Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dawn's Awakening by Lora Leigh: My February Must Read

**Note: this review is spoiler-free, so read on without fear**

In the near future, there is a species that lives alongside humans. They were created by evil scientists from a combination of human and animal DNA. They were trained to be weapons. They were tortured, they were raped, and they were stripped of their humanity. And from the horror of those labs came men and women with strength, intelligence, and compassion the world could never have imagined. Scarred to the depths of their souls by the past, but full of hope and determination for a better future, the trials they go through will break your heart while the love they find will bring you joy. They are the Breeds, and they will knock your socks off.

Lora Leigh Dawn’s Awakening is the story of Dawn Daniels and Seth Lawrence. Dawn is a Cougar Breed, one who had been raped and tortured repeatedly as a child. Now she’s stronger, a Breed Enforcer, but still plagued constantly by memories of what had been done to her. For ten years she and Seth have known they were mates, but the nightmare that was her past and misunderstandings on both sides have kept them from one another until the mating heat, the driving biological reaction between mates, has almost completely faded from Seth. But then Seth’s life is at risk, and Dawn will do anything to protect and claim the man that is her mate.

Dawn’s Awakening shows Leigh’s writing at its best. The story is both heartbreaking and achingly romantic. Dawn’s past haunts her, but she has not only survived, she has come through with strength and dignity that is awe-inspiring. With Seth’s love and help, Dawn continues to grow and cope more fully with what was done to her.

Seth has become my absolute favorite of Leigh’s heroes. He’s an alpha to the core, but the tenderness he shows with his mate and the love he has for her makes for some truly beautiful scenes best left for a reader to discover on their own.

There’s also a mystery to be solved regarding the enemy out to destroy Dawn and Seth, secrets that will be revealed, and an enigmatic character who will undoubtedly play a role in future books. Fans of the Breed series will meet some of their favorite characters again, such as Callan Lyons, Dash, Elizabeth, and Cassie Sinclair, Dane Vanderale, and the sexy, calculating Jonas Wyatt (who I am firmly convinced needs to catch a break from someone). There are also new Breeds to meet and ones to get to know better.

Leigh wrote Dawn’s Awakening as a stand-alone book, and first-time readers won’t miss out on any vital information. However, for a richer read, I recommend reading the first four Breed books (Tempting the Beast, The Man Within, Elizabeth’s Wolf, and Kiss of Heat). You will get to know Dawn and Seth from the beginning and read some of the events that are talked about in Dawn’s Awakening. For new readers of the Breed series, the reading order can be found by clicking here. I’m sure after Dawn’s Awakening you will want to rush out and read the rest of these addictive stories.

I highly recommend Dawn’s Awakening. It’s a compelling read that will break your heart and make you sigh over the hero’s romantic actions. Dawn and Seth have been long overdue for their happily ever after, but their story was well worth the wait.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I Need That Hero

What is it, dear readers, that makes a hero stand out for you? Is it sex appeal? A sense of humor? A scarred soul? His tenderness? Dominance? Any or all of the above or something else?

Right now Nalini Singh has a contest going on - The Mine to Possess Hot Men Contest. Her question, and mine, is about heroes. Who’s your favorite and why?

I have so many favorites (Dorian, Zsadist, Jonas….*sigh*), but the one that has to stand above all the rest would be Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Acheron. For nearly six years, I’ve read, loved, and been heartbroken over this hero. Ash is so full of love for people, he does everything in his power to protect the world, and yet others never see it as enough. I suppose it’s because only a handful know what it costs Ash to do what he does; the sacrifices willingly makes time and again for the happiness of others. He is self-sacrifice personified.

From what we have seen so far, Acheron’s past is full of pain with little or nothing to relieve it. He has been betrayed time and again by those he lets into his heart, but even so, he continues believing in others. For someone who almost never cries over a book, it says a lot that I will have tissues on hand for the first half of his book when it comes out this August.

Ash is has the whole package for me. He’s loving, giving, and has so many wounds that I would love to heal. And yes, there is the all-out sexy factor. His physical perfection isn’t what makes me love him above all else, but it’s nothing to dismiss either.

I really don’t have the words to do Acheron justice. He’s one of the many reasons I am simply in awe of Sherrilyn Kenyon. Acheron has been my number one hero since I was 18 years old, and I don’t think anything can ever change that; he has it all.

So now that you all know my favorite hero, who’s yours? Leave a comment and let me know who your favorite(s) are and why :)

And don't forget: Nalini's newest Psy-Changeling book, Mine to Possess, will be in stores February 5th.

If you've never read Nalini's books, (1) check out the reading order for the series and then (2) run as fast as you can to the nearest bookstore!!!!