“Dark Awakening” by Kendra Leigh Castle (Dark Dynasties #1) – Review

Paperback: 331 pages

Publisher: Forever

Release Date: June 28, 2011

Series: Dark Dynasties

“For centuries, shapeshifting vampire Tynan McGillivray has prowled the night as an outcast, valued only for his ferocious hunting skills. When a feud among the immortals escalates into all-out war, he is ordered by his ruthless queen to locate a Seer – a human woman with a special gift – who can secure victory for their clan. Ty’s search leads him to a quiet New England town, but once he has the Seer in his grasp, her touch awakens within him a hunger like he’s never known…

Lily Quinn has always been different. Since childhood, she’s had vivid nightmares and an eerie sixth sense. When a sexy, silver-eyed stranger demands her help, Lily plunges into a new world of danger and sensuality. With Ty, she discovers sizzling passions she cannot deny and powers she cannot control. Soon, it is clear that Lily is much more than a Seer – she holds the key to ancient secrets and unthinkable destruction. But will a vampire’s vow of eternal protection stop these evil forces…or unleash her dark destiny?”

My thoughts

Wow! I mean, wow! This novel had me hooked right from the start, making me want more of Tynan McGillivray. A shapeshifting vampire with a Scottish accent and silver eyes is bound to be irresistible. Well, at least for me he is.

Kendra Leigh Castle has created a world where history meets fantasy, a secret world of vampires living within the world of humans. This is an incredible debut novel. I first got to hear about this book when I requested an advanced reader’s copy for it. I didn’t manage to finish it within the time limit – I got it as an ebook for a month – but only because of personal commitments. I was so sad when I finally had time and the book wasn’t available anymore. I had only read the first chapter, but it stayed with me for so long, I just couldn’t let it go without reading the whole damn thing.

So I did what any normal person would do, and just ordered it. I’m really happy I did! Reading it was an outright pleasure and Kendra Leigh Castle doesn’t sound like a new writer at all! She’s in there with the best of them.

The story is utterly captivating, sexy, and, of course, dark since we’re in the world of vampires. What I find really cool is that there a many types of vampires in this series. They’re not only your normal kind of bloodsuckers, but each dynasty has its own special talents. There are those who can turn into bats, smoke, cats, can fly or  have lightening speed.

Reading this book felt like watching the aristocracy of the old days, and there’s history everywhere you turn. One of the vampires is also Cleopatra’s sister, imagine that! But if you don’t like history, then you don’t have to worry much. There are no long paragraphs explaining historical facts or other such things. This book is clearly an urban fantasy novel, but inspired by historical figures.

The novel also contains sex scenes, so if you’re looking to avoid such books, then this is not the book for you. But if you’re not bothered, then I really recommend you read this. I can’t wait to read the second novel in the series, “Midnight Reckoning”, which came out in January. A hint for all you werewolf lovers: there was a werewolf character in the first book which will be further explored in the second book! Just saying.

This is not another Twilight, and honestly, I’m fed up with the fact that as soon as a book has vampires and werewolves in them, it’s immediately compared to Twilight. This has absolutely nothing in common with the series and I’m glad it doesn’t. The Dark Dynasties is a series for adults, and I hope it turns into a really long series.

I wish Kendra Leigh Castle all the success in the world with her books and am very happy to consider myself among the readers of her story. Go out there and buy this book! You won’t regret it.

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭ – 5 stars!


“Moon Called” by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #1) – Review

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Orbit

Release Date: January 31, 2006

Series: Mercy Thompson

Werewolves can be dangerous if you get in their way, but they’ll leave you alone if you are careful. They are very good at hiding their natures from the human population, but I’m not human. I know them when I meet them, and they know me, too. 

Mercy Thompson’s sexy next-door neighbor is a werewolf.

She’s tinkering with a VW bus at her mechanic shop that happens to belong to a vampire.

But then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself…and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble.”

My Thoughts

I looooooooooooove this series! Patricia Briggs is one of my favorite all-time authors and she certainly delivered with this first book in the Mercy Thompson series. The lead character is neither a werewolf or a vampire or any of your usual suspects, but a shapeshifter who turns into a coyote! How unusual and wonderful!

You may not know this, but coyotes are fairly smaller than wolves, and the werewolves in this series are even bigger. So imagine then how it was for little Mercy growing up in a werewolf pack, especially since werewolves think of coyotes as inferior to them. Then you can also imagine this sexy, ex-military next-door neighbor, who is also the Alpha of the local werewolf pack needing help from a coyote to save his daughter – who BTW is Mercy’s partner-in-crime at annoying her father!

Yes, this novel is absolutely brilliant, and I love the fact that the big, old tough werewolf has to rely on a coyote. Mercy is defying, brave and perfectly lovable! You’ll fall in love with her from the start, and you’ll get hooked into this wonderful world she has created.

Aside from the werewolves and shapeshifters, you also have the very “friendly” vampires and the fae. The latter have exposed themselves to the human world, and are utterly fascinating in my opinion. Patricia Briggs has this fabulous imagination and has managed to take several legends and twist them into something that simply belongs in her story world. And her vampires are downright scary, except for Stefan, who is also Mercy’s friend. He owns a VW bus that looks like the Scooby Doo van! Imagine that! Not really a scary image for a vampire, yet I find him totally appealing.

Anyways, the writing is superb, and if you’re into the Mercy Thompson series then you’ll be happy to hear that there is also a spin-off series, set in the same story world, but featuring another character that we only hear little about in the Mercy books. Charles absolutely took my heart away, as did Adam and a few side characters in the Mercy Thompson series.

From Indian legends to Celtic myths, there is something for everybody in these books. Oh, and the romance is absolutely worth it! Definitely a nice read, and one of my favorite series so far!

Rating: 🌙  – Another golden moon!

REVIEW: ‘City of Bones’ by Cassandra Clare

Hardcover: 496 pages

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Release Date: March 27, 2007

Series: The Mortal Instruments

“Clary Fray is seeing things: vampires in Brooklyn and werewolves in Manhattan. Irresistibly drawn towards a group of sexy demon hunters, Clary encounters the dark side of New York City – and the dangers of forbidden love.”

‘The Mortal Instruments series is a story world I would love to live in. Beautiful.’ – Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight

‘Cassie’s writing makes my toes curl with envy. She is the rare writer who can write fast-paced dramatic fantasy with gorgeous language and memorable characters that you grow to love and worry about, as well as really funny bits that will make you honestly laugh…It is rare to find someone who can do any one of those things well; to find someone who can do them all us just dangerous.’ – Holly Black, author of Tithe

‘Hold on tight for a smart, sexy thrill ride.’ – Libba Bray, author of A Great and Terrible Beauty

‘Dagger-sharp, funky, and cool.’ – Christopher Golden, author of the Myth Hunters

‘Clare’s atmospheric setting is spot-on, informed equally by neo-gothic horror films and the modern fantasy leanings of Neil Gaiman. Werewolves, vampires, angels and fairies all fit in this ambitious milieu. At the core, though, this is a compelling story about family secrets and coming-of-age identity crises. Fans of the smart/chic horror typified by Buffy the Vampire Slayer will instantly fall for this series.’ – Publishers Weekly

‘The story’s sensual flavor comes from the wealth of detail: demons with facial piercings, diners serving locusts and honey, pretty gay warlocks, and cameo appearances from other urban fantasies’ characters…Lush and fun.’ – Kirkus Reviews

My Thoughts
I loved City of Bones. There is just no other way to say this. Cassandra Clare treats us with all our favorite supernatural creatures all in one book, well series. You like vampires? Check. Maybe werewolves? Check. Or maybe fairies? Check. Hmm, how about angels and nephilim? Check and check. Wow, what about demons? Still check. If you love fantasy novels then you’ll love The Mortal Instruments. There is just no way around it.

I first stumbled upon Cassandra Clare when I bought ‘The Clockwork Angel’. Everybody was telling me how amazing the Mortal Instruments series was, but I did some research and found out that TCA is the prequel to the whole series, so I said, why not? The story world is really mind-blowing! Clare’s writing is exquisite and I was so happy to see how many things remained intact in City of Bones.
I was blown away by The Clockwork Angel and didn’t expect the sequel series to be as good as the prequel! Well I don’t know if I was right or wrong, but Cassie did not disappoint. She delivered times ten and then some.
Clary and Jace are really, really sweet and I found myself going through all their troubles. This book is fast-paced, sexy, sweet, emotional, and funny. I found myself laughing at some scenes and fell in love with lots of characters from the series, not just Clary and Jace.
My favorite character clearly has to be Magnus Bane! I didn’t like him as much in the Clockwork Angel, but LOVED LOVED LOVED him in the Mortal Instruments.
I can’t even say for sure where one book began and the other one ended cause I remember them as a movie. Everything that happens is so action packed and brilliant, that you cannot bare to part ways with any of the characters.
I am so happy that this book is being turned into a movie and I hope the others in the series will follow cause they are all amazing!!!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ – 5 hearts!