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Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter

Royal House of Shadows Series

Paranormal Romance

Lord of the Vampires (book 1) by Gena Showalter

If you’d like to watch a short video of my review of Lord of the Vampires, you can visit Love Serially Book Blog Facebook page by clicking on the blue link. It’s 1 minute & 40 seconds long, so I’m talking about just the highlights.

Lord of the Vampires

Overall Rating: 3.5 (sXe)

Quick & Dirty summary: Nicolai the Vampire is heir to a throne that has been stolen. Not only the throne, but his memory and even his very body has been lost. Instead, Nicolai is a slave to the perverted desires of a pair of sisters. He calls to one who will save him—a woman from the human world. Jane Parker has faced enormous loss and pain, so when she sees Nicolai in her dreams, she feels for him. But when Jane suddenly awakes in another world, she’s not sure she can believe in her feelings for Nicolai.

This is classic Gena Showalter and she doesn’t disappoint. The entire book reminds me a bit of her Lord of the Underworld series, especially because Nicolai has enormous strength, but is bound by magic. Jane is a scientist and so she approaches the world with a bit of skepticism, but also a lot of courage. Another quintessential Showalter hero and heroine couple.

I’ve read some of the reviews of the book, and I think you should ignore most of the negative reviews. Whoever wrote them didn’t read the book closely enough because the discrepancies they talk about are answered in the book. You’ll notice that even while I write that, I didn’t give this book a 5 star rating. And that’s because, while it’s a fun book to read, the love between Jane and Nicolai moves rather fast. It skips a lot of the tender bits to give us a lot of action and adventure, which is great, but can feel abrupt.

Since this is a four book series, the overarching conflict in the novel is not resolved, so be forewarned. You’ll need to read the other three books to see how that particular storyline finishes. I plan on reading them, and am a little bit of the way into the second book. You can check back on this blog later for updates on what I thought about books 2-4. It’s also good to note that each of the books in this series is written by a different author. I’ve read books by Showalter and Nalini Singh, but I haven’t read books by Jessica Anderson or Jill Monroe, so I’m curious to see each writer’s take on the characters and conflict.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $3.99)

I borrowed the book from the library and I highly recommend doing that. I was able to find all four books as an ebook bundle from my library, in addition to the paperback copy. If you’re a big fan of Gena Showalter, I don’t think this book disappoints so it might be worth buying.

Something else you might enjoy:

I love Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London Series. It also puts a unique twist on vampires and other paranormal characters. The last book in the series is my favorite.

Darkest London Book 3

Darkest London Series by Kristen Callihan

Paranormal Romance

 

Winterblaze (Book 3)

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Overall Rating: 4 (sXe)

Quick & Dirty summary: Poppy London has always been the steady sister. With her husband and her bookshop, her life seems mundane and ordinary. But when a werewolf attacks her husband, Winston, long held family secrets are revealed that may cost Poppy her marriage. After Winston recovers he leaves Poppy to find some semblance of solace after his wife’s betrayal, but when Poppy suddenly appears on his ship, his life takes another dangerous turn. As Poppy and Winston face a threat bigger than the two of them they must decide if the love that brought them together is enough to overcome a deal made with the devil.

This might have been my favorite Darkest London book yet. And that’s saying something because I love the first book in this series. But there is something about the undeniable love between Poppy and Winston that makes my heart sigh. It’s not that Winston doubts his love for Poppy, but it’s whether the two of them can forgive and move on in their relationship.

The universal theme of forgiveness is so applicable to life, whether staring down a demon or ignoring the little hurts your partner may inflict. People inevitably require forgiving, we are so imperfect, and Kristen Callihan’s portrayal of this truth is quite moving. I wouldn’t say that the resolution is definitive, but the story offer glimmers as to how a couple can move on.

The pacing of this story is kind of like the sea: it swells with action and then ebbs a little with memories and dialogue. I enjoyed it and read the novel quickly. The climax of the novel is a little hazy for me—I’m not sure I understand exactly what happens, but it’s a happily-ever-after and for that I am grateful.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $6.99)

Even though it’s a bit expensive, because it’s my favorite book in the series so far, I’m going to have to say yes, you should buy it. It’s sweet and touching and lovely, plus you get to see Poppy’s two sisters as they live out their happily-ever-afters.

Entranced by Moonglow

Darkest London Series by Kristen Callihan

Historical Romance/Fantasy

 

Moonglow (Book 2)

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Overall Rating: 4 (sXe)

Quick & Dirty Summary: Daisy Ellis Craigmore has always seemed like the daring sister. Outrageous and infectious, Daisy’s big personality seems to imply a certain looseness of character. And now that her year of mourning her stuffy old husband is done, Daisy is determined to earn her reputation. Her pleasure is short-lived when she witnesses a gruesome murder and is almost killed herself. When Ian Ranulf happens to come along and save her, she promptly puts him in his place. Yet, as killings continue to happen in London, Ian must keep Daisy close in order to keep her safe. And as he does so, they both learn some startling new things about each other and themselves.

To say I enjoyed this book would be an understatement. I was completely enthralled and had a hard time putting it down. I love Daisy’s personality, although parts of it seemed uneven to me. She loves perfume and has a great sense of smell, but hates dirt and being outside. It seems like all the best smells would be outside in a garden. But what do I know? In any case, she is spunky and outgoing and I really enjoyed getting to know her better (her appearance in the first book is rather brief).

Ian I could take or leave. He wasn’t the super swoony guy I’d always hoped for, but the dialogue between Ian and Daisy is great. His tragic backstory explains a lot of his behavior in the first book of the series, and I love when an author takes a challenging character and transforms him into a sympathetic one. That Kristen Callihan succeeds is evident in how much I like this book.

There is a lot of action and quite a few plot twists throughout this novel. I was very surprised by the evil mastermind behind all the killings and really enjoyed that aspect of the storyline. I can’t wait to read the next novel, since the end of this one gives a glimpse into the next one. That’s the bad thing about borrowing the books from the library—it takes FOREVER to get the next installment. But I’ll happily wait if it means more of this exciting goodness!

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $8.99)

This one makes me edgy because even though I liked the book, more than the first one even, nine dollars for an e-book makes me uncomfortable. I definitely recommend reading it, but I think borrowing it from the library may be the way to go unless you’re going to buy the whole series.

Something else you might enjoy:

The London Steampunk Series by Bec McMaster has a similar feel to the Darkest London Series and I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Kiss of Steel. And the best part about it is that it’s free to read if you have Kindle Unlimited. I didn’t read the rest of the series, but there are a lot of books, five to be exact with an additional two novellas, so if you’re looking for a new series this may be a good option.

Enthralled with Darkest London

The Darkest London Series by Kristen Callihan

Historical Romance/Fantasy

 

Firelight (Book 1)

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Overall Rating: 4 (sXe)

Quick & Dirty summary: Miranda Ellis knows what it’s like to live as a prisoner of guilt. Thanks to her extraordinary gift and her fiery beauty she is at her father’s beck and call. When he demands that she marry Lord Benjamin Archer, she knows that obeying will absolve her sins, but at the price of her life. Surprisingly, she is drawn to Lord Archer, despite his cold masked appearance. When evidence mounts that Lord Archer is a killer, Miranda must decide if she will stand by her husband or heed the rumors.

This is definitely a kind of Phantom of the Opera meets X-men story minus the singing and the superhero outfits. I was totally surprised by what happens with Benjamin and love the book because of it. The storyline is so imaginative and unexpected with layers of traditional fantasy components and lesser-known myths.

The characters are well written and the dialogue is great. There is tons of action and the mystery of who is setting up Archer is exciting all the way through the book. While I guessed who the villain is, I was no less enthralled with the ending. It is a great story and so much fun to read.

This made me want to read the rest of the series and I am so happy that the books are available through my local library. I cannot wait to dive back into this fascinating world and see what Kirsten Callihan has next.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $4.99)

Yes! Although I borrowed it from the library, which is always awesome, this book is one that you may be tempted to read again and again!

Something else you might enjoy:

The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger is similar, with a steam punk twist. I loved this series… in fact I need to go back and re-read it! The first book of the series is titled Soulless.

More Love for the Elder Races

The Elder Races by Thea Harrison

Paranormal Romance

 

As I was going through my really rough week, I was lucky enough to get the next few books in the Elder Races series. I read them one after another and I loved them all.

 

Lord’s Fall (Book 5)

Kinked (Book 6)

Night’s Honor (Book 7)

Midnight’s Kiss (Book 8)

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Overall Rating: 4.5 (XXX)

 

Of these four books, Kinked is the one that stands out the most, primarily because I was a little disturbed by the intense nature of the novel. I need to clarify that of these books, the only one that is kind of sweet is Night’s Honor, primarily because Xavier is an old school gentleman. As in previous novels, there is tons of action and suspense as each of the characters face an enemy.

As with all of Harrison’s books, these are well written with very vivid characters. Lord’s Fall returns to Pia and Dragos, as they split up to take care of Wyr business. Pia visits the Elves to help repair political and economic relations, while Dragos must oversee the Sentinel games. When the poo hits the fan, Dragos and Pia must scramble to help the Elves overcome great evil. This was an exciting book with very unexpected turns. It was classic paranormal romance with lots to enjoy.

Kinked addresses the animosity between Aryal and Quentin as it boils over and forces Dragos to send the pair on a mission that will either bring them together or force them out of their Sentinel positions. As Aryal and Quentin travel to the supposedly deserted Numenlaur they push each other’s boundaries until they cannot tell where one ends and the other begins. This novel is startling in its violence and sexuality. It’s very surprising, even as a person who has read BDSM novels, because the emotion is so intense. More than any other “kinky” book, I thought this story demonstrated the fierceness of our basic desires and revealed the animal nature of sex. It was beautiful and memorable. I loved it, despite my initial reservation.

A human and a vampire come together in Night’s Honor, as Tess is on the run from her former employer. When she catches the eye of Xavier, she has little understanding of what working for him will entail. As the two of them fall in love, Tess must face her past and come to terms with a future with a vampire. I love how different this novel is from the rest of the series. It doesn’t have some of the same plot devices as other novels where humans and vampires fall in love. It feels different from the rest of the series, and for that reason alone, I’d like it, but it’s also a sweet book with loveable characters.

In a second-chance at love book, Midnight’s Kiss focuses on Julian, the Nightkind King and his former girlfriend Melisande. After being kidnapped by Julian’s enemy, Melisande is surprised at how much Julian is willing to give up to save her. Since Julian is convinced that Melly doesn’t have a trustworthy bone in her body, he surprises himself at his willingness to forgive her as they fight for their lives. What makes this novel special is the action and adventure. This had to be the most suspenseful novel of the four books in this review. It also makes Julian a much more sympathetic character than in previous novels and we get to see a little more of Tess and Xavier, which is fun.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $7.99 each)

All of the books in this series are the same price and with nine books in the series it can get pretty expensive. But now that I’ve enjoyed so many of them, I have changed my mind. These books are great, and the series just keeps getting better. They aren’t tired or the same—each one is unique and that’s pretty difficult to do. So yes.

The Law of Moses

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

Contemporary Romance/Suspense

 

The Law of Moses

 

Overall Rating: 4.5 (sXe)

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Quick & Dirty summary: Moses was named because he was found in a laundry mat. The news was filled of his abandonment by his drug-addicted mother, especially since she was found dead three days later of an overdose. It haunted Moses, especially because he was born addicted to crack. Georgia meets Moses when he’s 18 and has one year left of high school. As neighbors, they spend the summer together—Georgia chasing after Moses, Moses pushing Georgia away. But they fall in love that year, only to have a traumatic experience tear them apart. Seven years later Moses returns to town and discovers secrets he didn’t know he had.

This is a heartbreaking novel. (Slight spoiler alert) In fact, if you read the synopsis of the novel on Amazon, you think the loss is about Moses, but after you finish the novel, you realize it’s about someone completely different. I cried my eyes out, and the only reason I didn’t give it a 5 star rating is because I don’t know if I can read this book again, I was that devastated. This was one of those books where I stayed up late to finish it because I couldn’t handle not knowing.

One of the best parts of this book is the paranormal aspect of it. It makes the heartbreak all the more intense, but also hopeful. This isn’t the kind of novel that breaks you, but rather it helps to give you a perspective on loss that can carry you through tough times. This is also a very mature romance. While reading about Moses and Georgia when they are teenagers is sweet, there is something beautiful about the way they handle life’s heartaches. It’s so real. Life is never easy, but love can always carry you through.

There is an excellent quote about faith that I find so insightful. Moses thinks: “People like religion but they didn’t want to have to exercise any faith. Religion was comforting with all its structure and its rules. It made people feel safe. But faith wasn’t safe. Faith was hard and uncomfortable and forced people to step out on a limb.” And isn’t that the truth, not just of faith, but of love also? This, to me, is the crux of the story. Who doesn’t want to read a story where this is the major theme?

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $4.95)

Yes, I have never been so glad I paid for a kindle book until now (okay, that’s a bit of hyperbole, but you get what I mean). It’s well worth five dollars, and I may have to buy the paperbacks in hopes to meet the author. She is amazing!

Something else you might enjoy:

Nothing comes to mind. I’m still in awe. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series The Song of David.

Enjoy the Oracel’s Moon

The Elder Races Series by Thea Harrison

Paranormal Romance

This is the fourth book in the Elder Races Series. Some of the novels follow Pia and Dragos, the main characters from the first novel. Others, like this one, follow new characters. Oracle’s Moon follows directly after Serpent’s Kiss, so I would recommend reading the series in order. You can read my reviews of the earlier novels here on my blog by clicking the drop box on the Elder Races Series category located in the column to the right of this post.

Oracle’s Moon

Overall Rating: 4 (sXe)

Book Cover for Oracle's MoonQuick & Dirty summary: Grace Andreas knew the moment she woke up from a fatal car accident that her sister Petra had died because she felt the power of the Oracle. The Oracle has been in the Andreas family for generations and while Grace is prepared for the responsibility, she is heartbroken to loose her sister and her brother-in-law. Now Grace has two children to raise, her niece and her nephew, leaders of the Elder Races knocking on her door, and a Djin tethered to her family.

This novel, in some senses, is about overcoming prejudices. Perhaps all of the novels are about that, but this one more so as Khalil must overcome his initial impressions of Grace to truly understand her situation in life and her limited choices. Conversely, Grace feels first-hand the backlash witches have against Djin, and all of the Elder Races, as her family gets caught in the cross-hairs of a political assassination. Like most paranormal stories, this one explores what knits us together as a community and as a family.

I love Grace and Khalil in this novel. They are so sweet together. Their common concern for children and their ability to love so fiercely is beautiful to see. I admire Grace so much as a character: She is strong, she is scarred, and she is courageous. I love having her as a female leading lady. I am amazed at how this series continues to be so good. The quality of writing is still strong, four books into the series, and I can’t wait to continue reading to see what happens to bring all of these characters together.

Is it worth buying? (Kindle $7.99)

Yes, I love this series. I would gladly pay for it, but I borrow it from the library instead. Waiting for the books to become available is torture, so if you have the spare cash, buy buy buy!

Something else you might enjoy:

I don’t know that I’ve ever read a novel about a Djin or an Oracle. Well, I did reading the Witching Savannah series, but I’ve already recommended that one. There is Grace Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series that has an Oracle in it, if I remember correctly. That’s a really good series that I highly recommend!