Thursday, December 12, 2013

[ARC Review]: "Shadowdance"

Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan
Publisher: Forever (December 17, 2013) 
Series: The Darkest London, 4
Genre: Paranormal/Historical Romance [steampunk]

Once a heart is lost in shadow...

Life has been anything but kind to Mary Chase. But the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals has given her purpose. Now she's been tasked with catching a vicious murderer dubbed the Bishop of Charing Cross. But someone is already on the case—and the last thing he relishes is a partner.

Only someone who lives in darkness can find it.

Jack Talent has been alone with his demons for many years. He never expected to have the willful Mary Chase assist him on the Bishop case. Their age-old rivalry reaches new heights—even as their desire for one another reaches a fever pitch. Though he aches to bring her close, Jack's dark secrets are a chasm between them. With dangerous enemies closing in, Jack must find the strength to face the past...or risk losing Mary forever.

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

My Review:

From page 1, Kristen Callihan had me. She weaved a tale so powerful, so compelling, that I had no choice but to follow it through to the end. Through pain and suffering, through mystery and death, through love and wit, and finally, scorching passion, I flipped the pages, eager to devour Shadowdance whole. It's a rare talent, being able to do that, but Callihan has it.

The story itself was wonderful; very unique, like nothing I've read before. For that alone, I fell in love with this book. The world building was perfect; it felt real, and I was easily able to see everything I was reading. Callihan's voice is also perfection; I can't imagine anyone else attempting to tell this story, let alone pulling it off so well. But it was the many twists in the story that left me in awe. I never knew what would happen next, and towards the last few chapters I was worried, gripping the book as panic filled me; would everything turn out okay? Would Mary and Jack be together? As cliché as it sounds, I was on the edge of my seat, while my heart was in my throat.

"Do you know what it's like to have what you want most in the world constantly in front of you," he whispered, "and never dare take it?"

It's not just the fresh story that made me fall for Shadowdance. It was also the passion. Callihan is able to work pure magic with her characters, drawing the sexual tension out to the last delicious moment, before finally giving us a sex scene with so much emotion and heat that I had to reread it twice, savoring it the second time around. And I'd happily reread those scenes again, and again. Their first kiss was beyond words. To finally see their chemistry set ablaze, and the way that Jack handled her first kiss, telling her that kissing is like a conversation . . . I was deliriously happy, and if it wasn't for the fact that this scene goes on for a few pages, I'd share the passage with the world, proof of Callihan's talent. Instead, you will simply have to trust me and pick up Shadowdance yourself. You'll known when you hit the right scene; do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to savor it, mark it for future rereading, and then start from the beginning all over again. I know I will be doing exactly that for years to come!

The only complaint I have isn't even a real complaint. I felt like I was missing out on things during part of the book, but it was entirely my fault, as I had not read books 2 and 3 (though I read book 1 when it debuted, and thoroughly loved it as well). I should have known better than to jump into the midst of the series, but I was so excited at the thought of getting my hands on this ARC that all reason left me. I regret it, sure. However, even without having read the previous books, I wasn't lost. It didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. That being said, I would suggest to other readers that you pick up this series in order, to properly understand this world and the various characters in it. It wouldn't be a hard thing to do, as I am confident that each book Callihan writes will be amazing. I've yet to be disappointed, and as I finish up this review, I'm already clicking on the rest of her books, adding them to my cart and awaiting their arrival.

"Your scent," he said abruptly. "Your voice. Your humor. "Your kindness." He glanced at her, then away. "Your smile." Taking a short breath, he faced her, his shoulders back and square. "In that order."

Mary blinked at him. "I'm sorry?"

His flush grew. "Damn . . ." Jack's mouth firmed. "Those are the things I first fell in love with about you. When we met that night on Lucien's barge."

"Oh . . . well." A lovely warmth spread over her skin as she stared up at him. 

"But what captured my heart"-- he swallowed quickly, his eyes not quite meeting hers -- "what stole my soul, was your mind. That sharp, twisted, utterly lovely mind."

A perfect blend of paranormal and historical, with a fresh story and a compelling voice, Shadowdance is one of the best romances I have read, easily in the top 5 for this year. Callihan creates such interesting, tortured, and strong characters that you can't help but fall for them, care for them even. And she also knows how to make the pages sizzle—sexy! And let's not forget the wit and banter . . . You won't want to miss this book—or series—I guarantee!


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Thanks to Night Owl Reviews, where I received this ARC for free in exchange for reviewing the book. (Free book does not equal biased review, however!) This review is the property of NOR. My original review for NOR can be found here

I added the quotes for this post on TBQ's Book Palace; the quotes belong to Kristin Callihan, and TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them.

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Have you read Kristen Callihan's books yet? Believe me, you should! What a wonderful series, and a very talented author! 

Oh, and you can pre-order a paperback copy on Amazon for only $4.84 right now!

My copy of Shadowdance has many pages marked with passages and quotes I enjoyed, and I know I will be rereading it many times. I'm anxious to catch up on book 2 and 3, which I have sitting on my shelf. 

What was the last book that wowed you -- either due to  the writing, the unique story, the characters, etc?


Until Next Time,

*TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!


Lover Of Romance said...

awesome review!!! This one sounds so goood!!! Bumping it up the list for sure. I think I almost cried in that last quote you shared. This definitely sounds up my alley. Especially since its historical :) Hope you are well.

The_Book_Queen said...

You will not regret reading this one, I promise! :) And when your read those quotes in context, the tears do threaten to spill!
I'm doing well; just trying to stay warm!