Refined Instincts (Instincts #5) by S.J. Frost ~ Book Review by PizzyGirl

Refined Instincts Title: Refined Instincts (Instincts #5)

Author: S.J. Frost

Publisher: MLR Press

Cover Artist: Winterheart Designs

Rating: 3.75 of 5 Stars


In the arms of the vampire who Turned him, Troy Raines finds the desire to seek redemption, but as danger closes in, it might be too late for him to set right the wrongs of the past.

Troy Raines wants it all to end. His pain, his heartache, his regrets. Having been in hiding to avoid capture from the Tribunal, he returns to Chicago believing since that’s where everything began for him, it should end there, as well. Renart Bellerose has known many regrets in his long life as a vampire, but few are stronger than what he has regarding Troy Raines. As the one to make Troy a vampire, he gave him power, money, anything he thought Troy wanted, but he restrained on giving him what they both needed. When Renart and Troy face each other again, anger and passion explodes between them. Renart wants to help Troy find redemption, but as danger closes in, it might be too late to set right the wrongs of the past.

PizzyGirl’s View:

In book 2, I became sympathetic to Troy after it was revealed he lost the love of his life and was destined to live a life of emotional as well as physical pain. However, Troy was not really mentioned in books 3 or 4 and I lost track of him and really no longer had a desire for his HEA. In addition, I have never really cared about Renart. So I went into this book a little weary and thinking this would be much like book 4, another addition to this series just for the sake of adding another book. But as I read along, I was pleased to see that I was able to connect again with Troy and was able to overcome my apathy toward Renart and really enjoy their romance.

Once again I am captivated by this world. With Renart, we got a glimpse into historical French nobility and a lovely Gyrfalcon servant. We got to see more of the workings of the Tribunal and the vampire method of justice. I like learning new things about characters and worlds and this author is good at that.

I also liked that this romance had a bit of a bite to it at first. I was so afraid that once Troy returned, everything would instantly be perfect again. But Troy fought back for a bit. He stood up to Renart. He spoke out about the things that hurt him and the ways Renart let him down. It was refreshing to see a couple that could have gone either way in the romance department. Of course, we all know which direction this story took, but at one point, I almost believed Troy and Renart could not overcome their history. But then the author did something she has not done in the past books of this series, she brought in a new vampire to act as an objective observer of the situation. Don Domingo was an excellent way to smack Troy upside the head and inject some perspective into the situation without having to force the story to turn out the way she wanted it to. Plus, I kind of like the Don. He was snarky.

However, they did overcome their mutual history and found their romance. And much like the previous stories, that romance followed a pattern. Renart bared his past to Troy, revealing his lost love and how that lost love forever changed him. It really was a sad tale that brought tears to my eyes and explained a lot of Renart’s characteristics. Once the big hurt was revealed, their love shone through with relative ease. It was once again a grand romance, just a bit repetitive.

I did like the plot point of Troy having to stand trial. It broke up the repetitive nature of the romance and injected something new into this book. This was really the part of the book that help my interest the most. Would Troy be spared? Would the lovers die and spend eternity together? I knew the outcome I wanted, and was pretty sure I was right, but it was still nice to have a bit of mystery to keep pulling me forward! The trial was interesting in that is was really all about love and second chances, which was not what I expected, but did fit with the overall theme of this series.

Once again I am enjoying this series. While the romances are getting repetitive, I am really intrigued by the look into the various historical cultures and how those characters blend into modern society. I also love the animals. I would be OK in the series ended here, but I would also continue reading if some of the Tribunal members or Don Domingo got their stories.

Buy Links

MLR Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks
iTunes / iBooks
Barnes & Noble
Kobo US
Kobo UK

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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