Review: The Darkest Secret by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Secret by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: March 29, 2011

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Page Count: 410

Rating: 3.75/5

Source: Purchase

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Keeper of the demon of Secrets, Amun can manipulate the darkest thoughts of anyone nearby. But when the immortal warrior is chained and isolated to protect those he loves, death is his only hope of release—until he meets Haidee, a fellow prisoner whose beauty and hidden vulnerability draw him into a reckless test of his loyalty.

Haidee is a demon-assassin, raised to despise Amun’s kind. Yet how can she hate the man whose touch sets her aflame? But to save him, she must give herself body and soul…and face the wrath of a powerful adversary sworn to destroy her.


“He gave her what no one else had ever been able to give. A past to cherish. A present to enjoy. A future to anticipate.”

With a touch of redemption, hope, and forbidden passion, The Darkest Secret takes you on a fast-paced love story with just enough supernatural flare that ignites your love for paranormal romance. Don’t expect a dull moment in Gena’s world.

In this thrilling seventh instalment in the Lords of the Underworld, Amun, the keeper of Secrets, wishes for death, when hundreds of minor demons take possession of his body. His only salvation lies in Haidee, a demon-assassin determined to eliminate his kind. Passion erupts, bonds are tested, and the past is finally revealed. But their attraction may not be the only problem Amun and Haidee face.

I was a little hesitant in picking up Amun’s book because I haven’t seen much of him in previous books. But what I have seen goes from not fully understanding Amum as a character to sympathizing with him because of his struggles. I see him more as a secondary character, which I find disappointing because he has a lot of potential. He’s understanding, caring, and just damn cute at times. But in this book, I finally witness who he is as a man who constantly fights with a demon who survives off secrets. He has gained tremendous empathy from me. Gena isn’t afraid to torture her characters, especially if that act puts them on a better path.

In The Darkest Lies, Amun, Aeron (former keeper of Wrath), and William (an immortal) travel to hell so they can rescue Legion, a demon-turned-woman whose is Aeron’s adoptive daughter. Remind me to cleanse my soul before I die, because the hell Gena depicts is just down right creepy. Imagine the worst acts a person can commit, then ramp them up to a hundred.

What I like from this instalment is that Gena focuses solely on the romance between Amun and Haidee, then throws in some tension from Strider (keeper of Defeat), who thinks he is falling for her. Amun and Haidee balance each other out quite nicely. He calms her down, while she revves him up. I was hoping for more tension between them though. He’s a Lord possessed by a demon, and she’s a demon hunter, who killed his best friend Baden, a few millennia ago. However, this sequel transitions from a romance to a redemption story. Unfortunately, Gena sidetracks from the other storyline of finding Pandora’s box and locating the other warriors possessed by demons. I don’t mind that detour, but I was hoping to see some progression in this arc.

But what she does provide hooks me in though. I’m seven books into this series, and Gena hasn’t revealed how the Hunters, humans who pursue and kill the Lords, started. Until now. In other novels, she gives you the gist of their beginning, but she hasn’t explained it in any great detail. So I appreciate the backstory to the Hunters. And their inception maximizes the level of world building.

Gena is one author you should keep on your radar. If you’re looking for an action-packed paranormal romance that will surely keep you up at night, pick up her books. You won’t be disappointed.

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Review: The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

5509920The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: September 1, 2009

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Page Count:406

Rating: 4/5

Source: Gift


He is the keeper of Doubt and his entire world’s about to be rocked.

Bound by the demon of Doubt, Sabin unintentionally destroys even the most confident of lovers. So the immortal warrior spends his time on the battlefield instead of the bedroom, victory his only concern…until he meets Gwendolyn the Timid. One taste of the beautiful redhead, and he craves more.

Gwen, an immortal herself, always thought she’d fall for a kind human who wouldn’t rouse her darker side. But when Sabin frees her from prison, battling their enemies for the claim to Pandora’s box turns out to be nothing compared to the battle Sabin and Gwen will wage against love.


“They were connected, one being, fused together. She belonged to him, and he to her.”

I haven’t known of Gena and her Lords of the Underworld series for long, but I can say, without a doubt, that she masterly carves out her own piece of paranormal romance and sets her writing above the rest.

Sabin, keeper of Doubt, constantly battles with his his demon, who likes nothing more than to break a person’s confidence. He prefers the battlefield over any bedroom. Instead of finding another artifact in Egypt, he and his fellow Lords discover immortal women who Hunters have kidnapped, raped, and impregnated to create hybrid children. There Sabin finds Gwendolyn the Timid, a harpy, who tempts him more than his own demon. But what they uncover is more sinister than they imagine, and their mission to find the other artifacts may lead them to more danger.

So you guys know I’ve been following Gena for the past few months. And within that time, I’ve basically created a road map of when I should buy the next sequels. In the past, I’ve not been a huge supernatural romance reader, but I can always make an exception for this glorious author.

The Darkest Whisper goes down a darker and grittier storyline. I wasn’t expecting this turn, but I’m glad Gena pushes this book that way. I have been hoping to see the sinister side of her world. Even though the Hunters blame the Lords for every evil in our world, the Hunters themselves may possibly overshadow these cursed immortal warriors. The Lords look for redemption, yet the Hunters commit appalling acts so they will achieve their need to eliminate this so-called threat.

In the last three books, you haven’t gotten a lot of scenes with the Hunters. They often stay in the background. In this instalment though, they play a stronger role when they recruit people, train them, corrupt them, and turn them into expendable cannon fodder. Gena perfectly illustrates the depth of human cruelty. These Hunters kidnap, sometimes mutilate, and rape immortal women so they will breed and eventually train a new line of warriors who will despise the Lords. Darkest Whisper gives off a slight X-Men feel to it, but it doesn’t detract from the overall storyline. Gena knows how to write an antagonist you love to hate.

Within all this darkness lies the love story between Sabin and Gwen. These two are polar opposites. I enjoy that quality in them though. I haven’t been a huge fan of Sabin, leader of the Greek faction. I thought he is too arrogant. But he, and his sarcasm, has changed my view on him. I don’t blame Sabin for staying away from women. Since his last relationship ended with the suicide of his lover, he doesn’t want to unleash his demon on anyone. That woman was the wife of Dean Stefano, a hunter sworn to avenge his wife’s death. This backstory plays heavily with Gwen and Sabin’s relationship. Gwen, a harpy descended from Lucifer, balances out this cocky bastard. Both character stand on their own but complement each other when together. The banter between Sabin and his demon, Doubt, will make your snort and laugh at the most awkward times. I know I did. And throughout the story, Gwen grows into her own.

I am dying to see what Gena offers up next in the her instalments. But since she hasn’t disappointed me yet, I’m sure to love whatever she writes.

Book Haul: May 2017

I’m spoiled. I wasn’t expecting a large book haul last month. But I finally received my two most anticipated books of 2017! What did you get? Let me know in the comments.

 

25487124Missing by Kelley Armstrong

YA novel with a mystery/thriller twist and a Kelley book? I’m in. Honestly, I don’t need to read the synopsis; I’ll just add the book to my ever growing TBR on Goodreads and pre-order it. I’m turning desperate, I swear.

Every teenager dreams of leaving Reeve’s End. Winter Crane hopes to do the same. But when she finds a boy left for dead in the forest she loves, she wonders what has happened to the other teenagers.

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

ACOWAR is my most anticipated book of the year, and I cannot stop looking at it. Obviously Sarah is planning to write more novels from the ACOTAR world, but I’m rather sad to see Feyre’s POV end, since I believe Feyre has more stories to tell.

ACOWAR (ominous acronym, don’t you say?) quickly starts off from ACOMAF. Feyre is back in the Spring Court and hopes to find everything she can about the coming war and the King of Hybern. But with betrayal and deceit at every turn, Feyre must find who she can trust and who will be her ally.

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Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Here’s my second most anticipated book of 2017. I’ve been waiting to read this book for a long time! And I’ve bee drooling over that cover equally as long.

Mariko, a daughter of a samuri, survives an attack while she was on route to her betrothed. To discover why she marked for death, she infiltrates the Black Clan. But what she soon learns will change her life.

I’ve recently finished it, so I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel!

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The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

Beth, you are a godsend. And naturally you continue to supply my book addiction you created. 😂 I love you, woman.

Determined to find ancient artifacts that may lead to the Lords’ freedom, Lucien, Keeper of Death, is ordered to kill Anya, the Goddess of Anarchy. What he doesn’t know that she’s hellbent on hooking him.

The second instalment of the Lords of the Underworld series will capture the attention of any paranormal romance reader.

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The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

Danika Ford has been on the run for months, since Aeron, the Keeper of Wrath is tasked to kill her and her family. Finally, I get to read Reyes’ book. Reyes, the Keeper of Pain, can’t help but protect her. But their undeniable attraction may just doom them both.

Gena has been hinting at Danika and Reyes’ story since the first book, The Darkest Night. And I’ve been eagerly waiting to read their book since my friend gifted it to me.

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The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

Sabin, Keeper of Doubt, prefers the battlefield over the bedroom. And I don’t blame him. His demon will shatter any woman’s confidence. But Gwen, a harpy oddly nicknamed the Timid, is up for the challenge, even though she fears Sabin may spark her inner harpy. He takes her under his wing once he and the other Lords set her and other supernaturals free from the Hunters.

But the Lords’ hunt for the artifacts leading them to Pandora’s Box may just become increasingly dangerous than the warriors thought.

Keep your eyes open for my review!

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Review: The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

2712967The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: December 22, 2009

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Page Count: 368

Rating: 4/5

Source: Gift


Reyes is a man possessed. Bound by the demon of pain, he is forbidden to know pleasure. Yet he craves a mortal woman, Danika Ford, more than breath and will do anything to claim her–even defy the gods. Danika is on the run. For months she’s eluded the Lords of the Underworld, immortal warriors who won’t rest until she and her family have been destroyed. But her dreams are haunted by Reyes, the warrior whose searing touch she can’t forget. Yet a future together could mean death to all they both hold dear.


“He was dark, she was light. He was anguish, she was innocence. He was wrong for her in every way, and yet, when she looked at him, his entire world felt right.”

As I sink more into the Lords of the Underworld series, I see why readers love it. Mix in steamy sex scenes that will make anyone turn crimson, throw in tortured men, put in an intriguing mythology, and create a fast-paced story that will surely keep readers enthralled, and you get a dedicated following.

Reyes, Keeper of Pain, cannot seem to wipe Danika from his mind. Separated from her family, she has been on the run for months. Tormented by her dreams and her fear of Aeron, the Keeper or Wrath, she strikes a deal with Hunters, when they kidnap her. She will infiltrate the Lords and give intel on them, but lines  blur when, once Reyes saves her from the Hunters, she discovers he and the other Lords are more than what the Hunters accuse them of, and her attraction toward Reyes grows. But she must choose: side with the Hunters and purge this world of these demons or give in to her desire for Reyes. Unfortunately, the choice is much harder than Danika thinks.

 

“This means nothing,” she said.
“Less than nothing,” he lied.
“I’ll hate myself later.”
“I hate myself now.”

After reading the Darkest Kiss, I find The Darkest Pleasure refreshing. I’m rather fond of Reyes and Danika’s relationship. She, after all, is one of the four Ford women Cronus tasks Aeron to kill, but the Lords and her family do not understand why. What I love about their relationship is how they try to avoid it and each other. Obviously, you get a forbidden love vibe from them, but it works perfectly for this story. Reyes refuses to tie himself to any woman because his demon, Pain, influenced his former lovers and often tainted and changed them. This broken Lord just tugged at my heartstrings.  Since Gena been hinting at their relationship since the first book, The Darkest Night, I’ve been eagerly waiting to see how Gena plays out this storyline. And she doesn’t disappoints.

I’ve come to expect the most outrageous plot twists and character arcs from Gena. She goes from Ashlyn sacrificing her life so Maddox’ death curse will be lifted to Anya giving up her All Key to save Lucien. I don’t how she pulls them off, but I constantly feel I have whiplash once I’ve finished her books. And I enjoy how she cleverly weaves them in effortlessly. Now I realize why she has such a strong following. But one particular arc she includes in this instalment nearly turned me into an emotional mess. Since the death of  Sienna, Paris’ development has turned bleak. And given that his book is the ninth, I have a long way to sympathize with this character. She also throws in Aeron’s, which I’ve been hoping to read, as well.

What I love about this sequel is that you get to know the Lords better. You witness the brotherhood the Budpest faction has for one another, and finally the Greece faction gains the opportunity to rekindle the bond they had with the others. The banter between each character and the rich mythology spark my interest and make me want the other books more.

 

“Hope is a demon worse than your Pain.”

Gena focuses on the characters in Darkest Pleasure, and I think in doing so makes it stronger than the previous stories. I will easily admit I love most, if not all, of these characters. But what I look for is their development and struggles. And I want to see how they grab a hold of you and capture your attention. Reyes stands out from the other warriors. Pain controls him, yet he shows Danika nothing but safety and kindness. He chooses her over his brother. Reyes’ demon doesn’t scare Danika, nor does it tempt her. From the other two love interests in Lords of the Underworld, she gains my respect the most because of her strength and her undying will to live and to fight.

I think I can safely say Gena has gained a new follower. And I wonder what she else will pull off in this captivating paranormal romance.

Review: The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

2498983The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harelquin

Publication Date: June 1, 2008

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Page Count: 368

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Gift from Friend

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She has tempted many men…but never found her equal. Until now.


Though she has lived for centuries, Anya, goddess of Anarchy, has never known pleasure. Until Lucien, the incarnation of death–a warrior eternally doomed to take souls to the hereafter. He draws her like no other. And Anya will risk anything to have him.


But when the merciless Lord of the Underworld is ordered by the gods to claim Anya herself, their uncontrollable attraction becomes an anguished pursuit. Now they must defeat the unconquerable forces that control them, before their thirst for one another demands a sacrifice of love beyond imagining.


He was known as the Dark One. Malach ha-Maet. Yama. Azreal. Shadow Walker. Mairya. King of the Dead. He was all of those things and more, for he was a Lord of the Underworld.

Gena, yet again, delivers a heart-pounding and fast-paced story and immerses you in a deeply rich world that you don’t want to leave.

Weeks have passed, and new overlords lay claim to the Lords of the Underworld. Cronus has imprisoned the Greeks, who ruled over and cursed the Lords of the Underworld. Now he looks to test the warriors again by ordering Lucien, Keeper of Death, to kill Anya, the Goddess of Anarchy. But how can the leader of the Budapest faction kill her when he cannot fathom murdering the woman who is determined to win him and may just break this sombre warrior?

Gena amplifies the plot development tenfold while connecting it with this seductive storyline. The Lords continue to look for the DimOuniak (Pandora’s box), which the Hunters are hellbent to find and destroy. And to do so, they, with the help of Anya, travel to Rome to undercover the Temple of the Unspoken Ones, which holds ancient artifacts that will lead them to the box. While some readers may say, “Here we go again with another love story,” Gena isn’t afraid to add new layers to this series. The plot itself kept me hooked, and I couldn’t put the book down.

Call me addicted. I cannot get enough of these characters. And I thoroughly blame my friend for this problem. But I love her for buying this book, the third, and the forth, so we’re good. I  enjoyed reading The Darkest Night. But I admit this sequel outshines it, and I feel that Lucien cements himself as one of my favourite characters in the series. Since the first book, he has captured my attention. Come on, he’s Keeper of Death. The morbid nerd in me perked up when I heard of this tortured warrior. He once loved a mortal woman, and when her life cruelly ended, he scarred himself so he would no longer attract another. How tortured can a man be?

 

“Apparently, dancing for him and throwing herself at him weren’t enough. Apparently, she had to nearly commit murder to arouse him enough to attack her.”

Once again, Anya, daughter of Dysnomia and Tartarus, weaves her way into the Lord’s lives. You first see her at the end of The Darkest Night, where she offers Ashlyn a deal to break Maddox’s death curse. She exudes confidence, beauty, and sly intelligence, yet she creates a facade to hide who she is and what her past holds. I thought she’d bother me, since she can be somewhat ditsy, yet I love how she balances out ever-calm Lucien. Her backstory struck me much harder than I thought it would. And I can’t help but laugh at her determination to attract him. If this woman wants something, she gets it. And she’ll call him out on everything he does and says.

The sexual tension in Darkest Kiss may kill not only the readers but also Lucien and Anya. Gena has a knack for effortlessly incorporating that into her work. And the banter between them kept me laughing. He purposely avoids her since he doesn’t see why he should fall for any woman who will eventually die and how she can find him attractive, but Anya sees past his scars. Their arguing plays heavily into the plot. Nothing says love like killing and maiming. Lucien either must kill her or take the All Key, a key that allows her to escape any prison and an item Cronus dreams of owning. Cronus, the King of the Titans, plays a secondary character throughout the story and adds more to this mythology-rich plot. And I wonder how he’ll play a stronger role in the future sequels.

So take some advice from this PNR newbie and pick up this series. You may get obsessed as much I have gotten.

 

What is your favourite paranormal romance series? Let’s talk in the comments.

Review: The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: May 3, 2008

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Page Count: 379

Rating: 4/5

Source: Gift from Friend

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All her life, Ashlyn Darrow has been tormented by voices from the past. To end the nightmare, she has come to Budapest seeking help from men rumored to have supernatural abilities, not knowing she’ll be swept into the arms of Maddox, their most dangerous member — a man trapped in a hell of his own.

Neither can resist the instant hunger than calms their torments… and ignites an irresistible passion. But every heated touch and burning kiss will edge them closer to destruction — and a soul-shattering test of love…
Though they carry an eternal curse, the Lords of the Underworld are irresistibly seductive — and unimaginably powerful.


“I’ve traveled all over the world for the Institute, but I never dreamed I’d meet someone like you.”

Like my bestie always says, “Sweet Jesus!” If you’re a fan of paranormal romance, Greek mythology, and steamy male characters, this book—hell, this series—is a treat for you.

Ashlyn Darrow struggles with her ability that allows her to hear people’s thoughts, past conversations, and the like. While working for a parapsychology institution that studies supernatural beings, she decides to travel to Budapest so she can seek help from men who not only possess powers of their own but also can help her with hers. They are more than just supernaturals though. These immortal warriors are cursed for their actions they committed long ago. But now someone has decided to take over the gods who damned them.

I haven’t read many Harlequin books. I prefer fantasy over romance. Sure, I’m a fan of fantasy books with some romance elements. So while walking into this series with no great understanding of the romance genre, I wasn’t expecting I’d like it this much. Yes, I admit I like romance. Well, paranormal romance, but you get the gist. My friend Beth recommended the series and bought me the first book of the Lords of the Underworld. She hadn’t known I love Greek mythology. Give me Hades, battles of gods and goddesses, and prophecies any day. And now I’m tempted to just spend all my money to buy the entire series. Thank you Beth and Gena for this addiction, like I haven’t needed another one to add to the ever-growing list.

Yes, this series is almost hitting its tenth anniversary, but I can’t miss up a chance to start reviewing it. Hands down to Gena and her talent to spin a sensual story that hooks you from the beginning. Some writing and repetition could have been tightened up or taken out. But overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. The characters have strong voices, and the storyline is compelling and intriguing. And their backstory will entice any mythology fanatic. These Lords received a curse since they defied orders by opening Pandora’s box. Each warrior possesses a different demon: Maddox is bonded with Violence, Reyes with Pain, Lucien with Death, Torin with Disease, Paris with Promiscuity, and Aeron with Wrath. Gena weaves together Greek lore and her own story to create a seamless, imaginative, and character-driven plot.

 

“You are mine, woman, and I am yours. Until you, my life was desolate. I existed, but I didn’t truly live. Now I live, even in my death.”

The MC, Ashlyn, instantly connects with Maddox. And clearly you understand why. They act as if they’re mated. Their relationship is steamy and keeps you turning pages. Gena puts in strong character development throughout the story, and I enjoyed this progression. Readers can say their relationship is too exaggerated, but what do you expect from a romance novel? Perhaps it is, but it works because Gena makes it real.

 

“Pin his fucking legs.”
“Can’t. Got his arms.”
“Knock him out, Paris.”
“Sure. Want me to spew diamonds from my ass while I’m at it?”

Besides Maddox, four other characters who stick out are Paris, Reyes, Torin, and Lucien. The banter among the warriors captures my attention, and many times during the night I held back laughs so I wouldn’t wake anyone up. Gena writes their bond and brotherhood so fluidly that I can’t tell The Darkest Night is the first book.

Sometimes a genre you’ve never thought would interest just sneaks up and surprises you. I can’t wait for the next story.

What do you think of paranormal romances? Do they interest you? Let me know in the comments!