Behind the Door – A. Gavazzoni

A Gavazzoni contacted me to read this book and I'm really glad she did. I'm not sure if she's read my blog, but if she has I can see why she thought I'd enjoy it. Yes it had some graphic sex scenes in it (be prepared for way more than Fifty Shades of Grey). However the focus of this book was the psychology behind the characters which is something I really enjoy. Even in my job I love to be challenged. I even commented that I was getting bored at work recently because it was all making sense and I had to quickly get some easy stuff done due to a really tough deadline.

With the boring work having to be done I found myself constantly thinking about what could possibly be driving these characters, why were they reacting in certain ways? How were they all linked? Why did my gut tell me that such and such a character had more to them than it sounded like? So this definitely kept my mind active when I really needed it.

We start off this book with Simone who is a psychiatrist lecturing in New York and was interrupted by a lawyer; Carl; which I thought was odd. Lawyers don't tend to hang around those types of conferences, and if they do want to speak to a psychiatrist then they'd make an appointment or call them to their office. Then when he didn't pressure her to drop everything and focus on what he needed to meet his court deadline, it made me wonder what was going on. Not that you'll find out until right near the very end!

Due to Carl approaching Simone to help him with his court case the book takes two different approaches. One is Mark's story about Lara which he has written as a manuscript while the other is the murders happening in Simone's home town that start to impact her in her day to day life and her psychiatry practice. At this point I started to wonder if the two stories were intertwined or if this was just the beginning of a series to really explore both avenues.

I won't go into what happens in this story too much because I think it'd ruin the intensity for you. But basically someone starts murdering women in Simone's home town while she's working on the manuscript Carl gave her. The murderer even leaves a dead body on Simone's doorstep which freaks everyone out. And eventually Simone is kidnapped and tortured by the murderer. While held by them she figures out who they are and is able to report them to the police when she is rescued days after her kidnapping took place.

Meanwhile we get to read Mark's manuscript alongside Simone (this is where all the graphic details are) to find out what actually happened between Mark and Lara. Mark sounds like a decidedly normal and kinda boring guy, while Lara sounds like she has a LOT of mental issues that have been left unresolved that she doesn't seem to want to work on. Simone diagnoses her as sadomasochistic with ADHD tendencies that resulted in an addiction to adrenaline. That addiction is what seems to control her life as we know it and ends up being what killed her.

The thing that I really liked about this book that a few other books I've read recently hasn't really done when talking about these kinds of topics is that it showed the bad as well as how to combat it. Yes, Lara's mum was awful and sold her off and didn't act like a mother should. However her friends and the rest of her family supported her in any way that they could, including supporting her to leave those situations. Unfortunately for her it seems it was all too late to "fix" what happened, but it was good to hear about others that are willing to do the right thing. Including getting restraining orders, which I feel many people in those situations are too scared to do. I also liked the fact A. Gavazzoni explored how these events impacted those around Lara which is something most people tend to shy away from.

So although the sex scenes were a bit too graphic for my liking, I really liked the fact that Simone then explored the psychology behind these behaviours. In these situations it's the psychology, the thought process and the analysis that really gets me involved and hooked. And A. Gavazzoni nails this aspect of her writing and I love it. I got so hooked on the what and why the events occurred that I almost ditched my boyfriend on a Friday night to finish the book! Which is unheard of for me, especially since it was game night for my footy team which I always watch.

If you like brain teasers and can get through the sex scenes I think you'd really enjoy this book just like I did.

Thank you for reading, next week I will be participating in another Book Tour, this time with a brand new release called "One Summer Weekend" by Juliet Archer. I look forward to seeing you then.

#6 Seize the Night – Sherrilyn Kenyon

As soon as I realised who this book would be following I was really confused. Why should I care about the love life of someone we hate? But of course I by the time I was reading this book I had started to get the feeling that Sherrilyn like's to challenge our pre-conceived ideas and really push us not to "judge a book by it's cover". And going into this book I was definitely judging!

So if you've read the earlier books you will understand where I'm coming from. This book is following Tabitha, who other than being really quirky and a very dominate personality is fine, and Valerius Magnus. And there's a reason that for once I included a last name. So in earlier books we find out that Valerius is a right pompus ass hole. Not only is his family directly responsible for many other Dark Hunter's deaths. He himself is responsible for a few deaths including that of thousands of Greeks. And since most of the Dark Hunters are Greek they don't like him, and he does nothing to try and make friends with them. Likewise, he requires a Squire (a servant) that speaks English, Italian AND Latin!

And that's all before we find out anything personal about like, like the fact that he hates his Squire to be dressed in anything other than a suit, none of his Squires last too long (and all because the Squires council won't grant Valerius the one request he has) and he expects dinner to be served at 7pm sharp (I might have the exact time a little off but you get the meaning) in the formal dining room. When he is around other Dark Hunters or Squires he seems to make it a point to rub them up the wrong way and reinforce the image of the big bad pompus Roman General.

However all these reasons to hate Valerius are the exact reasons why Tabitha is so good for him. She ignores his protests and forces her way into his life. Granted his protests aren't actually that bad and when we switch to reading from his point of view it's more out of fear for her safety than anything else. While with Tabitha he tries oysters (which Tabitha practically lives off of), tries beer, tries penis mac n cheese (did I mention Tabitha runs a sex shop? Like sexy lingerie, sex toys etc sex shop) and escorts a trans-gender (I believe they are pre-op) woman to a Drag event so that she has a chance of winning. None of these things suggest that Valerius is self absorbed, vain, mean or anything negative at all!

Like with all Dark Hunters we learn that Valerius's past isn't as easy as everyone thinks it was and that the betrayal he suffered wasn't his slave not shinning his shoes appropriately. I don't remember exactly what it was that caused his death but I do remember that he witnessed Kyrian coming back from the dead to kill his Grandfather. So unlike many Dark Hunters he witnessed the tragedy of their revenge at an early age and had a limited understanding of what he was getting into when he did decide to take Artemis's bargain.

I felt that by the end of this book when Valerius did everything he could to protect Tabitha while respecting who she is as a person I had learned to respect him more than many other characters in the series. He never changed who he was as a person in terms of his values, ethics and morals even though others would have thought he'd need to just to keep Tabitha. What liked but at the same time had reservations about was Tabitha being willing to shut out her family for Valerius. Tabitha being Amanda's twin is really close to her and was willing to give up that relationship for Valerius since Kyrian was already a part of her wider family.

Cool thing was (and I wish my sister bothered to care enough about me to do anything remotely like this) Amanda took the time to visit Tabitha in Valerius's home to find out why Tabitha loved him. Based on that interaction Amanda decided to lay it out with Kyrian that he had to accept Valerius even though he didn't like him just for Tabitha's sake.

Whenever I want a feel good story about acceptance, individuality, opposites attract etc I love to read this one. I'm sure we all have those time's where you wonder who could possibly love you and want to be with you for the rest of your lives. Reading this always reminds me that there's someone for everyone. It may not always be a nice easy relationship. It might be full of arguments, spice and then making up. But I think so long as you both understand each others limits, how and why you react the ways you do you can get through anything together. Granted it's not always a perfect science, but I believe so long as you can have a conversation around these differences then you can move forward and it will then work itself out.

I'm not sure my boyfriend would agree with me on that one but I can try!

Anyway, that's a wrap for another Sherrilyn Kenyon book so I will see you next week for another Sherrilyn Kenyon book review!

#5 Night Play – Sherrilyn Kenyon

This book was a bit weird for me because the main characters were BARELY side characters in Talon's book, which is what really caught my interest to begin with but it's not what made me love it. The main difference between this book and the previous ones is that Vane is a werewolf not a Dark Hunter.

The werehunters in this series aren't your typical "on the full moon I change into some half wolf-half human creature. These guys are COOL! Werehunters are hybrids of human's and animals using Appolite magic. And the combination resulted in two beings, one being with the heart of a human that can change into it's respective animal and one with the heart of an animal that can change into a human. And these guys live for centuries; literally they hit puberty at 50; can control magic and can time travel! If you don't think that's awesome I don't know what will.

Anyway, onto the story and why I love it. Other than my obvious nerd getting a super cool hit factor with the whole werehunter thing. So Vane is currently residing in a kind of supernatural "safe house" with his brother Fang who is comatose in wolf form. While out trying to get help for his brother from Grace (you may remember her from Fantasy Lover) Vane saw Bride through her shop window and remembered her from a chance meeting he had during Talon and Sunshine's book. Vane being the typical horny guy that he is, he goes in talks to her and ends up seducing her. Too bad for him that sparks the "mating mark" to appear on their palms. This mark is the Fates way of choosing who they will have children with, they only get one chance for this and it's completely the woman's choice if they accept the man. And if they choose not to accept them they are left barren and the men are left impotent.

So obviously Vane is scared of this happening since he will lose the use of his magic if he can't have sex, but at the same time doesn't feel worthy of Bride so wants to let the 3 weeks pass and leave Bride to go on with her life. So he does the creepy stalker thing to make sure Bride stays safe and follows her around in his "wolf" form. One thing leads to another and he beats the crap out of Bride's awful ex and ends up winning her over.

They do take a bit of a detour into the past when Vane's mum kidnaps Bride. But girl power all the way, Bride beats the crap out of Vane's mum in response to her stupid move. Even though Vane's mum thought she was doing the right thing for Bride she really wasn't. I believe all of us go through phases where we hate our parents for thing's they've done that we perceive as having "wronged" us. At the time we feel that we are 100% right and they are 100% wrong, however with time, maturity and perspective we begin to see that maybe they weren't all that wrong.

But I also believe sometimes parent's need to take a step back and let their kids make mistakes. Obviously it depends on the mistake as to whether the parent should intervene but I gotta say. My parents raised me to be independent and from the age of 15 I'd pretty much taken over the internet and phone contracts for my dad (my parents split up when I was 13 and I stayed with my dad when my mum moved out when I was 14). But even though I was completely independent by 18, my parents were there to support me and help me through the tough times when I called needing help. To me that is awesome parenting. Set your kid up with the skills to tackle whatever it is they need, but be ready and there for them when they stumble to support them. Not take over. Not do everything for them. But to guide them through the difficult time so that they learn.

I'm not saying that this will work for everyone, but I know it worked for me and I'm thankful. I know I have the skills I need to look after myself. But I have those skills because my parents set me up right. Unlike Vane who persevered even with both his parents out to kill him. And he came out of it a better person (or should I say werewolf?) than either of them ever was. And he's set up to pave the way for a new, better, more inclusive future for both the human hearted and wolf hearted packs his family is a part of.

I hope you enjoyed this. If you're going to read any of the Dark Hunter books I really reccommend this one. It's one of the top 5 books in the series for me. And don't ask me to rank them please! Depending on the mood I'm in, depends on which order I rank them in.

#4 Kiss of the Night – Sherrilyn Kenyon

This book was a little different from the first 3 books in the series as this one follows a character we haven't really been introduced to yet. This book has moved to Mississippi and we're following Cassandra and Wulf however we first find out a little bit about the history of Apollite's and Atlantean's.

There is one thing I need to tell you about Apollite's before I can continue with this post though, and that's that they were cursed by their father god Apollo to never step foot in sunlight without burning to death, to live off of their own blood and to die by disintegrating to dust over the course of 24 hours on their 27th birthday. This is important to keep in mind as Cassandra is the last Apollite born directly from Apollo's line, and there is a prophecy saying that if that line dies out that Apollo will die as well. And since he is the sun, if he dies the sun dies which inevitably means that the earth dies too.

Cassandra is only a few months away from turning 27 and has yet to find a guy she likes to carry on the line. Kat, her bodyguard is special in that she's actually a handmaiden to Artemis however we don't discover this until further into the book. Wulf however has a different problem, he's the Dark Hunter of the book and his problem is that anyone not of his line won't remember interacting with him, his name or anything about him within 5 minutes of him leaving their presence unless they aren't human.

I felt conflicted about this at first because I hate liars. And Kat is lying about who she is, what she is, why she is there protecting Cassandra and what she is capable of. I hate that she's doing this, but at the same time I understand why she's having to do this. When Cassandra finds out that that Kat has been lying to her we find out that she's freaked out every time she's been told in the past which forced Kat to wipe her memory. So I can understand why Kat did what she did, but it doesn't mean I like it.

Cassandra and Wulf cross paths when Cassandra is attacked by a bunch of Daimons and Wulf comes to her rescue and kills the Daimons. This encounter is the first time Kat has seen Cassandra "interested" in a man so she uses her handmaiden powers to put Cassandra and Wulf together in their dreams to get Cassandra pregnant so that Apollo's line will continue.

Once Cassandra is pregnant and comes across Wulf again she moves in with Wulf to get through the pregnancy and to ensure she stays safe so that she can safely deliver her baby into the world. While staying at Wulf's they get attacked again and end up running again and end up having one of the Daimon's help them get safely out and to an Apollite community. It turns out this Daimon is married to Cassandra's dead sister, who turns out is now a Daimon; and he founded the community that they are now hiding in.

While here Cassandra and Wulf get married and Acheron helps get Cassandra's dad into the community to give her away and help protect them. However for some odd reason whenever Acheron is around Kat disappears. And Acheron has no idea who Kat is, and since he knows all of Artemis's handmaidens he's worried about who this Kat could be. This really bugged me because I'd built a respect for Acheron and what he goes through to protect his Dark Hunters. If he doesn't trust this person why should I?

Luckily Kat saved Acheron's life when he needed it so he's still around to lead the Dark Hunters and he helped free Wulf from Artemis so that he could focus on keeping Cassandra and their baby alive. And this was all thanks to Kat who we find out is the grand-daughter of Apollymi who is the mother of Acheron. So this throws a spanner in the works. How could this be true when Acheron doesn't have any kids?

The Daimon who helped save them was brought back from death by Acheron and now stays with them a lot to help raise their kids as it's his last link to his dead wife. He turned on his father and now works with the Dark Hunters to feed them information to help them try and win this constant war against the Daimons.

This book is one of my favourites because I felt like I was transported into a world built in ancient times which I loved. I wasn't just reading about a love story where one side had a background in more ancient times, whereas this one still very much had ancient history happening in modern day America. And I felt it was really cool and interesting how Sherrilyn Kenyon did this. It definitely made me fall in love with the series a bit more than I was already.

I hope you enjoyed reading this, please like and comment with your thoughts!

Winning the Duke – Jenn Langston

Welcome back everyone, I hope you've been enjoying my posts and continue to enjoy them.

I really enjoyed reading this book, right from the get go I felt that it spoke to me in a way that some of the other books haven't. Grace is the main point of view for this story however it does also switch to Braiden's point of view.

We start of with Grace in London where she's desperately trying to get her mother's attention regarding who she is to marry. Her mother doesn't seem to care who she marries, whether it's a beggar or a prince, and all Grace want's is her mother's approval. Grace's trusty friend suggests that Grace uses the holiday time at her sisters to relax from the husband hunting and just enjoy herself.

Braiden on the other hand wants to wallow in self pity and continue to drink himself into oblivion. The only reason he decides to go with his cousin, Thomas, to his families regular Christmas gathering is to try and marry Thomas off so that he doesn't have to go through that again. And we learn it's because he married a harpy the first time around who ruined him for any other future marriage prospects.

Turns out they are both going to the same party! However, when Grace arrives it turns out her sister has invited a number of new gentlemen to help Grace choose a husband. Which Grace is NOT happy about! Braiden arrives later that same day and discovers that the extra men have been invited to marry Grace off and decides that Thomas should be in the running. When talking to Grace about how she feels about this situation he plants the idea of the perfect gentleman in her head, intending for it to describe Thomas. As luck would have it, and a number of unfortunate run in's with some of the other gentlemen, Grace decides that only Braiden will do for her. Now she just needs to convince him of this. I feel like this was me a few years ago so I really felt for Grace and how she knew what she wanted and just wanted to skip to the part where she had it.

We spend quite some time on convincing Braiden that his previous wife was wrong and that it's ok to love Grace before he finally relinquishes enough to marry her. Once they do marry he refuses to sleep with her even though he knows she wants children. Braiden ends up taking Grace to her sister's to spend time with her since she'd just given birth to a second child and attempts to avoid sleeping with her. He finally gives in and sleeps in the same bed as Grace, however he makes sure nothing other than sleep happens. And this feels like even though he's given in to marrying Grace he's not 100% committed. And I'm sure a lot of girls feel like this in their relationships until they reach the tipping point and their guy finally realises that they are all in and can commit.

Next thing we know Braiden takes Grace back to his estate hoping that she will be distracted while there. While there we get the feeling that Braiden's elderly (and mentally ailing) mother doesn't like Grace very much. After a while Grace gives up on Braiden ever coming around and leaves for London on foot. Which results in her breaking her ankle and Braiden finds her laying on the ground and rushes her to his hunting lodge. Turns out this was all that was needed for Braiden to finally give in and sleep with Grace! And this was Braiden's tipping point, when he can't stand to see Grace in pain, can't stand to loose her to anyone else and realises he needs to embrace his fears and take a leap of faith into this relationship with Grace.

Fast forward a while and Grace gets kidnapped while Braiden is in one of his "I hate Grace" moods and so doesn't notice that she's been kidnapped. Luckily he comes to his senses and realises she's been kidnapped and figured out by who in just enough time to save her. And he ensures the kidnapper pays for also being responsible for killing his first wife. I don't understand why Grace would let Braiden off the hook so easily, however I don't forgive as easily as she does. And that's one of the things that makes her who she is and one of the many reasons why Braiden loves her. From this excursion Braiden learns a lot about his family, who those close to him really are and what he really needs to be able to move forward and be happy.

I finished this book mostly happy with everything, and there was nothing that really bugged me which I found really nice for a change. And the cool thing is it turns out this is the second book in a series. So I will DEFINITELY be coming back to this series once I get through a few more books in my TBR pile.

The next book I will review is "Awakenings" by C.E. Sundstrom, an author I came across at the Clunes Booktown Festival. I can't wait to read this and find out what this is about since the author's description had me coming back hours later to buy the book because I just HAD to know what happened in this book. I look forward to seeing you next week.

#3 Dance with the Devil – Sherrilyn Kenyon

This book confused me right from the get go, the main character is Zarek who we met in the previous book while he was visiting New Orleans. Now however, he's back in his home town of Fairbanks in Alaska where he can't leave his home during summer and is completely ostracised from the town community.

The book starts off with Zarek returning home via helicopter and waiting for the squire to kill him like he was paid to do. Unlike the previous book this one picks up right where the the last book finished. Once the prologue sets the scene that Zarek will die I was a bit confused as to how this could turn into a novel given how psychotic he is. The first chapter then goes to Acheron who is on Mount Olympus arguing with Artemis. And they are arguing over someone called "Thanatos". Because of this argument Artemis agrees to have Zarek "judged" by a Judge of her choice. And oddly enough Acheron doesn't argue with Artemis over her choice which makes her suspicious.

Meanwhile Zarek has arrived home and when he visits town to get a new generator he finds his "friend" in town acting oddly compared to usual. Which he soon finds out is because Thanatos is there to try and kill Zarek. Cue chase beginning where Zarek runs from Thanatos, and comes across a group of trigger happy Squires who are also out to kill him. Two Dark Hunters also turn up to try and kill Zarek making it a happy "let's kill Zarek!" party. Luckily another Dark Hunter rocks up and attacks the group out to kill Zarek. Thanks to the shotgun this Dark Hunter used and the Texan drawl Zarek realises that his saviour is his one and only friend Sundown. Because Sunshine is so "young" in Dark Hunter years he doesn't have the same prejudice against Zarek that everyone else seems to have.

As Zarek is running from his killing party he ends up passing out from his injuries right outside of a cabin. Luckily the owner of the cabin comes out and brings him inside to look after him. We find out that this woman is Astrid and that she's trying to save his life, in more ways than one. Fast forward through all the arguing Zarek and Astrid go through while he's stuck there during a blizzard. From the first chapter we know that Astrid is there to judge Zarek and decide if he will die or not. And Zarek is really making this decision hard for her since she feels that he is innocent but the way he's behaving makes it really hard to prove that he is.

Fast forward to where Thanatos finds Zarek and relentlessly tries to kill him, even though Artemis has told him to stand down. Because of this Acheron needs to send Simi in to protect them since she can kill Thanatos. However Acheron has given her strict instructions NOT to talk to Zarek, for some odd reason. And Simi being Simi follows his instructions to the LETTER. Like I mean, manipulate his words to make people happy without actually disobeying him. I am quite like this myself, but not to the same degree as Simi so I find it quite amusing how naive, innocent and literal Simi is. Just trust me that if you read these books you'll love Simi, there is just no way you can't!

Because Simi is so particular about obeying Acheron she happily chats to Astrid however she wont "talk" to Zarek. While doing this hidden in an underground tunnel we find out that there's more to Zarek's past than we've known up until this point. We learn from Simi showing the past to Zarek that a Thanatos killed and destroyed the village he was meant to guard. Because of this Zarek tracked him for days on end to kill Thanatos for destroying his village. He finally tracks him down to a community of Appolites and comes face to face with Thanatos. From this being shown to him he realises the current Thanatos is standing next to the one he chased down, which leaves him very confused. How can he still be alive? Is this why the current Thanatos is so hell bent on killing Zarek?

And then, in the past that Simi is showing Zarek Acheron arrives and kills the previous Thanatos. However not before he shoved the current Thanatos's wife onto Zareks sword resulting in her dying. Because Acheron adjusted the memories off everyone that was there Zarek believed he was the one that killed his village. Whereas the current Thanatos's memory shows that Zarek brutally and purposely murdered his wife. And because Thanatos is such a secret from all Dark Hunters that is why everyone thinks Zarek is psychotic. They think he murdered his own village that he was responsible for. Because Artemis hates Zarek for finding and trying to put an end to Thanatos when she couldn't. So she wanted to kill Zarek whereas Acheron didn't want him killed for something he wasn't responsible for and as such had Zarek moved to Alaska before there was even a single person living there. Not as a punishment, but to save his life.

I hate that Artemis is so selfish and proud that she can't see the damage she is doing to others, but I also appreciate the fact that she is a Goddess and that it can be hard to admit when she isn't all knowing and all powerful. However her actions put an innocent man through centuries of torture for something he never did. She turned every Dark Hunter against him for nothing. She also treated him like a worthless slave when he died, and because of this he never had the same constraints as the other Dark Hunters which could have made his time in Alaska more bearable. But he didn't know about this and so lived like a Dark Hunter making his life miserable. And I gota say, I'm amazed he kept his humanity given what happened to him during his human life, how Artemis treated him and as a result how EVERYONE else treated him. He held onto his sanity and managed to survive. And because of this he managed to snag himself a wife out of Astrid who knows his past, his TRUE past and loves him anyway. She brings him out of his shell and helps him learn to socialise with others.

As much as I love the changes in Zarek thanks to Astrid, I'm also not sure that love should force someone to change. I know it's inevitable for some changes to happen, but to forcibly change someone to suit you better is not love to me. But then again, they both seem happy so what can I say about it? That they are happy together is what we all want in a relationship I think, so at least we can rest assured that they love each other and will have a good life together.

Please like, share and comment! I want to hear what you think of my posts so feel free to comment!

#2 Night Embrace – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Hi All, I'm not sure what happened but my draft of this post disappeared so it didn't go up yesterday as planned. So I apologise about that! I hope you enjoy reading this even though it was delayed.

Ok so let's jump into this one. My first thought when I started reading this book and discovered it was following Talon was "Hey that's a good way to do a series without following the same character the whole time. Swap to another character we've met previously! Cool!" Unlike Julian and Kyrian, Talon isn't Greek. Which had me wondering how he made it into the series. Up until this point in time I thought Artemis could only enlist those of Greek decent since that was her pantheon. So this tripped me up a little since Talon was a Celtic tribe leader.

Our other main character, Talon's love interest is Sunshine. An artsy, eclectic and forgetful, very VERY independent and health conscious modern woman. Which had me wondering how on earth Talon could work with Sunshine, and how they could possibly meet. Well it turns out they meet because Sunshine is lost and witnesses Talon being run over by a float leading up to the Mardi Gras parade. Sunshine being the kind person that she is picks him up and takes him home to try and help him. Why she didn't just call an ambulance and keep in mind her own safety by letting the professionals take care of him still amazes me.

Good thing is Sunshine's family looks out for her and checks in on her and stays with her until they can determine that Talon won't hurt her. Sunshine's mother was the one with her when Talon woke up and had to try and explain why being in the sunlight was deadly to him, and his excuse is pretty silly sounding but I guess in a pinch it works. In typical Sunshine fashion she destroyed most of Talons belongings that survived the float leaving Talon with no clothes. So he used her phone (that needed to be fished out of a kitchen drawer) to call Kyrian to go to his house and grab him a change of clothes, a new phone etc so that he can get back to his life. While he waits he "enjoys" spending the  day with Sunshine which results in Talon being dressed in only a fluffy pink towel that barely covers his ass when Kyrian and Julian arrive.

Boys being boys. they relentlessly tease Talon about this sad fact is quite amusing given Julian was in a similar situation in a green towel in Fantasy Lover, and Kyrian had to be wheeled through a hospital handcuffed to Amanda in Night Pleasures!

Anyway fast forward a bit and Talon is being tricked by "Acheron" the Dark Hunter leader compared to the orders others are receiving. Part of this is to keep Sunshine and Talon together to allow them to fall in love. Throughout this period I was so confused as to what was happening, why another Dark Hunter Zarek was so violent towards everyone and yet was so kind and gentle. During this time we find out there are two "Acheron's" out there, one is the true Dark Hunter leader while the other is there purely to make the Dark Hunters hate Acheron because he hates his twin brother.

That's right. You read me right. Acheron has a twin brother who hates him! How could this possibly be true?! From everything that we know about Acheron all I could think was "noooo..... how could Acheron's brother hate him?" once I'd come to grips with the fact that he even HAD a brother!

So let's fast forward through Talon and Sunshine's oddly melding, love fest and the revelation that Sunshine's soul is the same soul as Talon's human wife's soul. Which explains why they are drawn to each other. Anyway, during the final showdown we finally find out that the necklace Sunshine's mother gave her is a protective medallion of the Morrigan. This is important because Talon made a mortal enemy of the Morrigan's famous enemy while he was still human. This same god is so vengeful that he came back purposely to torture Talon again by killing his reborn wife's soul. The little glitch in that plan was the fact that Sunshine was under the Morrigan's protection.

And to further that glitch the Morrigan actually comes to protect Talon and Sunshine since Sunshine is actually the Morrigan's grand-daughter and is therefore immortal. They end up getting their happily every after while we discover an odd fact that suggests that Acheron is more than just a Dark Hunter when he can overpower and scare 3 gods and an immortal into submission. We also discover that he has a demon thing that Artemis is scared of that he controls. But I will leave more explanation of that for another post since I had to wait as well!

The main thing is I got to appreciate how such a strong independant woman like Sunshine could find happiness in a marriage with an old fashioned kinda guy. Which made me feel better at the time I was reading this because I have quite a dominant personality and I am extremely independent and I hate having to rely on others for anything. So knowing that she was able to find love and happiness definitely made me feel that I'd be able to do the same. Because at the time I first read this book I was not in a great place when it came to relationships. That has changed since then so now to me this book is a lovely reminder that opposites can work together, so long as both are willing to give a little to demonstrate their love of each other.

#1 Night Pleasures – Sherrilyn Kenyon

So when I first read this I thought it would be a continuation of Julian and Grace's story, however I was pleasantly surprised to find that instead this book was focused on Kyrian (of Thrace) and Amanda. At the time of starting this book I had NO IDEA who or what Kyrian was, however I was pretty sure Amanda was related to Grace's best friend Selena. The only thing that suggested Kyrian wasn't pure human initially was the prologue, which talked about Kyrian of Thrace's reputation and how he is now weirdly enough immortal.

We start the book with Amanda and Selena chatting about her ex and bagging him out while Selena does a tarot card reading for Selena. Later that night Amanda does yet another favour for her twin, Tabitha, and while doing so is mistakenly kidnapped! Good news is when she wakes up she's not alone. Weirdly though, when this guy wakes up it turns out he's so allergic to the sun he starts burning straight away. Like smoke and everything. To get them out Kyrian calls a friend who's a coroner and gets them out, and to the city morgue, much to Amanda's embarrassment (I think for this one you really need to read how Sherrilyn tells this story, it cracks me up every time!).

One this leads to another, which leads to Amanda and Kyrian being attacked by evil vampires and Kyrian desperately trying to protect both Amanda who doesn't believe in the occult even though she's surrounded by it, and Tabitha who believes that all vampires (or I should say, fanged people) are evil who both make his life difficult.

At the end of Kyrian and Amanda's first day together Kyrian gets the surprise of his life when Amanda takes him to Julian to get their handcuffs removed. Julian and Kyrian have a moment of "holy crap, am I really seeing what I'm seeing?" since they fought together back in ancient Greece. Before Julian was locked in a book as a sex slave, and before Kyrian was executed.

Over the course of the book we learn the Amanda is one of many in her family who has supernatural powers and she begins to learn to harness them. While Kyrian gave up his soul when he died to Artemis to had 24 hours to exact revenge on those that were responsible for his death to in turn kill Daimons (evil vampires) to release the human souls they are eating. Yea...so the vampires in this series eat human souls rather than blood and the only way they can take possession of the souls is to kill the human. And the souls start dying as soon as the Daimons eat them, and the only way to release them is to kill them with a stab through the heart. Which is where the Dark Hunters (including Kyrian) comes into thing. To hunt and kill the Daimons freeing the human souls so they don't die. To help them achieve this they are made "allergic" to the sun to make the fight fair, with many of the same traits as the Daimons, including having fangs.

Those fangs are what cause Kyrian grief with Amanda's twin Tabitha. Cue a whole lot of in-fighting between Amanda and Tabitha over Kyrian and you have the drama for the book. Which I personally found quite entertaining. Sherrilyn's writing style is always guaranteed to make me laugh in these types of moments in her books. And although Kyrian didn't make it easy to like him to begin with his constant need to protect Amanda (including making her horrible ex look and feel like a right douche bag) making sure she feels special does end up winning you to his side.

And finding out how he was betrayed causing his death, by his whoring wife, really does make you feel for him. And he ends up being the hero we will wish we had. Yea he kinda sucked at protecting Amanda, she ended up saving his ass. But she ruined her hand and had to pretend to be under a spell to free him. Given that Kyrian is from ancient Greece I felt for him having his masculinity ripped to shreds, but at the same time I definitely liked that for once the girl saved the guy from something other than emotional trauma.

In summary, reading this book had my laughing a fair bit, surprised at the type of vampires Sherrilyn had created and loving the fact that history was woven in throughout the book in so many interesting ways. And not just factual history, but taking advantage of myths and legends to create an amazing world.

Thirty-Eight Days – Len Webster

This book got me in so many ways that very few books do, and I love that it didn't give me the typical happily ever after that so many romance books strive for. Which makes it unexpectedly engaging for someone like me who normally guesses what is going to happen before it happens. So let's jump into the book now!

We start of with a memory of a young Noel and even younger Clara, as innocent as can be and as sweet as can be. At this stage I guessed the book was a boy (Noel) meets girl (Clara) and when they are older they move into a romantic relationship and live happily ever after!

Fast forward 15 yrs and we get to Noel who now lives in Boston and has been living in America since he graduated high school. At the time we get to him he’s preparing to take an 8-week holiday back to Melbourne, Australia with his best mate Alex. That is until Alex calls to tell him he can't make it and wants Noel to go back to Melbourne as planned, but now he wants Noel to stay with his little sister to make sure she's ok since going through a bad breakup. Noel ends up accepting for the sake of his best friend, since he has to stay in New York because of a court case he's caught up in.

Then we move to Clara, and we will keep switching between Noel and Clara throughout the rest of the book. When we get to Clara we find her finishing up her final uni exams for the yr and looking forward to going home to wallow in her self-pity at being newly single. We find out that Clara considers herself a loner with no friends even though Annie, Stevie and Jarrod try to get her to open up to them and accept that she is a part of their friendship group.

Next thing Noel has arrived in Melbourne to sweltering heat and meets Liam while heading in to Clara's apartment building. Liam chats to Noel and they hit it off as buddying bro-mance straight away. Liam mentions that there is a hot brunette living on the same level as Noel's "mate" and Noel's sexual interest is immediately peaked. Then of course, because Noel is a typical Aussie bloke, he puts his foot in his mouth because he hasn't seen Alex's little sister since he left for America. And turn's out Clara has turned into a beautiful woman that Noel is instantly attracted to.

For the first half of the book Noel and Clara are fighting their attraction to each other and avoiding the other as much as possible. The final straw for this was when Noel forgot about Clara's birthday after having a great dinner with her and leaving her to pay the bill herself and then walk home alone from Lygon Street while he catches up with his ex and then taking said ex back to Clara's apartment to have sex with her while Clara ends up sleeping outside in the courtyard to avoid hearing them.

This mistake does however tip Clara over into being mad at Noel and that forces Noel to kiss Clara as an explanation of why he's been so awful to her for so long. Now I don't know about you, but if I was yelling at the guy I like coz he's been a complete ass hole then I'd be even more pissed off if he then tried to kiss me. And yet Clara has the poise and control I don't, and she simply turns around and walks out of her apartment to get away from Noel.

The next 30 odd percent of the book seems like everything is going well once Noel rescues Clara from a dive bar. They are super in love, doing cute dates, Noel even goes out of his way to show Clara how much he loves her by finding a trinket he bought for her before she was even born. The final 2 days before all hells breaks loose we know Noel spends the day making phone calls. Now they never actually confirm what these calls were, but I think that they were calls to his boss's in America to resign, to his landlord to end his lease and to organise for all his stuff to be moved as well as to start the search for a job in Melbourne.

What we do find out at the end of the following day is that he organised a custom-made engagement ring for Clara that truly represents their love. Only to have Clara end it because she won't let Noel explain what happened when she was told a lie by a spiteful ex and saw another ex kissing Noel for a split second. We get to hear how both Noel and Clara handle this heartbreak and I found myself wondering how and when they'd make up as I crept closer and closer to the end of the book. By the time I got to 90% complete with Clara dating Liam and Noel planning to ask some new girl in Boston out I found myself wondering what miracle would happen to bring them together for their happily ever after.

Only to find out that they don't have one in this book! My first thought was "thank god! It's not another sappy love story. It has a girl too afraid to really let people in who just want to be her friend, let alone want to love her. And she's learnt how to protect herself from others". However, at the same time I couldn't help but feel that this resonated with me.

I've always been fearful of letting others in, of sharing secrets about myself and who I really am in case these get used against me to hurt me. And it made me reconsider if Clara is only setting herself up for more pain by doing this. Whereas Noel was ready to open himself to this pain and got burnt. But he accepted this and is doing the best he can to move on and mend his broken heart. And this is what I will take from this book.

But stay tuned for book number 2! Because turns out this is just the first book and Noel and Clara's story isn't over yet! But next week I will be reviewing “Bleddyn Hall” by Amanda L.V. Shalaby.