Finally I have completed my "366 Critiques By Amateur" series that I started in 2016. Original target was to complete it by end of the year 2016. However life happened and it got dragged into 2017. Closing of this series with a book by one of my favorite authors who doesn’t hesitate to mix eroticism with the dark side of this world and yet bring out hope and light to the readers in the end. Look out for this space in 2018 for more reviews of books that I read or movies / TV shows that I watch - if you are interested. :)
For review of all books in this series: Go here.
Stars: 3 / 5
Recommendation: Shape-shifting Leopards, Mobsters and Love - A weird combination right? Well, it's worth reading on those lazy days or to bring you out of any kind of dull mood.
Leopard’s Blood is the tenth installment in the Leopard People Series by Christine Feehan published in October of 2017. The plot revolves around Joshua Tregre – new boss taking over the crime syndicate in New Orleans swamps – and Sonia Lopez – who is on the run from the most ruthless mobster in Russia.
The entire Leopard People Series focuses on humans who have ability of shape-shifting to leopards. Each plot covers one couple that are destined to be mated in this lifetime just like so many lifetimes in the past. And surrounding this couple the plot expands on this species of leopard shape-shifters, their advantages as being so, their perils and how their lives move along in this 21st century. All of the plots are either set in Borneo Rain Forest - coast of South East Asia - and Louisiana and Texas in USA or eventually lead there. These leopards come from very hard and cruel lairs, but they come out on their own, find their mate, infiltrate the mobs and acquire the territories taking over them.
On a particular uncontrollable heat period of her leopard – Gatita – Sonia Lopez goes into the deeper swamps of New Orleans to settle her. Instead she and her leopard get claimed by Joshua Tregre and his leopard Shadow. Raised in the rain forests of Borneo, Joshua is the recent addition in taking over the crime syndicate in New Orleans – taking over specifically Rafe Cordeau’s territory. Sonia didn’t want anything to do with mobsters, guns and the cruel games these men play. She had carved a niche for herself in this part of the world that did not connect to her past in anyway. But her fierce spirit and loyal nature pulls Joshua to her as much as her leopard calls for his. As well as her immense knowledge and workmanship in restoring old homes – a skill he needed to restore his current home. And Joshua doesn’t lose the opportunity that brings him closer to Sonia. How does her past and his current clash, how both Sonia and Joshua resolve it with less consequences to them and at the same time make a life out of all this chaos is what the rest of the plot traverses about.
As like other plots, Christine introduces more leopard men in here who work directly under Joshua Tregre – Evan, Kai and Gray. I first met Joshua Tregre in the ninth installment in the Leopard People Series – Leopard’s Fury (My review of that book is here). He had been an intriguing character and he is much more mysterious now even though he is the lead in this plot. It is very interesting to see, although a very confident and fierce woman, how Sonia unfolds into a leopard woman, a perfect mate for Joshua. The chemistry between Joshua and Sonia is off the charts.
Most of the plot in this book takes place in one single day and night. But the description goes for so many pages and the erotic scenes are so many that reader forgets that they occur in a period of 24 hours. It could have been shortened a bit and still would have been a good book to read. Christine uses phrases and words such as “he rewarded her…” or “she did exactly he asked for…” while describing erotic scenes in her plots. They keep bordering on one of the concept of BDSM which is something I don’t like at all. So it gets harder to read her plots when such incidents occur. In this plot as well she had some scenes pretty close to such scenarios. I had to skip reading those scenes before I proceed further. I wish her erotic content goes back to how it was in her initial plots. As always there is a lot of repetition of text and context all through the book.
Another fierce plot involving the shape shifting leopards and mobs that surround them adding to the chills, with strong magnetism in sexual and physical manner between the lead actors adding to the thrills and the end goal that these leopard people try to achieve for humanity - all packed well together making it a definite pick.
1) Plot Reveals:
a. The plot in this book continues from where Leopard's Fury left off. And finally we get to read a plot for Joshua Tregre. He had been a constant from the beginning of the series and always wondered how will Christine make his character to be.
b. In Wild Cat when Elijah makes him head of Rafe Crodeau's territory after Rafe is killed (Read Cat's Lair for that story), I had expected the next book to be about Joshua. Instead Christine gave us first Alozno Massi / Fyodor Amurov's story before she told about Joshua. I always wondered how an author picks whom to be the center of their next plot. Perhaps characters do speak to the author.
c. Two new characters Molly Sheffield – also on the run from a dangerous man – and Bastein Foret – the local law enforcement detective – are introduced in the plot. Although Christine has a sub-plot involving both, it makes me wonder if they will resurface in future plots that will be set in New Orleans.
d. Christine mentions Joshua's leopard having blue eyes which was a rare finding in India. A lair of leopards were found in India, all having blue-eyes and belonging to the same family. Interesting enough when I googled I did come across news articles of rare blue-eyed leopards found in Pali district in the state of Rajasthan, India in 2013. More about it here.
e. I always had wanted Christine to take her stories to India as well. I had infact asked her about it when I met her. She had mentioned that is something she has on her mind and if she gets the right contact and content she will venture her plots into India as well. However I am might pleased to see my birth country mentioned in this plot.
f. References to the mission that Elijah Lospostos and his team (involving all the other leopards we have read so far about) had carried out in the book Wild Cat in ensuring that Rafe Cordeau's lair is cleared of rogue leopards is seen in this plot. Specially to the character Pete, who's niece had been held on Rafe's property for three months and how they had rescued her.
g. Sasha Bogomolov is spared by Joshua, Alonzo and the rest of the teams. Would he become a part of Drake and Jake's plan for taking over mob territories?
h. Christine talks about more lairs that are cruel and need to be mended towards the end of this plot. That is an obvious segue into the next plot. However, she has given us the stories for all the key players so far whom I guessed to become prominent. Of the remaining ones (see my list below), I don’t see anyone's character developed enough to become a central character except for Mitya Amurov and Timur Amurov. With this plot Christine also tied in the Russian mob and leopard lairs. So it is logical that her next plot will be either around Mitya or Timur. However she always goes away from the logical side and springs a surprise on the readers. Cant wait for October to come to see whom she has centralized her book on.
i. I was envisioning a family reunion between Evangeline and Joshua Tregre considering Joshua and Evangeline's mate Alonzo Massi / Fyodor Amurov work together on their missions. Or atleast a kind of gathering Christine wrote up in all her previous novels for the female lead character to get acquainted with other female leopards and then we could see Evangeline meeting Sonia Lopez and then eventually acknowledge the familial bond with Joshua. Since it wasn’t part of this plot, will Christine have this in her next book?
2) Christine mentions about a Taylor Swift song “Wildest Dreams” in the plot. Hadnt heard that song before but ended up listening when I came across it here, not a bad song.
3) Christine starts to give names to the leopards - human's counterpart - as well starting Leopard's Fury:
a. Evangeline Tregre's leopard is called Bebe.
b. Sonia Lopez's leopard is called Gatita and Joshua Tregre's leopard is called Shadow.
4) Sub Plots:
a. One of Saria’s brothers, Mahieu, and Charisse Mercier – another female leopard – are dating per the plot in Savage Nature. Will Christine elaborate on this in one of her next books, will she have a main plot or sub-plot for Mahieu?
b. Saria, Drake Donovan's mate; Catarina, Eli Perez's mate; Siena, Elijah Lospostos's mate - are all pregnant as of this plot still.
c. Jerico Masters and Evan Mitchelson - security / ranch hands all rolled into one at Jake Bannaconni’s property - aren't shifters but are loyal to Jake. Perhaps we will get to see more of them in future.
d. Mitya Amurov is given his own territory in Leopard's Fury - Patrizio Amodeo's territory - continuing with the leopard people's end goal in taking over the mobsters. Will there be a story for Mitya alone?
e. In Leopard's Fury, Christine doesn’t close out the threat to Evangeline and Alonzo / Fyodor from either Emilio Bassini and Ulisse Mancini - heads of two more mob territories - or from his uncles in Russia. More meat for future plots involving Mitya's story perhaps or Gorya's or Sevastyan's or Timur's when they eventually are written by Christine.
5) Christine also introduces a few non-leopard people as the plots proceed, but a few stand-out making me wonder if she would make them shifters in future plots
a. Susan Hindman, Senator Hindman’s daughter, is introduced in Burning Wild plot. Christine made her character as brilliant, sharp and fast-learner at a very young age. Will Christine make her a shape-shifter in a future plot is something one has to wait and see but all signs point towards that for me.
6) Christine introduces us to her future heroes of this series who are yet to be mated as of this book. We keep getting glimpses of their lives and past as each and every story progresses, making the reader wonder whom of these will Christine elevate in her future books.
a. Shilo – a female Leopard being protected by the leopard people in Borneo Forest.
b. Felipe and Leonardo Gomez Santos – brothers from Brazilian rain forests introduced in Wild Fire.
c. Jeremiah Wheating – a cub shifter who accidentally joins this group in the Wild Fire plot.
d. Mateo – Connor’s young step-brother
e. Dr. Abel Winters and his wife Mary Winters; Dr. Liam Mulligan, Dr. Mason. Doc – Leopard Doctors who help the leopard shifters when in need. Suddenly from Wild Cat the doctors have become Doc. Which one of this is addressed as Doc is unclear.
f. Remaining Boudreaux brothers – Mahieu, Dash, Gage and Lojos
g. Trey Sinclair and Evan Courtier - work for Jake Bannaconni
h. Joaquin Estrada and Tomas Estrada – Elijah’s bodyguards.
i. Alonzo Massi aka Fyodor Amurov's brother Timur Amurov and his cousins Gorya Amurov, Mitya Amurov and Sevastyan Amurov - They come from a dangerous lair called the Amurs who are part of the Bratya in Russia.
j. Kyanite "Kye" Boston, Borya, Kirill, Matvei - work for Fyodor / Alonzo
k. Carter, Fergus, Kai and Gray - Work for Joshua
7) Grammatical / Character / Location / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:
a. On Pg. 110, fourth para, it should be “He collapsed over on top of her….”
b. On Pg. 352, first line, it should be “as if he hadn’t been the one…”
c. On pg. 366, fifth para, it should be “on Joshua, but he could on her.”
8) As I read these Leopard People books and as I see more and more of the plots getting closer to or around New Orleans Bayous, it reminded me of another of Christine Feehan's series that is set in New Orleans. One of the team from her Ghostwalker Series (My review of the books in this series here) - Elite Air Force Pararescue Team - are also set in New Orleans Bayous. Will Christine have a cross-over plot between both the series? I hope she does. Would be interesting to see how man-made super soldiers fare with the naturally born super humans. (Christine, are you reading this? :)