ARC-review: TAKEN BY MIDNIGHT by Lara Adrian

At the crossroads of death and desire, a woman tastes a pleasure no mortal is meant to survive . . .

In the frozen Alaskan wilderness, former state trooper Jenna Darrow survives an unspeakable breach of body and soul. But with her narrow escape comes an even greater challenge. For strange changes are taking place within her, as she struggles to understand–and control–a new hunger. To do so, she will seek shelter in the Boston compound of the Order, an ancient race of vampire warriors whose very existence is shrouded in mystery. Perhaps the most mysterious of them all is Brock, a brooding, dark-eyed alpha male whose hands hold the power to comfort, heal . . . and arouse.

As she recovers under Brock’s care, Jenna finds herself drawn to the Order’s mission: to stop a ruthless enemy and its army of assassins from subjecting Earth to a reign of terror. Yet in spite of their resolve, a purely physical relationship without strings soon binds Brock and Jenna together with a desire fiercer than life and stronger than death itself–until a secret from Brock’s past and Jenna’s own mortality challenges their forbidden love to the ultimate trial by fire.

Title: Taken by Midnight
Author: Lara Adrian
Series: Midnight Breed, book 8
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Dell Publishing (Random House)
Year of release: 2010, September 28
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Received from author for review
First line: Life . . . or death? The words drifted at her through the darkness.
Memorable Scenes:
– Scene where Brock comforts Jenna after upsetting news about her blood works > starting point of the romance story line
– when Jenna does something (can’t divulge for fear of spoilers) to Brock during the first love scene > wow…
– shower scene > wow x 2!

After a terrifying captivity in her Alaskan cabin with a creature straight out of any horror movie, Jenna Darrow is taken to the Order’s compound in Boston because she could prove pivotal in the next step in their battle with their enemy. When she, reluctantly at first, involves herself in their battle she becomes the focus of more attention she signed up for as the Orders enemy gets her in his sight. Brock, who’s been there for her from the beginning, calming and caring, has to do everything in his power to get her back to safety and keep her there. Amidst the battle with evil another battle rages between Brock and Jenna as something deeper develops between them that’s hard to deny yet they both fight to not give into it. It’s Jenna’s stubborn clinging her need to be in control and independent against Brock’s instinct to protect and soothe. When they ultimately do, their HEA is closure to a turbulent and emotional journey.

Jenna Darrow, like most of the other Midnight Breed heroines, is a heroine I really, really liked. She is fearless, strong and resilient. She thrives on having everything under control and seems unbreakable. She’s also tough, tomboy-ish and stubborn. Shrouding herself in an armor if toughness and anger she hides her vulnerability, loneliness and inner softness. Her need for approval and affection and always having to prove herself worthy makes her suspicious of the compassion and help Brock offers her. She doesn’t want it because it makes her feel weak and needy and she abhors weakness. This also plays a big part in her reluctance to give into the feelings she’s starting to have for Brock.

There were things that were disclosed about and happening to Jenna that I can’t name in this review because I know several people who read my reviews haven’t read the series yet and I would be spoiling but to me there were things that made me go: Wow…that’s an unexpected twist…and there were things that I saw coming a little.

Then there’s Brock. He never really caught my attention in the other books other than the occasional banter with the other warriors, especially Kade and Chase, until SHADES OF MIDNIGHT where his and Jenna’s story is set up in the end and I totally understood that his book was coming next. Well, he definitely did make up for his low-profile in the previous books because I totally noticed him now, boy did I ever…
Brock is calm, soothing and steady. He’s honorable, sweet yet passionate and ruthless when people he cares about are hurt. His calm and laid-back demeanor hides an explosive and intense male. His unique extra-sensory ability/ESP talent is absorbing human pain and suffering. Because of something that happened in his past with a woman he’s is reluctant to admit to his growing feelings towards Jenna

The romance in this book was great! I loved how the relationship between Brock and Jenna built up slowly yet intensely and how their romance developed throughout the book. It fitted their characters perfectly. My additional thoughts to the first memorable scene I mentioned above is that it was a perfect display of Brock’s compassion, tenderness and feelings towards Jenna and in-depth look into Jenna’s character. They were both so undeniably drawn to each other and at the same time so reluctant to give in to their feelings but it never got angsty or whiney. I just can’t express how much I loved the romance in this book. And the love scenes just took my breath away…and make me wish for my own Brock!

I really can’t wait for Sterling Chase’s story, as Brock puts it: antagonistic, aggressive, volatile…unpredictable hothead *sigh* This member of the Order, formerly an Breed Enforcement Agent, caught my attention from the moment he set foot in the series, in MIDNIGHT AWAKENING (if I recall correctly), in most series I fall for a secondary character who hasn’t gotten his own book yet and in the Midnight Breed series it’s Chase.

But I must also admit that Hunter gets more and more intriguing too! Again in the Brocks words: “Impassive, inscrutable, unsociable, unflappable, stoic, detached, Hunter. Flesh-and-bone machine” and in the villain’s words: “Chillingly efficient. Coldly intelligent. Relentlessly disciplined, yet far from submissive.”
The word that comes to mind every time I read about Hunter is emotionless, but I have also seen tiny, very tiny glimpses of emotion and compassion in Hunter, both in this book and in VEIL OF SHADOWS so I’m eager to meet the woman who’s going to get under his skin! And his book is next! YAY! Though I’d love to have Chase’s book first a little revelation in this books really made me look forward to Hunter’s now!

I also desperately hope there’ll be a story (full-length, e-novella, anthology short, I don’t care…something please) on Gideon and Savannah. They are such a great couple and so wonderful together!

One thing I really loved in this book is that each and every member of the Order and their significant others made an appearance, some just in passing or only mentioned but some had a more prominent role in the plot and that was what I truly missed in the previous two installment and was so happy to see in this one again as it gave me the vibe of those early Midnight Breed books that I loved. I appreciated that this installment takes us back to Boston and the Order compound after the 2 previous books were set in Germany and Alaska. The strong point in this series is the Order and I loved going back to that base.

Now let’s talk about the plot! To me it was awesome! I suspected as much when I read the ending of SHADES OF MIDNIGHT but Lara Adrian really hit it out of the park with this one. As she’s consistently done in the course of this series, she weaves a thrilling plot with twist and turns that are simply mind-blowing, answering some questions but to keep the balance she raises more questions at the same time, questions you know will be answered too eventually and not necessarily in this book.

I found one itty-bitty tiny thing weird in the plot and in the editing thereof. There’s a point early in the book where Brock overhears two Albanian guys talking about Jenna. They are not aware of him there and talk to each other in broken English. This didn’t make sense to me because why would 2 Albanians talk in broken English to each other when there’s no one who can hear them? But this is really a very minor thing that has no bearing on my overall opinion of this book, which I loved and which is my favorite of the series so far.

I know many people compare Lara Adrian’s books with Ward’s BDB and find it falling short in comparison. I am not one of those people. To me the Midnight Breed series tops the BDB for several reasons and the most important ones to me are the Breedmates and their role in the overall story arc. Contrary to Ward’s heroines the Breedmates don’t quietly slink into the background after their book, never to be heard of again except for the occasional passing mention (don’t blink because you’ll miss it) in future books. No, Adrian’s heroines stay in the fray of things and have an equal role in the ongoing story arc throughout the books. I love that they form a substantial part of the Order and are important in the battle against evil.

I loved that Lara Adrian picked up right after SHADES OF MIDNIGHT from the start, and praise her for not starting with a rehashing recap and diving straight in the new installment. Nonetheless, she offers enough background info to pull new to the series readers in and yet at the same time she stays away from repeating too much and keeps it moving forward for loyal followers of the series. Her way of recapping the events prior to this book within the storyline is excellently done. Without info dumps or lots of rehashing at the beginning of the book but cleverly incorporated in dialogues between known and new characters, adding small fresh nuances to it. This way she not only makes the series easy accessible for new readers to pick up on the plot but it’s also pleasurable for the loyal followers of the series. Thank you, Ms. Adrian!

If you haven’t discovered and read this series yet, you’re really missing out. It’s a hidden gem amongst the avalanche of paranormal series on vamps that has a unique and refreshing premise and Lara Adrian is an author who in my eyes definitely holds her own in comparison with authors like Ward and Kenyon. With TAKEN BY MIDNIGHT Lara Adrian definitely proves worthy of the following she has and I hope she’ll rake in some more. She’s a talented storyteller who delivers books that are a perfect combination of romance, plot, character depth and action.

With TAKEN BY MIDNIGHT Lara Adrian had me at the edge of my seat with the plot, had me swallowing a few lumps in my throat and even made me cry a little with the characters and their emotions and had me sighing with the wonderful romance. Bring on Hunter, please!

Favorite Quotes:
Brock blew out a low curse under the punishing deluge of the shower. “If you’re trying to make me feel better about all of this, feel free to stop anytime.”
Kade chuckled, clearly enjoying himself. “I don’t expect you’ll be having any heart-to-heart talks with your new roomie, so this is me, showing you I care.”
“I’m touched,” Brock muttered. “Now, get the f#ck out of here and let me scald myself in peace.”

He moaned against her wetness, a long purr of blatant male enjoyment that vibrated through her flesh and bone, deep into the heated center of her. Jenna’s climax roared up on her like a storm. She shook with the force of it, crying out as the pleasure seized her and flung her skyward. She broke apart, sensation shimmering over her like stardust as she spiraled higher and higher, tremors of pure bliss shuddering through her, one after the other.
She was boneless as she floated back down to reality. Boneless and drained, even though her body was still pulsing and alive with sensation. And Brock was still kissing her. Still stroking her with his fingers, wringing every last quiver from her as she clutched his thick shoulders and panted with pleasurable little aftershocks.

She writhed beneath him as he moved atop her, slow thrusts of his pelvis that made her body weep with the need to feel him naked against her. Buried inside her.
“Brock,” she gasped, all but lost to the passion he was stoking in her. “Gideon knows we’re in here. There’s probably a security camera trained on us right now.”
“Tinted windows,” he rasped, glancing up at her with a sexy grin that bared the gleaming tips of his fangs and made her stomach flip. “Nobody can see a thing. Now, stop thinking about Gideon and kiss me.”

He wanted to shout his love for her, but the depth of his feelings had devoured his voice.

5 thoughts on “ARC-review: TAKEN BY MIDNIGHT by Lara Adrian

  1. Wow…this is just…wow, what a review. I'm so glad I've got this series on the shelves and I promise you, December is my TBR pile month and Lara Adrian's writing, her characters and I are going to meet!

  2. I agree with you 100% Pearl… This was definitely the best and HOTEST of the series! I wondered the SAME thing about the Albanians! There were a couple of things I noticed, that were similar to that – but all minor!As for the JR Ward comparison… I read BDB (6 in a row at the time) back-to-back first. Then a few months later read this series (at the time 5 books). I felt the first couple books were too closely linked in my head to BDB, but now I can't even compare – they are two different series, both amazing!!great review!

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