Wednesday, October 25, 2017

BLOG TOUR: The White Lily by Juliette Cross



Thanks to Paranormal Cravings for hosting this book tour. I'm sharing my review of Juliette Cross's The White Lily today. Happy reading!

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Summary:

To the north of the Varis empire, a mysterious faction spreads propaganda against the vampire monarchy. Friedrich Volya, the Duke of Winter Hill, seeks to discover who they are before his uncle finds them first. King Dominik will punish the traitors with brutal force.

Local schoolteacher, the raven-haired Brennalyn, is on her own mission—to spy on the duke and discover what she can for the Black Lily. She longs to help the commonwealth and bring justice to the many orphans left behind from the ravages of the blood madness, like the children she lovingly keeps in her care. What she doesn't plan for is the heart-pounding attraction she feels for the duke, enemy to the Black Lily.

But when Brennalyn's secret puts her life and the life of her children in danger, Friedrich steps in as her protector, she finds out there's more to the duke than she thought.

Title:  The White Lily
Series:  Vampire Blood
Book #: 3
Author:  Juliette Cross
Approximate Book Length:  326 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Moderate

Thoughts:

While not terribly confusing, you definitely feel like you're jumping into the middle of a series. It took me a chapter or so to really get into due to trying to get my bearings among the world and politics. They are doled out in pieces as the story progresses.

Once I did get my bearings, I became completely enthralled. I loved the children and came to love Duke Friedrich. Brennalyn is endearing in her intellect and courage. Dominik is a strong villain you love to hate. The plot tension just leaps off every page and compels you to keep reading late into the night.

Bottom Line:

The White Lily is filled with excitement, suspense, and a love that is downright tangible. It's an utterly riveting read.

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About the Author
Juliette is a multi-published author of paranormal and fantasy romance and lives in lush, moss-laden Louisiana where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab, Kona. 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.

Find the Author:
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~EXCERPT~

“I apologize. This will be your first time as a bleeder, won’t it?”

She had the widest, sweetest brown eyes. Warm and innocent, but also intelligent. They suited her well. Always keen and searching. Except now. He’d knocked her senseless with his untoward questions. He might’ve felt guilty if he wasn’t enjoying the sound of her hummingbird heartbeat pulsing in that slender, pale throat of hers.

“Do not worry,” he assured her, brushing the pad of his thumb over her knuckles again, noting that her palm was sweaty against his fingers. “The prick is a little painful. At first. But you’ll only remember the pleasure.”

Then he smiled, and those guileless eyes widened even further, her lips forming a surprised O, which made his cock stiffen in his trousers.

“And I will be gentle. I promise.” The first time anyway.


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REVIEW: The Chosen by JR Ward

Summary:

Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.

Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.

As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

Title:  The Chosen
Series:  Black Dagger Brotherhood
Book #: 15
Author:  JR Ward
Approximate Book Length:  544 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Moderate

Thoughts:

Holy crap! I cried repeatedly by only fourteen chapters in. This was such an incredibly emotional book. We follow several different perspectives again, but almost all of them were completely riveting. There's so much going on for everybody.

I will say that I understand most of how everybody felt and really felt for them, but I think Quinn lost his mind and I felt about him for most of the book the he felt about Layla.

I only skimmed Throe's parts, but they were pretty creeptastic. Trez's parts were fairly awkward and I don't really know what to make of them yet. Poor Layla and Blay as Quinn really turned into a huge ass, though I do appreciate his gesture towards Blay.

The next book is Assail's story which is intriguing given his current state. Hopefully we'll see more of V too since he had a lot of unresolved turmoil. I'm sad for that, but it's also kind of nice to see that everything isn't always puppies and rainbows in the couples' lives.

What made me the happiest in this book was the ending. I'm happy with the resolution regarding the twins, but also with what's going on with the BDB and the BoB. They've come so far and now fun and interesting times are ahead.

Bottom Line:

The Chosen is my favorite book in the series since The King and that's saying something. It's just so good!

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

REVIEW: The Beast by JR Ward

Summary:

Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself…

For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect—or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand—or control—the panic and insecurity that plague him…

And that terrifies him—as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities—and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world...and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from...

Title:  The Beast
Series:  Black Dagger Brotherhood
Book #: 14
Author:  JR Ward
Approximate Book Length:  521 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Moderate

Thoughts:

Here we have yet another book with A LOT going on. Some things are ramping up while others are just in flux. I'm just going to touch on Rhage/Mary and Layla.

Rhage and Mary face their first big obstacle as a couple since they got together and it's a doozy. That's not even counting the near death experience Rhage has. Bitty is GREAT and her introduction to the beast might be my absolute favorite part of the entire book.

This might be a mild spoiler, but Layla has the twins in this book, and the birth is INTENSE. It's a truly scary time for Quinn, Blay, and Layla and my heart just broke. The naming ceremony certainly went a long way towards stitching it back together though.

Bottom Line:

The Beast shows us a softer side of Rhage and it's a thing of beauty. This story is surprisingly emotional with some fun pranks to lighten things up. It's a pretty great read and refreshing after the last book.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

REVIEW: The Shadows by JR Ward

Summary:

Sold by his parents to the Queen of the s’Hisbe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer for years. On the run from a destiny of sexual servitude, he’s never been able to rely on anyone...except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing—and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Selena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around...but by then, it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due, and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Now Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others—or abandon the female he loves. When tragedy strikes and changes everything, iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice....

Title:  The Shadows
Series:  Black Dagger Brotherhood
Book #: 13
Author:  JR Ward
Approximate Book Length:  590 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Moderate

Thoughts:

I will say right now that this review will have spoilers. I feel it necessary to demonstrate a point. This was truly one of the saddest freaking books I've ever read. Hope was built up and then completely crushed leaving me quite depressed.

Selena wants to live as much as she can in the time she has left and do so with Trez. Their time together certainly has its ups and downs and everyone searches for a cure so Trez and Selena can stay together. They all fail and Trez suffers tragedy as Selena succumbs to her illness. The entire household mourns Selena as family and it's just so utterly heart wrenching.

There are definitely other things going on too, but honestly, only one of those plot lines ends remotely happily. Overall, it's a good book, just a rather depressing one.

Bottom Line:

The Shadows tugs at the heart strings so intensely that you'll need a happy read to follow it up with. The next book in the series, The Beast, ought to do it!

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

REVIEW: The King by JR Ward

Summary:

Long live the King…

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?

Title:  The King
Series:  Black Dagger Brotherhood
Book #: 12
Author:  JR Ward
Approximate Book Length:  673 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Moderate

Thoughts:

This was predictable yet utterly enthralling. The very beginning was a little confusing but it didn't take me long to figure out that we were reading Wrath's parents' story, which was neat. It's also nice to learn more about i'Am. I especially love how he treats Beth and Boo. I have mixed feelings about Trez though. Selena is great and my heart just breaks for her. I like Assail and I really like Sola.

In total we see some fourteen different perspectives. It's a little obnoxious, but it all comes together. The whole thing is just so intense and feels monumental. I actually felt like other people in the real world should have been in awe like me.

Bottom Line:

The King is completely entrancing and made me cry so much, both sad and happy. I absolutely loved this book what with the drama with Beth and Wrath and the political chess. The ending filled me such joy and made every tear incredibly worth it!

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