for me to read it once and **want** to read it again ... and read **every word** (I didn't skim -- EVER) ... is a testament to her ability to keep me engaged.

I am a tremendously picky reader, but I fell in love with Sean (which is a must for me in a romance) and believed Jem (whom I must learn to love) to be his true match. Of course the 'hotness' factor of the Holloway men (all of them) helped. ;)

The story is a fast read ... from start to finish. It never drags, and kept me engaged through every chapter. So many times, I got to the end of a section and HAD to keep reading or HAD to move on because of the intrigue and questions I was left with.

By the end, not only was I hooked on the Holloway men and desperate for more, all my questions had been answered. I happen to know there are more stories about these two characters and can only wish every story that comes after could be published at the same time. My heart almost hurts knowing I have to wait for more ... so I guess that means, I might just have to re-read Darkness & Light for a third time.

Darkness & Light by J.A. Belfield absolutely gets 5 stars from me. I'd give it more if I could.
Profile Image for Webbweaver Reviews.
32 reviews7 followers
September 14, 2011
Jem is married to Peter; in a relationship that he is very satisfied with, but she is not. She has a good life, but must bow to his wishes and wants and does not always feel as if she is in control of anything in her life. Then the dreams start… Dreams that are strange, but at times wonderful, and full of Sean. But who is Sean and what does he want from Jem? She is not sure but when the dreams become overwhelming, she must find out why. Jem is thrown into a relationship and situations that she is not sure she can handle and is introduced to a group of gentlemen with a terrifying, yet liberating secret.
Darkness & Light is the first novel in the Holloway Pack Stories and hopefully, there will be more to follow. Ms. Belfield’s take on the old werewolf story is fresh and interesting and her writing is well thought out and exciting. The characters are described in a manner that enables the reader see them and their surroundings during the changes which helps keep the action moving right along. With just enough romance to keep things exciting, Darkness & Light is well worth your reading time. I recommend it to any reader of paranormal romance.
I’m anticipating Ms. Belfield’s next novel in the series.
DJ Weaver
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