Spotlight Wednesday – Juliette Cross

Last week, I made a “blind buy” of new-to-me author Juliette Cross after seeing a feature of her latest book over on Hypeable. So I went all one-clicky on Amazon and ordered the first two books in her Vampire Blood series, The Black Lily and The Red Lily (which was just released a couple of days ago). I am almost finished the first one, and so far, so good.

The books are vampire historical fantasy retellings, with The Black Lily loosely based on the story of Cinderella, and the second on Little Red Riding Hood. You get the retelling vibe, but it doesn’t beat you over the head with it which I like. I have been really hit or miss with retellings – I very much enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles from Marissa Meyer, but I haven’t been too successful on getting a series I really like that isn’t young adult. This one is off to a good start.

the black lilyBook one, The Black Lily

Cinderella like you’ve never seen before…

With the threat of the vampire monarchy becoming stronger every day, the Black Lily must take drastic measures. As the leader of the underground resistance, Arabelle concocts the perfect idea to gain the attention of the Glass Tower. Her plan? Attend the vampire prince’s blood ball and kill him. Fortunately for Prince Marius, her assassination goes awry, and Arabelle flees, leaving behind only her dagger.

Marius is desperate to find the woman whose kiss turned into attempted murder, hunting for the mysterious assassin he can’t push out of his mind. But what he uncovers could change the course of his life forever…

the red lilyAnd book two, The Red Lily

When Red falls for the Big Bad Vampire…

The Black Lily resistance needs a larger army if they are to defeat the vampire monarchy. In order to do so, former lieutenant and traitor to the vampire Crown, Nikolai must seek help from the red-hooded temptress he needs to avoid at all costs. The secret he carries could prove dangerous for her if she gets too close…even though keeping her close—very close—is the only thing on his mind.

Sienna will do anything for the Black Lily, and when Nikolai asks for her assistance to gain the trust of the commonwealth, it’s the last thing she wants to do. The thought of leaving her woods and her wolves behind is terrifying…not to mention the danger being with Nikolai poses.

Ok, the covers are a bit cringy, I admit. Not in quality but in pose. But this is where I congratulate myself once again for going digital since the cover doesn’t really matter anymore. Yay me. If you are interested in checking out a different series by this author, the first book of her Nightwing series is free on Amazon, found HERE. You can also find exclusive extras over on Juliette Cross‘s website, found HERE.

Checking in on Hidden Legacy

I have been expanding the Hidden Legacy character guide to add a breakdown of known Houses, different magical abilities, that sort of thing. Things are a bit disorganized at the moment, but I will be proofing and editing it shortly.  I am almost finished with my re-re-re-read of White Hot, so I should have that info added in the next couple of days, too. So, like I did with the Elder Races series when I was updating it, I thought I would check in and see where you all stand with this latest Ilona Andrews series.

I haven’t made any secret of my raging love affair with it, and it seems pretty much everyone is feeling the love like I am. Did White Hot live up to your expectations? What would you like to see happen in Wildfire?

Blind Buy Spotlight

Every couple of weeks or so, I hope to randomly do a “One Click” buy on a completely new-to-me author, one that I probably wouldn’t have thought to order in print format. But since I have fully embraced the e-book love like a psycho, I figured it might be a good time to expand my horizons a bit, too. I no longer have a monster TBR pile guilting me into not starting anything new, either. I did do a couple of out-of-the-blue buys last week, but unfortunately they didn’t grab my attention enough for me to finish the books (or remember the author’s names, sadly). But let’s take a look at this week’s blind buy, which is The Black Lily from Juliette Cross.

the black lilySynopsis…

Cinderella like you’ve never seen before…

With the threat of the vampire monarchy becoming stronger every day, the Black Lily must take drastic measures. As the leader of the underground resistance, Arabelle concocts the perfect idea to gain the attention of the Glass Tower. Her plan? Attend the vampire prince’s blood ball and kill him. Fortunately for Prince Marius, her assassination goes awry, and Arabelle flees, leaving behind only her dagger.

Marius is desperate to find the woman whose kiss turned into attempted murder, hunting for the mysterious assassin he can’t push out of his mind. But what he uncovers could change the course of his life forever…

Most of my last few fairy tale re-tellings have been more on the young adult side of things, but since I can’t seem to stomach YA anymore this might work out better for me. Have you had any blind buys from new authors lately? Which ones worked and which ones not so much? I haven’t actually heard of Juliette Cross before – are there any fans of hers around?

New Release Spotlight

Well, it is time for the first official book-related post of the new year, and it focuses on author Anna Lowe. A while back, Anna was featured in our Author Spotlight series, and she checked in again to mention that she has a new book coming out this week called Deception. It is the fifth book of her Blue Moon Saloon series, and it will be released in digital format on January 5th.

bms5-750x500Synopsis…

Nothing is more dangerous than forbidden love.
She-wolf Summer Smith is desperate to make up for a past she can’t deny — and the best way to accomplish that is to take on a deadly mission for her new pack. She’ll sacrifice anything to clear her name and protect the people she loves. With the future of shifters across the Southwest resting in her hands, it’s the worst possible time to fall in love — with a bear, no less.

Burly bear shifter Drew Kovacs hasn’t traveled to the Southwest to look for trouble, and he sure isn’t looking for love. But the second he lays eyes on the she-wolf with a mesmerizing smile and haunted eyes, he knows she’s the one. There’s just one problem — Summer is about to plunge head-first into danger, and he sure as hell won’t let her go alone. But he can’t show up and blow her undercover mission, either. Unless…

From what I understand, while it is the fifth book in the series it is also stand-alone, so no getting lost without the backstory and no cliffhangers to drive you crazy.

I know there were several people from the last spotlight who mentioned they were going pick up one of Anna’s books…what did you think? Did you keep up with her series?

Spotlight Wednesday – Annie Bellet

On one of my random internet searches, I came across and article over on the Barnes and Noble Sci-fi & Fantasy Blog called ” 12 Highly Bingeable Urban Fantasy Series”. Any list that has Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Anne Bishop and Faith Hunter on it catches my attention. While there were several series mentioned that I knew, it was a completely unknown one that caught my eye and made me think of doing an author spotlight post.

Author Annie Bellet has an ongoing, seven book series (with the eighth due in December) called The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, which gets its start with the first long-novella length story, Justice Calling.

justice-callingSynopsis…

Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress.

Jade Crow lives a quiet life running her comic book and game store in Wylde, Idaho. After twenty-five years fleeing from a powerful sorcerer who wants to eat her heart and take her powers, quiet suits her just fine. Surrounded by friends who are even less human than she is, Jade figures she’s finally safe.

As long as she doesn’t use her magic.

When dark powers threaten her friends’ lives, a sexy shape-shifter enforcer shows up. He’s the shifter world’s judge, jury, and executioner rolled into one, and he thinks Jade is to blame. To clear her name, save her friends, and stop the villain, she’ll have to use her wits… and her sorceress powers.

Except Jade knows that as soon as she does, a far deadlier nemesis awaits.

If you are interested in checking this one out, it can be found on Amazon.com for free by clicking HERE.

There is a print bind-up of the first four books called Level Grind, and one for the next three called Boss Fight.

Other books in the series:

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annie-belletAbout the author: Annie Bellet is a full-time speculative fiction writer. She holds a BA in English and a BA in Medieval Studies and thus can speak a smattering of useful languages such as Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Welsh. Her books include Avarice (Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division: Book 1), The Gryphonpike Chronicles series, and the Twenty-Sided Sorceress series. Her interests besides writing include rock climbing, reading, horse-back riding, video games, comic books, table-top RPGs, and many other nerdy pursuits.

Spotlight Wednesday – Ann Aguirre

Ann Aguirre might be a bit more well known than the usual authors featured in the spotlight Wednesday posts, but when Azteclady mentioned that she had a new series starting up, I thought it might work. And since the first book is due out today, it is even better.

This new paranormal romance series is called Ars Numina, and it will consist of six books. Things get started with today’s release of The Leopard King.

the-leopard-kingSynopsis…

Proud. Imperious. Impassioned.

Until three years ago, those words applied to Dominic Asher, the leader of Ash Valley. His family has ruled the feline branch of the Animari for hundreds of years, guiding the pride through perilous times. Unspeakable loss drove him into seclusion, a feral beast nobody can tame. Now he’s wrecked, a leopard king in exile, and he wants nothing more than to die.

Fierce. Loyal. Determined.

Fortunately for Dom, those words still apply to Pru Bristow, his dead mate’s best friend. She’s had her heart broken too, but she never quits. With the conclave approaching, alliances with the Pine Ridge pack and Burnt Amber clans on the verge of collapse, she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to drag their leader back, before his second can start a war.

At best theirs seems like a desperate alliance, but when their mate bond turns hot and fierce, there’s no end to the questions and the doubts. Neither of them expects to fall in love. But sometimes people don’t know what they’re looking for until they find it.

The Leopard King will be followed by The Demon Prince, The Wolf Lord, The Shadow Warrior, The War Priest, and The Jaguar Knight.

Thanks again to Azteclady for pointing this one out. It is available in both print and e-format at Amazon.com and other retailers.

Are there any Ann Aguirre fans out there? She is another one on my “one day” list – which is actually a thing. I am not starting any new authors until I get my TBR pile dealt with, but when that is done I will be branching out.

Spotlight Wednesday – Lindsay Buroker

Thanks goes once again to Monika, who sent over her latest recommendation for a spotlight author. Monika gave Indie fantasy writer Lindsay Buroker a shot after seeing her works touted by none other than Ilona Andrews, and turns out she was hooked.

Lindsay has quite a few series on the go, but here will take a peek at the two Monika has already dove into – Dragon Blood and The Emperor’s Edge. The first book of the Dragon Blood series, Balanced on the Blade’s Edge, can be found for free on Amazon HERE.

balanced-on-the-blades-edgeSynopsis…

Colonel Ridge Zirkander isn’t the model of military professionalism – he has a tendency to say exactly what’s on his mind, and his record has enough demerits to wallpaper the hull of an airship – but as the best fighter pilot in the Iskandian army, he’s used to a little leniency from his superiors. Until he punches the wrong diplomat in the nose and finds himself issued new orders: take command of a remote prison mine in the inhospitable Ice Blades Mountains. Ridge has never been in charge of anything larger than a flier squadron — what’s he supposed to do with a frozen fortress full of murderers and rapists? Not to mention the strange woman who shows up right before he arrives…

Sardelle Terushan wakes from three hundred years in a mage stasis shelter, only to realize that she is the last of the Referatu, the sorcerers who once helped protect Iskandia from conquerors. Their subterranean mountain community was blown up in a treacherous sneak attack by soldiers who feared their power. Everyone Sardelle ever knew is dead, and the sentient soulblade she has been bonded to since her youth is buried in the core of the mountain. Further, what remains of her home has been infested by bloodthirsty miners commanded by the descendants of the very soldiers who destroyed her people.

Sardelle needs help to reach her soulblade — her only link to her past and her last friend in the world. Her only hope is to pretend she’s one of the prisoners while trying to gain the commander’s trust. But lying isn’t her specialty, especially when the world has changed so much in the intervening centuries, and if Colonel Zirkander figures out who she truly is, he’ll be duty-bound to sentence her to the only acceptable punishment for sorcerers: death.

The first book of The Emperor’s Edge series, also called The Emperor’s Edge, is another free read through Amazon. You can find it HERE.

51pojbdtyflSynopsis…

The adventure starts here…

Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job: she can deter thieves and pacify thugs, if not with a blade, then by toppling an eight-foot pile of coffee canisters onto their heads. But when ravaged bodies show up on the waterfront, an arson covers up human sacrifices, and a powerful business coalition plots to kill the emperor, she feels a tad overwhelmed.

Worse, Sicarius, the empire’s most notorious assassin, is in town. He’s tied in with the chaos somehow, but Amaranthe would be a fool to cross his path. Unfortunately, her superiors order her to hunt him down. Either they have an unprecedented belief in her skills… or someone wants her dead.

Other Works to Consider:

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Wednesday Spotlight – J.T. Geissinger

Today’s author spotlight post was suggested by Monika, who recommended author J.T. Geissinger and her Night Prowler Series. It is a set of six books, with the last one being published in 2014, so you won’t be having any unresolved cliffhangers and endless waits for the next book, which is always a bonus.

Let’s go back to the beginning and check out the very first book, Shadow’s Edge. It is free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, or on for just $3.99 on Amazon.com if you don’t. To check out an excerpt, click HERE.

shadow's edgeSynopsis…

Leander McLoughlin is leader of the Ikati, an ancient tribe of beautiful, savage shape-shifters who live hidden in the forests of England. Their survival is rooted in secrecy, a secrecy threatened by the very existence of one raised outside the tribe. Charged with capturing her before she can expose their secret, Leander tracks the unsuspecting outsider to Southern California. The great warrior is prepared for a fight — but not for the effect the courageous young beauty has on his heart.

Jenna Moore spent her childhood in hiding, on the run from an unseen enemy. Now her mother is dead and her father has vanished without a trace, leaving Jenna alone to contend with sudden strange, superhuman abilities. When handsome, enigmatic Leander McLoughlin appears, promising answers to all of her questions, she knows she shouldn’t trust him. But their connection is as undeniable as the dangerous destiny drawing her home…

Other books in the series:

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jt geissingerAbout the author: J.T. Geissinger is an Amazon #1 bestselling author of smart, sexy romance. Writing in the contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance genres, her eleven published novels all include a high level of sensuality, intense emotional connections, and plot twists galore. She is the recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book, the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, and was a finalist for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America. Her work has also finaled in the Booksellers’ Best, National Readers’ Choice, and Daphne du Maurier Awards.

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Your turn again, everyone. Which great author do you think deserves a bit of a spotlight? Is there anyone you feel is an undiscovered gem? Just drop a line in the “Contact Me” and tell me who you would like to share with your fellow readers.

Spotlight Wednesday – Elizabeth Hunter

Because there is always so much good buzz around Elizabeth Hunter, and to celebrate her new release, Monika has put her up as this week’s spotlight author. As I have said anytime I have done a post about her work, I have never heard anyone say they weren’t a fan (and I can’t even say that about Nalini Singh or Ilona Andrews, which is something).

Elizabeth Hunter has quite a few releases under her belt, with her Cambio Springs books, the Irin Chronicles, and three separate series set in the Elemental World. But for this spotlight post, we are going to go way back to the beginning and the Elemental Mysteries series featuring Giovanni and Beatrice. The book that started it all is called A Hidden Fire, which was published in 2011.

a hidden fireSynopsis…

“No secret stays hidden forever.”

A phone call from an old friend sets Dr. Giovanni Vecchio back on the path of a mystery he’d abandoned years before. He never expected a young librarian could hold the key to the search, nor could he have expected the danger she would attract. Now he and Beatrice De Novo will follow a twisted maze that leads from the archives of a university library, through the fires of Renaissance Florence, and toward a confrontation they never could have predicted.

I did look around and try to find an excerpt, but I didn’t have any luck. It turns out, though that you can check this book out for free through Amazon right now, just click HERE. I have the paperback version on the TBR, but I am going to download the freebie in hopes that I will finally be able to move it up the reading list.

Also to consider:

elizabeth hunter banner

I nabbed the banner from google, so credit goes to whomever created it.

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5251202About the author: Elizabeth Hunter is a contemporary fantasy and romance author. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College and a former English teacher. She currently lives in Central California with her son, two very ineffective canine assistants, and a pitifully empty fish tank. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series, the Irin Chronicles, the Cambio Springs Mysteries, and other works of fiction.

Ok, everyone. It’s up to you. How many other Elizabeth Hunter fans are out there, and if you haven’t tried her before do you think you will? What hidden gem of an author would you like to share with your fellow readers? Just send me an e-mail under the “Contact Me” button and we can maybe spread the word.

Wednesday Spotlight – S.M. Reine

I was doing a spotlight post every Wednesday, but I think I am going to switch over to maybe every second week (unless I get a ton of recommendations, that is). For this week’s post, Faris has recommended author A.M. Reine and her Descent series.

The author actually has several interconnected worlds, with the Descent books being connected to her Cain Chronicles, Seasons of the Moon, and Ascension series, so if you enjoy this one you can continue on through several other series. To get things started, let’s look at the first book from the Descent series, which is called Death’s Hand. You can find an excerpt HERE, and the Kindle version is free on Amazon right now.

perf5.000x8.000.inddSynopsis…

Policing relations between Heaven, Hell, and Earth is messy and violent, but Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner excelled at it– until coming across a job so brutal that even they couldn’t stand to see one more dead body.

Now they’ve been pretending to be normal for five years, leaving their horrific history a dark secret. Elise works in an office. James owns a business. None of their friends realize they used to be one of the world’s best killing teams.

After years of hiding, something stirs. Bodies are vanishing. Demons scurry in the shadows of the night. A child has been possessed.

Some enemies aren’t willing to let the secrets of the past stay dead…

There are seven full Descent books, plus numerous novellas, and while it looks like this series wrapped up in 2013, there is also the chance to also read many books set in connected worlds.

Other books in the series:

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sm reineAbout the author: Hi everyone! My name is Sara, and I write urban fantasy and paranormal novels as SM Reine. I collect swords, cat hair, and typewriters (which I do use for writing!). It’s a good day when those three things have nothing to do with each other. If you would like to know the instant my next book is available, you should enlist in my Army of Evil!

Your turn, everyone. What other authors or series do you think deserve a little more attention? Just hit the “Contact Me” button on the top menu and drop me a line, and we can turn the spotlight on another hidden jem.