Cephalopod Coffeehouse October 2017: Fates Align…BLOOD GUARD–A Review

0ed81-coffeehouseHi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

This month, and in keeping with the pre-Halloween weird-spooky theme I’ve had going, I’m sharing a newly-released vampire romance from Megan Erickson. BLOOD GUARD is the first book in her Mission series and features a prophesy, a duty-bound vampire and a woman willing to sacrifice herself to ensure her love is avenged.

About the book:
Enter a world of immortal danger and desire—and discover an incredible fate borne of blood.
Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan: How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change my destiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.

My Review:
This is an interesting twist on the “fated mates” trope and I really enjoyed this rich new world.

Tendra is a 20-something young woman newly-alone as her mother had just died in a car wreck, leaving her adrift in Mission City, New Jersey. She’s a cocktail waitress and deeply unsettled by a swarthy customer one evening. She’s even more unsettled when he kidnaps her and tells her she must come with him if she wants to live! At least he’s packed her most precious belongings from her barren apartment, including her cat, Brex. Even more unbelievable is what this dude, Alain, tells her: her blood has mystic properties and will help transform his brother Idris, sworn king of the Gregorie clan…of vampires. In their prophesy, they’ve been waiting ten generations for a Sanguivita–Tendra–and with the powers her blood holds Idris will be able to effectively combat the warring Valerian clan.

Yeah, she’s not buying it. But, she has little choice but to accept Athan’s aid when the bad guys come calling. Learning about the hidden vampire culture lurking just below Mission City has Tendra mixed up–and aroused. Those vamps are some seriously kinky folk. Plus, the more time she spends with Athan, the more she admires and desires him. And the feeling is very mutual. Their escape to the Gregorie compound is complicated by several attacks, some of which are thwarted by Brex the wonder cat. There is a good mix of danger, intimacy and downright delicious sexytimes. Athan falls hard for Tendra, yet holds back on tasting her blood, knowing that to drink from her could void the prophesy and Idris’ expected boon. Unfortunately, it’s not in his hands when the treachery extends far beyond what had been expected.

I liked Tendra, who is a take-no-shit kinda gal. Her life has been weird, and she finally realizes why once she meets Athan and learns about her place in their world. Honorable Athan’s confused by his compulsion toward Tendra; shouldn’t he not be attracted to his brother’s promised? But, the more he puzzles over it, the more he knows deep down: it doesn’t matter. He will do anything to have Tendra for his own. While this might seem cavalier, he knows his brother has no interest for Tendra beyond the desire for her blood to transform him for battle. And, neither he nor Idris expected the depth of their own father’s manipulation. There’s a lot more going here than clan clashes, the entire human race is at stake, literally, as the Valerians have plans to reveal themselves and take control of the populace to feed and frenzy. Together, Athan and Tendra have the ability to stop it. And, while the war isn’t over, a key battle is won before the end. I’m expecting Idris to find his fated mate in the next book, and I look forward to it!

Interested? You can find BLOOD GUARD on Goodreads, Amazon (US and UK) Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo. I read a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she likes writing her own endings better.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she’s been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn’t writing, she’s either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or… thinking about writing.

For more, visit Megan on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and be sure to check out reviews for my fellow Coffeehouse bloggers if you have the chance!

Deeper and Darker: NOCTURNE–A Review

Hi there! In keeping with my pre-Halloween “it gets weird” posts I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M paranormal romantic suspense novel from the writing team of Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt. NOCTURNE is the second novel in their Hours of the Night series that features Thaddeus, a devout Catholic vampire who works to aid the White Monks in ridding his corner of Louisiana of demons, and Sarasija (Sara) Mishra, the Indian assistant who provides Thad with needed nourishment…and sexytimes. I loved VESPERS (book 1) and BONFIRE (book 1.5) and think this series is best enjoyed in order.

About the book:
It’s Mardi Gras, cher, but this year le bon temps kick off with murder…
For generations, the White Monks have treated the vampire Thaddeus Dupont as a weapon in their battle against demons. However, when a prominent matron drops dead at a party, Thaddeus and his lover Sarasija are asked to find her killer. Their investigation leads them to an old southern family with connections everywhere: Louisiana politics, big business, the Church, and an organization just as secret as the White Monks.

Meanwhile, an esoteric text containing spells for demon-summoning has disappeared, Thaddeus is losing control of le monstre, and Sara is troubled by disturbing dreams. These nightmares could be a side-effect of dating a vampire, or they could be a remnant of his brush with evil. As the nights wear on, Sara fears they are a manifestation of something darker – a secret that could destroy his relationship with Thaddeus.

My Review:
Thaddeus Dupont has been a dutiful servant of the White Monks for eighty years. He abstained from his unnatural carnal desires and only fed, as needed, from women–so he wouldn’t be tempted. His assistant Nohea hired “Sara” sight-unseen to be Thad’s source of blood for a year-long contract, unknowing that Sara was a man. An out-gay man of Indian heritage. And Thad found Sara irresistible. They now work together on Thad’s mission to rid the world of demons, and they are carnally aware of each other in many of the ways that Sara desires and Thad…well he desires it too, but the Catholic inside him is still a bit shamed…

This case is different–it’s a personal favor to Brother Michael, a White Monk, for Thad and Sara to track down whomever murdered his boisterous Aunt Berta at her own Mardi Gras party. It’s clear from the moment they arrived at Berta’s residence that they were being ensorcelled by the charismatic family. Sara’s nearly charmed by Jo-Jo, the double team twin grandchildren, Josefine and Josef, of Berta, and these two do not let up. They want Sara, and Thad, in their powers, it seems. This night also marked the beginnings of a series of nightmares for Sara. Thad thinks the nightmares stem from Sara finding Berta’s body, but it definitely runs deeper than shock.

Meanwhile, Sara wants to continue hunting a grimoire that is sure to hold secrets to the demon-summoning issue they’d investigated previously, and Nohea’s frustrated they still haven’t found her missing niece–lost in while in the White Monks’ care. Are some of these issues linked? Sara’s sure they must be when he’s sent on a fool’s errand to locate the grimoire and is nearly killed–all while Jo-Jo had been trying to dissuade him from the mission. What is up with Jo-Jo and their family? Why do the wiccans of New Orleans give them a mile-wide berth? And what’s happening with Thad? Is his rapid shifting into vamp mode an indication of jealousy, or something deeper?

This is a well-paced romantic suspense that goes far deeper into the murk of demon-hunting and magic than either of the two previous books. Thad is recognizing he has more human feelings than he’d expected after 80+ years of vampirism. And, he’s far more aggressive a lover than he’d been previously. Sara loves that, and loves Thad, so he’s troubled by his attraction responses to Jo-Jo, particularly Josef. It’s hard for him to sort out all the riddles of these interactions, but he’s sure there’s magic involved–if only he could parse out what’s happening with his dreams! The more he digs, however, the more dangerous this web he’s caught in becomes–which nearly puts Thad over the edge, again. I really enjoyed getting to know Thad and Sara more and watching their relationship deepen in this book, and I’m totally on board with finding out what happens next!

Interested? You can find NOCTURNE on Goodreads and Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Authors:
Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.

You can find Irene on her website and twitter.

About Liv Rancourt…

I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire…or sometimes demon. I write funny. I don’t write angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog is the cutest thing evah(!), and we’re up to three ferrets.

I can be found on-line at all hours of the day and night at my website & blog Liv Rancourt, on Facebook, or on Twitter. Come find me. We’ll have fun!

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

The Hunt Begins–VESPERS-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a fantastic paranormal M/M romance from Irene Preston and Liv Rancourt. VESPERS features a gay vampire monk charged with killing demons and the new blood source that heats his desire.

vespersAbout the book:
Thaddeus Dupont has had over eighty years to forget…
The vampire spends his nights chanting the Liturgy of the Hours and ruthlessly disciplines those unnatural urges he’s vowed never again to indulge. He is at the command of the White Monks, who summon him at will to destroy demons. In return, the monks provide for his sustenance and promise the return of his immortal soul.

Sarasija Mishra’s most compelling job qualification might be his type O blood…
The 22-year-old college grad just moved across the country to work for some recluse he can’t even find on the internet. Sounds sketchy, but the salary is awesome and he can’t afford to be picky. On arrival he discovers a few details his contract neglected to mention, like the alligator-infested swamp, the demon attacks, and the nature of his employer’s “special diet”. A smart guy would leave, but after one look into Dupont’s mesmerizing eyes, Sarasija can’t seem to walk away. Too bad his boss expected “Sara” to be a girl.

Falling in love is hard at any age…
The vampire can’t fight his hungers forever, especially since Sara’s brought him light, laughter and a very masculine heat. After yielding to temptation, Thaddeus must make a choice. Killing demons may save his soul, but keeping the faith will cost him his heart.

My Review:
Sarasija Mishra has no idea what he’s gotten himself into when he blindly accepts a job offer that moves him from Washington to New Orleans. He’s never met the man he’ll be an assistant to, but the pay is substantial and the contract is for a single year. He wants to help pay some of his mother’s bills now that his father recently passed–and he feels a bit inadequate compared with his elder siblings who all went to professional schools, while he screwed around and got a “go nowhere” degree.

Sara’s not so pleased when it turns out his employer lives in a rundown bayou house in the midst of the swamp. And his employer, Mr. Thaddeus Dupont doesn’t want him there. All Sara can think is it’s because Mr. Dupont doesn’t want a gay man living with him, but he soon realizes that Mr. Dupont is a man unlike any he’s met before.

I mean, really, has anyone ever heard of a gay vampire monk?

This book seems like it would be lighthearted, or at least kooky-spooky, but it’s really an awesome paranormal thriller/romance. Thad has devoted his last 85 years to being an agent of death for demons the Catholic church can’t eradicate. He works within a shadowy organization, the White Monks, who kill demons, and he’s their back-up plan when it gets ugly. Thad does this, and maintains his celibacy, in order to redeem his soul. A devout Catholic, Thad wants the chance at an Afterlife, but being so close to Sara is an excruciating temptation. Sara is meant to be his food source. Thad can survive on small droughts of blood, but he only wants female vessels because they don’t arouse him. Plus, Thad’s compulsion powers don’t seem to work very well on Sara. Sara’s invading Thad’s mind, too, which is deeply unsettling.

Thad hasn’t seen so much demon activity…ever, and the called ones are particularly interested in Thad. Why? Who’s calling them, and how does this guy know so much about Thad’s ancient history? The demons strike close to Thad’s core, kidnapping his daytime agent, Nohea, and attacking Sara. Meanwhile, the ghost of Thad’s only lover, Leo, has come a-calling and the message is not good: the person controlling the demon activity wants Thad to turn him into a vampire.

The interplay between Sara and Thad is really a yummy build up of emotional and sexual tension. Sara isn’t best-pleased to learn he signed up to be a year-long feast for Thad, yet he’s paradoxically miffed when Thad won’t drink from him. Is it because he’s a dude? Is it the gay thing? Because Sara finds Thad to be very attractive, and his esteem grows by leaps and bound when he sees Thad in action, fighting and destroying the demons. Soon, he feels honored, not obliged, to offer himself for Thad’s use–and that doesn’t just mean as a blood snack. Thad’s inner reserve is great, but he cannot resist beautiful, sultry Sara for too long. He also can’t help feeling guilty afterward.

I loved the intertwining of religion here, because Sara is a nominal Hindu. He didn’t really practice the religion, but he knows some of the ancient tales, and begins a little bit of practice as a center for his own concept of soul–following Thad’s example. It was cool how this came to be important at the climax, and I really enjoyed the inter-racial and interfaith aspects of the book.

It’s a little different take on the vampire mythos, but a nice change for the paranormal fan. There’s more action than romance, but the tension is great, the plot quickly-paced and the hope that Thad and Sara can make something beautiful come from their odd-couple connection is also high. There are also elements of humor that are totally fun. Sara’s a dead-pan kinda guy, and Thad hasn’t had so much leavity in his life in a long, long time. I really loved how determined Thad was to keep human fatalities to a minimum, and how reverent he felt about Sara. He’s a good man who got caught in a bad way. What was also sweet was the position the White Monks took to the advent of Sara, and Thad breaking his celibacy vow. The story ends, but the series has just begun. Very excited to follow along!

Interested? You can find VESPERS on Goodreads and Amazon. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Authors:

Irene Preston has to write romances, after all she is living one. As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.

You can find Irene on her website and twitter.

About Liv Rancourt…

I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire…or sometimes demon. I write funny. I don’t write angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog is the cutest thing evah(!), and we’re up to three ferrets.

I can be found on-line at all hours of the day and night at my website & blog Liv Rancourt, on Facebook, or on Twitter. Come find me. We’ll have fun!

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!

A Brave New World: CRONIN’S KEY III–Review and Giveaway

Banner-CroninHi there! Today I’m so excited to share in the release day festivities for N.R. Walker’s M/M paranormal adventure romance,  CRONIN’S KEY III. It’s the highly-anticipated conclusion of the vamp series readers have adored. Catch my reviews for the first and second book in the series.

Below you can get a peek at the first chapter, and even further below you can catch the giveaway link and maybe win yourself a copy!

CroninsKey3NRWalker1500About the book:

History isn’t always what it seems…

Twelve months after his change, Alec MacAidan is still getting used to his many vampire talents. While most vampires would give anything to have more than one supernatural power, Alec craves nothing more than peace and time alone with Cronin. But when Alec meets entities from outside this realm, he’s left powerless in their presence.
Zoan are half-lycan, half-dragon creatures that have slipped through time and reality, seemingly undetected by man and vampire. Or have they? They bear an uncanny resemblance to gargoyles, leaving Alec’s view on all things weird to get a whole lot weirder.

This new quest leads Alec, Cronin, and their band of friends to Paris, Rome, and Moscow, where they learn that gargoyles aren’t simply statues on walls. In the underground pits beneath churches all over the world, Alec discovers the Key’s true destiny. Facing the Zoan might take every talent he has. And he may need help from the dead to get them all out alive.

How about a little taste?

CHAPTER ONE
Alec sat back in the chair and held in a sigh, feeling every bit the lab rat he’d become. Since he’d become a vampire a year ago, he’d been put through test after test, so each and every one of his unending list of talents could be explored and documented.

He’d agreed to this, and he knew it was the right thing to do, but in that very moment, he wished to be doing anything else.
And with talents for making errant thoughts an instant reality—like setting fire to sofas and making Xbox controllers explode in Eiji’s hand because he’d somehow won—it wasn’t a good frame of mind to be in.

He loved Jodis. He really did. She had become one of his best friends. But she’d also taken it upon herself to document his talents, and he’d just about had enough for one day. If replicating wasn’t a talent so frowned upon in the vampire world, he’d make a copy of himself to endure Jodis’ tests while he and Cronin hid out in their bedroom. He’d replicated himself a few times, experimentally of course, and found it too taxing on himself anyway.

“Can you do it again?” she asked, notepad and pen in hand.

Alec had found a certain talent he’d dubbed the chameleon, for obvious reasons, because he could make things change color. It was absurd, really, and probably of no better use than a party trick. But he could, if he concentrated, turn a red pen blue or a white shirt black. The talent could only manifest by touch, and it lasted only a few minutes before returning to its original color, but Jodis was rather intrigued.

Alec, on the other hand, had passed bored like it was standing still and was well on his way to irate. “Jodis, I’ve kinda had enough of this today.”

“Last one, I promise.”

For Alec, it wasn’t so much as reining in a temper anymore, where the most damage done was a cutting remark. Now it was keeping a lid on a few dozen talents that reacted poorly to anger. He only had to get really pissed off and a rage would barrel out of him like nuclear fallout, literally knocking humans and vampires off their feet. Or he could burst eardrums with a furious roar, or maybe he could turn them to stone, or dust. Or maybe, just maybe, he could rip an earthquake through the apartment so he didn’t have to do any more of these stupid fucking tests.

“Alec,” Eleanor cautioned from the next room.

“I wasn’t actually going to do that,” he replied petulantly. He knew Eleanor, with the gift of foresight, saw possible outcomes of decisions made, and that did nothing to quell his frustration. “Jesus, now my thoughts aren’t even my own.” Standing up, he snatched the purple notebook off the desk, holding it for half a second and slamming it back down. It was now black, as was every page inside it, and it was smoldering as though it almost caught fire.

Cronin was suddenly in front of him, a hand cupped to his face. “He’s had enough,” he said to Jodis, and they disappeared.

* * * *

As soon as Alec’s feet hit the soft earth, he took a deep breath of fresh air and reveled in the silence.

His life hadn’t exactly been quiet in the last twelve months.
He felt the warmth of Cronin’s hand in his, smelled the sweet aromas of heath and moss from both the vampire beside him and the cool air of the long-abandoned battlefield, and Alec exhaled loudly.

Cronin had somehow learned to quiet his mind a little and it gave Alec the silence he so desperately needed. In the last twelve months, Cronin had taken Alec on more time-outs than he could count. Knowing when he’d had enough and was reaching breaking point, Cronin would simply remove Alec from the situation, leaping him somewhere quiet where his mind could have some much needed solitude. But with a gentle squeeze of his hand, Cronin reassured him he was there.

“I’m sorry,” Alec said.

“Don’t apologize,” Cronin said adamantly. “I can’t begin to imagine your frustrations.”

“Jodis is only trying to help. I behaved badly.” He could very well speak words directly into Jodis’ mind and tell her privately that he was sorry. But he’d prefer not invade the thoughts of others, preferring to apologize in person.

“She understands,” Cronin said, trying to pacify him.

Alec sighed loudly and allowed the quiet to envelope him. “I love it here,” he said eventually.

The field at Dunadd, Scotland, had become a sanctuary for Alec. No voices in his head, no city of millions with flurrying thoughts unbidden through his mind, no politics of vampire councils, no meetings, no one hovering.
Just Cronin.

“It affords you a great privacy,” Cronin said. His Scottish accent and formal tone still made Alec smile. “Your talents as a vampire are a burdensome gift.”

Alec had learned very early on to block out the voices and thoughts of those around him, but living in a city of millions made it a constant effort, and his display of anger at Jodis just minutes ago bothered him. “These talents are a pain in my ass.”

Cronin laughed quietly. “Your control over them still astounds us all.”

“The control you keep talking about is a talent in itself. It’s like casting a net over a thousand different fish.” Alec sighed loudly. “I’ve told you that before.”

“I know. Though it amazes me still.” Cronin squeezed Alec’s hand again and looked out across the field of long grass to the line of trees that fronted the river. “Lie down with me.”

Cronin simply lay flat on his back in the middle of the field and when Alec lay down next to him, Cronin snatched up Alec’s hand again. And together in the mind-clearing silence, they watched the blanket of stars glide across the sky.
It was a clear autumn night in Scotland, cold and dark. Neither of those things impeded a vampire of course, and Alec would never tire of the simple changes he’d gone through when he became a vampire. It was the complex changes he was beginning to struggle with. The talents he’d been given made him unique: the only vampire ever to have all vampire talents, some he was still discovering a year after his change. It was these talents that made his life hectic, his obligations as the key to the vampire world that gave him a great responsibility, and as Cronin had said, it was becoming a great burden.

Alec loved that Cronin would leap them to the very field where his human life had ended. The old battlefield in Scotland was also where they’d first made love, where they came to talk, to be by themselves. Like now.

“Thank you for bringing me here,” Alec whispered, his anger and frustration from before almost gone. “I feel like I can breathe here.”

“Is that not what husbands do?” Cronin asked with a smile. “Save the other from the myriad of madness?”

“Husbands,” Alec said, bringing Cronin’s knuckles up to his lips and kissing them softly. “Now that is something I’ll never tire of.”

My Review:
This is the third, and possibly final, book in the Cronin’s Key series. Alec MacAidan is the key to the survival of the human species. He’s only known about vampires for the past 18 months, and BEEN on for about a year, but he’s the Chosen One, if you will, so he’s had a busy time of it. I think it’s a bit hard to pick this series up at the end, but, having read all the previous books, it’s a fantastic adventure/romance.

In this book, the enemy is a group of otherworldly beings of lycan origin who call themselves Zoan. They are shapeshifters who can also stop time. The Zoan arrived on earth through a portal that opened straight from Hell, and Alec must figure out how to kill them, and shut down the portal before the world is under attack. Alec possesses every talent, or power, ever gifted to the vampire race, and he must use all of them to defeat the Zoan–if he can catch them.

In the meantime, petrified Zoan are being awakened all over the earth and new portals are opening. It’s another race-against-time if Alec, Cronin and their band of vamps will have any chance to save mankind.

This is a fantastic adventure, though I had a few struggles with the fast pace and the constant motion. Part of the plot hinges on understanding the portals, where they are and how they work, and this means Alec must leap his group of vamps all over the world–in rapid succession–to investigate potential portals. At times, I think I was getting leaping sickness. I didn’t get the “physics” behind the portals and parts where it was described, of which there are a few, dragged for me.

That said, Alec is faced by a foe he cannot initially defeat; the Zoan are ancient and possess power greater than his. Cronin is very sincerely worried that this battle may be the last. And, he’s partly right. I think the idea of a vampire afterlife was remarkable, and I enjoyed how that was rendered.

There are so many characters in this series that have become dear to me, and I want to continue reading their stories of adventure. I’ve truly enjoyed the historical “borrowing” Ms. Walker has done to create Cronin and Alec’s world and experiences, masking bouts of “extreme vampire and Zoan activity” into human tragedy and war has been a fun exercise in thought.

Plus, the bond of love between Cronin and Alec is so lovely I had to giggle a little at Alec’s jealousy when encountering Cronin’s former lover. Oh, the intensity! And insanity… 😉 Poor Alec and Cronin! They just love each other to pieces–and that’s what Alec left behind of the world’s largest glacier when his temper took control. There are some tender bits, and I found Alec’s newest talent–stopping time–was certainly put to most excellent use when he decided a quickie was needed RIGHT NOW! Fun! I highly recommend this series.

Interested? You can find CRONIN’S KEY III on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomance.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a book from N.R. Walker’s backlist, including CRONIN’S KEY III.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal. She’s been writing ever since…

Find Ms. Walker online on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Pride-Promotions

Lots Happen in THE NIGHTLIFE: LONDON–Review and GIVEAWAY!

 

 
 
 
Title: The Nightlife London
Author: Travis Luedke
Series: The Nightlife Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance/Vampires
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: December 23 2013
The Nightlife Series is violent, sexy, and occasionally violently sexy.
 
Vampires Aaron and Michelle prowl the dark, gritty, strip clubs and back alleys of London on the hunt for Michael Jamison, the man who stole Michelle’s blood and left her for dead. To assist them, Aaron’s new master, Urvashi, calls in favors from her friends, Russian mercenary werewolves.
 
Wolves Katya and Ivan, hunters adept at killing rogue vampires, set aside their animosity for Aaron and Michelle to stop Jamison from murdering another woman – he already has one bloodless victim lying in the morgue.
 
Jamison, ex-special forces, feels his enemies closing in, but he won’t go down without a fight –and like Aaron and Michelle, he also has powerful friends.
 
Experience the violent, sensual underbelly of Nightlife London, as Aaron and Michelle mix up a wicked blend of sex, chaos, mayhem, and vengeance.
 
The Nightlife Series novels are Adult Paranormal Romance ~
Urban Fantasy Thriller:
 

#7 THE
NIGHTLIFE SAN ANTONIO (June 9th 2014)

My Review:
This is the 5th book in the NIGHTLIFE series. It’s an erotic, paranormal adventure, so buckle up!
Aaron, Urvashi and Michelle are in London on the hunt for Mike Jamison–the PI who stole Michelle’s blood to turn himself into a vampire. There’s one dead woman on his account, and Urvashi and her werewolf friends don’t want any further casualties.

First, they have to make nice with the wereworlves–good luck! Michelle nearly killed one of them in a bloodrage back in WWII. And Katya hasn’t forgotten–nor will she forgive. Ivan, her fellow wolf, is more relaxed about it. Old grudges isn’t his business–hunting rogue vampires is.

In order to track Jamison, Aaron has to get close to an Albanian gangster. And this dude is a sicko heavy in the sex trade. Aaron gets the info he needs, putting a woman in mortal danger in the process. Helping her brings not only the Albanians on his trail–but Jamison tips off the gangsters that the Columbian cartel may want a piece of Aaron and Michelle after the carnage they left in Vegas.

Expect copious shootouts and back-from-the-brink sexfests. Expect a few menage scenes. Expect a complicated tale of desire, addiction and power in London’s grittiest borough. The action was nearly non-stop, with a snapping pace and frenemy conversion. Fans of paranormal erotica will definitely enjoy…

I have reviews of earlier books in the series. Pick your destination:

New York                     Las Vegas                         Paris

The Nightlife: New York (The Nightlife, #1)The Nightlife: Las Vegas (The Nightlife, #2)The Nightlife: Paris (The Nightlife, #3)

Enter to Win – A Progressive Giveaway! 

 For every 50 Adds of  THE NIGHTLIFE LONDON  to the Goodreads “To Read” Shelf, there will be a winner and a new prize level will be opened!
 
There will be 1 WINNER for each level below:
• 50 adds to Goodreads TBR 
 – Digital Copy Blood Slave 

• 100 adds to Goodreads TBR
– Digital Copy Blood Slave  + $10 Amazon Gift Card
 
• 150 adds to Goodreads TBR
– Digital Copy Blood Slave  + $20 Amazon Gift Card
 
• 200 adds to Goodreads TBR
– Digital Copy The Nightlife Series Omnibus  + $40 Amazon Gift Card
Coming June 9, 2014:
The Nightlife San Antonio
Vampires, Mafia & Mayhem:
The Nightlife San Antonio is violent, sexy, and occasionally violently sexy.
 
All she wanted was to escape the police. All he wanted was to get laid. They both got more than they bargained for.
EMT on call, Adrian Faulkner resuscitates a beautiful woman after a Mexican mafia shootout. He can’t explain why he picks her up in the hospital parking lot three days later and then ducks the San Antonio police and the Feds. Well, the hot sex might have something to do with it.
She needed to hide. With no memory of even her name, she didn’t know from who. She only knew she wasn’t safe.
Adrian soon learns she is much more than a damsel in distress, and he’s stuck with her. It isn’t long before the past she cannot remember begins to catch up with them both…
THE NIGHTLIFE SAN ANTONIO is a non-stop thrill ride through the shadowy borderworld of mafia politics and vampires – and sex.
About the Author:
Travis Luedke is a husband, father, and author of Urban Fantasy Thriller, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, and Sci-fi. He is currently catching a 3rd degree sunburn in San Antonio, Texas, and loving every minute of it.
 
As the author of the Nightlife Series novels, Travis lives very vicariously
through his writings. He invites you to enjoy his macabre flights of fancy, but be warned: The Nightlife Series is violent, sexy, and occasionally violently sexy.
Author Links:  
Goodreads ● G+ ● Twitter ● Wattpad ● Website ● Email 
 
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This post contains Affiliate Links.

Slayer Syndrome–THIRD STRIKE–A Review

Like many I’ve been wowed by the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod–a MG/YA male-centered contemporary paranormal series. Heather Brewer held my eldest captivated by a non-dystopian world that had hints of romance? I couldn’t resist.

While it’s been a few years since I read those books, I couldn’t help dipping into the Slayer Chronicles–when I happily won the final episode THIRD STRIKE from gracious writer/superblogger Suzanne Johnson.

As with all series books, I had to go back to the beginning–and so this post will reflect the first two books in the series as well.

First Kill (The Slayer Chronicles, #1)Second Chance (The Slayer Chronicles, #2)FIRST KILL tells us how young Joss McMillan came upon the track of the Slayer Society. For those who haven’t read CoVT, Joss and Vlad have a mottled history.

Joss is cousin to Henry McMillan, Vlad’s best childhood friend. Henry is also Vlad’s drudge. They have grown up together and Henry became Vlad’s drudge in a rather innocent way (if I remember my CoVT correctly).

In either case, Joss moves in with Henry and he and Vlad become very close friends–even supplanting Henry as BFF, for a bit. That is, until Joss learns that Vlad is a vampire…

So in FIRST KILL Vlad and Joss aren’t friends–this happens before Joss moves in with Henry in the Vlad chronology. Speaking of chronology, the Vlad books are all based on a school year, rather like Harry Potter. In contrast, the Slayer Chronicles all take place over a summer. So if you need a read order, FIRST KILL probably should come after EIGHTH GRADE BITES, Then, of course, SECOND CHANCE takes place the summer following NINTH GRADE SLAYS. then I’d read TENTH GRADE BLEEDS, followed by the final book in the Slayer series: THIRD STRIKE. And of course complete the Vlad books forthwith…

Third Strike (The Slayer Chronicles, #3)In THIRD STRIKE, we have more than just a resolution, we have an enrichment that allows Joss to transition from Vlad-Killer to Vlad-Assistor, what is necessary for the final two books of the Vlad series to makes sense.

At least where Joss is concerned.

See, Joss is a Slayer. Following the murder of his younger sister Cecile, he’s been brutally trained by his uncle, Abraham, to be a ruthless killer of vampires–all vampires. And that’s really the problem. Joss is troubled, as Abraham knew he would be, about killing people he has known as friends–even when it turns out they are vampires.

Sure, he has attempted to kill them: Sirus and Vlad both fell prey to Joss’s attack, but was really trying to kill them? I mean, was Vlad any match to Joss’s superior agility and hunting acumen? I think not. This is why Joss is suspected by the Slayer Society for being a traitor. In THIRD STRIKE Joss is saddled with the task of ridding his hometown of Santa Carla of a vampire infestation. If he fails, Santa Carla will be “cleansed”–pretty much the Slayer Society will descend en masse and kill every living creature within the city. This includes Joss, his parents and Henry, his cousin, who is staying for a month so that they can work on their ‘relationship’. Cousin Henry wasn’t so keen on Joss trying to murder Vlad, his BFF and master, after all. Oh, and Joss has to do this all on his own, with no outside Slayer back-up.

K. So, I ain’t gonna ruin the book. I have so enjoyed the fast pace and twisty plots offered in the series I’m unwilling to unravel them for future readers. I will tell you this much: Joss’ worst nightmares are about to come true. He’s also got to find help from sources the Slayer Society would not approve–oh, and Henry? He’s gonna fall hard for a gal hell-bent on retribution.

Any person you thought dead in previous slayer books? Well, maybe they didn’t stay dead long. I’m just glad to see that the series dovetailed so nicely with the Vlad books, and that Joss turns out to be exactly the sympathetic character I had hoped he would become.

Truly, I loved Joss. His life absolutely sucks–and not in the Vlad way, in the bad way. His family is a shambles, he is friendless, and performs a job that is utterly thankless. In fact, his job as a Slayer costs him every freaking friend he makes.

And yet, he is honest. He is compassionate. He seeks to do his very best, knowing it will earn him little more than scorn and apathy. And, through all of this, Joss learns to see that perhaps following orders is not the best move, especially when you have no idea who is making the orders, and if those orders are right.

Joss learns to think. And to question authority, but only after experiencing the horror blindly following authority can create. There are few male characters I’ve wanted to hug, and Joss is one of them…so long as he keeps his stake holstered, that is.

I’d recommend the Slayer books to any fan of YA paranormal fiction. These aren’t romances, and don’t really hint at romance the way the Vlad books do. So, they are ‘innocent’ unless you don’t like gore. Because there’s a whole lotta slayin’ goin’ on here.

Anyhoo…you can find THIRD STRIKE at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and probably the library, Target and reading spaces everywhere.

Click the respective titles if you want to see my reviews of FIRST KILL, or SECOND CHANCE. They are (mostly) spoiler-free. Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends! 🙂

Hail to THE KING–A Review

Hi there! Perhaps you have noticed the Black Dagger Brotherhood series? That erotic vampire-lovefest written by author/juggernaut JR Ward?

I got THE KING last weekend–which partially explains my recent insomnia.

The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #12)This is the twelfth book in the series, and it’s main story centers around Wrath, naturally. He is, after all, the king.

About the book:

After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father’s mantle–with the help of his beloved mate. But the crown sets heavily on his head. As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything–and everyone–at risk.

Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it. But when she decides she wants a child, she’s unprepared for Wrath’s response–or the distance it creates between them.

The question is, will true love win out… or tortured legacy take over?

My Review:
At this point in the series there are many plot lines that are in various degrees of conflict/convergence. The book centers on the ousting of Wrath as King by the glymera, the aristocracy of vampirekind. See they have another person in mind–Ichan, a distant cousin of Wrath’s and through him the warrior Xcor plans to rule. The legal mumbo-jumbo of long forgotten vamp lore states that kings must be of pure blood–and any progeny of Wrath and his Queen, Beth, would be 1/4 human.

Wrath is more than willing to not be King. He’s tired of the constant pressure. And now he’s terrified that Beth is planning to bring on her own needing, or time of fertility. Wrath abhors the idea of risking Beth’s life in pregnancy. It sparks such a rift that Beth actually walks out.

Now, Wrath has to figure out how to deal, and he’s gotta get it handled quickly because there’s a lotta hormones in the air. That’s right. Beth needs, and Wrath caves. It’s all good, though. And Wrath tears out his hair in worry–about his wife and unborn, as well as the throne. At least, he doesn’t have to worry about the kingship for long, he’s deposed by the usurper. For roughly a day. Won’t tell you how he got his crown back but it was NEARLY bloodless. Funny how someone taking away what one didn’t want makes a person want it all the more.

80’s hair-band Cinderella had a song about it….

Fear not! The HEA is freaking stupendous. So much love for Wrath, even if he was kinda King Prick for a few chapters.

Side plots: Assail is punch-drunk in love with the cat burglar Marisol. So much so that he destroys a good bit of his drug pipeline to recover her from the deadly possession of Benloise. Their connection is fierce, and needy. It is rough watching their unfinished business. Will be seeing more of them, for sure–not only because Assail’s using Lessers to sell his drugs on the street.

Via flashback, we get a lot of Wrath’s father’s story in this one. I really enjoyed learning more about that short-lived reign–and gaining a possible reason for Wrath’s blindness–an in utero injury. Fascinating how the intrigues of that court played out in Wrath’s own timeline.

Let’s not forget the Chosen Layla and Xcor have a serious attraction. Will she commit treason to be with him? Or, are her overtures the key to peace between the Black Dagger Brotherhood and the rival Band of Bastards? Let’s say this: I’m looking forward to Xcor getting his. Next book, maybe.

And finally, Trez still hasn’t submitted to the s’Hibhe to take his place as stud to the Queen’s daughter. He’s over the nameless sex–focused, unfortunately, on the Chosen Selena. Selena returns his interest, but at what price? His impurity will not keep him from being extracted, and iAm can only keep the executioner at bay so long. In typical Trez fashion, he sweet-talks and sexes his way out of the most dire parts of his predicament. For now.

Still a lot of plot to build the next episode on. And, we had virtually NO Lesser involvement in this book. Would not expect that trend to bear out much longer.

It’s a satisfying read for BDB fans. Some excellent romance mixed in with the political intrigue and harrowing captures. Plot moves on the trademark Ward pace: fast. If only her next books came out as quickly… 🙂

Interested? You can find THE KING at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or any bookshop or library in creation probably. I saw it on the shelves at Target…so, access is easy.

You’ll need to have read the other eleven books in the series for this to make sense, obviously. If you haven’t read any JR Ward, allow me to pique your interest in the first book in the series: Dark Lover. This is the tale of how Beth and Wrath first met, and mated. “Hot” does not begin to describe it!

Thanks for popping in. Don’t forget to get in on the TWO giveaways my blog is running this week. LOVE, LEX and CAPTURED.

Couldn’t end this post without an homage to a movie from my childhood–a Bruce Campbell cult classic guaranteed to make boys titter and gals roll their eyes…ARMY OF DARKNESS.

Hail to the king, baby!

As always, keep reading my friends!