I generally review romance, paranormal and urban fantasy. I tend to pick review books that I want to read, so generally my reviews will be positive. I always give my honest opinion: good, bad, and indifferent.
Note: on my blog I use a letter grading system. I've listed the ratings below. For sites with stars, I have listed the equivalent rating. If I didn't finish the book, I will not rate it with stars.
A+ Personal Favorite (5 stars)
A Loved It (4.5 or 5 stars)
A- Enjoyed A Lot (4 or 4.5 stars)
B+ Liked It A Lot (4 stars)
B Liked It -- Recommend (4 stars)
B- Liked It -- But I had a few small issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C+ Liked It -- But I had issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C Finished It -- Liked some, didn't like some (3 stars)
C- Finished It -- Liked a little, didn't like a lot (2 or 2.5 stars)
D Not A Big Fan (2 stars)
E Don’t Waste Your Time (1 star)
TW: Reading this book was like watching a Train Wreck
DNF: Did Not Finish
updated July 9, 2015
Keelin is a dragon shifter who recently awakened from Protective Hibernation. Although she’s considered royalty among her pack and is sister to the pack alpha, she was sheltered her whole life by parents. After surviving an attack (in the previous book), she decided it was time to live life on her own terms and has moved to Finn Stavros's wolf pack, working at Bo Broussard’s bar, striking out on her own while her parents are still in Protective Hibernation.
One month ago while helping Keelin’s pack, Bran Devlin, alpha of another dragon clan, recognized that his dragon wants to mate with Keelin. Although she rebuffed his advances previously, he’s come to town to find her and win her over. However, when it becomes evident that Keelin’s life is in danger, Devlin’s dragon decides it is time to take Keelin sooner rather than later.
Although Beyond the Darkness is the third book in Ms. Reus’s paranormal Darkness series, the story is written so that one can enjoy it without knowledge of the previous two titles. The author works in enough backstory and world-building to engage new-to-the-series readers, but it is not overly repetitive for those who have read the earlier titles. The story and romance are standalone, without any over-arching plot between books in the series.
The story elements are typical of paranormal romance, including shifters, danger, an alpha male, and the insta-love mating that drives the couple together. However, that’s where the similarities end. What I enjoyed most about Beyond the Darkness was how atypical Bran’s alpha male is when relating to Keelin. He recognizes her need to have freedom of choice and be an equal among warriors, and his motivations to win her over follow. He never once “dumbs down” his efforts to woo her, yet he uses his fierce desire to show Keelin that respects her needs and wishes.
I really like Bran and Keelin as a couple. Not only are they well-balanced and respectful, but they are smokin’ hot. The pair has an immediate attraction that kicks off the mating process right from the start. There is conflict, however, because Keelin doesn’t care for an over-protective alpha male or any mate, ever. I like the back and forth play that the pair go through until they find compromise and learn to believe and trust in the actions and words of the other. My only issue is that at times, Bran has a huge chip on his shoulder about his imperfect looks and damaged eyesight. Bran and Keelin's relationship moves quickly, but at an appropriate pace for a PNR.
The storyline involving demons, demigods, and danger to Keelin is intriguing, and I found myself engrossed from the start. The author spins enough mystery into the plot to keep me wondering at the true motivations of the antagonist. However, I was disappointed at how quickly the final fight resolves all of the issues. It just felt like it ended too easily, and we never knew the whole history.
Overall, I enjoyed Beyond the Darkness. The premise behind the badie was engrossing, and I really liked the romance between Keelin and Bran, which was sexy and loving. My favorite aspect of the romance was how respectful each was to the other, and despite the urges to mate, they gave it time. I was a little disappointed at how quickly the antagonist was dispatched, but overall the storyline was entertaining.
My Rating: B, Liked It
Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About
Review copy provided by author.