Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Sherrilyn Kenyon”

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #57 No Mercy by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I picked the hardcover copy of No Mercy in a sale bin at a local bookstore to add to my rapidly growing Kenyon collection.  It felt a bit familiar as I read the first few chapters and I have a sneaking suspicion that I might have read a friend’s copy of this.  Regardless, the story makes a lot more sense having now read the Chronicles of Nick series, Archeron and the other novels that I’ve acquired in the Dark-Hunter collection.  Since I am not reading them in pure chronological order, there are a few gaps in background character knowledge that would probably make the reading experience slightly richer, but that is the beauty of having a vast set of books in your personal library – when you complete the collection at some point, you can go back and read them in sequence to fall in love with a sweeping series such as this all over again.

No Mercy deals with one of the most intriguing characters in the series, the Sanctuary club’s bouncer Dev who just happens to be one of 4 quads (4 hunky brothers) and a Were-Bear to boot.  Kenyon has no shortage of imagination when it comes to creating unique characters that break beyond the traditional romance novel mold!  Add a 5000 year old Amazon Dark-Hunter to the mix who is haunted by the death of her husband and child in a gruesome betrayal and you have two people with far more baggage to overcome than your traditional  Harlequin lovers.  The fact that Samia is being hunted by demons who want to use her psychometric powers to find out how to destroy the Greek God Apollo also makes their relationship a little more challenging.

Once again, Kenyon’s blend of riveting story line, fascinating characters and sensual lovemaking combine for a thrilling read from start to finish.  The more of her novels I read, the better I understand how and why Kenyon has attracted such a vast and loyal fan base.  As with previous stories, the characters triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds with determination, sarcasm and cultural references that had me laughing out loud.  I can see that I will have to make more bookshelf space under the Ks again…

Hardcover format, 343 pages, published in 2010 by St. Martin’s Griffin

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #54 Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon

The sign of a good series or author is that they can totally distract you from the course you’d plotted out or the household chores you’d planned to do.  I’d been meaning to go back and forth between the Darkover novels and the Dark-Hunter series, but a trip to Chapters uncovered one of the earlier Kenyon novels I’d been hunting for, so of course it needed to be devoured immediately.

Night Play is a fun, if somewhat predictable romp in Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter world.  It falls a little closer to the formulaic twists of a standard romance novel except with paranormal characters.  What was intriguing was the fact that the heroine has dealt with the body image issues that our modern media seem to exacerbate and that the Were-Hunter wolf Vane loves her just the way she is.

This novel added more details to fit into the growing tapestry of the Dark-Hunter world and was a thoroughly enjoyable read.  For the first time, however, the story felt a bit “churned out” instead of lovingly crafted… especially coming right after reading a later novel so beautifully crafted.  Night Play doesn’t deal with any heavy issues and is a fun, erotic read.  If you like your romance novels spicy, edgy and unusual, then this is a perfect choice.

Paperback format, 362 pages, published in 2004 by St. Martin’s Griffin

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #53 Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon

If Dance with the Devil was one of my favourite books by New York Times Best-selling author Sherrilyn Kenyon, Acheron was the hardest of her stories to read so far.  It wasn’t the length of the novel, but rather how deeply the main character suffered that caused me to take little breaks while reading this book.

Readers of the series know Acheron as the leader of the Dark-Hunters and the first one created as such by the Goddess Artemis.  This powerful novel, however, finally reveals the suffering, agony and humiliation that he endured as a human, before becoming the cornerstone character of her novels.

I’d known from reading her biography that Kenyon had endured some hard times in her life. Until I read the author’s note at the beginning of the book, I had no idea that she was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse herself.

That someone could not only rise above such horror to triumph as she has but also then revisit some of the darkest moments in her memory, as she must have to write some of the scenes in this novel, is a true testament to her courage and talents as a writer.  I hope it was healing for her.  It was certainly empowering to see how this powerful character was able to triumph over their tragic situation and work towards healing.

Acheron is a brilliant novel but very descriptive and difficult to read in place.  It makes your heart ache before it can soar.  If you love this series, then it is a must read for all of the in-depth, key information… but it may move you to tears before you get to the funny parts and the sarcasm Kenyon is so famous for.

Paperback format, 800 pages, published in 2008 by St. Martin’s Griffin

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #52 Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon

 Cannonball Challenge Completed! 52 Books read and still going strong!

I am feeling a bit obsessive right now as the pendulum swings back and forth madly between  Darkover novels and Dark-Hunter tales, but it is actually very easy to keep both series straight in my head as I plow my way through them.  For me, this is the true joy of being a natural speed reader. If only I could write my reviews as fast!

I am actually reading book #61 right now, so hopefully my reviews can catch up in August when Volleyball for both daughters winds down.  I plan to continue the challenge as some other reviewers have done to see just how many books I can get through before the end of 2012.

The review of Dance with the Devil has been posted on my BookHoardingDragon blog.

Happy Reading to all of you still working towards your full or half Cannonball!

Whooooo Hoooooooo!

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #50 Night Embrace by Sherrilyn Kenyon

From Darkover back to Dark-Hunter novels again.  Night Embrace is the 3rd book in Kenyon’s vast Dark-Hunter series that I discovered after reading her YA series the Chronicles of Nick.  These paranormal romances certainly broke the mold when they first came out at the beginning of this century (that sounds so cool to say!) and Night Embrace is no exception.  Like the first two novels, this pits a paranormally endowed character with a mere mortal so that adventure, mayhem, magic and most of all passion can ensue.  What makes Kenyon’s books so enjoyable is that the characters are ones that the readers come to care deeply about as all their flaws and strengths are revealed.

Talon is a Celtic warrior who has been protecting humanity from things that go bump in the night for centuries, but when a God-driven runaway Mardi Gras float runs him over, the human woman he was trying to save brings him home to nurse him back to health.  Sunshine Runningwolf is unaware of what she’s let into her house and her life.  Her artsy, carefree way of life and open heart seems to offer Talon the perfect one-night stand opportunity as he heals… but will a single taste of her leave him wanting more than he’d bargained for?

The celtic theme woven through this tale made it interesting and engaging without feeling like I was being thumped over the head with historic details that got in the way of the story.  As an author, illustrator and creative soul myself, I could totally relate to the things that kept distracting Sunshine or the clutter that crept in.  All in all, Night Embrace was a wonderful read and it was fun to learn the unfolding details of the Dark-Hunter world that relate back to the Chronicles of Nick.  What a complex world of characters Sherrilyn Kenyon has created!

Paperback format, 408 pages, published in 2003 by St. Martin’s Griffin

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #44 Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Unlike many of the more traditional romance novels, Night Pleasures does not feature a bare chested man in some heroic pose or a slender woman swooning against his rippling muscles.  One of the many things that makes Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter novels so unique is the variety of ways in which they forge paths of their own instead of conforming to the expected.

Night Pleasures is Kenyon’s second novel in this amazing series.  It details the struggles that  the Immortal Kyrian of Thrace and paranormal-denying human Amanda Devereaux must face from the moment they awaken handcuffed together.  The forces of evil have mistaken Amanda for her vampire-slayer twin sister, Tabitha, in the hopes that she and Kyrian will destroy each other before the God-forged handcuffs are removed.

The story starts with steamy scenes and handcuffs… then devolves into a romping adventure so blatantly sensual that I found the story hard to read if my teenagers were close by.  Too many questions about why Mom is blushing that deeply!  This book also features the first appearance of Nick Gautier (albeit an older version who has his driver’s license but is still a Squire) and Kyrian’s Spanish housekeeper, Rosa.  There seemed to be  a slight inconsistency or two in some minor details… but since The Chronicles of Nick deals with a future that keeps shifting slightly, these can certainly be chalked up to the eternal time paradox escape clause!

The more I read Kenyon’s works, the more impressed I am with her vivid prose, incredible sensuality and captivating characters.  Her ability to carve out a new genre in the heavily saturated romance novel world is a testament to her writing ability.  The Chronicles of Nick series certainly proved that she doesn’t need graphic sexual scenes to sell a good story… but with the summer on it’s way, I also don’t mind having a new author and a slew of steamy books to make any rainy weather more bearable! Very few “bodice rippers” written by anyone other than Nora Roberts have remained in my household library.  Now that I am beginning to track down the Dark Hunter novels to read in the recommended chronological order, I will need to make more book shelf space among the Ks this summer to accommodate the growing collection!

Paperback format, 309 pages, published in 2002 by St. Martin’s Griffin

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #42 Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Having read and reviewed the first 3 novels in the Chronicles of Nick Young Adult series, I decided to pick up a few of Sherrilyn’s other novels in the Dark Hunter series to read how the adventures all began.  Fantasy Lover was published in 2002 and laid the foundation for the incredibly detailed and riveting world or romance, magic and all things paranormal that Kenyon has become famous for.

Like many typical romance novels, Fantasy Lover begins with two apparently star-crossed lovers.  Grace Alexander is a young, urban professional woman but Julian is an ancient Spartan warrior who has been trapped in a book by a two thousand year old curse.  He may only be released to fulfill someone’s sexual fantasies as a love-slave before being trapped back into the book’s pages.

Reading the back jacket intrigued me.  Reading the inside story caused my pulse to race on several occasions.  I think that even Nora Roberts would blush at some of the vivid and passionate scenes contained in these pages.  Small wonder that these books seemed a bit too risqué for some publishers a decade ago when most romance novels were historical but not also paranormal.  What makes Kenyon’s writing so unique is not only the detailed plots and twists, but the strong, believable characters.  There is plenty of pathos and compassion, heroism and selflessness as well as intrigue and attention to detail.  There are also scenes that might make you blush!

The second book in this series, Night Pleasures, apparently deals with Nick’s mentor, Kyrian and the resolution of his particular Dark Hunter curse… so of course I had to venture out to the bookstore yet again…

Sigh! So many wonderful books and only 24 hours in each day…

Paperback format, 337 pages, published in 2002 by St. Martin’s Griffin

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #38 Infamous by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Infamous is the third book in the Chronicles of Nick YA series written by Sherrilyn Kenyon.  After reading the second novel, Invincible, I decided that I couldn’t possibly wait for this next installment to come on sale or be published in a paperback format.  That is usually one of the true tests for a series.  As a voracious and speedy reader, I tend to try to stretch my book budget as far as possible.  This year’s Cannonball Read #4 challenge has made me throw caution to the wind on more than one occasion and just indulge!

Infamous begins as grippingly as Invincible ended. Nick Gautier has just discovered that the man he thought was his uncle offering advice is actually his future self trying to undo a terrible reality that brings on the world’s destruction.  Nick now knows that his father is not just a criminal, but a ferocious demon who choses to live in prison to feed off the evil energy that pools in such places.  Talk about  a heavy burden to bear at 14!  Is the future set in stone no matter what?  Will those closest to him still protect him or bring about his destruction once they learn the truth.  Can he trust his own advice from the future or is he embarking on a new path because of the brave choices he continues to make?

I am catching up this week for books I read while I was recovering. The full review can be read on my bookhoarding dragon blog.

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #33 Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Invincible is the second book in the Chronicles of Nick YA series written by Sherrilyn Kenyon.  Like the first one, it is a wonderful romp into the Dark-Hunter world that Kenyon created, without the overtly detailed romance scenes that made her adult novels so popular.  Nick Gautier survived the zombie attacks in the first novel and is slowly adapting to the idea that the world as he knew it is not all that it seems.  While his fortunes may be turning around, the new football coach has a dark side that is far more sinister than anyone   realizes and the powers of darkness are still intent on getting him to give in to an Evil destiny which could destroy the world.  The future doesn’t have to be set in stone, but can the advice from “Cousin Ambrose” be trusted?  Will those closest to him keep him from turning into a monster to rival his father or betray him in the end?

Sherrilyn Kenyon knows how to keep a reader on the edge of their seat and laughing out loud at the same time!  The main character in this novel is so endearing and so full of teenage boy attitude that you don’t know whether to hug him or hit him at times.  His ability to struggle with what is thrown at him and the strange powers that he is developing gives readers hope that they can face challenges in their own lives with half as much determination and tenacity.  Despite incredible odds, Nick manages to find solutions that allow him to triumph in his own unique way, set against the rich, intricate backdrop of Kenyon’s Dark Hunter world. I found myself begrudging the times I had to put this book down for such mundane things as cooking supper and taking care of other household chores.  I inhaled Invincible in a day and after reading the shocking last few sentences, I knew that there was NO WAY I could wait for the third book to come out in paperback… so it was added to the basket on my very next trip to the bookstore!

Paperback format, 420 pages, published in 2011 by St. Martin’s Griffin

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #31 Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Author Sherrilyn Kenyon thanks her own teenage sons for helping her come up with the opening line – I am a socially awkward mandork– for this first book in the Chronicles of Nick series.  After the bleakness of reading Wither, this book drew me into a world of teenage angst, sarcasm and zombies…. what’s not to love?  Nick Gautier is having a harder time than most young men adjusting to the challenges of growing up. He lives in fairly abject poverty, raised by his mother who has to work as a stripper while his violent father rots in prison.  That is before reality begins to unravel around him and fellow classmates begin turning into living zombies.

Infinity is a wonderful introduction for teenage readers into to the Dark Hunter world that Kenyon, a #1 New York Times Best Selling Author, has created.  I recognized several key characters as the first chapters unfolded, but this pivotal story is told in such a strong male voice that I was immediately drawn in to the captivating blend of vulnerability and attitude embodied by the young hero.

There is plenty of humour to keep you  smiling at the oddest moments, plenty of action to satisfy any reader’s longing for adventure and so many incredible characters that you finish this novel craving another fix as soon as possible. I purchased this hardcover novel for half-price, but after reading it, I quickly hunted down the second book in paperback format to devour.  The series is powerful enough to make me break my rule of waiting for the paperback on principle and I may have to buy the 3rd one in hardcover, especially knowing that there will be a fourth book to come!

After reading Sherrilyn Kenyon’s story about her road to publishing, I can understand why her stories and characters are so believable.  Like them, the author has faced incredible odds and challenges without giving up.  Ever.  Some may wince at the paranormal in young adult novels, but I feel it is important to have stories which inspire young readers not to give into Darkness and to keep reaching for the Light.  The way that Kenyon accomplished this in Infinity is unique, refreshing and …infinitely enjoyable!  I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Hardcover format, 464 pages, published in 2010 by St.Martin’s Griffin

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