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REVIEW:  Bound by Night by Larissa Ione

REVIEW: Bound by Night by Larissa Ione

Bound-by-Night

Dear Ms. Ione:

I’ve been on a contemporary romance kick for a good long time now, and felt like maybe it was time to switch it up. I remember enjoying your first few Demonica books, so when Bound by Night and your new release, Chained by Night were offered to Dear Author, I decided to request them.

A WOMAN OUT FOR BLOOD
Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories—along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there’s one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most . . .

A VAMPIRE OUT FOR REVENGE
A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognizes Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his soul obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation—a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever.

As a child, Nicole Martin lived in the ostentation of a wealthy family, having multiple vampire slaves, including her beloved nanny, Terese, who nurtured and loved Nicole as her negligent, if not downright unloving parents did not. One day, the vampire slaves rose up against her family and killed them, and Nicole was attacked by Boris, a vampire in the household. He’d been defanged, so his attack on Nicole had been brutal and painful. Nicole survived the attack and was sent to live with her aunt in Paris. Leaving her father’s company, a conglomerate that neutralizes vampires and sells them as slaves to others. Nicole is happy living in Paris, where she is a vampire psyshiologist, studying their bodies and medications that might slow or negate the infection that causes vampirism. However, when she is 28, her father’s will kicks in and forces her to return to the Pacific Northwest to take control of the company. Her half brother, Charles, has been running the company in her absence. While Nicole has reluctantly taken control of the company, she has plans for it. She wants it to stop purveying vampires and focus on the medical side of their work. This decision is unpopular with the board of directors, and Nicole is in jeopardy of being voted out of control all together.

Riker, the second in command of the MoonBound clan, a group of free vampires who hate all things human, has a tremendous grudge against the Martin family. His mate was Terese, Nicole’s nanny, who was killed by the Martin family while pregnant with his child. He’s vowed revenge and is determined he’ll have it. His opportunity comes after a special healer that MoonBound had borrowed from the ShadowDwellers, another vampire clan, is kidnapped while  being provided safe passage back to her clan. The ShadowDwellers blame MoonBound and are threatening war, if they do not get their healer back. MoonBound has intel that the Martin family’s company has the healer. Riker sees this as his perfect opportunity to take something from the Martin family. He’ll kidnap Nicole and exchange her for the healer.

All goes according to his plan until Nicole escapes him and is almost taken by the ShadowDweller warriors. Riker is injured in the process and Nicole saves him. They begin a cautious partnership. Riker returns Nicole to his clan’s lair to decide what the next steps should be in getting the healer back. Nicole contacts her brother and finds that her company has been conducting some horrifying breeding programs on vampires and that he was the one who authorized the kidnap of the healer. Nicole determines that she must go to the lab with Riker to rescue the healer. Riker can’t believe that she’s willing to risk herself like that. The more he gets to know Nicole, the more attracted he is. She’s nothing like he expected. She’d brave and brilliant, and all kinds of gorgeous. But how can he be attracted to a woman whose family destroyed his family and is now dedicated to taking away the freedom of his race? As their mission unfolds, and the more they learn about each other, their attraction grows. But how will they overcome their long history of wariness toward the other race and give in to the feelings they have for each other?

I quite enjoyed this book. While I felt that you had to spend a lot of time setting up the mythology of the series, it was relatively easy to follow. I liked Nicole very much. She has a ton of agency and while it’s clear that she is terrified, she is smart and willing to save herself. Riker frightens her to death, but she stands up to him and uses her prodigious smarts to get herself out of bind after bind. Riker was a bit harder for me to get a handle on. He’s got the “tortured vampire” thing going on, and a ton of rage. Plus he’s very hot and cold with Nicole, which I found a bit off putting. But when he finally warms up, he’s all in, which I appreciated. They do quite a bit of stomping off after harsh words, which I always find childish, and they left things unsaid time after time when they’d clash. I did feel like that fact detracted from their chemistry, which was a bit disappointing. The love scenes between them are as hot as I remember your love scenes being. The book sets up a number of other possible heroes, in particular Hunter, who is the hero of book two. The series has a great mythology, deep with Native American tradition, which I really liked. While I felt the book had its issues, I’m really excited to read book two. Bound by Night gets a recommendation from me, as not your usual vampire romance. Final grade: B

Kind regards,

Kati

 

 

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REVIEW:  Pax Demonica by Julie Kenner

REVIEW: Pax Demonica by Julie Kenner

pax-demonica

When orphan Kate goes to Rome with her family, she’s hoping for a little R&R. The chance to bond with her husband, spend quality time with her kids, and visit her pseudo-family at Forza Scura.

In other words, this suburban mom is doing the tourist thing, and intending to do it up right. But while Kate may want to take cheesy pictures and buy overpriced souvenirs, the demon population has other plans. And soon Kate and over-eager daughter Allie are thrust into the middle of a demonic feud.

Now Kate’s going to have to call on both her hunting skills and her mothering skills-because if she fails, Kate and family might just find themselves sightseeing in hell…

Dear Ms, Kenner,

I had gotten used to yearly installments of the Kate Connor Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom series. In “Demon Ex Machina,” some fairly intense stuff happened and the book ended with Kate, her teenage “demon hunting daughter in training” Allie, plus husband Stuart and toddler Timmy outbound for a vacation in Rome. Since Kate got her training during her years living there, I knew that things were bound to get hot and heavy fairly soon. After all, demons rarely leave Kate alone for long now that she’s back in hunting mode. I set my series alarm for another year and hunkered down to wait.

And wait. And wait. And wonder if this would be another series cut off before its time. In 2012 you announced that the series would continue with a new book soon which got me all excited yet still I waited. Okay so I realize I sound as if I’m whinging but I did have moments of doubt that I’d ever see this book. Until, Huzzah!, “Pax Demonica” was released and I exhaled the breath I’d held for the last five years.

Events quickly reve up and within 12 hours of landing in Rome, Kate – and Allie – get confronted by demons 3 different times demanding something from Kate about which she’s clueless. This is par for the course for this series. Yet it spins its wheels a lot in that Kate mentally rehashes a lot of information about the state of her marriage and trust with Stuart, demon hunting and training Allie. Lots and lots of the same thoughts. Still, given how long it’s been since the last book, I really needed a bit of a refresher as a few facts Kate mentions had completely slipped my mind.

The demons step up their activity, new characters are introduced, the Connors do some sight seeing and Kate runs up some hefty phone charges to her friend Laura back home trying to sort out just what exactly is going on. Something is rotten in the city of Rome and Kate doesn’t have long to figure it out. But wait! it looks like some demons, who need human body shells to experience the finer things in life like fine Italian leather, good wine and, one presumes, chocolate, might actually be willing to kick in some information in order to keep the status quo. Go figure.

As the plot accelerated, it began to get into some deus ex machinas – there’s a ritual needed to destroy something that wasn’t destroyed earlier. Why wasn’t it destroyed? Well the ritual wasn’t known. Why can it be destroyed now? Well, the ritual was recently discovered. How was the object found after years of being hidden? Well we don’t know but it has been found now.

Even with everything I’ve just said, darned if you don’t suck me into the climax of the book, whirl me around until my head spins and send me screaming to the end of the ride. The finale here is funny as well as gripping and I have to agree with Allie – it’s so Indiana Jones that I’d probably set up the obstacles exactly as is done too. Hey, it works.

Once again the story is the same in some regards yet it’s different and new too. New local, some new people, some new – uh, helpers, and the Connor family’s relationships continue to change even as they grow as people and a family. Allie looks to have a bright demon hunting future, Stuart might shape up to eventually be more of a help than a hindrance, and Kate could have a new part time job.

Usually I’d say that this series should be read in order but honestly, I can say that since I didn’t remember much of the last book, I went into it a little blind and did okay. There’s enough explanation given to catch things up without it turning into an info-dump. I’m so glad to see this series continuing as my heart has been ripped a few times in the past over unfinished books. I do hope that we won’t have to wait this long for the next installment to see where things go from here. B-

~Jayne

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