Review: The Vampire Hunter (In the Company of Vampires, Book 2) by Michelle Hauf

vampire hunterReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: It’s Kasper’s (Kaz) sixteenth birthday and his only present is a wild, fanged beast trying to kill him – in his panic, he stakes him, killing him outright, though it takes another man, Tor to tell him that the beast he just took out was a vampire and even though he bit him, as he killed it – he would not become like him. He got lucky and, though Tor can’t offer him a place to stay as he’s also homeless, he tells him he can become one of the Knights of the Stake who live to protect the humans who walk the streets of gay Paris.

Review: Kaz has changed from what we saw in the prologue. In chapter one and onward he is a grown man who has developed martial arts skills to be able to look after himself, but the ability to be fast still evades him. Meeting Zoe in the cemetery was a chance he never thought possible, but she needed help and he as after three more vampires, longtooth they are known as, and they could have done a lot of damage to a woman like her if they had caught her. The difference is Zoe isn’t like other women he’s met she’s a witch and being with her would go against his code of ethics.

After kissing Zoe once, he wishes he could kiss her again. Strange thing is he feels drawn to her, like they are meant to be together even though he has never met her before. Kaz, like most heroes in romantic fiction is a man on a quest – to find the single-toothed vampire who killed his friends Robert and Ellen Horst. They had been on their honeymoon when the crazed vamp had a burning desire for the diamonds his wife wore that night. Rumour has it there is a new drug going around called Magic Dust and if vampires take it, it makes them crave shiny things. Other than Kaz’s need to find the killer, he wants to find the one who is creating and distributing the drug – but it he does, he might not like who it is.

Good Bits:

  • The fight Kaz has in the cemetery at the beginning.
  • The ever mysterious Vaillant.
  • The naughty things Faeries can do during sex with vampires!

Summary: Michelle tackles the subject of Faerie and other supernatural creatures living in a sort of harmony in this novel. Vampires have the sort of needs we never pondered before and are far from the Gothic, fanged predators we took them for. They have weaknesses and the Faerie tend to exploit them for their own gain. Kaz is a strong character and Zoe is equally as strong but in different ways. I liked that this story was based in Paris and had a lot of fast-paced moments, emotions and humorous moments too.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Vampire Hunter (In the Company of Vampires Book 2)

Possessed—but in a good way

colorheadshotGuest Blog by Sharon Ashwood, author of Possessed by a Warrior

I was emailing back and forth with a reviewer today and the subject came up about instant romance. You know what I mean—you see that certain someone and . . . kapow!

Although it’s not essential to have this moment in a romance novel, it’s hard to get around it. Even in the best-friends-turned-lovers situation there is a moment of recognition that’s a game-changer. Former lovers who meet again have this moment in a story and it’s deliciously complex, because that glance or touch has the weight of history and a wealth of emotion behind it.

I’ve written a quartet of books with four supernatural spy heroes, and I wanted to make each of the four protagonists different personalities with different types of love stories. So, I needed those initial romance moments to be individual to each couple.

  • In POSSESSED BY A WARRIOR, the couple is set on smolder from page one, wanting to be together even though the vampire hero knows it’s a very bad idea. There is no question the attraction is there.
  • However, in POSSESSED BY AN IMMORTAL, the couple is thrown together by chance and it takes longer for trust to develop. After all, he wants to suck her blood and she tries to shoot him. That’s a definite hiccup when it comes to interpersonal relations.
  • The last two books are reunion stories, and they have rather, um, fiery beginnings.

What they all have in common—whether it’s insta-lust or a case of love sneaking up on them—is that the couple is hooked on each other. The moment their eyes, meet, their souls connect, whether they realize it or not. His or her first reaction might be to resist like crazy, but a bond is formed that they can’t escape.

In any other type of story—or in real life—a person might walk away and miss that magical opportunity to find a life mate, but this is romance. In these stories, the protagonists stay and work it out, whether it takes them five pages or five hundred to figure out that Lady Luck just smiled on them.

That’s what I think the “Possessed” in my titles refers to . . . that wonderful moment when my heroine finally understands that she and her hero truly belong to each other.

What’s your favorite “possession” moment from romantic fiction?

**

Prize alert (international!)

Please leave a comment on this post to enter a draw for a signed paperback of POSSESSED BY A WARRIOR.

warrior smallPossessed by a Warrior (Pub date May 1)

A dazzling dress is wreaking havoc—and costing lives…

The violent death of her uncle sends Chloe Anderson reeling—and rushing to his estate. As coexecutor of Jack’s will, she assumes that he has left her something. What she doesn’t expect is a bejeweled wedding gown with a note warning her to trust only his business partner—dark, mysterious and sexy Sam Ralston.

Chloe’s been burned in love, but never bitten, and there’s something about Sam that keeps drawing her in, despite her fears. The attraction is mutual, intense, and it takes all of Sam’s willpower to hide his fangs. With Chloe’s career at stake and murderous thieves hot on their trail, the vampire vows to protect her. But can he save her from himself?

Buy: Possessed by a Warrior

immortalsmallPossessed by an Immortal (Pub date June 1)

Can a mother in jeopardy melt the heart of a jaded vampire?

After witnessing a murder, Bree Meadows is on the run with her young son. But the bad guys are in hot pursuit. Dropped in the middle of nowhere amid a torrential thunderstorm, things look pretty grim. To make matters worse, her son is in desperate need of medical attention.

Mark Winspear has been alone for too long. When the vampire senses a gorgeous female nearby, he discovers that her swift, selfless courage pulls at his instincts. The doctor has history with the same men who are after Bree—and he’s ready for revenge. Working together now, they discover an attraction that might save them both—if they’re lucky.

Buy: Possessed by an Immortal

Excerpts to both books are available here:  http://www.sharonashwood.com/horsemen/

Contact: Sharon@SharonAshwood.com
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Sharon Ashwood is a novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky. She has an English literature degree but works as a finance geek. Interests include growing her to-be-read pile and playing with the toy graveyard on her desk. As a vegetarian, she freely admits the whole vampire/werewolf lifestyle would never work out, so she writes her adventures instead.

Sharon is the winner of the RITA® Award for Paranormal Romance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is owned by the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness.

Review: Blood Torn (Blackthorn, Book 3) by Lindsay J. Pryor

blood tornReviewed by Sharon S.

‘Vampires might bite, honey, but lycans tear.’

Jask Tao, lycan leader, rules his pack with absolute dedication and demands the same loyalty in return. In the world of Blackthorn, where respect is a rare commodity, Jask has earned his – few dare to cross him, and fewer survive to tell the tale.

When he captures Sophia, a rare serryn witch – whose blood is lethal to vampires – Jask knows just how valuable she can be. Despite her fiery nature, he also can’t shake the feelings that she rouses in him – feelings that he thought died along with Ellen, his mate.

Sophia knows she has to escape from Jask’s lycan compound – and fast. Inheriting her sister’s serryn powers can only mean one thing – that her family is at risk. She’ll have to get past the dangerously attractive Jask first but, scarred by memories of her mother’s murder, Sophia won’t ever give up.

Sparks fly between Jask and Sophia but, as both her family and the pack come under threat, they might just need each other if they, and their loved ones, are going to stay alive…

In this thrillingly sensual novel, Lindsay J. Pryor returns to the shadowy dystopian world of Blackthorn, where tensions are rising, the risks are high, and the most powerful loves are formed in the face of great danger.

This is the third book in the sexy action filled series Blackthorn. I am surprised I hadn’t heard of it since it has every thing I love. It is one of those fun series that blends the world building and grittiness of urban fantasy with the sexy love story found in paranormal romances. Even though this is book three I was able to understand and enjoy Jask and Sophia’s love story, but I felt a little lost with the series arc. Only because there were so many other characters involved from the first two books. I will be checking out the other books so I can find out what happened with those couples.

I am pretty hard to impress in the paranormal romance department. I need some meat to my story (heehee, that kind too) and strong over bearing personalities. Blood Torn contained my two favorite romance tropes, forbidden love and enemy to lovers. Jask is a tortured werewolf alpha in the best possible way (swoon). The mythos Pryor created for the werewolves in her world is full of danger and heartbreak. Turning isn’t something they want to do and this fact is being used against them. Sophia is a witch, but still human, and has a destiny forced on her that she didn’t know about. They are both alphas and broken on the inside. I loved watching them one up each other even cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Even though I couldn’t get enough of them, the author went over the top occasionally.

It is the dark world Pryor created that really draws me to the series as a whole. You could even call it a dystopian. Vampires decided to make their presence known to humans 80 years prior and they brought the werewolves with them against their will. The “others” have been segregated into an inner city by a scared human race. How close to the inner city a human lives in dependent on their money and social status. The elite living gated off in the suburbs.

Definitely a series I will be following and one urban fantasy fans and paranormal fans can enjoy.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Blood Torn (Blackthorn)

Review: Dark Cravings (Dark Series, Book 1) by Madeline Pryce

dark cavingsReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This story is told in the first person.

Micah McGregor and Ella Grey are Shadow Hunters and they have issues about working together. At our first introduction, they seem more like bickering teenagers than badass vampire hunters. And isn’t that what we love, when our couple don’t seem to like each other.

Madeline is a very wicked author. She has included a character that our couple has identified as a succubus. And this is the point where the story gets interesting. Our author uses words that can be graphic at times so it’s not hard to picture in your mind what’s going on. You can feel the craving and can do nothing but read to see where it takes you.

When our couple comes together, it’s one hot and erotic ride. The author shows the reader how bad an addiction can be. It might be really good at the time but you feel worse and worse as time goes by until you get your next fix. It also shows the reader how the personality of the addict can change.


You can tell how creative an author is when they can take a serious situation and put in a conversation that will have the reader laughing. And the reader gets plenty of action. But make sure you pay attention because there’s a lot of twists and turns.

Madeline may not like me saying this but this is not a beach or vacation book. It’s a great book though if you’re stuck inside. You will find that this book sucks you in and everything around you just disappears. A great way to relieve some stress is to get comfortable, put on your favorite music, have a nice tall drink of something and maybe something to nibble on as you sit back and enjoy this book.

Prepare for the forbidden where our couple is concerned – it takes the hot level up a notch. This is an erotic addiction that I hope has no cure. Just like in music, the story builds into a crescendo and just a word of warning that if you have a weak stomach you might get a little queasy – one word, blood.

As you get toward the end of this story, you may pose the question “what would I do in the same circumstance?” It’s also not a book to read when you have to go to work – it could make you late. The good news is that there is another book out now titled Dark Innocence. Once you finish that book you will be ready for this summer when Dark Secrets comes out.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Dark Cravings

Review: Desire in Tartan: 2 (Highland Vampires) by Suz deMello

desire in tartanReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Her first novel in the Highland Vampires series, Temptation in Tartan: 1, concentrated on one part of the Kilburn clan, Lydia Swann-Williston and Keiran the Laird of Kilburn. This time readers are treated to a new possible romance between Dugald Kilburn and Alice Derwent. They both ache for each other, but he can never give her children as he is a vampire. He also wants to spare her the cruelty of being wed to a vampire, but as she is dying, she feels she wants him all the more.

Review: This novel is part of the Ellora’s Cave Legend series and as it mixes historical with the paranormal, it piqued my interest almost immediately. As she has lost her father, and has been thrown out of her father’s house by his friends, Alice has no choice but to take Dugald’s offer to work for him, but she has to adjust to the Scotsman’s brash manner before she falls for him. Dugald in turn is fascinated by her direct speech, and quiet manner. He finds her intriguing as she is beautiful, but not boastful, and conversational when pressed, but not brash. It is her intelligence that amazes him more, but when he knows her father made sure she was taught properly, he realizes he shouldn’t be. Dugald is well aware of what he looks like, and has an awful thought that he will go mad watching those he loves die while he still lives. This is his price for being one of the undead, and it is something he doesn’t appreciate.

Good bits:

  • Dugald’s use of his Scottish accent when the story is shown from his point of view.
  • Dugald has an appreciation of women as well as men, so he isn’t a chauvinist – hurrah!
  • The two for the price of one approach doesn’t make Alice think any better of Dugald, yet that’s what he has in mind – a governess and a wife.

Bad bits:

  • Alice riding for the first time – no, she’s not ready for it.

Final Thoughts: At first Alice is destined to have nothing and be thrown out of her home, when the Kilburn clan change all that and invite her to be their governess. Dugald makes sure she is well provided for even though she is scared to be around the family when she is invited into their home. He hopes she will warm to him, and to be honest, I wasn’t surprised she took to him as they are both opposites. He is rough and ready; she is shy and demure but hides her true self. You would think they would be a match made in heaven, but to be honest it isn’t as easy as that. There are many obstacles the two of them must get over before they can love each other.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Desire in Tartan: 2 (Highland Vampires)

Review: To Love and Serve (Vampire Reborn, Book 2) by Caridad Pineiro

ToLoveAndServeReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

The paranormal action starts right from the first paragraph. In my opinion, this is one of those series that you will want to read in order. You could try reading this one first but a lot of things make more sense if you read For Love or Vengeance first. Although Caridad does state that this can be read as a standalone.

Diana Reyes is an agent for the FBI who also happens to like vampires. She has a vampire lover named Ryder Latimer. There is a mystery that is unfolding that may involve slayer, vampire, and human to get it solved. As you read, you will see that Ryder has more faith in Diana then she does in herself.

This is a genre that you have to respect what the author does in order to develop their stories. I’m sure that some research was involved since our author is also creating her story during what appears to be current times. But she must have a really great imagination since a lot of what she creates doesn’t actually exist.

While I was reading this book, I happened to be listening to Queen’s song “We Are the Champions” and it just seemed so apropos for what seems to be going down. Listening to Freddie Mercury and his group just seemed so perfect for this latest book in the Vampire Reborn Series. I could picture them playing in the bar that the vampires like to frequent. It also makes me wonder if Caridad listens to any music as she writes. And if she does, does it influence her characters behavior.

Our author also had me thinking that this would be a great paranormal CSI or Criminal Minds TV show. I’d be one of those viewers that would watch it religiously. The only thing I couldn’t think of was what actors would play what parts. And then we could have a Queen theme song – instead of The Who.

You will find that Caridad has the suspense and mystery continue almost to the very end of the book. When the ending comes, you’ll be left with a smile on your face. And you will be left wanting to know what she has in store for her readers next. While I was doing some search of the Internet, I got some images that popped up. Some of the images were when they took a baby doll and added fangs to it. Maybe it was because they looked so fake but I can’t picture any vampire babies with fangs – hmm, maybe that’s what our author has in store for us. In the meantime, this is a must read. And the good news is there’s another book coming out next month.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: To Love and Serve (The Vampire Reborn Series) (Entangled Ignite)

Review: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, Book 2) by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night by Deborah HarknessReviewed by Sharon S.

I had heard wonderful things about A Discovery of Witches so when I got an opportunity to review the sequel Shadow of Night I thought, perfect! Unfortunately this is a series that needs to be read in order. Harkness did a great job of catching the reader up on her world building, except for what Daemon are. I still don’t know anything about them and considering one of the main characters in this book, Kit Marlow, is one I would think Harkness would have mentioned more about them. What you don’t get by skipping the first book is the emotional connection to the main couple Diana and Matthew. I can tell it was a passionate and emotionally volatile romance, but without it I wasn’t able to fully appreciate Shadow of Night. I love first person POV, but I found Diana a bit sterile and boring in her account of events. The subject matter is fabulous and I recognize and respect what Harness has accomplished with this book and the series as a whole, but I just didn’t like Diana.

Now, Matthew is whole other story. I love a complex and emotionally damaged paranormal Alpha male. Matthew is a 1500 year old vampire and in this book he must face the past he has never really been able to let go of. He is the perfect blend of powerful, sexy and scary. It is because we only see him through Diana’s eyes that make him so mysterious and absolutely delicious! I plan on reading the first book just to experience more Matthew. Another character I connected too was Matthew’s father Philippe, and watching these two interact was heartbreaking and touching.

I don’t know about A Discovery of Witches, but Shadow of Night is more like a historical, which isn’t my favorite genre. I got tired of Diana’s constant commentary on her surroundings and the ways of Elizabethan period. I do appreciate the effort it took Harkness to weave factual history and her made up world into one story.

I honestly don’t think I can rate this book in a fair manner. If you have read the first one and loved it, then you are going to go nuts over this one. There are tons of surprises that I am sure you won’t see coming (isn’t that mean <G>, but I can’t spoil). If you haven’t read the first book yet, then do so before picking this one up. And lift some weights, because this book is almost 600 pages long! I am going to give the book 3.5 stars when read as a stand-alone.

Rating: ★★★½☆ (as a stand alone novel)

Buy: Shadow of Night: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy)

Review: Avalon Revisited by O.M. Grey

Avalon Revisited by OM GreyReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Vampires in fiction can be from any time period, newly made; older than time itself, but Arthur Tudor is one of the older kind who has hidden his vampire existence from the public for many long years. While on an airship, he meets a vampire slayer to be just too good to pass up, Avalon, and together they make the steampunk equivalent of Holmes and Watson in order to find out the murderer who stalks the streets of Victorian England.

Arthur delights in telling his victims his true Tudor lineage before he takes their lives as he is a real descendant of Henry Tudor, and sees nothing wrong it them knowing who he really is, though it’s not exactly great that he has to keep it secret from the living. To them he is known as only Lord York.

Avalon Revisited is full of the usual courtesy and drama associated with period romance novels, but this lifts the dress and the petticoats of this Victorian erotic story with Arthur acting as rake, and saviour for all women. Unlike most vampire stories, Arthur can be seen in a mirror, though in this particular story, his reflection fades with each century that passes, and he also reveals another secret to the reader, that he was once Spring-Heeled Jack, the terror of Victorian England. His reason for not continuing his scourge on the women there was simple, once a kill on sight order was put out; he felt it necessary to stop his killings.

Arthur is captivated by Avalon and like him, she has a mystery surrounding her name she attributes to having a father obsessed by Arthurian legend. As she has “spunk” as he puts it, he is very much interested in her, and takes it upon him to be around her for most of the journey. It takes a while, but Arthur gets to be alone with her, and that is when the fun starts. Along the course of the novel, we meet Nicholas, a friend of his with similar tastes in women, though he prefers them younger and less restrained in a marriage. Arthur dodges and weaves around the women who would hamper him from talking to Avalon, who he finds most interesting in conversation. She finds him the same, and wants to be with him, and this makes the story more of a tease rather than a standard erotic romp as readers are made to wait before being satisfied – and it’s not bad to have your desires fulfilled after a long while.

Avalon Revisited is filled with rakes, rakehells and a dashing number of loose women – it’s perfect for those evenings when you want to be huddled in bed, but are still awake and need an excuse.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Avalon Revisited