A MelanieM Review: Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2) by Shira Anthony

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Blood and Ghosts coverWith vampire Nicolas Lambert’s marriage to a rival clanswoman only weeks away, Adrien Gilbert struggles to come to terms with his defeat at the hands of Verel Pelletier, a vampire hunter and an immortal like himself. Adrien and his former teacher, Roland Günter, begin to explore his newly acquired abilities. But without his soul’s sword, Adrien flounders.

On Nicolas’s wedding day, a two-hundred-year old secret is revealed, sending the wedding party into a blazing battle between hunters and vampires. Once again Adrien finds himself facing Pelletier’s superior strength. Just as Adrien believes all hope of a future with Nicolas is lost, he finally learns his true gift—he can turn back time. But time travel comes with a high cost. To save Nicolas, Adrien must become strong enough to use his power without descending into madness.

After the death and destruction of Blood and Rain (Blood #1), I was hoping for some resolution to some of the loose ends and ever expanding plot threads but I should have known better as Blood and Ghosts is the middle story of Shira Anthony’s Blood Trilogy.  This book only ups the drama, danger, and multiple timelines these characters seem to exist in.  And therein lies this story’s strengths and weaknesses.

Time travel can be an extremely tricky element in any story but especially in one where one of the main characters or perhaps more, switch time frames frequently within chapters or pages for that matter.  For me, this format worked in several ways.  As Adrien chases not only his enemy Pelletier through  time, he is also looking frantically for his beloved Nicholas, who Pelletier has stolen away (long story, you must read the first book for this one to make any sense at all).  As the search continues through multiple eras and time periods, an exhausted Adrien is carrying with him the knowledge of the future, and all the dangers that brings with it.  With each change, the suspense and anxiety increases along with Adrien’s anguish and physical exhaustion.  We can connect with the fact that he’s losing hope with each century he passes through.  Anthony’s format serves to involve us with Adrien’s emotions and pain as the search continues even as his enemy taunts him.  I liked seeing all the “different” Adriens that existed, even if we see them only briefly.  I also liked getting more of a sense of history behind the various feuds and vampire/hunter lore.  That also serves to solidify some of the world building laid down in the first story.  But there is a downside to all this time flipping, and that’s confusion and a tendency towards density.

There are so many different eras and time periods to keep track of and with them, different logistical nightmares and ever expanding plot threads that your mind can grow tired trying to keep track of them all and how they figure into whatever current situation Adrien is finding himself in at the time.   I had to refer back to my notes several times in order to figure out  who was where at what time and why.  I can see what Anthony was going for and its works in the long view, however, I also wished for a few less stops along the time continuum and a tighter time line for the story all together.   At one point we are just jumping around way too much for us to get a feel for the “Nicholas” seen or for the other characters that are involved, there’s just not enough “time” for that to happen.

Make no mistake, there are some very cool components here.  I loved all the action sequences and the stuff that happens with Adrien’s sword had me swooning with glee.  It was unexpected, wildly imaginative, and vividly realized.  And it also made other parts of the story pale in  comparison.    Now that was a battle.

And while Adrien is believably flawed, impatient, angry, and powerful, Nicholas remains a bit of a shadow character.  I was just starting to get a sense of him before the traumatic events of Blood and Rain.  Then nothing.  I find him even more elusive here than Adrien does, and the switching of personas through the centuries doesn’t help that.  I’m continually told that their love is eternal and they know it “through the blood”.  But I would have wished for more showing to help me connect with the person behind all the drama and events that happen.

Blood and Ghosts is the middle story in this trilogy and it ends on a heartbreaker of a cliffhanger, one I can’t wait to see the author write her way out of.  I thought it was a fascinating way to end this story as it supplies tons of questions with little answers, its thought provoking in a major way and the riddle it implies will keep you guessing until we get the answers in early 2016 which is when the final story, Blood and Eternity, will come out.   If you aren’t a fan of cliffhangers, perhaps you might want to wait and read all three stories one right after the other.   If you are like me and have the impulse control of a magpie, then go ahead and pick this up and see what happened after the carnage of Blood and Rain.

But if you are new to this trilogy, run back to the first story and start there otherwise you will find yourself lost in time, along with the characters here.  For all vampire lovers, this is a new take on vampire lore and vampire hunters.  This story and series is beautifully written, intricately plotted and heavy with elements and logistics.  And yes, there’s some hot men/vampires and sexy times too.  The time travel can get a wee bit wearying but hang in there, for the acton sequences and rocky journey to everlasting love worth every minute, hour, and year.  Now if only I could time travel my way to 2016 and get my hands on Blood and Eternity….

Cover art by Reese Dante. I’m not a fan of this cover, not sure why.  Perhaps its the models or the design color.  Either way, its more of a miss than hit.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press   –   All Romance (ARe) –  Amazon    Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 242 pages, available in DSP paperback too
Published April 20th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press (first published April 2015)
ISBN139781634761154
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.shiraanthony.com/books/blood-and-ghosts/
seriesBlood #2

Books in the Blood Trilogy are:

Author Highlight! Shira Anthony on Blood and Ghosts & Writing Time Travel! (contest and guest blog)

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“Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2) by Shira Anthony”

Special Guest Blog

We are so happy to have Shira Anthony here today to talk about her sequel to Blood and Rain (Blood 1), Blood and Ghosts! In her latest series, Shira Anthony has vampire characters, time travel and many other elements that we haven’t seen from this author before.  So today we are offered a little insight into her characters and how it is to write time travel into her stories. For more details about the book and its author, continue on after the guest post.  Happy Reading.

 Shira Anthony on  Writing Time Travel

Thanks, Melanie, for hosting the Blood and Ghosts blog tour today! I’m so excited to share the second book in the Blood Series from Dreamspinner Press with everyone. Be sure to read down about how to enter the blog tour giveaway for a cool Dr. Who “Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey” pendant.

Have you ever dreamed you could go back in time and do things differently? There are many different concepts of time and how the choices we make affect our future. Speculative fiction is hot right now, and there are some great books out there that delve into what might have happened if, for example, Germany had won World War II, or the South had won the United States Civil War and slavery had never been abolish. These sorts of stories utilize a view of time as linear, but with many twists andTime travel turns based on events and choices. This diagram demonstrates that concept. Each green dot is a choice that leads to a different outcome. Decide you’re going to have dinner with Jim, and maybe you don’t meet John. Each choice becomes a fork in the road.

The Blood Series was inspired by a Japanese anime, Noein, which utilizes precisely this concept of time (and yes, I’m a total anime geek, for those who may not already know!). The Blood Series features three M/M pairings, but the main focus is on immortal vampire hunter Adrien Gilbert and the ancient vampire (born a vampire, not created from a human) he loves, Nicolas Lambert. Through Nicolas’s powerful blood, Adrien not only becomes immortal, but he gains powers beyond those of vampires or hunters. In book 2 in the series, Blood and Ghosts, Adrien discovers he has the ability to travel through time. Unfortunately for Adrien, controlling that power is something just beyond his grasp.

Blood and Ghosts features three timelines, or “timestreams”: the original timestream Adrien lives in which is chronicled in Blood and Rain (Blood #1), the timestream Adrien inadvertently changes when he’s sent back to a time before he ever met Nicolas, and finally, a confusing new future I won’t spoil in which he finds himself at the end of the second book (a where he finally gets a happily-for-now with his beloved Nicolas!). Keeping all of these straight, and keeping them understandable for the reader, was a monumental task. How did I do it? With a lot of input from my wonderful beta readers and my Dreamspinner Press editors. Oh, and a crap ton of rewriting!

Adrien meets three versions of Nicolas in the series: the Nicolas he originally fell in love with, the Nicolas whose life he changes when Adrien finds himself in his teenaged past, and a Nicolas of the future who has never met Adrien. Writing each Nicolas was a great deal of fun. At his heart (or soul, as the vampires would say), each Nicolas is the same. But events and choices can change and shape a person, for better or worse.

Adrien wants to spend his immortal life at Nicolas’s side. But which Nicolas he’ll end up with is far from clear. Finding Nicolas isn’t the only challenge Adrien must face—he must also repair the damage created by Verel Pelletier, another immortal hunter bent on reigniting a war between vampires and hunters. And Adrien must fix both past and present before he loses everything he ever cared about.

Blood and Ghosts ends with a happily-for-now for Nicolas and Adrien, and with a question: what would you sacrifice for your own happiness? That question will be answered in the final book in the series, Blood and Eternity, which will be published in early 2016. –Shira

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Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2) by Shira Anthony

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Release Date: April 20, 2015

Sales Links:     Dreamspinner Press      All Romance (ARe)       Amazon        Buy It Here

Thank you so much for being part of my blog tour! Below is all the basic information you’ll need to add to the exclusive post. I’ve also attached the artwork for you to use as you wish to dress up the post. If you have any questions, please email me at: shiraanthony@hotmail.com. Thanks again! -Shira

Contest

Blood and Ghosts Blog Tour Giveaway:  Enter to win a Blood Series prize basket including a Dr. Who Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Pendant, a paperback copy of Blood and Rain, and a Blood Series pen.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Prizes and link provided by Shira Anthony.
Link to Rafflecopter giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cf0ba94911/?

Blurb: Sequel to Blood and Rain/Blood: Book Two

BloodandGhostsFSWith vampire Nicolas Lambert’s marriage to a rival clanswoman only weeks away, Adrien Gilbert struggles to come to terms with his defeat at the hands of Verel Pelletier, a vampire hunter and an immortal like himself. Adrien and his former teacher, Roland Günter, begin to explore his newly acquired abilities. But without his soul’s sword, Adrien flounders.

On Nicolas’s wedding day, a two-hundred-year old secret is revealed, sending the wedding party into a blazing battle between hunters and vampires. Once again Adrien finds himself facing Pelletier’s superior strength. Just as Adrien believes all hope of a future with Nicolas is lost, he finally learns his true gift—he can turn back time. But time travel comes with a high cost. To save Nicolas, Adrien must become strong enough to use his power without descending into madness.

Blood and Rain (Blood #1):

Blood and Rain 400x600Adrien Gilbert has spent several lifetimes searching for the love he lost. Born in the 1800s into a clan of fabled vampire hunters, Adrien once wanted nothing more than to tend his family’s vineyard in southern France or read a good book. But Adrien’s peaceful existence ends abruptly when his older brother, François, is murdered. Bound by his hunter’s oath, Adrien sets out on a path that will forever change his life when he agrees to execute his brother’s killer, the vampire Charles Duvalier.

After months chasing the elusive Charles, Adrien reluctantly makes a bargain with Nicolas Lambert, an ancient vampire. Adrien will escort Nicolas to Paris for his marriage to a rival clanswoman, and Nicolas will help Adrien find Charles. Nicolas’s quiet strength and gentle heart soon convince Adrien that Nicolas is nothing like the vampires he has sworn to destroy. As the wedding date draws nearer, a force intent on destroying the fragile peace between the vampire clans threatens to tear apart both the vampire realm and the world of the hunters. To secure both past and future for those he loves, Adrien must find a way to stop the looming war between hunters and vampires. But first he’ll have to let Nicolas go.

About Author Shira Anthony….

Shira Anthony is a complete sucker for a happily-ever-after, and rarely reads or writes a story without one. Never a fan of instalove, Shira likes to write stories about real men with real issues making real relationships work. 

In her last incarnation, Shira was a professional opera singer, performing roles in such operas as “Tosca,” “Pagliacci,” and “La Traviata,” among others. Her Blue Notes Series is loosely based upon her own experiences as a professional musician.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 36’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Interested in hearing Shira sing? Here’s a link to a live performance of Shira singing an aria from Puccini’s “Tosca”: http://www.shiraanthony.com/wp-conten

You can subscribe to Shira’s monthly newsletter for updates, free fiction, and subscriber-only contests here: http://www.shiraanthony.com/newsletter/

Blood and Ghosts Blog Tour Participants:
April 20th – Prism Book Alliance
April 21st – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
April 22nd – My Fiction Nook
April 23rd – Love Bytes
April 24th – MM Good Book Reviews
April 25th – Andrew Q. Gordon (The Land of Make Believe)
April 26th – Aisling Mancy
April 27th – Bike Book Reviews
April 28th – Charlie Cochet
April 29th – Hearts on Fire Book Reviews
April 30th – Kim Fielding

It’s Here! Shira Anthony’s Sexy Vampires are Back in Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2)! (contest)

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 Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2) by Shira Anthony
Goodreads Link
Release Date: April 20, 2015

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Shira Anthony’s sexy, star crossed vampires are back in Blood and Ghosts, her sequel to Blood and Rain.  Check out the synopsis and excerpt below and don’t forget to enter the contest as well!

 

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About Blood and Ghosts, Sequel to Blood and Rain

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With vampire Nicolas Lambert’s marriage to a rival clanswoman only weeks away, Adrien Gilbert struggles to come to terms with his defeat at the hands of Verel Pelletier, a vampire hunter and an immortal like himself. Adrien and his former teacher, Roland Günter, begin to explore his newly acquired abilities. But without his soul’s sword, Adrien flounders.

On Nicolas’s wedding day, a two-hundred-year old secret is revealed, sending the wedding party into a blazing battle between hunters and vampires. Once again Adrien finds himself facing Pelletier’s superior strength. Just as Adrien believes all hope of a future with Nicolas is lost, he finally learns his true gift—he can turn back time. But time travel comes with a high cost. To save Nicolas, Adrien must become strong enough to use his power without descending into madness.

Pages or Words: Approximately 70,000 words/250 pages

Categories: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner eBook and Paperback

 

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Excerpt:

Adrien walked back onto the main street and over to the curb, where someone caught his eye. A man with short black hair walked toward him. Dressed in dark jeans, with a white shirt and dark wool jacket, he wore a single diamond stud in his left ear. A woman hurrying down the sidewalk dodged Adrien as he stopped, but the man behind him knocked him to his knees.

“Are you all right?” someone said with a hint of a French accent.

Adrien looked up into familiar brown eyes. Adrien inhaled slowly, hoping to head off the bloodlust that buzzed at the back of his brain. Heat tingled at the back of his neck, raising the hairs there. His palms felt suddenly sweaty. He felt sick. Not nausea—shock at seeing Nicolas here, realizing it really was Nicolas.

“Yes, I….” Adrien took the hand Nicolas offered and struggled back to his feet. The world spun and he grabbed Nicolas’s arm to steady himself.

“You’re not all right. You look ill. I should call an ambulance—”

“No ambulance.” Adrien righted himself. “I just need to eat something. It’s hotter than I realized.”

Nicolas glanced around, frowned, then said, “There’s a coffee shop at the corner.” He didn’t appear convinced by Adrien’s words. “Why don’t I help you over there?”

As if Adrien would object. “Thank you.”

Five minutes later they sat at a booth by the window, Adrien drinking coffee with a trembling hand. Adrien had watched Nicolas as they’d walked the short distance to the restaurant, his swordsman’s muscles straining against the fabric of his shirt. He looked only slightly older than he’d been when they met. “I’m sorry,” he said, coming back to himself and wondering why Nicolas was sitting with him when he could have left. “I must be keeping you from something.”

“No,” Nicolas answered. “In fact, I just came from a meeting. I’ve got the rest of the afternoon free.”

“I’m Adrien.” He forced a smile and set the empty mug down.

“Nicolas.”

“It’s good to meet you, Nicolas,” Adrien said in French. He drew another long breath and his heart slowed its gallop.

“Please call me Nico,” Nicolas said, also in French.

 

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About Author Shira Anthony

Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, i Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle. You can hear Shira singing Puccini’s “Tosca” by clicking here:

Where to find the author:

Facebook
Facebook Author Page
Twitter: @WriterShira
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/anthony0564/

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Tour Stops:

Parker Williams, MM Good Book Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Molly Lolly, Amanda C. Stone, The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat, Bayou Book Junkie, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, My Fiction Nook, Andrew Q. Gordon, Emotion in Motion, BFD Book Blog, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Cate Ashwood, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, Charley Descoteaux, Love Bytes, Divine Magazine, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Carly’s Book Reviews, Because Two Men Are Better Than One

 

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Contest: Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Rafflecopter link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions. Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: 2 prizes: 1 Wibbly wobbly timey wimey pendant or 1 e-copy of Blood and Ghosts.

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