Claimed (Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy: Blood Lust, Novella 2)

Adult
Rated 4.75/5 based on 13 reviews
Anthony is cold, ruthless, undead, and hard to like. Yet, all it takes is one human with amnesia, to soften his heart. Ever since being bitten, Charlotte hasn’t been the same. More than anything, he wants to return to a time when she saw him for the man he is, instead of the monster she’s discovered. A time before she feared him. More

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About Zoe Winters

Zoe Winters writes quirky and sometimes dark paranormal romance and fantasy.

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Reviews

Review by: ann cooper on March 21, 2012 :
love this book and have the rest keep up the great reads
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Wulfie on Nov. 03, 2010 :
This is book 2 in the Preternatural series and it rocked. It's a little slower paced than the first book but it actually needs to be because great care is given to developing the characters fully. You could read this book as a stand alone or with the rest in the series. Trust me, you'll want to read the entire series. Zoe has built a great world here and, in this story, reveals another layer of that world. Great read.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Ilona Fenton on July 23, 2010 :
Having enjoyed Kept I was looking forward to more cat shifters but was pleasantly surprised to be following secondary characters from Kept in a continuation of the main story arc.

The memory loss of the female lead character was done very well (and I felt great sympathy for her)but the male lead character was the one that really got to me. The guilt he felt for causing Charlee's problems and the trouble he went to trying to help her whilst having his own problems was well portrayed.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Vampires with heart.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: A.M. Harte on June 25, 2010 :
Having read the first novella in the trilogy, "Kept", I was eager to get my hands on the sequel. And I wasn't disappointed: "Claimed" picks up right where "Kept" left off, except — instead of following Greta — it follows Anthony’s blood lust daze which leads him to Charlee. The end result is he wipes Charlee’s memory completely clean — she can’t remember her name, her dog, or anything else. And there couldn’t be a worse time for this to happen, as vampire politics are heating up.

This was the strongest of the three novellas. Not only did it focus on vampires (yay!) but I really connected with Charlee as a character, and sympathized with her plight. And beyond that, I felt that the male protagonist was far more developed and conflicted: as a vampire, he has a darkness to him that he will always carry with him, and that makes their relationship all the more interesting. It helps that the same witty dialogue I enjoyed in the first book is carried throughout this one, too — characterisation is definitely one of Winters’ strengths.

I also found the plot a lot more meaty this time around. Besides the obvious thread — Charlee’s amnesia — there is a vampire tournament involved, along with the introduction of Jane, who stars in the last novella of the trilogy. It’s a story of struggles: Charlee fighting valiantly with her amnesia and also with her mixed feelings for Anthony, Anthony struggling with his feelings for the “just human” Charlee, vampires doing their political manoeuvring… It all adds up to a tightly written, well paced novella.

The world-building was as before a fascinating and unique take on the supernatural world, hidden in plain sight. I particularly liked how non-sentimental Winters’ vampires are: not sad and moping, but with ambitions of their own. And it was also interesting to see their differing political agendas and beliefs on matters such as blood drinking, mate claiming, and the level of respect owed to humans. Charlee is thrown head first into this confusing society and it is a testament to her strength as a character that she handles the situation admirably.

So what didn’t I like? Well I definitely think that the first few chapters from Charlee’s point of view are a little weaker than in the second half of the novella, mostly because Charlee is so (understandably) confused that she needs a lot of “telling” — her best friend Greta immediately shows up and tells Charlee who she is, their history, etc. And Charlee took the information overload quite calmly; I would have preferred to really sink down into her confusion and fear. However, this really improves throughout the novel as Charlee is thrust into situations unfamiliar even to her unamnesiac-self (i.e. having to stay with Anthony).

Anthony’s point of view on the other hand was great. I loved the insights into vampire culture, and I really liked his darker, more calculating side. Firstly, he’s a heck of a lot sexier than the male lead in the first book, which is always a plus! Secondly, the stakes felt a lot higher this time around. Given the political upheaval, Anthony is at risk of losing so much more than a relationship if things with Charlee go wrongly, and the added tension really pulled me in.

Overall, Claimed is a highly entertaining light read which showcases Zoe Winters’ writing at its best. It’s a story that pulls you in: you cannot help but empathize with the two lead characters because they have so much to gain — or lose — from the success or failure of their relationship.

In sum, if you like supernatural romance, vampires, or any combination thereof, this is the book for you.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Samantha Anderson on June 12, 2010 :
I will admit when I first heard the idea of indie authors and whatnot I was a little skeptical. I was told to read Kept, the first novella in the Blood Lust series and couldn't put it down. Read Claimed the very next day.

What can be said about Zoe's writing and her ability to tell a story? Not much that would do her justice. She paints her characters in such a way that you can't help but to love them, writes them in a way that even if you don't fully relate, you will find at least one thing about them that you can empathize with.

Well done again Zoe, for keeping me up past my bed time reading your lovely stories... cannot wait for more! ;)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: carol couture on June 10, 2010 :
I give this novlla 5 stars!!! Zoe has done it again with her characters, easy to follow story lines that doesn't confuse or stop short in events. Anthony and Charlee are a great couple together and they are played out wonderfully.

Fantastic read!! I recommend this to everyone...and it has a great ending with no disappointments!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: S.J. Collins on June 09, 2010 :
It started with Kept…

But if I’m being honest, I liked Claimed even more than I did it’s predecessor. For one, Vampires never get old for me. I will always read books featuring them. Even if some leave me going ‘wtf?’, I still hold out for the stories about these bloodsuckers that will make my toes curl.

Claimed is one of those books.

Charlee and Anthony’s dynamic had me curious in Kept,but as I saw their relationship shift and change and evolve in Claimed, it only became more intriguing. I was absolutely enthralled with each and every interaction between the two of them.

Even when separated “on screen”, I loved both of their characters individually. For an odd reason.

They both had incredibly selfish moments. You may think it weird, but that struck me as realistic. You know, considering we’re talking about a Vampire. (I don’t care what anyone says, Anthony’s confession was just right for his character. I. LOVED. it.)

And I loved Zoe’s take on the Vampires. I’m convinced it might be my favorite take on the old myth thus far. I’m loathe to spoil anyone but I will say that Zoe’s vamps are manipulative as hell. And they LIKE being what they are.

And I loved it.

Zoe seems to have really come into her one both in her world and her writing in this novella. It’s subtle, but the writing feels more confident and refined while still having that quirky humor I so adored in Kept and that had me giggling both appropriately and inappropriately. I’m just that kinda gal, I guess.

We’re also introduced to a character named Jane, who is the main character for Mated. I’m frickin ecstatic and cannot wait to get into her story. She strikes me as an enigmatic character, and those are some of my favorite heroines. She’s not quite what she seems and we got a little hint of that in Claimed.

Over all? Favorite Zoe Winters book and couple thus far. We’ll see if that remains the same or if Zoe kicks it up a notch (which I suspect she will if Claimed is any indication) with Mated. After all, I love werewolves even more than I like vampires…
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Susan Bischoff on June 09, 2010 :
Claimed is the second novella in Winters's Blood Lust trilogy that starts with Kept. Kept was a great story about a cat-shifter who has to seek protection from her own people in the arms their sorcerous enemy. It's also a keeper.

I mention this because Claimed picks up, not where Kept left off, but while it's still going, sweeping the reader into the story by allowing us to re-live Kept's climax through the eyes of Claimed's hero, the vampire Anthony. Despite the dramatic circumstances of the story's beginning, Anthony's take on events is both fresh and full of snarky humor. Until he manages to screw up royally and start the chain of unfortunate events that carry us through Claimed.

For the heroine, this story brings back Charlotte, or Charlee, the fun and loyal best friend we met in Kept. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who wanted to know more about her and was happy to see her taking center stage in this next story.

As events unfold, Winters weaves a tangle that makes the reader wonder how the characters will ever get clear. And really, don't you love that?
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Brazen Snake Books on June 05, 2010 :
From were-cats to vampires...yet another highly enjoyable read from Zoe Winters. Anthony is the perfect vampire in my opinion...dark & brooding but ultimately a "good guy". The amnesia aspects of this story are very intriguing...you'll have to read it to see what I mean. And there's even a primal tournament that had me glued to the page dying to find out what happened next.

Read it - it's excellent. I can hardly wait to read the next story in the Blood Lust trilogy.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Sarah on June 05, 2010 :
I loved both Anthony & Charlee when they were introduced in Kept so I was really pleased to see that they got their own story. Claimed continues the story right after the ending of Kept. When Anthony is drunk on magical blood he almost drains Charlee when he feeds from her - not wanting her to remember and be afraid of him he wipes her memory of the event. However, it soon becomes clear that he didn't just remove her memory of that night, she remembers absolutely nothing - not even who she is. When he is trying to help restore her memory he unwittingly draws human Charlee into the vampire world and ends up having to protect her from other vampires who want claim her as their pet.

After enjoying Kept I was looking forward to Claimed and thoroughly enjoyed it. I continue to be amazed at how much Zoe Winters can pack into a novella. Claimed is full of action and I loved watching the relationship between Anthony and Charlee develop. Charlee is a feisty character full of quick come backs that will have you laughing out loud. She has every reason not to trust Anthony after what happened the night he nearly killed her and several things happen that cause her to trust him even less but everything he does after the first night happens when he is trying to protect her. Being a vampire fan I couldn't help but love Anthony - he really is great hero material & I loved how everything was resolved at the end of the story. I'd definitely recommend giving this series a try but I would recommend reading them in order. If you're a fan of the paranormal I'm sure you'll enjoy this - Zoe has a great writing style that is full of humor, action and romance.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: J Ryan on May 26, 2010 :
I loved Kept, and loved this book, Claimed, too! Claimed answered the couple questions I had from the first book (be sure to read them in order), and it was well-written. I am really liking Zoe's writing style - she has a great imagination, is very convincing, and has a sense of humor. I liked the suspense of the story. Now I can't wait until the final book in the Blood Lust trilogy!!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Ruth Ann Nordin on May 18, 2010 :
I admit this is not what I typically read, but the plot sounded intriguing so I bought it. I'm glad I did! Anthony, the vampire, loses control with some drugs pumping in his system, so he attacks Charlee (a mortal) and almost kills her. To save face, he tells her to forget. Except, she forgets much more than the attack. She forgets who she is! I really liked that twist. From there, it's a matter of getting her memories back and forgiving him for what he did to her.

This book is very well-written. Zoe has mastered the art of world building. She paints a vivid picture of the world that is carefully concealed from the one we know; it's a world of vampires, shapeshifters and other creatures. The characters were developed too. Anthony was my favorite because he had a sexy quality about him. He might have lost control, but he's got a conscience and battles his love for Charlee. Charlee is a strong female lead, but she's not so hard and cold that she doesn't have a heart.

The pacing was good. Nothing dragged, and the sequence of events happened smoothly. This isn't one of those stories where the misunderstandings and hard feelings drag needlessly on. And the ending was great. I love how Charlee admitted her love for him! Definitely a great read!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Jason Craft on May 18, 2010 : (no rating)
Summary

So, we start off during the ending of the first novella, Kept, except we are following the perspective of the vampire, Anthony. And let me tell you, if you thought you saw crazy in Kept, you haven't seen anything until you dive into the hidden world of Cary Town's vampires. They are all over the map. There are vegetarian vamps, emo vamps, hardcore old-school vamps, and then there's Anthony.

Anthony is like a goth version of Fonzie that can charm you while simultaneously sucking your blood. After running drunk on the poison he siphoned out of Greta, he goes on a wild rampage and terrifies poor, innocent Charlee (Greta's former roommate). Her memory gets all jacked up because of this and so Anthony is forced to hide her at his awesome penthouse until after the upcoming vampire tournament where he will vie for absolute control over the vampire coven and become the vampire king for the next century.

Linus, the big, bad vampire that vants to suck your vblood rolls in to town to let Anthony know he isn't the only one that has a shot at the crown. They have a mini-showdown in which Charlee, of course, gets completely caught up in. Everything gets supremely complicated after that as she and Anthony romantically spar over every little thing they do.

She hates him, but he has to protect her from Linus. Blah, blah, blah....happily ever after. Or is it? I guess you will have to read it to find out.

Review

Overall, I found this next installment to have more depth and meat than the first. The intriguing world of Cary Town is further enriched as the darker, vampire side is explored. The imagination fueling it actually made the story feel more like a fantasy novella than paranormal romance. Zoe certainly knows how to paint a vivid world.

Thankfully that world is inhabited by an expanding list of interesting characters. The two main characters here, Charlee and Anthony, are completely different than those in Kept, but still wield the same amount of power over your mind. Even though their situation nearly mirrors Greta's and Dayne's in Kept, they interact in unexpected and exciting ways. Their chemistry is so real, you will wish you had your own vampire to cuddle up with at night.

The story weaving all the events intertwining the characters with the world is so organic that it really blurs the boundary between fantasy and paranormal romance. I never gave the paranormal romance genre much credibility with me being such a sci-fi elitist and all, but Claimed has commanded my respect. It certainly raises the Blood Lust bar of telling a good story that just so happens to involve romance. The quality of the story was never sacrificed to force in romantic elements for the sake of genre.

If you are looking for a good paranormal romance or just need a break from your standard genre, I highly recommend you give Claimed a shot. You won't regret it. The only feeling you'll be left with by the end is a craving for more blood...

I give it two out of two vampire fangs! (in the neck if you know what I mean)
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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