Book Review: Angel Dreams (An Angel Falls #2)


New Release from Jody A. Kessler – Blog Tour & Giveaway! Both novels in this award-winning series will be on sale for only .99 cents for a limited time.

AngelDreamsSupernatural boundaries will be crossed as Angel of Death, Nathaniel Evans, risks his eternal soul to save the one he loves, the paranormally gifted and nature-loving, Juliana Crowson.

While working with a new client, Nathaniel finds out that pissing off a demon-wielding warlock in order to help a suicidal teen with misplaced sexual tendencies may be the last thing he ever does as an angel. Unable to stand aside, Juliana’s involvement in Nathaniel’s new case quickly develops into a misadventure with gun-toting bikers, table dancing, and a shamanic exorcism performed by her temperamental Native American friend, Chris Abeyta.

Can Nathaniel and Juliana’s love endure blood-letting rituals in the forest while helping a terrified teen find the will to live, or will fate and the rules of the afterlife tear them eternally apart?

At the conclusion of “Death Lies Between Us,” Nathaniel and Juliana were camping out under the stars following their adventure at Castle Hill, a haunted mansion occupied by even more dangerous humans. Juliana might have died in the house is not for Nathaniel’s interferance. Now she knows what he is, and he enjoys her company, he’s reluctant to tell her the exact nature of the failure that got him demoted as an Angel of Death. He was never there to guide her into the afterlife. Her brother was the client, and a new angel is following him now.

Whereas the first book in this series was centered around unintended consequences, “Angel Dreams” delves more into the paranormal world surrounding Juliana, including angels, demons, witches, Native American shamen, and her own unique connection to the Earth. Ms. Kessler doesn’t shy away from the ugliness, representing the darkside of power with physical sickness and emotional pain. I very much appreciated Juliana’s strong spirit playing a critical role in both her actions and her survival of the consequences that follow.

I do have a few issues with the story. First, I didn’t feel the Castle Hill story was neatly tied at the end of the first story, and I had expected that to be revisted. Other than a mention in the first chapter, this book doesn’t address it. And two, I find myself hoping that Juliana soon sees her shaman friend, Chris Abeyta, as more than her friend. No, he’s not quite the book boyfriend that Nathaniel is, however, Chris is flesh and blood 24/7, which I feel gives him the advantage.

Angel Dreams does make up for it’s shortcomings with action and suspense. I’m looking forward to reading the next installment of the series.

About My Book Reviews

032About the Author

When Jody isn’t navigating the terrain of her imagination and writing it down, she can be found exploring the wilderness of Colorado with her family, or in the kitchen baking cookies & brownies – and then trying not to eat them all. She’s passionate about continuing to learn and reads anything and everything that catches her interest. Jody is a full time mom, a Reiki Master, and has taught Hatha yoga for over a decade.

Jody’s debut novel, Death Lies Between Us, is the winner of RomCon’s Readers’ Crown award for best Paranormal Romance in 2014. She is currently working on a historical time travel series set in Montana in the 1860’s. The first book in the series, The Night Medicine, will be published in March 2015.

Jody A. Kessler invites you to visit with her at:, or on Facebook & Twitter

For a chance to win a $10 amazon gift card or a signed paperback of the Death Lies Between Us (An Angel Falls, #1) please enter the rafflecopter!


I Am A Reader Because of Return of the Jedi

Like most people born in the 70s, the original Star Wars Trilogy has been a huge part of my life. But, a few days ago, I realized that it had a bigger impact on me as a person than I’ve always thought. Sure, I am a geek pretty much because of Star Wars, and being a geek has determined my television viewing choices, the movies I watch, the books I read.

The books I write.

ReturnOfTheJediI’ve mentioned before that my very favorite book is Neal Stephenson’s “The Diamond Age,” and it is. I’ve also mentioned that the book that changed my life as a reader is Umberto Eco’s “Foucault’s Pendulum,” but it’s not. The book that made a difference in my life was one I received for Christmas in 1983. The Return of the Jedi Storybook, written by Joan D. Vinge.

I read that thing cover to cover a hundred times. I may have read it more than I watched the movie, and in the summer of 1987, I rewound the VHS tape six times per day ALL SUMMER. I still know the dialog by heart.

I don’t know where my glossy hardback copy of The Return of the Jedi is. 1984 was a tough year for my family. My brother and I spent the summer with our grandparents while my parents navigated my father’s unlawful termination from the oil company he worked for and the subsequent unemployment with no savings whatsoever. As a result, most of our belongings went into storage, and my brother and I were uprooted from our school once, our home twice, and I never saw my glossy Return of the Jedi Storybook again.

ITheSnowQueenn 1988, my freshman year in high school, I was sitting in my high school library and I see a mass market paperback in one of those spindle carousel things. It’s sitting among Harlequin romances, Sweet Valley High books, and Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern series. I did pick it up because of the cover, but I checked it out because Joan D. Vinge wrote it. I remembered her name from my Return of the Jedi Storybook.

I loved this book SO much, I asked the librarian if I could buy it. (She said no.) We lived in a small town. My family rarely left town. Places I could buy a book locally didn’t have a whole lot of variety in science-fiction/fantasy, and so I had to be content with knowing I could get it from the library if I wanted to read it again.

Because of The Snow Queen, I stayed in the Science Fiction/Fantasy aisle on the adult side of the library. That’s where I found Dune, the Neverending Story, and the Princess Bride. It’s where I found Stephen Donaldson’s “Mordant’s Need.” It’s where I fed my hunger for intense world building and developed a love of political and sociological entanglement in my stories. It’s where my interest in Sweet Valley and Nancy Drew died a quiet death.

Later came Foucault’s Pendulum and Cryptonomicon, and from them I cultivated my reading behaviors as an adult. However, without Joan D. Vinge and her Return of the Jedi Storybook, I may have graduated from Sweet Valley into genre romance and gone no further, and I would be an entirely different reader…and writer…than I am.

Thank you, Joan.

Follow me on Rebelmouse!

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 9.14.58 AMAre you social media weary? I know I am. Keeping track of what your favorite people are doing online is HARD. If you’re like me, you find a favorite platform and you hang out there. And I’m hoping you are like me, because I found a platform where you can get ALL of my social media activity in an email inbox you already have. Or, if you rebelmouse-iconprefer to look online, you can see them all on one, scrolling page.

You can see pages where I collect things I find funny, or things that appeal to my inner geek, or just show off cool science.

And best yet, YOU don’t need an account to see/interact with public pages on Rebelmouse, and these days, I think that’s a definite plus.

I hope you Follow Me on Rebelmouse. :)

It’s Release Day! (Sort of…) with @LynnRush

ReleaseDaywithSitesThere’s layers to that “sort of” and it’s kind of boring. What’s important is that January Black and the Touch of Frost series are both LIVE, in ebook and PRINT, on Amazon and other fine internet retailers. (Links are posted below.) And we’re celebrating with a giveaway!

Prizes are: #1: $25 e card, #2: Magical Swag Pack from Wendy Russo; #3: Frosty Swag Pack from Lynn Rush.  GIVEAWAY is Open 12/15-12/31/14. You can enter the drawing by clicking on the Rafflecopter link.


And join us tonight on Facebook for a few hours of guest authors, games, fun, and prizes!

January Black’s Links:

Kindle | Print | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Shelve on Goodreads

Touch of Frost Links:

Kindle | Amazon Print | Kindle UK | Kindle CA | Barnes & Noble | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Absolute Zero:
Kindle USA | Amazon Print | Kindle UK | Kindle CA | Barnes & Noble | Barnes & Noble Print | Kobo | iBooks

Kindle USA | Amazon Print | Kindle UK | Kindle CA | Barnes & Noble | Barnes & Noble Print | Kobo | iBooks

A Personal Lesson in Privilege, Courtesy of CW’s The 100

I watch more TV than I read books. It’s an embarrassing thing for a writer to admit, but I will here and now. I live and work on the opposite ends of a 25 mile drive, which includes crossing the Amite River. There are four bridges that cross this river in Livingston Parish–that’s a county for those of you who live outside of Louisiana—and only one of them is a reasonable option for a daily commute from my house. That one is Interstate 12, the only reasonable option for 20,000 other people. (That may or may not be an exaggeration.) That leaves a few hours per day when we are not sleeping, working, or driving, to do EVERYTHING else. We don’t read the same books, but we do watch the same TV.

Every so often while I am watching TV, I will see something in a show that will knock me on my butt. It will stick with me, for days. Battlestar Galactica, S1 Ep3, for example. While watching it, I felt deeply in my bones that it might be the best written hour of television ever aired. The death of Fred on Angel, just after she and Wesley finally got together…my heart is still bleeds for them.

And the awe I feel is not always pretty, as in the case of CW’s The 100, currently in its second season. This show has forced me to examine myself as a consumer of television, of fiction, and of storytelling entirely. Bear with me, please, while I set the stage for my problem.

The 100 Season 2 PosterThe 100 takes place after a nuclear holocaust destroys all civilization on Earth. A very small group of humans, in space at the time of the incident, survive by linking their stations and sharing their resources. The assumption is that Earth is contaminated by radiation and life is not possible there. To ensure the survival of humanity, the “Arc” has very strict rules that are brutally enforced. Simple acts of mischief and defiance are met with jail sentences and/or death.

A decision is made in year 97 to clear out the Arc’s jail cells by putting 100 teenage inmates on a drop ship to Earth to test whether it is safe for the rest of the Arc’s people to return to the ground. (More on this later). These kids have been judged to be nuisances to the Arc. Disposable people.

The kids do mostly what you might expect kids to do in the lack of proper supervision…party, have sex, and beat up on people smaller than them. Fortunately, because of Arc’s super-strict rules, not all of the kids on the drop ship were miscreants. Clarke, the daughter of the Arc’s doctor, is a natural born leader. Bellamy, a guard on the Arc, shot the Chancellor to get sentenced to the drop ship because his little sister Octavia was on it. Octavia’s crime was being alive at all…resources being scarce on a space ship, and all, there’s a “one child” policy in force. Finn was jailed for wasting a month’s worth of air on an unsanctioned spacewalk. These four, along with a supporting cast of other teens willing to follow instructions, make sacrifices, and do the right things get The 100 through their first days on an Earth whose dangers come from freak acid fog and vicious neighbors they call The Grounders. By the end of season one, the 100 become the 55 (or something).

I’m a Finn and Clarke shipper and have been since moment one. She’s a strong, but conflicted female in a position of leadership. Finn’s good-looking, takes her lead, and puts his skills to good use…supporting her when he should and disagreeing when he should. For this reason, he’s been called a boring character and viewers like to hate him. But I argue that any group really only needs one alpha male, and Bellamy’s got that roped up nicely. Finn and Clarke have a good thing going, and then it gets interrupted when his girlfriend Raven steals a second ship to ascertain whether or not the 100 survived the trip. Finn’s now caught between a girl he’s cared for all of his life and a girl he fell in love with on Earth. He doesn’t have time to explain the situation to either girl before Raven sticks her lonely tongue down his throat. Clarke gives him up, and then Raven breaks up with him, making a decision for Finn that he wasn’t strong enough to make on his own.

While the kids prepare to defend their new home from Grounders who intend to kill them all, Finn tells Clarke that he’s in love with her, and her response is that he broke her heart. Season one ends with Clarke sealing the drop ship doors while Bellamy and Finn are still outside fighting the Grounders, and Raven blows the ship’s fuel reserves to incinerate everyone outside.

Clarke wakes up in a sterile, white room of an underground, former US military base called Mt. Weather, along with 46 of her friends. And she has no reason to believe that either Finn or Bellamy is still alive.

There are some criticisms I have of The 100. For instance, we learn in Season 2 that this story is taking place within the 50 mile stretch between Mouth Weather EOC and the National Mall in Washington DC. Yet, the Lincoln Memorial is the only indication there was ever a civilization between the two locations. Yes, radiation contributing to the forest reclaiming the Earth, but there should be ruins. I can overlook this though, because the story is concerned with its own present and the past has no bearing on the problems the characters face whatsoever.

In Season two, we see a significant and overnight growth of our key players as all of their circumstances change. Remember when I said I’d come back to the decision to send the 100 to the ground to test survivability? The Arc didn’t just jettison these kids to conserve resources. They didn’t have enough air to support life on the ship for even three additional months, a secret they kept from the people to avoid panic and uprising, and they don’t have enough space on the remaining drop ships to get everyone down to Earth. So, when they have proof that the kids did live through the trip, they took a gamble and sent the stations on a suicide reentry mission that results in a lot of casualties. Now, there are four groups on Earth fighting for survival instead of three.  (I am counting the kids and the Arc ship people separately, because the kids have changed that much.)

The folks living at Mount Weather seem to be nice enough. They cleaned the drop ship kids up, gave them bunks, clean clothes, and food. Clarke doesn’t trust them though. The Mount Weather people ask for nothing in return and that just doesn’t sit well with her. She believes, despite assurances to the contrary, that more of her friends are still outside and she breaks out to find them. Along the way, she discovers Mount Weather is using the Grounders in cruel medical experiments and she breaks one out to make their escape together. Her choice is strategic…a commander of the Grounder military forces, someone she can build an alliance with before returning to Mount Weather for the rest of her friends.

Finn and Bellamy are alive, prisoners of Grounders who have lost 300 of their warriors to Raven’s fuel reserve explosion. They manage to kill their captors and get back to the drop ship where Finn finds a Grounder wearing Clarke’s watch. Bellamy and Finn capture and interrogate him to learn where their friends (the 48 captive at Mt. Weather are), and the Grounder gives them the location of his own village.

Meanwhile, the Arc survivors are setting up camp and picking up life where it left off in space…enforcing disobedience to rules with brutal punishment. They also treat the drop ship kids they encounter as citizens to fall in line with order, and understandably, this doesn’t go over well with Bellamy, Clarke, Raven, or Finn. Octavia, who’s actually earned a modicum of respect in battle from the Grounders, feels no allegiance to, or fear from, Arc authority whatsoever. And Clarke, when she gets back to the Arc’s ruins, she has no problem standing up to her mother who by this time has become the new chancellor. Our kids have friends to find. None of them have time for the Arc’s “business as usual” bullshit.

OK…I hope that sets the stage well enough. We have the kids, who have bonded over shared and deadly circumstances, and are determined to save each other.  Mount Weather, aka “the Mountain Men”, have no resistance to radiation at all and are performing experiments on Grounders to ensure their survival. The Grounders have no trust of outsiders due to the Mountain Men capturing their people and turning them into drug-addicted, cannibalistic beasts. And we have the Arc survivors who have guns and rule of law, but no clue what to do with it.

Let’s return to the moment that made me question my role as viewer in this story. Finn…the sane voice of reason among the core group of discarded kids…is so desperate to find the girl he’s in love with that he tromps into a village of Grounders (mostly women and kids), sets fire to their food resources, pens them together under armed guard, and then ransacks every building looking for captives. When he finds none, a man from the village explains that the Grounder Finn got his information from was an untrustworthy bastard known for lying and he was bitter for having been banished. Finn is convinced to lower his weapon, and then a scared man jumps out of the pen. Startled by the movement, Finn shoots him. And this starts an avalanche of people jumping out of the pen and Finn shooting everything that moves.

Clarke watches from the woods as Finn guns down 16 innocent people, and what does he say as he sees her at the edge of the village?

I found you. No remorse. Two days later, Finn is absolved of wrongdoing by the Arc’s council (insert me rolling my eyes), and he’s bitter that Clarke won’t even look at him. In other conversations, Bellamy tells a struggling Clarke that they all done things they’re not proud of in the war they’re fighting. Other characters are also guiding her to forgive him for what he’s done…as if he kissed another girl while thinking she was dead.


First, the Finn we met in Season 1 would not have penned up peaceful people and shot 16 of them because someone made a run for it. And doing so would burn his bridge back to Clarke, and he’d know it the moment he met her eyes. The words that fell out of his mouth wouldn’t have been, “I found you.” They should have been, “What have I done?”

So…that’s led me to a week or so of wondering through the writer’s rationale for taking Finn in this direction, how they justify the sudden and drastic dark turn in the boy’s character, and just rapid and complete about face. It required a bit of soul searching and examination of the privilege I have as someone bearing witness to this mess from the safety of my energy-sucking couch.

The only thing I truly share in common with any of these characters is that I know other people. These kids were dropped out of the bottom of a dying tyranny to fight or die on a world where blood shed is answered with bloodshed in return. Respect on Earth is earned in battle and peace lies on the far end of a war against people already committed to kill, or worse, to win.

Finn, as we met him in Season One, was a kind soul. The one ready to take orders, to make sacrifices, and to do what needed to be done. He chose Clarke to follow over Bellamy. Within the first hours on solid ground, she claimed he heart and soul, and he lost both when he realized she was gone in the Season 2 opening episodes. And when he and she return to the Arc ship ruins after his massacre of the village people, he gets both back to find them battered and bruised.

And this is where I believe the understanding and willingness to let Finn’s crime go comes from. Bellamy shot the Chancellor to get onto the drop ship, and he participated in torture of a Grounder to save Finn’s life. Raven built more than one weapon of mass destruction to defend the drop ship camp from Grounders, and the Arc ship ejected hundreds of people to conserve their dwindling air supply. Most of the characters the viewer is meant to identify and empathize with are drenched in blood. We zero in on Finn’s actions only because he had options that he didn’t take. In a moment where his one lead to find Clarke turned out to be worthless, someone startled him while he had his finger of an automatic rifle, and with one innocent life on his hands, the floodgates of desperation and rage just burst in a hail of “what difference does it make?”

Am I making excuses for my favorite character on the show? Maybe. But at the same time, maybe my role is to sit back and let Bellamy, Raven, Octavia, and Clarke judge Finn by the rules forced upon them by their world, and not hold him accountable to the morals of mine.

New Favorite Christmas Carol

I can be persuaded, from time to time, to change my mind in the presence of overwhelming evidence. Today, Chase Holfelder has convinced me that not only is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” worth more than a “meh,” but that it is a badass song. In fact, it’s just kicked “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” off it’s throne, where it has comfortably sat as “Wendy’s Favorite Carol” for all of my adult life.

New Release: Sorrow’s Edge (The Sorrows #2), by Danielle DeVor


Hello Lovely Readers! Danielle DeVor twitched her fingers in my direction and cast me out of my own blog! Harrumph! The nerve. (Just kidding.) She writes about exorcisms, and she’s here today to tells us why, so I’ll just get out of her way.

DanielleDeVorI’ll admit it. I find it fascinating. The idea that prayers and words could force a demon out of a human body is amazing. Now, granted, the one performing the exorcism would have to strongly believe in what they are saying. But, it is still amazing. I greatly admire exorcists.

That being said, there are some things about exorcism that makes it difficult to write about. It isn’t so much the act of writing about it, but the acceptance. For many people, the idea of demonic possession and exorcism is so scary that they cannot even fathom reading a book about it.

To a certain extent, I understand that, but I have always been under the idea that it’s better to understand what you fear.

Does writing about an exorcism sometimes scare me? Sure. That’s when I know I’ve done it right. If I felt nothing, then I need to go back and work on it some more. Writing scary things should give the author just as many chills up and down their spine as the reader.

At least that’s my belief. But, when you write about something that is mostly unknown, you end up with a lot of questions too. What If the person being exorcised isn’t of the same religion as the exorcist. Does it still work? Near as I can tell, yes. But, without me getting to talk to an actual exorcist, I really have no idea. There is only so much written down about it in publicly available books. Now, if I could get access to it in the Vatican library… well…. That would be amazing.

About the Author:

Named one of the Examiner’s 2014 Women in Horror: 93 Horror Authors You Need to Read Right Now, Danielle DeVor has been spinning the spider webs, or rather, the keyboard for more frights and oddities. She spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching “Salem’s Lot” way too many times. When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a mocha frappuccino.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Blog

 About Sorrow’s Edge:

Finding the truth can sometimes be harder than exorcising a demon…

Jimmy Holiday, defrocked priest-turned-exorcist, is trying to make sense of his life. With his on-again-off-again witchy girlfriend moving in, Lucy-the spirit from his last exorcism-hanging around, and a secret organization of exorcists hounding him, Jimmy is feeling the stress.

When a stranger calls in the middle of the night asking for help with a possession, Jimmy is puzzled. Especially when the dude on the phone says he got his number from Jimmy’s old mentor. Too bad his mentor has been dead for several years.

After a mysterious silver flask arrives at his doorstep, Jimmy is left with two options: either ignore the phone call and the flask, or listen to Lucy and travel to Arizona to solve the mystery before all hell breaks loose-literally.


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BLACK FRIDAY SALE! 40+ Crescent Moon Press ebooks for $0.99 each!

There is a Huge Black Friday .99 Kindle SALE! Check out some of these great authors below and don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter for your chance to win lots of fun stuff!

The sale runs from Black Friday to New Years, so lots of time to buy LOTS AND LOTS OF FABULOUS BOOKS published by Crescent Moon Press!


Caden’s Fate, by Kate McKeever

Fairyproof, by Constance Phillips

Resurrecting Harry, by Constance Phillips

Speak of the Devil, by Shawna Romkey

The Devil Made Me Do It, by Shawna Romkey

What Gifts She Carried, by Lindsey Loucks

The Grave Winner, by Lindsey Loucks

Violet Midnight, by Lynn Rush

Violet Dawn, by Lynn Rush

Violet Storm, by Lynn Rush

Wasteland, by Lynn Rush

Awaited, by Lynn Rush

Tainted, by Lynn Rush

Prelude to Darkness, by Lynn Rush

Son of a Mermaid, by Katie O’Sullivan

Blood of a Mermaid, by Katie O’Sullivan

Wanted: One Ghost, by Loni Lynne

Ruined, by Kinley Baker

Denied, by Kinley Baker

Endured, by Kinley Baker

Gemini Rising, by Louann Carroll

A Shadow of Time, by Louann Carroll

Dakota Capitve, by Alythia Brown

Sorrow’s Point, by Danielle DeVor

Sorrow’s Edge, by Danielle DeVor

Red, by Reese Reed

The Memory Witch, by Heather Topham Wood

Not Your Average Fairy Tale, by Chantele Sedgwick

Not Your Average Happy Ending, Chantele Sedgwick

A Stiff Kiss, by Avery Olive

Won’t Let Go, by Avery Olive

Idyllic Avenue, by Chad Ganske

Rift Healer, by Diane M Haynes

Still Hunt, by Diane M Haynes

First Contact, by Kat Green

Citizens of Logan Pond: Life, by Rebecca Belliston

Irons in the Fire, by Penelope Marzec

The Company You Keep, by Penelope Marzec

Kiss of Blarney, by Penelope Marzec

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Book Review: The Last Guardian Rises (The Last Keeper’s Daughter #2), by Rebecca Trogner


Lily Ayres, Sanguis Ancilla to Krieger Barnes, has retreated into the shadows of the archives, hiding from the king and the intense emotions he arouses in her. How long can she deny him? Will she accept her role in the Other world and the abilities arising within her?

Krieger Barnes, Vampire King of North America, has shared his blood, his kingdom, and his heart with Lily. He summons her, needing her nearness, needing her to attend the council meeting with him.

Merlin, the king’s advisor, must fight the darkness that threatens to overtake him. Can he survive the dark magic?

Lucien Black, the wielder of the Dragon Sword, is once again charged with Lily’s protection. How will he explain his avoidance of her?

A being buried deep underground, inside a cage of iron and wrapped in chains, escapes. Is he the dark entity that the Others feel and fear?

In the Last Keeper’s Daughter, Rebecca Trogner introduced Lily Ayers, a strange and fragile young heiress entrusted by her father to the care of ancient vampire, Krieger Barnes, the King of North America.  The first human he’s allowed into his court, Lily joins Krieger’s inner circle—composed until then of a witch, a wolf-shifter, and a cursed slayer—as his Sanguis Ancilla. It translates roughly as “blood slave,” a title that is more necessary than accurate for the complicated pair.

In the world of vampires and witches, and as she blossoms from a timid child into a willful woman, Lily’s nature as an “Other” (creatures neither human nor vampire) quickly becomes apparent, as does her role in something grand and sinister bubbling beneath the kingdoms of the supernatural. Krieger, bound by blood and primal instinct to protect Lily, finds himself in a truly frustrating position of being an honorable man. Because he loves her, he sets her free, allowing her to choose who she will give her heart to, and he waits for her to come to him.

Trogner reveals in The Last Guardian Rises that Krieger has the patience of a saint. Fearing the king would not forgive her for killing his brother at the climax of the first book, Lily turned her focus toward the castle’s archives, looking for information that would help the king while she avoided him. Days became weeks and then months, until the Krieger summons her, gives her thirty minutes to show up, and warns he won’t ask twice. She drags her feet only to learn that the king is not mad at her. Quite to the contrary, he’s loving, gentle, and demanding, exactly as she remembers, which means that the battle of wills between our romantic leads has begun anew.

In Guardian, we see more of the politics of the vampire world, more of the mystery’s machine, and more of the implications and consequences of each successive action. At a pivotal point in Detective Hunter’s arc, he tells Krieger, “We’ve been played.” The king then has to deal with a difficult situation forced upon Hunter, so how they’ve been played is not explicitly answered. It becomes apparent through the story arcs of Merlin, Hunter, King Beline (the King of Europe), that the awful transgression committed long ago against Lily’s mother on behalf of a demon was not an isolated incident. Krieger, along with his people and allies, spend months scorching a global conspiracy tied to Catholic orphanages from the Earth, only to have the pieces fall into place when Lily casually recommends a priest for Hunter’s upcoming marriage.

In addition to magic, spies, adventure, and lies, Trogner also gives her heroine two powerful, tortured men to hold her heart. The first, of course, is Krieger. The second is vampire Lucien, Krieger’s brother-by-choice and faithful servant. He was long ago imbued with the blood of a dragon, which allows him to wield a special sword capable of killing anything, but the spell came with a terrible price. Lucien cannot have sex with someone he loves. To do so would release the dragon from its prison within him. He releases his physical needs with meaningless sex, but as one of the men Krieger trusts the most, Lucien becomes one of Lily’s guardians, and every moment with her tests his resolve. Lily could make things easier by fully committing herself to Krieger and not flirting with him, but as she admits to the king, she loves Lucien, too.

A twist toward the end of the Guardian sees Krieger and Lily at once desperately in love with the other, yet separated by growing mountain of circumstances out of their control, anger, loss, and enough good intentions to build a bridge to Hades and put the ferryman out of a job. Playing the role of the Beast once again, Krieger will let his Belle go with hope that she will return to him, a decision that will move the action from Virginia to Big Sur, California, and a confrontation with Strigoi “Anson,” who claims Lily as his mate when he first lays eyes on her.

I found the details of The Last Guardian Rises intriguing, the escalation of Krieger and Lily’s relationship fulfilling, and the sex scenes very well written, yet I found the story a little slow. However, with Lily’s blood bond to Krieger broken by her demon father, and her desire to have children the king cannot give her but Anson can, book three of this story promises to be explosive, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

About My Book Reviews