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on December 12, 2011
Morgan Bailey is a bounty hunter who kills vampires and demons for a living. She has gotten good at it over the years and feels confident there isn't a job she can't handle. Now she is up for the greatest challenge in her career yet. Hunting down a mythical sunwalker and finding an ancient amulet he purportedly has in his possession. Morgan is used to dealing with regular vamps that can't go out in sunlight, but this one will be trickier for her to track, not to mention kill. She doesn't let those details get in the way of her job, though. It just means it will be more challenging than usual. What she doesn't realize is there is a lot more going on than originally anticipated and as old, dark secrets are revealed, she may learn some things about herself she didn't know.

Kissed by Darkness is the first novel in the Sunwalker Saga. While it may have been written by a new author to the Urban Fantasy genre, there is much to recommend it. It starts off with a bang, introducing key characters and giving the reader a good idea about the world they have entered. Most humans are unaware of the supernatural elements around them and there are those (human or otherwise) who work in secret to keep it that way. This novel is not light reading. It certainly has dark and bloody elements that make the story fit right into the genre it was written for. A lot of questions are brought up early on, some answered by the end, while others are left for later novels to deal with. All around, the plot and world building were in-depth and fascinating.

There is a colorful cast of characters as well. Kabita is the woman who runs the private investigation firm Morgan works out of. She is cool, calm, and collected. The perfect foil for her subordinate, who is the complete opposite. Then there is Inigo Jones, Kabita's cousin, who is a clairvoyant that helps out on jobs when needed. Though he appears to only be twenty years old, his abilities and talents, as well as good looks, make Morgan lust after him in ways she knows she probably shouldn't. There are other characters introduced as the story plays out as well who play key roles. It all makes for an intense and suspenseful story.

The one thing that held me back from truly enjoying this novel was the main character, Morgan. While I liked all the others in the book, her personality and attitude didn't work for me. Now, I have no problem with most snarky, confident, tough female heroines- Cat, from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series, is one of my favorites. Yet Morgan rubbed me the wrong way. She is supposed to be a twenty-nine year old vampire hunter with years of experience under her belt. I expected a certain level of maturity from her. Yet she constantly bragged about how tough she was, how much she enjoyed killing things, how great her breasts looked, and how scared everyone was of her. In much of this, showing instead of telling might have alleviated some of my concerns. Instead, the reader has to listen to how great of a badass vampire hunter she is (yes, in those words, multiple times). Not only this, but she has major hormonal issues throughout, practically jumping all over several guys because she can't control herself. There is probably an explanation for this that was not given in book one, but it reaches the point of being extremely annoying. Mac, in the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, had some libido problems around Fae princes, but she acted far more mature about it than Morgan does in this book. I simply couldn't get past this character's behavior to fully enjoy the story. It made for a difficult read when it shouldn't have been.

Having said all these things, I don't think this is a bad book. There is a lot to recommend it and most likely the series does continue to get better. It just isn't one I can keep up with due to my reservations about Morgan. Clearly there are others that didn't have the issues I did, based on the reviews I read prior to buying the novel. If the traits I mentioned about Morgan's personality don't bother you, this might be a book worth checking out. I just want to warn those that may have preferences closer to my own.
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on January 5, 2012
Maybe I got the wrong end of the stick - this strikes me as a very YA book? And I'm just too old for it. I perhaps I just like a writer to use a little imagination when writing characters. However if you're happy reading that your leading man is the most gorgeous man on this earth, with the most kissable lips, with a voice that should be outlawed ...blah blah blah. The characters are just generic, and the writing, in first person, is very staccato and un-enjoyable to read. I love a good trashy read, but this is just generic rubbish. Plus, when the character says, and I quote, "it was all I could do not to clench my thighs together", for the third time in the first 100 or so pages, I start to want to poke a fork in my eye. Or hers.
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on December 19, 2012
Okay, let's talk about this book. And, keep in mind, there are spoilers. Not that anyone with half a brain couldn't pick them out long before they are revealed. The plot is very easy to follow and even easier to predict.
I love paranormal stories. But this book is what I would recommend to any would be writer about how NOT to create characters. The main character, Morgan Bailey, feels as though the author worked a little too much overtime to create an edgy, trendy girl. Thier times that the author referenced things Morgan did in an attempt to make her hip or cool. The interest in anything trendy was very, very detailed for the reader-almost too much so. Morgan's interest in Indian food, her admiration of her french press and the ritual of grinding coffee, even the generic references to classical literature were obvious enough for any fifth grader to get the hang of. Gah, we get it. And we still can't muster up any affection for the character. And the obsession of Morgan with England-really, ever meet the person who studied abroad and won't shut up about it? Enough said.
The first chapters included too much sexual attraction to a character who felt vague and two-dimensional. Then she met the sunwalker and (surprise, surprise) she was overly sexually attracted to him to. Sexual attraction is very important to a well written paranormal story, but in this case, hose the girl off! I mean, she came across as mega-slut. There was no subtlety to the attraction with either of the flat characters.
Her supporting cast was very shallow and held no interest for me. They had no depth, and even the vague and obvious hints at sub-plots was uninteresting and forced. The plot was okay....and I say that very nicely. There were times that I would tell my husband parts of the story (and he likes a good paranormal story-big Jim Butcher Fan!) and he and I would laugh about how cliched it was. Especially when the author brought Atlantis in to play in a very feeble plot "twist". It was obvious were the author was going with this story from page one!
Overall, this story is cliched, and very, very predictable. I would say it is a waste of money, but I haven't laughed out loud at a book like this for a very, very long time. Don't waste your money or brain cells on this travesty of a novel.
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on October 22, 2013
In the great scheme of things, this book really wasn't all that bad from the standpoint that events moved along at a decent pace and the author did a reasonable job setting up the plot. Unfortunately, the main character quickly became so annoying that I didn't care what happened to her. She was incapable of being in the presence of a male without spontaneously turning into a pile of uselessness with quivering loins. Mind you that the author didn't bother to actual build any chemistry between her protagonist and these thigh-clench-inducing men, but instead relies on the teenage "oh, he's just so dreamy!" method of romance development. In other words, bad writing. Combine this with an over-reliance on dream-sequences to fill in the narrative (and it got really distracting sometimes) complete with myth-o-babble, and you wind up with a an uninspired and uninspiring effort that really doesn't fill me with the need to get the next book.
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on September 5, 2011
Overall Feedback: To start out I was traversing facebook and came across this page for a group called Indie Authors Unite. being a reviewer of Indie books I had to join as this would add to my ability to get books to review. Upon joining the group I met this author from across the pond in England named Shea MacLeod. I was immediately intrigued because I am a fan of Highlander and MacLeod is the last name of the one. Who could pass that up. Shea started posting to my posts in the group and I found she shared a joy in horror movies and I just had to read her book, although it seemed to be romance and I am not a big fan of romance, so I picked it up. Let me tell you now that I am SO happy that I decided to grab it for a read and SO will you. Shea does a great job of taking a "tired" genre, vamps and romance, and adding her claim to the story. You will fall head over heels for Inigo and Jack, the two heartthrob men in the novel and Morgan will have all men wagging their tongues. You will be just as torn between the two men as morgan and will feel every choice she makes. So go ahead an grab a copy. What are you waiting for this is a "Buffy meets Twilight meets Harry Potter meets Underworld" book and who doesn't love all of those?

Point of View: You are a everyday woman that is thrown into a world you never knew was there and have to make choices you never thought you could make. Be Morgan and find more excitement in Portland than you thought possible.

Voice: This is where Shea excels and brings her own spin to an otherwise overdone genre.

Character Development: You will sweat it out with the three main characters just as Shea wanted (I assume) and will be trying to make them do as you want. You will find yourself disagreeing with the choices of the characters although they are just on the pages of a book and can not possibly hear you.

Plot: All I can say is buy the 2nd installment of this series now! You will want to keep going to find out what happens next. Fast paced and stops on a cliffhanger.
Dialogue: Just adds to the intrigue of the characters and makes the reader fall for each.

Pacing: Non-stop intrigue to the last delicious drop.

Setting: Portland... Who knew?

Continuity: The reader will be able to tell there is more to the stroy and this is a great example of how to start a series that can and will go on for as long as the author chooses.
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on August 4, 2011
We all know paranormal is about as tired as witches, warlocks, fairies, elves, toads or what ever else can come out of the woodwork (including vampires). It has been done to death. Ms. MacLeod is quite talented though and she breathes life into this genre like no one else before. This is strictly for adults (no YA moments here at all so if you're looking for another Twilight, you best move on).

I love Morgan, the main character. The love triangle between her, Jack and Inigo is seductive and mind-blowing at the same time. Portland never seemed so exciting as it was in this thrilling first book in the Sunwalker saga. I am willing to follow Morgan, Jack, Inigo and Kabita where ever it is they want to take me because it is just that good. The ending is a total cliffhanger, unfortunately, but I can't wait for the second book, rumored to take place in London. I am waiting with baited breath to read about Morgan kicking some serious vampire butt across the pond.

Author of:
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on February 3, 2015
I listened to the audio version and enjoyed this story. The world-building was good. The author's way of inserting back story through dreams was good. While there wasn't a cliffhanger as such at the end, a single statement made near the ending definitely piqued my interest in reading the next book. Still, don't misinterpret that as me saying the ending was a cliffhanger--not at all. This story was resolved by the end. A hint of a future adventure was given and I look forward to seeing where the author takes us with that.
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on January 8, 2013
Too many inconsistencies in the story. I can suspend disbelief, but when a character goes from strong to weak in a paragraph for no reason it's hard to take the story seriously.

I could do without as much "I'm a badass Hunter" stuff as well. Do it, don't tell me.
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on February 25, 2012
Honestly, I put this on my Kindle so the wife would have a few books to read when the kids grabbed the iPad. On a whim... I started reading this book and was shocked that it 'sucked me in.'

What this book is: Light read (it probably is at a 6th grade vocabulary as detractors noted), funny, amusing twist on violence (not for YA), and a bit of romance (but surprisingly, not so mushy I didn't click out of the book). The humor is well done throughout; I particularly liked the blind date set up by the lead's mom.

What this book isn't: Only the main character is well developed. Every other character in the book is a 'cardboard cut out.' The book also doesn't integrate the action happening in Portland OR with the greater world other than London. (How could a tiny city have multiple vampire clans and the general population be unaware?) Ok, enough on the obvious plot holes, what worked worked! Action, mystery, and an enjoyable system of mythology and magic that was fun to read.

Neil
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on January 8, 2013
Self-published, and it's not hard to see why. The main character is very two dimensional, cliched, and contradictory. She's supposed to be a professional vampire slayer, but in the first two encounters we witness, she's taken off-guard by what SHE calls newbie, baby vamps before overcoming them. Seriously, how does someone who bleeds or is bled on copiously on a nightly basis stay in clothes, anyway? Except despite multiple descriptions of blood dripping down her cleavage, we never actually get bloody clothes mentioned or dealt with.

The worst part, for me, was the exposition and random tangents. Why, when about to pick a lock, do we have to go into pages of why it would be much funner to shoot the door, but the exact reasons that is unsafe and blahblahblah, oh! Back to picking the lock.

This book is humorous as a giant cliche machine, but otherwise isn't worth the read for anyone who generally enjoys good paranormal romance or urban fantasy.
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