Thursday, September 21, 2017

Review: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Hunting Prince Dracula is one of my most anticipated books of 2017 and it's finally here! I loved it and I haven't stopped pushing it on people since it came out on Tuesday. Tomorrow, we're really excited to be taking part in the Blog Tour so make sure to stop by for it. I have a fabulous post prepared for it that I'm so excited to share! Scroll down to read my review!

Hunting Prince Dracula
(Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)
Kerri Maniscalco
Release: September 19, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1 bestseller Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer...or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper's true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe's best schools of forensic medicine...and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life's dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school's forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Hunting Prince Dracula continues a short time after the end of Stalking Jack the Ripper with Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell making their way to the best forensic medicine school in Europe. I loved everything about this book! The mystery, the gothic horrorness of the location, the adventure, the characters, Audrey Rose and Thomas working together, the banter, and of course, flirty Thomas. Let's be honest. We all needed more flirty Thomas in our lives. It was just so perfect! The wait for book three is going to drive me crazy!

I sat down and inhaled most of this book in one day around work and my other responsibilities. The plot starts off with a bang and just keeps going! I had so much fun reading it! I loved how Kerri Maniscalco weaved together the pieces of true history and gothic horror elements to make such a compelling mystery! Also, the banter between Audrey Rose and Thomas is even better in this book than the first! Their relationship is absolutely fantastic in every possible way. I'm even more on board with the CressWorth ship after I read this than I was before and that's saying something.

This book is full of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat to find out what's going to happen next. I know I said it earlier, but the mystery was seriously very well done. I kept making guesses and I kept being proved wrong. Let's just say there were a lot of surprises when the reveals happened. Thinking about it now, I probably should have picked up on a few things but I’m actually glad that I wasn’t even thinking in that direction because all the reveals were AMAZING! I totally flipped my lid at one reveal in particular! If you've read it, you know which one it is. OMG! I had to reread it like five times till it sunk in.

Kerri Maniscalco’s writing is so detailed and atmospheric that I found myself easily imagining the castles and forests of Romania even though I don't know much about the time period or the place. What I loved the most is that the light tone from the delicious banter brought a much needed levity to a horror story that broke up some of the more serious moments and made it easier to stay on top of what was happening. To quote the book, “I am wholly bewitched” with this series. It is perfect! And I just need more Audrey Rose and Thomas adventures in my hands now!

The author mentioned that she seeded clues to what the next book is going to be about in this one but I still have no clue. It doesn't matter. I'll still be counting down the days cannot wait for the third book when I can read more of Audrey Rose and Thomas's adventures! I seriously can't wait to see what mysteries they'll encounter next!

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley


  5 / 5 Stars!

My reviews of other books in this series:
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Fancasts

Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers post on a common topic every (you guessed it) Wednesday. You can find the lists by searching #T5W or Top 5 Wednesday. And you can join the group on Goodreads if you want to participate.  

This week's topic is:
Favorite Fancasts
 (Fancasts are the actors you'd like to play your favorite characters or imagine your favorite characters as)

5. Kate Daniels and Curran Lennart
I've always pictured Jason Lewis as Curran. He just has that rugged handsomeness that I think our favorite Beast Lord would have. I've had a harder time figuring out an actress for Kate but I think Patricia Velasquez would be good! -Rose Red

4. Mercy Thompson and Adam Hauptman
I've pictured Gemma Arterton from the Prince of Persia movie as Mercy for a few years now thanks to a Tumblr fancast. Adam has been a little harder for me to nail down but I think Eric Dane circa his Grey's Anatomy years would be perfect! -Rose Red

3. Ronan Lynch and Adam Parrish
This is by no means my original idea but I can totally see Dudley O’Shaughnessy as Ronan Lynch and Tom Webb as Adam Parrish. I know they're both models but damn they're perfect as Pynch! Thanks Tumblr! :)  -Rose Red

Related image Image result for jason momoa
2. Charley Davidson and Reyes Farrow
I've seen lots of attempts to fancast the Charley Davidson series on Facebook and I'm usually like, "Are we even reading the same book?" But the one suggestion I can totally get behind is Kat Dennings as Charley. I picture her with shorter hair, but I could totally see her naming her boobs. And in my head Reyes comes pretty close to Jason Momoa without all the Aquaman hair. -Gretl

1. Ethan Sullivan
I know that Chloe Neill says Ethan is a green eyed David Beckham but that image has never worked for me. He's Jason Lewis at the end of Sex and the City. -Gretl

Who would you fancast for your favorite characters?


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: Bad Boy's Bard by E.J. Russell

Bad Boy's Bard
(Fae Out of Water #3)
E.J. Russell
Release: September 18, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
As far as rock star Gareth Kendrick, the last true bard in Faerie, is concerned, the only good Unseelie is . . . well . . . there’s no such thing. Two centuries ago, an Unseelie lord abducted Gareth’s human lover, Niall, and Gareth has neither forgotten nor forgiven.

Niall O’Tierney, half-human son of the Unseelie King, had never lost a wager until the day he swore to rid the Seelie court of its bard. That bet cost him everything: his freedom, his family—and his heart. When he’s suddenly face-to-face with Gareth at the ceremony to join the Seelie and Unseelie realms, Niall does the only thing inhumanly possible: he fakes amnesia. Not his finest hour, perhaps, but he never revealed his Unseelie heritage, and to tell the truth now would be to risk Gareth’s revulsion—far harder to bear than two hundred years of imprisonment.

Then a new threat to Gareth’s life arises, and he and Niall stage a mad escape into the Outer World, only to discover the fate of all fae resting on their shoulders. But before they can save the realm, they have to tackle something really tough: mending their own broken relationship.

I'm going to be honest. This book was disappointing. It was pretty meh despite having a good premise while being absolutely frustrating to read. Ugh! The use of the fake amnesia trope, which is definitely my least favorite romance trope, is partially responsible for the frustration and made the story way less enjoyable for me. Gah! The two main characters wasted so many opportunities to communicate and it drove me crazy. There was so much lying and hiding of critical information that the romance part of the story suffered greatly for it.

Gareth has been pissed off at the world since his lover disappeared with an Unseelie fae. He's taken is grief and anger out on everyone for TWO CENTURIES but he's especially harsh with his brothers and their significant others. It was annoying in the first two books and it was even worse in this one. I get that this is the book where Gareth grows up and gets his head out of his ass but it took a most of the book and didn't make for as enjoyable a read. His "poor pitiful me" mentality drove me bonkers. He's definitely my least favorite character in this series.

I did fall in love with Niall despite him faking amnesia to avoid telling Gareth the truth about how they met, where he's been for the last 200 years, and that he's actually not human. You can imagine how that went down when he finally told Gareth. Even then the whole truth didn't come out. I wanted to throw my kindle at the wall it was so frustrating. So instead of making up for lost time and reconnecting with each other after centuries apart, they kept themselves emotionally separated. Ugh. It's still driving me crazy to think about it.

The overall storyline and its twists were entertaining as a fantasy story but the romance portion was a huge let down. I'm glad that they finally worked things out at the end but it felt rushed. I hope we get at least another book in the series so the storyline feels more complete.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

  3 / 5 Stars

My reviews of other books in this series:
Cutie and the Beast by E.J. Russell
The Druid Next Door by E.J. Russell

Monday, September 18, 2017

Excerpt and Giveaway: Hot Pursuit by Julie Ann Walker

You've all probably seen me gush about how much I love Julie Ann Walker's Black Knights Inc series. That's why I'm sharing this giveaway now even though my review's not scheduled until release week. But if you're a fan of witty banter, you definitely won't want to miss Hot Pursuit. Keep reading for an excerpt, a giveaway and a great pre-order promotion from Sourcebooks.

Hot Pursuit
(Black Knights Inc #)
Julie Ann Walker
Release: October 3, 2017
He puts the hot...
Christian Watson, a former SAS officer and current BKI operator, never thought he would return to England after a terrible turn of events forced him to abandon his homeland. But now he's back on British soil where old enemies are determmeland. But now he's back on British soil where old enemies are determined to do him in. Fighting for his life is pretty much SOP for Christian. Doing it with the beautiful, bossy Emily Scott in tow is another matter entirely.

In hot pursuit.
Emily lost her coveted job at the CIA because of a colleague turned rogue, and now she has just one rule when it comes to men: they're for recreational purposes only. But when she and Christian are thrust into very close quarters while evading two mysterious men who want Christian dead, she can't help but question all her ideas about love and life lived on the edge. Battling the bad guys is hard enough, battling her feelings for Christian just might prove impossible.


So many questions buzzed through Emily’s brain that she felt like she’d shoved her head in a beehive. She had to grit her teeth to keep from asking them.
And why the hell wouldn’t he stop rubbing her hip? Warmth had spread from the skin beneath his hand, and now her whole body was suffused with it.
“Is she the reason you stayed in England after Boss invited you to join him at Black Knights Inc.?” she asked.
The look he shot her had her lifting a brow. “What?”
“That’s the second time today I’ve thought you were either a mind reader or else practicing witchcraft.”
“Really?” The thought delighted her. “When was the first time?” Then reality sank in. Shit, that was question number three. “Never mind!” She slapped a hand over his mouth. “Don’t answer that.”
His eyes sparkled mischievously. He’d tried using her own technique against her, piquing her interest so she’d use up her truths.
“I’m not the only one who fights dirty,” she accused.
“And don’t you forget it,” he parroted her words back to her. Then he placed a hot kiss in the center of her palm.
She snatched her hand away, dropping it into her lap. If he noticed that she curled her fingers, trying to hold on to the heat of his kiss, he gave no indication.
“So out with it,” she demanded. “Is your mother the reason you stayed in England after Boss invited you to join him at BKI?”
“Yes.” His nod was perfunctory. “After I was let go from the SAS, when I was trying to make my way as a civilian, I moved back in with Mum. After Dad died, she didn’t only get soused on the weekends. She did it all day every day. Held on to the bottle like a lifeline. She was self-medicating, of course. When she was pissed, she could forget she’d been the one behind the wheel that night. But miracle of miracles, with me back home looking after her, suddenly it seemed like she was trying to pull her shite together. She stopped spending all her government support checks at the pub and instead started buying decent food for the flat. She even went ’round to the local Jobcentre offices and applied to be placed in a position.”
From the tender age of six, he’d lived with a drunk mother and a dead father.
Snap. Crackle. Pop.
That wasn’t Rice Krispies. That was the foundations of Emily’s walls. Because she got it.
Her parents might not be drunks, but she knew all about addiction. Her mother and father were both addicted to love, addicted to the high it brought them. They’d sought it with single-minded determination, and their searches had, more often than not, left Emily all alone.
“Then one night, about three months after I got back, I found her in an alley,” Christian continued. “She was half frozen, half dressed, and totally piss drunk. And that’s when I knew.”
He stopped there. Didn’t say another word for a full minute, simply stared into space.
Even though she’d used up her three truths, Emily posed a question anyway. “What did you know?”
Christian turned to look at her. There was so much sadness in his eyes that her heart lurched toward him, and her arms were around his neck before she could stop them.
“That I couldn’t change her,” he said, his voice deep and husky. “That I couldn’t help her, couldn’t save her. And she was too far gone to have any hope of saving herself. So, I trundled her off to the best rehab facility in the country the next morning. It cost all my savings to get her in a six-month program. Then I bought a one-way ticket to America. Got on that plane with nothing but a change of clothes in my rucksack and a paltry roll of pounds secured by an elastic band.”
Emily desperately wanted to know what had become of his mother, if she had ever sobered up, how she’d died. But she’d already pushed her luck and gotten one more truth than he’d agreed to give her. So she bit back the questions poised on the tip of her tongue and said simply, “I’m so sorry, Christian.”
Although sorry didn’t come close to describing what she was feeling for him in that moment. She wasn’t sure there were words in the English language that could do her emotions justice.
Then, because he had given her one more truth than he’d agreed to, and because her emotions were running high and she felt she should do something, she decided to answer the last question he had posed. After all, turnabout was fair play. She prided herself on being an equitable woman.
“I can’t imagine what it was like to lose a father so early in life,” she said, playing with the ends of his hair where it brushed the back of his warm neck. “Or to know what it was to grow up with an alcoholic mother. But like you, I’m sort of the collateral damage of my childhood.”
His dark eyebrows slashed into a vee. “What do you mean?”
“You asked me to explain to you what I couldn’t explain to Richard. Why I couldn’t fall in love with him.” Part of her mind was on the ugly truth she was about to reveal; the other part was distracted by the feel of his hair between her fingertips. It was so soft. Strange for a man who in all other respects was the epitome of hardness. Hard body. Hard head. Hard…ahem. “I’m willing to give it a try.”
The look he sent her was guarded.
“But I want to make another deal with you,” she said.
“I’m listening.”
“I want you to let me go back over to the sofa.” His pretty green eyes narrowed. “What I’m about to tell you is important, and I need to be able to concentrate to get it right. To explain it right. I can’t concentrate when we’re like”—she motioned between them—“this.”
One corner of his mouth twitched. “Why not?”
Her pursed lips told him you know why without having to say the words.
Indulge me, his twinkling eyes answered.
She blew out a windy breath. “You’re distracting, okay? You’re all…” She waved a hand to indicate his entire form. “And it’s distracting.”
Not to mention destructive. As in, sitting on his lap, his arms around her, her arms around him—when had that last thing happened exactly?—was destroying her emotional fortifications, ripping them apart brick by brick until it was hard to remember why she was so determined to keep him at arm’s length.
“You do want me.” A satisfied grin kicked up the corners of his mouth. That mouth that she now knew from experience was magic. If she was a witch, then he was definitely a warlock. A sexy, tattooed English warlock.
She clucked her tongue. “Ah, ah, ah. Your arrogance is showing again.”
“Admit it,” he demanded.
“Okay, I admit it. You, sir, are arrogant.” Devilment had her fighting a grin.
“Admit that you want me, woman. I’m not letting you go until you do.”
“Fine.” Her frustration had her raising her hands and letting them fall back into her lap. “I want you. What red-blooded heterosexual woman wouldn’t? You’ve got that whole unholy trifecta thing going for you.”
“Unholy trifecta?” He looked genuinely confused.
“Tall, dark, and handsome,” she explained, touching his chin dimple. She couldn’t get enough of it. “Plus, there’s the accent.”
“I’m not the one with an accent, darling. You’re the one with an accent.”
“Whatever. The point is that it doesn’t matter that I want you; I can’t have you. And I’ll try to explain why if you’ll let me go back over to the damned sofa!”
She clamped her mouth shut, heat flooding her cheeks when she realized he’d gotten under her skin and made her lose her shit. Again. He had an unnatural knack for it.
“Fine.” He opened his arms, letting them come to rest on the arms of the chair. “You win. Your freedom for an explanation. Although, in truth, I’m hardly sure this is a better deal than the last one.”
That Emily should feel so bereft without his strong arms around her, without that thumb drawing maddening circles on her hip, was completely absurd. Which was why she scrambled off his lap and flounced over to the sofa. She didn’t want him to see the truth of her feelings on her face.
Only after she had settled into the corner, drawing her feet up onto the cushion and hugging her knees to her chest, did she dare look at him. “Like I said earlier,” she grumbled. “You wouldn’t know a good deal if it—”
“I’m warning you, Emily.” His expression was so fierce, so focused that she found herself fighting for breath. “If you mention the words bite and pecker in the same sentence again, I can’t be held responsible for what I’ll do. Likely bite you and then try to use my p—”
“Okay!” She screwed her eyes shut and covered her ears. It felt as if someone had tossed a bucket of scalding water over her head. “I get it!”
When she blinked open her eyes, it was to find him reclined back in the chair, a smug half-smile plastered over his irritatingly attractive face.

We've got a print copy of Hot Pursuit to give away. (US only)

And check out this great promotion! Sourcebooks is giving a second BKI book to everyone who pre-orders Hot Pursuit. Details here: 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Unboxing and Review: August Whimsify Box

This is part two of my August subscription box reviews.
Check out my post about the August Owlcrate box here.

The Whimsify theme this month was Fantasy Kingdoms.

Last month's Whimsify was my favorite box ever, so this one had some pretty high expectations to live up to. As a whole I don't love it, but there are some great items in here:

This month's candle is from Meraki Candles and inspired by A Darker Shade of Magic. There were four different candles, one for each version of London in the books. Mine's Red London. Floral scents are tricky for me, but this lily and marigold one is nice. Part of me wishes it were more red since it's Red London, but the pink makes it different than my other Red London candle.

Mini book necklace featuring a map of Prythian from ACOTAR by Just 1 More Chapter. I love the map but it's so small that it's hard to photograph. There will be a close up in my Instagram post.

Honey Eucalyptus lip scrub by Literary Apothecary inspired by Arwen from LOTR. If you live somewhere that's cold in the winter, lip scrub is a must. But they're actually hard to find. I'm looking forward to trying this one when the weather changes.

Westeros map from Game of Thrones by Jane's Tiny Things. I don't actually watch GoT (I know! Don't throw things at me.) but I love the map. It's sure to appear in a #MapMonday post soon.

Possibly my favorite item this month is the map to Narnia bookmark by Book and Art. There are five different ones that fit together to form a whole map. It's just so pretty!

Alicante sunglasses inspired by The Mortal Instruments were designed by Glitter Saturday. This is the one item that disappointed me. The lettering on the side is obviously a sticker and the frames feel cheap.

This month's book is Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta which came with a signed bookplate. It's a high fantasy about smuggling magic and it sounds so good. Plus the cover is gorgeous!


September's theme is "Queens Good and Evil." Whimsify also announced that the boxes will be shipping later in the month so I'll probably continue this two part unboxing as long as I keep getting two boxes.

Do you like subscription box reviews?
What other products would you like to see us post about?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Really Short Reviews: Speak Easy, Speak Love and Release

I know September is a huge month for YA release but does it seem like there has there been even more than normal this year? Or maybe it seems like that to just me because I'm interested in way more YA books this year than in past ones. I have read a ton of ARCs for this month and while I enjoyed these books a lot I just don't have a lot to say about them. So it's time for another episode of Really Short Reviews!

Speak Easy, Speak Love
McKelle George
Release: September 19, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
Six teenagers’ lives intertwine during one thrilling summer full of romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in this sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement—one that might not survive the summer. Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.

Hilariously clever and utterly charming, McKelle George’s debut novel is full of intrigue and 1920s charm. For fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Anna Godbersen.

This book was everything I wanted it to be! I will admit that while I'm familiar with the plot of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, I've never read it all the way through. And I don't think that took anything away from my enjoyment of this book. It's a fast-paced romp that's full of delightfully witty banter and amazing characters.

What I loved most was the different relationships and the found family aspect in this book. The relationships are complex and wonderfully endearing! I loved that the focus wasn't on just the romantic relationships but on the platonic friendships as well. The way these characters interact and care for each other is heartwarming on so many levels. I honestly can't pick a favorite out of them because I love them all!

I also loved the 1920s prohibition era setting! It's what really made the book awesome! You can tell George did her research and every small detail made me wish speakeasies were still a thing. This is one of my favorite books that I've read this year and certainly one of my favorite YA historical reads of all time. I cannot wait to see what this debut author has in store for us next.

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

  4.5 / 5 Stars

Patrick Ness
Release: September 19, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
Adam Thorn doesn’t know it yet, but today will change his life.

Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant ultimatum from his boss, and his own unrequited love for his sort-of ex, Enzo, it seems as though Adam’s life is falling apart.  At least he has two people to keep him sane: his new boyfriend (he does love Linus, doesn’t he?) and his best friend, Angela.

But all day long, old memories and new heartaches come crashing together, throwing Adam’s life into chaos. The bindings of his world are coming untied one by one; yet in spite of everything he has to let go, he may also find freedom in the release.

I'm still torn about what to rate this book. I liked it and the ending was fantastic! But the lead up to that ending was weird. This book is really two stories in one. At first, it seemed to me like the stories weren't really connected at all and the change from one story to the other was jarring. And that disconnect between the two continued almost to the end. I will say that in the ending the two stories were merged in a wonderful way and I really appreciate how it ended. 

I really wish the two stories would have been more interconnected throughout the book but then again I'm not sure the ending would have been so perfect if they were. The thing I adored the most in this book though was the openness that Adam and Angela had in their friendship. There was no holding back at all even on the topics people don't like to talk about. Sometimes YA books hold back when it comes to talking about sex but this book was like a breath of fresh air. Their friendship was awesome!

Overall, I'd recommend this book to people with the disclaimer that it's a little weird.

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

  3 / 5 Stars

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Books to Read without the Synopsis

Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group hosted by Sam from Thoughts On Tomes. Bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers post on a common topic every (you guessed it) Wednesday. You can find the lists by searching #T5W or Top 5 Wednesday. And you can join the group on Goodreads if you want to participate.
This week's topic is: 
Books to Read without the Synopsis

Let's talk about bad blurbs for a minute. I once read one that had five typos/grammatical errors in two paragraphs, including more than one of the unforgivable apostrophe plural. There's no way I'm reading the whole book if they can't even proofread the blurb!

And then there was that trend of writing the synopsis in first person. That's only acceptable if the book is also in first person and even then it's weird. We're done with that, right?

But sometimes even a well-written synopsis can wind up being a bad blurb. Today's list features books that have synopses so bad or spoilery that they ruin reading the book.

5. The Reapers by Donna Grant
Ugh! The synopses for the books in this series are terrible. The male love interest is talking to the reader directly and it is just weird.

4. The Marvels by Brian Selznick
The synopsis for this book falls into the camp "It's so vague that it reads like a half-assed book report.". It just doesn't do the book justice so just start reading and ignore the summary.

3. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
This synopsis of this book is basically the Evil Queen's couplet from the Snow White fairy tale and the fact that it's Levana's story. Talk about vague and cliche.


2. Frostblood by Elly Blake
I think the only thing this blurb doesn't spoil is the one twist I saw coming a mile away.

1. Vampires of Manhattan by Melissa de la Cruz
We usually post the synopsis at the beginning of our reviews. This one was so bad, I put it at the end so I could explain why you shouldn't read it. Here's the post if you want to see what I mean.

What do you think makes a bad blurb?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Release Day Review: Blood Guard by Megan Erickson

34444705Blood Guard
(Mission #1)
Megan Erickson
Release: September 12, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
Enter a world of immortal danger and desire—and discover an incredible fate borne of blood.

Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan: How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change my destiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.

Have you noticed how many romances start with the hero kidnapping the heroine? What's up with that? It's not my favorite trope, though not a deal breaker necessarily. I know it is for some people though. In this case she doesn't stay kidnapped for long. Once Tendra learns about the prophesy and her family connection to the vampire clan, she goes along with Athan's plan.

I love a road trip story, which is essentially what Blood Guard is, with Athan and Tendra travelling across the city of Mission and through underground passages to get to the clan stronghold while avoiding rival vampire clans and hired assassins. How they manage to take a week to get across New Jersey I have no idea, but I enjoyed the journey.

I liked Tendra (except for her name, which bugs me) and the fact that she could hold her own in a fight with a vampire. But I wanted to learn more about her ancestors and their connection to the vampires and the prophesy. There's a scene where Tendra learns about her many-great grandmother's journal and I would have liked to see her read it. I also want more of Athan's family history, though I can't get too specific without spoilers.

Megan Erickson's vampire mythos is unusual, though there's little I haven't seen before. The vampires are born as humans or dhampirs and can choose to be changed when they reach adulthood. That part, as well as the supernatural politics - one side that wants to remain hidden and one that wants to subjugate humans - remind me a little bit of the Last True Vampire series. What's a little different is the way the vampires feed by anesthetizing the humans with a gland in their wrists.

This is my first book by Erickson, who I'm more familiar with as a contemporary romance author. While it didn't blow me away, I'm interested enough to read the next Mission book and I may even check out her shifter series.

Recommended for fans of: Kate Baxter's Last True Vampire series, Larissa Ione's Moonbound Clan series

3.5/5  stars

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