Leap of the Lion (The Wild Hunt Legacy #4)

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She shifts for the first time on the day of her escape.

After a decade of captivity, Darcy MacCormac escapes the corrupt, clandestine organization called the Scythe, leaving family and friends behind. She must find a way to rescue them. Discovered by other shifters, the brand-new cougar gets two mentors. Blademage Gawain is an easy-going blacksmith with a steel-hard core. His brother Owen is a deadly warrior. Grumpy. Rude. And he doesn’t like her.

They aren’t the mates she’d dreamed of—they’re more.

Powerful, dominating Owen protects the clan—especially the weak—and the only remnant of an abused childhood is his avoidance of females. Now he has to mentor one? Although Gawain soon falls for the dauntless little cat, Owen knows better than to lose his head. But Darcy has a gift for repairing everything…including damaged hearts.

Love isn’t in her destiny.

In the brothers’ arms, Darcy finds safety. Comfort. And love. But however much she longs for a future with Owen and Gawain, her people need her. Somehow, she must find the courage and skills to save them, even if the attempt demands her life.

—                         —                         —

I have been eagerly awaiting this book all year. The Wild Hunt series is one of the handful of book series that I wish I could bring to life. It has the personality I look for in books, where the whole town comes to life through a supportive cast, strong leading characters and well thought out culture and backstories (since this is a fantasy series). Nothing in the Wild Hunt Legacy feels contrived or forced.

Cherise Sinclair masterfully balances the needs and distinct personalities of three main characters in a way no other author can match. Owen, Gawain and Darcy each had their moment to shine and I felt that the needs of each character were balanced with each other, and with the plot demands.

The romance kindles much slower in Leap of the Lion that readers of Sinclair would expect.  Owen and Gawain develop respect and friendship for Darcy before attraction takes over. There isn’t the same level of insta-romance that I typically expect but once love developed between these three, it was everything that I had hoped for.

Leap of the Lion grows the series in a lot of ways. We learned more about shifter culture, specifically Tinkers, Blade Mages and Healers, and several more shifters were introduced who could lead in stories of their own. While I am excited to get my paws on Tynan and Donal’s story, I think that Fell/Patrin/Heather will come first, which isn’t exactly a hardship.

I definitely recommend this book, this series, this author! But these books should be read in order, starting with Hour of the Lion.

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Winter of the Wolf – Cherise Sinclair

Winter of the Wolf is the second book in the Wild Hunt Legacy series by Cherise Sinclair.

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Blurb:

After years in foster care, Breanne Gallagher has the stable life she’s always wanted, living with her foster-sister, working as a chef, enjoying her comfortable routines. Then one devastating night, a hellish creature invades her apartment and shatters her fragile existence. Shifting between monster and man, it slaughters her foster sister and assaults Bree. Alone, wounded, her beloved home tainted by gruesome memories, Bree flees to a tiny wilderness town, following her only clue to her past.

Shapeshifting warriors, Zeb and Shay move from one pack to another, hunting the hellhounds which prey on their kind. Assigned to Cold Creek, they take over management of a decrepit fishing lodge for their “human” cover. Their first renter is a pretty human female who trembles at the sight of them—yet stands her ground. Furious at the hurt they see in her eyes, the protective nomads are drawn into helping her. Although no shapeshifter is ever attracted to a human, her scent is oddly compelling, and her ferocious determination to conquer her fears ignites longings neither loner ever expected to face.

Bree is healing, learning to shoot the biggest pistol she can find, and overcoming her fears, especially of the two deadly, disconcertingly attractive hunters. Her life is getting back on track…until she tries to save a little girl from a hellhound and discovers that everything she knows about herself is false.

—                 —                   —

It isn’t often that you see a second novel build so incredibly from the first in a series. Often, the story revolves around new characters in the same format and world.

Well, the world might be the same. And the initial premise too, of an adult woman discovering that she is a shapeshifter and trying to find her footing on new ground. But Bree is such an incredibly different character from the heroine of book one, almost her opposite in many ways, that it feels like a completely different story. Her male companions too are different, friends and partners in the field instead of littermates.

While I loved the original story, I also loved the differences that made this one unique. Bree is vulnerable and emotionally fragile throughout much of the book, with a difficult foster care background and abuse suffered both as a youth and an adult. Yet she grabs hold to a new existence in Cold Creek, forging personal relationships and business ties, and just generally establishing a life for herself.

I love books where the heroine does this. I find that … gumption? determination? pizzazz? something … to be an extremely admirable quality. It is something that I have many doubts I could do but wish I could. One day maybe I will pack up and move somewhere completely foreign to me and start again. Lord knows I wish I could, and Bree gives me the encouragement that maybe it would be possible for me as well.

Another difference from the first novel is that the protagonists are werewolves rather than were-cats, which means that in addition to belonging to the territory, they also have a pack that all the wolves in their territory belong to. The were-cats and bears don’t have this second community so it was an interesting development that added depth to the Wild Hunt series. I wanted to tear the pack leader limb from limb, but hey – that’s just a sign of a great author if they can make you care so much.

Ms. Sinclair adds enough humour into her novels to make them light, even when there is dark content, and that is a rare and lovely addition to erotic romance. Here is a brief excerpt from Winter of the Wolf, a scene that shows both Breanne and Zeb’s true natures, and is humorous as well.

A sweet voice caught his attention. Carrying a small tray she could use one-handed, Bree was taking drink orders. As she wove her way around the tables, her sunny hair gleamed in the light from the wall sconces. The wavy tangle stopped just above her waist, drawing attention to the way her jeans cupped her round ass. An inch or two taller than Vicki, she was even curvier and totally appealing.

Fuck.

Others had noticed, as well. She was collecting interested looks from the entire male population of the bar, even Daonain. But, true to form, humans started the trouble. Drunk, human, and male spelled pain in the ass, and the centre table held four PITAs.

One latched onto Bree’s arm tightly enough she couldn’t jerk away without spilling the drinks. Another had the effrontery to grab her ass.  Taller than everyone in the room, Zeb had a clear view. He started to push his way through the crowd.

She scowled and snapped something, but the human males only laughed. And then, she pivoted and planted her foot into the ass-toucher’s stomach. Man and chair went over backwards, skidding a few feet until coming to rest against the adjacent table.

She hadn’t even spilled a drink.

She turned toward the other male. He snatched his hand from her arm. With a swing of her blonde hair, she moved away as if she’d never been stopped. Fucking amazing. Zeb adjusted his jeans around a disconcerting hard-on and returned to the bar.

Calum was waiting for him. “Could you do me the favor of taking out the trash? Just the two. Politeness is not required. The others may stay.”

Sinclair, Cherise (2012-03-23). Winter of the Wolf (The Wild Hunt Legacy Book 2) (Kindle Locations 1144-1148). VanScoy Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Winter of the Wolf is certainly a romance novel, but you won’t find gratuitous sex scenes in the first couple of chapters. It is a menage relationship between two male “cahirs” and one little female, and they take their time getting to know each other before jumping beneath the sheets. Sometimes this gets boring, but it works for this series and the plot moves quickly without the spicy scenes.

I highly recommend this series, it is currently my favourite in the fantasy-romance genre!

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Hour of the Lion – a review

Does it ever feel like time just gets away from you?

As previously announced, my favourite author Ms Cherise Sinclair is releasing a new book in her erotic-fantasy series, The Wild Hunt Legacy, on January 26th. I wanted to review the first two books prior to the release of the third so that I had the whole series reviewed … here we are two days before and I’m just starting. Gosh dang it!

Nonetheless, it is time to push on, so here is my review for the fantabulous (yes, that’s a word) novel, Hour of the Lion.

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Blurb:

As a dedicated covert ops agent, Victoria Morgan follows two rules: accomplish the mission and protect the innocent. When bitten by a werecat—yeah, that was a sucky day—she must investigate beings that shouldn’t exist and are hard as hell to identify. Just how can she tell if a person is human–or an animal-shifter who enjoys Bambi-sized snacks?

During her investigation, she finds a real home and friends for the first time. Sweet, right? But there’s a flip-side: the bad guys are waiting for her to turn into something four-legged with a tail, the shifters suspect her of spying, and she has fallen in love with a pair of Thumper-eating werecougar brothers.

Her duty is to expose their existence. Or she could follow her heart and protect them with all of her deadly skills.

—                     —                     —

The first time I heard that Sinclair’s new release was going to be a menage romance,  I was a little wary. You can read a lot of things that wouldn’t actually appeal to you in real-life, but this was one of those topics I didn’t think I could get past. But I love her writing and she has helped me through some tough spots in the past so I gave it a try anyway. There is something to be said for having an author who is an automatic buy!

I loved Hour of the lion!!!

The world that she created is so magical and much more complete than I was expecting. Instead of just the were-creatures that are the focus of the series, the author also builds her world with brownies, pixies, fire salamanders, et al, all in the background but contributing to the feel of this otherworldly community hidden in a remote mountain town.

Victoria was an incredibly spunky and vivid character, a really inspirational role model for any woman. I find that when I read many books in a row whose female protagonists exhibit the same major characteristics, I tend to unconsciously take on some of those attitudes. “Vic” attacks life with a take no prisoners approach and doesn’t let fear stand in the way of anything, so she is a great role model to be reading about.

This is one of my favourite quotes:

Okay, she was braver than this. She wasn’t a little girl unable to fess up to her actions. She’d done the deed – deeds – and not it was time to pay the piper. She stared into the fire and confessed …

Victoria isn’t afraid to do a lot of things that I am. Like stand up to a mean guy who stole a waitress’ tips, or break up a barroom brawl. Of course she is a marine and CIA agent with lots of training behind her. I’m certainly not. And she is a book lover to boot! What’s not to love?!

Calum and Alec, the two male leads in Hour of the Lion, are entirely drool-worthy. Both are strong, protective, thoughtful males who aren’t afraid to stand up to their mistakes when they get it completely wrong. And boy do they get it wrong sometimes! I like that both are patient and slow to pass judgement, even if they have quick tempers. I love heroes who have an edge of danger to them, something both Calum and Alec have in spades. De. Lic. Ious.

I loved Hour of the Lion and encourage everyone not just to check it out, but also all of Cherise Sinclair’s books. Here website is: cherisesinclair.com or her author page on goodreads can be found here.

I can’t wait to read Eventide of the Bear this week, but I will try to review the second in the series before I get to it. The OCD perfectionist in me will grump if I review out of order ; )

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Eventide of the Bear – January 26th

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I am so excited about this book. It comes out January 26th and is the loooong awaited third instalment to the Wild Hunt series.

The Wild Hunt series is paranormal. Were-creatures (lions, bears, wolves…) have their own communities in the mountains, ruled by the Consantir of the territory who is given his legitimacy by the God Herne. While I am not usually a huge fan of fantasy, Ms. Sinclair does it right.

I am a huge fan of Cherise Sinclair, she is my most trusted author. Which means that she is the one author who I will follow into uncharted territory, whether I like the sound of a book or not. I trust that she will make it all ok, and is an automatic one-click in my books. I’ve been waiting a long time for this book, hopefully it will help clear away some of the mid-winter blues!

Here is the blurb to Eventide of the Bear:

She risked her life to save a human child.  Pain was her reward.

All her life, Emma longed for someone to love. Instead, disaster sees the brand-new bard banished from her people for long lonely years. Injured saving a child, the werebear has to steal food from humans, breaking shifter Law. The territory’s Cosantir and his lethal grizzly warrior catch her in the act. To her surprise, she’s healed and welcomed. Obviously, they don’t know her past. But oh, she can’t resist being around other shifters—especially the captivatingly powerful warrior. Maybe she can stay…just a little while.

As a grizzly warrior, Ben is ordered to house the pretty werebear until she heals. His littermate abandoned him, his home is empty, and he’s been alone for a long time. Intelligent and sweet and lushly curved, Emma is a delight…even if she is oddly reticent about her past. Although having sworn off females, he’s sorely tempted by this one. Damned if he doesn’t want to keep her, secrets or not.

Females were trouble. Years past, one split Ryder from his littermate. Now the panther shifter is returning to Ben, bringing his cub with him, a four-year-old he stole from the abusive female. To Ryder’s annoyance, his brother is sheltering a wounded bear. A female. Even worse, she’s beautiful and gentle and loving—damned if he’s going to fall for that act again. But when the dark of the moon arrives and death reigns supreme, he’ll discover that not all females are alike.

In a world filled with hellhounds and pixies, can three lonely shifters and one silent cub create a new family together? 

Genre: Paranormal erotic romance (menage)

Ms. Sinclair has posted an excerpt from the first chapter on her website. You’ll find it here.

The two books in this series are Hour of the Lion, followed by Winter of the Wolf.

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