Review: Crimson Shadows by Trisha Baker

Format: E-book
Read with: Microsoft Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Horror
Series: Crimson, Book 3
Publisher: Pinnacle
Hero/Villain: Lord Simon Baldevar
Heroine: Meghann Katherine Agnes O’Neill
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 1, 2003
Started On: March 20, 2011
Finished On: March 21, 2011

Its with a feeling of bittersweet¬†melancholy¬†coursing through me that I write this review and bid farewell to one of the most enthralling paranormal/horror romances that I have read to date. I bid farewell to my most favorite¬†villainous¬†hero Simon Baldevar with a heavy heart and I don’t think any hero that I come across afterwards would ever be able to completely surpass what he has made me feel throughout the trilogy.

Crimson Night, book 2 of the Crimson trilogy ended on a bittersweet note with Simon and Meghann going ¬†their separate ways, torn apart by the one thing that was supposed to bring them closer to each other. Vampire pregnancies being rare caused much upheaval on Meghann and nearly destroyed her life before she bore Simon twins, Elizabeth their mortal daughter and Mikal their immortal son. Knowing that Simon’s enemies would never give them a moments peace if it were to come to light that an immortal vampire offspring walks the Earth, Simon does the most unselfish thing he has ever done in his life and subjects himself to separation from Meghann, the woman who holds his heart for eternity and their beautiful daughter to bring up their son who from the very beginning show signs of depravity unlike anything encountered before in the story.

Meghann brings up their beautiful daughter together with the help of her immortal friend and confidante Dr. Charles Tarleton and his life partner Dr. Lee Winslow who adopts Elizabeth as his own child and forgoes transformation to look after Elizabeth during daylight hours. 17 years pass by without any sort of connection between Simon and Meghann apart from the letters they exchange with one another. Elizabeth grows up knowing love and affection from 3 people who dote on her by her side whilst her twin brother Mikal with his unholy appetites and psychotic behavior grows up with his father on a remote Scottish island.

After 17 long years, Simon finally comes seeking his beloved daughter and Meghann whom he has missed more than he would ever let on. Their reunion though a happy one ends on a devastating note when Meghann realizes what her son Mikal is truly capable of with the utter force of destruction that he brings down on her loved ones with a cunningness that stuns them all.

Mikal’s need for vengeance and destruction goes beyond anything rational and before the day is through, both Simon and Meghann are forced to call on reserves of strength and summon friends and foes alike to fight a battle with their mutual enemy; their own son to save their most prized possession of all, their daughter Elizabeth from the clutches of a mad man who makes Simon seem puny in size when compared to the evil that seeps out of him.

Crimson Shadows is a fitting end to a love that has weathered many a storm between Meghann and her centuries old vampire husband Simon. Both Meghann and Simon do a lot of growing up to become worthy of each other’s love, the unabated desire between them strong as ever upon their reunion after 17 long years of celibacy and waiting for each other. However there is a vague sense of incompleteness as to how the story ended because I would have loved to see how the surprising love that stems and grows between Elizabeth and Simon’s hated enemy i.e. Meghann’s ex-lover Jimmy Delcroix fared in the end. And there were a couple of pages towards the end that I felt appalled at Simon’s instinctive lashing out towards Meghann because she dared protect Elizabeth and Jimmy from Simon’s wrath upon his discovery of their coming together that made me wonder whether Simon would ever learn to curb his inner demons and become someone who would never hurt the woman he loves. But I guess if that were to happen, Simon wouldn’t be true to his character and such a total turnabout would be in total¬†antithesis¬†to what we have come to expect from Simon.

Simon is a character that would continue to haunt me for a long time I suppose because even the most “evil” gamma heroes I have come across holds nothing when compared to Simon’s character which compels the reader to hate and love him in equal doses, love triumphing towards the end. The way how Simon’s character changes over time is what captivated me the most because this didn’t happen overnight but rather over a span of 70 years starting from 1944, the year Meghann was turned into a vampire beholden to her Master Simon Baldevar.

The last and final book in the series is definitely not for the faint of heart as once again Trisha Baker pulls no punches in delivering exactly what I have come to expect from her novels. Mikal’s character knows no boundaries when it comes to manifesting pure and unadulterated evil which just makes him a very worthy opponent for the invincible Simon. There were moments towards the end where my poor nails bore the brunt of my utter panic as there seemed to be no end to the cruelty that Mikal was capable of dishing out until the very end.

I recommend all 3 books to those who would love a twisted dark hero to seduce them completely and make you fall for him, however reluctant you may be to do so. I loved every single minute of this trilogy and am saddened by the fact that there are no novels published by the author afterwards.

I leave my review with a glimpse of the explosive reunion between Simon and Meghann after a 17 year period of separation that has done naught to bring down the combustive desire between them, a desire that has made both Simon and Meghann a slave to each other all throughout the years.

Simon hadn’t forgotten any of her secrets. Rapidly, he found her center and an orgasm rushed through her. She collapsed against the shiny surface of the car, mewling her pleasure while Simon brought her legs around his waist and drove into her.
Meghann climaxed again when he penetrated her, emitting a short, sharp cry of delight when she felt her body throb around the hard, swollen flesh encased within her.
“My Meghann,” Simon husked and put his mouth back on hers before she could reply, tell him yes, she was always and forever his Meghann, belonging only to him.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Review: Crimson Night by Trisha Baker

Format: E-book
Read with: Microsoft Reader & Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Horror
Series: Crimson, Book 2
Publisher: Pinnacle
Hero/Villain: Lord Simon Baldevar
Heroine: Meghann Katherine Agnes O’Neill
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 2002
Started On: March 17, 2011
Finished On: March 20, 2011

Crimson Night picks up where Crimson Kiss, the first book in the Crimson trilogy left off. Fascinated as I was to continue with the tempestuous love between Lord Simon Baldevar, a 400 year old vampire and his at times reluctant and fiery consort Meghann Katherine Agnes O’Neill, I had to take a breather and read a bit of good old romance before rushing headlong into this one.

When I picked up the 2nd book in this trilogy, I was prepared to face more of the same variety of horror and macabre scenes that I encountered in book 1. However I was pleasantly surprised to find out this book tended to be a bit mellow compared to the first book and it delivered more on the development of the relationship and the feelings between Simon and Meghann.

This story kicks off with Meghann realizing that her last encounter with Simon has rendered her pregnant and Meghann continues to grow weaker as days pass by because of her body’s inability to hold in whatever blood that she tries to consume, something that is vital for her survival. What Meghann does not know is the fact that that very night Simon forged an unbreakable link between them that ties them together which would let Simon know the minute his Meghann needs his help, something which Simon is betting on to happen since he knows just what the rare happenstance of a pregnancy between a vampire couple means on the mother.

Frantic with worry and not knowing what else to do, Dr. Charles Tarleton, Meghann’s faithful companion and best friend in the whole world seeks out Dr. Lee Winslow, a brilliant¬†gynecologist¬†who also is an ex-lover. Though Lee is far from happy to hear from the man who broke his heart 10 years ago, there is a shared history between Lee and Meghann that makes Lee swear to do everything he can to help Meghann survive what looks to be a very risky pregnancy.

With an abortion totally ruled out because of Meghann’s weak condition, Lee barely manages to understand the complexity behind Meghann’s rejection of her natural instinct to drink blood and it is only Simon’s timely appearance that saves Meghann from wasting away until death comes calling. Once again, Meghann becomes dependent on Simon for nourishment which sickens her to the extreme but with no other viable option in front of her, Meghann concedes to Simon’s wishes for the moment in return for Simon’s acceptance in allowing Meghann to take care of her mortal ex-lover Jimmy who has been rendered insane by Simon’s cruelty when turning him into an immortal as a means of revenge on Meghann.

As any mortal pregnant woman, Meghann too is susceptible to mood swings and emotional upheavals from which she finds solace only in Simon, her Master’s arms, something that makes Meghann continually question herself on the reason as to why she feels such conflicting emotions when it comes to Simon.

Simon is a man who is biding his time, who has learnt from his past mistakes with Meghann, who swears that he would never hurt her again, and continues to charm her and woo her back into his life with his tender side, something that only Meghann is witness to.

Before long, Meghann has to face the true nature of her unchanging feelings towards Simon which proves to be the best thing that ever happens to her as Simon loves, cherishes and takes care of her in a way that totally melted all my antagonistic feelings towards Simon, which were at an all time high during the initial stages of the story.

What I loved most about the 2nd book was finding about Simon’s past from his point of view, which takes the reader along with Meghann on a journey of discovery as to why Simon is the way he is. Though there are no excuses whatsoever for his¬†penchant¬†for debauchery and¬†despicable¬†behavior, you can’t help but empathize with Simon and nod along in something close to understanding as to why Simon turned out the way he is. Simon’s take on his past life opens up the doors to a side of Alcuin, Meghann’s savior in book 1 that I always suspected of, but in the end I was surprised when Alcuin did not turn out ¬†to be a true¬†villain¬†in the end.

It is the relationship that fosters and grows between Simon and Meghann that captivated me throughout the better half of the book as I reveled in the care and attention that Simon languished on the mother of his children. Though Meghann continually swings back and forth between her decision to stay with Simon and completely give herself to him at first, Meghann learns to accept the fact ¬†that some part of her would always wholeheartedly love Simon no matter what cruelties lie beneath his beauty and charm. And it was quite refreshing to see Lee and especially Charles’s view on Simon take a turn for the better as he realizes that the immortal whom everyone keeps saying has no heart finally begins to show signs that he indeed has one, and is vulnerable towards the only woman he has ever loved.

This book invoked so many emotions from deep within me as I read along. Loathing and contempt towards Simon were one of the first strong feelings that took root inside of me during the first couple of chapters as I saw nothing in Simon that was worthy of my treacherous heart’s yearning to see at least one redeemable quality in my¬†villainous¬†hero. However as I read along, Trisha Baker managed to make my emotions do a total 180 degree turn as I was seduced right along with Meghann to fall bit by bit in love with a vampire who would cross no bounds whatsoever in his attempt to keep Meghann by his side. And towards the end, it was deep and utter sadness and a feeling of¬†melancholy¬†that spread through me as I realized that a happily ever after was not possible for Meghann and Simon, as the one thing that was supposed to bring them closer than ever ends up being the catalyst that drives them apart – for now.

I recommend this series for  those who are interested in reading a tale of love between vampires that is a tad different from what you normally encounter. But mind you, these stories are not for the faint of heart because you encounter many vicious and heartbreaking things before you get to the bittersweetness of it all towards the end.

I picked out some quotes from this book as well, scenes that just have to be shared in my review, which otherwise would be incomplete in my opinion.

God, she was exhausted‚ÄĒshe had no energy anymore; she used it all up in trying to keep Lord Baldevar from reading her thoughts. Meghann shuddered‚ÄĒwondering what would happen if he knew of her constant, gnawing worry that he’d kill her after she gave birth and then her poor baby would be all alone with the monster.
“Yaahhh!” Meghann started at the icy touch to her cheek and looked up to see Lord Baldevar sitting beside her, holding out a dripping cloth.
“Little one,” he whispered tenderly before she could say anything, “if you don’t stop weeping, you’ll break the heart you insist I don’t have.”

“I don’t know” Charles started to say but Lord Baldevar’s putting one large hand over Meghann’s and gently pulling it from her hair caught his attention. He grasped her hands and Charles would never know what he said to her but the nervous expression left Meghann’s eyes and she smiled again. What did Lord Baldevar do to reassure her?
He reached into his tuxedo jacket and handed Meghann a valet ticket, and she reached up to kiss him good-bye no polite, social gesture but a full, lingering kiss that made Lord Baldevar wrap one long, tuxedo-clad arm about her waist and pull her against him before releasing her with a small groan that reached Charles’s keen ears.
The vampire gazed down at Meghan, and Charles felt the air between them nearly smolder. Good God, he’d never felt such an undercurrent of passion and sensuality as he did right now, observing Meghann with her lover.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

[xrr rating=5/5]

Caliber Seal: OUTSTANDING READ!

Review: Crimson Kiss by Trisha Baker

Format: E-book
Read with: MS Word & Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Horror
Series: Crimson, Book 1
Publisher: Pinnacle
Hero/Villain: Lord Simon Baldevar
Heroine: Meghann Katherine Agnes O’Neill
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 1, 2001
Started On: March 16, 2011
Finished On: March 17, 2011

I have forgotten exactly how this landed in my TBR pile though I am grateful it did because Crimson Kiss turned out to be a horrifyingly fascinating tale that held me enthralled from beginning till end. I had a hard time classifying this book because Crimson Kiss though it is a tale of lust and an undeniable love between two vampires, it is also a tale that reeks with power play and dominance that prevents it from being simply classified as a romance. Trisha Baker shows us the dark side of vampire heroes that readers all over the world have come to love from series such as the Night Huntress by Jeaniene Frost and the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. Lord Simon Baldevar is anything but a hero, whose character nevertheless held my attention hoping to catch even a minute glimpse of any redeemable feature in him when there existed none deep inside of him.

This macabre tale begins on the eve of April 12, 1944 when 18 year old Meghann Katherine O’Neill, engaged to be married to war hero Johnny Devlin finds herself meeting the enigmatic, Lord Simon Baldevar at a party hosted by the mother of an uber rich friend. Meghann with her vivacious red hair and sparkling emerald green eyes captures the attention of the tall, broad shouldered and handsome Simon with his compelling amber eyes because of her zest for life which shines through her. Born and raised Catholic, Meghann is a virgin and naive as they come about the games and rules of seduction between men and women. Simon’s sophisticated nature and his obvious charm brings the walls of¬†defense crumbling down,¬†a pathetic defense at best in front of a man who has been having his way with women for the past 400 years.

Meghann’s transformation into a vampire from a mortal is a choice that is wrenched out of her by Simon who for the first time finds himself falling in love and needing someone to claim as his own. Binding Meghann to his side by the thousands of ways in which he can make her feel pleasure, Simon starts out to possess and own Meghann heart, body and soul, a price that Meghann is too young to actually comprehend.

13 years pass by with Meghann as the consort of the depraved Simon Baldevar, who demands her complete and utter submission to him as her Master. Hope and salvation comes in the form of Charles Tarleton who makes Meghann understand that life as an immortal can be much more than embroiling in the vile acts that Simon has taught her. Unable to bear any longer the mere state of existing with no will of her own, Meghann defies Simon for the first time, bringing upon her his wrath and punishments much more cruel than anything she has suffered at his hands till now. The final straw comes when Simon moves onto kill a young boy which propels Meghann to find and hone in on her reserves of strength and make use of her rusty gifts and powers as a vampire. Meghann escapes after driving a stake through his heart, leaving him to be finished off by the rising sun.

From December 1957 till March 1998, Meghann finds shelter, peace and solace in the presence of her mentor and priest turned vampire Alcuin, Master of her friend Charles Tarleton. It is Alcuin who teaches Meghann everything she comes to value in her life as a vampire, and allows her to become what she has always wanted to be, a psychologist who specializes in treating victims of abusive relationships, particularly women and children. It is from Alcuin that she begins to piece together just how corrupt, perverted and debased a mortal Simon was before he embraced his life as a vampire. Meghann learns of Simon’s history that spans from the 18th century, the era of Queen Elizabeth I and how she resembles Simon’s second wife Isabelle whom he subjected to mental and physical abuse of every nature after killing his brother and her husband Roger to come to attain what Simon has deemed rightfully his. An alchemist through and through, Simon has cared for none ¬†till his fascination with Meghann takes ahold of him.

Meghann’s peaceful existence with her mortal live in lover Jimmy¬†Delacroix comes crashing down the night she learns that Simon survived her attack which leaves behind a sense of¬†foreboding¬†that looms closer by the minute. Before the story is through, Meghann once again finds herself back in Simon’s arms, craving the pleasure that he only can give her because even though she sees the darkness that resides deep within her and has been witness to what Simon is capable of, she still loves him with all her heart, body and soul. But that doesn’t stop her from being true to herself, to struggle to win against the dark side of her nature that comes alive with a mere stroke from Simon who in the end is as much a slave to needing Meghann as she is to her Master.

I don’t think I can¬†adequately¬†describe each and every sensation that coursed through me as I got lost in this tale that had the power to super glue me to the edge of my seat all throughout. Simon’s character was the most difficult as he supposedly should ¬†be with his sadistic and yet at times an oddly compelling nature when he is with Meghann. But that didn’t distract me from all the ¬†vile acts that he performs earning him the role of one of the most vicious villains that I have come across. There are no excuses, none at all for what Simon is and was in the past, no tortured history that even remotely makes up for what he is. But at the same time I couldn’t help but wait on tenterhooks, begging for even a glimpse of the true nature of his feelings towards Meghann, something which does come to light before this tale is through.

Meghann is a complex and¬†multi-faceted character as well who invoked a lot of mixed feelings in me. From the beginning Meghann is portrayed as a woman who fights for what she believes in, who wants to help others in need with her dream career as a psychologist. However, Simon and his forceful nature together with Meghann’s complex reactions to him makes her give up her dreams and force herself into submission for 13 years of her life until she reaches the end of her rope. The woman she transforms herself into afterwards amazed me even though she is still haunted by what she has done in the past under Simon’s mastership. And even then, Meghann is no match for the ever powerful Simon she can’t help but love; a love many readers might not understand. But it is the strength that she draws from the few of the remaining ones that she loves that proves to be the ultimate weapon that defeats Simon and all his evil powers – for now.

The story ends begging for continuation which comes in the form of the 2nd book in this trilogy Crimson Night which I am going to devour next. I find myself in double anticipation because the second book focuses more on Simon’s point of view, something which was missing from the 1st book. I have yet to find book 3 which concludes this series at a reasonable price, but I am guessing even the exorbitant prices wouldn’t stop me in my quest to find out how this tale ends.

I recommend this trilogy for fans of horror and those who love vampire stories – not the sappy type because this certainly doesn’t deliver on that front.

I finish off the review with a scene that is etched onto my mind from the book, the moment when Meghann surrenders her mind, body and soul to a man who vows to possess everything that she is for himself and leave nothing behind.

“”You’re beautiful,” he whispered. He ran his hands lightly across her body, fingertips barely touching her. Maggie moaned, aching with desire. Pauline had already been forgotten.
“Tell me who I am,” he ordered while thrusting into her.
“My master.” She didn’t feel any regret or embarrassment for calling him “my master.” I want to belong to him, she thought while she writhed beneath him.
“And you’ll be mine forever?”
“Forever.”Simon sank his teeth deep within the wounds on her neck again. Maggie moaned, digging her nails into his back. The rapture she now felt made her prior ecstasy pale in comparison. She felt wave after wave of intense, unbearable pleasure as he drained the blood from her. Maggie felt him growing harder within her as he drank her blood. It seemed to go on forever, making love while he drank her blood. She didn’t want it to ever stop.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

[xrr rating=4.75/5]

 Caliber Seal: FANTASTIC READ!