Friday, July 6, 2012

Review: Wicked Nights

Gena Showalter
Adult Paranormal Romance
411 Pages
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Leader of the most powerful army in the heavens, Zacharel has been deemed nearly too dangerous, too ruthless--and if he isn't careful, he'll lose his wings. But this warrior with a heart of ice will not be deterred from his missions at any cost...until a vulnerable human tempts him with a carnal pleasure he's never known before.

Accused of a crime she did not commit, Annabelle Miller has spent four years in an institution for the criminally insane. Demons track her every move, and their king will stop at nothing to have her. Zacharel is her only hope for survival, but is the brutal angel with a touch as hot as hell her salvation--or her ultimate damnation?

With Wicked Nights, Ms. Showalter introduces us to an entirely new cast of deliciously sexy and damaged souls, seamlessly transitioning us from the Lords of the Underworld and their demons to the Angels of the Dark through Zacharel, the beautifully cold angel sent to assist the Lords in their last several adventures. Though the Lords are keepers of the most challenging and problematic of demons, Zacharel and his army of angels all teetering on the brink of falling are equally tortured, the darkness forced upon them by life, fate, and circumstance a captivating contrast to their purpose in the heavens. Though some of the trademark humor so cherished in the witty banter between the both the Lords and their women is missing in this first installment between Zacharel and his men, Ms. Showalter succeeds yet again in creating characters whose lives we can’t wait to share and whose histories we’re desperate to learn.

Given the time we’ve spent with Zacharel as he’s aided the Lords, our affection for him is strong from the onset, our anticipation to discover all the secrets of this angel from whose wings snowflakes continuously fall incredibly high before we even read the first page. Though a connection to him is easily established, the connection he forms to heroine Annabelle doesn’t feel quite as strong as we'd hoped when we cracked the spine. After the tragic death of his beloved brother, Zacharel has had no interest in forming attachments to anyone else, shunning even the temporary contact of an intimate relationship with a woman so many of those under his command embrace, instead choosing to remain hard and seemingly heartless in his single-minded pursuit to destroy demons without a care for the human collateral damage he leaves in his wake.

Based on what we know of him and his emotional detachment, the speed with which he softens and thaws for Annabelle seems just a touch questionable. For a man who’s never even so much as experienced a hint of desire, it’s hard to fully believe in his sudden need to touch, taste, and fully possess Annabelle, to the extent that he can barely focus on anything else. Anna, for her part, is incredibly strong in mind and body, surviving unimaginable things during her incarceration in a mental facility with her sanity intact to emerge wounded but healing. She can at times seem very young though, some of her witty retorts slung in Zacharel’s direction just making the distance between them both in age as well species (as she’s human) feel far more significant that it might have otherwise.

While the romance between Zacharel and Annabelle is perhaps not as strong as some of the combustible partnerships we’ve been gifted with from Ms. Showalter in the past, the cast of secondary characters she brings to this new angelic table is as intriguing as ever. Sometimes, a shift in a story from one character’s journey to the next can be frustrating (particularly in a romance) as our desire to get back to the main couple outweighs our interest in following lesser characters, however, that is certainly not the case with the Lords of the Underworld or now the Angels of the Dark, the few of Zacharel’s army to whom we’re introduced in this first book laying claim to our hearts nearly instantaneously. Thane, Xerxes, and Bjorn hold particular interest, their shared brutal pasts only hinted at in between our moments with Zacharel and Anna, but though our time with them is brief, it’s more than enough to trigger a countdown to when we might finally be granted access to their full stories.

Rating: 3.5/5


  1. I am in loooove with this cover! Clearly, the covers are getting more and more awesome! I think the problem you had with the book is the way Gena showed and portrayed her Angels. Cold, heartless.. so it's hard to gett warmed up... So I think It's a find line she has to walk when getting them to fall in love. Anyhow! I want to read this oen so badly :))

  2. I haven't read any of her books yet, but I think I might have some. Sometimes its like Danny said, hard to warm up to characters.

  3. Gena has the very best covers--completely drool-worthy! I agree with your rating on this one. A great intro to another branch of hotties in the same world but there just wasn't that super-hot connection. Still, this series has great potential and, in this fab author's hands, I'm sure it'll be excellent. Plus, we'll get even more lickable covers!

  4. I need to read a Gena Showalter book soon. I feel a bit late to the party.

  5. I think Gena Showalter's adult books have the best covers! Just saying LOL :') I've never read any adult books before but I've adooooored her YA books! I find that when you love an author as much as you love GS, you have higher expectations so it's easier to fall short. But beautifully cold angels and complicated histories sound coo to me! :)

    Beautiful honest review, Jenny! <3

  6. Danny - ME TOO! The only thing I want to know is where was I for the audition to be the female model for this? I can cling to a man's naked chest with the best of them dammit!

    Candace - I absolutely adore her, definitely a favorite author of mine!

    Mary - Right? I'm loving how sexy this series and the Lords series is getting - Paris's book was super sexy too.

    Amanda - Yes, yes you do:) Start with the Lords - they're awesome.

  7. Ms. Showalter succeeds yet again in creating characters whose lives we can’t wait to share and whose histories we’re desperate to learn..

    I absolutely love this line, I don't know how many times someone has suggested that I pick a book up by Showalter, but I've never got around to it. This book sounds like an amazing start to an awesome series! I can't wait to check it out! Lovely review Jenny! :)

  8. Okay, so I am a huge fan of Gena's books, but I have to say with each one I read, they get really repetitive in the romance department. The side stories are all fascinating and I love those, but I wish she would switch up her romance stories a little. It sounds like I should definitely try this one, at least for the side characters and stories, so I will check this one out soon. :)

  9. Holy hot guy on the cover alert!!

    I never read adult paranormal romance, but maybe I should. I love YA paranormal, so it stands to reason that I could probably get into this too! I'll add it to my ever-growing list...!

  10. I'm gonna be honest... the cover totally caught my eye and I just HAD to come over and read your review. Can you blame me? That guy... *drools*

    It's a shame it's adult fiction since I usually just read teen and YA books but this sounds very enthralling and compelling. I'm curious about the romance between Zacheral and Annabelle!

    Fab review, Jenny <3

  11. Mimi - I agree, she's got some fantastic covers:) Even though I didn't love Zach and Anna, she still writes a great story.

    Jasprit - I think her characters are fabulous - she writes damaged men oh-so well:)

    Bailey - They can be repetitive, but somehow I just don't tire of them. Maybe because I don't read them all at once? It's usually months in between books, so by the time they release I'm ready for them!

    Leanna - I KNOW! *pets cover* If you like YA paranormal romance, I think you'd enjoy her stories, they're definitely adult, but they're not erotic by any stretch.

    Beverley - Right? He's so yummy:) I can't wait to see her next cover!

  12. I love great characters and the ones in Wicked Nights sound fabulous! If I ever pick up an adult paranormal romance, I'll probably pick up one of Gena's books! I'm happy to hear you liked this book, Jenny, despite a couple of minor problems. :) Fantastic review!

  13. Sometimes, a shift in a story from one character’s journey to the next can be frustrating (particularly in a romance) as our desire to get back to the main couple outweighs our interest in following lesser characters -- This is something that I have a lot of trouble with actually but I'm glad to hear it's not much of a problem here. :) Another great review, Jenny! This sounds interesting enough even though it's not perfect. I haven't read anything by Gena Showalter before but will have to change that soon.

  14. Lordy, that cover!! Steamy! Glad to see this is a nice start to the series. I've never read anything from this author but maybe I should. Excellent review Jenny. :)

  15. Sophia - I love great characters too, and I think Gena's are some of the best:)

    Sam - I do as well, and it usually really, really bothers me. With Gena's stories though, I always want to know more about the side characters because they're as tortured as the hero of the current book, and I have a thing for the tortured ones.

    Rachel - I know. I could stare at it all day:)

  16. I love Gena's books. There always so fun and easy to get inot. But yeah, I see what you are saying. Still, I would like to read it. Nice review Jenny!

  17. Lol, Bjorn, yes yes silly me, though should he not be able to spell his name right..

    Anyway, HOT cover. me want

  18. Wonderful review! You've got me interested.

  19. I didn't know this was a new series! I've never read any of Ms. Showalter's books. I think I might try this one! Great review!

  20. Oooooo! I love that cover! The things I could clean with those washboard abs! LOL

    I love spin off series. It's always fun to catch up with characters you've grown attached to. I have yet to read the LotU series, but I have it on my TBR list. I'll have to go look up how many books behind I am, hopefully not many, so I can get to this one soon. But I do have to admit, I like those "combustible partnerships" much better. I need my sizzle!

  21. I'm reading it right now, I absolutely agree that it's difficult to warm up to Zacharel but I am intrigued by the wings of snow and I quite like Annabelle she's a real survivor. Great review Jenny.

  22. Awesome review! Unfortunately I am not old enough to read this one but maybe when I'm older? I am glad to hear you enjoyed it though :-) However the lack of a strong romance is a bit of a disappointment! The concept sounds very creative!


  23. I think that your observation that a shift in the journey from one character to another, especially a peripheral character can be frustrating is accurate. It's hard to become invested in someone other than the main character once you've established a connection. I haven't read ANY of this author...but I'm sure I will one day.

  24. So is this a spin off on another series. I haven't read anything by Showalter. I've heard great things though. Not sure if this would be for me...since I really don't like angel stories.

  25. I haven't finished the Lords of the Underworld yet. Did they get finished with their search? Hmm, I have to see what I need to read. I kinda got bored with the series.
    But I don't want to miss the end. I've never met this guy so I know I missed that book!


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