Reading level: Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Mass market paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Release date: March 1, 2012
Series: Chimney Rock #1
Reviewed by: Stéphanie
WHEN NIGHT FALLS
After her husband's tragic death, Leigh Kelly arrives on Whidbey Island determined to start over. Yet the tiny town of Chimney Rock is not as peaceful as it seems. Women have been disappearing, and Leigh can't shake the feeling that she's being watched… especially at night. Soon, she's experiencing visions she can't explain and fighting her attraction to a handsome stranger who seems to know her most intimate desires.
PASSION TRANSFORMS THEM
As the leader of the Team, a pack of werehounds forced to hide their very existence, former special ops soldier Niles Latimer is desperate to prove a man's heart beats beneath his predator's body. And Leigh-the mysterious beauty possessing powers she doesn't yet understand-may be the one woman who can help him. But Niles isn't the only one who recognizes Leigh's true identity. Something evil is waiting in the woods-and the hunt has begun…
In this first book of the series, Stella Cameron introduces us to her interesting world of paranormal beings. There are many different creatures in this book, including werehounds, werewolves, vampires, and fae. It’s quite refreshing not to have werewolves as the main characters. In this series, the wolves are actually the bad guys, while one of the main good characters, Niles Latimer, is the werehound leader. The werehounds are stronger as men than hounds and, unlike the werewolves, they are willing to integrate within the human world since they hope to one day regain their humanity.
The other main character is Leigh Kelly, who moves to the tiny paranormal town of Chimney Rock to start over. After her husband’s death, she realized the big city life wasn’t for her anymore. She meets Niles on the day of her big move and is intrigued by this strong man. Unaware that he has decided to take her as a mate, they form a solid friendship.
Once introduced to the characters, this is where the author lost me. Many things were left unclear and because of this, I wasn’t really interested in the story anymore. If the author really wanted to leave us in the dark, then I would recommend to sticking to Leigh’s point of view, since she is unaware of the paranormal world. By following Niles point of view from time to time, I had no idea what propelled this character to do the things he did. Sometimes it’s okay to leave readers in the dark, but too many things in this book were left unexplained for way too long. Even now that I’ve finished the book, many things remain nebulous. But maybe that’s the point since the author wants us to remain interested an continue reading her series.
I almost feel guilty when I say that Leigh bothers me. I’m sympathetic to her situation and I really wanted to like her since she seems like an intelligent and strong willed woman. However, I think it’s her naivety and her constant analyzing of every situation and emotion that makes me hesitate. I’m aware that she recently lost her husband but, after more than a year, every situation and emotion seems to revolve around what her husband would want. She feels attracted to Niles since he's a very attentive and good looking man. Often, she wonders if she’s doing the right thing and if she should have feelings for this man. Also, Leigh often thinks that her dead husband would be glad that she’s living her life again and that she’s finally happy. I understand that it can be hard to lose someone so close, but in a romance book, I don’t think it’s necessary to have the dead husband haunting the first half of the book. But that’s just my opinion.
The Leigh and Niles relationship seemed a bit rushed. They fell in love too soon for my taste. They actually talk of love, joining together, becoming one and of marking each other (their words, not mine), after only a few short days. I’m all for powerful love connections in paranormal romances but this was done very fast and it was unrefined. Do you think a few days is too short to fall in love? Or do you believe in love at first sight?
I think the author was trying to do to much with the one book. This shows in the quick progression of the main character’s relationship and the fast introduction of other characters. So many characters and magical beings were introduced and it feels like we don’t have enough information about them. More information should have been given about Sally, the fae that has been shunned by her own people. And more knowledge on Saul, the “good” vampire, might have been useful to differentiate him from the “bad vampires.” I say, take your time Stella! You’ve created a great world so don’t forget to write about those little details that might be important to the future of the series.
Overall, I enjoyed the introduction to Stella Cameron’s supernatural world. Everything that remains unexplained has me waiting for the next book. Hopefully, more will be revealed soon so that I can enjoy the series a bit more. I’m looking forward to learning more about the werehounds, especially Sean who is my favorite hound so far.