Sunday, September 20, 2015

review || THE DARK ONES { blog tour } by Rachel Van Dyken

Self-Published | September 19, 2015 | Paranormal Romance
Dark Ones Saga, book 1


To touch a Dark One is death.

To talk to an immortal is suicide.

Yet, I've been marked by both.

A Vampire.

And the King of the immortals.

My life is no longer my own.

And now I know the truth, my life was never mine to begin with.

It was theirs.

It's always been theirs.
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{ about rachel van dyken } .

Rachel Van DykenRachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. 

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers! 

Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866! 

You can connect with her on Facebook or join her fan group Rachel's New Rockin Readers. Her website is

{ excerpt } .

"Ethan, a word?" Alex stood.

"Sure." Ethan kissed the top of my head and left the room while Mason started rummaging around the kitchen; pots and pans clanged together, and then he pulled out a giant piece of steak.

"I hope that's not for me." I pointed.

"Protein…" He threw the steak into the pan. "…feeds the blood, which feeds the mate, which, in turn, feeds you."

"You gonna start singing Circle of Life?" I joked.

"Circle of life?" he repeated.

"Lion King?"

"Cassius is king."

I looked helplessly to Stephanie, who was trying to hide her smile behind her hand.

"Have you seriously never watched Lion King?"

"Werewolves are scared of TV," Stephanie said with a soft laugh.

"And sirens are afraid of the dark," he fired back, while she shuddered. "I'm not afraid of the TV. I just don't see the point in sitting in front of a flat box and watching people make fools of themselves."

"He'd rather be the fool." Stephanie nodded and winked in my direction.

"Mason…" I walked over to him and put my head on his shoulder. "How about I eat the steak and we watch Lion King?"


"Dances with Wolves?"

Stephanie snickered loudly behind her hand.

"Wolves do not dance," Mason growled.

"Oh, we know." Stephanie nodded. "I've seen it once. Don't care to see it again."

"Too much whiskey." Mason kissed the top of my head. "Eat the whole steak, and then we'll talk about King Lion."

"Lion King."

"Same thing."

I sighed helplessly and went to sit at the table while Mason cooked.

Stephanie gave me a side hug. "Eight tomorrow morning, alright?"


"Bed." She shrugged. "It's been a long night." Her eyes misted again.

"Are you sure you're okay?"

"Yeah." Her voice cracked. "Like Alex said, we get emotional. Can't help it."

It felt like she was lying, but I was human, how would I know? I nodded and turned my attention back to Mason, who'd started searing the steak.

"So you cook meat but refuse to eat it?"

"I'm a vegetarian." He smiled. I'd never realized how pointy his teeth were on the sides. Maybe that's how he'd been able to bite into me before Ethan had mated with me.

"Your teeth say otherwise." I pointed. "Flat means vegetarian. Pointy means carnivore."

Mason rolled his eyes. "I didn't say it was natural for me to be a vegetarian."

"Okay… so why?"

He let out a heavy sigh. "Meat made my mate sick… for one reason or another. It gave her headaches. She only ate fruits, vegetables, nuts." He flipped the steak. "So I learned to like other foods."

"And now?"

He went very quiet, his eyes focusing in on the steak. "Now…" His voice was hoarse. "I honor her with my every meal."

My throat clogged with emotion.

The fact that he honored her at all — but with every single meal — killed me. How did he survive that? How did he live every day having known true love? And know he may never experience it again — living forever?

"Don't pity me." Mason let out a gruff growl. "It makes it harder."

"Sorry," I whispered. "So pinecones, huh?"

He laughed. "Yes, well, it's an acquired taste."

"I bet."

My heart picked up speed, and then I smelled him. Ethan entered the room, briskly walking by me, kissing my head. "Steak almost done?"

"I'm a perfectionist." Mason held up his hands. "Let the juices seal."

Ethan scrunched up his nose. "Her blood tastes better than that steak."

"Yes, well, her blood tastes good because she's living. She's living because I feed her."

"Werewolf has a point," I teased. "Besides, if I eat my whole steak, we're going to watch Lion King!"

"Whose king?" Ethan tilted his head. "What lion? Mason's a wolf."

And that's how I ended up spending my evening between a vampire and a werewolf, eating steak and watching a Disney movie while they argued over the animal kingdom, not to mention the lion's choice in song.

It felt right.

Like I'd finally found my place.

My home.

I had no idea that the security I felt was about to get ripped from me, from the very people I'd put my trust in.

{ review } .

...and I was doing so well with my short reviews.

If you're ever looking for an author who does group dynamics right, look no further than Rachel Van Dyken. From her mafia crowd, to her new adult one, she has cornered the market. So it should come as no surprise that when she ventured into the paranormal realm, she'd bring a new group to fall in love with.

All of her life, Genesis has been taught about the immortal world -- an interesting new take on the paranormal front; mere mortals know about the immortals, they just don't necessarily know who is and who isn't. She'd been taught that if and when her number was called and she'd be brought in front of the immortal elders, her job would be to teach the children about the ways of the new world -- technology, and such.

Her mother has ingrained in her from a young age that she is ugly, she is nothing, and that she has nothing -- something that Genesis always felt was important when being brought forth to the glorious (and extremely beautiful) immortals.

Genesis is about to learn just how wrong her teachings were.

I truly appreciated that Genesis wasn't necessarily uncomfortable with herself; she didn't dwell on the fact that she was 'ugly' or 'less than'. In her mind, that's simply what it was. Because she didn't worry about it, it wasn't annoying when she was in the presence of hundreds of immortals and those they chose to mate with. She recognized the beauty of everyone else, and while she made comparisons, she didn't bother me with her thoughts. First positive point.

Ethan has a difficult past. As an elder vampire, he's had a mate before and everything was ripped from him. Vampires mate for life, and he is not looking forward to the fact he's been forced, more or less, into a situation he doesn't want... but he never takes it out on Genesis. He steps away, yes; his friends have to force his hand, yes; but he never leads Genesis to believe it is her fault. He was a strong alpha lead who had a hard time falling into emotion (again). Second positive point.

And then there's all the other elders. You have sirens Stephanie and Alex. Werewolf Mason. And the dark one -- part human, part angel, never to be touched, never to show fear to -- Cassius. Cassius is definitely the head honcho of this group; he's the king of immortals and this wouldn't be the first time he's come to a head with Ethan. For much of the story, you dislike the guy. Watching Cassius, though, you can't help but want to drop everything and read his book. But oh... It's not out yet.

Speaking of stories you want to read, Mason... oh, Mason... That werewolf breaks my heart but at the same time, makes me laugh. I loved Mason and cannot wait to read more of his story. Everyone was great friends with one another, but the friendship Mason ended up forging with Genesis was hands-down, my favorite.

All of the friendships in this story made me happy. I loved this group of immortals, and I loved how they fought for Genesis (aptly named, as she is indeed the beginning of a new era). I loved the Disney references (like King Lion, and Mason asking if he were like the Beast) and loved that the boys sat with Genesis to watch her 'cartoons' with her. I loved the ribbing the boys did (and the throat clearing when things would get heated between Genesis and Mason : Mason coughed again / "Then leave!" Ethan growled over his shoulder. "Nobody's asking you to watch.").

I am so glad Rachel decided to take on this adventure. Everything she puts out is an A+ effort and I know that I'm going to enjoy it. I will add though that there were parts that didn't feel as 'full' as what she'd put forth with her typical stories. There were a few points I was asking questions, and there were thought processes that didn't feel like they hit their full (known RVD) potential. I personally could feel a bit of a learning curve in her paranormal writing. That said, I do know it's not her first time writing in the genre (I did not read her DIVINE UPRISING series, however), but perhaps it's simply because her Eagle Elite and Consequences gangs have become like family that I felt differences here. Regardless, I'm super excited to see where this saga goes!

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