Julianna's Reviews > Dead After Dark

Dead After Dark by Sherrilyn Kenyon
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it was amazing
bookshelves: desert-island-keepers, paranormal-romance, read-2014, fantasy-romance
Recommended for: Fans of PNR Romance, Vampires, Shifters, Virgin Heroes, Superheroes, Reunion Romance

Reviewed for THC Reviews
*newest review for this anthology

Shadow of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon - Shadow of the Moon is one of the better stories by Sherrilyn Kenyon that I've read in recent history. This Dark-Hunter novella is about Fury Kattalakis, the somewhat recently discovered brother of Vane (Night Play), and the woman he fell for centuries ago but who betrayed him when she found out he was Katagari rather than the Arcadian they always believed him to be.

When they were young, Fury and Angelia were best friends, but when the story opens there is a lot of bad blood between them, and with good reason. She hates all Katagari, because they killed her family. He's none too happy with her, because she stood by and nearly allowed her patria to kill him when she discovered he was Katagari. Now, four hundred years later, they're unwillingly reunited. I was glad that Angelia seemed to have a conscience when it came to torturing and killing, even when it involved someone she thought she should hate. I was also pleased that she eventually freed Fury from the torture her cohorts were inflicting upon him. I loved that Fury was honorable and stayed true to a vow he'd made to Angelia all those years ago, refusing to harm her, even though he would have had every reason to. The loyalty the wolves show to those they love, especially their mates, is very sweet and romantic. Fury and the rest of his family get to show Angelia that they aren't the monsters she's always believed them to be. I liked how Angelia had never forgotten Fury's friendship and that she had always wanted a future with him until she found out the truth. It was fun watching the wheels turning in her head as she realizes that the Katagari aren't so bad after all, and their love scene after she chooses him to sate her mating heat was smokin' hot. Admittedly, their declarations of love come pretty quickly and would have been a tad more believable in a longer story. However, their interactions were so tender and romantic, this would have been a five-star read for me anyway if not for the rather odd ending. The decision Fury made to “protect” Angelia from the lions who were after her didn't entirely make sense to me and seemed rather abrupt, but alls well that ends well, I suppose.

Shadow of the Moon allows readers to visit several other Dark-Hunter characters, including Vane and Bride, along with their little boy, Trace. The way Trace calls Fury, “Uncle Furry” is just too cute. Fang (Bad Moon Rising) is there too, still trying to secretly pass notes to his love, Aimee. Of course, Aimee's overprotective bear clan, including Dev (No Mercy), is there trying to scare the wolves away. I absolutely loved the brief visit with Zarek (Dance with the Devil). I really miss him and his sarcasm. Savitar, the leader of all the shifters, popped in during the final pages to end the dispute between the wolves and the lions. All in all, Shadow of the Moon was a very enjoyable read. Once again, Sherrilyn Kenyon proves she can write the kind of stories I really love. I just wish she did it more often in her longer books. Star Rating: ****1/2

The Story of Son by J. R. Ward – The Story of Son is an absolutely amazing story of a deeply misunderstood vampire who has been imprisoned for over fifty years. This little novella turns romance on its proverbial ear by having the feisty heroine come to the rescue of her captive hero. Claire is a take-no-prisoners attorney who is married to her career and has never felt the need for romance and family until one fateful day when she is thrown into a dungeon with a gorgeous vampire. I like that the author had Claire be extremely frightened in the beginning of her ordeal which made it seem more realistic. She's a very perceptive person though, and once she realizes that Michael (I think it's neat how she gave him his name) is a prisoner as well, she quickly begins to warm up and trust him and then hatch a plan for their escape. Normally, I'm not a big fan of alpha heroines, but I really liked Claire. She managed to be an assertive take-charge kind of person without being irritating. I love how she is so kind and caring with Michael, and how she is willing to do anything to be with him.

I didn't even realize until I was nearly finished with the story that it was told entirely from Claire's point of view, but I honestly didn't feel like I was missing anything by not having Michael's perspective. J. R. Ward is masterful at making the reader feel everything that Michael is feeling through his body language, facial expressions, and actions, and also through Claire's observations of him. Michael is an incredibly gentle soul who has been tortured by those who don't understand and fear his differences. He has learned to live within the pages of his books which he treasures and the beautiful pictures that haunt his mind. Michael is mostly a sweet, tenderhearted beta hero with a streak of alpha protectiveness, a deep sense of honor and an instinct for insatiable passion which was an absolutely heady combination. In my opinion, virgin heroes are highly undervalued by romance authors and publishers, and underrated by many romance readers as well. I found Michael's innocence to be utterly intoxicating, and think I was probably walking around with a giddy, drunken smile on my face for hours after reading this novella.;-) I can hardly express how much I adored Michael. There just aren't many romance heroes out there who are as perfect as he was for me.

The Story of Son takes place in Caldwell, NY, home of J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and is also rooted within the same mythos, but it is a stand-alone novella with no connecting plots or characters in common with the Brotherhood...at least not yet. It is certainly possible that they could meet up at some point in the future and I would love to see that happen if Ms. Ward deigns to write it. There were a few questions about Michael that were left unanswered and could perhaps lead to a sequel, but the story was perfectly fine as is too. I wasn't sure I would find anything that could live up to the Black Dagger Brotherhood for me, but The Story of Son was equally as good if not better in some ways. It isn't often that I finish a story with a sense of sheer perfection, but that's exactly how I felt after reading this one which will now promptly be placed on my keeper shelf to be enjoyed again and again in the future. Star Rating: *****

*Beyond the Night by Susan Squires - Beyond the Night is a short side-novella in Susan Squires' Companion series that falls after One with the Darkness in the series chronology. It follows Freya, the daughter of the eldest vampire, who was first seen in The Burning. In that book she and her two sisters essentially sexually tortured the hero while training him to be a Harrier, a very powerful vampire warrior. Freya was the only one of the sisters who seemed to have a conscience, and she was the lone survivor of the trio. Now guilt-ridden about the things her father made her do to create Harriers and for allowing one of her sisters to die in order to stop her, Freya has withdrawn from the other vampires and is basically hiding out in an old abandoned property that belongs to her father. She makes the local villagers believe she's a ghost in order to maintain her solitude. When I first met Freya, I had a feeling she wasn't quite as bad as her sisters, and in this story, I think she was sufficiently contrite about her past to make me like her. We also get to see that the things she did in her role as a Harrier trainer were done mainly because her father insisted upon it and it was really little more than a job to her. She'd had sex plenty of times, but didn't really know what it was to make love until Drew showed her.

Drew returned to the area after many years away, seeking vengeance on his former employer. He had worked as a groom on a large estate and fell for the master's daughter. Loving her got him arrested by her father and transported. Ever since, Drew has dreamed of getting revenge on the man who wronged him. I like that he worked very hard to amass a small fortune and become a self-made man. He buys the estate where Freya is living not knowing it belongs to her. Drew isn't scared of the ghost stories attached to the property, and when confronted by Freya in her “ghostly” form, he uses logic to figure out what's going on. I also liked that when she finally told him what she really was, he simply asked a lot of questions to fully understand instead of being frightened of her vampire powers. After Drew found out how Freya's father treated her, he was willing to stand up to him, even though he's the oldest and most powerful vampire in the world.

There were two main things that made me knock one star off the rating. The first was that Drew and Freya's declarations of love, as well as his willingness to be turned vampire in order to spend eternity with her, come about a little too quickly to be entirely believable. His whole life had basically been consumed with his love for his former flame as well as a burning need for revenge. Circumstances took both of those things away from him, yet he readjusted to the idea of being with another woman within mere days. The same was pretty much true for Freya who'd spent nearly all of her nine plus centuries of life believing that vampires didn't fall in love, especially with mortals, and that humans should never be turned vampire, yet she changed her mind about both equally as quickly as Drew. The second thing was that the last-minute conflict with Freya's father seemed to be something of an afterthought and was over almost as fast as it began. Otherwise, Beyond the Night was a pretty good story that I mostly enjoyed, and I thought it was a nice addition to the series. Star Rating: ****

Midnight Kiss Goodbye by Dianna Love - Midnight Kiss Goodbye is a prequel novella to the Belador series which Dianna Love has mostly written along with her writing partner, Sherrilyn Kenyon. This first one, however, she wrote alone, and it was a fabulous read. I loved the world building, which to me, was a stand-out in the world of paranormal romance, because it was a little different than anything else I've ever read in the genre. In fact, I had a hard time sub-classifying it within the paranormal romance genre, because the Beladors essentially break the mold of known supernatural beings. They are super heroes of a sort, possessing a variety of powers. Some, such as telepathy and telekineses, seem to be common to all Beladors, while others are unique to the individual. I admit that at first, I was a tad confused when the author threw out names of characters or groups of people with little explanation, but as the story unfolded, everything became much clearer until I felt I had a good grasp on it all by the end. This was a very intriguing start to this new to me series.

I loved Trey and Sasha and felt they were perfectly suited to one another. I'm a huge fan of the reunion romance and this one was an excellently done example of this theme. They had been passionate lovers for a couple of years when they both were quite young, but when Trey discovered his destiny as a Belador and what all that would mean for Sasha as his mate, he couldn't bring himself to expose her to the danger. Instead, he walked away, breaking her heart, but every chance he got he had covertly returned to their hometown of Atlanta to make sure she was OK. I thought this was sweet and showed just how much he still loved her. This time when he returned, he couldn't help seeing her in person, because she'd gotten herself wrapped up in a very dangerous situation that he had been sent in to monitor. Of course, the old feelings resurfaced with a vengeance, leading to a passionate encounter.

Sasha is no slouch herself. She's a private investigator and a witch, but when she and Trey were together before, she didn't really know about or understand her powers. To say that he's surprised to find out she has powers too would be an understatement. Although Sasha initially comes off a little coldly toward Trey, which was understandable, she warms up pretty quickly, deciding she wants to fully experience her feelings for him again, even if it means him leaving her once more. I was so glad that Sasha didn't stay prickly, and most of all, I liked her intuitiveness in figuring out that Trey really did love her but was trying to protect her. Trey was a tender and skilled lover who set the pages on fire with Sasha, leaving me with no doubt that these two deeply loved and were meant for each other. It was a true romance in every sense of the word.

In addition to the Belador mythology, some of the Beladors, including Trey, as well as other supernatural beings, work for a covert government agency known as VIPER, combating supernatural threats. Between the two groups, there are several characters introduced in this novella, who will most likely go on to appear in future books of the series, including the Belador trio of Evalle, Tzader, and Quinn, who I gather are the three main characters. Based on the taste I got of them in this story, I thought they were pretty cool and can't wait to see more of them. The baddies aren't exactly defeated in this story either, just temporarily neutralized, so I look forward to seeing how things develop in that respect too. The final battle between them and the good guys was very well done and easy to envision despite the large number of characters on the canvas at once. Overall, Midnight Kiss Goodbye was a fabulous start to the Belador series that has captivated me and left me eager to continue with it to find out more about this engaging new group of paranormal beings. Star Rating: *****
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Quotes Julianna Liked

Sherrilyn Kenyon
“If Sasha’s threatened, Astrid’s upset. If Astrid’s upset, I’m going to kill whatever’s upsetting her until she’s happy again. (Zarek)”
Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dead After Dark


Reading Progress

August 31, 2010 – Started Reading
August 31, 2010 – Shelved
September 1, 2010 –
0.0% "Just finished J.R. Ward's The Story of Son. Absolutely amazing; sheer perfection; every bit as good as the BDB. Can you tell I loved it?;-)"
March 3, 2014 –
0.0% "Dianna Love's Midnight Kiss Good-bye was a great start to the Belador series. Intriguing mythology, great characters, swoon-worthy romance, what more could a girl ask for?"
June 12, 2014 –
page 188
50.4% "Sherrilyn Kenyon's Shadow on the Moon was another enjoyable read in this anthology. Those Kattalakis brothers are exceptionally yummy.;-)"
November 22, 2014 – Finished Reading
December 10, 2014 – Shelved as: desert-island-keepers
December 10, 2014 – Shelved as: paranormal-romance
December 10, 2014 – Shelved as: read-2014
December 10, 2014 – Shelved as: fantasy-romance

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Fabulous review of The Story of Son. I absolutely agree with you about Ward's ability to make us feel what her characters are feeling. She truly is an artist.


message 2: by Julianna (last edited Sep 21, 2010 08:21PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julianna Thanks, Dhestiny. She's definitely one of the best authors I've found at conveying emotions, which is one of the reasons I love her work so much.:-)


UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish Julie (Mom2lnb) wrote: "Thanks, Dhestiny. She's definitely one of the best authors I've found at conveying emotions, which is one of the reasons I love her work so much.:-)"

Amen, Sister Mine!


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