What Are You Reading This Weekend?

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There is a Place in the Woods by Judith Clay

Art available at Society6.

After reading Ms. Cooper’s Glittering Edge duology, I really want to read more of her books.  So, I’ve just started the scifi novel Wilders by Brenda Cooper.

It’s scifi on my iPhone also, as I listen to The Cold Between by Elizabeth Bonesteel.  Actually, it is more mystery than scif, but is quite good no matter the genre.

What are you reading this weekend?

Sabrina and the Gargoyle by Marie Dry – Review

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Review by Riley

About Sabrina and the Gargoyle

Sabrina married Mark after only knowing him for two weeks. Although he’s the man of her dreams, the man she loves more than life itself, she’s started getting strange vibes from him. Sometimes, she could swear he moves faster than the human eye can follow, and she’s sure she’s seen him change into something with wings. Could he be a vampire? A gargoyle? She tries to tell herself she’s being ridiculous, that those things don’t really exist. But when a strange being bursts through her bedroom window and kidnaps her, Sabrina is forced to admit the truth—not only are the creatures from her nightmares real, her own husband is one of them, and he married her for reasons other than love…

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Review of Sabrina and the Gargoyle

I think my husband is a vampire and the question becomes, will he suck my blood or am I delusional and soon to be taken away by the men in white coats.

This sets the tone for the first part of the book. Husband Mark is a mystery and not at all forthcoming. Sabrina loves him anyway, but wavers between loving him and not wanting to have anything to do with the lying, cheating bastard. Sometimes, I wasn’t sure what to make of her. I want to think that she is strong, as eventually evidenced by her ability stand against certain psychic forces, but she is constantly giving into a hero that, like I said, seems to be a lying, cheating bastard.

Mark denies cheating. Note, I do not say that he denies lying. He changes the subject a lot. So there are all sorts of clues that he is not what he seems to be. This is intriguing and, at the same time, frustrating, both for Sabrina and for the reader.

Sabrina and the Gargoyle is chock full of supernatural creatures – vampires, gargoyles, and werewolves. There are witches and a wolf/dog that seems to understand everything Sabrina says when she is talking to herself – out loud. But there is something bigger and badder than all these creatures and all the big bad supernaturals seem to fear the drogge. So they unite, in a manner, to combat the drogge. The thing is, the goodness or evilness of those supernatural creatures is not exactly evident. At least not all the time. So there is a lot of I-don’t-trust-you-but-I-need-you.

Sabrina, though merely human, has a role in this fight too. She is just not aware that she is involved. Which takes us back to Mark. Who withholds a lot of facts. More frustration for Sabrina.

By the way, Sabrina swears in Klingon. Respect. I am not a swearer myself, but I admire the Sabrina’s creative use of an alien tongue, to get around a grandmother who did not liking swearing. Grandmother may be gone, but the Klingon swearing continues.

Occasionally, there is what I would call an information dump. It shows up in dialog, as if to quickly inform the reader or anyone else in the dark (Sabrina) of what is going one. It feels forced and without background. As the first book in a new series, I thought maybe it was a way to introduce all the key players and elements. And there are a lot of them.

One of the aspects of Sabrina and the Gargoyle that I truly enjoyed was the setting. While some authors/publishers would minimize the local references and vernacular in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience, Ms. Dry has included plenty of local color, thereby appealing to the intelligence of her readers. Capetown, South Africa is the setting. And speaking of local color, I was enchanted with the description of Sabrina’s house:

The house was painted turquoise with the shutters a beautiful purple to compliment the roof, the circular stairs in front a bright pink.

This prompted me to look up Bo Kaap, the richly colored Cape Town neighborhood that Sabrina calls home. In this story, there was also quite a few South Africanisms, including discussions of food. I don’t read a lot of stories with this same setting, so I found it fun and fascinating!

Sabrina and the Gargoyle has all the elements you look for in a paranormal romance. Romance (odd as it is), paranormal creatures, good guys and bad guys, and ultimately – a great face down between the evil bad and the heroine and the hero.

The author provided a copy of her book so I could bring you this honest review.

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Links

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Purchase Sabrina and the Gargoyle:

Black Opal Books          Amazon

 

The Red Lily by Juliette Cross – Feature with Excerpt and Giveaway

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About The Red Lily

When Red falls for the Big Bad Wolf…

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

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

Release Date: 6/19/17
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Vampire Blood (formerly Tales of the Black Lily)

Excerpt from The Red Lily

Even though the room was furnished in lovely feminine touches and the thick brocade duvet was heavy and warm, she felt small and alone. She’d grown accustomed to Nikolai’s presence on this journey. It had become her constant comfort. Though he was only next door in the adjoining bedchamber through the suite door, he felt leagues away.

The incident in Lobdell flashed back in frightening display. That horrid vampire, Volkov, didn’t seem surprised to see her or Nikolai so far from the Glass Tower. Surely, he had been following them. She’d caught the glint of Volkov’s fangs when he smiled, if you could call it smiling. Then the world flipped upside down. She couldn’t make out who was hurting who with the primal growls and cries and crunching of bones. And the whole time the fight took place, all could she think was, don’t hurt Nikolai. She had feared being taken captive, but she had feared for Nikolai’s safety more. The memory of that raw horror punched her in the gut.

A door creaked open, outlining the formidable figure of Nikolai in torchlight from the adjoining room. He shut the door and strode to her side, sitting on the edge of the bed, wearing only his trousers, his chest bare. He combed a hand into her hair, shaping his fingers to her skull.

“I can hear your heartbeat from next door.” His rumble of a whisper softened everything inside her to jelly. “You’re anxious. What is wrong?”

“You could hear me through the walls?” she asked in disbelief.

“As if you were sleeping beside me.” He brushed his thumb along the apple of her cheek. “There is nothing to be afraid of here. No one will find us at Winter Hill.”

“I wasn’t afraid of that.”

“Then what?”

Pulling her arm from beneath the covers, she placed her hand atop his on her cheek. He stilled.

“I was afraid for you tonight. When those vampires attacked. If they’d hurt you, I don’t know what I would’ve done.”

He didn’t move. His thumb stopped stroking. Finally, he spoke, his voice as dark as thunder. “You need not worry for me, sweetheart. No harm will come to me. Just as no harm will come to you. I won’t allow it. I’ll die first.”

On impulse, she turned her face into his palm and pressed a kiss at the center where the skin was softer than the callused pads. A sound that was part growl and groan rumbled from Nikolai. Then he tilted her face back toward his.

“Why are you crying?”

She hadn’t even realized she was. All of her emotions from the night had rolled together—the fear, the danger, the exhaustion, the relief—and had finally welled up and spilled over.

On a sob, she said, “I don’t know.”

He whipped back the covers and climbed in bed beside her. When she tried to scoot over to give him room, he gripped her waist and pulled her against his chest.

“You’re overwhelmed,” he said, pressing his lips to the crown of her head. “And rightly so.”

She finally let go, the tears falling fast.

“Shhh,” he calmed her, trailing a hand up and down her spine as she lay on her side facing him. “It’s all right now.”

The heat of his body was an iron brand, with nothing but her shift between them. Slowly, her sobs subsided, but her body still shook. She lay quiet against him, her emotions shifting from fear and despair to something else entirely, but just as raw and desperate.

Continuing his soothing path down her back, he whispered against her temple. “Are you cold?”

“No.”

“You’re still trembling.”

“Yes.”

He rolled up so that she was partially beneath him, his otherworldly eyes shining in the dark. “Tell me why.” The roughness of his voice was a hard command.

“You know why,” she said, unable to say it aloud. He rolled above her, then softly speared his hand into her hair and loosened the strands across the pillow, his gaze following the movement. Then he brushed the tips of his fingers over her lips, applying slight pressure till she opened her mouth. He leaned forward and sucked her lower lip into his mouth, nicking with a sharp pinprick of one fang. Only a drop of elixir, but it spread liquid euphoria through her blood, dulling her anxiety. He licked over the spot with his tongue slowly, so slowly, then lifted away and stared down, a fierce expression marring his face.

“Tell me why,” he repeated, more growl than words.

She feathered her hands up his chest, the rock-solid muscle tight and flexed. “I want you, Nikolai,” she confessed into the dark. “I tremble because I’m terrified of how you make me feel, of how you make me yearn, of how badly I want to know what it would be like to have you inside me.”

He swept away another errant tear that slipped down her cheek. “No more tears.” He shifted on top of her, the weight a delicious relief. “Tonight, you will think of nothing and feel nothing but the pleasure I give you. Do you understand?”

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Links

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Purchase The Red Lily:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled

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About the Author

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

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

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

Find Juliette at:

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

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