Book Review – Club Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair

by Maryse on October 11, 2011 · 24 comments

in Alternative, My Book Reviews

Club Shadowlands (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 1)
Thank you Ivie, Yvette and Lauren for THIS recommendation. WOW!! This one was a dark spark in my otherwise “vanilla” two week long book-fest since “Grey“. I’ve been looking for more intensity, and while this one wasn’t absolutely perfect (like some of our recent favorites), it sure sucked me in and held me captive. Literally. Okay, so not “literally” (considering the genre “captive” takes on a whole new meaning) but you get the picture ;) Tee hee!!

This one was a thrill! A guilty pleasure for sure! Still don’t quite… get *it* but, fun nonetheless, so I have to tell you guys about it. It would be unfair to hide it simply because of it’s “alternative nature”. And while it was mostly *that* (yes… you know what*that* means) and not so much day to day normal life (which I would say is my only complaint – I would have loved more “real life”), I loved it anyway. I completely understood it, and it didn’t overwhelm me in the whole “lifestyle” intensity. I guess it’s one of those that goes easy on us “newcomers”.

And I’m starting to recognize another aspect of why I’m enjoying these books. You know my infatuation with the whole “human girl” meets “vampire”? Or normal girl runs into her rock star idol? You know that thrill you get when the “heroine” realizes that her world is taking on a whole new level? Well, you get *that* surprise, shock and intrigue here too!

“Normal” meets “Alternative”. The whole… “Wow… this stuff really exists!?” And the whole… “how in the world can anyone enjoy that!?” And yet, the “normal” connects to the “otherworldy”, despite the trepidation, and maybe even because of it. After all, some “vanillas” might have a… more “exotic” side :oops:

And did I just compare Doms to the “Otherworld”? Yup, I went there. This is what these “Doms” seem to be. Almost paranormal in themselves. Larger than life, demanding, almost unbending. The ultimate Alpha male. And yet (at least per these books) seemingly, totally, completely lovable, sweet, gentle and protective. *shrug* I dunno. hehe.

It’s all about let go, trust and and in turn, the Dom gives it back two-fold. It’s a mutual, somewhat “Symbiotic” relationship. And without the symbiosis, this relationship wouldn’t work. At all. It would be impossible. It has to be real, the truth, mutual and wanted, or else it becomes something else entirely. And a good “Dom” is not about that.

I also feel the need to mention… it’s not just a male dom, female sub world. The female “dommes” hold just as much “rank”. It seems to be more about personality. Not gender.

So there it is folks! My third? fourth? lesson in this “alternative” lifestyle (how many book in this genre have I read, now)?

So what is this one about? I LOVED how the poor girl got herself into this… situation.

Poor Jessica. After a date gone wrong, she gets into a minor car accident!! Landing her car, face first, in a Florida rain-filled drainage ditch. At night! She’s soaked, muddy, shivering and in a bit of shock.

Aunt Eunice always swore things happened in threes. So would braking for an armadillo be considered her third mistake, or was there another disaster lurking in her near future?

Cue the dramatic *dom dom dom* music here… *giggle*

Low and behold, what is that, she sees? A nice, yet somewhat ominous looking house. Perfect! Off her innocent-self goes to get some help. Sounding a bit “vampire-y” too you yet? It gets better!

So she knocks and a Shreck’ish looking man lets her in, but requests she wait in the entrance. After consulting the “Master”, she is permitted one of two choices.

  1. She can either sit and wait in the entrance until the storm dies down (about 6am). No tow trucks will be out on these back roads until then.
  2. She can sign some paperwork, change into dry clothes, and join the party already in progress. She’s shivering, and intrigued. She signs the paperwork. Without even READING it!!! Ahhh let the scary-fun begin!

So she could sit here all night. Or… be with happy people and be warm. No-brainer. “I’d love to join the party.”

“So impetuous,” the manager murmured.

The “Master” shows up with some clothes leads her to the shower, strips her down and PLOPS her right in it! Before she even has a real moment to realize and protest. Then… he stands there and scrubs her. ACK!!! He’s just so authoritative,no-nonsense and powerful, that she only barely protests. Okay, now you’re thinking… WHAT!? NO WAY! How. Can. she….? So yes, she protests, but barely. Let’s just blame it on shock, shall we. Again? Go with it? LOL!!!

“Um, excuse me?”

What was his name anyway?

“He stopped. “You may call me Sir.”

Like the Marines or something? “Uh, right. Exactly what kind of club is this?”

Anyway, down she goes into the party. And what a party it is! The “Master” (Zachary, but Master “Z” or “Sir” to you), takes her under his wing, quickly explains it, and sets her free to roam and discover. Oh did I mention… he’s a tad “paranormal” I guess you can say. He reads emotions, perfectly.

Her emotions were so strong, he could almost see as well as feel them.

“Lost your little sub, Z?” The bartender set a glass of Glenlivet down.

“Not lost. Released to explore.”

She reminded him of a kitten freed from the kennel, faring forth on a new adventure, ears forward, tail held high. She was definitely a brave little ball of fluff.

Loved all of it. Her shock. Her awe, her conversations with seemingly regular people, just not so “regular”. The really cute guy that flirts with her, chats her up and then suddenly gets down on his knees and…

“You want me to whip you?” She repeated in disbelief. Surely there were laws about whipping people?

Oh. She get’s herself into trouble… a few times. And of course, there are… repercussions.

Cullen appeared and knelt beside her chair.

“You’ve got to stop beating up on the members, sweetie. For a sub, you’ve got a real aggression problem.”

But she was so much fun!!! I loved seeing it all through “her” eyes… including Master Z’s own personal changes.

“Shhh, kitten, you’re all right,” he murmured, and something inside her relaxed. She felt his lips in her hair and knew she was safe.

Zachary found an empty couch in the middle of the floor and settled into it, keeping her firmly in his arms. Guilt was a hard lump in his guts. Never had a kind gesture gone so wrong. He should have made her stay out in the cold entry with Ben, should never have let her into the club.

So there you have it. A book filled with a ”vanilla” girl deeply intrigued by (and extremely leery of) this new world, and even more so by the unattainable “Master Z”. The main Dom, some even say… the best Dom around. It’s sweet, despite the what you might envision. Master Z is a great Hero. Again. If you just… “go with it”.

I only had a few moments (in this book) where I felt a bit *squigged-out*. Hee hee. Squigged! The “discipline” scenes, for sure. And a few times where I thought what the Dom was saying in his “Dom-moments” to be a bit… corny. If it were me and he said some of that stuff, I would have probably giggled in his face. Or wrinkled my nose. Or rolled my eyes. Or all of three. And then… well. He would have been mad at me. *Woops*. You know where that goes. 8O But hey! Oh sure, he may seem all consuming and all knowing, but corny is corny!! I’m telling it like it is. Then again, there were plenty of moments where he was just… perfect in his role. And out of it.

Also, I had a few personal *squig-out* moments, when all the “subs” were together, and the “Doms” all… “protecting” them (which was needed a few times, for sure) but still, it just felt a bit… I dunno. That scene just reminded me of… a commune?

But overall, I connected to the characters, and okay, I think I *got* it. :|

3.75 stars

P.S. I read book #2 (Dark Citadel (Masters of the Shadowlands Book 2)), and will be exploring that shortly in a review, but am needing to get back to some “vanilla” rocker, bad-boy angst…maybe even a vampire. They suddenly seem less scary to me. Dark Citadel was a bit too much “Dom ‘tude” for my delicate sensibilities. Maybe in small, spread-out doses I will appreciate these more so I’ll CERTAINLY be getting back to them, but… later. ;)

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Tina October 11, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Okay, to be fair, I am only 60% into the Kindle version of this book, and while I’m very interested in a voyeuristic sort of way (the two of them just spent time together on the swing in his garden), I’m finding that I’m not overly emotionally invested. I’m missing that back story which I normally would have gotten in the first 50% of any novel. I recently read “Belong to Me” by Shayla Black which is another D/s book where you get the “broken heart love lost, magic of love reunited, can our love be rebuilt while we’re fighting the bad guys?” angst along with a nice storyline of FBI agent/Navy SEAL going undercover to infiltrate an underground “sex slave for sale” ring. I guess the Shayla Black books are a part of a series, but I felt that this book (#5??) stood just find all on its little own. Will I finish Club Shadowlands?? Hells yes. I’m hoping that the last 40% tugs on my heartstrings. Maryse – I think we’re turning into erotica junkies. Damn you, Fifty, and your promises of “chunky monkey” and “banana splitted” versions of vanilla. You’ve created a whole slew of pervy monsters, E.L. James.

Maryse October 11, 2011 at 9:46 AM

hahaha!!! YES!! Let’s blame GREY!!! We’re looking for him EVERYWHERE, aren’t we? And, yes… Chunky Monkey is SO my favorite!!!!! Always has been.

Okay of course, this is no “Grey” but this book. I dunno. I actually *did* connect to the main two, especially when he felt bad after that first *angry sub* issue. At that point, I was all “awwwwwwww” *sigh*

Hrmmm… in the light of day, however, now that I have a clearer head and am re-contemplating that part, maybe I should have been more “grrrrrrr” ;)


Lori October 11, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Ok I’m gonna brave another book with d/s in it because of your review….wish me luck. Oh and I think between you and Tina I have become an erotica fan much to my husbands pleasure ;) . I struggle with those books that don’t have the good stuff anymore.

Ivie Sparaco October 11, 2011 at 10:58 AM

You just wrote the review I would have. (Oh and btw, thanks for outing me as the perv who suggested it! haha). But I agree, we are looking for Grey and all his “kinky f&*kery”. I think it’s just all of that delicious alpha male stuff. Hell, isn’t that really why we like Vampires and Werewolves too? But thanks Tina for your suggestion too. I’m a little embarrassed that I am basically reading soft porn, but at least there are love stories attached (my husband has not had a complaint either).

Maryse October 11, 2011 at 4:25 PM

Lori!! You made me laugh! Yes… it sometimes is a struggle ;)

Maryse October 11, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Ivie! Hey I gotta give props where props are due and you girls all went on about it in the comments section I think under Grey? Or the What to read… page?


Well done! That was a fun suggestion! And hey, don’t feel so bad… I’m the one reviewing ‘em.

But you’re right… about the paranormal heroes. Pure Alphas in those too, so… we’re not too far off ;)

Corrina October 11, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Ok, may check this one out. Just finishe both Greys and I am REELING! I just can’t believe the ending of Darker! Ugh! But I love it!! Anyway, Maryse I know I’ve suggested this one to you before but for anyone else I have to say. Second Chances from Lauren Dane. MOVED me. I loved that one! As Dom/Sub relationships go this really had a LOVE story to it AND a love triangle :) YAY

Maryse October 11, 2011 at 8:03 PM


You n’ Tina are killing me right now. What with her Belong to Me by Shayla Black recommendation and your Second Chances… I’m dying to read them both, but I planned on reading Kerrelyn Sparks’s Sexiest Vampire Alive, tonight. Ahhh what to do, what… to… do…?

I love reading!!

Tina October 11, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Go for the vampires. I merely suggested that Belong to Me was better than Shadowlands, but still not as emotionally grabbing as Fifty. I still swear first person writing is the way to go.

Maryse October 11, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Tina!! Agreed! 1st person writing I connect to so well. Tricks my mind into believing it’s me ;) So clever!!

Corrina October 11, 2011 at 8:27 PM

I know, I know, I know!! I’m sorry! I have to find something to bide my time for awhile maybe I’ll read ‘Belong to Me’ by Shayla Black:) But then again I read Second Chances before Grey because I just KNEW they wouldn’t compare to it. So I hope it moves you the same but who knows? . Now I’ve got to wait til January for the 3rd, ugh! Well HAPPY READING!! :)

Ivie Sparaco October 11, 2011 at 8:38 PM

I can’t find second chances on Amazon. What am I missing?

Maryse October 11, 2011 at 8:52 PM

Hi Ivie!! I found it for you: SECOND CHANCES by Lauren Dane

Ivie Sparaco October 11, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Thanks so much! I wonder why I couldn’t find it? I just started How To Kill a Rockstar, and I can’t seem to get into it. Maybe I’m missing that hot dominant male……

Maryse October 11, 2011 at 10:48 PM

Hi Ivie… Yah I dunno about the whole How to kill a Rockstars deal. Some of you have loved it as much as I have (and I swear I totally did) and some just can’t get into it.


Now I think it’s what they call… “chick lit?” I’ve read a few things like it that have been labelled as such that I loved, too… So maybe I just have a penchant for that genre?

Ivie Sparaco October 12, 2011 at 6:43 AM

No, that’s not it. I usually love chick lit. But I think all of these amazing books lately have spoiled the ones that are just good.

Kathryn Hughett October 13, 2011 at 1:15 PM

This is a genre of PNR that I just got into two weeks ago. I read “The Vampire Queen’s Servant”. Now I am hooked on this kinky stuff and I ordered the rest of the series. Thanks for recommending a new book to add to my collection.

Nicola October 15, 2011 at 3:32 AM

So I’ve just downloaded this one to my kindle as I just re-read the Grey’s for a second time and thought hang on this is not right, surely I can’t be this obsessed with the amazing Grey!!! I loved everything about it but by the sounds of everyone’s comments on here everything else pales in comparison…..arrgh!!! Oh well, will give this one a shot as I now *blush* need my fix of this new genre of books (never thought I’d read stuff like this LOL)!!!…..

patricia nesbitt October 17, 2011 at 1:19 PM

With you Tina on Belong to Me………oh yes but he is so so pissing me off right now I really want to use a clamp on him but not on the intended body part…teehee hopefully I stop wanting to hurt him….

Yvette November 28, 2011 at 7:58 PM

Maryse, I am so late in responding to this great review since I have been so busy reading. I am so glad you liked this one. It makes me so happy that you liked one of my recommendations. Cherries Sinclair is an auto buy for me and I have not been disappointed yet!

Please let me know if you ever get around to Sydney Croft’s ACRO series. It is a paranormal series that I think you’ll love. It is one of my favorites! And be sure to check out the website, Once you start reading this, you will get sucked right in.

Maryse November 28, 2011 at 9:01 PM

Yvette. Keep the recommendations coming!!! I really appreciate it!

I did love Larissa’s Demonica series so I should be good with her Sydney Croft side. Have you started her Lords of Deliverance yet?

Yvette November 29, 2011 at 9:15 AM

Maryse, I am always hesitant about starting a new series. Sometimes, I want to jump right in and read the first book right away. Other times, I want to wait until there are at least 3 books in the series before beginning. One thing I hate is CLIFFHANGERS! So, I’m holding off on reading the Lords of Deliverance series — for now! It is, however, in my TBR pile.

Carol December 6, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Thank you for this review. I’m only lately getting into the 50 Shades fervor – read all three in about a week! And then started looking for others like it. I read the Crossfire books (Sylvia Day), and found them good, but so much like the 50 Shades in plot line, etc. that I actually started lists of the similarities! Also, too much drama all the time. (I will read the third one, however when it comes out. Gotta find out what happens to Gideon and Eva.) I started the Shadowland series, and got seriously hooked! Bought them one after the other for my Nook, and have just finished #6. I agree that some of the BDSM is scary (I’m so not into pain. Domination? Maybe :-) , but the thing that intrigued me was that even after a “scene” the Dom took the time to take care of the sub’s needs, and every one of them eventually came to love the heroines and were committed to their pleasure. I liked that you got to know the characters and each book made reference to the previous characters – they were indeed all part of a club. Now I’m going to have to try some of your other suggestions. Thanks for this review!

Tiffany Sasso January 22, 2013 at 6:31 PM

Loved this whole series of books! If you like real BDMS and can handle it then you will love these books!! I say it’s like football…. love to watch it but wouldn’t want to play! Love reading about women being tided up, flogged, chased around, and left at a bar stoll with her breast exposed!! But won’t want to do it!! NO NO!! LOL! But a fun read ladies!

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