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: Hunter by Jacquelyn Frank

hunterReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Tatyana Petrova is having trouble with her car. She’s stuck on a mountain road on New Year’s Eve. Annali Templeton seems to be writing in a notebook and Ryce Champion is trying to drag her attention away when Hunter Finn arrives.

Hunter finds out that a friend has seriously been hurt. And then they meet for the first time. After they meet, the action begins. It’s a story of warlocks and witches – one is good and one is evil. It’s also about family and Jacquelyn has you feeling as if you are a part of that family. We also get to see the building of heat between Tatyana and Hunter.

As I read Jacquelyn’s descriptions of her characters, the story plays in my mind as if I’m in the theater watching a movie. To me, this is one thing that makes a great book. As I read, I have music playing and I see the scenes and characters starting to materialize. One of the female characters I can picture being played by Kat Von D – the minute you’re introduced to her you just might feel the same. One of the male characters I can picture being played by David Navarro – again, I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

Jacquelyn is also good at teasing her readers. You can just about see the sparks flying between Hunter and Tatyana and then Jacquelyn pulls them back. She does this several times but this is what keeps you riveted. I had a very hard time putting this book down – I got this book finished in just over a day (the witches had me bewitched). I had to know if I was just going to feel the heat or was I going to see what we all want to see. Plus who wins the fight – good or bad.

I was disappointed to find that I finished the book – no, there has to be more! Then I was disappointed even more when I couldn’t tell that there is going to be a sequel or that there wasn’t a book one. She will have a new book coming out in September (writing as Jax) but I don’t see that it has anything to do with the Willow Coven. The only thing I can suggest is keep an eye on her web site, http://www.jacquelynfrank.com, to see if she posts anything.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Hunter

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)

Get into Bed with Kathryn Leigh Scott (Author Interview)

Today’s author interview is with Kathryn Leigh Scott. Did you know that KLS shot a cameo appearance (along with the other main cast members) for Tim Burton in the feature version of Dark Shadows starring Johnny Depp? Yum!

Keira: Tell us a bit about the rivalry between our vampire heroine Meg and her nemesis a witch named Camilla?

Kathryn Leigh Scott: Camilla is settling an old family feud  that began with her jealousy of Meg’s grandmother, something Meg knew nothing about until her mother reveals its origins. At first she doesn’t take the threat seriously, but when someone very dear to her is killed, Meg retaliates, exercising paranormal gifts she has up to then denied herself.

Keira: Meg has some unique traits as a vampire that most don’t in fiction. She can walk around in daylight and shapeshift. How is this possible?

KLS: I took my cue from Jonathan Frid, who created Barnabas Collins, the iconic “reluctant vampire,” who is repulsed by the curse that forces him to harm others to satisfy his blood lust. He added tremendous dimension to the traditional vampire figure, revealing emotions, desires and special gifts not usually associated with vampires. Meg denies herself the use of her special gifts because she wants to succeed on her own among mortals, and only exercises her paranormal abilities when confronted with Camilla’s threats. In creating Meg Harrison, I established certain paranormal abilities and then wrote within those parameters.

Keira: Meg is in love with a mortal man. How do you define love? How does Meg?

KLS: Again, I took my cue from the fabled romance between vampire Barnabas Collins and his great love for the mortal, Josette DuPres, the role I played. Josette loved Barnabas, without knowing he was a vampire . . . but their love was doomed by the jealous witch, Angelique, who revealed his true nature to Josette, who then leapt to her death off Widow’s Hill.

Keira: What is the daytime soap opera Dark Passages about?

KLS: The novel is really a coming-of-age story about young actress Meg Harrison, a vampire whose love for a mortal is also doomed by the jealous witch, Camilla. Dark Passages begins as a traditional soap, and then ironically evolves into a paranormal series featuring a vampire . . . with no one aware that a real vampire is playing the innocent ingenue.

Keira: What are the parallels between the fictional Dark Passages and the actual Dark Shadows soap operas?

KLS: I’ve written a number of nonfiction books about Dark Shadows in which I tell the true behind-the-scenes stories. With Dark Passages, I had a lot of fun imagining “what if . . . we were known for our “bloopers” on Dark Shadows because, unlike other soaps, we had so many special effects and they invariably went wrong! So I imagined “what if” those mishaps were dangerous and the work of a witch out to destroy the secret vampire on the show?

Keira: Anything fun and interesting you’d like to share?

KLS: Yes! When I finished Dark Passages, I asked my husband, who is an editor, to read my novel and give me his comments. He thought the paranormal elements worked well . . . and then said, “I hope you realize you’re writing about your mother!”

Keira: Too funny! You can learn more about Kathryn at her website: www.kathrynleighscott.com

Buy: Dark Passages, Dark Passages (UK)

Review: In the Heat of the Bite by Lydia Dare

by Aggie S., guest reviewer

In the Heat of the Bite, Lydia Dare mixes some old English and Scottish history with werewolves, vampires and witches. I normally do not read these types of books, but once I started this book I really did not want to put it down until I finished it. I give this book 5 Stars!

It has an interesting start. The very first thing you find out is that the sisters are not blood related, but Coven sisters. The members of the revered Coig or first born daughter’s of witches, who are themselves witches, each with the own special power. This story includes werewolves (the Lycans), vampires (some who are able to be out during the daylight hours and walk in the sun and others who are more normally limited).

Rhianna takes off for London following her Aunt Greer, who took her younger sister with her to marry her off to some English noble (find out who and what he is by reading the story). Rhianna utilizes her powers after meeting with her Aunt, who refuses to let her see Ginessa. The two of them basically have to wait to see each other at parties. A vampyre falls for Rhianna, thus a love story is created. Read the book to see what happens when a vampyre falls in love… ;)

The story has interesting aspects as Lycans and vampires are thrown together, and two are married to Coven Sisters. Then there’s a Duchess who has no idea what creatures are about her. She sets about helping Rhianna win the man of her dreams, then helps Ginessa run away with the man of hers, sending her Aunt into a snit. Cait another Coven sister is at odds with everyone, she knows what is going to happen but can not tell a soul.

The ending is not what you expect.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: In the Heat of the Bite

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Review: Tall, Dark, and Wolfish by Lydia Dare

by Susan S., guest reviewer

Lydia Dare casts a spell on her readers! A scorching hot read, full of magick and desire.

Tall, Dark, and Wolfish is book two from Lydia Dare’s werewolf trilogy. The second installment brings us the story of the youngest of the Westfield brothers, Lord Benjamin Westfield.

Does it stand alone? Yes.

This novel was right up my magickal alley. I love paranormal romances! Especially, if there’s a witch involved. They don’t refer to me as Witchy Woman for naught.

What happens when one sexy English werewolf meets one Scottish red-haired witch? Sexual sparks ignite. But, what happens if you cross heroine, Elspeth Campbell’s coven of mischievous witches? You get rained on, chased by fireballs, attacked by vines, and four times the trouble.

Nothing will stand between a witch and her coven! Then again, nothing will stand between a wolf and his mate! It’s an all out battle of witches vs. lycan.

Hero, Lord Benjamin Westfield comes from a long line of lycan men, and he’s happy with his inner wolf. With his roguish good looks, uncanny hearing, and great reflexes, life is as it should be. Or, at least it was, until he realizes he’s lost the ability to shift. Something’s seriously wrong; he didn’t change during the last full moon. Not wanting to bear ridicule from his older brothers, Ben seeks the advice of his father’s friend, Major Desmond Forster. Major’s advice? Seek out a Scottish healer named Rosewyth Campbell.

Ben leaves London in search of Rosewyth. He “expects” to find an old crone. What he “doesn’t” expect, is to find the late Rosewyth’s daughter, Elspeth. A young fiery witch, with red hair, green eyes, and her over protective coven of C’oig witches.

Underlying themes: Friendship, loyalty, and to follow one’s heart.

Ben was my favorite character: Why? He has long brown hair, light hazel eyes; he’s a flirt, and a wolf. Need I say more? Really? O.k. then, he’s broken, confused, and scared, until he meets a beautiful witch who speaks to his very soul. He’s also protective, loyal, and hard-headed (lol).

My favorite scene: Elspeth raises her teacup to her lips and glances at Ben over the rim. Her aroused scent is driving him mad; he looks at her from across the cottage and mouths the words, “You want me.”

Recommendations: You’re in for a real treat, if you enjoy any of the following: Bewitched, historicals, happily-ever-afters, magick, red-haired lasses, handsome blackguards, werewolves, mischievous witches, and scorchingly hot sex scenes.

Will Elspeth heal Ben, and find his inner beast? Or, will her coven send this wolf howling back to London?

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Tall, Dark, and Wolfish (Book 2)

Historical, Paranormal Romance, May 2010, Sourcebooks Casablanca, Print Pages 387.

ISBN# 978-1-4022-3695-2.

PS… My nose is just twitching to read book three, The Wolf Next Door. The last installment in Dare’s trilogy gives us the story of the middle brother, Lord William Westfield. Look for it in June of 2010.

What is Urban Fantasy Romance?

defininggenre

I had to educate myself on this. For instance, until I read Katiebabs’ WTF post on Laurell K. Hamilton (among other things) I would have cleanly classified Anita Blake as contemporary paranormal romance. If Anita Blake is urban fantasy then so to by deduction must be Keri Arthur’s Riley Jenson Series and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Which begs the question, when did vampires and werewolves leave their home in Paranormal Land and cross into the Fantasy World? Isn’t fantasy populated with witches, magic, dragons, and princes? As Orson Scott Card said (and I’m paraphrasing) if you think trees the story is a fantasy; if you think metal it’s a science fiction… or in this case not-fantasy. I think of vampires and werewolves as claws and teeth, which is probably why I’m so confused. :P Are you? Let’s figure it out together.

Urban Fantasy Romance Is:

  • Fantasy elements (also including paranormal here don’t ask me why) in a people populated setting be it city or town.
  • Sure to deal with mystery, suspense, and/or crime.
  • Reliant heavily on world-building to make it work. How did these creature rise from obscurity and into the everyday? How do normal humans deal with them?
  • A romance, but it doesn’t overwhelm the driving plot.
  • Usually a series so world-building and romance arcs are sprinkled throughout many books.
  • Usually contemporary or modern, but can be set in historical or futuristic settings too.
  • Populated with tough kick-ass heroines.
  • Never fluffy. It’s gritty, dark, and thrilling.

Urban Fantasy vs Paranormal Romance:

What’s the difference between an urban fantasy and a paranormal written in an urban setting? Please explain! Here’s what I got so far…

  • Paranormal romance is usually hero-centric whereas urban fantasy tends to be heroine-centric.
  • Paranormal romance is about the hero and heroine’s relationship first and foremost with a HEA (happily ever after). Urban Fantasy romance is about saving the world and finding love while you do it.
  • Avon executive editor Erika Tsang explains: “In paranormal romance the relationship between the couple is the focus of the main plot. In urban fantasy, the world that the couple exists in is the focus.” Publisher’s Weekly

This is why everyone says the two get confused and are used interchangeably. It really is a difference of degrees I feel.

Do you prefer Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance? I am clearly a fan of both even though before I wrote this post I thought I never read an urban fantasy. Give me Edward Cullen and Buffy Summers!

What are some of the other Urban Fantasy Romance series that you enjoy?

Review: The Werewolf Upstairs by Ashlyn Chase

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

Ashlyn captures her audience once again with her next installment in the paranormal romance series where Roz Wells, an Attorney takes an apartment in a building full of what she considers normal people – apart from one – Konrad Wollfensen, a security salesman with a difference. He’s highly efficient and cares for the people he lives with,but to prove how lousy their own security is, he breaks into their apartments and tells them later hoping he can sell them his own alarms!

Roz finds him desirable once she sets eyes on him but there is another thing she doesn’t know – Mr Wolfensen is actually a werewolf by night.

Ashlyn manages to grab me from the first turn of the page, where I was thrown straight into a comical situation involving Roz looking round a less than desirable building for her new apartment. As soon as she meets the other residents she knows something interesting is about to happen but doesn’t expect Konrad being the man for her. When he recognizes her as Merry’s friend, she’s amazed that he eve noticed her in the first place.

The comedy in this novel is sure to keep you laughing along with Roz constantly hoping that Konrad isn’t gay, but not too bothered about his being a werewolf, and worrying about Merry’s sanity among many others. The dialogue is witty, punchy and never lets up while Ashlyn has created enough of a back story for her characters to make them as life like as possible.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Werewolf Upstairs

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