Blog Tour+Review+Giveaway: The Black Lily by Juliette Cross

The Black Lily

by Juliette Cross
Publication Date: March 27, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Select Otherworld, Paranormal, Historical, Vampires, Cinderella Retelling

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SYNOPSIS:

Cinderella like you’ve never seen before…

With the threat of the vampire monarchy becoming stronger every day, the Black Lily must take drastic measures. As the leader of the underground resistance, Arabelle concocts the perfect idea to gain the attention of the Glass Tower. Her plan? Attend the vampire prince’s blood ball and kill him. Fortunately for Prince Marius, her assassination goes awry, and Arabelle flees, leaving behind only her dagger.

Marius is desperate to find the woman whose kiss turned into attempted murder, hunting for the mysterious assassin he can’t push out of his mind. But what he uncovers could change the course of his life forever…

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Review

She was a fiery beauty in the cold darkness, a beating heart among the lifeless, mundane world he knew too well.

Wow! This book starts with a BANG, and it doesn’t let up until the last page. I was so sad when it was over. The Black Lily is an exhilarating adventure that I can’t wait to re-explore.

Oh, what a merry chase our Arabelle gives the prince and his army. This girl has gumption out to the wazoo! I was so impressed by her. The story opens with her attempt to assassinate the prince, and she’s so self-assured and shows such badassery. She’s not afraid to use all weapons at her disposal to complete her task. Arabelle escapes by the skin of her teeth that night, and I was so excited to see the firecracker side of her. This girl has got it goin’ on! I laughed at how she keeps Marius (and really, the whole vampire community) on their toes.

And Marius? He completely knocks the wind out from Arabelle’s sails…by just being himself.

As soon as he catches sight of her at his ball, Marius is hooked. Arabelle is the last person he should want. She’s the Black Lily, the leader causing the uprising against the vampires. But when has that ever stopped love? Never, that’s when!

Marius doesn’t expect her complete hatred of his people, and even though Arabelle almost succeeds in killing him, it rejuvenates him almost. It’s a challenge he can’t help but rise to, and it opened him as a character. There’s a lot going on in the kingdom that he is unaware of, and Arabelle doesn’t fear showing him. I was on the edge of my seat every time they had a confrontation, and I couldn’t wait to see who came out on top. There’s an animal magnetism between them, a searching and meeting of wills.

Once in a blue moon, I’ll find a book that captures me heart and soul. This book is it. Arabelle astounded me with her fiery strength, with her vulnerability. Marius was dashing and daring and so sweet, it made my teeth ache. The Black Lily kept me anticipating every new page because it’s flowing with color and charm, with purpose. Overall, it’s a riot to read–Cinderella set in the dark, enticing woods of Maleficent.

I’m eagerly awaiting the next in this series. One of my favorite reads this year by far! 

ABOUT JULIETTE CROSS

Juliette is a multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance. She calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab named Kona. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance–brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more books set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

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ARC Review: Insight by Santino Hassell

A mind-bending romantic thriller, Insight offers a unique concept that tugs at your heart and keeps you guessing the whole way through!

30364791Nathaniel comes from a line of psychics, but for some reason, he only has minor empath abilities. He’s never quite “fit” in anywhere, and his school life is twice as hard when it comes out that he’s gay. With the disappearances of his mother followed by the death of his twin, Nate travels to New York to understand what happened. And when he starts having visions that his brother’s suicide wasn’t one, he’s clotheslined by it.

Trent is heading back to school when he sees Nate hitchhiking along the road. It’s not the first time he’s run into Nate in that small town of Texas, so he thinks it’s fate and allows Nate to ride with him. Trent’s intrigued by the shadows that lurk inside Nate, and their cross-country journey challenges Nate’s barriers at the same time Trent realizes what they have is much more than friendship.

The plot captured my attention right off the bat, and the story starts with a BANG. While this is the first novel I’ve read with Hassell as a solo author – I’m a BIG fan of his and Megan Erickson’s Cyberloveseries – his characters always have a vulnerability that pulls the emotion right out of you. I expect to be invested, and Insight is no different. And it’s a road trip romance for the first half. These were my favorite parts! There’s nothing like learning about someone while trapped in a car and deciding what music to listen to. It was sweet and steamy, and I just loved these two so much!

Then the plot kicks into overdrive with Nate discovering The Community. The group proclaims to want to help psychics acclimate but with the disappearances piling up, Nate doesn’t know who to trust.

One thing that was off for me was the pacing throughout the middle. Information comes so quickly and from so many different sources that I had to stop a few times when a character’s name was mentioned and think about who they were and what their relationship was to Nate.

This was a great first installment to The Community series, and I can’t wait to see where Hassell takes his readers next.

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Review: Branded by Flames by Sean Michael

img_0321I’m still recovering from how HAWT this dragon-laced romance was. My fingers were burning and as long as you like kink in your stories (and lots of it), I recommend this one!

Shae is an artist who sculpts dragons, and when the new neighbors call the cops for welding in his front yard, he’s not in a good mood. Until he catches sight of a sexy firefighter.

Jake is a dragon, and he sees signs that Shae just may be the submissive he needs. Things get complicated quickly when Jake realizes the man has his family’s crest emblazoned on his body and with it, his dragon name – Jakob-meine.

What follows is an erotic adventure about finding love in unexpected places and being able to accept – and celebrate – in one’s true self.

The beginning of this book starts slow for me. Their interactions seem disjointed and a tad awkward. About a quarter of the way through, however, things heat up.  I like how Shae is a mature hero (a silver fox, if you will), and he makes Jake work for it. The plot has just enough backstory to keep it moving and more than enough internal conflict to keep me turning pages. And again, there’s kink on top of kink. I’ve read my share of kink, ya’ll, and even I had my brows shoot up a time or two.

Now, onto a few downsides. Something I’ve noticed in Sean Michael’s other books is the dialogue isn’t very realistic.  I can’t picture men saying some of these things, and I skimmed over certain parts that brought me out of the story.

One other point I find important is that Shae, in particular, morphs into a different character in my head. Shae is an older human male. By the middle of the story, I began picturing a young buck who is shy and uncertain. Granted, lots of changes come about, but I missed the confident, older tone he exhibits earlier in the book.

That, however, was the extent of my complaints. So, if you want your erotica EROTIC, pick this book up, stat! The shaky beginning dissipates, and Jake, the dragon, is to die for. I will definitely pick up the next book in this series. These dragons are too hot to miss!

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