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REVIEW: Passion Unleashed by Larissa Ione

Dear Ms. Ione:

044640105601lzzzzzzzMy first introduction to your work was in the ACRO series penned with writing partner, Stephanie Tyler under the psuedonym of Sydney Croft.   While I didn’t know much about your stand alone writing in the Demonica series, it debuted during a time in which I was a paranormal slump. I didn’t feel enthused enough about urban fantasy/paranormal stories to spend time on a semi-new to me author.   

Jia’s review of Demon Unchained piqued my interest.   Jia is a very picky reader, particularly in regards to fantasy/sci fi /paranormal books because she is so well read in those sub genres.   A Jia recommendation of a paranormal romance, for me, is solid.

Passion Unleashed tells the story of Wraith, the third and youngest brother of the Seminus demons, who operate the Underground General Hospital.   Wraith has recently gone through his s’genesis change without the help of a mate.   Wraith welcomed the transformation because he was supposed to turn into a rutting beast who wouldn’t remember or even be conscious of his decisions to spread his seed far and wide.

Forgetfulness is what Wraith sought but not what he had achieved. Somehow the s’genesis made him into a rutting beast with the ability shapeshift into human form (and other demon forms), but he remembers everything.   He remembers the torture at the hands of his mother, a vampire.   He remembers the terrible acts his hunger for food and sex made him do.   He tries hard at playing the “I don’t care card” but truly he cares too much.

Serena Kelley is a human virgin.   She’s been gifted with a charm that keeps her free of injury but only if she maintains her virginity. (She’s like a human unicorn).   She burns to have a man; flirts recklessly; courts danger.   She is sent by her employer/guardian/handler to obtain two relics in the Middle East.   On the way, she is supposed to meet up with Josh, a Guardian, who will provide her with a key to obtain these relics.

Wraith has been poisoned and in order for him to obtain a cure, he needs Serena’s charm.   Only problem is that if he takes her charm, she’ll die.   Initially, he and his brothers are of the opinion that one human’s death isn’t worth his. Wraith sets off to seduce her, steal her virginity, charm and life.   Nice guy, right?   He intercepts Josh, rifles through Josh’s memories and presents himself to Serena as helpful “Josh.” Serena is delighted to have Josh’s help and delighted that Josh is so hot. She thinks that she’ll enjoy Josh as much as she can without, of course, giving up her virginity.  

Of course, Wraith begins to fall for Serena. For all her sexual innocence, she’s irrepressible.   Her charmed life has probably shaped her, but her ’embrace life’ attitude is so different than what Wraith has known before and so intoxicating, he finds he can’t quite bring himself to be able to snuff her candle out even when she’s wrapped so close around his body, the oxygen to his brain is cut off.

There are very funny moments in the story such as when Wraith has to make up stories to his brothers why he hasn’t screwed Serena yet and killed her.   There’s Serena’s obliviousness to Wraith as a demon.   There are very tender moments in the story such as when Serena tells Wraith it doesn’t matter what happened to him in the past and that she finds him heroic.   There are bittersweet moments when Wraith must weigh Serena’s life against others who have sacrified for him in the past.   Wraith, who has always been selfish, always thought of himself first, must make a terrible decision.

The sexual tension between Serena and Wraith show how the anticipation of consummation is as erotic as the actual consummation.   The inability for the two to have each other makes every touch all the more forbidden.

This book isn’t perfect.   I hadn’t read the first two books in the story nor did I read the glossary and was lost for a good portion of the introductory chapters.   This is an end of the world story and I thought the conclusion and denouement was too convenient.   The secondary romance involving Gem and Kynan lacked interest to me.   Perhaps this was because it was a continuation from previous books, but I was more interested in Serena and Wraith and was impatient to return to them. I hesitate between a B and B+ but settled on the B because I’ll re-read the story but only certain parts.

Best regards,


This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers. The first book in this series, Pleasure Unbound, is $1.00 at most etailers.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Monica Kaye
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 16:25:58

    I’ve read the entire series and I have to agree with you on the rating. I enjoyed the story. Although what disturbed me was the brothers’ complete lack of regard for human life in this story (and the previous) but it’s a testament to Ms. Ione’s talent that we grow to love the characters despite this.

  2. Larissa Ione
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 16:51:58

    Ooh, awesome review! *g*

    Yeah, you might have enjoyed the secondary stories more if you’d read the previous ones, but for some reason I just…can’t…stop those darned continuing subplots that take place over the course of several books.

    One of these days I’ll write a stand-alone book. I WILL. Really…

  3. Jane
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 17:02:02

    @Larissa Ione: I kind of got that feeling about the Kynan Gem storyline because Jia really loved the pairing in Demon Unchained. And no, I don’t believe for a second that you will write a stand alone book.

  4. Larissa
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 17:31:11

    *hangs head* I’m so transparent.

    Then again, I didn’t really type the stand-alone thing with a straight face…

  5. Cybercliper
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 17:48:14

    Loved the review!! I loved this book and have read the entire series – Pleasure Unbound twice!! I’m looking forward to Luc and Lore’s stories…please let there be books for Luc and Lore…

  6. Bonnie
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 17:58:55

    Very fabulous!

    Question though: Is Pleasure Unbound the first book? I like to keep things in order.

  7. Ann
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 19:07:13

    Larissa Ione is destined to be a superstar in the paranormal stratosphere.

    I´m not even a huge paranormal reader. Generally, I am not interested in the tropes, as presented. The few exceptions to this include Kresley Cole and Lara Adrian.

    In Larissa´s world, however, there is such grit and intensity that I am completely swept into what she´s doing. Her characters are fierce and compelling, if not always likable in the usual sense. But I am a sucker for the antihero or heroine, and I love when authors push the envelope, as Ms. Ione does. I´m solidly on board this series and will read anything else she writes as well. She has the unique ability to match vivid description to kickass action sequences, which is a total win with me, since I alway want more sex, more action, and I don´t always get my MQ (mayhem quotient) met in a typical romance.

    Dear Editors, my dream is to have a novella in an anthology along with Ms. Ione. Please contact us right away to make this happen!

  8. Jill Sorenson
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 19:10:52

    Great reviews from both Jane and Jia: I’m sold. But I think I’ll start with the first one. Thanks!

  9. Jia
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 19:37:25

    I must say that the covers for this series are among the best for me in terms of catching the eye! People really have to see the cover of the first one in person to understand how striking and effective that shade of blue is.

  10. Jane
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 19:39:07

    @Jia: You are so right. The cover for Passion Unleashed, in real life, is just gorgeous. The blue part is raised and maybe in foil? It’s hard to convey it’s beauty in real life. Very upmarket.

  11. Jessica Kennedy
    Apr 06, 2009 @ 20:14:00

    One of the best series I’ve read recently. I’ll be Larissa Ione follower for now on. I need to go back and read the Sydney Croft titles though. :)

  12. Lorelie
    Apr 07, 2009 @ 06:58:14

    So wait, does Gem and Kynan’s story resolve in this one? Or just move along somewhat or what?

  13. Christine M.
    Apr 19, 2009 @ 19:42:08

    @Lorelie: It’s resolved.
    I read the three books over the weekend and I have to say I really loved the series. And the Gem/Kynan subplot… so good!

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