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Shadow Rising by Kendra Leigh Castle
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Wow! I Love this book, definitely a very good read! Kendra Leigh Castle did absolutely everything right in this book. I think I've found another favorite series to read, and the only thing I don't like is having to wait for more to come out! Amazing world building, memorable & likable characters, fantastic romance, and hot bedroom (or should I say graveyard?) scenes! Fantastic read! Before I go completely fan-girl here, I'll try to explain exactly why I loved it (or at least some of the things I loved).

The main characters in this book are Ariane & Damien. Ariane has spent the last several centuries, basically secluded from other vampires and the outside world, in the Grigori compound. Grigori vampires are seen as royalty, and the way she was turned has made her an outsider among them. She has no memory of her life before her change, and the depth of her loneliness is heartbreaking. She has worked harder than her fellow Grigori to train and learn, and is still considered an outcast. I immediately liked her.

Damien is a Cait-Sith, basically vampires that shape-shift into a cat, and he is also a Shade (assassin). The Cait-Sith are certainly not royalty and their race has been looked down upon for some time. His job as a Shade gives him an even worse reputation. I loved that even as broken as Damien is Ariane still sees the good in him, where others just see what they expect from him she sees through it all. The romance throughout the story was great, I really enjoyed seeing their relationship unfold.

The world that Castle has created is so in-depth, but she explains it so well, and does a very good job of adding things in as you go and not dumping too many new things on you at once. The book was so interesting that I powered straight through it in about a day, and was disappointed that it was over. There was even a teaser at the end for the fourth book, and now I'm dying to know what happens in the next book!

Even though it is the third book in the series, I still think you could read it as a stand-alone (I did, but I'll be reading the others ASAP). I love finding a new series to read, one for me is never enough, and I think I've found one I can safely say is my new favorite!

***Review copy provided by NetGalley*** ( )
  Chrystina.Williams | Dec 4, 2015 |
There are about a bezillion paranormal romances our there with vampires and werewolves, and I have to admit that a lot of them that I have read are not really worth the time spent reading them. Almost every indie author out there seems to have a sexy dream of making it a vampire or a werewolf. This book is not like a majority the amateurish tripe that is out there - this is quality writing and story telling - it was an enjoyable read from start to finish. The focus is on the human elements of the story and the characters. I found it fascinating - even though the vampires had specialized into Grigori (fallen angels/vampires), cat siths (were cat/vampires), regular vampires, shade vampires, and others which weren't explained in detail in the book, of course there were the werewolves, this did not stop a very human love story from unfolding between two different types of vampires (a grigori and a cat sith/shade) which posed its own issues. Most of the issues posed were those of the human heart and soul, and so the romance was particularly touching - instead of focusing on the paranormal aspects of these characters, which is typical, we have a well rounded story and characters which develop in a believable way and end up with a conclusion that wraps things up nicely even though every t is not crossed and every i is not dotted.

Ariane is the 900 year old grigori who breaks out of the compound to search for her best friend Sammael, after he has been missing for months and is feared dead. She is naive, and has never been in the mortal world before, but is determined to find him before something horrible can happen to him. Oren - another grigori, has been tasked with hunting down Sammel and bringing him back to the grigori compound, except, when he runaways get back, they have a tendency to disappear. Ariane does not want Sammel to disappear, so she wants to find him first. She ends up teaming up with a Cat Sith/Shade who has been paid by the Grigori to find Sammel and bring him back and to notify them if he finds her. What will he do about her? Will he send her back? The plot thickens as more grigori get involved and leaders of the different vampire communities find out that there are grigori on the loose, and things are not what they seem. The plot has a number of twists and turns and the romance is really quite well written. If I could give this book 4.5 stars, I would. It definitely deserves it. It is definitely a new take on vampires in general, and definitely a different view of vampire life. If you like paranormal romances, then treat yourself and read this one. The good news is, there are more in the series, so you can get your fix of great writing, characters and romance after you finish this one. Happy Reading! ( )
  Molecular | Feb 21, 2014 |
I have a major weakness for books where the hero calls the heroine “Kitten” like a huge weakness. This book did not disappoint. This is the 3rd boo k in the series by Kendra Leigh Castle, we got to know the hero in the previous books, and I absolutely adored learning more about Damien. He was such a sympathetic character but never crossed the line into pity. He was wounded but he covered all of that with a devil may care attitude it was great watching Ariane get under his skin and burrow her way to his heart.

Ariane’s naivety actually charms and does not come across fake in any way, it comes across as real, and her sass makes her interesting. There were points where she fell a little flat, but overall she was definitely a wonderful heroine for Damien. They were wonderful together, and watching Damien come to understand what she really meant to him was fantastic. There was a lot of drama, but it didn’t seem over the top in any way, everything fit.

The evil is growing and some good guys got corrupted along the way, we finally have a Big Bad for this series, something that was previously lacking, I’m looking forward to seeing how the different factions react to this new common foe. I’m giving this book: Shadow Rising by Kendra Leigh Castle a 4 out of 5 stars.
( )
  LaCello | Sep 21, 2013 |
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson:

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Shadow Rising from NetGalley and settled in with my Cait Sith tanktop ready for Damien's book. I absolutely love Damien, and was a little worried that I had put too high of expectations on the release. I shouldn't have worried, because immediately upon finishing it, my exact words were: "Quite possibly the best book I've read all year & I've read some good ones! Simply amazing!!" :)

Ariane is a Grigori. A headstrong female among a clan of male dominant, secretive vampires known for watching and not interfering. She's not your average Grigori though. She's something of an outcast among her clan due to the nature of her turning (which she can't even remember) and the level of humanity she retained after she became a vampire. When her best (and possibly only) friend disappears from their desert home, she goes against orders of her clan Ancients and sets out to find him on her own.

Damien is a Cait Sith, one of the cat shifting clan of vampires, and also a Shadow - an assasin. He's hired by a Grigori to locate their missing Ancient and sets out as usual in his cool an detached way. When his search causes him to run into a woman with eyes like violets and hair like spun platinum, his world gets absolutely rocked. Where he had never let emotion interfere with a job in the many, MANY years he'd been around, all it takes is one glance from this Grigori to mess with his head.

Finding that they simply can't avoid eachother, and that things might go smoother if they just pooled their resources and worked together, they embark on their journey to find the missing Sammael, along with the help of the heads of the other dynasties who realized that "the enemy of my enemy could possibly be my friend"...

Side notes: Damien is the ULTIMATE alpha hero. He's snarky, sarcastic, stubborn, and sexy as sin - the quintessetial bad boy - and he sooo made me purr. LOL. I had been waiting for his book, but this exceeded even my expectations.

We get some great appearances from some of our other favorite vamps as well in this installment, and Vlad in this book just made me want his book even more!!

What more can I say... the book was an action-packed, thrilling, suspenseful, surprising journey in the beautifully complex world of the Dark Dynasties and I was completely enthralled. I cannot wait for the next book!

LITERAL ADDICTION gives Shadow Rising an easily earned 5 Skulls and would recommend it to EVERYONE! While it's not necessary to read the preceding books to enjoy this installment, I will warn you that the minute you finish Shadow Rising you'll want to read the others, so you might as well start with book #1 and just enjoy the ride. :) ( )
  LITERALADDICTION | Aug 3, 2012 |
Being kept hidden from the outside world, Ariane feels trapped. When Sammael, the only person among her kind who shows her even the slightest bit of affection disappears, Ariane takes it upon herself to flee this isolated place and search for him herself. Damien Tremaine, a cat shifting Shade who has no intentions of taking on a partner when he is handed a job he cant refuse to go looking for a Grigori named Sammael. But when he runs into the beautiful and irresistible Ariane, he can't not deny the arousal she stirs in him and her request to be partners in search for her missing friend.

Although I didn't read the first two books to the Dark Dynasties series, I am extremely happy that I decided to go ahead and read Shadow Rising, despite the fact that it went against my OCD self to read a series out of order. My OCD was screaming and kicking at me to put the book down! (or press the big red X in the right hand corner because it was, after all, an eBook) Let's back to the review, shall we? I absolutely loved this book and find my self both loving and loathing the fact that I read this series out of order. There were parts where I thought I was missing something more, something important. But I was still engrossed and couldn't stop myself from turning the page. Ariane is one helluva character. I love her as a heroine. Ariane is so soft yet so damned fierce! The fact that she's so innocent contributes to her overall effect on me as a character. Being locked away for so long didn't tamp down her emotions and her will to live life. Aside from her ethereal beauty, Ariane is trained and well equipped to whoop your ass, to say the least. Damien Tremaine, Damien-freaking-Tremaine. I just want to eat him up! Damien is an amazing character. Thank you Ms. Castle for bringing him into my life! Before Damien meets Ariane, he's just a Cait Sith-Shade who could care less about the women he meets. Friends? Pshh what friends? Damien has secluded himself and the only company he needs is his own. Living the life of a Shade is not the life you bring home to a family.

What I didn't like... Well, I can't say I disliked anything about this book, other then the fact that I didn't read the first two books first. What I loved, was Ariane's character. Despite her being locked away for a really long time, she's kind and caring. And when Damien tries to pick a fight with her and instead of giving him that satisfaction, she opens herself up more to him. Another thing I love... and will always love, is DAMIEN!!! Can I just like... steal him away and lock him away? Haha, prob not eh. He purr's ladies! Purrs!! *sigh's dreamily*

I absolutely loved this book and would most definitely recommend this book! If you love yourself some Paranormal Romance with a haaaawt male that purrs and knows what he's doing... then you need to stop by your local book store (or Amazon) and pick up Dami- I mean Shadow Rising :) ( )
  bishhy | Jul 26, 2012 |
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Ancient Secrets, Dark Passions . . . 
As one of the Grigori, a noble vampire dynasty shrouded in mystery, Ariane has spent her life hidden away in the desert. Like all of her kind, she is a watcher, fated to observe, forbidden to act. Yet when her best friend Sammael vanishes, she defies all rules and flees her safe haven to bring him home.
A shape-shifting assassin for the House of Shadows, Damien Tremaine is hired to locate Sammael. His hunt for the wayward Grigori leads him to Ariane, the rogue vamp who stands between him and his bounty. Damien never lets emotion interfere with his work, but a single touch from the sexy, beguiling vampire shatters his self-control. Drawn together by their common goal, they begin an alliance of necessity that soon becomes one of desire. But when the secret at the dark heart of the Grigori comes to light, Damien and Ariane must make a choice that could bind them eternally . . . or tear them-and everything they care about-apart.
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Defying the rules of the Grigori, a noble vampire dynasty shrouded in mystery, to rescue her best friend, Ariane must convince a shape-shifting assassin to help her--an alliance that forces them to make a choice that could bind them eternally when a secret at the dark heart of the Grigori comes to light.… (more)

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