Monday, May 20, 2019

Vampire Blood Series by Juliette Cross - on sale

If you like paranormal romance and you haven't discovered Juliette Cross yet, allow me to introduce you. I had the pleasure of reviewing this four-part series for RT. In addition to offering a fresh take on some favorite fairy tales (no really, everyone always says that but these really are fresh and twisty), and some dark vampire horror, the underlying theme of women demanding to be heard and recognized vibrates with right-now relevancy. All four titles are available at a great sale price right now, so it seems like a good moment to re-post these reviews.

But seriously though, what about those covers? I love that there is variety. And while I have zero -- repeat, ZERO-- issues with some naked male chests, I have to admit that Emerald there is my favorite. Mmm mmm.

Juliette Cross
Four Stars

Cinderella meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets revolution in this fresh take on familiar tropes. Cross debuts her new paranormal fairy tale series with a brave and clever heroine, a Grimm Brothers-esque mysterious forest—and vampires. The world that Cross builds is layered, and we get tantalizing hints about what the forest might reveal in future books, including a killer plot twist. The fairy tale trappings are familiar with a modern horror treatment. Marius’ altruism feels a bit stiff, which detracts a little from the chemistry, but overall a solid offering for fans of dark sexy vampires and fairy tales.

SUMMARY: As the leader of the rebellion against the vampire aristocracy, Arabelle cannot afford to fall in love with its youngest prince. Conceding that he may not be a mindless murdering monster goes against her entire life’s ambition. On Marius’ part, falling in love with and nearly being murdered by the same fascinating woman serves as a turning point. As he discovers just why she wanted him dead, he learns more than he bargained for about his life of privilege.

Juliette Cross
Four and a Half Stars, Top Pick

There's no sophomore slump in this dark fairy tale adventure series! When Red Riding Hood and her guardian wolves meet a renegade vampire who fights for the commoner, it's anything but a routine re-telling. Fans of Kelley Armstrong will find a similar blend of horror and legend, with a bonus complete romance. The connection between these two is strong and hot, and their mission is compelling. Layers of intriguing world-building are revealed and open up some great possible future directions - this series could go anywhere. Cross doesn't pull punches with the brutality of her war, so be wary about reading it at bedtime.

SUMMARY: Powerful magic grounds Sienna to the forest where she is protected, but greater need calls her abroad where she is vulnerable. She'll need a powerful protector, and Nikolai is just the vampire for the job. As they travel from town to town, recruiting for the army of the Black Lily and sowing insurrection against an incredibly strong, incredibly evil villain, they are in danger at every turn. But the greatest risk they'll face is to reveal their secrets - and their hearts - to each other.

Juliette Cross
Three Stars

Readers who are coming back for more of the heat and passion found in the first two books of Cross’s fairytale/vampire mashup will be more than pleased with The White Lily. Passion takes the main stage between these two characters and their love scenes burn up the pages. But the characters lack a clear mission outside of Dominick wanting Brennalyn in bed, and Brennalyn wanting to take care of the seven orphans she’s collected. The vampire spin on Snow White lacks the magic and tension of the earlier offerings, but turns up the erotic content noticeably. A bit more of the White Lily’s insurrectionist activities on the page for the reader would go a long way to livening up her character as well as the plot.

SUMMARY: Dominick is a powerful vampire, descended from generations of cruelty. Brennalyn, abandoned for her infertility, is dedicated to protecting her adopted family, and providing a better future – even if it means revolution. When Dominick discovers that a rebel has put his dukedom in the crosshairs of a vengeful, cruel king, he knows he must find the White Lily before the king does. When it turns out to be the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen, he’ll question everything he thought he knew about how to manage his life.

Juliette Cross
Four Stars

The Vampire Blood series peaks in this fourth book, bringing the war of the Lilies versus Queen Morgrid to a dramatic conclusion. While this book may be read alone, it will spoil the earlier books in the series, so reading in order is a good idea. Cross has built a world of good and evil, blood and cruelty, and the mysterious power of love. Mikhail is a worthy hero: focused, disciplined, and dedicated to the higher good, but Mina steals the show. Her story is one of realizing and claiming feminine power, as Sleeping Beauty awakes in more than one sense of the word. Her clarity of character, her drive and purpose embody the word “regal,” and this queen slays. It’s tough to pull off a series climax, but The Emerald Lily delivers the plot, the politics and edge-of-seat tension that this excellent paranormal romance series deserves. A number of scenes will recall the classic Sleeping Beauty of childhood, but Cross flips them and subverts them and makes them her own.

SUMMARY: Princess Vilhelmina Dragomir has defied the evil Queen Morgrid, and sentenced to a torturous vampiric coma of nightmare and starvation for her trouble. Powerful friends arrange for her escape, but the only way out of the bloodless sleep is by the blood kiss. Captain Mikhail Romanov will do everything he must to save her, but the indelible bond that forms when he gives her that kiss wreaks havoc on his duty and his mission to take down Morgrid. The most powerful kind of love is never convenient, but nothing else is strong enough to prevail over the evil threatening their world.

These reviews appeared previously in RT Magazine.

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