Review: Knight of Fire (Terra #2) by S.J. Frost

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Once in the kingdom of Ocassus, humans and dragons shared the lands as allies. That time has passed into legend. But

there’s one who wants to see it return.

Knight of Fire coverHumans have forgotten the fact that it was dragons that agreed to share their lands with humans and not the other way around.  Over  the centuries, mankind has lost their knowledge and respect of the dragons that used to be their allies.  Now in a kingdom where dragons are feared and Dragon slayers are welcome, only a few humans remain that have the ability to talk to dragons, every type of dragon.  One such man is Torran.  Torran is a Dragon Speaker,  gifted with the rare ability to understand dragons.   He has made it his life’s work to rescue and keep safe every dragon that needs him.  And in all that time, he has never met another like him.

Sir Karrick Brenton is a Knight of the Crown, On a mission to unseat a cruel Duke, Sir Karrick met the motley crew of Forest’s End, already at the duchy in the middle of a battle.  Once the evil duke and dark mage are slain, Sir Karrick remains behind with Torran, Garrett Evergard, Bryson Summers,and the rest of the group.  Karrick has never met someone like Torran before.  Both men are instantly attracted to each other but their lives are so very different.  Karrick not only lives in the city of Dragon’s Landing but has secrets that he has been keeping as well. Torran lives in Forest’s End and is constantly traveling.

Torran is requested to come to the capital city of Dragon’s Landing when the King needs an interpreter to speak with the Ancient One, a dragon of immense power whose appearance is needed to crown the king’s successor.  Bryson too is needed when the King’s Gatekeeper goes missing. Once more the group of  friends sets forth on a mission, only this time it includes a Knight of the Crown, Karrick Brenton.  But unknown dangers await them all, and it will take all of their combined powers to defeat a common enemy and uncover the mystery of the missing Gatekeeper.

Knight of Fire picks up shortly after the events of To The Other Side and the destruction of the dark mage and corrupt duke.  The group of friends, Bryson the Gatekeeper and mage, Garrett his lover, Torran the Dragon Speaker, Lark the minstrel, Zain the assassin and the elf, Aleric, are still cleaning up after the last battle with help from the newly introduced Sir Karrick Brenton, Knight of the Crown.  After dispatching the Nightmare back to Hell (a great creation by S.J Frost), the men receive a missive from the King where he requests (demands) the presence of Torran in Dragon’s Landing, the main city of the kingdom.  Normally the group would use the gate to transport to Dragon’s Landing but unfortunately, the King’s Gatekeeper is missing and the Gate is locked.  Only another Gatekeeper can access the abandoned gate and that means that Bryson and crew are coming too.

S.J. Frost keeps a lively pace as her narrative flows from the end of the first novel to the events that spark the next adventure for this ragtag group and the Knight of the Crown send by King Orrin to investigate the corrupt Duke Bartell and the dark mage in his employ. Even from the few scenes Torran and Karrick had together in To The Other Side, it was clear they were made for each other.  Now in a traumatic opening chapter, Torran and Karrick are thrown back together when Karrick saves the Dragon Speaker’s life.  Frost’s ability to create characters that connect immediately with each other as well as the reader shines here with Torran and Karrick.  Torran is instantly lovable with his ability to speak to all sorts of dragons. Torran is subtly handsome and his small dragon companion, Rose, just adds to the picture of a man in tune with his gifts and the creatures he is meant to help.  When Frost introduces Torran to Karrick,a knight at his most heroic,  its clear that these men have much in common, not the least of which is their attraction to each other.   Even though their friendship is newly established, we believe in them and the romance that is almost guaranteed to come.

To access the other Gate, the ragtag little group must travel on the Earth side to the missing Gatekeeper’s cottage, and it is here that Frost’s story takes a humorous turn.  Modern plumbing and hot water are savored by all and the scene with Garrett and Bryson’s companion dragon Wynn in the Earth bookstore is hilarious.  I think that segments like this, where the characters return to the Earth side of a Gate , helps to reinforce the fantasy aspect and otherworldliness to be found on Terra.  One short journey later and the gang reenter’s Terra at the abandoned Gatekeeper’s cottage.  Frost returns to the darker story at hand with a poignancy that will resonate with all readers.  Cara, the missing Gatekeeper functioned almost as a mother to Karrick, and the descriptions of his emotions and memories as they survey the empty rooms are as powerful as they are intimate.

The puzzle of the missing Gatekeeper is just one of the mysteries this group must solve.  Frost introduces us to the Ancient One, a dragon of immense size and power who refuses to speak to the King.  The reasons behind that refusal and the implications for the health of the kingdom will involve all the characters in a plot as full of deceit and treachery as it is of romance and love.  For every lusty, sexy interlude there is sure to follow one full of magic and action.  Frost knows how to whip up a battle filled with fighting knights and a slew of archers, fire breathing dragons of all sizes as well.  There is a hatchling sure to capture your heart and a young scion in need of support and love.  This is a fictional cauldron full of wonderful characters, action packed scenes and couples on the path to romance and their HEA. Truly there is something here for everyone to love.

S.J. Frost continues to build her vision of Terra and its history with each new story in the series.  Knight of Fire adds new layers to its human/Dragon history and mythology as well as expanding on the characterizations of the people we have met and fallen in love with.  With a world full of unicorns, elves, brownies, mages, and more, for me, the real stars here are the dragons.  Tiny floral dragons that act like hummingbirds, white dragons that read bodice rippers, small ruby red dragons with feathers and a lady like sense of decorum, and immense dragons with the wisdom of the ages and everything in between.  They are all here and talking to us.  These dragons have the ability to fascinate even as they grab onto our sense of compassion for their plight.  Dragons and dragon lore will always be popular and here with her Terra series, S.J. Frost has added a wonderful new chapter all her own.

I love this series.  Knight of Fire is charming, fanciful, and a great romantic continuation of the story that started in To The Other Side.  I think both books should be on your TBR list.  If you are new to the series, start with To The Other Side to see where it all began.  For those of you familiar to this great group of misfits and miraculous creatures, than you will be happy to see where the next adventure takes them in Knight of Fire.  Grab them up and start your reading now!

Cover Design by Kris Jacen.   I love the knight on the horse.  What a perfect image for Karrick.

Buy Links  MLR   Amazon  ARe

Book Details:

290 pages
Published April 11th 2014 by MLR Press
original titleKnight of Fire
ISBN139781608209323
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=SJFKFIRE
seriesTerra #2

Books in the Terra series to date in the order they were written and should be read are:

To The Other Side (Terra #1)
Knight of Fire (Terra #2)

Author Spotlight on S.J. Frost On Knight of Fire (Terra #2) (contest)

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Spotlight On S.J. Frost and Knight of Fire, Book 2 of the Terra Series

 

 

 

 

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ScatteredThoughts welcomes S.J. Frost today.  The next story in her Terra series has been released and she is here to talk about Knight of Fire and the Terra series.

Welcome, S.J.!

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Hello! I’m very happy to be a guest here again and I’m giving my thanks to Melanie for having me back! And I’m also thrilled to offer a free copy of my newest release, Knight of Fire, Book 2 in the Terra series, to one lucky winner. Good luck to all who enter the giveaway! To enter leave a comment below and an email address where you can be reached. Contest ends 5/12 midnight EDT.

When I was here last, I was chatting about my new vampires in Vampire Prince. This time around, I’m going to be talking a bit about my fantasy series, Terra. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved fantasy. Unicorns, dragons, fairies, elves, all things magical and wondrous. I never outgrew that love and fascination and to this day, some of my favorite movies and books are in the fantasy genre. In fact, the very first book I ever read with a gay character was fantasy; Magic’s Pawn, Book One in the Last Herald Mage Trilogy, by Mercedes Lackey. The fantasy genre had already opened up so many wonderful worlds for me and that book and series opened up even more. The first novel I’d ever written (unpublished) was also fantasy. So, the genre’s been a passion of mine for a long, long time.

When a certain character—Jesse from the Conquest series—came to me with his story, my writing took the direction of gay erotic romance. Within that genre, I’ve worked to flex my writing muscles in different themes; contemporary, paranormal, historical. But it wasn’t until last year that I blended my love for writing gay erotic romance with my love for fantasy when I wrote the first book in the Terra series, To the Other Side.

I had been away from writing fantasy for several years when I started working on that story and while with every book I’d written, world building was key, iTo the Other Side covern To the Other Side it was much more intense. Since the book takes places in two worlds, not only was I juggling with working in the parameters of modern day society, but I also had to build the fantasy and medieval-based world of Terra. It was an interesting experience for me because on one hand, I felt as though I was going back to my roots with writing fantasy. On the other, I felt I was doing something entirely new because I was combining it with gay romance. And I can’t deny, I loved every minute of writing To the Other Side and later its sequel, Knight of Fire.Knight of Fire cover

As I worked on building Terra, I wanted it to be the kind of world that I would want to visit. One filled with the kinds of creatures, beings, and people I would want to see and know; a black unicorn stallion, a little white dragon with a love for books and Oreo cookies, a beautiful minstrel, a gritty assassin, a kind witch, knights, elves, Dragon Speakers…the list was endless. As challenging as it was building Terra, it was also a very freeing experience because I wasn’t kept within the restrictions of this world. I could let my imagination run wild.

There was one other thing I wanted with Terra, however. I also wanted it to have ties to the world we all know and live in, to make the book not only accessible for those who might not usually enjoy fantasy, but to also make it feel more…real. As if it’s possible to stumble upon one of the Gates and on the other side, waits a whole new world. And so Terra has a shared history and connection to our world of Earth.

For me, writing these books has been the best experience, a blending of old and new, of two things I love coming together. Each time I’ve finished working on a Terra book, I’m always looking forward to going back into that world again. And I hope, as readers, when you finish the last word on the last page, you do too.

Thanks, S.J. for stopping by and bringing a copy of Knight of Fire to giveaway!

Author Bio:
S.J. Frost is a multi-published author of sweet and sexy gay erotic romance stories. Contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and historical, she likes to dabble in a little bit of everything, but her stories always contain love, passion and romance. She encourages readers to contact her, so do please feel welcome to send her an email or track her down on the Internet and say hi!

You can contact S.J. Frost at:

Contest: To enter to win a copy of Knight of Fire, please leave a comment and an email address where you can be reached.  Contest ends 5/12,  EDT

Knight of Fire coverBook Details:To the Other Side cover

290 pages
Published April 11th 2014 by MLR Press
original titleKnight of Fire
ISBN139781608209323
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=SJFKFIRE
seriesTerra #2

Buy   ARe    Amazon    MLR

 

 

 

 

 

Your Best Books That Most Readers Never Read and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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ScatteredThoughts Call For Favorite Books Most Have Never Read!

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Have you ever finished a book, loved it, and then wondered why you have never heard of it before?  Or see a book released to kudos only to vanish shortly after?  I have seen both happen and I bet you have too.  Or perhaps it’s a book you love but somehow it never found a larger audience and  you can’t figure out why? Maybe it’s the title that throws people off or even a blurb that doesn’t reflect the story within. What ever the reason…these stories never really found an audience that you hoped they would find or think they deserved.  And you wish you could change that.

So I was thinking, why not add a page to the website of books you love but no one has really heard of.  Give these great stories and their authors another chance with readers who might have passed them by.  I have been making a short list but I know you have books to add.

So look through your libraries and books you want to rec, check them twice for stories and authors that you think others may not have heard of.  And then pass them on to me.  Let’s compile a list together, all genres, for others to explore and discover whether they can new stories, old stories, no matter.  And perhaps include a comment or two about what makes them so special.  And we will keep adding to it.  So spread the word.  We need those recs of little known or barely known books and authors and why you love them so.  I can’t wait to see what you all send me.

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Now here is the week ahead.  I have two author book tours, both with sequels to their new series.  S.J. Frost is here on Monday talking about Knight of Fire, her sequel to To the Other Side, her Terra series.  And Shira Anthony is here on Tuesday talking about her inspiration for her Mermen of Ea series and the release of Into The Wind, sequel to Stealing the Wind.  Both have brought books to giveaway and Shira Anthony has an over the top book tour mega contest as well to offer.  I will be reviewing those stories as well as books by David Pratt and Kimber Vale.

It’s going to be a outstanding week in books so don’t miss a day of it.  It’s the first week of May, let’s hope it’s a merry one!  Have a great week and happy rreading.

  • Sunday, May 4:            April 2014 Review Summary/Best Covers of April
  •  Monday, May 5:          Spotlight on S.J. Frost and  her Knight of Fire release (contest)
  • Tuesday, May 6:          Go Into the Wind with Shira Anthony and her Mermen of Ea’s lastest story and 2 contests to enter
  • Wed., May 7:                 Into the Wind by Shira Anthony
  • Thursday, May 8:       Knight of Fire by SJ Frost
  • Friday, May 9:              SE Jakes Daylight Again Book Tour
  • Sat., May 10:                  Forever Is Now by Kimber Vale
  •                                              Looking After Joey by David Pratt

IntoWindKnight of Fire coverLooking After Joey coverForever is Now cover

 

Review: To The Other Side (Terra #1) by S.J. Frost

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

To the Other Side coverBiologist and environmentalist Garrett Evergard is hiking through the woods in the Pacific Northwest trying the find the means to save the woods from being clear cut by a developer.  All Garrett needs is to find one species of plant or animal rare enough that calls these woods on the edge of the Olympic National Forest home to get them  designated as a protected habitat.  Little did Garrett know that he was about to stumble into the most amazing find of his life. When Garrett spies a rare spirit or Kermode bear, a white colored black bear that resides only in a specific habitat.  Focused only on the spirit bear, a missed step finds Garrett falling into the ravine, an accident that will forever change his life.

Bryson Summers is a Native American, one of a long line of witches and Gatekeepers.  Bryson lives a life of two worlds, one on each side of a door in his cottage that straddles the border between them.  One is Earth, and on the other side, a magical place called Terra.  Here unicorns, dragons of all sizes, and magical beings like brownies and elves live with humans that live and work as they did long ago.  The spirit bear calls to Bryson when Garrett falls.  Garrett’s injuries are severe and Bryson takes him home to heal and recover.

As Garrett recuperates, the men find their mutual attraction deepens until Bryson finds himself dreading Garrett’s departure, something that Garrett is also not looking forward to.  But the forest and his job awaits.  And Bryson’s attention is needed to a growing danger from a power mad duke capable of great evil.  When Bryson disappears, Garrett will do anything he can to save him but what can a mere human do against such great magic?  Garrett is about to find out.

In this first novel in her new series Terra, S.J. Frost takes the idea of parallel worlds and makes it fresh with her own twists and ideas.  From the moment we enter the story and watch Garrett confronted with two tiny dragons zipping from flower to flower in a manner akin to hummingbirds, the reader knows they are in for a delightful time in a realm that sparkles with the strangely beautiful and abounds with fantasy creatures we will never get enough of.  The Floras or flower dragons are tiny jewels and just one of the many dragon species that spill over the pages and into our hearts.  I say one of many because  waiting for us inside Bryson’s cabin is Wynn, a small sized white dragon with an affinity for bodice ripper romances and Oreo cookies.  And more equally wondrous creations quickly follow on the heels of his appearance (although Wynnie is a heart grabber for sure).  Bryson the Gatekeeper is able to talk to them all because of his deep connection to the Earth and all its animals, no matter what side they dwell on.   Terra is constructed along the lines of Medieval times.  It lacks any form of technology and its societal structure is along those of royalty/peasant/serf strata. In fact, all those elements and species Earth lacks can now be found on the other side.  Magic, faeries, dragons, elves, brownies and more to come I expect as more stories unfold and the series expands our knowledge of Terra and its kingdoms.

In addition to the wonderful job S.J. Frost does in building her series universe, we are given an endearing and quixotical core group of characters to connect and empathize with. To The Other Side deals primarily with the meeting and romance of Garrett, the biologist and  Bryson, the Gatekeeper but Frost also introduces a host of companions whose stories are sure to follow this one.  There is Torren, a Dragon Speaker, who can talk to every type of dragons and mourns the fact that dragon slayers are allowed to prowl the kingdom killing dragons without cause or the slightest hesitation.  Zain, the Black Fox, an assassin for hire and known thief.  Zain has already found his love, Larkin, but there’s a problem there and its a deep one.   Larkin, a bard, is a small, beautiful man with a gift of conversing with the dead, a problem when the man you love is a stone cold killer.  And theirs is not the only untenable or hopeless love that Frost reveals in this first story.  Another that will appear is an elf Aleric, who sad past and quest is surely deserving of his  own story and HEA.  And Boggy the brownie who loves to clean and grump about them all.  Land’s End, Bryson’s home, serves as their informal headquarters and way house when they are all in the area.  Each character is beautifully defined, with the depth and breadth of personality needed to bring them to life and make us care for them all.

Frost has a flask full of complications for Garrett and Bryson to overcome in their own quest for love and a future.  Bryson is tied down to his Gate and is long lived due to his connection to the Gate and Earth/Terra.  He is also a powerful witch whose gifts are needed in the nearby villages.  Garrett too has an important job to finish, that of saving the forest where the Gate is located.  He needs to find a rare species to save those woods from a developer and in finding it, it may have found true love as well.  There are magical hurdles to overcome as well as realistic mundane ones and watching these two men surmount each and every one is a true joy.

S,J. Frost tells her story with a well developed sense to humor to go along with the pathos.  The pace is a little slow in the beginning as Frost is laying the foundation for the story and the series, but once in place the story takes flight. And we and the characters are in for a marvelous ride.

Next up is Torren’s story and that of Sir Karrick Brenton a Knight of the Crown who enters into the story at the very end of To The Other Side.  I can’t wait.  Already this series has grabbed my attention and my heart.  I can’t wait to see where the author takes us with this group of characters on their journeys to romance and true love.

Cover Art by Jared Rackler.  A little dark but the outline of the unicorn behind that gorgeous cover model is perfect to set the tone and intrigue the reader.

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published May 31st 2013 by MLR Press (first published May 30th 2013)
ISBN 1608208680 (ISBN13: 9781608208685)
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=SJF_OTHR
seriesTerra #1
characters: Garrett Evergard, Bryson Summers

Books in the Terra series to date in the order they should be written and read:

To The Other Side (Terra #1)
Knight of Fire (Terra #2)

Now Cut that Out, Winner Announcements and the Week Ahead in Reviews, Author Guest Blogs, & Contests

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Now Cut That Out!!!! 

Once again we seem to be on the weather rollercoaster of all time here in the DC area (ok, so much of the country is there with us).  One day 80 degrees, the next day snow and sleet.  No really, that was us last week. The Cherry Blossoms popped out over night and record crowds packed the Tidal Basin to take in the pink beauty and monuments.

For about 2 to 3 days.

And then the snow and sleet and winds and freezing cold set in once more.  I  don’t have to tell you what happened to most of the blossoms do I?  Yep, history.  So now the temps have climbed back to the 50’s and all the plants I moved outside are back indoors until who knows when.

Like me.

Maybe by the end of June I will be able to go outside and plant in the gardens.  I have so many plants that didn’t make it through this winter.  Le sigh.  Maybe I will use this as an excuse to plan some new gardens.  I will have plenty of bare patches to fill that’s for sure.

Now on to the business at hand.  I have several winner announcements listed below, for Abigail Roux’s Ball & Chain book tour . S.J. Frost’s Vampire Prince tour, and Blaine D. Arden’s The Forester II Guest Blog/Contest:

 And the Winners Are……

Winners of the Ball & Chain Book Tour and Contest are:

Jessie Miller
Shannonn Vandermark
Melissa Crisp
Denise Smith

Kathy Latimer
Debra Guyette
Laurie Peterson
Cindi Clubbs,
Scarlett Camaj
Nicole Martens

Winner of SJ Frost’s  Vampire Prince,  tour is :  A.J.

Winner of Blaine D. Arden’s The Forester isblackasphodel

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Congratulations to all the winners.  My thanks goes out to everyone who participated as well as authors Abigail Roux and S.J. Frost for stopping by with such great posts and wonderful giveaways!

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Now on to the week ahead in Reviews, Author Guest Blogs and Contests:

Monday, 4/21:            Haunted Halls by M Raiya
Tuesday, 4/22:            Queens of the Apocalypse by Rob Rosen
Wed., 4/23:                  Back to the Frat with Anne Tenino and her Poster Boy (Contest)
Thursday, 4/24:          Poster Boy by Anne Tenino
Friday, 4/25:               To the Other Side by S.J. Frost
Sat., 4/26:                    Blown Kisses by Havan Fellows

In the Author Spotlight: S.J. Frost on Vampire Prince (Giveaway)

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 In the Author Spotlight: SJ. Frost, Author of Vampire Prince

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Good morning all!  ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords is happy to welcome author S.J. Frost here today.  She is going to be talking about her latest book, Vampire Prince, and the inspiration behind it.  To celebrate the release, she will be giving away a copy of this eBook. To enter to win,  leave a comment and an email address or other way to get in touch with you in the body of the comment.  A winner will be picked 4/12.

Welcome, S.J.!

SJF:

Hello, everyone! I’m thrilled to be a guest here and my thanks goes out to Melanie for the invitation! I’m going to be chatting about my newest release, Vampire Prince, published by Ellora’s Cave, and how the story came about. I’ll also be offering a free ebook copy of it to one lucky winner. Good luck to everyone who enters the giveaway!Vampire Prince cover

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I’ve always enjoyed the vampire genre. There’s an allure to those immortal beings, who walk the line of being a monster or being human, that draws me in. Depending on the world an author or filmmaker has created for them, they can be fiendish and horrifying, or beautiful and seductive. Sometimes, they’re mix of all those elements.

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As some of you who are familiar with my work may know, Vampire Prince isn’t my first foray into paranormal erotic romance or vampires. That came about with Natural Instincts, Book 1 in my Instincts series, published by MLR Press. When I set out to create my own vampire world in the Instincts series, though it may sound strange, I wanted to take much of the paranormal elements out of it. I wanted to create a vampire world where vampirism had a natural and evolutionary explanation. My vampires in that series maintained a closeness to having a human existence, since essentially, they’re a sub-species of human with greater evolutionary adaptations.

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I loved the world I built in the Instincts series, but I still wanted to write more vampires. About a year ago, I began to see in my mind a beautiful young man trapped in a desperate situation. He was locked in a sparsely furnished room, his head down, unable to escape. A blood slave, forced to give his blood and body to vampires, but who still held strong to the dream of having his freedom again. That young man would turn out to be one of the main characters for Vampire Prince, Sebastian Beaumont.

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After I understood Sebastian and his situation, I knew it would take a strong hero to help him and that’s when the other main character stepped forward, the elegant and beautiful vampire prince, Valentin Wyndham.

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Valentin was an interesting character to me. A little more than three hundred-years old, because of his age, he’s earned the title of “prince” among vampire society and he’s still very much the noble gentlemen he’d always been. He has a strong sense of compassion and protectiveness toward Sebastian, but little patience for other vampires. Though the story had the potential to take a dark turn with Sebastian being a blood slave, I knew right away that nothing would be forced between Sebastian and Valentin. They were two characters who needed each other, but in different ways. Vampire Prince, from beginning to end, would be a love story.

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As the story began unfolding in my mind, I realized this was a vampire tale different from any I’d yet written. Really, the entire story was going to challenge me in a whole new way and I was very excited about that. I saw not only the opportunity to write a vampire story, but also a paranormal story all around. The vampires could have greater supernatural strengths. I could write a demon as a secondary character…a very cocky demon with a crocodile entity as a companion. I could bring in elements of magic and summoning. I could stretch my writing wings and tell a paranormal story with any and all kinds of supernatural elements.

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For me, that’s one of the reasons I love vampires stories and movies. While they all may share that common platform of being about those blood drinkers, the only limits to what can be done with them is what an author or filmmaker puts on them. The vampire theme can be reinvented and explored in endless ways, different supernatural elements can be brought in. With Vampire Prince, I kept the parameters open and ran where the characters were leading me. And those characters led me on a journey that as it was drawing to an end, even though I’d thought the story would be a single novel, I knew I would be returning to the world and the characters. I’d fallen in love with them and already wanted to work with them more and let the world grow further.

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Now that the book is available, I hope all who give it a read will enjoy the story of Sebastian and his vampire prince, Valentin, as much as I loved writing it.

Thanks, SJ, for stopping by and bringing a copy of Vampire Prince to giveaway.  I have the book details for Vampire Prince below.  Remember to enter to win a copy, just leave a comment and a way we can get in touch with you in the body of the comment.  By entering you are acknowledging that you are over the age of 18. Good luck and happy reading.

Author Bio:
S.J. Frost is a multi-published author of sweet and sexy gay erotic romance stories. Contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and historical, she likes to dabble in a little bit of everything, but her stories always contain love, passion and romance. She encourages readers to contact her, so do please feel welcome to send her an email or track her down on the Internet and say hi!

You can contact S.J. Frost at:

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Vampire Prince coverVampire Prince

ebook, 218 pages
Published March 7th 2014 by Ellora’s Cave
original title Vampire Prince
ISBN 1419948601 (ISBN13: 9781419948602)
edition language English
Ellora’ Cave Vampire Prince link
characters:Sebastian Beaumont, Valentin Wyndham
setting: Savannah, Georgia (United State

Blurb:

For three years, Sebastian has lived as a blood slave, giving his blood and body to vampires. He’s a prisoner, owned by the blood house he serves. Sebastian dreams of freedom, of feeling the sun and wind on his face once again.

Valentin has earned the title of vampire prince. But status and age haven’t brought him love. When his blood craving grows too demanding to be ignored, he goes to the blood house and finds himself entranced by the spirited Sebastian.

Their passion is strong, their connection to each other undeniable. Sebastian wants to be Valentin’s, and Valentin wants to keep Sebastian—forever. The danger of giving the blood slave his freedom is high and the price might be both their lives.

Review: Vampire Prince by S.J. Frost

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Vampire Prince cover

For three years Sebastian Beaumont has fought against his imprisonment as a sex/blood slave in a vampire brothel but now he feels like dying.  Abducted after he was thrown up by his parents for being gay, Sebastian longs for freedom, his music, and to see the sun again but has seen his hopes fade over time and the years of abuse.  When a new vampire buys his services, Sebastian has no idea that his future is about to change.

Prince Valentin Wyndham has just arrived in Savannah, Georgia, from his home in Europe. A quick need for blood sends him to a nearby blood house and a timely replenishment. But the blood slave Valentin chooses offers so much more than Valentin expected.

A prince by age, Valentin’s far different from any vampire Sebastian has served.  Their one night is full of surprising passion and something more, a deep connection that forms between them that neither expected.  Valentin has been burned before by a human but Sebastian is different and he wants Sebastian for himself, no matter the cost.

Giving a blood slave his freedom is dangerous, as Valentin knows.  But he wants Sebastian by his side and will do whatever it takes to make that possible.

Vampire Prince is the beginning of a new vampire series by S.J. Frost and it looks to be a marvelous one.  Frost lays out her universe almost immediately with the vampire hierarchy and the hidden blood houses that service vampires. We see it all from the “legal, well-maintained houses” whose humans are contracted and well taken care of to the disreputable establishments,like the one that owns Sebastian. These are dark, barred prisons,seedy, run down and smelling of death and despair. They disregard all legalities, vampire and human, to obtain their slaves.  The hopelessness and abuse of the blood slaves like Sebastian translate beautifully in the descriptions and dialog between Sebastian and House Master Wesley in the beginning chapters.  The stage is set for the arrival of Prince Valentin and we are not disappointed.

S.J. Frost lays out her cast for much of the series here.  We get Valentin, and Sebastian, true.  But also Basil, Valentin’s best friend and cousin who happens to be a fellow vampire. Basil is a great character that’s so much fun no matter what scene he’s in.  Basil is the voice of reason and a great deal of snark! A demon named Sal and his pet Beezle, both of whom are quite adorable and charming as well, close out the main group or family here.  They manage to steal away every scene they’re in. There is even an old boyfriend of sorts, Malcolm, who I am sure we will see more of in the future stories.  That is a lot of characters to juggle in one story, but S.J. Frost handles the job well.  These are not brief character introductions but beings that are important not only to the plot but to the household the author is establishing as the base of operations for her series.

I have to admit demon Sal and Beezle became early favorites.  Between the red hair and blue eyes of the form Sal prefers and Beezle who likes to be carried like a shih tzu  but can become the size of a dinosaur, their charming company is one the reader looks forward to whenever they pop up in the plot, whether its to quip about relationships or dive into action.  I really couldn’t get enough of them.  Or Basil as well.

But the heart of this story is Valentin and Sebastian. I love Sebastian.  He is strong and vulnerable, loyal and intelligent and of course, so very beautiful.  And while we have seen this persona before, in Frost’s Sebastian this type of character comes to life as someone we want to see succeed and find love.  Sebastian asks us to invest our emotions in him and we do.  And as Sebastian is in dire need of a knight in shining armor, Frost gives him one in Valentin, a valiant protector who arrives in a Jaguar instead of a horse.

Valentin is a prince no less, an odd mixture of old world sensibilities and New World beliefs. Valentin finds the idea of wearing blue jeans abhorent but sees humans not just as food but as people worthy of so much more, including his respect.  He is the hero that Sebastian needs desperately and the scenes that will give readers the most satisfaction is where he comes to the rescue time and again.  True Valentin seems more Prince Charming to me than age old vampire.  But the dark grittiness of other vampire heroes really has no place here.  Valentin is a vampire looking for love and a final companion. And now he has one in Sebastian.  And their chemistry together is red hot, and oh, so sexy!

But not all the villains are slain and not all the story threads tied up.  Valentin and Sebastian are just starting out on their relationship and Sebastian is adjusting to freedom and his new life.  Basil, and Sal are in need of romance. What on earth does Frost have in store for these scene stealers?  I can’t wait to find out. And then there is a character who redeemed himself, ok just a little, and I expect to see him again as well.  And Beezle?  Is there a mate out there for Beezle too?  It’s with gleeful joy that I anticipate the answers that Frost will deliver in the coming stories.

I really enjoyed this story. Equal parts romp, romance and drama, Vampire Prince, is a wonderful start to a new series.  I giggled, sighed and even sniffed a time or two.  And now I can’t wait for more.  Vampire Prince is a must read for all lovers of romance, vampires and especially vampire romance.

Cover design by Fiona Jayde.  Sexy cover, just perfect for the story.

 

Book Details:

ebook, 218 pages
Published March 7th 2014 by Ellora’s Cave
original titleVampire Prince
ISBN 1419948601 (ISBN13: 9781419948602)
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.ellorascave.com/vampire-prince.html
charactersSebastian Beaumont, Valentin Wyndham
settingSavannah, Georgia (United States)

Reviews: Refined Instincts (Instincts #5) by S.J. Frost

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Refined Instincts coverBroken and starving, vampire outcast Troy Raines has returned to Chicago where everything went all so wrong to die the final death. The death of his best friend and former lover Isaac,and their misguided revolution against the Tribunal and the Ancients cost him everything. Now all Troy wants to do is finish the job vampire Daniel Valente started when he threw Troy off a building.

Renart Bellerose has been busy since the ending of the rebellion repairing the damage caused by his young, misguided vampires.  Renart has tried to make amends by being the Master he should have been to those he Turned and now he is seeing the results in those around him.  But they also serve to remind him of what and who Renart has lost, specifically Troy Raines.  From the  moment Renart looked upon Troy, he wanted him.  And after Turning Troy, Renart gave him everything he thought Troy wanted, power, money, but those weren’t the things Troy craved. Troy wanted Renart’s love and attention and when he didn’t get those, his anger exploded into a rebellion that cost many their lives and has the Tribunal hunting him down for treason.

When Renart finds Troy in Chicago, their reunion erupts into a moment of passion and anger, reinforcing the feelings they had always had for each other.  But danger is all around them as the Tribunal closes in on Troy and Renart finds himself a target of the Ancients wrath.  Will it be too late for Renart and Troy to find the happiness they always wanted or will the laws of the Ancients cost both of them their lives?

Refined Instincts brings back two of the most confounding characters of this series, ones that the readers will have mixed emotions about, and unites them in a relationship full of regret, guilt, and passion.  Throughout the Instincts series, Lord Renart Bellerose has been a sort of prickly, charming and untrustworthy thorn in the side of Lord Titus Antonius  and his lover, now  Eternal Partner, Andreas Nikandros (Natural Instincts – Instincts, #1) .  Even more, his attitude those young men he Turned  and the shear number of Turned  earned him the scorn of other Ancients as well, such as Lord Ryunosuke Kimura and his Eternal Partner, Sir Daniel Valente (Enduring Instincts – Instincts #2).  Renart has always hovered around the edges of the action in the preceding stories, a lively persona that picked at our curiosity each time he appeared on the pages.

Troy Raines also has had a reoccurring role in the series and not a admirable one.  As the leader of the rebellion, Troy oversaw the capture and torture of  series favorite Daniel Valente as well as the kidnapping of Andreas, lover of Lord Titus.  I am sure that there are many readers who still retain some dislike for this character based upon his actions in previous books.  All it took was for Daniel to throw Troy off the roof to start his transformation from villain to misguided, tragic reformer.   S. J. Frost started Troy on his path to redemption in Enduring Instincts when it becomes evident that the rebellion and the power is Isaac’s, not Troy’s.  Then when Troy is injured and unable to care for himself, he becomes an object of pity.  Bit by bit, Frost takes this character apart until the reader is left with nothing but compassion for the person he has become.

I found both characters intriguing and loved the manner in which Frost brings them back together.  It completes the rebellion aspect of this series and does so by fleshing out two secondary characters in a charming and wholly satisfying way.  It is definitely a favorite of mine of the series.  I thought that instead of glossing over past issues, Renart’s part as the igniting factor of the rebellion due to his poor treatment of his Turned and Troy’s blindness over Isaac are given equal treatment to help flesh out the characters and past events.  Renart’s past history does give the character a much needed foundation for his actions and behavior towards others around him.

I did feel that the arrival of  all the other couples from the series, other than Titus and Andreas, was a element that needed a little different treatment.  It was if they arrived just so the author could please all the readers who had favorites, not really because the plot absolutely required it.  And of course the trial was over very quickly after so much was made of the Tribunal hunting them down.  I would have loved to have seen this aspect of the story given more dimension and depth.

Refined Instincts is a wonderful addition to a series many have come to love.  I am not sure how many more the author has planned for Instincts, but given the vitality of this story, the series is healthy indeed.  I recommend this story to all fans of the series, those readers who love vampire stories as well as fans of S.J. Frost.  But if you are new to the series, this is not a stand alone story.  It must be read as part of the series so go back to Natural Instincts to see how it all begins.

This is how it all starts:

The silence in the dark alley broke with the shuffle and drag of uneven footsteps. Troy slowly made his way, his keen eyesight picking out trashcans, litter, dips and holes in the pavement. He may bear an eternally broken body, but his other vampiric senses were still sharp, so much stronger than when he’d been human…those three short years ago.

Troy shook his head, wishing the motion would scatter his memories. But like his shadow behind him, they were dark ghosts that forever clung to him, never parting from him. Even when he couldn’t see them, just as a shadow waits for light to show itself, so his memories waited for a moment of weakness to bring him down.

He should’ve known returning to Chicago would strengthen them…and weaken him, but he needed to come back. This was where it all began. This was where he wanted it to end.

And he did want it to end. All of it. The memories, the regrets, the guilt, the pain—physical and emotional. He no longer wanted eternity. He wanted peace.

Books in the Instincts series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and the events that transpire:

Natural Instincts (Instincts, #1)
Enduring Instincts (Instincts, #2)
Loving Instincts (Instincts, #3)
Adapting Instincts (Instincts, #4)
Refined Instincts (Instincts,#5)

Book Details:

Published October 31st 2013 by MLR Press
ISBN 1020130160
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=SJF_REFI
seriesInstincts #5

Review: Model Love by S.J. Frost

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Rating: 4.25  stars out of 5

Model Love coverIan Eldridge and his twin brother Aiden were once the world’s top models.  Courted by famous photographers and designers alike, the brothers had the fashion world at their feet and life was spectacular. Then a drunken driver crashed into their limo taking the life of Aiden and Ian was shattered. Now three years later Ian continues to grieve, turning his back on fashion and his career. When his close friends Rodney and Mitch plan a getaway to Bora Bora, they convince Ian to come along hoping a change in setting will alter his outlook on life.

Temaru Marceau, half French half Polynesian, has returned home from France to Bora Bora and now owns and runs a dive shop catering to tourists and local dive enthusiasts.  Experience has taught Temaru to stay away from tourist flings that leave him heartsick and alone after the vacation is over.  Then he spots Ian alone on the beach and everything changes for both of them.

As attraction deepens to love, Ian starts to heal and look to the future and resuming his career again.  But will that future include Temaru or will he be left behind once more.

When I think of S.J. Frost I think of her ancient vampires of her Instinct series, or her edgy rocker boys of Conquest, so I was unprepared for the gentle sweetness of Ian and Temaru of Model Love.  I have to admit I  was charmed by this story.  Every element appealed to me from the Bora Bora location to the Project Runway world of models and fashion.  And to give this story more depth, Frost added an element of loss and grief on both character’s part that gives Model Love a sense of realness that it might otherwise been lacking.

I loved both main characters.  The grieving Ian Eldridge, unable to get past the survivor guilt and crushing loss of his best friend and twin, is especially touching.  Anyone who has lost someone close to them will recognize the pain and depression that envelope this man.  Ian is stuck, unable to move  past this traumatic loss and the world, with the exception of two friends, has moved on without him. These two men, former business associates, are a married gay couple who were also a part of his brother’s life and career. They are instrumental in getting Ian away from his present and into a location so opposite of where he is emotionally and physically living that a change might be possible.   Rodney and Mitch are wonderful creations of Frost’s, and I took them to heart as easily as I did the main characters.

And then there is Temaru with a loss of his own that will help Ian move past his grief and accept the love that is offered.  Temaru is a beautifully layered character with an interesting history of his own.  He is Ian’s equal in intelligence, education and beauty. And its that equality that makes our belief and connection to their romance one that is easy to make and be invested in.  I don’t know if I could have believed in such an instantaneous love if Temaru had been just “an  island diver” instead of the college educated man he is.  For this relationship to work  and for the reader to believe it had a future, both Temaru and Ian needed to have the requisite character and inner compatibility that would resonate with each other and Frost gave them that essence.  And then made us believe in it.

For me this was a story that got better after I finished it. The more I thought about it, the more I connected to the men and their love for each other.  I could easily see a return to these characters and their universe should Frost decide to do so.  I would love to see more of Temaru and Ian, Mitch and Rodney and even a designer Seggio Fabbri who deserves his own happy ending.  Pick up Model Love and be prepared to fall in love yourself with Bora Bora and the men who fall in love on its beaches.

Cover design by Fiona Jayde Cover photography by S Photos.  The choice of models was not in keeping with, well the choice of models.  That one man looks more like a weightlifter than the svelte male models of today’s runways.  A  definite miss of a cover.

Book Details:

ebook, 141 pages
Published October 23rd 2013 by Ellora’s Cave
ISBN13 9781419948534
setting Bora Bora, C

Mid December Thoughts and The Week Ahead in Reviews

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Winter trees longs

It is mid-December and the end of 2013 is only weeks away.  So many people are still rushing around, making last minute trip preparations, fixing the holiday menus or getting gifts for those you love.  This year I find myself just so grateful to have my Dad still with us, after suffering a huge illness and operation.  My mother has stayed by his side, sleeping in chairs and wherever possible, in the hospital or rehab center.  For all their years together this has been the most they have ever been apart.  And now Dad is back home where he belongs, just in time for the holidays and his birthday.  Never have I felt so happy to be able to write those words.  Dad’s recovery and homecoming are all that I or anyone in my family  want or need for Christmas.  We have been given the best gift of all and we know it.  And are so grateful.

But there are so many others out there right now that need our thoughts, and if you are religious, our prayers for them and their loved ones.  And maybe something more, a little assistance if you are able.  LGBTQ Youth Shelters need our financial assistance, especially in the winter, when the cold drives so many inside in need of beds, food, and emotional support.

And if you love or have been touched by the books of Eric Arvin or TJ Klune or the men themselves, you may not be aware that Eric is ill and they could use our help and thoughts.  There is a fund set up to help Eric and his family offset the cost of his medical bills.  That is listed below as well as the links to the LGBTQ Youth Shelters. The holidays are a time of  love and giving, to all of those we are connected to by blood and by choice, and by need:

And now for the week ahead in reviews:

Monday, Dec. 16             Christmas Serendipity by Liam Livings

Tuesday, Dec. 17:            The Brothers Grime: Eddie by Z.A. Maxfield

Wed., Dec. 18:                  Model Love by S.J. Frost

Thurs, Dec. 19:                 Kick Start by Josh Lanyon

Friday, Dec. 20:              Christmas Guest Blog at Andrew Q. Gordon’s

Sat., Dec. 21:                    Oceans Apart by Laura Harner