A Free Dreamer Review: Blood Echo by L.E. Royal

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

When her abusive father finally goes too far, shy seventeen-year-old Rayne Kennedy finds that her savior is far from an angel. Lost and alone she is completely enraptured by the beautiful but murderous, Scarlett. Taken on an adventure by the vampire’s well-intentioned sister, Rayne is drawn into Vires, a dark and dangerous vampire world, where humans are little more than natural resources to be exploited.

In a society that has been turned upside down while learning to live inside its constraints, Scarlett Pearce may not be much more than a slave to a power-hungry Government and the violent bloodlust that consumes her may be all her own. Before she loses herself in a world unlike anything she has ever known, Rayne needs to find Scarlett and the answers to those questions.

Vampires aren’t necessarily my favourite fantasy creatures, but every now and again I like to read a vampire novel. And “Blood Echo” promised a rather unusual take on vampire romances.

Before I start with my criticism, I want to say that it’s entirely possible I read the book at the wrong time. I was already in a bad mood and feeling down and “Blood Echo” made me feel even more depressed and grumpy. So my judgment is probably coloured by that.

First of all: This books comes with a warning for “torture, bloody violence and death” . And that warning is there for a reason, so don’t ignore it.

Like I already said, this story didn’t make me feel good. And that’s fine, I like dark stories, but something about “Blood Echo” just rubbed me the wrong way. It all seemed so bleak and hopeless and there was so much senseless violence and tragedy, I always dreaded having to keep reading a little bit.

Rayne was an okay character, if a little naive and awfully innocent at times. But that was understandable, her teen years weren’t exactly easy and didn’t give her much opportunity to do normal teen stuff. Though I must admit I mostly felt sort of indifferent about her.

Scarlett was… complicated. I like complicated MCs who blur the line between “good” and “evil”. I’ve read plenty of MCs who do horrible stuff but who were still somehow redeemable. Scarlett did plenty of awful things, but I never quite got the “redeemable” bit. Yes, she has her reasons, but still. It was the little things that made it so hard to believe there was anything good in her. She broke Rayne’s arm and while it was an accident and she healed it, she never even apologized for it., for example. I feel like an apology every now and then would have gone a long way to making me think of her as anything other than purely evil.

I didn’t really feel the romance. Rayne is very insecure and I have to agree with her. Why would gorgeous Scarlett pick a simple mortal girl, when she has so many other options? And they barely even knew each other, so it couldn’t have been because of Rayne’s character. Rayne’s “love” felt more like an unhealthy obsession to me, especially since Scarlett seems to be the first ever person she’s felt any sort of attraction for.

The publisher has tagged this with “sex content: explicit” and I actually feel kind of cheated. There was exactly one explicit sex scene, which was interrupted. When Rayne loses her virginity, it’s completely fade-to-black and other than that, we barely even get kisses. The author isn’t shy about explicitly depicting bloody violence, so why no explicit sex?

There were parts of the book that I found interesting. I liked the idea of a vampire city with very strict rules. Scarlett’s younger sister was a great supporting character and added a little variety to the otherwise rather evil vampire society.

I feel like the book got better towards the end, so I will read the next part, in the hopes that this upward trend continues.

The cover by Natasha Snow shows a hand with blood dripping from the fingers. I like the concept of it, I think it fits the tone of the story pretty well. But I find the execution a little lacking, the bloody fingertips look a bit like gloves.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details: ebook, 299 pages

Published December 3rd 2018 by NineStar Press

A MelanieM Review : Bitten By Her (Regent’s Park Pack #4.5) by Annabelle Jacobs

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Brought together by fate, torn apart by family.

Rachel Tregarrak, Penwith pack beta and daughter of the alpha, has always called the rugged Cornish coast her home. With its beautiful landscapes, bracing sea air, and vast spaces to run, she can’t imagine living anywhere else.

After years of living with her mother in her grandfather’s pack, Sara Gallen returns to Penzance to be with her alpha father and her brothers. She wants to build their relationships, get to know the rest of her family better than occasional visits allow.

When their paths cross on the full moon, the attraction is immediate and instinctive. But Sara’s father refuses to allow such a union and forbids any further contact. Sara finds solace with her grandmother in her alpha council residence, and Rachel is sent to a London pack to keep her out of trouble. Both women feel the desperate ache of an uncompleted bond, but unless they find a way to be together, it’ll fade to nothing and their connection will be lost.

In Bitten by the Alpha we were introduced to two young women, weres whose bond was being denied by one’s Alpha (and father.  It was an important secondary storyline as Rachel Tregarrak would end up being sent away from her pack to the Regent’s Park Pack to act as a temporary Beta and standin for Gareth’s unit.  The readers learned to love her and her would be mate Sara, separated by Sara’s father’s hidebound rules and pack regulations regarding female roles.  The author had done such a great job with these characters and their heartbreaking dilemma that we needed to know more and we wanted a resolution.

Bitten By Her (Regent’s Park Pack #4.5) is Annabelle Jacobs answer for everyone’s begging for their story.  It’s everything I was waiting for and more.

Surrounded by familiar characters from previous stories, we get Rachel and Sara’s story from the moment they meet under the full moon and everything goes disastrously wrong.   A mate bond denied, a deep pain that doesn’t fade and two women sent away from their territories to keep a bond from forming.

Told from two points of view, their separation and incomplete bond is  wrenchingly vivid.  Even as two factions, Sara’s grandmother and part of the Council and Cam, Alpha of the Regent’s Park Pack, work to bring the two women together without starting a pack war, the reader feels every bit of the pain and heartache of the cost of the separation.  Even as both need to find a way to continue on day by day, especially Rachel in her important duties as Beta in a unit that needs her.

Jacobs does a marvelous job with the characterizations as always and the tension and drama here is off the charts.  I love the connection and chemistry between Rachel and Sara.  They were perfection.  Sara’s grandmother, the Council, and all of the Regent’s Park Pack included here just bring this story to life.

This is an amazing series and I can’t wait to see who has the next story.  Bitten By Her was an  absolute delight to read and  it satisfied all my expectations for Rachel and Sara’s story.

If you’ve been following this series, than this is a story you won’t want to miss.  None of these are standalones and work within the Regent’s Park Universe.  Read them together to get all the relationships and connections.  I recommend them all.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  That’s a wonderful cover.  I love the picture of Rachel and Sara with foreheads touching.  That’s moving and perfect for the story.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 187 pages
Published August 14th 2018
ASINB07GC59Q7Q
Series Regent’s Park Pack

Review Tour for Bitten By Her (Regent’s Park Pack #4.5) by Annabelle Jacobs (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 43,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Regent’s Park Pack Series
 
Book #1 – Bitten By Mistake – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Bitten By Design – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Bitten By Desire – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Bitten By The Alpha – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Brought together by fate, torn apart by family.


Rachel Tregarrak, Penwith pack beta and daughter of the alpha, has always called the rugged Cornish coast her home. With its beautiful landscapes, bracing sea air, and vast spaces to run, she can’t imagine living anywhere else.


After years of living with her mother in her grandfather’s pack, Sara Gallen returns to Penzance to be with her alpha father and her brothers. She wants to build their relationships, get to know the rest of her family better than occasional visits allow.


When their paths cross on the full moon, the attraction is immediate and instinctive. But Sara’s father refuses to allow such a union and forbids any further contact. Sara finds solace with her grandmother in her alpha council residence, and Rachel is sent to a London pack to keep her out of trouble. Both women feel the desperate ache of an uncompleted bond, but unless they find a way to be together, it’ll fade to nothing and their connection will be lost.

 

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review here.  We highly recommend it.

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AJacobs_fiction
Website – www.annabellejacobs.com
Email – ajacobsfiction@gmail.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ajacobsfiction

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Looking for A New ShapeShifter Story? Check Out Natural Order From Moondancer Drake (excerpt)

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NaturalOrder

Natural Order By Moondancer Drake
Release Date: October 1
Goodreads Link
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over Artist Acorn Graphics

*Buy the book from Bella Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Blurb

An evening at the movies turns into a living nightmare for Elizabeth Crew as her lover Dusty battles for their lives and the unborn baby Elizabeth is carrying. Dusty’s dying request is that Elizabeth go live with Dusty’s family, where she and the baby will be safe.

Dusty’s family takes Elizabeth into their home with open arms and a bit of concern. What will happen if Elizabeth learns that her new family includes shape-shifters? For Elizabeth, the family secrets are not all that awaits her in the darkness.

Excerpt

“Dusty, who are they?” Beth wheezed out the question she’d asked many times since Dusty saw the men outside the movie house. Still she got no answer. They ran past a trio of poorly maintained apartment buildings. At the back of a large red brick structure, covered in graffiti, the street abruptly ended.

“You’re tired.” Dusty pulled Beth closer with an arm around her shoulders and slowed to a fast walk. “You can’t keep this up, babe. We have to find someplace so you can rest.”

“Where? If we stay in here, they’ll catch us for sure.”

“I’ll find someplace. C’mon.” They turned down a narrow walkway and came across a set of steps that led to the basement of a gray and beige stone building. Dusty stopped and glanced the way they had come. Beth took the respite to catch her breath and study her companion’s bedraggled appearance. Dusty’s straight, shoulder length hair clung to her ruddy brown face in pitch-black clusters. Her once tan Statesman hat was now soggy, dark brown, and rainwater fell from the wide brim in a steady flow of droplets.

Dusty turned back and guided Beth down the stairs, into a doorway. Water-soaked trash littered the stairwell, the musty smell that accompanied the detritus only added to Beth’s despair. Dusty’s hands moved from Beth’s shoulders and slipped the cell phone from her jacket pocket into Beth’s shaking hand. “Stay down here. Call the cops again. Tell them where you are now and what’s happening.”

“What’s happening? I don’t even understand it.”

“I know, babe,” Dusty said in a strained, but gentle tone. “I promise, when we get outta this I’ll explain everything. Stay here and make the call.”

Beth’s eyes widened as the realization hit her and her throat tightened with fear. “You’re going out there, aren’t you? Are you mad? We have to get out of this together,” Beth pleaded. “Promise me. Together.”

***

Winner of the 2010 Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Paranormal / Horror and Best Characters Development

“Moondancer Drake has created a fantasy which harmoniously plucks elements from many different cultural and spiritual dishes to mix up a delectable fusion feast. Few other authors offer a multicultural, multi-spiritual world as a given, both of which lend strength to the story.” ~ K. Tempest Bradford

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About the Author

Moondancer Drake

Moondancer Drake is a Two-Spirit Cherokee author of environmental and spiritually driven multicultural fiction. Moondancer is also a vocal advocate for civil rights and the responsibility of all people to take better care of Mother Earth.

Natural Order Book Details:

NaturalOrderISBN:  978-1-61929-246-8
ISBN  978-1-61929-247-5
Genre: Fiction/Speculative Fiction

Format: Trade Paper, 2nd Ed.  252 pages
Cover Price: $ 17.95 Ebook  $9.99
Publication Date:  October 2015
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises

*Please, if you can, order the book from your local LGBTQ and Indie bookstores. Otherwise the book can be purchased from these online locations.

Email: General inquiries – sales@regalcrestbooks.biz
Fax:(866) 294-9628
Available from Ingram & Bella Distribution

Coffee Sip and Book Break: Everything Anise by Natalie-Nicole Bates (excerpt and giveaway)

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EverythingAnise1400

Everything Anise by Natalie-Nicole Bates
Release Date: October 7, 2015

Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Buy the book: Torquere Press

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Blurb

A Victorian-era vampire living in the modern world, Emigh Bennett’s favorite activity is watching people from the window of her little bookshop. When she spots a woman nearly killed on the street outside her shop, she rushes to her rescue, and she meets Anise.

The proprietress of a little home business called “Everything Anise,” Anise crafts one-of-a-kind perfumes all with a touch of her namesake spice, all with the power to intoxicate and delight the senses. She is smart, sexy, beautiful, and happens to be a little bit different.

Although Anise is everything Emigh could ever ask for and more, she can’t quite figure her out. Anise possesses the duality of an innocent angel and a vivacious vixen. Even if Emigh can ever peel away the multi layers of Anise to uncover the truth beneath, what will happen when she finally reveals the truth about herself?

Pages or Words: 16,200 words
Categories: Lesbian Romance, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Excerpt

For the first time in…hell, it must be years, Emigh’s life felt bright and vibrant. Meeting Anise was the dawning of a new day. The lift she’d needed for so long.
She dared to pick up the phone that first night and call Anise. To hear that special kind of something in her voice as they spoke. To talk about everything and anything…well, not everything. She didn’t broach the subject of her sexuality—maybe not hers, but Anise’s. As a matter of fact, Anise mentioned neither male nor female friends.
Anise spoke of her passion for crafting corsets and perfume. She loved to bake. She was estranged from her family. They didn’t understand that she didn’t want to work a boring nine-to-five job, train into the city, train home again at night, exhausted. They thought she was wasting her life away, and because she wouldn’t come around to their strict way of thinking and living, she walked away from them.
Emigh admired her spunk and dedication. Smart, sweet, articulate, and she made her laugh, which was a tough thing to do. Anise was definitely a rare breed of woman.
But how long could it last?
She couldn’t tell Anise she was a vampire, let alone that she would never die.
Vampire.
How she hated the word! But until someone came up with a better one, she was stuck with it.
Of course, Anise would never believe her. No one did. Every once in a while some beautiful woman would come along, and their connection would be instantaneous…sizzling. Emigh would find herself whispering the truth to her beloved. Inevitably, the not-so-twin flame would beat a hasty retreat, believing Emigh was crazy, or a liar…or both.
Crazy and liar are never good things in a relationship.

 

RC

Meet the Author

Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.
Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography and antique poison bottles. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.
She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.

Where to find the author:
Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/Natalie-Nicole
Tsu : https://www.tsu.co/NatalieNicoleBates
Facebook Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/585466478240251/
Twitter: @BatesNatalie https://twitter.com/BatesNatalie
Facebook Author Page
Blog: http://www.natalienicolebates.com
Street Team Sign Up: https://www.facebook.com/groups/441841792565396/
Amazon Author Central Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0071MP0DC `

Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Bayou Book Junkie, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Inked Rainbow Reads, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, SA McAuley, The Jena Wade, BFD Book Blog, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Up All Night, Read All Day, Molly Lolly, Charley Descoteaux, Divine Magazine, Dawn’s Reading Nook, SA McAuley, Velvet Panic, SJD Peterson

 

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Everything Anise’.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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