King Eric Thorsen, also known as Bluebeard, is once more widowed. Like all the others before her, his late wife succumbed to the lure of the curse that plagues him and threatens the realm. Willing maidens gather at the castle in the hope of becoming the next Queen. However, that title comes with a steep price: the King’s new bride must first resist temptation for one year and one day, or die trying.
Eric is tired of getting married. He’s at a ball and he has to pick a new bride – his 28th bride to be exact. All of his previous brides have died as he is cursed. The bride must outlast the curse for 1 year and then it will be broken but so far the longest one has lasted only 6 months. When Eric sees Astrid he’s intrigued. She’s not his normal type but he can’t take his eyes off of her. He thinks that maybe because she’s not like the others she can break the curse.
The pair marry and Astrid seems to be doing well but soon the temptation starts to get to her. Eric has done the worst thing possible and fallen in love with Astrid. Knowing she will probably die tears him apart but he hopes she can beat the curse. Unfortunately, other people get involved and after that breaking the curse may become impossible.
Bluebeard’s Curse was a good story. It was definitely different from your average romance and had a bit of a twist that was unexpected. I wasn’t quite sure what the time period was or where it was set – seemed like an old Viking story but I wasn’t sure. Despite that the added paranormal twist/curse was a wonderful aspect to the story.
Eric and Astrid were pretty great characters although since the book was so short it really focused on the “now” and didn’t get too much into their pasts. We knew why Astrid had gone to the ball to be picked for the bride and eventually we learned of why Eric was cursed but that was about as deep into the past as we got. Their relationship was the main focus it was definitely erotic as Regine Abel wrote some pretty wicked sex scenes.
Overall I liked the book a lot. If you’re looking for a short fantasy/paranormal read that doesn’t involved vampires or werewolves then this would be a good one to pick up.
From Ilona Andrews—#1 New York Times bestselling author of Magic Shifts and the Kate Daniels novels—comes a stark, seductive tale of a world torn asunder by supernatural gifts and irresistible passions...
Karina Tucker is driving a van of children home from a field trip when an unplanned detour to a seemingly ordinary rest stop changes her life. There, she witnesses a world beyond humanity’s sight, of frightful powers and chaos, where she is in death’s grip... before an irresistibly dangerous male saves her—only to take her captive.
For she is a rare commodity in the shadowy realm she’s entered.
Karina soon finds herself caught in a violent civil war where those with inhuman powers strive to destroy each other without mercy. And it becomes all too clear that she must make a choice: submit and become a pawn, or take hold of her own destiny and fight for survival against impossible odds.
Alphas: Origins originally appeared in Angels of Darkness.
Karina is on her way home from a field trip with a car full of kids when she unwittingly stumbles into a parallel universe. In order to save her daughter and the other kids she’s carpooling, she agrees to stay and be a blood donor for the Alpha Beast. The Alphas are genetically modified men who have superpowers. Some can move things with their minds, other can shapeshift. Karina is soon wrapped up in their struggles for survival and power.
Andrews has such an amazing ability to build worlds. The creativity and imagination in each novel is astounding. Alphas: Origins is no exception. The world is fantastically built. The premise was interesting, but the story suffered for being short. There was a lot crammed into a small page count, which made the story feel rushed while also suffering from info-dumps that bogged it down. If it had been longer, or a prequel to a longer story, it may have worked better.
For two thousand years, Lilith wrought vengeance upon the evil and the damned, gathering souls for her father's armies Below and proving her fealty to her Underworld liege. Bound by a bargain with the devil and forbidden to feel pleasure, she draws upon her dark powers and serpentine grace to lead men into temptation. That is, until she faces her greatest temptation—Heaven's own Sir Hugh Castleford...
Once a knight and now a Guardian, Hugh spent centuries battling demons—and the cursed, blood-drinking nosferatu. His purpose has always been to thwart the demon Lilith, even as he battles his treacherous hunger for her. But when a deadly alliance unleashes a threat to both humans and Guardians in modern-day San Francisco, angel and demon must fight together against unholy evil—and against a desire that has been too long denied...
******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.
Man, I miss Meljean Brook. Per her website, she’s still writing, but things are going slooow. We haven’t had a new release from her in way too long. Demon Angel isn’t my favorite Brook novel, but it sets up this world so beautifully I had to repost this review. I feel a series re-read coming on.
This review was originally published July 15, 2013
The world building was imaginative, sensual and amazing. I was pleasantly surprised by the way Brook drew me into her fierce battle for souls and the fight between good and evil. I was also drawn in by the two lead characters, Lilith and Hugh. Though they came from two different worlds (literally) and were on opposite sides of an eternal battle, their connection to one another came across as not just sexual, but very emotional as well, which made their constant conflict all the more believable.
I also enjoyed the secondary characters and the relationships they had with Lilith and Hugh. Colin, the vampire they both befriended despite themselves; Sir Pup, Lilith’s hellhound; Savi, Hugh’s roommate and even Auntie, the woman who once took Hugh in, were fabulous characters, and while they played a large part in the overall story, they in no way intruded on the focus of the main story.
There were too many questions left unanswered, I think. Part of the appeal of this book is it really makes you think. Nothing is tied up in a nice, neat little bow, there are questions left unanswered and things you have to figure out on your own. Which was good and bad. I felt there were a few too many things left unexplained. However, because this is the first book of a series, I’m willing to wait for the next book before passing judgment.
I really struggled with the pacing. As much as I enjoyed this book, it was very slow moving. At times, the pace would pick up and I’d be sucked in, unable to set it down, and then it would get bogged down again and I’d have a hard time giving it my full attention. I understand that a lot of the information imparted was important for the story and the basis of the world Brook created, but at times there was Too Much Information. I think, in all honesty, the story could have been 100 pages shorter and been better for it.
Overall, I adored the storyline, the world building and the characters. I can’t wait for Demon Moon. I do hope, however, that the pacing will work better than it did in this one.
I think I’m going to give this one a solid:
4 out of 5
This book is available from Berkley Sensation. You can buy it here or here in e-format.
*This review was first published at Sanctuary’s Finest.
From bestselling author Thea Harrison comes the first in an explosive new trilogy set in the Elder Races world.
Her past is a blank, her future uncertain..
Recovering from a shooting, LAPD witch consultant Sophie Ross leaves her job and travels to the U.K. to search for answers about her childhood. When she encounters a Daoine Sidhe knight of the Dark Court, she becomes entangled in an ancient hatred between two arcane forces.
He has given his body and soul to fight for his people..
Barred from his homeland along with his surviving brother knights, Nikolas Sevigny is embroiled in a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear. Only by uniting their resources can his people hope to prevail against Isabeau, the deadly Queen of the Light Court. He will do anything and use anyone to return home to Lyonesse.
When Nikolas encounters Sophie, he sees a tool to be used. The insouciant witch might be the key to unlocking every passageway that has been barred to the knights of the Dark Court, even as a fascination for her takes root in what’s left of his soul.
Sophie has no intention of becoming anyone’s pawn, yet the fierce Nikolas is so compelling, she can’t deny the temptation that endangers her guarded heart.
As magic threatens Lyonesse, Queen Isabeau unleashes her merciless Hounds, and Nikolas and Sophie become embroiled in a race for survival. Meanwhile, the passion that ignites between them burns too hot to be denied and quickly turns into obsession.
Thank goodness they both know better than to fall in love.
Q&A with Thea Harrison – Book Binge
1. For any new readers out there, Moonshadow is the first book in the Elder Races series spin off and will focus on the UK demesnes. Can you tell our readers a little about what to expect from this series? Any key people we should keep our eye on?
The Moonshadow trilogy focuses on the people caught in an ancient fight between the Light and Dark Courts. I pull a few elements from Shakespeare and a few from Arthurian mythology, and I set the story in the Elder Races world.
Isabeau, the Queen of the Light Court, is obsessed with the total extermination of King Oberon and his Dark Court. At the beginning of Moonshadow, Oberon has fallen into an ensorcelled sleep in Lyonesse and his magic rages out of control. The land of Lyonesse has been cut off from earth, and the knights of the Dark Court who are caught earth side are being hunted to death.
Definitely Isabeau and Morgan, the Captain of her Hounds, are key people in the trilogy, along with Oberon and his people. Oberon’s commander Nikolas is the hero of Moonshadow. There is also a secondary character, Robin, who makes an appearance in all three stories.
2. How many books do you have planned for the Moonshadow series?
Currently I’ve made a commitment to a trilogy, but if readers respond positively to the original trilogy, I have a second trilogy planned—so there could be a total of six stories.
3. Can you tell us if we’ll be seeing any of our friends from the Elder Races world in the new series? If so, which ones?
Yes, there will be some character crossover from the original Elder Races books. Dr. Kathryn Shaw has already made an appearance. Isabeau’s twin sister Tatiana, Queen of the Light Fae in Los Angeles, is also going to factor in the stories, along with at least one of her daughters, perhaps both. There are a few others who may make an appearance, but their roles are a bit more nebulous, so I’d better not say more at this time!
4. I like to picture the characters in my head while reading books so can you tell us who your inspirations (celebrities, models, etc..) were for Sophie and Nikolas?
Nikolas definitely looks like Paul Marron, the model I hired for the cover. As for Sophie, I have been picturing her like a younger Ashley Judd, only with dark, curling hair.
5. Your writing schedule must be busy these days, will we be seeing more Elder Races books or have you moved on?
I have not moved on from the Elder Races. I’ve simply taken a break to tell these other stories. I’ve also got another spin-off trilogy planned, so yes, I’m very busy! 🙂 It’s a big world, and there’s so much story to tell in it.
6. What is the first book that made you cry?
The first one that I remember is Black Beauty. I cried my eyes out as a child, and I must have read that book eleven or twelve times.
7. What is your writing Kryptonite?
Illness. When I reach a certain point—such as contracting the flu—I can’t get the words to flow. All my characters want to stay in bed!
8. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have been so blessed to have met and befriended so many talented authors, and not only do they help me become a better writer, I hope they have helped me become a better person. I feel like I could write a dedication to them for my life and add, “all mistakes are my own, of course.” A short (not comprehensive) list of authors who impacted my life in a positive way while I wrote Moonshadow are: Patricia Briggs, Ann Aguirre, Kristen Callihan, Eloisa James, Jeffe Kennedy, Elizabeth Hunter, Grace Draven, Carrie Ann Ryan, and Katie Reus. I’m so grateful to each and every one.
9. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Be more self-protective, and believe in yourself more.
10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have one unpublished book that is currently on submission. I don’t have any half-finished stories—for good or for ill, I finish them all.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog today! Readers, if you want to get the latest news, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for my newsletter for updates!
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Thea Harrison resides in Colorado. She wrote her first book, a romance, when she was nineteen, and had sixteen romances published under the name Amanda Carpenter. She took a break from writing to collect a couple of graduate degrees and a grown child.
Thea writes in a variety of genres, including the award-winning paranormal Elder Races series and the Game of Shadows novels, and is currently at work on various new projects in sci-fi fantasy, paranormal and contemporary romance.
She adores animals and currently resides with two small dogs that have very large personalities.
First in a gripping paranormal romantic suspense duo by a Golden Heart finalist debut author whose clinical work gives her chilling insights...
Cursed with a terrible gift...
Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn't have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.
A gift that threatens to engulf them...
Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except...there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.
Xander Stone was cursed with a gift (oxymoron, isn’t it?) when he was struck by lightning. Not only was he terribly disfigured, but he can hear people’s thoughts. He uses his so-called gift to help law enforcement to get the criminals that they can’t get just by sitting across the table from the criminals. It proves highly effective.
Xander has been hearing a woman’s voice for years, a voice begging for help. He chalks it up to who he has called “The Bastard in his Brain” screwing with him and has ignored it for as long as he has heard it. One night when he goes on a beer run, the Bastard somehow turns him toward a place that he’s never been and never had any desire to go. It’s there that he finds two women being held captive. Xander is shocked and dismayed when he realizes that one of the women is the voice that he’s been ignoring in his head for all those years. Now, he determined to get her out alive, his life be damned.
Isleen Walker and her grandmother have given up hope. Having been taken captive eight years ago, all they know is that their time is coming to an end. The psychopath, Queen, is starting to spout off even more crazy stuff than usual. When Xander shows up at their own personal hell, Isleen can’t believe what she’s seeing. The man that she’s been dreaming about for years. Xander Stone is her own personal savior, the man that her grandmother said was coming. The man that would save her.
Although Xander saves both she and her grandmother, there is still someone out there that wants to kill them both. Someone that thinks their demons. Xander is instantly drawn to Isleen and can barely bring himself to leave her side. She’s the only one that can quiet his brain, the only one that he feels any peace with. As for Isleen, Xander is the only one that she feels safe with. Their relationship is prophesied though they don’t know it. These two have so much to overcome and the only way they can do it is together.