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.

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.

Fantasy Lover – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Welcome to my first ever book review! I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to your feedback!

So this first book I’m reviewing is something of a fan favorite of mine and one I come back to as a comfort book. Now, I was introduced to this book when I was 20 and I tend to be quite loyal and sometimes biased with the authors I fall in love with so please keep this in mind! (I know there are some reviews that call Sherrilyn Kenyon’s writing simplistic and repetitive across the series but I still love them) This book is the first book in an ongoing series set in New Orleans (although the later books branch out a bit further) and is a supernatural/ paranormal romance series.

Grace and Julian are the center of this story that brings Greek Mythology to modern day New Orleans (roughly 2002). Sherrilyn opens the story with a Prologue dedicated to introducing you to a few of the Greek gods that will feature throughout the series, and Julian’s history.  After that, the story moves to be described from Grace’s point of view and will stay there for the remainder of the story. I feel like I have a kinship to Grace because she doesn’t believe in the paranormal or supernatural but WANTS to believe in all of these things and love.

The book starts off with a typical girl’s night in with pizza and wine on Grace’s birthday where Selena convinces Grace to try this mystical ritual which she believes will summon a Greek god. When this doesn’t happen, Selena is soon picked up by her mundane husband. However, that leaves Grace to deal with the real live Greek demi-God that’s appeared in her living room.

Grace being the kind, giving type of person she is takes in Julian and tries to find out more about him and how to rescue him from his current sex slave existence. This includes teaching him to read and write in moderns English, how to interact with people again and she even attempts to teach him how to drive (although we learn in later books that teaching Julian how to drive never quite takes…).

Initially when I read this book I really connected with Julian as I felt like a bit of a social outcast. I only knew one other person roughly my age who liked to read and I never really FIT in with any group. And this is exactly how Julian feels. He exists in the world, he understands the world but he’s not really a part of it.

However, no matter how lost or lonely he feels Grace keeps trying to include him in her social activities and modern America. Because of this Julian calls on one of his brothers “Cupid” or “Eros” to help him. After Eros meets up with him and realises what one of their half-brothers has done to Julian he finds their mum Aphrodite and figures out what Julian needs to do to escape his current torturous life.

Turns out he needs a “woman of Alexander” to free him. Good thing Grace’s last name is Alexander! Except the other problem is Julian can’t have sex for the whole month he’s been called to the human real for. Until the last night where Julian and Grace need to stay joined until sunrise the morning after Julian is meant to leave at which point he is then freed.

During this month Grace refuses to leave Julian locked up and wants to share her world with him, however he’s reluctant to do so until he learns of her painful past. But he doesn’t do anything about this until Grace is being harassed by this guy, at which point he proceeds to knock him out. What girl doesn’t fantasise about her current boyfriend who is hot as compared to her ex taking on her ex and winning making him feel like an idiot? This particular scene really made my girl hormone scream “GO JULIAN” like nothing else could.

Throughout this book I really felt like I was tuning in to Grace’s more feminine feelings which at the tender age of 20 was a brand-new thing to me. It still kinda is all these yrs later at 27! I really struggle to connect to this side of my psyche which is why I think I’m so drawn to this style of writing. I acknowledge the female feelings and thought process without shelving us as completely emotional beings with no ability to think logically.

Throughout Grace and Julian’s struggles to free him from his half-brother’s curse they will mix with Julian’s Godly family. This includes Athena who resets the clock to force Julian to accept Grace’s help, as well as Aphrodite herself to give Julian all the papers he needs to successfully assimilate into Modern day America without having to explain his immortal heritage.

At the time when I first read this book I needed an escape from the crazy life that is living on campus in a uni dorm. For an only child I found constantly being around people hard, and their lack of understanding when I would want to read to escape it all even harder. My books were my only escape to allow me to feel “normal”. And even then, it took a while to get to the point where I felt comfortable enough telling my friends “no” just so I could read. But I’m really glad I learnt this lesson before reading this book because I love it’s whole series and the way that I can just lose myself top it’s world and descriptions means I can forget about my current life and stresses.

And this is why I read.

Over the coming reviews/ recaps I will be exploring my emotional responses to books that I went into blind without remembering what they were about. Like legit, not even knowing what age/ era they are set in. I look forward to hearing what you have to say so please comment below!

Finally, if you’d like to keep up with the books I’m reading, next up with be “47 Things” by Lilliana Anderson.

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