One thing I love most about the book are the creatures featured in it. They are from Southern lore, and I can remember tales my grandmother Big Mama told me about the wampus cat! The series has many colorful characters, and you'd better pay attention in the first installment because the action is non-stop.
Although this story focuses on Mary and Raphael's love story, they are not my favorite characters in the book (especially Mary). Not that I don't LIKE Mary, it's just that I'm more intrigued with a few of the secondary characters, like Wish and Leila, Mary's sister. I can't wait to read their individual books (they are not a couple).
I think Stone nailed the New Orleans setting. The reader can tell that she's spent quite a bit of time there, and I dare any native to say otherwise! There is truly a sense of place in the book, and the unique atmosphere and culture of New Orleans is almost a secondary character. I think anyone who loves New Orleans will love this series.
Here is an EXCLUSIVE excerpt, only found here @ Art @ Home!
“They only know two things,” Wish said, “mating and killing.”
At Mary’s alarmed gasp, Aiyanna quickly chimed in, shooting Wish an annoyed look. “These men contain themselves with chains enchanted to subdue werewolves with full powers.”
Powers these men didn’t have. So long as Leila and she stayed away from where they were chained, they would be safe.
The thought of crazed wolves still made Mary’s knees weaken. If it weren’t for Aiyanna and Wish’s earnest reassurances about the men, coupled with their lacking abilities most werewolves had, Mary might have run from the firehouse, dragging Leila along with her.
Something wonderful—fragile, but worth cultivating—was forming between her and Raphael, but giant, relentlessly angry wolves were up there with large cats in her book.
She learned the loss of their powers was another punishment for their crimes. No one could tell Mary what the weres, namely Raphael, had done to deserve this.
“They’re all good men,” Aiyanna had assured her. “Whatever they’ve done, they’ve been punished enough for it. I promise you, there is no safer place than here.”
Then why don’t you live here? Leila had signed, earning a growl from the shapeshifter.
“Cael won’t let me,”Aiyanna said.
In keeping with the urban fantasy genre, there is a lot of violence in this book, so it probably isn't for the squeamish. The second installment is scheduled for a February release, and Samantha is already hard at work on her third book.
Punished is an ebook, and you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please visit Samantha's blog HERE.
FYI: Shanley "borrowed" here pen name from her great-grandfather, renowned New Orleans architect Sam Stone.
Please let me know if you read Punished. I'd like to know your thoughts!
Mary, one of the main characters, loves drinking hot chocolate. New Orleans has many local coffee shops, but Mary doesn't appreciate the chicory-rich coffee the city is known for....instead she prefers a rather thick hot chocolate that I will feature on tomorrow's post. Please come back tomorrow so you can make Mary's favorite hot chocolate!
Until next time...