Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review: Forbidden (The Sazi of Luna Lake #1) by Cathy Clamp

A Brand New Series in the Sazi Universe!

Who else is bouncing in their favorite reading spot, just dying for a new Sazi book?  Because once I found out that Cathy Clamp was continuing with a new series of Sazi, I squee'd like a fangirl.  I don't do that very often, but I loved the original series by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp.  Cathy decided to do more books as a solo project and although she's published a good number of books with C.T. Adams - the team using the pseudonym Cat Adams for their Bloodsinger series - this is her first solo full-length novel publication.  I was so excited to start reading this new Sazi novel that the day the ARC came in the mail, I popped open the cover to read.

As this was a new series of Sazi, I was so incredibly tempted to go back and reread the old series so that I could refresh my memory.  However, I did not because I wanted to start the series as if I hadn't read the original Tales of the Sazi series to see if the previous series was needed to enjoy the book.  

So all of you who are NOT familiar with the Sazi series, don't stress, you can and will enjoy this novel without knowing what had gone on before.  Also for all of you unfamiliar with the Sazi series, I should point out, the Sazi are shifters.  Just like you're thinking of: werewolves, were-hyenas, were-pythons, oh my.  Heck, polar bear and cougars and owls!  

Of course, if you're OCD like I am, I do tend to prefer to read books in order, too.  Which you can do!  I'll include the previous series at the end of this post!

Forbidden (The Sazi of Luna Lake #1)

USA Today bestselling author Cathy Clamp reboots the Sazi universe in Forbidden, a tightly-paced, high-tension urban fantasy thriller.

Ten years have passed since the war that destroyed the Sazi Council and inflicted a horrible “cure” on thousands of Sazi, robbing them of their ability to shapeshift.

Luna Lake, isolated in Washington State, started as a refugee camp for Sazi orphans. Now it’s a small town and those refugees are young adults, chafing at the limits set by their still-fearful guardians.

There’s reason to fear: Sazi children are being kidnapped. Claire, a red wolf shifter, is sent to investigate. Held prisoner by the Snakes during childhood, Claire is distrusted by those who call Luna Lake home.

Before the war, Alek was part of a wolf pack in Chicago. In Luna Lake he was adopted by a parliament of Owls, defying Sazi tradition. The kidnappings are a painful reminder that his little sister disappeared a decade ago.

When Claire and Alek meet, sparks fly–but the desperate race to find the missing children forces them to set aside their mutual attraction and focus on the future of their people.

Release Date:  August 11, 2015

Preorder:  Amazon
Add to TBR List:  Goodreads

Review - 4.5 stars!

Wow!  Just... wow!  I was so extremely thrilled to be one of the few people to get an opportunity to read and review this book that I do believe I told everyone I know I got the ARC copy.  I bounced around with it even.  Hugged the book a few times.  Squealed more when I saw it was signed.  If I could have married it, I probably would have.  I was that freaking excited.

Once I started reading, I quickly found out that I was not going to be disappointed.  

My copy is an uncorrected proof, so I won't do my usual comments on major technical writing issues.  Not that there were many or anything.  But it's irrelevant to this review.

I am even more thrilled once I learned Cathy kept the food smells to describe emotional scents the Sazi can pick up on.  I absolutely loved how original that was - and EXTREMELY descriptive to us poor humans with poor noses who are reading the novels.  It was the best innovation in a shapeshifter novel I had ever seen when it first showed up in the very first Sazi novel.  However, I did notice that after the first quarter of the book the mentioning of food scents for emotions tapered off a bit.

Now, storywise...

I LOVED it.  Cathy went above and beyond in the mystery department in this novel.  I had no freaking idea who the bad guys were (or even WHAT they were) until the end of the story.  Seriously!  She surprised me with who was the big bad in this story and let me tell you, that is hard to do.  I usually suspect who or what or even when and what happens a lot.  In TV, movies, AND books, this happens to me a lot.  That Cathy took me by complete surprise is a-freaking-mazing.  I have to applaud her talent for suspense (or mystery) there!

As for characterization, once again I wasn't disappointed.  Or at least not much.  I loved Claire and felt and understood her and even related to her quite a lot.  Alek on the other hand, started out great!  But I felt he was a lacking through the middle of the novel, but then it picked up to great by the end of the novel, with his distraction and reason for it.

All of the supporting characters were awesome, especially the elderly Sazi that kicked some serious ass.

Now, I'm pretty sure the story of Claire and Alek continue in the next novel, Illicit, simply because it seems a bit unfinished.  Since I can't explain why it seems a bit unfinished without giving away anything, and as usual I try not to give spoilers, so I'm sorry, there you go.  No idea if Illicit is the continuation of Claire and Alek or not.  But I am willing to bet it is, following in the tradition of the Tales of the Sazi series.  

Now I am dying to know if the issues get resolves, or learn why Alek's little brother is such an asshat to Claire a bit more, the explaination in the book didn't feel finished to me.  All these unfinished issues are why I didn't rate this five stars, because I'm not positive it was continuing or if it was a single couple per book type series.  If it is complete and moving on to another couple without finishing the issues, it's a 4 star book.  If it continues on to resolve this issue, it is definitely a 5 star book!

I received a free ARC of Forbidden in exchange for an honest review.

AND because I loved the original series so much, here's all the info you need to pick them up on Amazon. Hunter's Moon is about to be re-released with a brand new Trade Paperback cover, so look for it soon and buy it!

I'll have to review the whole series (as I read them long before I became a reviewer) soon. After I finish up my reviews of Katerina Martinez's series and a finishing up my reread of Kristen Ashley's Rock Chick series. Look for them soon!

Tales of the Sazi Series by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp

Hunter's Moon (Tales of the Sazi #1)


Sue Quentin has reached the end of her rope-she's desperate, and there's only one way out. Her plan doesn't include falling for Tony, the mysterious hit man she hires. He listens when she speaks and somehow convinces her that maybe her problems aren't entirely insurmountable. He even thinks her little potbelly is sexy. So he's a werewolf--everyone has flaws!

Sue enjoys being coddled by Tony, and, for his part, Tony likes the way Sue moans when he touches her. She begins to think she and Tony might have a shot at a future together, despite his unorthodox profession . . . and even though she doesn't know his real name.

But when Tony's enemies-not all of whom are fully human-decide Sue makes a perfect target, will Tony risk letting his darker side out during the day to save her?

Buy:  Amazon

Moon's Web (Tales of the Sazi #2)

Tony Giodone made his living as an assassin--until one of his marks ripped his throat out and turned him into a werewolf. Now he's the best hired killer there is.

When a curvy woman in an expensive suit tries to hire him to kill her, his wolf senses insist that she is his mate. One kidnapping, a plethora of gunfights, a psychic coma, and two faked deaths later, Tony and Sue have new identities and are hiding in a community of Sazi shapeshifters. All seems well, until Sue begins to pull away from Tony and he realizes that if he can't be more open with her, he's going to lose her.

To add to his problems, Tony is getting flashes of other peoples' lives. He doesn't know if they're memories or fantasies--but he wants it to stop, because he's learning things he shouldn't about his friends and neighbors.

What's more dangerous than a psychic-powered werewolf assassin? Whatever it is, it's kidnapping and killing female Sazi . . . after it sucks out their powers. Its latest captive is the girlfriend of Carmine, the Mafia don who used to be Tony's boss. To get her back, Carmine will make war on all the Sazi--and while the Sazi would win, they can't afford to be exposed to humans.

Now it's up to Tony to save Carmine's girlfriend--and all of the Sazi.

Buy:  Amazon

Captive Moon (Tales of the Sazi #3)

World-class entertainer and Sazi councilmember, Antoine Monier has taken his big cats all over the world without any trouble--until his latest trip to Stuttgart, where one of his tigers is stolen and killed. To Antoine's surprise, the German police have another tiger in custody--a tiger who is actually a lovely Turkish-American woman, Tahira Kuric.

Like Antoine, Tahira is a shapeshifter, but of the Hayalet Kabile, the ghost tribe of shapeshifters. And despite their immediate attraction, Tahira wants nothing to do with Antoine--the Sazi are the enemy of the Hayalet Kabile.

But Tahira doesn't have a choice, because she and Antoine have discovered that she is a fabled "power well," able to store magical energy from other shapeshifters--and something is hunting her, eager to use her powers for itself.

Only if they can set aside their peoples' ancient rivalry and rely completely on each other--body and soul--can Tahira and Antoine save themselves and their people.

Buy:  Amazon

Howling Moon (Tales of the Sazi #4)

He's a wolf… She's a jaguar…

Raphael is a former agent of the shape shifter secret police, forced into retirement after a very public scandal. Now he's assigned to help the victim of a hideous crime -- a woman who has been attacked by a serial killer, and accidentally turned into a were-jaguar.

Worse yet, Catherine turns out to be Raphael's fated mate. But the serial killer is still on her trail, and perhaps even worse, Raphael's pack wants her dead.
Caught between destiny and duty…

Raphael must make his choice -- and, in doing so, perhaps lose his pack -- in this tale of obsession, revenge, lust, pack politics, and true love.

Buy:  Amazon

Moon's Fury (Tales of the Sazi #5)

Cara Salinas has been leading the small Mexican red wolf pack in Tedford County, Texas, since she was thirteen.

Adam Mueller, formerly a beat cop from the toughest part of Minneapolis and now the new county sheriff, must find a way to integrate his exiled Minnesotan wolves with Cara's red wolves.

Cara and Adam clash in the way only fated mates ever do--and both refuse to accept their destiny. But when a pack of vicious Sazi raptors start to feed on the wolf-children of both packs, Cara and Adam must learn to respect each other, and embrace their future together to save the future of the Texan wolves.

Hailed as the "premiere authors of paranormal romance" and "true genre luminaries" by Romantic Times BOOKreviews, and winners of the 2006 Romantic Times Award for Best Werewolf Romance forMoon's Web, Cathy Clamp & C. T. Adams are back with another tale of shapeshifters, passion, and pack politics in Moon's Fury.

Buy:  Amazon

Timeless Moon (Tales of the Sazi #6)Josette Monier is a legend among the Sazi.

One of the most powerful, beautiful, and oldest Sazi in existence, she lives in self-imposed exile. Her gift of sight is so strong that to be around other living creatures is to be in pain.

What Josette has experienced lies beyond the scope of the Sazi, for her mate is in love with someone else. But when her gift of sight reveals trouble for her community, she knows that she has no choice. She must set aside her personal pain and save her people. And perhaps save herself and find love again.

Buy:  Amazon

Cold Moon Rising (Tales of the Sazi #7)


Former Mafia hit man Tony Giodone has been through a lot--he's turned into a werewolf, with a human mate and a pack leader tougher than his old Mob boss. And he's developed a powerful psychic ability--he can see into the past through other people's memories.

Being mated with a human is difficult in more ways than one. Tony and Sue's relationship is full of struggle. Adding to Tony's trouble is a new problem with some old mobster "friends"…who also happen to be a cabal of Sazi mass murders trying to extinguish the human race.

Only one man might be able to help Tony and the Sazi stop the cabal: Ahmad, the leader of the snakes. He and Tony have a deeper psychic connection than Tony has with anyone else--even his mate! Now Tony is along for the psychic ride of his life as the crown prince of an ancient empire is faced with his deadliest enemy: a woman he once loved, whom he was forced to betray . . . one who may now betray Ahmad, Tony, and all of humanity.

Buy:  Amazon

Serpent Moon (Tales of the Sazi #8)

Eric Thompson's wolf howl can ruin electronics and send aircraft tumbling from the sky. Considered dangerous even by his fellow Sazi, Eric has become a lone wolf, living in self-imposed isolation. Yet when the very foundations of Sazi life come under attack, Eric knows he must defend his fellow shapeshifters at any cost.

Attacked by a band of vicious Sazi, Holly Sanchez should have died. Instead, she survives, emerging as a powerful Sazi healer. Sent to return Eric to the Sazi world he rejected, Holly finds herself by his side as the lone wolf tracks the monster that is killing the Sazi. Holly soon realizes she must make a choice--between a Sazi life with Eric, and life as a "normal" human being. But first, she must survive long enough to make that choice--and she must save her people, and the world, from evil.

Buy:  Amazon

About Cathy Clamp

(From the Author's Website)

Hi, I’m USA TODAY and Nielsen Bookscan bestselling author Cathy Clamp. I write urban fantasy/paranormal romance for Tor Books, including the Tales of the Sazi (shapeshifter urban fantasy romance) series, The Thrall (vampire) trilogy, the Blood Singer (urban fantasy, as Cat Adams) series—through book 6, and the new Novels of the Sazi series, beginning in August, 2015.

I’ve won a bunch of awards for my books over the years. My favorite was the Career Achievement Award for Paranormal Romance in May, 2008 from RT Bookreviews Magazine. I also shared the win for several co-authored books with C.T. Adams of the Book Buyer’s Best Award, the RT Bookreviews Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Reviewers International Award of Excellence, the Texas Gold Romance Award, the Write Touch Readers Award, and several others. It’s gratifying and humbling to win awards for books that you put your heart into, and I hope you enjoy them as much as other readers have!

I’ve also written several stand-alone novels, not in series, including my very first novel, The Road To Riches, an historical fiction about a railroad race in Colorado’s Silver Boom period, and Magic’s Design, the first urban fantasy published as Cat Adams.

I also write short stories, which is a whole different kind of writing.. I like writing in a lot of different genres, and it’s in short stories where I let my wings spread. I have published short stories in horror, science fiction, mystery, literary, Young Adult, romance, thriller, fantasy and western.

Stalker Info:


(so much more on her site including her stating her love of 80's hair bands which makes me even MORE in love with Cathy than I was. I mean, I keep getting crap for my taste in loving the late 80s/early 90s music, like say, Guns N' Roses? So that Cathy states this information with pride makes me super happy. I mean really, the best in rock and roll before it became so.... bleh. My favorite song from that era changes depending on my mood, but right now? November Rain. Long-ass song, but it is amazing.)

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