Customer Reviews: Shadow Rising (Dark Dynasties)
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4.6 out of 5 stars32
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on August 8, 2012
Dark Dynasties Series:

Dark Awakening

Midnight Reckoning

Shadow Rising

Immortal Craving (to be released January 29, 2013)

Shadow Rising started great, keeping me excited about finding time to read whenever possible. Sadly, it slowed to the point that I started reading it only when I was having trouble falling asleep at night. Too much time was spent on characters sitting and talking, or sitting and thinking....sitting and not really doing anything. I kept reading to the end because I have hope that the next book will bring back the action.

I also hope for a more masculine hero. Damien was far too concerned about his hair and attire. When the lead couple travels, his suitcase is huge, dwarfing the size of the heroine's duffel. When they arrive at their destination, a friend of Damien's has to carry in all the bags because Damien is busy pulling his giant rolling suitcase full of designer slacks, pressed jeans, sports coats, and the necessities for making his hair perfect... And whatever you do, don't get any blood on his favorite shirt. Good thing the heroine was around to kill and chase off any bad guys.
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on July 31, 2012
Ariane is part of the Grigori. Grigori's are watchers, but can never intervene. Not many of the other dynasties know much about the Grigori. Ariane's only true friend Samuel went missing and going against the rules of her people and consequences be damned, she flees her sheltered life in the desert to search of him. Now those who do this get classified as a deserter and are not looked kindly upon.

Damien Tremien , world weary well known shape shifting thieving assassin that he is for the house of shadows just got a job he couldn't pass up this pay day. Though after continous run-ins with Ariane, this shade just got a partner who just happens to be a tempting and beautiful Grigori . And well Ariane just may have got more then she imagined on this journey of finding her friend .

This is the third book in the series. I have the first two that I will be reading as soon as I can, and reviewing them as well. This can be read as a stand-alone. Castle has found a wonderful job of making sure new readers don't get lost and helping you understand each dynasty and what they are about. Ariane is a sweet, innocent, and soft spoken leading lady, but underneath all that lays a determined woman who is loyal to those she cares for. Not to mention she is strapped with a big sword and knows how to use it. After all, she is a trained Grigori warrior. What else did you think she was learning in the desert all those years? She is fierce when it comes to fighting and I love a leading lady who is soft where it counts and has a back bone when it's needed.

Damien is your sexy shade who thinks he is incapable of caring for anyone. He has no problem lusting after the ladies, but something about Ariane brings out his protective side. He's always as good as his next pay day, and has a mouth on him that makes me want to have a battle of wits with him. I know many of the things that came out of it had me chuckling and shaking my head. Damien isn't the rogue he thinks he is it just took the right woman to prove it.

You will keep turning the pages to watch the romance grow and the spars between them. You can't help but fall in love with these two. Not to mention the mystery of Samuel and a few others you will come to see. Castle has created a unique world with never a dull moment. I am anxious for the next installment and will say you definitely will want to read this book.

ARC provided for a honest review
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on August 7, 2012
The Good: I appreciated that Ariane consciously realized that she was choosing a man who was a bit broken and did not expect to change him overnight. She saw his shortcomings and flaws and loved him for who he was.
It took me until about halfway through the book to really `feel' the chemistry between the characters, but once I did it was palpable.
This book also had a decent plot, rather than something I could solve myself 5 minutes into reading it.

The Bad: Ariane was a bit uneven as a heroine. She's supposed to be a fighter, but she also comes off rather weak at times. I get that she's supposed to be new to the world outside the Grigori, but being trained for combat or whatever for 900 years would toughen one up I would think.
I also felt like this book took awhile to really "take off". It was interesting, but I didn't feel that need to see what happens next until about 50-60% through the book.

Bottom line: Perhaps a bit slow, but still an enjoyable read.
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on November 5, 2014
If someone asked me for cat shape-shifter romances taking place in modern times, I wouldn't hesitate to suggest these stories, but that is a pretty specific request.
This book was fine. I thought the characters went a little too quickly from "I'm going to kill you, I work alone" to "You are the hottest thing I've ever seen/let's work together." The story did have a lot of ground to cover.
The overall arch of the series continues after this story, but I could not find any additional books in this series. Each book is a stand alone, with references to characters from previous books.
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Kendra Leigh Castle delivers yet again with her latest installment in the Dark Dynasties series. I love her heroes and their struggle for self-worth. I love her tortured Cait-Sith race, reviled for centuries and now finally coming into their own. I love the world building, the romance... the sex. Yes, I know I'm gushing, but I did not want to put this book down.

Damien is a Cait Sith, but also a Shade... an assassin for the House of Shadows. His latest mission is to find Sammael, a member of the mysterious Gregori race, who has gone missing. It's an exciting job, because no one knows much about the Gregori and because there is also a missing female that her people want back as well.

Ariane is an outcast among the Gregori. The ancient, winged vampires consider themselves watchers. They study others in the world and they don't interfere. They shun emotion and Ariane has never been able to truly clamp her feelings down. When her only friend, Sammael, goes missing, she ignores the rules and rushes out on her own to find him and bring him home.

It's only a matter of time before Ariane and Damien cross paths in their search. Though they each reject the idea at first, they eventually realize that it's in both of their best interests to work together. And of course, that provides the opportunity for the attraction between them to grow.

Damien is a hard man. Like many Cait-Sith, he considers himself the low-blood he's been branded by others. He's never known comfort or love. He has only found happiness in money and the thrill of the hunt. But he is taken by Ariane's innocence, her honesty, and her inner strength. She doesn't play games and it makes her easy to root for. It was so satisfying to watch him succumb to her goodness and acceptance of who and what he is. The romance is really quite sweet and the sex is very good too.

As much as the romance was a hit for me, I found I enjoyed the story as well. It was cool seeing the Gregori mysteries unfold and learning how it all fits in the broader picture of the series. Each one of the vampire houses is interesting and unique. Castle has created such a rich canvas with her supernatural world and continues to build on it with each book.

This is book three in the Dark Dynasties series, and while we get references to events and characters from other books, I think this would still work as a standalone. The story is loaded with great secondary characters who are practically screaming to get a book of their own one day. I can't wait to see what happens next.
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on January 28, 2013
With so many books about vampires, it can get tedious and monotonous. Shadow Rising is the 3rd book in the Dark Dynasties series. The entire series is a new, fresh take on the vampire world. After reading the other 2 books in the series, I have to admit I liked this one the best. We were teased with snippets about Damien in the first 2 books, leading up to the book centered around him. I loved learning his back story and seeing him change. The ending of the book opens up lots of possibilities for additional books. I can't wait to read more!
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on June 10, 2016
Interests: Paranormal Romance, Vampires, Shape-Shifters

Quick Summary
Ariane is one of the mysterious Grigori clan and though she's never left her homeland she's determined to leave in order to find her closest friend Sam, who has gone missing. Cait Sith and House of Shadow's assassin, Damien, is hired to track down a Grigori who's gone on the run. What Damien didn't expect was to partner up with Ariane and find himself enjoying working with someone else. But Arsinoe isn't the only threat out their now and something big is coming...something the Grigori Ancients are desperate to keep secret.

What I Liked
Just when I think we've learned everything we can about these vampire dynasties, Kendra Leigh Castle gives us something new to explore. I really enjoyed seeing more of the Dracul and getting deeper into the Grigori dynasty which has been very vague up to now. Castle does a great job of creating a very rich history and mythology to surround the different dynasties. I also liked Ariana's strength; she trained as a warrior but hasn't had a chance to prove herself since the Grigori refuse to send her on a mission. Watching her explore a world she's had no interaction with was great and it was so good to see her truly learn her own self-worth. Damien was better than I was expecting; I never really liked his character in the previous books considering he was somewhat of an enemy but Castle did a good of job of developing him into a character that I could at least become invested in.

What I Didn’t Like
I enjoyed Damien but he's just not my type of hero; this is through no fault of the author, just personal preference. But regardless of how I felt, I did enjoy reading the story; Castle gives the reader so much to be interested in outside of the romance.
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on August 31, 2012
At first glance, this series looks like every other vamp Paranormal Romance out there. Admittedly, it does follow the standard format of boy meets girl, falls in love and changes his evil ways. However, Kendra Leigh Castle's inclusion of vampire dynasties makes all the difference and helps these books to stand out from the crowd. Most angel stories rub me the wrong way, they're either too preachy or the lore is just so muddled that I have trouble digesting it. In these novels the author keeps things simple, packs in plenty of action and tells a satisfying love story. Each installment in this series keeps getting better and better, and Shadow Rising is the best so far.

Kendra's vamps are divided up by dynasties and each have their own unique histories and abilities. Every book revolves around a specific clan of undead and in this case it's the Grigori. I was a little hesitant at first; I mean who wouldn't be with angel vamps and all? Considering they are the epitome of evil in a celestial packaging. Ok, my curiosity was peeked; then Castle proceeded to work her writing magic and I was hooked. Not only did I love her winged vampires but we also learn more about Cait Sith's and House of Shadow. The Dark Dynasties universe is vast, engrossing and original; one of the best in this genre.

I genuinely enjoyed both of the main characters in Shadow Rising but for different reasons. Ariane has led a very sheltered life and has been kept in the dark about pretty much everything, including her own kind. I marveled at the courage it took for her to not only abandon everything that she's ever known for her only friend but to do it while knowing that she would probably pay for it with either her life or banishment. She's no weakling mind you and has several memorable and entertaining moments. I particularly enjoyed when she wields her humongous sword for the first time. Jaws drop. Damien on the other hand is the complete opposite. He doesn't care about anything or anyone and is an all around sketchy person with questionable morals. Despite being a shade he's also a Cait Sith with some interesting cat-like traits. Namely, he purrs during sex! Yes, you read that correctly. Ariane is the definition of goodness while as Damien is the personification of wicked. Sparks fly when these two clash, that is until they sleep together... then it's a whole different ball game! Funny how fantastic sex changes everything.

Everything about this book flowed perfectly; the pacing is dead-on, the dialogue is giggle worthy and the plot is exciting. There's not a single thing that I didn't like about this story. The only reason why I'm giving it a 4 out of 5 is because, well, it's hard for a Paranormal Romance to really wow me. There's just so many of them out there. Don't get me wrong, it's one of my favourite genres but it's rare for one to leave me in awe.

Shadow Rising is one of the better Paranormal Romance books out there. Kendra Leigh Castle's writing is exquisite and her vamps are beyond memorable. Each Dark Dynasties novel is able to stand on its own but with this caliber of story telling why wouldn't you want to read them all?
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on February 9, 2013
The love between Arianne and Damian is exquisite and should be kept forever bonded. The grigori is powerful and will finally get together with the vampires in order to cancel their brother CHAOS. The dynasties should have come together by now to put an end to the fallen angels.
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on August 9, 2012
**original review by Jamie posted at Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance**

When I open a book and discover that there is a glossary or an explanation of the paranormal world I get nervous. So of course when I saw that Shadow Rising has a description of the different types of vampires I panicked. Not to mention that I haven't read the first 2 books in the Dark Dynasty series so I was sure I was going to be lost. But I wasn't which is a big accomplishment to Kendra Leigh Castle. She does a great job easing you into this world so you don't feel lost.

Damien Tremaine, a cat-shifting vampire, is hired to find Sammael, a missing Grigori vampire but there is another vampire searching for him. Ariane just wants to find her friend and breaks the Grigori law by going off to find him when she comes across Damien. Immediately there are sparks between them and they keep getting thrown together. But things start to get out of hand and it seems there is more going on than just a missing vampire.

Watching Damien and Ariane interact was amusing. Damien underestimated Ariane and it was fun to see him get bested by a woman. There is no denying the chemistry between them and it was great to see Damien's control tested.

I want to be Ariane's friend. I was absolutely in love with Ariane. She is strong and knows what she wants. After being basically trapped for hundreds of years she is determined to have a life. I love how she stood up for herself to Damien. And speaking of Damien... I think this says it all.

Damien was damaged and difficult and scarred. But he had brought a color and life to her existence unlike anything she'd known before. He professed to be a liar, but with her, he had been brutally honest about his strengths and his flaws. More, he accepted her own.

I love him. He can call me kitten anytime he wants. He is tough and sexy and kind of a jerk. Yet you can't help but fall in love with him. He has this quite endearing quality that just gets you. Plus he purrs. Yeah.

Shadow Rising is an amazing story. I was hooked from the beginning and found myself rooting for Ariane and Damien. Definitely a new favorite paranormal series, and I will be going back and reading the first two books. And if you're worried that you'll be missing something if you haven't read the other books, don't be.

***review copy provided by Netgalley in conjuction with blog tour***
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