Review: Shadow Reaper

Review: Shadow ReaperShadow Reaper (Shadow, #2) by Christine Feehan
Series: Shadow, #2
Published by Jove on May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal
Pages: 480
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: This was really enjoyable — perhaps more for the suspense and action part of the story than the romance. Nevertheless, I think this is a fun (not funny) action story with an intense “fated” romance.

THE STORY: Ricco Ferraro is a shadow rider. The shadow riders are assassins who do justice by using their ability to travel via shadows to do their work. Ricco has been becoming more reckless and that worries his family. When he meets Mariko Majo, Ricco instantly knows that she is a woman who is special because she is one of the few women who can mate with a shadow rider and produce children. Mariko’s mysterious background intrigues Ricco, but the question is why has Mariko come to Ricco and what danger has she brought to the Ferraro family?

OPINION: This was an adventurous story as the Ferraro family is under attack and the question is why and who is behind it. I thought the pacing and depictions of the family was a highlight of the story. The story is suspenseful and also a bit graphic at times because this family is not sitting around doing knitting. The story is gritty and dark at times with a lot of violence.

Ricco is a playboy who has gotten bored with his own life: fast women and fast cars. When he meet Mariko, things begin to change for him. I do like that Ricco is certainly a family man who loves and cares for his family. That quality is important especially because the family verges on being an organized crime family (or at least that is the way they are viewed by outsiders).

Mariko is a woman who has been ground down by everyone around her for most of her life. Yet she is a woman of integrity. Like many of Feehan’s heroines, she is sexually inexperienced and sometimes quite a bit naive about her sexuality. There is quite a bit of dominant alpha male and submissive woman in this book although the book acknowledges a sense where the roles are reversed — even though Ricco is ostensibly in charge, he is only responding to Mariko’s wishes. This is most clearly expressed in the Japanese rope bondage that the two engage in. This was a kink that I haven’t read about before in romance books and I thought it was well explained and used through the book especially because it is clear that there is an artistic side and a sexual side and the book explores the characters moving from one vision to another.

WORTH MENTIONING: I’m still waiting for the Romeo and Juliet story that has to be coming later in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SHADOW REAPER is the second book in the Shadow series. This book can be read as a standalone although the world building descriptions are in the first book so a reader would have to figure that part out.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Shadow Rider

Review: Shadow RiderShadow Rider (Shadow, #1) by Christine Feehan
Series: Shadow #1
Published by Jove on June 28th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal
Pages: 480
Goodreads
four-stars

“I can’t believe Stefano Ferraro claimed you.”

FINAL DECISION:  Fascinating beginning a new series about a family that lives in the dark and manipulates light and dark in order to protect others.  I loved this book except that I thought that the heroine needed more strength and backbone than she demonstrated for most of the book.

THE STORY: Stefano Ferraro is the oldest sibling and head of the Ferraro family.  Controlling and protecting the Little Italy portion of Chicago, the family is rich, famous and has a secret dark side.  The members are Shadow Riders who are able to manipulate light and dark.  Stefano believes that only his family has this ability until he sees a woman on his streets that silently calls to him.  Francesco Cappello is at the end of her rope.  Broke and desperate, she has come to Chicago at the beckoning of her friend who promises a job.  What Francesca doesn’t expect is to have a handsome, formidable stranger immediate claim her for his own.

OPINION:  I found this book very enjoyable.  It was well written in the suspense arena. I liked how the mystery of what exactly is going on with the Ferraro family is spaced out throughout the book which keeps the reader guessing as to what is going on.  After reading this book, I want to read more about this family, so I believe it was a great success.

Francesca has secrets when she arrives in Chicago:

“She filled out the application, leaving just about everything blank.  Her name. Her social security number. That was it.  There was nothing else she could safely tell him.”

My one complaint is that Francesca demonstrated too many doormat tendencies at times.  She has incredible strength at times and I wish I could have seen more of that personality when she was with Stefano.  Just because he is domineering alpha doesn’t mean that she can’t be a strong match for him.

Stefano is one intimidating dude.  When Francesco first sees him, she describes him as follows:

“God, but he was good-looking.  Italian American.  Olive skin. Gorgeous blue eyes and thick black hair that made a woman want to run her fingers through it.  No man should be able to look like he did.  She tried to look away from him, but something in his steady gaze warned her not to and she didn’t dare defy him.  She couldn’t imagine anyone crossing him.  He didn’t exactly walk up to her.  He stalked, like a great jungle cat emerging from the shadows.  Silent.  Fluid.  Breathtaking.”

I found Stefano and his siblings very intriguing.  They have a unique “power” that I look forward to learning more about in future books.  I especially liked how family oriented Stefano is and how important Francesca is to him and his family.  It was funny and sweet how everyone wants to meet Francesca because she gives them hope.

My favorite part of this book was the world building involved and the fascinating set of powers this family has. There are also threads that will obviously be continued in future books in the series and I look forward to seeing this series develop.

WORTH MENTIONING: Now I really want to read the book about the sister because I already think I know who her match will be.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SHADOW RIDER is the first book in the Shadow series about 5 brothers and a sister in the Ferraro family.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: Spider Game

Spider Game
Spider Game by Christine Feehan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hot But Hero Leans so Dominate That He is a Tremendous Jerk

“Trap wasn’t a man given to fantasies, and the last thing he would welcome into his life was a woman — especially one he was paired with.”

FINAL DECISION: This book is a mixed bag for me. I liked the scenario. I liked how Cayenne knocked Trap out of his comfort zone and I liked her. I even liked their relationship for much of the book except that Trap’s controlling, dominate nature is almost abusive at times.

THE STORY: Trap Dawkins is a Ghostwalker, a soldier who has been enhanced in both a psychic and a physical manner. A loner with a dark past, Trap is known as the Iceman because of his lack of emotion. For months, however, Trap has been obsessed with Cayenne, another experiment with whom he has been paired. Cayenne has been enhanced with spider traits. A deadly black widow and a failed experiment, Cayenne was slated for termination before being rescued by Trap. Trap hates feeling helplessly attracted to Cayenne and thinks that he will discover a way to reverse the attraction but realizes that there is something more than biological attraction between him and Cayenne.

OPINION: It took me a while to write the review for this book. I have conflicted feelings about it. There was much that I liked about it. Cayenne was a successful character for me. Her genetic modification was cool and her methods for operating in the world in a spider-like fashion were intriguing and kept me interested. When she operates in her nature as a huntress, she is strong, self-assured and confident. And she has a venomous bite.

I even liked Trap most of the time. He is haunted with a violent past that hangs over him every day. His isolation is shattered by his relationship with Cayenne and his fears and anxieties often overwhelm him. His reaction to this is my problem. He often treats Cayenne poorly when he is anxious or fearful. Some of that behavior — coldness is excusable. One scene, however, where he becomes somewhat verbally abusive to Cayenne is difficult to forgive because he doesn’t apologize but rather blames her.

Their relationship has shades of dominant and submissive, but without the formalities which makes those types of relationships acceptable. Sometimes these types of overly dominate and possessive relationships also exist in shifter romances, but there isn’t indications here that Trap’s behavior is caused by biology but rather his fears. To me, his misplaced anger and aggression against the innocent Cayenne didn’t work but rather seemed excessive.

This book is incredibly sexual being almost erotica. Hotter than even other books in this series, there is an incredible amount of sexual encounters in this book. As a consequence, the action on the overarching story is shoved into a few chapters towards the end of this book. At this point, I am not sure where the overarching story is even going. It feels muddled at this point and I’ve given up on it making sense. I read these books only for the romance now.

WORTH MENTIONING: I wish there was more time spent with all the previous characters. There is a rich stable of characters but this book is incredibly isolated from the rest of the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SPIDER GAME is the twelfth book in the Ghostwalkers series. I think it is impossible to understand the continuing story by just reading this book. The continuing story takes only a couple of chapters but there is no summary to help new readers.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.