Caleb is the new leader of the Varner and carries a heavy responsibility on his shoulders - he's been tasked with finding a way to save his race, whose women and children have all been killed. His only hope of securing a future for his people rests in his ability to gain the approval of King Valerian and the Ancestor gods of the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. Caleb is determined to gain this acceptance for his men, but something he didn't count on was finding his aroha - his destined mate - among the Shadow Shifters. Tabitha is a female who was born with the Warrior spirit and wants nothing more than to be the first female member of the king's guard, even though such goals run counter to the ways of the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. As she meets Caleb, she begins to hope that he will be able to help her accomplish these goals - that is, until she realize that they conflict with the beliefs of the Varner. Yet, when the kingdom is under attack, both Tabitha and Caleb must put aside their differences in order to ward off the threat to everything that they both desire. Denied is the sequel to Ruined, Kinley Baker's first novel in her Shadowed Love series (you can find the review for Ruined here).
"When invaders brutally massacred the women and children of the Varner, Caleb witnessed loss and destruction on a scale few can comprehend. As the leader of a race on the brink of extinction, his only hope for survival is gaining acceptance into the Shadow Shifter Kingdom. Struggling with new customs, he meets Tabitha, a woman who challenges his limits.
Refused the right to join the king’s guard because of her gender, Tabitha must be stronger than the men to prove she deserves to be the first accepted female Warrior in the kingdom. She believes Caleb will help improve her abilities, until she learns her goals conflict with the foundation of his culture.
When the realm is attacked, Tabitha and Caleb must come together not only to fight, but to find the strength to win against an evil with the potential to destroy everything they revere most--including each other."
This book is yet another one that I found by searching through Amazon. I remembered how much I enjoyed reading Ruined and wanted to see if Kinley Baker had any other books out. So, I was extremely excited to find this book. Something I liked about it immediately was that it was set in the same realm as Ruined, which makes a lot of sense, considering Denied is its sequel. When I'm reading a good book, it's extremely hard for me not to become invested in the characters that I'm reading about. So, when I recognized some familiar names in Denied, I was that much more eager to read it. Another thing I really enjoyed was the fact that the writing style for Denied was similar to that of Ruined. This similarity was comforting to me, in a way, because it reminded me of a book that I had loved so much. I also liked that there were consistent aspects of the story from Ruined that helped me when reading Denied, like particular bits of the Shadow Shifter or Varner histories that were mentioned in Ruined. These aspects greatly aided in my understanding of things that were happening in Denied.
However, while there were things that I really liked about this book, there were still some things that didn't particularly appeal to me. For example, with Ruined I was able to jump right into the story almost instantly. Yet, Denied was a struggle to get into. It took me longer to get invested in the plot of the book than I'm used to. After the slow start, I was able to eventually garner some interest in the book, but it was nothing like what I'd experienced when reading the first book in the series. I also wasn't particularly fond that the characters that I'd fallen in love with before seemed to take more of a backseat than was necessary in Denied. After all, they were what had drawn me to this second book to begin with. These things certainly weren't enough to keep me from finishing Denied, but they definitely influenced my thoughts about the book once I did finish it.
I rate this book:
As always, I want to caution you guys against simply taking my word for it about this book. I fully realize that my opinion of Denied was, in part, heavily influenced by my love for Ruined and I understand that I came into reading this sequel with a lot of expectations, based on my opinion of the first book in the series. So, please don't take my opinion as gospel and write this book off solely because of my rating. Check out the first Shadowed Love novel, Ruined. While it's not necessary to read this book first, it will definitely help provide you with a decent backstory for the events of Denied. If you enjoy Ruined, then you should definitely give Denied a shot.
Kinley Baker read her first romance novel at the age of thirteen and immediately fell in love with the hero and the genre. She lives with her husband and her dog, Joker, in the Pacific Northwest. As a firm supporter of all supernatural lifestyles, she writes fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. Kinley is also the author of Ruined, the first novel in her Shadowed Love series, as well as Freed, which serves as a prequel to her other two Shadowed Love novels. You can find Kinley at www.kinleybaker.com.