The Darkest Day by Britt Bury

The Darkest Day

by Britt Bury

Book one in the Immortal Heat series

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Highland, dystopian, erotica, demons

Expected publication: July 3rd 2012 by Grand Central Publishing

I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher for review

Izel Campbell was raised to believe she is an immortal Fionn with the magical skills of persuasion. But when she travels to Scotland to visit her ancestral home, Izel discovers that she is actually the world’s last living human. Forced to run for her life, Izel crosses paths with Kelvin Kerr, the Campbells’ greatest foe—and the most magnificent warrior she has ever seen.  A thousand-year-old battle chief of the Kerr clan, Kelvin lives only to avenge his father, who died at the hands of the bloody Campbells. Honor demands he kill the Campbell heir, but when he learns that the lovely Izel is both Campbell and human, Kelvin is torn between duty and desire . . .

Oh yes, Britt Bury, yes!

This is exactly what I have been looking for.  I have massive love for PNR (Paranormal romance) but nothing has really captured me since the early Black Dagger Brotherhood books.  Well finally something has.  I just loved this book.  It had everything; action, drama, humour and romance.  It was just great.

Ok, so what made this book so great? I will start with the idea.  I think Britt Bury is incredibly smart because she has taken the top three (or there about) romance sub-genres and somehow mixed them together.  This is a Highland novel, it is set in Scotland.  Our hero, Kelvin, is a Scottish clan warrior…but he is also something else.  Kelvin is a paranormal being, closely related to shape shifters (although his species doesn’t actually shift).  This novel might look and feel like a Highland novel but it is set in the modern world.  So it is a highland, PNR, urban fantasy novel…but wait, there’s more (stick with me here.) This modern world has no humans (almost) they all died out.  The world is full of paranormal beings but things are still somewhat derelict.  So to conclude The Darkest Day is a highland, PNR, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian novel.  Sounds a bit too much doesn’t it? Except for the fact that it works perfectly.  Bury has written this book so well that the joining of so many genres doesn’t distract from but enhances the reading experience.  This book is written in a way that is also utterly entrancing.  I struggled to put this book down.  It was engaging from beginning to end.  The prologue set the tone immediately and that atmosphere and intensity stayed with the book the whole way through.

Let’s move on to the characters.  Essentially there are only two characters in this book.  There are others who pop their heads in (I think/hope this was more for the next books in the series) but there are only two people who really matter in this book, Kelvin and Izel.

Izel is a great female lead.  She is funny, smart, sassy and just all round awesome.  I didn’t once find her irritating or weak.  She was not kick-ass or unemotional but she was no doormat either.  Kelvin (honestly if you could see what this guy looked like in my head you would faint) is just devastating.  If I met him I wouldn’t stand a chance.  He is strong, hard and tough.  He has responsibilities and obligations.  He at times probably comes across as a little scary.  He is rash, stubborn and infuriating.  But behind all the brutishness he is loving, gentle and fairly emotional.  When he loves he does it with all of his heart and he would do anything to protect that person.  Like Izel he was not once annoying.

The romance between Izel and Kelvin was just amazing.  I loved the growth of their relationship, from enemies, to annoyances, to lust then finally to love.  Sure, there are some bumps along the way but it was not done just for the sake of drama.  Most of the humour in this book came from the banter between them.  In the beginning the sparred verbally back and worth which gave the book a light-hearted feel but slowly that turned to something darker.  The tension and chemistry between them poured off of every page, it was fidget inducing brilliant.  It oozed from the characters and created bucket loads of sexual tension.

The Darkest Day proves that there is still some imagination in the romance genre.  It is by far the best PNR I have read in a while and I strongly recommend it.  I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

My rating 4 out of 5 stars

check out the links: Goodreads, Author’s website

Let me know what you think in the comments!

The Claimed by Caridad Pineiro

The Claimed

by Caridad Pineiro

Book two in The Sin Eaters series

Genre: Romance, paranormal, urban fantasy, erotica

Paperback, 368 pages.  Published May 1st 2012 by Grand Central Publishing.
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher for review
Victoria Johnson loves her life. She’s her own boss in a quaint beachside town, and has great friends who keep her grounded. If only they knew who she really is: an heiress to an ancient race who possesses astonishing superhuman powers. It’s Victoria’s duty to restore her clan of Light Hunters to their former glory by choosing the perfect mate. In Christopher Sombrosa, she just may have found him. Strong, smart, and successful, Christopher exudes a powerful energy. Their connection is sensual, irresistible-and forbidden.
A member of the Shadow Hunter clan, Christopher has defied his own father to lead his people away from affliction and violence. Yet he cannot ignore his duty to carry on his ancient bloodline. Stunningly beautiful and brimming with an erotic life force, Victoria is everything Christopher ever hoped for in a mate . . . but as a Light Hunter, she’s his mortal enemy. Together, they could unite their warring tribes. But murderous factions on both sides don’t want peace-and they’ll stop at nothing to keep light and darkness apart forever.
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The Claimed by Caridad Pineiro is the second book in the Sin Hunters series.  I have not read the first book (The Lost) but was still able to understand and follow this one.  It can be read as part of a series or as a stand-alone.

This Claimed started very slowly and not very much seemed to happen at the beginning.  It was readable but not terribly interesting.  From the half-way point and especially towards the end the book really picked up and become a lot more interesting.  There were a lot of action scenes which was great but at times it was hard to follow.  Most of the problems I had with not only the action scenes but the book as a whole were the use of aura and colours, something that is heavily used in this book.  It seemed to be mentioned in nearly every description and I struggled to picture all the aura’s, flashing lights and various other colourful things these ‘Hunters’ possess.  It did work at but was over used.

The characters were nice.  Victoria is smart, she has a lot of pressure put on her but she handles it well.  I really liked the tension between her and her parents (a storyline that was unfortunately dropped half way through) these moments really allowed you to see her strength.  Christopher was a nice guy and a good leaded.  The relationship between them is nice (I am a sucker for forbidden romances) it had all the right elements but I just never felt the chemistry between them.  What I liked was that they didn’t do anything stupid.  I never doubted their trust in each other and never though their relationship would fall apart.  It made a nice change as that is something we tend to see a lot in romance books.

I feel like I got to know Victoria really well.  There was a lot of effort put in to making her a well-rounded and complete character, but the same cannot be said for Christopher.  I felt like I didn’t know much about him at all (even though part of the book is told from his POV) without his half everything was not as intense as it could have been and I didn’t care about their relationship as much as I should have.

The Claimed is an interesting take on the PNR genre but somehow doesn’t have the explosiveness of other books out there.  It was good and entertaining enough but didn’t have that wow factor.  Despite that I will be checking out the first book in the series and the follow up to this one.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

check out the links: Goodreads, Amazon, AmazonUK, The Book Depository, Authors website

Let me know what you think in the comments.