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I Belong

Review: Ravenous by Sharon Ashwood


Author: Sharon Ashwood

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: The Dark Forgotten (Book 1)

Publication Date: February 3, 2009

Format: Paperback, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 0451226178 (Penguin/Signet)

ISBN-13:  978-0451226174 (Penguin/Signet)

Reviewed by: Kiwi


Holly Carver is a small-time witch who busts ghosts for tuition money, but ends up wrangling a demon when a haunted house job goes bad.

Her Undead business associate, Alessandro Caravelli, suspects the demon is somebody’s not-so-secret weapon. The supernatural community is at war, and Holly’s unpredictable magic holds the key to hell’s doorway. Soon Holly is on everyone’s “must have” list, and not in a good way.

Alessandro wants her for more than magic. A lover with six centuries of experience, the vampire is walking seduction, but he’s also a predator. Every moment he spends guarding Holly, every second he spends falling under her witch’s spell, he becomes more and more of a threat himself. As Holly’s sharp-tongued grandma warns her: vampires are like a box of rich chocolate—they seem so tempting, but over-indulgence is a killer…

Quick & Dirty: Magic on every page.

Opening Sentence“Why didn’t you say you were calling about the old Flanders place?”


The Review:

Ok, so I went back in time and picked up the first in this series, after already reviewing the fourth. Screwy, I know, but I was on a deadline. So, in this first installment we are introduced to what seems to be most of the major players in the rest of the series. It’s nice to get to know them a bit more. And we are also introduced to the series’ biggest premise…Imagine the world when all those things that go bump in the night announce their existence, and become legal citizens of the world; business owners, bus drivers, the woman standing in front of you in the checkout lane. Crazy, I know. And, like anything outside the preferred, some of these races are subject to racial profiling, hate groups, etc. Geez, you’d think by the time these guys showed up in your lives, we could agree to disagree, or something.

In this first installment, we meet Alessandro (doesn’t his name just give you the shivers?) whose place in the world is governed by his Queen. She has, of late, had him chaperoning the vamps in our little town of Fairview, making sure they toe the line, that sort of thing. He also has a side job, helping registered Carver witch Holly rid the town of unwanted ghosts. Alessandro also harbors a secret need for Holly, one he refuses to act on, given her magical human status.

Holly is the only witch left working for her family’s agency, Three Sisters. After the tragic death of her parents in a sort of magical accident caused by her older sister Ashe, Holly’s magic has been a bit unreliable, or even broken you could say. For all these years, her small magic has been harder to grasp, and her big magic can be used, but causes her some rather severe pain.

When Holly is given the job of ridding a potential frat house, she turns up just for the money. She, like usual, contacted her business partner of sorts, Alessandro for help with this sort of job. When the house turns out to be more evil than she believed, and had already taken lives, including the possibility that it has taken the life of her professor boyfriend, she knows that even though it might hurt, she has to take this place down.

Following her recovery from the above job, and the subsequent loss of her relationship with the professor she has a run in with a large mouse, we’re talking the size of a human, who turns out to be a demon summoned from her prison into our world. The plot thickens as Alessandro and Holly must find this demon before it hurts someone else. We’re talking infected cops, meddling Queens, clan rivalries, a huge battle, and a surprising turn of events when we learn the truth about a certain professor.

Well, I liked this book as much as I did the fourth one. Like I said earlier, nice to get in on the beginning of the series, meet the people, hang out a bit. I have the next book on hand to review, so watch out for that, though I’m pretty sure it will be just as good as the others.

Notable Scene:

Holly let the energy rip the house’s magic apart, burning her nerves in a searing flash of heat. Sudden light flared. A bang. The smell of summer storms.

The black ooze hissed and bubbled where it touched her. It jerked away, scuttling back even as it melted to nothing. Holly pressed her forehead against the hard floorboards, flattening her body to connect with the physical house as much as she could. She had to give the power somewhere to go. Energy rushed through her like a current, far, far too much for the house’s magic to handle. She stole a glance, lifting her head just long enough to see that the black river had sizzled sown to a fast-vanishing puddle.

The glow was in the walls now, a faint hum washing through the air. Holly could feel the place shudder as the impact of the power blast reached the foundations. It resonated with her body, the sensation oddly intimate. Holly searched with her senses. The voices in her head were dead silent. Still. Gone. Zapped.

Nevertheless, Holly let the energy flow longer, making sure. She’d seen horror flicks. This house wasn’t getting any sequels.

A head rush made her glad to be lying down. Tears of relief leaked from her eyes, drying as they touched her hot cheeks. Raising one hand, she stared at the light under her skin, mesmerized. Great Goddess, I’m still glowing!

But it wasn’t over yet. Drawing on her broken power came at a cost. Holly’s flesh tightened, her heart stuttering like a drum tumbling down a hill. She pulled her knees under her, struggling to draw breath, but her lungs were like stone. No air.

Thoughts collapsed, puppets hacked away from their strings. No air, no air!

Sweat poured down her face. The glow faded. Now she was shaking. Her lungs grabbed a huge gasp, the instinct to live somehow cramming down the power, locking it away again.

And just when she thought the pain might be over, the aftermath hit—anguish so deep, it slashed each vertebra as it passed. Holly screamed a soundless word—she knew not what—and curled into a ball.

I won. I hurt.

Holly sobbed from sheer agony.

This was the reason she never took on more than snippy ghosts.

The Dark Forgotten Series:

1. Ravenous

2. Scorched

3. Unchained

4. Frostbound

FTC Advisory: Penguin/Signet provided me with a copy of Ravenous. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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