Dark Prince by Christine Feehan



source: own
title: Dark Prince (The Dark Book 1)
author: Christine Feehan
pages: 314
published: 1999
genre: paranormal romance
first line: He could no longer fool himself.

blurb:
Enter the enchanting world of the Carpathians, where dark adventure, mystery, and love await, and the desires of two daring hearts unite in one irresistible passion.

A telepathic hunter of serial killers, Raven Whitney helps catch some of the most depraved criminals. But her work keeps her from getting close to others, and has drained her body and spirit. In need of rest and rejuvenation, she embarks on a vacation far from home.

Mikhail Dubrinksy is the Prince of the Carpathians, the powerful leader of a wise and secret ancient race that thrives in the night. Engulfed by despair, fearful of never finding the mate who can save him from the encroaching darkness, his soul cries out in loneliness. Until the day a beautiful voice full of light and love responds, softly soothing his pain and yearning.

From the moment they meet, Raven and Dubrinksy are helpless to resist the desire that sparks between them. But just as fate unexpectedly brings these life mates together, malevolent forces threaten to destroy them and their fragile love. Yet even if they survive, how can these two lovers — Carpathian and human — build a future together? And how can Dubrinksy bring Raven into his dark world without extinguishing her beautiful goodness and light?- quoted from the author’s website.


My thoughts:

Dark Prince is book 1 of 35 in the Dark Series. There are 35 books in this series so far! That’s impressive. I read this one after my daughter read it. She’s been on a reading kick lately and sometimes we like to read the same books so we can discuss. We bought this one a few summers ago at a used book shop while on vacation.



I wanted to like Dark Prince, I really did. I’m just glad this book didn’t put me into a reading slump because that’s what happens when I’m struggling with my current read. While the writing was entertaining, this just didn’t work for me, mainly because of Mikhail.

Who is Mikhail? Well. Mikhail Dubrinksy is the Prince of an ancient race of vampire shapeshifters called the Carpathians. As the story begins, Mikhail is depressed because he can’t find his soulmate. However, enter an American woman named Raven Whitney and viola! Love at first sight. Raven is in Budapest (I think that’s where this is set) taking a break to recover emotionally from her line of work helping the police find serial killers. She is telepathic and uses her abilities to help the police. That is actually a pretty cool job and I wish there was more mentioned about it in the book.

As the story moves along there’s a group of vampire hunters in town so Mikhail and his Carpathian family are attempting to stop these people. In the midst of the danger from the vampire hunters, central to the storyline is whether Mikhail and Raven can truly be together.

Mikhail is one of the most toxic and controlling characters I’ve ever read because he manipulates and gaslights Raven throughout the entire book. His attitude is that the knows what’s best for her. He’s also telepathic because why not and he’s constantly inside Raven’s mind reading her every thought. He has zero boundaries and honestly I think he should have been arrested. In real life someone doing what Mikhail was doing needs to go to jail for it. Among many other things, he drinks Raven’s blood without her permission and later justifies this by saying:

“The ritual demands the exchange of blood. It is not feeding hunger; it is purely a sensual exchange, a beautiful, erotic affirmation of love and trust. The first time I took your blood, I inadvertently took too much because I felt such ecstasy. I was out of control.
I was wrong to tie you to me without your understanding of what it all meant. But I allowed you to make the choice. You cannot deny it.”
-Dark Prince by Christine Feehan p. 185



Raven is a strong independent woman and she reminds Mikhail of this all the time. Unfortunately her words don’t quite match her actions. She should have either left him or held him accountable for his actions, she did neither. Instead she continues enable Mikhail’s toxic ways. Also, I would have liked to have seen more character development with her background story.

Once the main plot issue was pretty much resolved the story took a different twist and it almost felt like I was reading a second book. At this point the book started to drag on somewhat. Other characters are introduced so I’m imagining they make appearances in some of the other books.

I’m not trying to bash this one, this series seems to be popular and I actually enjoyed some of the dramatic writing. I would read author Christine Feehan again but maybe some of her more recent work instead. Her latest book in this series called Dark Tarot comes out on November 9.
I know this book is dated being published in 1999 but I just could not get over Mikhail’s toxic actions. Even for romance written a few decades ago that is too much.

Oh and the ending was crazy-sauce but was somehow perfect considering everything else….lol. I’ll close with a few snippets from the book.

“Mikhail lifted her easily with his enormous strength, slid her slowly, erotically down his clenching belly until she was pressed against his raging velvet tip. Her heat seared him, beckoned. Raven’s arm slid around his neck, her legs around his hips, opening for him. Slowly he lowered her body over his, impaled her on the thick length of fire…” -Dark Prince by Christine Feehan p.88


“The mixture of his tenderness and wild nature was so impossible to resist, Raven knew no other man could ever touch her as he had. There would only be Mikhail for her.”–Dark Prince p. 84

Have you read Dark Prince? What do you think of these types of older romances?





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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I purchased Dark Prince (The Dark Book 1) by Christine Feehan. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Knit of the Living Dead (A Knit & Nibble Mystery Book 6) by Peggy Ehrhart



source: free review copy via NetGalley/ Kensington Books
title: Knit of the Living Dead (A Knit & Nibble Mystery Book 6)
author: Peggy Ehrhart
genre: cozy mystery
published: August 2020
pages: 171
first line: Pamela Paterson was feeling unimaginative.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars



Blurb:
When a spooky celebration in Arborville, New Jersey conjures real scares, can Pamela and the Knit and Nibble Club sink their teeth into a bone-chilling mystery that just won’t rest in peace?

Among the countless revelers at the town’s much-anticipated Halloween parade, a woman dressed as Little Bo Peep is the only one making people scream bloody murder. In a scene straight out of a horror movie, the Knit and Nibblers find the nursery rhyme character dead with thick strands of yarn looped around her neck. Pamela and her best friend, Bettina, are set on pinning down who wanted the woman gone forever, but it’ll take every trick they can muster to catch the culprit without becoming the next poor souls to join Little Bo Peep’s dark, endless sleep . . .


My thoughts:
Knit of the Living Dead is book 6 in Peggy Ehrhart’s Knit and Nibble mystery series. Okay, first off, how cute is the cover? This one is set in the fictional town of Arborville, New Jersey. Without giving too much away there’s a knitting group, a yarn blogger, a Halloween murder, a set of friends who play mystery sleuths and plenty of mention of cozy comfort foods. What more could you want from a cozy mystery?

As the story begins, friends Pamela, Bettina and Nell and are dressed up on Halloween night attending the town’s parade down Arborville Avenue which ends with a bonfire in the park. During the festivities a body is discovered nearby behind trees. The victim is dressed as Bo-Peep. Not too satisfied with the local police investigation, the ladies decide to do some investigating of their own. As the story flows there’s a few people who seem suspect and I didn’t guess who dunnit it until the author revealed it.

This is book 6 in the series and while this one reads as a stand-alone I would have liked to read the first book to get more of a feel for these characters. I ended up downloading book 1 Murder, She Knit. I haven’t read it yet but I know it will make a fun cozy read one of these evenings. It’s available on Amazon Prime reads if you’re interested.


Knit of the Living Dead was a quick and easy read and I would recommend it to fan of cozy mysteries revolving around knitting. I don’t knit, I crochet but the knitting group in the story Knit and Nibble sounds like fun and I enjoyed the descriptions of the yarns and the stitches etc.

I could also envision the Autumn setting and all the good food mentioned was making me hungry. The book ends with knitting instructions for a Halloween tote as well as a couple of simple recipes for a few of the goodies featured in the story.

“Though fall had been lovely so far, with the afternoon sun still warm despite its autumnal angle, the air had a golden tinge and laves had begun to turn. Halfway up the block, one particular tree glowed luminous scarlet.” -Knit of the Living Dead by Peggy Ehrhart, 11% Kindle



“Before anyone could start eating, butter had to be passed for the mashed potatoes. Once she’d sculpted a little hollow into the peak of her mashed potatoes and slipped in a pat of butter, Pamela picked up her own fork. The cubes of beef, seared to a rich brown, were bathed in a gravy whose russet hue hinted at the red wine and tomato paste that had supplemented pan drippings of beef broth. Here and there among the beef cubes was a chunk of carrot, a mushroom slice, or a glossy little pearl onion.”-Knit of the Living Dead, 55% Kindle


Visit the author’s website and check out her blog where she posts about her love of knitting, crochet, thrifting and estate sales. https://peggyehrhart.com/category/yarn-mania/

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I received a free review copy of Knit of the Living Dead (A Knit and Nibble Mystery Book 6) via NetGalley/ Kensington Books. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Neon Gods: A Scorchingly Hot Modern Retelling of Hades and Persephone (Dark Olympus Book 1) by Katee Robert


source: review copy via NetGalley/ Sourcebooks Casablanca
title: Neon Gods: A Scorchingly Hot Modern Retelling of Hades and Persephone (Dark Olympus Book 1)
author: Katee Robert
genre: erotic romance/fantasy/retelling
published: June 1, 2021
pages: 384
first line: “I really hate these parties.”
rated: 4 out of 5


blurb: He was supposed to be a myth.
But from the moment I crossed the River Styx and fell under his dark spell…he was, quite simply, mine.

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Hades and Persephone that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

Society darling Persephone Dimitriou plans to flee the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start over far from the backstabbing politics of the Thirteen Houses. But all that’s ripped away when her mother ambushes her with an engagement to Zeus, the dangerous power behind their glittering city’s dark facade.

With no options left, Persephone flees to the forbidden undercity and makes a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed a myth…a man who awakens her to a world she never knew existed.

Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he’s spent years craving, it’s all the excuse he needs to help her—for a price. Yet every breathless night spent tangled together has given Hades a taste for Persephone, and he’ll go to war with Olympus itself to keep her close…


My thoughts:
Neon Gods: A Scorchingly Hot Modern Retelling of Hades and Persephone starts off the Dark Olympus book series by Katee Robert.

This book is an erotic fantasy retelling of the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone. In this story, Persephone is 24 and somewhat of a celebrity in Olympus. She is one of the daughters of the goddess Demeter and their family is usually making headlines in the tabloids. Persephone’s goal is to finish getting her Masters degree then leave to California for her PhD when she turns 25 in the Spring and her trust fund becomes available. However her mother has other plans and without consulting Persephone she betrotheds her to Zeus.

Rather than marry a man she doesn’t love who has a reputation of disposing of his wives, Persephone runs away and ends up in the lower city section of Olympus which is run by Hades. She meets Hades who helps her go into hiding for three months until the Spring arrives. By Olympus law Hades and Zeus cannot cross into each other’s territories so Persephone should be safe there. During this time the two will make it public knowledge that they’re intimate so Zeus will no longer want Persephone. Hades can exact revenge on his sworn enemy by sleeping with his betrothed and humiliating him.

Of course the chemistry is fire and these two start to wonder if this can be the real thing and not just sex.


The book is told in alternating chapters by Persephone and Hades you get to see the story from each of their perspectives.

“Hades is not safe. He’s so far from safe, I should be rethinking this bargain before it’s even begun. I can tell myself I have no choice, but it’s not the truth. I want this with every shadowy part of my soul that I work so hard to keep locked down. There’s no room in the public narrative of the sweet, sunny, biddable woman for the things I find myself craving in the dark of night. Things I’m suddenly sure Hades is capable of giving me.”– Neon Gods by Katee Robert, Kindle 22%

I’m not big on Alpha males in romance but I liked that Hades has a dark edge about him. Persephone is sassy and smart. While I didn’t particularly connect with either of these characters I was still interested in where the storyline was going. Much of the interactions between these two are about give and take, about compromise.

“He’s offering a strange sort of partnership, one I didn’t realize I desired. He might dominate. I might submit. But the power balance is startlingly equal. I didn’t know it could be like this.”– Neon Gods, Kindle 33%

Also in the mix are side characters such as Persephone’s sisters and others who live in Olympus and work for Zeus. I would love to read the second installment in this series, Electric Idol which is due out early 2022. Great cover!


Neon Gods was well-written, sexy romance with two sassy main characters. I recommend this if you enjoy steamy erotic fantasy.

“It was never meant to last forever.” -Neon Gods, Kindle 76%



About the author:
Katee Robert is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Entertainment Weekly calls her writing “unspeakably hot.” Her books have sold over a million copies. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, children, a cat who thinks he’s a dog, and two Great Danes who think they’re lap dogs.

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I received a free review copy of Neon Gods: A Scorchingly Hot Modern Retelling of Hades and Persephone (Dark Olympus Book 1) via Sourcebooks Casablanca. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The book photo here was provided by Sourcebooks Casablanca.

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine



source: free copy via AmazonPrime reads
title: Stillhouse Lake
author: Rachel Caine
pages: 292 Kindle version
published: 2017
first line: Gina never asked about the garage.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

blurb:
Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

My thoughts:
Stillhouse Lake is an Amazon Prime free read book that I downloaded last year and finally now made the time to read it. This is book 1 in a 5 book series so far.
At the heart of the story is Gina Royal. She is a housewife and mother who has been unknowingly married to serial killer Mel for nearly a decade. The garage was his “workshop” and the police discover a corpse hanging from the ceiling. When Mel is arrested, Gina is also initially arrested because they suspect her of aiding and abetting. She’s found innocent and goes into hiding with her two children daughter Lanny and son Connor.

Due to their being connected to a serial killer, Gina and the kids receive death threats and are harassed by internet trolls and stalkers. Gina is now Gwen Proctor and never stays in one place for long. She’s got disposable phones, takes shooting lessons and owns guns. Gina and the kids currently reside in an area called Stillhouse Lake. Just as they are finally getting comfortable and considering maybe staying there long term, a corpse turns up in the lake and Gina/Gwen looks very suspicious. She wonders if her ex-husband is pulling some strings from prison.

“Mel infected me like a virus, and I have an unhealthy surety deep down that I’ll never get completely well again.” p. 20, Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

Well, you need to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy Stillhouse Lake. I get Gina leaving and starting over with the kids but I wondered about there there being that many online stalkers being that kind of a threat to their lives. These stalkers would have to of had FBI connections the way Gina was acting in order to avoid them from finding her. Their motive is that they think Gina was helping her husband with the murders so they want her dead.
Also, Gina’s serial killer husband’s workshop was the garage and neither Gina nor the children ever went into the garage? Gina was just okay with her husband having a secret workshop in the garage with a padlock on it that she was not allowed to step foot in?



I liked that Gina is a strong woman and mother. She’s different now after finding out her husband is a serial killer. She reflects on how manipulative and controlling Mel was and on all the signs she missed. Gina is extremely over the top with paranoia and at one point she even goes through the motions in her mind of possibly having to shoot a cop who came to question her at home. The paranoia made her a somewhat irritating character. The children are likeable characters and the struggles they were going through with having trauma over their father as well as trying to acclimate to always being on the run etc. were believable. Much of Gina’s thoughts are about wondering if their lives can ever be normal.

As the story flows, there’s a few other characters introduced such as Javi from the gun range and the neighbor Sam and sometimes you don’t know who Gina can actually trust. Gina’s husband is still manipulating her from death row and I wondered how it would all wrap up. Also, why was Gina’s ex-husband so evil to her and the kids once he was caught? He really wanted her to suffer and didn’t care about the children anymore. He was a cardboard cutout of an evil villain.

Overall, Stillhouse Lake was a thrilling, well written story even if it was a little over the top. The ending wrapped it all up while leaving it wide open for the next installment and there’s a twist I did not see coming. This is the first book in the series but I don’t think I’ll be reading any of the others anytime soon.

“The hard part, I realize isn’t letting him know the truth; it’s this ripping fear inside now that he’ll turn his back on me, that this is the last moment we’ll be friends, or even friendly. I never thought that would hurt, but it does. The fragile little roots I’d been putting down, ripping away. Maybe it’s for the best, I try to tell myself, but all I feel is grief.” p.150, Stillhouse Lake

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received my copy of Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine via AmazonPrime free reads. Some of the links in the post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Paw of the Jungle by Diane Kelly

paw

source: free ARC courtesy of Netgalley / St. Martin’s Press
title: Paw of the Jungle (A Paw Enforcement Novel)
author: Diane Kelly
pages: 365
genre: cozy mystery
published: November 2019
first line: Please say yes.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
starstarstarstarhalf

blurb:
Police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner in crime, Brigit, are on all fours as they try to solve their latest Lone Star mystery.

AT THE ZOO
The weather is beautiful, work is slow, and her canine colleague could use a walk. What better day for Megan to take Brigit to the Fort Worth Zoo, where they can let loose and witness the law and order of nature unfold? But what begins as a fun field trip turns serious when a pair of rare hyacinth macaws named Fabiana and Fernando goes missing. Is the new custodian, a gentle soul who happens to be an ex-convict, to blame? Or is something far more sinister afoot?

AND ON THE HUNT
The birds are worth thousands of dollars, and the list of people on the premises who might have stolen them is long. Soon other animals start disappearing. . .and Megan and Brigit have their hands and paws full of suspects. But when a rare black rhino is taken from the zoo, presumably for its black-market-friendly horn, time is of the essence. Can Megan and Brigit find out who’s behind the mystery—before they too become prey?

my thoughts:
Paw of the Jungle is book 8 in author Diane Kelly’s Paw Enforcement series. I had no idea this book was that deep into this series, it reads perfectly well as a stand alone.

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