Review: Turn to Darkness

Reviewed by Jen

This novella in the Offspring series serves as a companion piece to The Darkness Within.  It features the same band of characters and picks up shortly after that story left off.

Shea has recently moved out of the house she shared with a makeshift family of other Offspring, nicknamed D’Rats.  She was starting to have feelings for Greer (one of the men there) but she couldn’t deal with the mutual attraction because of a sexual assault in her past.  Now, Darius, another one of the D’Rats, is seeking her out in her new home. He wants a relationship with her, and is oblivious to the fact that she is not interested.

It turns out one of the men who raped Shea has been killed and her connection to him makes her a person of interest in the case. It also alerts her father and the others of his kind to her existence.   The otherworldly beings are trying to kill off their Offspring and now she is in danger.

In the meantime, Greer wants to protect Shea, both from Darius’s unwanted advances and from the threat to her life.  He also wants to help her heal from her rape.  The story follows their tentative relationship as both Darius and Shea’s father cause trouble.

I liked the story. Greer is sexy and patient and quite wonderful with Shea.  Darius makes a suitable creepy villain. And I liked that Shea’s dad wasn’t all bad.  The love story was tender and the sex was pretty good.  I thought Shea’s acceptance of physical love was a little abrupt, but otherwise I enjoyed the romance.

I also like how simplified the concepts of Darkness and Offspring are presented here. Sometimes, the world-building is a little confusing in this series. But in this story, I thought it worked well.

I hope we see the D’Rats again in the future.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Turn to Darkness
by Jaime Rush
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Review: Darkness Becomes Her

Reviewed by Jen

I haven’t read all of the Offspring books, but the series is clearly one with extensive world-building that has grown more and more complex over time. But I think this book does a great job of getting down to basics and focusing on a fantastic romance.

Lachlan is a man who lives in something of a self-imposed exile, ever since he accidentally killed his mother while astral projecting. His father died a short time after her death and now the only thing left in his life that matters is his brother Magnus. As our story begins, Magnus is trying to pull his brother back out into the world and tells him about Jessie, the woman he is hoping to start a relationship with. Lachlan suddenly gets a vision of Magnus dead at Jessie’s feet –and knows he can’t stop until he finds a way to keep his brother away from her.

Jessie is a woman on the run from her past. Ever since she witnessed her uncle killing her father, her life has never been the same. And now that he is out of prison, she knows he is hunting for her. Jessie knows she carries the same Darkness in her that her uncle does, but she doesn’t know what it means. Suddenly, he finds her and in a violent showdown, nearly kills Mangus. She is able to save his life, but only by using the dark gift that she knows will infect him too. He slips into a coma as he recovers.

Lachlan decides to help Jessie hide from her uncle as she tries to figure out how to defeat him. He thinks there is much more between her and Magnus than there really is. And he feels like he can find some redemption in saving his brother’s girl. But it becomes much more difficult to be honorable as he starts to fall for her.

Usually I cringe from adult virgin heroines, but here, Jessie has a good reason for her chastity. She is afraid her Darkness would harm her lover. And I was very excited to learn that our hero is a virgin too. Once you toss in the virginity with her fears of hurting him and his fears of betraying his brother… it’s like the perfect storm of sexual tension. I really, really enjoyed the progression of the romance here.

As for the paranormal element of the story, I felt like this was the clearest explanation I have seen in this series on the origins of the characters’ supernatural powers. And for the first time ever, I finally understood what “darkness” is. It’s all still a bit convoluted, but I felt like I “got it” enough to be able to enjoy the book.

There were lots of twists and turns and I laughed out loud a few times too. The book had heart, danger, and sex appeal. My only complaint was that it ended before we could see the repercussions of the relationship. Hopefully, the next book will fill in those blanks.

Rating: B+

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Darkness Becomes Her
by Jaime Rush
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Review: The Darkness Within

Reviewed by Jen

Tucker is man who carries Darkness within him –an otherworldly essence that allows him to shift into a wolf, but can also make him violent and territorial. He had a tough time growing up, though he knew nothing about what he was then. His only happy memories were of the few years he lived with Del and her mom. He and Del were just friends at first, but when her mother walked in on them kissing, it all fell apart.

You see Del’s mom was once married to Tucker’s father. She knew about the darkness and feared for her daughter’s safety. She explained the truth as she saw it: that Tucker was a monster; and she threw him out.

Now, years later, a suspicious death has brought Tucker’s dad out of the woodwork. he kidnaps Del’s mom, prompting Del to seek out the one person she knows she can turn to: Tucker. There is a whole lot of hurt and angst left between them. But more than that, there is still love and passion that simmers beneath the surface.

This is my second Offspring book and I’m still a little hazy on the dynamics of Darkness. But otherwise, this short story works really well as a standalone and it’s a great place for new readers to step into the world. There’s a great action storyline involving the kidnapping and attempts to rescue Del’s mom. But there is an even better love story at the center of everything –as those old feelings flare up between Del and Tuck. It’s sexy and emotional and a wild ride.

My only beef is that the ending cut off rather abruptly. Another chapter or a bit of an epilogue would have been welcomed. 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Darkness Within
by Jaime Rush
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Review: Beyond the Darkness

Reviewed by Jen

There are two different kind of series out there: the kind where you can jump in at any point, and the kind you really need to read the early installments to appreciate the later ones. This book falls in the second category. Beyond the Darkness is my first foray into the Offspring series. It’s book 5. And I was lost for a long time. In many ways, this book is clearly a continuation of an ongoing arc. Our hero and heroine met in a previous book; he saved her life, told her they has a psychic connection, and then left her.

As this book begins, Petra is still pining for Cheveyo, but is resolved to move on with her life. But then Pope comes to her, saying he needs Cheveyo’s help and only she can find him. It seems Pope also saved her life (in one of the previous books) and the lives of her group of… friends(?). Petra and the others are descendants of people enhanced by the essence of a being from a parallel universe. They’ve all got some kind of special gifts. Petra is a healer.

If you’ve read this series before, I’m sure all of that made perfect sense, but I had a hard time following along.

Anyway, Petra contacts Cheveyo, but the bad guy sees her with Pope, so now she is stuck with the two men until they can eradicate the threat. Cheveyo and Petra are soul mates, but he believes he cannot be with her. His life’s mission is to police the otherworld/ supernatural beings that make their way over from the other side. And having her in his life would constantly put her in danger. So he pushes her away. Then gives in a little. Then pushes her away again. And again. And again. It was really frustrating. He is just so rigid and single-mindedly focused on his mission.  It took a really long time before these two get together, and when they do, it’s actually quite good. Unfortunately, we lose ground every time we gain it.

I know that this book would have been a lot better for me if I was up to speed on the series when I started. I don’t know if I would have loved it. But it would have been better. Even still, I would have had to contend with the frustration brought on by Cheveyo’s martyrdom and Petra’s character as a whole. Did I mention she is a beautiful cosmetologist & masseuse in training, whose inner self is an orphan princess?

This one just wasn’t great for me. A little less than 3 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon or The Book Depository
Beyond the Darkness
by Jamie Rush
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Avon