The Red Lily (Vampire Blood #2) by Juliette Cross-Dual Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

THE RED LILY (Vampire Blood #2) by Juliette Cross-Dual Review, Book tour & Giveaway

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THE RED LILY
Vampire Blood #2
by Juliette Cross
Genre: adult, paranormal, fantasy, romance
Release Date: June 19, 2017

The Red Lily

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 19, 2017

When Red falls for the Big Bad Vampire…

The Black Lily resistance needs a larger army if they are to defeat the vampire monarchy. In order to do so, former lieutenant and traitor to the vampire Crown, Nikolai must seek help from the red-hooded temptress he needs to avoid at all costs. The secret he carries could prove dangerous for her if she gets too close…even though keeping her close—very close—is the only thing on his mind.

Sienna will do anything for the Black Lily, and when Nikolai asks for her assistance to gain the trust of the commonwealth, it’s the last thing she wants to do. The thought of leaving her woods and her wolves behind is terrifying…not to mention the danger being with Nikolai poses.

••••••••••

SANDY’S REVIEW:  THE RED LILY is the second installment in Juliette Cross’s adult VAMPIRE BLOOD paranormal/fantasy series (formerly known as The Tales of the Black Lily series). This is vampire and former lieutenant Nikolai, and Woman of the Wood Sienna. Sienna and Nikolai were first introduced in book one The Black Lily . Nikolai is Prince Marius’s best friend, and Sienna is the mysterious woman Arabelle befriended in the woods

Told from dual third person perspectives (Sienna and Nikolai) THE RED LILY continues the search for supporters of The Black Lily. The Black Lily is an underground movement that is attempting to take down the royal vampire family, and their army of Legionnaires who are obliterating village after village in a frenzied blood madness known as the sanguine furorem. A one-time member of the royal Legionnaires, Nikolai now sides with the Black Lily resistance, and is the current guardian of the Woman of the Wood. When a missive comes from the Black Lily herself, Sienna and Nikolai set off on a cross country trek to gather an army to fight against evil Queen Morgrid of the vampires, and her royal Legionnaires.

THE RED LILY takes the tale of Little Red Riding Hood to the next level-a fantasy of myth, magic, vampires and love. Not only has Sienna befriended a pack of magical hart-wolves in the Silvane Forest but our heroine has been imbued with magical powers of her own. Nikolai is the Big Bad Wolf who has fallen for the red-haired beauty and it is his love that will guide the couple on their journey towards a happily ever after.

THE RED LILY focuses on the trials and tribulations of amassing a system of support in the face of encroaching war. Queen Morgrid’s blood infused Legionnaires have outnumbered and overpowered every form of resistance, and the Black Lily supporters have yet to gain enough power or numbers to be of any threat against the vampire army.

Juliette Cross’s THE RED LILY is a story of romance and love; magic and evil; power and the supernatural world of the vampire lore. The premise is intriguing, imaginative and enchanting; the romance is spirited, emotional and intense; the characters are passionate and inspiring. THE RED LILY is an energetic tale with a vibrant cast of characters who will captivate your imagination when the fairy tale from your childhood takes on an aura of romance and breathless imagination.

 

_______________

Barb’s Review:
The Red Lily by Juliette Cross is the 2nd book in her Vampire Blood series.  I loved the first book in this series, and I must say that this was equally as good or even better.   Juliette Cross once again wows us with another fantastic story; which is no surprise, as she has wowed us in each and everyone one of her series.  

In The Red Lily, Sienna and Nikolai, are our heroes, whom we met in The Black Lily, and I could not wait for their story.  In The Black Lily, the themed fairy tale background was Cinderella; in The Red Lilly it is Red Riding Hood and in the next book, The White Lilly, it will be Snow White. 

Sienna lives in the Silvane Forest, protected by hart wolves, whom she loves with all her heart.  Many think of Sienna as the Red Witch, but she insists she is not a witch.  When she knows she must leave her beloved enchanted forest to visit other towns to alert them of the terrible Queen Morgrid, who has her blood lust vampire army killing locals. Sienna must make the local folks leave and join Arrabelle (the Black Lily) & Prince Marius, who are training and building their own army to fight the Queen.  To protect Sienna, Nikolai will arrive in the forest, and be her guide and protector during their journey.  Both Nikolai and Sienna have been having their own sexual dreams since they met previously during the saving of Arrabelle.  The chemistry between them was sizzling hot, and they were so awesome together.  I loved them both.  I also loved Dutchess and her hart wolves. 

When they embark on their journey, the danger will escalate leaving us holding our breath so many times, with Nikolai managing to save Sienna.  But the worse is yet to come that will bring them both close to the end.  We learn the depths that the evil Queen Morgrid will go to and her evil vampire army.  Just when you think it’s hopeless, a tiny shiver of light will open the way for hope.

Nikolai becomes the Big Bad Wolf as he unleashes his monster to find a way to save Sienna, and to destroy all those despicable enemies.  Sienna will need to let out her unknown magic to help save them all.

This was a heart stopping last half of the book, that kept you reading until you reached the end.  The Red Lily was an emotional, heart wrenching, intense, exciting, suspenseful and action-packed thriller.  The romance between Sienna and Nikolai was beautiful and Cross manages to make their scenes sexy & hot has hell, and at the same time keeping the sensational story in the forefront. 

As I have said before, if you have not read Juliette Cross, you are seriously missing a fantastic author.  She always captivates us with great stories, wonderful couples, great secondary characters and a romance that is sizzling.  You need to read this series, and start with The Black Lily

 

Copies supplied for review

 

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About The Author

Juliette CrossAbout Juliette Cross:

Juliette lives in lush, moss-laden Louisiana where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab, Kona.

Multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance, she loves reading and writing brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes.

From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

Connect with Juliette:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon | Goodreads | Newsletter

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Silver Silence by Nalini Singh – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Silver Silence by Nalini Singh – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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Silver Silence
Psy-Changeling Trinity series
by Nalini Singh
Release Date: June 13, 2017

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Description:
Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater Bears, brings with him.

Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence—her mind clear of all emotion—Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.

Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed…

 

 

Review:

Silver Silence by Nalini Singh was another fantastic read in her Psy/Changeling series, which is now in a 2nd arc,Psy/Changeling Trinity.  Upon completing the book, I was thrilled to feel that though we have newer characters, the main element of Changelings , Psy and Humans remains and thus we have many more super stories to come in this fabulous world. 

In Silver Silence, which takes place in Moscow, Silver Mercant is our heroine, and a Psy. Silver, is a stone cold psy, still ruled by Silence, and is the heir apparent leader of the Mercant family; the director of the new EmNet (worldwide emergency response network), and she works for Kaleb Krychek. 

Valentin Nikolaev, our hero, is a bear changeling and the alpha of the Stonewater Bears. Valentin is obsessed with Silver, and is determined to find a way to get her to feel something for him.  When he makes an appearance at her home, bringing business papers, she collapses.  Valentin will get immediate help and in the process will save Silver’s life.

Between Silver’s grandmother, Valentin and Kaleb, the decision is made to protect Silver, who was poisoned, and help her recuperate by going to Denhome,  Valentin’s territory with the bears.  They will protect her with their lives, especially Valentin, and the Mercants will investigate who is behind the attempt on Silver’s life.

What follows is the continuing of the war dividing the peace accord between Changelings/Psy and Humans.  There are two factions (Consortium-HAPMA) that threaten the peace accord (Alliance, Trinity Accord, EmNet), trying to kill those deemed important to the structure , such as Silver and/or Humans willing to work with the Trinity accord. Singh’s  complex and fantastic world building gives us more to comprehend in this intriguing world that we have come to love.  What makes this story so good is watching Silver begin to feel emotions, and finds herself falling for Valentin.  This was such a beautiful romance between two people so different, and yet so right. 

I loved Valentin; he was fun, sweet, protective, and determined to win her love.  He was the perfect person to slowly open up Silver to a different world.  I loved how the Stonewater Bears opened their arms to Silver, accepting her, and in time, she learns to accept and enjoy living among them. I also enjoyed getting to know Silver’s grandmother, the current powerful leader of the Mercants.  As for Silver, what an awesome heroine; I loved loved Silver, as she was tough, smart, powerful, and a true leader.  It was so emotional  to watch her cope with her feelings that began to surface. Once again, an awesome romance, with an awesome couple.

But just when our couple have found the impossible, their happiness is short lived, as things do go wrong, which brings Silver back to the emotionless life she had before.  Will she find a way to love Valentin or will she go fully back to Silence?

I have said this before, and will do so again.  Nalini Singh has become my go to author and in every single book she writes in her Psy/Changeling and Guild Hunter series, her stories never fails to captivate me; hold my interest from start to finish; giving us such wonderful characters, including the awesome couples and fantastic world-building.  I am totally in awe how Nalini can constantly create such perfection.  Bravo to Nalini Singh.  If you have not read the Psy/Changeling series (both arcs), you are seriously missing a great series and a fantastic author.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

excerpt

 

“Laughing at the cubs’ antics, Valentin jogged down the slight incline and waded into what had to be ice-cold water after kicking off his boots and socks. He splashed the cubs, laughed when they splashed him back. Running so they could chase him, he turned abruptly and chased them back, to their unhidden joy.
Silver took a seat on the grass. When the female bear looked her way, she inclined her head in a silent greeting. The bear did the same, then they both watched an alpha bear play with two energetic cubs, his hands holding rough care for their small bodies.
By the time Valentin made his way back to her, he was drenched and his eyes weren’t human in any way. When he spoke, his already deep voice was so low it felt like thunder against her skin. “Couldn’t resist,” he said, pushing back his wet hair with one big hand. “If you weren’t in recovery and if I wasn’t in terror of Nova’s wrath, I’d have invited you. The small monsters wanted to play with you.”
Silver didn’t get to her feet. “Can we stay here a little longer?” It was patent that Valentin had an extremely high tolerance for the cold, but he might want to dry off.
“Sure,” he said, and, moving away several feet, shook off the wet.
Fine droplets settled on the skin of her cheek, but she didn’t flinch at the unintentional tactile contact. She also controlled her urge to reach up and touch the water where it lay against her skin. There was no reason to do that, and Silver was alive because she only did things that were rational.
Settling beside her, Valentin waved at the cubs as their guardian led their tired forms toward a path in the trees that was at the same level as the stream. “Gentler climb,” Valentin told her.
“They seem too exhausted to make it to Denhome.”
“It’s all an act—they’re hoping for a ride on their aunt’s back.” His tone held the same fond affection she’d heard when he spoke of Dima. “It’d take more than a few minutes’ play in the water to wipe out those two.”
The cubs had played with Valentin for almost a half hour. “They’re hyperactive?”
“They’re baby bears.”
Silver watched as those baby bears turned toward her and rose up on their back paws, as if in challenge. A stern sound from their caretaker, and they dropped down and scrambled to catch up with her. Their bodies disappeared into the trees as dusk began to turn from orange to shadowy gray.
Beside her, Valentin sprawled out, bracing himself on his elbows. His drenched T-shirt clung to the ridged muscles of his abdomen, pulled tight across his pectoral muscles, shaped itself over his shoulders. His jeans weren’t much better, outlining the raw muscle of his thighs.
Valentin Nikolaev was a man of violent physical strength even in human form. Yet he clearly had iron control over it; when he’d played with the children, they’d displayed zero fear of their alpha.
“You thought about where you’re going to live when you escape the bears who’ve kidnapped you?”
When she raised an eyebrow at him, he grinned. “Fringe netter with his own Internet channel sent out a breaking report last night. Pasha—who obviously needs more work duties—made up a fake account and posted a comment swearing to have seen you being pulled into a black van by six burly bears in bear form.”
“You don’t seem too concerned.” Amber eyes and deep voice, he remained very much a bear in human form.
“Well, according to this ‘eyewitness,’ the getaway driver was in bear form, too. Must’ve been tough for him to steer with one paw since he was drinking a beer at the same time.”
“Bears,” Silver said, making Valentin throw his head back and laugh that huge laugh that wrapped around her.


Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2017. 

 

About the author
Nalini Singh
I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I spent three years living and working in Japan, where I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page.

I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher, but not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency, but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. All of my stories held a thread of romance, even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes. Creating unique characters and giving them happy endings is my favorite thing. I even love the voices in my head, so there’s no other job I’d rather be doing. When I got the call in September 2002 that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

To learn more about Nalini Singh, you can follow her on the following links:
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Nalini’s publisher is offering a hard copy of SILVER SILENCE to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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Blaze (Dark Kings #11) by Donna Grant-a review

BLAZE (Dark Kings #11) by Donna Grant- a review

Blaze

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ABOUT THE BOOK: May 30, 2017

His strength, his masculinity brought out something primal within her. In his arms, she felt like the Amazon warrior she’d once pretended to be as a little girl.

Anson is a fierce Dragon King, a dragon shapeshifter born and bred to protect his own. But when a rogue tech company hacks into their world, he must join forces with the unlikeliest of allies: a human female. Her name is Devon Abrams. A rising star at the firm, she has no idea that her boss is in league with the sinister Fae and their secret war against humanity. If Anson gains her trust, he can defeat the enemy from within. But first he must fight his own attraction–to this exquisitely beautiful mortal…

Devon loves her job at the firm. But sometimes she wishes she could find a man–a real man–who isn’t threatened by her success. When she first meets Anson, she’s overwhelmed by his powerful masculine presence and disarmingly gorgeous smile. But when he reveals his true mission–and his ability to transform into a dragon–she’s irresistibly drawn into an epic battle between humans and immortals, magic and technology, danger and desire. Anson vows to protect her from the Fae. But can he control the flames of passion that blaze within his heart, in Blaze, the next sexy Dragon romance in the Dark Kings series from New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant.

••••••••••••

REVIEW: BLAZE is the eleventh full-length installment in Donna Grant’s contemporary, adult DARK KINGS paranormal/fantasy romance series focusing on the Dragon Kings and the women they love. This is Brown Dragon King Anson, and IT specialist Devon Abrams’ story line. BLAZE can be read as a stand alone but for cohesion and backstory I recommend reading the series in order. There is a war approaching between the dragons, the fae and humankind, and the buildup has been ongoing for several installments.

SOME BACKGROUND: The DARK KINGS is a spinoff from Donna Grant’s DARK WARRIOR series which in turn is a spin off from Donna’s DARK SWORD series- all set in the Highlands of Scotland. The Dark Fae and their King Taraeth, along with the Ulrik the Silver Dragon King and his uncle Mikkel have declared war on the Dragon Kings by exposing the dragon’s existence to humankind. The last wars between man and the world of the paranormal saw a great loss of life on all sides-but Ulrik wants revenge against King Constantine of the Dragon Kings; Mikkel wants to become King of the Silvers, and the Dark Fae want the Dragon’s hidden weapon and to rule Scotland and the rest of the world. FIRESTORM overlaps with Donna’s new spin off series THE REAPERS who may be a potential ally with the Dragons Kings in their war with the Dark Fae.

Told from several third person perspectives including Devon and Anson BLAZE runs parallel to several other recent Dark Kings story lines including FIRESTORM ( #10), and picks up shortly after the events of SMOKE AND FIRE (#9). Like Kinsey Burns (Smoke and Fire) Devon Abrams works for the tech company Kyvor, and unbeknownst to our story line heroine, Kyvor has plans for Devon Abrams. Enter Brown Dragon King Anson, who has been assigned, along with Kinsey Burns and former MI5 agent Esther North, to keep an eye on our story line heroine. What ensues are Anson’s attempts to persuade Devon to search for the truth about Kyvor’s involvement in the upcoming inter-species war, and the building but forbidden relationship between Anson and the woman with whom he will fall in love.

BLAZE reveals much of the backstory and history of the war between the Dragons and the humans that led to the eradication of most of the dragons that once dominated the world. We are one step closer to learning the identity of Rhi’s Dragon King-the man that destroyed our heroine’s heart but a Dragon King who may have been duped by a rival for his love. BLAZE also brings Mikkel to for forefront of the Dragon King’s search for the truth, and Ulrik is hoping to take down two dragons in the war with the Fae.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including several couples that cross-over from Grant’s Dark Warriors and Dark Swords series that begins the build-up to a final show down between the Dragon Kings and the Fae. The Reapers, once again, make a cameo appearance but their presence is limited to Rhi’s acknowledgment of Daire’s existence.

BLAZE is a captivating, revealing, and encouraging look at Dragon Kings and the women they love. The premise is intense; the characters are energetic and colorful; the romance is fated and seductive. There are some scenes of violence that may not be suited for all readers.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

About the author

donna_grant_newDonna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.

She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.

Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, four cats, and one long haired Chihuahua.

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Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder – a Review

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder – a Review

 

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Description:
On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.

Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?

 

Review:

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder is a middle-grade stand alone novel that can be read very well by adults.

Orphan Island  takes place on an unknown island, where there are children who live alone.  The island itself is kind of perfect; beautiful landscape, skies, cabins to live in, and plenty of food to gather.  Each child will have their chores to help each other; such as cleaning, hunting for clams or fishing, cooking, teaching the younger children, as well as having fun.  Every year, a boat comes bringing in a young child, and at the same time the Elder (oldest ) leaves on the boat, always keeping the count at 9.  This is a rule that must be followed, or the perfect protected island could fall apart.  

We meet Jinny, who has to say goodbye to her friend Deen, her best friend and the current Elder who must leave.  Jinny is sad, but she is now the Elder, and it becomes her responsibility to take “Care” of the child who has arrived, Ess.  We get to meet the other children, and watch how they learn to live very well on the island, including the differences of each, as well as their learned specialties.  Jinny keeps Ess close to her at all times, taking her on trips to see the wonders and to teach her to swim.  Because of her worry about Ess, she begins to wonder what happens to those who leave, and when the boat arrives again, Jinny refuses to leave.  She feels it is her place to stay and watch over Ess, as well as the new child who comes.

When normal things such as the beautiful sky, controlled winds change, sparseness of food, and an accident occurs, Jinny must question her decision and the consequences she has caused. 

This was a different type of story line.  There are no paranormal or dystopian elements, no excitement, but a simple well written story revolving around children learning to live together on an abandoned island.  Though it is a good story, I did not really like the ending, which left you to your imagination on what happens.  I would have wanted to learn more about why the children are sent to the island, what was the purpose of this, and what happens to those who leave?  I do recommend Orphan Island for Young Adults, as well as adults who enjoy a story line about children surviving on their own.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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Intercession by M.A. Abraham – Review & Giveaway

Intercession by M.A. Abraham – Review & Giveaway

 

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Description:
In the history of the Tantalarian people, The Tribunal Elder is the only one who ever stood up to the Tribunal. He did that when he was a Tribune, and managed to live to eventually lead it. He had disagreed with a decision the counsel made and acted on it. In protest; he cut off his ceremonial braid and threw the discarded plait onto the floor at The Elder’s feet, and refused to ever wear a braid again. His action was considered an insult, to the Elder of that time, as well as the Tribunal. The spirit of the man, who was, still lives in the ruler who is now.

The Tribunal Elder has lived through more millennium than he cares to think about. He is not the type to shirk his duties. He is a force to recon with; yet he is known to be a kind man. To settle a dispute between the Martians and the Human settlers, he is being forced to take the mother ship that they had arrived on Tantalus with many eons before back into space. This, he is not happy about.

The message from the Martians is clear, remove the settlers from the surface of their planet, or they will die. The Tribunal Elder soon discovers there is more to this than those who are command know about, for the act that precipitated this action had multiple events. Someone is working in the background, manipulating forces, to create a power struggle between the two species.

Will he allow the Tantalarians to be pulled into a conflict that they have and want nothing to do with?

 

 

Review:

Intercession by M.A. Abraham is the 4th book in her Tantalus series.   M. A. Abraham once again gives us an exciting and tense story as we return to the world of Tantalus.  Intercession picks up shortly after the last book ended. A brief refresher of the premise of Tantalus: This is a Sci-Fi story about two species (Humans & Tantalarians) that are forced to work together on the planet Tantalus.

The Tribunal Elder has been requested to go to Mars and remove the human settlers who live there or all humans will be killed.  He gathers a team made up of Tantalarians and human leaders who have migrated nicely in Tantalus.   The purpose is to find out the what and why causing this issue.  The Elder wants only mated men, as the Sirens from Mars are known to use their ability to get what they want by using alluring spells; and the mated men are immune to those spells.  He also wants Terec & Adele (our previous book heroes) to come, especially since Adele has the ability to read people and able to see if they are lying.

When they arrive in Mars, they are greeted by the Siren leader, as well as one of the woman warriors, who threaten them.  They are told that a few of the women are missing, and blame the human residents.   The Elder senses there is more to the story, and with his team they meet with the resident human leaders of various ships to discover what is happening.  Adele will make friends with Glynnis, one of the Siren females, who helps heal those who have been affected by sickness from contaminated water.   Adele and Gynnis will play a big part in helping fix the water, and learn the truth about what is happening.

What follows is a well written and excellent story line that will have the Elder, and the Tantalarians discover the issues, as well as stopping a dangerous revolt.  I loved meeting Echoes, a Siren princess, who was able to stop the revolution, and dictate punishment to those involved.  I loved Adele and Terec. I also enjoyed the surprise twist was also very nice. 

M.A. Abraham once again gives us an interesting, fun and different story line of the Tantalarians and Humans working together, as they try to diffuse the situation in Mars.  If you enjoy fantasy, aliens,  world building, then I suggest you start this series with the first book.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy supplied for review

 

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M.A. is offering an e-copy of INTERCESSION to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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Red Wolf (Shifters Unbound #10) by Jennifer Ashley-Review and Giveaway

RED WOLF (Shifters Unbound #10) by Jennifer Ashley-Review and Giveaway

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RED WOLF
Shifters Unbound #10
by Jennifer Ashley
Release Date: May 2,2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, paranormal/fantasy romance

Red Wolf

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 2, 2017

Lupine Shifter Dimitri has always had to defend himself to other Shifters. As a red wolf, he’s not considered a “pure” wolf, and the battles have honed him into a tough fighter, a champion of the fight clubs. Jaycee Bordeaux, a leopard Shifter, is Dimitri’s staunchest defender and oldest friend. Dimitri is determined to turn that friendship into a mate bond.

Jaycee loves that idea, but she knows that a mate bond can’t be forced. And when Dimitri and Jaycee are called on to go undercover to protect collared Shifters, she knows the dangers ahead will make or break their future together.

••••••

REVIEW: RED WOLF is the tenth full-length installment in Jennifer Ashley’s contemporary, adult SHIFTERS UNBOUND paranormal/fantasy romance series. This is Lupine shifter Dimitri Kashnikov, and leopard shifter Jaycee Bordeaux’s story line. RED WOLF can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty but for cohesion and backstory I recommend reading the series in order as RED WOLF continues the latest arc of the series focusing on the impending war with the Fae.

SOME BACKGROUND: Thousands of years in the past, the Fae created the shifters-a cross between beast and man-and in the ensuing time the Fae lost control and power over the battle creatures they had created for war. Approximately twenty years ago shifters were exposed to the human population. Out of fear, discrimination and specieism, the shifters were collared with Fae magic in the belief that it would control aggression; then they were forced into segregated communities known as Shiftertowns. There are several Shiftertowns located throughout America where shifters live in a relative but strained peace amongst their own kind.

Told from dual third person points of view (Dimitri and Jaycee) RED WOLF follows lupine shifter Dimitri Kashnikov, and leopard shifter Jaycee Boudreaux as they are tasked by their leader Kendrick to infiltrate a suspected shifter alliance between the shifters and the Fae. Dimitri and Jaycee are two of Kendrick’s best and loyal trackers and they have been assigned to ferret out the shifter behind a series of missing shifters and a cult-like organization. What ensues is the strengthening relationship between Dimitri and Jaycee, and the struggle to gain control when magical forces are put into play.

RED WOLF takes the reader into the land of the Fae where friends become foe, where enemies become the only chance for survival.

The relationship between Dimitri and Jaycee has already been established but Jaycee has yet to accept Dimitri’s mate claim, and struggles with the idea of a happily ever after. Throughout the story Dimitri and Jaycee’s bond strengthens; there is no question about their love for one another. The $ex scenes are intimate, and mostly implied, without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language or text.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including several previous story line couples and leads, as well as a new group of shifters, fae and the return of the ever present goblin.

RED WOLF is a story with action, suspense, romance and magic. There are moments of betrayal and revenge; retaliation and battles; revelations, friendships, survival and love. The premise is engaging and electrifying; the characters are colorful, numerous and dynamic; the romance if passionate and fated. RED WOLF brings the shifters closer to war with the potential for an unexpected ally from the other side.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Giveaway

The Reading Cafe and Jennifer’s publisher are offering a paper copy of RED WOLF to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

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6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

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8. Giveaway open to USA only

10. Giveaway runs from May 4-9, 2017

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Snared by Jennifer Estep – Dual Review & Giveaway

Snared by Jennifer Estep – Dual Review & Giveaway

 

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Snared
Elemental Assassin series – Book #16
by Jennifer Estep
Release Date: April 25, 2017

SnaredAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
If you don’t know Gin “the Spider” Blanco, you don’t know dangerous female heroines.

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…

Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.

My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.

A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.

Barb’s Review

Snared by Jennifer Estep is the 16th book in her fantastic Urban Fantasy Elemental Assassin series.  I always look forward to reading the next book in this series, as Jennifer Estep never fails to give us another fantastic exciting action packed story, which has one of the best kick-ass heroines in Gin Blanco (Spider). 

In Snared, Gin continues to research about the secret powerful group called the Circle, who was part of killing her mother years before.  When on a mission to find more information on one of the Circle leaders, she overhears something about her mother and her evil enemy Tucker, which upsets Gin, and pushes her to find out more.  But when Jade, one of Ashland’s gangland leaders, asks for help, Gin will step forward.  It seems that Jade’s younger sister is missing, and when Gin pulls her team (what an awesome group; Bria, Finn, Owen, Silvio, Sophia, Jo Jo, Xavier, etc), together they discover that a serial killer has been killing young blond haired girls. 

What follows is an exciting, mind blowing, pulse pounding mystery that will bring Gin right into the lion’s den, where clues will point to the serial killer somewhere within the circle.  As always with Gin Blanco, she is right in the middle of this wild adventure.  No one messes with Gin, and yet so many times they all try to kill her, and somehow our heroine always manages to suffer horrific injuries, and yet escape death.  Will she find Jade’s sister in time?  Will she learn the truth about her mother and her enemy, Tucker?

Reading this series, and spending time with Gin is always fun and enjoyable.  I love how tough and loyal Gin is, and no matter how much she suffers in each book, she still rises up for more.  We are always on the edge of our seats through each and every book.  Jennifer Estep is a master at creating a seamless flow into each story, and watching Gin evolve into such a great heroine.  As I noted earlier, the secondary characters that make up Gin’s team are great, and always fun to be with.  Her romance with Owen is just perfect and sweet, which always manages to release the tension in the story at the moment.

Snared was a wonderful  action filled addition to this series, which also gives us answers to some questions, as well as surprises that will have us waiting impatiently for the next book;  I cannot wait for more adventures of Gin Blanco. If you have not read the Elemental Assassin series, it is time for you to start now.

 

Sandy’s Review

SNARED is the sixteenth full-length installment in Jennifer Estep’s contemporary, adult ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN paranormal, urban fantasy series focusing on Gin Blanco aka The Spider –the reigning Queen of the paranormal Underworld of Ashland. SNARED can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty although I recommend reading the series in order for cohesion and backstory.

Told from first person point of view (Gin Blanco) using present day and memories (flashbacks) from the past SNARED follows Gin as she searches for the mysterious, underground group known as the Circle-a secret organization connected to the death of her parents and her beloved sister. A serial killer is on the loose in Ashland, and Gin and her family of supernatural investigators find themselves on the hunt for the person responsible leading Gin back to the Circle and their connections to the past. New details continue to emerge about Gin’s younger years, and her mother’s possible association with the Circle assassins.

Once again, there is a large ensemble cast of characters including Gin’s lover Owen, her sister Bria, and foster brother Finn, as well as Gin’s assistant /vampire Silvio Sanchez, Jo Jo and her sister Sophia, and an assortment of giants, dwarves, more elementals and vampires. Vampire Hugh Tucker returns and sets into motion a series events that are both deadly and revealing.

SNARED has moments of intrigue, mystery, action and suspense as Gin and her family of elementals search for answers from the present and the past. The action is limited; the violence not as graphic as in previous story line but that is not to say that the violence is non-existent. Gin Blanco, is after all an assassin, and as Queen of the Underworld there is always someone waiting to take down the woman in charge. The premise is engaging, revealing and spirited; the characters are colorful and energetic. Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series is a magical and impassioned look at the world of the supernatural, and all of the evil brought together in a battle for power and control.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Giveaway

Jennifer is graciously offering a paper copy of SNARED (Elemental Assassin #16) to TWO  (2) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe:

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

NOTE:  If you are having difficulty commenting after logging into the site, please refresh the page at the top of your computer

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please LIKE and Follow Jennifer Estep on Facebook

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5. FOLLOW us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Giveaway open to USA only.

8. Giveaway runs from April 25 to 29, 2017

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Dark Alpha’s Lover (Reapers #4) by Donna Grant-Review and Book Tour

DARK ALPHA’S LOVER (Reaper #4) by Donna Grant-Review and Book Tour

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DARK ALPHA’S LOVER
Reapers #4
by Donna Grant
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, paranormal/fantasy, romance

Dark Alpha's Lover

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N Nook / Kobo / iBooks / eBooks.com/ Google Play

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 18, 2017

There is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I am coming for you…

I answer to no one but Death. I am impenetrable, impervious, immortal. I exist to do Death’s bidding and no one–not Reaper nor human nor Fae–can stand in my way. Except for the bewitching half-Fae, Catriona. She swears the magic in her family passed her by, but I know better. This woman is strong. This woman is powerful. And when her abilities surge forth, no one will be able to stop the Dark Fae from coming for her. Except for me. I want to keep her close. I want to keep her safe. I want lose myself to her, again and again…

•••••••••••

REVIEW: DARK ALPHA’S LOVER is the fourth installment in Donna Grant’s contemporary, adult REAPER paranormal/fantasy romance series. The REAPERS is a spin off from Donna’s DARK KINGS series which is a spinoff from Donna’s DARK WARRIOR series which in turn is a spin off from Donna’s DARK SWORD series- all set in the Highlands of Scotland. You do not have to have read any of the previous series to understand the premise but many of the events overlap with the events of the Dark Kings. This is Reaper Fintan, and half-fae/half human Catriona Hayes’s story line.

SOME BACKGROUND: The Reapers (believed to be a folk lore amongst the Fae) are a group of Dark and Light Fae, selected by Death (aka Erith), on their own deathbed, to do her bidding-Death is the judge and jury; the Reapers are the executioners. The Reapers are not harbingers of death, but are tasked with destroying the Light and Dark Fae who have crossed a line from which there is no return. All Reapers must follow two rules: never to fall in love; and never to reveal their existence to anyone. If you have read Donna’s DARK KINGS series you will recognize the familiarity between the two series as both follow a similar plot and premise including betrayal by one of their own.

Told from several third person perspectives DARK ALPHA’S LOVER follows Reaper Fintan as he is tasked with protecting and gathering information about the half-fae Catriona Hayes. Cat believes she has not been blessed with the gift of magic but circumstances begin to unfold that reveal more about Cat’s abilities than anyone could ever have imagined. Cat is being stalked by Bran- a former Reaper with revenge on his mind, revenge aimed at the Reapers and the woman known as Death. What ensues is the building but forbidden relationship between Fintan and Cat, and the discovery about the who and what of Bran’s plans for the Reapers he once called friends.

The relationship between Cat and Fintan is forbidden by Reaper law-a law that once saw the destruction of Bran’s lover-a death he has chosen to avenge at all costs. Fintan knows that to fall in love could mean death to the woman that calls to his heart but Death knows that the world is changing, and along with, so too, are the Reapers who do her bidding. The $ex scenes are limited, seductive and compelling.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including all seven of the current line of Reapers, as well as several individuals from some of Donna’s other connected series and story lines including a number of the Dark Kings including King Constantine, and Balladyn-one time Captain of the Queen’s Guard, a famed warrior in the Light Army, and now a member of the Dark. Balladyn’s purpose throughout both of the series is increasing in relevance along with the Light Fae Rhi.

DARK ALPHA’S LOVER is a story of family and love; betrayal and revenge; magic and power. The cross over between the Dark Kings and the Reaper’s series is revealing, and the connection between the two enemies may be closer than we think as both are avenging the loss of someone they loved. The premise is imaginative, revealing and engaging; the characters are dynamic and courageous; the romance is passionate. DARK ALPHA’S LOVER takes the reader closer to a supernatural war where everyone will lose, in the end.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Dark Alpha’s Claim
Dark Alpha’s Embrace
Dark Alpha’s Demand
Dark Alpha’s Lover

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

excerpt

 

Galway, Ireland
January
Nothing was ever as it seemed.
There were more than humans walking this earth. The things seen out of the corner of your eye were real, even if your mind refused to recognize—or accept—them.
But Catriona Hayes knew of their existence, even if she wished she didn’t. They were Fae. Magical creatures that were so beautiful they seemed otherworldly—because they were.
The Fae had come to this world, seamlessly integrating themselves into the lives of mortals. But then again, when it came to beings with magic, they could do such things.
Cat blew out a breath and put the day’s earnings in the pouch before placing it inside the safe and shutting the door. She straightened and looked through the windows of the café and across the street to the pub alight with merriment.
There was a bit of wistfulness within her when she spotted three women walking into the bar with bright smiles. She’d never been that carefree.
From the first moment she could remember, her family had kept her apart from others. It wasn’t until she was older that she realized what made her so different—she was a Halfling.
Part human, part Fae.
Some might rejoice at the news, but she wasn’t most people.
The first time her grandfather had told her of her heritage, she’d laughed, thinking it was a jest. But as they’d walked down the streets of Galway, he began pointing out the Fae.
That was the day her life changed. At eight years old, she’d felt the weight of the world drop upon her shoulders. The burden had nearly brought her to her knees. And it had lingered, growing heavier with each passing year.
Yet she remained standing beneath it all. Only because of her grandfather. The man who smiled in the midst of the many storms life threw his way. He was what kept her composed and mindful of the dangers of living near Fae.
While she had been fearful of her grandfather’s revelation, her older siblings had embraced it as a gift.
Cat looked down at the counter and the top that covered it. Beneath the thick glass, next to the register, was a picture of her with her brother and sister twenty years ago.
Whatever gift having Fae blood had given her siblings had been taken away in a cruel twist of Fate several months ago when they were savagely killed.
Her brother had been murdered in a crowded pub, while her sister had had her life snuffed out on a train to London. No one had seen either attack. One moment, her siblings had been alive. The next, they were dead. It was how Cat knew the Fae were responsible.
Only beings with magic and the ability to veil themselves could have committed such crimes without a single person catching something on their mobile phones.
Ever since her family’s deaths, she’d been waiting for the Fae to come for her.
What was taking them so long? She and her grandfather—who she kept locked safely away in his cottage where no Fae could enter—were the only ones left.
A flash of lightning pulled her from her thoughts and reminded her that she needed to get home. She started toward the front, turning off the lights as she went. Flipping the sign in the café window to CLOSED, she walked out the door and locked it.
When she faced the street once more, she gripped the handle of her purse and looked around at the people. She knew the Fae could use glamour to disguise themselves, though most preferred to remain beautiful. That made it easier to pick them out, but it did nothing to lessen Cat’s dread.
She remained in the doorway as a couple walked past her. The man said something to make the woman laugh. Cat’s heart caught because she couldn’t remember the last time she’d giggled like that—never mind actually being on a date.
Cat squared her shoulders and turned to the left. Her cottage was toward the outskirts of Galway. She couldn’t wait to get home where she could relax.
“Relax,” she snorted.
There was no such thing for her. While others brushed their cares away with a pint of ale and loud music, she would eat alone at her house and sleep with one eye open.
Being half-Fae had done nothing but make her life miserable. She’d gotten nothing else from it. Her sister, Nora, had been able to move objects with her mind. Her brother, Domhnall, could grow plants.
For some strange reason, magic had passed her over altogether. No matter how hard she tried, there didn’t seem to be a smidgen of magic within her.
Countless times, she’d asked her grandfather what she’d done to not have magic. He’d never quite answered her. In his usual way, he would tell a story about all the Halflings who lived without magic.
But she always suspected that he was keeping something from her.
No amount of conniving or posing the question different ways ever gave her another answer, though. With every year that passed, she was more and more sure that her grandfather was hiding something.
Cat tensed when she walked past a Fae talking to a mortal female. His silver eyes, black hair, and sex appeal were the biggest clues to what he was—Light Fae. At least, it wasn’t a Dark.
The Dark scared her the most with their red eyes. She shuddered just thinking about them.
She turned the corner and quickened her pace. Thunder rumbled the same time lightning zigzagged across the sky. More rain was on the way, but if she were lucky, she’d make it back to her cottage before it came.
Suddenly, she stopped. She didn’t know what had caught her attention, but something told her to go no farther. Her gaze roamed down the street as people milled about.
There was something in the air that draped over everything like a wet blanket. It took her a moment to realize what it was—fear. She looked at the humans and saw that none of them appeared to be affected.
Then she heard the footsteps coming, quickly. She saw the man running toward her and looking back over his shoulder. He passed beneath a streetlamp, and she saw his eyes—red.
But it was the terror on his face that surprised her. She hadn’t thought there was anything a Dark feared, but whatever was after this particular Fae must be frightening.
Her head told her to run, but her body refused to move. She remained where she was, even as a man appeared out of thin air in front of the Dark.
The Fae slid to a halt, his eyes wide. The man before him had long, white hair that was pulled away from his face by three small braids on each side of his head.
She had little time to process that before she saw the light glint off a blade. The sword sliced through the air and cut down the Dark, turning him to dust in an instant.
Shock reverberated through her as she involuntarily took a step back. What kind of weapon did he have that could kill a Fae?
Because she wanted one.
He took two steps away before he suddenly halted, his body stiffening. Then he gradually turned his head to look right at her. She couldn’t make out his face because of the shadows, but she knew he’d seen her.
And then, he disappeared.
She took another step back and hastily looked around, but there was no other sign of the white-haired man. Yet she knew she wasn’t alone.
He was there. She was sure of it. Just as she was sure the Fae would come for her soon.
Somehow, she managed to stand her ground. If she were going to die, she would do it with courage. Even if she was shaking. She wasn’t going to run, no matter how much she wanted to.
She felt something behind her a moment before the sound of footsteps reached her. Cat whirled around, ready to face the unknown stranger. But it was a Dark Fae who walked toward her.
“Shite,” she murmured and turned back around.
“Hiya, darlin’,” the Dark called. “What’s your hurry?”
She walked faster and said over her shoulder, “Long day.”
“Let me buy you a drink.”
“No, thanks.”
She waited for him to say more, and when he didn’t, she gave a sigh of relief. It wasn’t until she was in her cottage that she slumped against the door.
Another day gone.

Copyright © 2017 by Donna Grant and reprinted by permission of Swerve.

 

 

About The Author

donna_grant_newDonna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.

She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.

Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, four cats, and one long haired Chihuahua.

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