the shadow, by sylvain reynard

the shadowThe Shadow is the 2nd full-length novel in the Florentine series and overall 3rd book. In a recent Twitter “author chat” with Sylvain Reynard himself, he confirmed that he is working on the 4th and final book in the series.

After reading The Raven, I was less than enthused about this next installment in the series, but because I am such a huge fan of Reynard’s writing, I decided to go forth and conquer. So glad I did! The Shadow, while incredibly sexy, didn’t belabor the bedroom scenes and ramped up the action, intrigue, and humor.

Raven and  William are together and stronger than ever. But the forces around them are trying desperately to pull them apart–and they may succeed. Raven is forced to confront her past, in more ways than one. Her mother, stepfather, sister, and the priest who sheltered Raven and her sister, Cara, when they were children, are all in the fold as old hurts and crimes resurface from the past.

In the meantime, while Raven is dealing with the emotional turmoil from her childhood, William is still in search of the traitor amongst his council; all while trying to protect his city from both enemies within the city of Florence and those outside.

The Shadow has redeemed this series for me and I cannot wait until the 4th and final chapter of this paranormal ride. The heroine was far less annoying than in the previous book, though really, is anyone THAT good of a human being? Anyway, and William is clearly a force to be reckoned with. This book reminds us of the depth Reynard creates in his characters, which makes us fall in love with them. (Even if they’re beheading someone…)

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the raven, by sylvain reynard

the-raven-by-sylvain-reynardAs I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was uber excited about this book’s release. Sylvain Reynard is very active on social media and has been building the hype for about a year. On top of that, I loved the prequel novella, The Prince. And beyond even that, I adored Reynard’s Gabriel’s Inferno series that this was spun from. But, I guess it’s only logical that you won’t love everything written by an author and true to form, there was not a lot of love for The Raven.

This is a paranormal romance. And maybe that’s the first challenge for me. The only paranormal series I can read and enjoy is J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. But Reynard’s writing is lovely, so I figured I’d be fine. I wasn’t.

The story of  Raven–the over-weight, Plain Jane (incidentally, her real name is Jane) disabled art restorer–and William–the handsome, centuries old Vampyre Prince of Florence–has the makings of a unique and enthralling story. Unfortunately, it falls flat.

Raven’s story is told very slowly. And William’s is essentially all over the place. At 373 pages, their love story, and the book itself, don’t get interesting until about page 212. Until that point, you only marginally care about either character. I think Reynard was trying to do a deep dive into the character development but instead it’s long and drawn out without much sustenance.

Being a vampyre, William drinks human blood, can have sex for hours at a time, doesn’t like holy water or crosses, etc., etc. Essentially, every vampyre stereotype we’ve all heard. Reynard tires to create intrigue by making William impervious to certain tried and true myths associated with this species of the undead, but you wind up not really caring.

Raven, is essentially a pathetic martyr who will sacrifice herself for anyone. Elderly neighbor. Boy who doesn’t really like her. Homeless man on the street. Female vampyre who she barely knows and doesn’t like.

I am sad to say that for all of the excitement and anticipation I had leading up to this book’s release, I am very disappointed. I had to force myself to finish it and I have no interest in reading the next book in the series. Though my love for Reynard’s writing may get me to come back.

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the prince, by sylvain reynard

the princeIt’s no secret that Sylvain Reynard’s Gabriel Inferno’s series is by far one of my most fave romance stories. Reynard’s style of writing is not only romantic but it has the ability to transport you to places without being verbose.

The Prince is a novella that is a spin-off of Reynard’s Gabriel series and a prequel to his Florentine series, which kicks off its first full novel with The Raven, due out on February 3rd–can’t wait! In the spirit of full disclosure, The Prince is a paranormal story. For those who don’t normally read that genre–keep in mind this is a paranormal book being written by a prolific story-teller who gave us Gabriel and Julianne.

Set in Florence, Italy and its underworld, we are introduced to the Prince, himself at the Uffizi Gallery where Gabriel and Julianne are attending an event to share their copies of original Botticelli illustrations. Illustrations that once belonged to the Prince and which he very much wants back. He holds Gabriel and Julianne accountable for having purchased his stolen property and is on a quest to find out who originally stole the priceless works of art from him.

In the mean time, as the Prince plots his revenge against the Emerson’s, there is a battle going on for control of the underworld where the Prince reigns supreme. We also learn that Julianne is ill–something we are certain to learn more about in The Raven.

While a short read at under 100 pages, The Prince gives you just enough to whet your appetite for the full story to come. A week from today!

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why are readers so angry with authors?

dog-confused-huh-150x150Let me start by putting it out there–I’m confused?!?! Said confusion was incited by the many posts I came across in reference to Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series. Readers/fans of this series are complaining about the fact that it’s been extended from 3 books to 5. WHY?!?! If you love a series, the writing, the characters–why are you flat-out angry that some of your most beloved heroes and heroines are having their lives extended by the author??? In many cases, like Raine Miller’s Blackstone series, Sylvain Reynard’s Gabriel’s Inferno series, and Belle Aurora’s, Raw Family–the true fans were clamoring for more books; Reynard stated that was the whole reason he wrote the last book in the series–for the fans.

What about the Rizzoli & Isles books from Tess Gerritsen? James Patterson’s Alex Cross series? What if those were one and done? These writers have more story to tell so they do–because it’s what they do and what their readers want. Good plot-lines extending the sagas of the characters they love.

Yes, some series may have a natural end to them–it’s why my one of my most beloved tv shows, Sons of Anarchy, had its series finale last month (still haven’t recovered from that one…). But in the case of Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, we’re talking 5 books–FIVE.

I have seen so many write ups about this series, in particular, being extended just for money, and/or in spite of it originally being slated to end after 3 books.

  1. Day is a professional writer (i.e. she writes to make money), books are the way she does that.
  2. Seriously, if you’re going to complain about an author doing the best she can to provide readers with a good book to read, maybe reading isn’t really your thing.
  3. Lastly, you don’t have to read the book! (Something tells me Day’s books aren’t on many ‘required reading’ lists. Solely due to subject/content matter, not because they aren’t awesome–which they are!)

There you have it. My first rant of 2015. I will now step off my soap-box. For authors out there, especially the independent ones–good luck to you all!

tara’s tips: My actual review of Captivated by You is forthcoming.

Book Blog Tour Stop: Gabriel’s Redemption

gabriels redemptionTitle: Gabriel’s Redemption
Author: Sylvain Reynard

Summary:
From the author of the New York Times bestsellers Gabriel’s Rapture and Gabriel’s Inferno comes the epic conclusion to the captivating romantic trilogy.

Professor Gabriel Emerson has left his position at the University of Toronto to embark on a new life with his beloved Julianne. Together, he’s confident that they can face any challenge. And he’s eager to become a father.

But Julianne’s graduate program threatens Gabriel’s plans, as the pressures of being a student become all consuming. When she is given the honor of presenting an academic lecture at Oxford, Gabriel is forced to confront Julianne about the subject of her presentation—research that conflicts with his own. And in Oxford, several individuals from their past appear, including an old nemesis intent on humiliating Julia and exposing one of Gabriel’s darkest secrets.

In an effort to confront his remaining demons, Gabriel begins a quest to discover more about his biological parents, beginning a chain of events that has startling repercussions for himself, Julianne, and his hope of having a family.

My Review:
This is the only book to receive 5 out of 5 stars from me. I like a lot of books and love a lot of series, but to say I love one book in particular…that’s harder for me to define. Until now. Gabriel’s Redemption is the 3rd in a trilogy, with Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture being the 1st two. Sylvain Reynard, wrote this final installment in the series because his fans clamored for it and I’m so glad we did!

Reynard did an exceptional job of wrapping up all loose ends; reminding us just how far the characters have come. And bringing real life scenarios to the forefront that we can all identify with.

Julianne is in the midst of her PhD program, Gabriel wants to have a child, Crista Peterson continues to be a conniving [insert expletive], good-hearted Paul is still pining for Julia, and that’s only the start. We see characters we love–Katherine Picton–and those we are less than enamored of–think Simon and Natalie. Reynard has us travel to Italy, Oxford, New York, Boston, and of course, Selinsgrove, PA.

Pregnancy struggles, addiction relapses, family medical histories, trying to balance graduate studies with marriage… There was so much to sink your teeth into and Reynard didn’t gip us in the least by rushing through any of it or omitting any necessary details. The book was the perfect length and did superb justice to all of the characters and story lines. And his parenthetical commentary throughout was thoroughly entertaining.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how well-written this book is. Beautifully written actually. I, myself, have decided to purchase the books in print, even though I already have all of them on my Nook. I can’t imagine the amount of research Reynard had to do on Dante just to write these 3 books. I have found that I want to re-read Dante’s Inferno myself–something I haven’t done since high school/college–one of those.

If it can be considered such–the only downside I see is that this is the last in the series. I understand why but I will miss Julianne and Gabriel. Though I hear The Professor makes an appearance is Reynard’s next book, Raven

Reynard’s Bio:
I’m interested in the way literature can help us explore aspects of the human condition – particularly suffering, sex, love, faith, and redemption. My favourite stories are those in which a character takes a journey, either a physical journey to a new and exciting place, or a personal journey in which he or she learns something about himself/herself.

I’m also interested in how aesthetic elements such as art, architecture, and music can be used to tell a story or to illuminate the traits of a particular character. In my writing, I combine all of these elements with the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the transformative power of goodness.

I try to use my platform as an author to raise awareness about the following charities: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, WorldVision, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and Covenant House. For more information, see my Twitter account.

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