Book Reviews

Amazon Review by Rebecca Jervey
Reining In is a short book that deals with some deep concepts. While it is a vampire story, it is all about the interactions between the vampire (Khalida) and both her mortal and immortal friends. The story commences with a beautiful description of her relationship with Raymond, who the reader gets to know quite well, before we witness his murder. As Khalida deals with the death of Raymond, the detective work of finding out why he died, and the protection of her other friends you come to understand and empathize with the fact that, though she will never die, she feels and remembers each death of a friend. Throughout the story many characters are introduced and their stories are told in such a vivid manner that Khalida's network becomes a group that you fear for and rejoice with. I look forward to reading the sequels to this story finding out what happens next!

Amazon Review by Kori Gaff

I loved this book, that the lead was a female vampire. She is strong but there is also a vulnerability that you don't get to see in most vampires. The book draws you in, at one point I thought I knew what was going on and going to happen next. I was way off base and I love that even more. I hate when books become predictable. That does not happen with this book. I cannot wait for the sequel.

Review by Ronnell Porter on The Trinity Masterpiece

To introduce the book, I will use the relationship between human and cat as an example of the beginning.
So you rescue a kitten and show it as much love as you can as long as it lives. But in the back of your mind you know that you will outlive your pal by many, many times its own lifetime. This is the relationship between Raymond Darling and Khalida, or "Khallie". But Raymond isn't a cat, he's a person, and Khallie isn't your average human being, she's a 5,000 year-old vampire.
The beginning of the book begins with tragedy, and the tone continues in this pattern, but it's made abundantly clear that this isn't because the author happens to be a sadist; it's because Khallie's world is a world of tragedy and despair.
For a few-thousand years, Khallie has spent her existence running and hiding in fear. She is immensely powerful in the vampire world and easily has power over the vast majority of the remaining vampire populace that inhabits the earth, and yet she cowers at the mere mention of one particular man who's been hunting her down like a bloodhound for millennium; his name is Vyktor.
The story picks up with Khallie spending time with her favorite kitten in the whole world, Raymond. Khallie saved his life as a child, and he's always seen her as an ageless angel, but he knows what lies beneath her attractive porcelain guise. But things quickly go awry rather unexpectedly when Khallie kills a thug that appeared to be robbing her car. As it turns out, she's unintentionally killed a Russian Mofia King's favored son.
If that didn't throw you for a loop in the first chapter, what with a vampire now being hunted by a Russian mob, the rest of the book continues to become a very twisted and foggy road.
The first half of the book is dipped with very seedy and bloody mystery as the story takes a cloak-and-dagger approach to solving the mystery behind this mysterious 'Vyktor' and why Khallie has been hiding from him.
This is where Khallie's family comes in: The Network.
The Network is compiled of humans whom Khallie trusts with her life, and each are willing to die for her without a second thought because they think of themselves as a family and she loves each of them as such. But make no mistake; they all know exactly what Khallie is and who it is she's fleeing.
Khallie's relationship with the network is just as interesting as the plot of the book as she plays a sort of den-mother, but at the same time she's babied and coddled. This is because in Dawn Judd's delicately balanced world Vampires don't seem to emotionally mature as they age. They can learn, and they can be exceptionally clever, but their personality remains much the same throughout the rest of their existence. Since Khallie was quite young and naïve when her human life ended, she is still quite immature in many ways. But it's her nature of following her heart that has kept her humanity mostly untarnished for centuries. This also explains why one particular individual is physically mature but has the emotional reach and reasoning of a child.
The second half of the book brilliantly teeters on the strings woven in the first half to leave its audience in suspense; one wrong decision, one false word, and everything will come crashing down, and both Khallie and the reader know this.
Through Sergio Leone-style gun stand-offs, mob justice vengeance, and ancient vampires who are virtually limitless in strength and cunning, Reining In is a masterpiece of exploring the different shades of Matriarchal Piety and how even neglected bonds can remain untethered for eternity. And let me tell you, if you have the right playlist of music for the read it can blow you away - I mean, really leave you breathless!
There is so much potential to learn of the pasts and fates of some characters that should Dawn choose to expand on her characters and universe I'm sure that it would help garner loyal and avid fans.

Amazon Review by Richard Jackson

I have a love/hate relationship with books featuring vampires. Some focus on aspects I'm not fond of or feel like carbon copies of other books and stories. Very few have the right mix of things to draw me in. Reining In (The Network) does just that.
The main character Khalida isn't your typical vampire. She is a creature of emotion and secrets, one who feels all too human. Her personality and her novel approach to living in a human dominated world are two of the things that drew me to the book. Like Khalida, the other characters in the book are fleshed out. Each one has their own motivations and secrets which play a part in the story.
As a whole, the story is enjoyable. There are a few twists and turns as you learn more about Khalida and her current situation. The author is able to impart a sense of urgency without rushing the plot. A little bit more information about the vampires of her world could have been added but this didn't hurt the story or my enjoyment.