Monday, November 6, 2017

#BookReview: The Black Lily (Vampire Blood #1) and The Red Lily (Vampire Blood #2) by @Juliette__Cross #pnr #paranormal #romance @EntangledPub

The Black Lily (Vampire Blood #1)
by Juliette Cross
Paranormal romance
paperback/ebook, 300 pages
Published March 27th 2017 by Entangled Publishing: Select Otherworld

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…


**Even though I'd read The Black Lily when it was released, I decided to reread it for a book tour for the third book, The White Lily. The tour gave me the opportunity to read the first three books in the series and since I'm a sucker for paranormal romance, I went for it.**

Beautiful people. A dashing prince. A Cinderella wannabe. And attempted murder all in the opening chapters, with vampires? I'm so there. The Black Lily offers paranormal fans a sexy prince in Marius, who is approaching his hundredth birthday and his wedding to a vampire princess. A man in the prime of his vampirehood, we learn of his family history and see his interactions with his parents, the reigning King and and Queen. The fourth and youngest son, Marius has become disenchanted with life in the castle, and in particular, with his parents and what they stand for. The son, accustomed to pampering and believing what he was told, has now matured and grown up. Marius wants more, he isn't satisfied with his current situation and station in life. He soon discovers his unease was warranted the night of a ball held in his honor.

Cinderella has never made such an exciting debut at a party as she does in The Black Lily. The opening scene totally drew me in as we meet Arabelle, a beautiful, lowly, servant girl, also dissatisfied with her plight in life. She wants more for herself and for her people in the surrounding town of Surly. The author gives us just the right amount of detail to paint a full portrait of a kingdom mired in secrets. All is not right in the so-called perfect life of the royal family and we receive a crash course in this scene at the ball. Arabelle is a convincing character, tough, brawny, and she knows how to utilize her feminine wiles to get what she needs. No fairy godmother for her-she plans out what she needs and does it on her own. I liked her immediately. Marius, though a little standoffish in the beginning, began to grow on me, and I liked the smart and charming Nikolai. 

The story is engrossing, well plotted, with a nice mix of action, adventure, and sizzling tension. Through the romantic scenes we are able to understand the two main characters better and I enjoyed their cat and mouse antics. The sexy times definitely held my attention. Running a revolution has never been so beguiling. The secondary characters are also well created and I had a feeling Nikolai would be next to have his tale told in the series. 

With the Vampire Blood series, author Juliette Cross deftly mixes historical with paranormal, tosses in some updated fairy tales, adds a hefty batch of romance and steaminess, along with intriguing characters and situations. This is one series I'm hooked on!

You don't have to be a vampire fan to enjoy the Vampire Blood series. I thoroughly relished my time spent with the royals and rogues in Cross's engaging first story in what promises to be an enticing series. Long live the Black Lily!

Rating: 4 I really liked it
Cover comment: Even though I do tire of dudes with open shirts on romance covers, because of the historical time period and since there is a scene with Marius and his open shirt, I actually didn't mind this cover. I think the entire series features striking cover art and they're very sexy in a good way (and not a corny way).
Book source: NetGalley and purchased


The Red Lily (Vampire Blood #2)
by Juliette Cross
Paranormal romace
paperback/ebook
Published June 19th 2017 by Entangled Publishing, LLC (Select Otherworld) 

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.


The dashing and brooding lieutenant Nikolai gets to star in his own story in book two of the Vampire Blood series. The Red Lily is all about him and the alluring Sienna, the witch of the Silvane Forest and rider of the mysterious hart wolves. In this next installment, the story truly takes off as the Black Lily membership grows and the Queen's deeds turn even deadlier. 

Nikolai has left his position with the Legionnaires and is considered a traitor. He becomes guardian to the human woman Sienna, escorting the face of the rebel movement to various towns to get their message out and recruit new members. War is inevitable now that word has spread about the murders of innocent villagers and the dumping of their bodies. The story continues to be engrossing, spanning across various kingdoms, and becoming more involved. Who is traitor? Who is spy for the Queen? These questions become a part of everyday life for these characters.

The author weaves multiple story lines throughout the book, adding her own touch to the fairy tale of Red Riding Hood by making her a grown-up and placing her in a magical forest along with bewitching hart wolves. I enjoyed this aspect of the novel as well as Sienna's backstory with her grandmother. The two sides of the impending war grow bolder in their machinations and deeds, as Nikolai grapples with his feelings for the red-haired quiet beauty, Sienna. Little does he know how he starred in her fantasies when he went away. 

The Red Lily has such a gripping love story at its center between these two. Watching Nikolai try to bury an incident from his past and move on so he may have a future with Sienna was moving. I've been his cheerleader since the first book. Sienna is fascinating and she grows into her role as the face of a movement. Their romance buds and blossoms as they try to maintain their roles in the upcoming war. 

As the series continues, I did notice there were a few occasions where I wanted more of the actual story to unfold instead of the continuing romance. Since I've become so engrossed in this world, I guess my patience for more action has grown, and more so for some of it to be off the sheets. Cross does pen her love scenes with an adoring paint brush, giving readers a glimpse into everything from the sheer physicality of the coupling to the raw emotions, revelations, and gentlest touches. As a reader, I feel for her characters, and this is a huge part of the series' appeal. 

I cannot wait for Friedrich's story, which is next in the Vampire Blood series.

Rating: 4 I really liked it!
Cover comment: What can I say about Nikolai? Wow! The blond wavy tresses, the smoldering eyes, the open shirt, the forest background. This is perfection in cover art. I even love the fonts.
Book source: Purchased

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