We have one of my favorite indie urban fantasy series featured today. I'm stoked to be part of the Jude Magdalyn Series blog tour hosted by Bewitching Book Tours.
Shades of Vengeance
Jude Magdalyn Series
Publisher: SP Press
Date of Publication: 04/30/15
Number of pages: 61
Word Count: approx. 20K
Cover Artist: Kendra Egert
In moments of pain, we seek revenge.--Ami Ayalon
My home is compromised.
My children are gone.
My husband is dead.
Every inch of my life is in ruins.
The only thing I have left is vengeance.
Excerpt: Shades of Vengeance
“This life isn’t salvation, Jude.” St. Germaine leaned closer, lowering his voice. “Look at Williams. He is gnawing on your wrist like some sort of savage animal, doing his very best to drain you dry.” He glanced over my shoulder, his features hardening. “He is going to kill you if something isn’t done very soon.”
“And Theo is going to die if you keep standing there, trying to talk me out of this decision.” I finally took that deep breath the Comte had recommended and pulled out the big guns. “You promised Madame Henries. You promised me. Please, please, please do this.”
The Comte stared at me for so long I began to wonder if he’d turned to stone. Finally, he sighed, stepping back and raking a hand through his hair, disheveling the carefully coifed locks. “Fine. Fine. Danie, go to my wine cellar, it’s directly off the kitchen. Bring back two—no, three bottles.”
“Do you really think you should be drinking right before you do something this major?” Lies didn’t sound confrontational or condemning. If anything, she sounded curious. “I’m assuming this is going to be more than a little taxing, otherwise everybody would do it, so wouldn’t you want to have a clear head?”
“My head is quite clear, child.” St. Germaine snorted, somehow managing to make the rude nose sound ridiculously elegant. “Because the process is, as you said, taxing, I’m going to need more than a little bit of sustenance to get through this evening. The wine is fortified with blood.” He shot me a disgruntled look. “Is nobody teaching the children their history these days?”
“I’ll make sure to integrate you into my daughters’ education.” I shifted my gaze to Williams, watching him suckle on my wrist like a baby at a breast—one more thing Hart and Elizabeth had taken away from me. I’d be damned if I let them take away the person I’d spent my entire life waiting for. “Williams, can you hear me?”
He didn’t answer.
I took a deep breath and dug my nails in to his cheek.
He hissed and jerked away.
I bit back a scream as I felt my wrist rip open, blood spurting high in the air. “Oh, fuck. Someone go get Bridget, now. Hurry, hurry, hurry.”
“I’m sorry.” Williams’ voice sounded rusty from disuse but I was still able to detect a note of repentance. “I’m sorry, the hunger was just too much. I tried, truly, but--.”
“You can apologize for your lapse in mental judgment later.” St. Germaine once again sounded bored and urbane and I turned just in time to watch him perch on the edge of the bed. He glanced over at me, his face shifting in to concerned lines. “I must ask again. Are you certain--?”
“Do it.” I flinched when someone pressed a bandage to my gushing wrist but didn’t break eye contact with the Comte. I slipped my hand in to Theo’s, squeezing it tight. “Save him, please.”
St. Germaine sighed. Bent over Theo. And sank his fangs into Theo’s neck.
Shades of Loss
Jude Magdalyn Series
Publisher: SP Press
Release Date: February 17, 2014
Print Length: 116 pages
We have to distrust each other. It is our only defense against betrayal. Tennessee Williams
Fact--Hart is back from the not-quite-dead.
Fact--His ultimate goal is my death.
Fact--He'll use anything--and anyone--to help him reach that goal.
The only way to save myself--my family--the entire Covenant--is to find the answer to one simple question.
Who is the traitor?
Shades of Blood
Jude Magdalyn Series
Publisher: SP Press
If it's not one thing, it's another.
Felipe, one of New Orleans's most infamous--and crazy--vampires is back in town. And to say he's unhappy is an understatement.
Duprees and Williams have to track down Felipe, fast, before he claims any more victims. If that means making a deal with the Devil--otherwise known as St. Germaine--and using an untrained dhampir, so be it.
If that wasn't enough, I've also got rebellious teenagers, feuding couples, and a suddenly full social calendar.
The more things change....
Excerpt: Shades of Blood
“I’m going to kill her.” I didn’t throw the phone across the room like I wanted to, but instead, set it down gently on the coffee table. I took a deep breath and held it for a long moment before releasing it. “I’ll just have to owe Williams another favor.”
“That would put you at owing him three times, which is three times too many.” Theo slid the phone out of my reach. I’d already thrown two phones this month, so I didn’t begrudge him the action. “What exactly did Danie do this time?”
It’d been almost a month since Williams had shown up in the foyer and left his niece—Hart’s daughter—in my care. Not that I really wanted her here or that she wanted to be here. Things were just getting back to normal after the terror of Halloween, after darting around the city trying to find Hart’s other psychopathic brother. Having Hart’s daughter under my roof made me more than a little uneasy, even though he was still at the bottom of the Mississippi.
I’d argued with Williams. Danie had argued with Williams. Even Mickeal, Williams’s second-in-command and currently stationed at the Crossroads, had argued with Williams. He refused to budge. And my conscience wouldn’t let me throw her out without a definite place to go.
So Danie stayed. And did her best to make all our lives a living hell.
“Shoplifting. Again.” I drummed my fingers over my stomach, then stopped when one of the bumps kicked a little. Theo and I still called them the bumps, even though it was starting to look like I’d swallowed a small beach ball. At the rate I was going, I’d be as big as a cow by the time I delivered in May. “Down at that tourist shop.”
“Which one? There’s only half a million or so.” Theo made a little circle motion with his finger and I gave him my back. I always seemed to have a knot between my shoulder blades these days. Whether it was from Danie or from the bumps, I couldn’t begin to guess.
“Voodoo Blues. The owner recognized her, so instead of calling the police, he let her go and called me. I’ll send Elizabeth down tomorrow to take care of it.”
“Have you ever thought about letting her get picked up by the police? Seeing if having the law come down on her would actually make her see how stupid she’s being?” Theo pressed a kiss against my bare shoulder. I shrugged half-heartedly, tapping my fingers on my knee.
“Maybe it would work. Or maybe she’d go nuts on them and then we’d have a serious problem.” Restless now, I stood up to pace in front of the fireplace. It was just now ten p.m. and most of the house had been up long enough to start getting into trouble. Any minute now, someone was going to knock on the parlor door and tell me they needed help with something.
I wasn’t psychic. It had happened often enough that it was a given.
Shades of Desire
Jude Magdalyn Series
Publisher: SP Press
All I wanted was a little peace and quiet.
Instead, I've got dead Covenant members and a steady stream of letters from the new guy in town. His beverage of choice? A 2002 Merlot, with a shot or two of powerful virgin blood.
On top of that, I'm breaking in a new police liaison, failing at playing matchmaker, and fighting nausea like it's a full time job.
Did I forget to mention that I've also got enough girls living at the Crossroads to start my own boarding school?
Peace and quiet? Out the window.
--Jude Magdalyn Henries
Excerpt: Shades of Desire
“If someone doesn’t get me a lemon in the next five minutes, everyone will suffer. A lot.”
“Jude, I love you. Which is why I can say you’re being just a little overdramatic.” One look at my face and Theo changed his tune. “But then again, you could say pregnancy is dramatic and you’re just getting into the groove.”
“Nice save.” I tried to sit up again. Halfway through the upward movement greasy waves of nausea rolled over me and I eased back down onto the pillow. Strands of black hair clung to my sweaty face and I closed my eyes, exhaling slowly. “Not as nice as that lemon would be right now, but nice.”
“Elizabeth will be here in a moment. No doubt she’ll have a lemon. And tea. And toast.” Theo turned over to face me, laying one hand over my still mostly flat stomach. If you looked close, you could see the smallest of bumps.
I know, because I checked. Every other day or so.
If anybody told me three months ago, that the week before Halloween, I’d be lying in bed with a man who absolutely adored me—even the crazy parts—I’d have asked them what the hell they were smoking. If they’d thrown in being pregnant, I would have punched them in their jaw. Then gone to the store and bought a dozen pregnancy tests and prayed for them all to be negative.
But that was before the Covenant.
In two weeks, I’d gone from being an orphan raised by nuns, to the latest in a long line of only daughters. Women charged with the protection and well-being of hundreds of people with unique powers. Some made flame burn for hours, while others called the wind to knock you flat on your ass. They were a group of people who came together over two-hundred years ago, bound by a prophecy. One with no past, lost in the present, will bring in the future, through gifts of both this world and the next.
And lucky me, I’d passed the job interview.
I’d sent Hart to a muddy, watery grave-literally. Unless something went crazy wrong, he’d stay under the Mississippi until the Final Judgment. Williams ruled the vampires of the city now and kept his distance as much as possible.
And I, Jude Magdalyn Henries, led the Covenant. Maybe I wasn’t terrific at it. But Gillian would be proud.
All things considered, I think I came out with a pretty good deal.
Shades of Gray
Jude Magdalyn Series
Jude Magdalyn Henries lives what many would call an unconventional life.
Orphaned at birth, raised by nuns, a teenage runaway living on the streets... she now earns a living at odd jobs, including one as a fake tarot card reader. Very little about Jude's life appears normal, by any scale. When she accepts a gig to do a private reading,
unconventional takes on an entirely new meaning. Life as she knows it ends when she's thrust into a world she never knew existed-one filled with magic, vampires, and her beloved New Orleans on the verge of an underground war. To make matters worse, she's got two men in her life vying for attention, Williams and Theo. Both call to a different part of her, but one scares her just a little bit. Can she step up to the challenges set before her and make the right choices for the "greater" greater good"?
Beginning with Hole in the Wall, the very first (free) novella in the Jude Magdalyn series, I considered myself a fan of author L.M. Pruitt and her snarky heroine. I love characters who can crack one-liners with the ease of breathing, are loyal, and aren't afraid to take chances. The novella was an introduction to Jude, her job as a bartender and her friendship with what seemed like her only friend.
In Shades of Gray, the very first full-length book in the series, the introduction to Jude's new world is captivating. The bartender is literally thrust into this crazy new world of weapon-wielding vampires and fire spouting witches. Jude never suspected she came from a family of magic wielders and readers sit back as she uncovers pieces of her past and learns to yield her new powers. A fun, fast-paced read, there's a lot to like and enjoy in this first installment. The setting of New Orleans gives the story a very cool vibe and is a natural place for this supernatural world to exist. There are sections--like with Jude's practicing with her powers and her relationship with Theo--which I would have liked to have seen spread out and shown in a timely manner to help make things more believable. Some moments of grieving over the loss of her best friend would have been nice too. Still, this is Jude we're talking about.
In Shades of Desire, the second full-length novel, Jude's world continues to expand in many ways. She's married to Theo, expecting, and the Covenant has become her new family. There's always some type of threat in the form of a madman, Jude's bantering, and a battle or two. Secrets are revealed while Jude's temper flails, bodies are discovered, as the leader of the Covenant tries to figure out who to trust. Jude's impulsive nature, from her quick comments without thinking to her arguing with Theo and Williams can test the patience of any reader. Her group of loyal friends and wanting to know what happens next keeps me reading this series.
The bodies pile up, the drama increases, and the 'bumps' continue to grow and impact Jude's mood in Shades of Blood, book three. Williams has dropped off Hart's teen daughter on the Covenant front steps, another vampire is loose on the streets of New Orleans, and Jude is her usual sarcastic self, only increased by hormones. At times Jude's one-liners can be too much and I'd like to see more plot and things slowed down to fully enjoy everything going on. What will the bumps be like when they're born? I wonder.
Shades of Loss, the fourth in the series and a novella, lets us know the maniacal Hart is back. Jude's allies stand by her and the traitor is revealed. Difficult decisions have to be made and Jude does what she has to keep her daughters safe. Action, humor, and more of Jude's trademark snark abound.
Shades of Vengeance spotlights the aftermath of what happened in the preceding book and the agonizing decision Jude has to make once again. The shortest in the series, this installment bears the weight of what the author has explained to fans as being the lack of Jude talking to her. As much as I like the characters, their conflicts and a certain young woman's snark, this novella feels as though it's missing some of its essence. As a fan, I'm sad to see the author go through this with her beloved character and as a writer I fully understand. The good thing is, I hope L.M. Pruitt realizes she has fans willing to wait to see if Jude ever begins whispering in her ear again.
With the exception of the last novella in this series, I rated the others 4 out of 5 and the last 3 out of 5. The series isn't perfect, none are, but my loyalty to the Jude Magdalyn series is a testament to the talent of author L.M. Pruitt. I enjoyed my time with Jude and company, liked the different scenarios she found herself in, and fan girled over a certain vampire named Williams. There are probably many more stories to tell in this fictional world, from Williams' to Jude's girls and other interesting characters. Time will tell whether or not fans get to read them.
About the Author
L.M. Pruitt has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember. A native of Florida with a love of New Orleans, she has the uncanny ability to find humor in most things and would probably kill a plastic plant. She knows this because she's killed bamboo. Twice. She is the author of the Winged series, the Plaisir Coupable series, Jude Magdalyn series, the Moon Rising series, and Taken: A Frankie Post Novel.