Joint Review – Siren’s Call (Harmony #12, Rainshadow #4) by Jayne Castle

cover_sirens=callPublisher: Jove
Publish Date: Out Now
How we got this book: eARC from the publisher via NetGalley
Reviewers: Marlene and Ericka

In the mysterious world of Harmony, there are places filled with unexplored marvels. But Rainshadow Island isn’t about to give up its secrets…

In the alien catacombs of Rainshadow, there are creatures whose compelling songs lure the unwary to their death. That’s why Rafe Coppersmith, hired to clear out the catacombs for exploration, needs a music talent. He’s knows the perfect one, but she probably doesn’t want anything do with him…

Ella Morgan had once fallen hard and fast for Rafe, but then he disappeared for months…and he’s not about to tell her why. Ella, too, has secrets that only her dust bunny knows. She’s not just a music talent, she’s a Siren: a paranormal singer capable of singing men to sleep—or to their deaths.

But once on Rainshadow, Rafe and Ella will learn that surrendering to passion doesn’t come without risks—and fighting fire with fire only adds to the flame…
*Blurb taken from Goodreads

E: Castle is one of my auto-buy authors. I know I can always settle into one of her stories and enjoy the world, the tension and strength between the hero and heroine, some humor, and a problem to be solved along with a few dead bodies. Siren’s Call, Castle’s latest fits right in. I have been wondering when Sirens were going to appear in the Harmony world since they were introduced in her Arcane Society story, Running Hot which I reread recently. Running Hot was written under the name of Jayne Ann Krentz. I had also noticed an increase in the role of music or specific note combinations in Harmony so it was very interesting to see a Siren take front and center in the return to Rainshadow Island.

Marlene: Castle and all her personas (Amanda Quick and Jayne Ann Krentz) are also on my auto-buy/auto-locate list. And her Arcane Society/Harmony series are ones that I take time out of my schedule to read. I love this series and squeed in delight when she finally connected the past (Quick) to the present (Krentz) to the future (Castle).

I didn’t see the connection to Running Hot that my friend E did, but I saw a connection to the Dreamlight Trilogy (Fired Up, Burning Lamp and Midnight Crystal) in the initial dynamic between Rafe and Ella. In the Dreamlight Trilogy, the man is suffering some kind of trauma to his psi powers, and fears he is either going crazy or burning out. The woman has her own power, and is able to diagnose his trouble and either fix it or get him through it. This is pretty much what happens with Rafe and Ella.

E: Ella and Rafe had history, rather brief but still history of the sort, which made working closely together rather tense with a large amount of unspoken questions and answers. I enjoyed how Castle set up the opening of the story and set the stage for the majority of Ella and Rafe’s on page involvement. I really felt for Ella and did wonder how they would overcome their past history and trust each other enough to move forward on a personal not just professional level. As the story progressed it became apparent that they needed each other. Rafe needed Ella to give him some mental peace and to spark the idea of working through his mental changes instead of fighting against them. Ella needed Rafe to prove she could use her power to its limit without being the monster feared in legends and history. And of course we had an intrepid, opinionated, independent, and fiercely loyal dust-bunny. Dust-bunnies as a species have really turned into one of my favorite side characters throughout this series.

Marlene: Lorelei, Ella’s dust-bunny, is one of my favorite characters in the story. I also loved that the siren Ella named her dust-bunny for one of the most famous mythological sirens. The dust-bunnies certainly have stolen my heart.

But the first meeting between Ella, Rafe and Lorelei sets up the whole story. They find alien tech, they encounter some very bad guys, and Rafe agrees to keep Ella’s secret. Then he does what Ella sees as the typical male thing of saying he’ll call, which he never does. Ella writes him off, and then he shows up. She is not happy and doesn’t trust him. Nor should she.

E: Rainshadow Island always seems extremely vivid to me, whether under the influence of dangerously unstable and strengthening psychic energy or now with a slew of dangerous creatures hunting (human) prey and unusual plants all around. I really like how each succeeding book uncovers some new aspect which impacts not only the quirky year-round residents of the Island but brings in “experts” from outside who quickly find things are more different than they guessed. In this particular case not only were Ella and Rafe facing the “native” or pre-human flora and fauna they were also dealing with personal threats or dangers. I had a hard time determining both the identity of the key villain and the motivation behind the series of incidents, which ensured balance in the story between romance, intrigue, and exploration.

Marlene: Rainshadow Island just teems with hidden depths as well as bringing out the worst in a whole host of villains. No one ever seems to emerge unscathed, whether they change for better or for worse. I love that each story on the Island gives us a glimpse at how all the previous heroes and heroines are doing, now that they have decided to call Rainshadow their own – or possibly vice-versa.

The crazy psi on Rainshadow confused me too. I didn’t figure out who the villain was until the very end. I could see the connections between the incidents, but not who they connected to. I also got fooled by one character who was so nasty I expected him to be villainous, but wasn’t.

E: While I really enjoyed Siren’s Call after I finished reading it I realized I was trying to make direct linkages between the hero and heroine to characters in other stories written under other names. Attempting to find the information to correlate my memory was slightly frustrating because I was looking between three pennames and I still have some doubt about one of my mental connections. Ella’s ability or talent was mentioned in Running Hot several years ago as I brought up early in this review and I am stuck thinking Rafe was related to the Coppersmiths in Krentz’s Dark Legacy series despite what the series blurb says.

Quibble aside I thought Siren’s Call was another fun installment. I enjoyed the heat between Ella and Rafe as well as their individual personal growth. Ella’s dust-bunny and her taste for the finer things in life provided some comic relief and animal instinct. I continue to look forward to seeing what Castle is going to create next in her world of Harmony.

I give Siren’s Call a B+

Marlene: I also really enjoyed Siren’s Call. I always end a Harmony story wanting a dust-bunny of my very own. (I have a very fluffy cat but she doesn’t quite fit the bill!) The dust-bunnies always provide a unique and alien perspective, as well as being cute, without actually saying a word.

My quibble is in a different place from E’s. While I enjoyed the romance, it didn’t feel set up as well as they have been in some earlier books. It happened so fast, and they went from distrust to sex to love in very short order. I didn’t feel like I saw the romance get built. But I liked Rafe and Ella as individuals and adored Lorelei. The suspense and danger in this book were what made the book most enjoyable for me.

And Lorelei. Did I say I want a dust-bunny? I really want a dust-bunny.

I also give Siren’s Call a B+

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