Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews

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The newest book in the Hidden Legacy series has just been released and some of us have already read it, of course. And loved it! Just when you think it can’t get any better, it gets better! Here is our interview-style review of the book and the series overall.

What are your overall thoughts about Wildfire?

Shelly: I thought it was so great, I could fangirl all day and  night. So much happens and its nonstop action and very plot-driven. Sergeant Teddy (the super-intelligent and genetically enhanced grizzly) and Zeus (the lion tentacle creature from the arcane realm) were such cool new “animal” characters. A lot of pieces of the puzzle were resolved, but there is still so much more left to discover!

Kira: I feel like the odd man out because I didn’t love this. It was wicked good but my least favorite in the series so far. The plot was great, and I love the direction the series is going. Victoria Tremaine was full of surprises. There were a couple of things that annoyed me with this. I’ll discuss those later on.

Do you have a favorite character?

Shelly: Well, Rogan of course. But, I really like so many of the supporting characters. Cornelius, and all the Baylors…

Kira: Hands down it’s Rogan. No one else even compares. Grandma Frida is cool too.

If you were a Prime, what ability would you have?

Shelly: If I could be a combination of a Summoner and then have the ability to communicate and control what comes out of that realm (like Cornelius’ House does with regular animals), I’d go for that one. Psionics and aegis are cool too.

Kira: Of all the abilities I’ve seen so far, I want to be able to teleport only as long as I could do it for long distances. It’d be great for getting out of dangerous situations. Traveling would be so much easier. Like they showed in Burn for Me, if thievery is your thing that is easier too. It would also be sweet to be a mnemonic and have nearly perfect memory recall.

If you were stuck on an island, which Baylor would you take with you and why?

Shelly: I think I’m gonna go with Arabella, only because of all the characters, I think she would be able to get me OFF the island. I wouldn’t want to be stuck on an island for ever (maybe just a nice sunny day). Even if we had to swim away, she could protect me from sharks.

Kira: Grandma Frida. She’s funny, witty, caring and protective. The woman is crafty as hell. She’d probably know how to take whatever random materials you’d have on an island and know how to build something from it.

Are there any criticisms or issues you had with Wildfire or the series in general?

Shelly: The ex drama and angst over Nevada and Rogan’s relationship was my one sore spot. Even considering that, it wasn’t heavy-handed and I could deal with it (and I’m allergic to drama).

Kira: The relationship ambivalence with Rogan and Nevada got on my nerves. The two of them clearly love each other, but Rogan is convinced Nevada will regret their relationship if their children aren’t primes someday. Since he planted that seed of doubt in her mind in White Hot, it kept popping up in her thoughts. Neither of them showed interest in other people, but Nevada had another guy expressing interest in her. Rogan’s ex was around for the whole book, creating lots of drama.

Genetics has been spoken about quite a bit in regards to magical abilities. It’s been emphasized that primes are more likely to come from two strong primes, otherwise the power weakens. Certain abilities are much more compatible than others, so two people without similar abilities are likely to produce children with weaker or no abilities. So why the hell is Nevada’s family loaded with people with special talents? Her dad had no abilities. Her mother and grandmother aren’t incredibly powerful. I’m not even sure if they have abilities or not. If they do it must be related to their military type of skills. This is a wild guess, but that magic doesn’t seem like it would be compatible with the magic from Nevada’s father side of the family. Between the father having no abilities and the mother not having considerable power, how did they produce three powerful kids? I know it’s possible the way genetics work. Sometimes things skip a generation, but it doesn’t seem like the most plausible scenario that all 3 kids are powerful with rare abilities. It’s not just them either. Leon has a rare and powerful ability, and Bernard has his own powerful ability. The two of them are cousins. Where did their abilities come from? With everything we’ve been told about how the magic passes genetically, this entire family is an anomaly. I’d like an explanation for this that’s better than genetics are random.

Who should get their own spinoff in this world (character or House)?

Shelly: I am really fascinated with the arcane realm that the Summoners pull these monster-like creatures from. I would love to learn more about Summoning and this strange other world. I think there could be a good trilogy’s-worth of material focusing just on a Summoner House. I would devour read that!

Kira: Catalina Baylor seems like she’d be a good choice for spinoff. I’d love to know what she can really do with her siren powers. Every ability has such depth to it. There must be more than simply luring people to her. It seemed like something was going on behind the scenes with her in Wildfire. It definitely seemed like there was mutual interest with Catalina and Alessandro Sagredo.

Any last thoughts?

Shelly: This series, in my view, shows how much the Andrews have grown as writers and is very indicative of their style. The humor, the action scenes, the world-building, and even the way they make a character come to life the minute they are on the page… it sounds cheesy, but it’s magical. They write amazing villains too. Victoria Tremaine was fantastic in this and stole all her scenes. This is book depression territory, it’s so good!

Kira: I am so happy there will be a fourth book! I love Nevada and Rogan. I’m not ready for their story to be done yet. It would be great to have a book where they can work together as a couple without doubts about whether or not they’re right for each other. This world Ilona Andrews has created is fascinating. Look how crazy everything is, and most of the characters we’ve met are just from one part of Texas.

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Q & A with Author Juliette Cross

Warning: Sucky vampire puns ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

I’m a huge fan of the new series, Vampire Blood, by Juliette Cross. When I found out there was a chance to sink my teeth into an ARC,  I couldn’t get my greedy little hands on it fast enough. I loved the first book in the series, The Black Lily, which was loosely-based on the Cinderella fairy tale. The Red Lily is a Little Red Riding Hood re-telling and does not disappoint.

I was ecstatic to find out our blog would be scoring a Q&A with Juliette. Apparently, she and I both have a sanguine outlook on the future of the series and are about neck and neck in our appreciation of vampires in general.

So pull up your coffin – perhaps a Bloody Mary or two – and let’s get down to the bloody Q&A already!

But first, a bit about the book…

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When Red falls for the Big Bad Wolf…

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.

Shelly: I saw your Top 5 Vampire Movies list for USA Today (well done, by the way!), but how about a favorite vampire book?

Juliette: Oh, wow. Hard to pick just one. I love Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed series. Book 1, Kiss of Midnight, is amazing. I also ADORE the vampires in Nalini Singh’s Guildhunter series. I’ve had a crush on Dmitri for like forever. And I’m dying for Viper’s book coming out in September. And to this day, Richelle Mead’s young adult Vampire Academy is still one of my absolute favorite series ever.

Shelly: How long do you see the Tales of the Black Lily series going? Or how many might you have sketched out now? When I re-read book one, I saw several potential stories that I had missed before. Ryker, Marius’s cousin, the vampire who was with Sienna’s grandmother (that could be a really good story) are the ones that stood out the most. Any hints or teasers you can share?

Juliette: This is a fantastic question. 😉 So, I can tell you there will be four books in the series surrounding the Black Lily. Will there be more? Not sure, but I’ve got a million ideas and tons of secondary characters who need a love story. 😉 I can give you a little hint about book 3. The White Lily is scheduled for release on October 23rd. Our hero will be the vampire duke, Friedrich, and if you think about the title, you’ll know which fairytale I’m retelling this time.

Shelly: What book do you think is under-rated or under-appreciated?

Juliette: Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters Trilogy, specifically book 2 Son of Shadows (one of my favorites). Marillier has a large fan base but few people I know have even heard of this series. It’s so beautiful, the writing and the stories.

Shelly: Who/What is your spirit animal or mascot?

Juliette: A cat, perhaps. Quiet and unassuming but always watching. And a bit of an attitude at times. Lol.

Shelly: How do you decide on the names of your characters?

Juliette: For each fantasy world I create, I tend to think of a specific culture that has the tone I want to convey in their race. For example, most of my vampires have a Romanian or Russian name, conveying a cold, dark beauty. And the humans tend to have English names, representing a civilized, proper people. But sometimes, I stray because it’s more about the character specifically than the culture. Like Sienna, which means “red-orange color” like her hair and the name originated in Italy. And Queen Morgrid. She needed a villainous name. I borrowed from the evil Morgana of Arthurian legends and twisted the name to fit her.

Shelly: Is there a particular scene that was harder to write than others? (From this series or others)?

Juliette: Pretty much every sex scene. I try to balance the emotional aspect with the physical, and this isn’t easy to do. Of course, I tend to write very dark scenes as well, borderline horror, I suppose. You might think these would be difficult to write, but it’s rather the opposite. My muse runs wild while writing these. Kind of a cathartic experience.

Shelly: On average, how long does it take you to write a book?

Juliette: Well, THE RED LILY is my twelfth published book, and I’ve gotten much faster over time. Now, it takes on average three months to write a full-length book and edit it with beta feedback.

Shelly: What advice would you give your younger writing self?

Juliette: Don’t you ever give up, woman.

 

The Red Lily release date is (this Monday!) June 19, 2017. You can stake your claim to this sizzling romance at the following places:

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

Kobo

Entangled

Goodreads

About Juliette Cross:

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Juliette lives in lush, moss-laden Louisiana where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab, Kona.

Multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance, she loves reading and writing brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes.

From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon | Goodreads | Newsletter

 

 

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The Red Lily (Vampire Blood 2) by Juliette Cross

The Red Lily is book two in the Vampire Blood series by Juliette Cross. The kingdoms are ruled by the dark and powerful Varis vampire family. One of the royals is pulling the strings and powering the soldiers with a blood madness, called sanguine furorem, giving them extra strength and an indiscriminate urge to murder innocents.

The Black Lily is the resistance, made up mostly of humans and a few powerful vampire allies. Book one, The Black Lily, focused on Prince Marius and the human leader of the resistance, Arabelle. This book focuses on a Legionnaire named Nikolai and the Red Witch of the Woods, Sienna.

Sienna lives in Silvane Forest, a mysterious place where the enchanted hart wolves live. The hart stone is the mystical force providing magic in the area for millennia. This is loosely based on the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale. Sienna has red hair and a red cape and her grandmother was her mentor who transferred her wealth of knowledge to Sienna.

This is very much a fantasy romance. I found Nikolai and Sienna to be a tender and passionate couple. There was not very much angst and denial between them, as they knew they were attracted to each other at first sight (and we know of their original flirtation and chemistry from reading book one).

There are plenty of swoon-worthy and steamy scenes. Nikolai really knows how to treat a lady.

The bulk of the action comes toward the end and I won’t spoil it for you, but there are plenty of surprises – and some of them much darker than we have yet seen. We find out more about the hart wolves and the hart stone. There are plenty of hints and threads for hopefully more books to come. I have heard that the next one is a Snow White re-telling and I can’t WAIT to find out who the next vampire is. I am hoping it’s Friedrich, as his roguish flirty demeanor is one I love in romance heroes!

I highly recommend this for vampire romance fans. It has a nice mix of girl power, sexy men, and light fantasy elements.

The Red Lily will be released on Monday, June 19, 2017.

Now, my casting choices for the males (so far):

Marius:

Nikolai:

Friedrich:


(Notice that I didn’t cast any of the females because, um, I am only fantasizing MYSELF in those roles! I want these vampires all to myself! hehe)

My Goodreads review of The Red Lily is here.

My Goodreads review of The Black Lily is here.

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When You Fall in Love with a Man… in a Book

BOOK BOYFRIENDS.

One of the greatest gifts an author can bestow upon a reader. We all have them (or we should). These men are larger than life and have sprung from the pages right into our melting, fangirling hearts. They cause us to be more possessive than we ever would be in real life. Hey, it’s fantasy – it’s allowed!

SIGNS HE MIGHT BE A BOOK BOYFRIEND

1) You think about him even when you’re not reading.

2) When someone else says they love his character too, you get defensive.

3) You start looking for the perfect actor to play his part in the movie (even though there is no movie).

4) You start looking for the perfect actor to play his part in your mind because you have started writing scenes for the movie in your daydreams.

5) You re-read the book over and over and start skimming to his parts because they are the best ones.

My recommendation to those with friends who have the same book boyfriends: agree to a custody arrangement and then everyone wins! We all know that one person though, who steals them all and won’t share.

Not cool, buddy. Not cool.

I’m excited to present a list of my top book boyfriends. These characters have stayed with me over the years and if I could, I would marry them.

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Perhaps not exactly marriage material (but he is so much fun), I will start with Hugh d’Ambray from Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series. I like Hugh so much, I even made a meme. I have cast actor Henry Cavill as my version of Hugh.

“What is it you want from me, Hugh?”

“Short term, I’d like you to say my name with a please attached to it. I’d like to walk into Jester Park with you on my arm.”

 “Long term, I want to win. And I will win, Kate. You’ll put up a good fight, but eventually you’ll be sleeping in my bed and fighting with me back to back. We’ll be good together. I promise you.”

“What part of no don’t you understand?”

“The part where I don’t get what I want.” (Magic Breaks)

“You’re a survivor. Voron put you on the edge of that cliff again and again until he conditioned you to claw onto life. You’ll do whatever you have to do to survive, and I’m your only chance of getting out. At first you’ll balk, but with every passing hour my offer will look better and better. You’ll convince yourself that dying will accomplish nothing and you should at least go out with a bang. You’ll tell yourself that you’re accepting my offer just so you can stick that broken sword into my chest and feel it cut through my heart. Even if you die afterward, the fact that I’ll stop breathing makes your death mean something. So you’ll call me. And you’ll try to kill me. Except you’ve gone three days without food, and that body . . .” He tilted his head and looked me over slowly. “That body burns through calories like fire goes through gasoline. You’re running out of reserves. I can put you down with one hit.”

“You’re right about the sword. You broke mine. I owe you one.”

He tapped his naked chest over his heart. “This is the spot. Give it a shot, Kate. Let’s see what happens.” (Magic Breaks)

Magic Rises is one of my favorites in the series and it’s because of Hugh. That scene with him and Kate, fighting sword to sword… captivating. Hugh is a bit too villainy (and scary) for me in real life , but I find him compelling on paper. He’s even getting his own book. This makes me so happy!

Casey cast actor Luke Evans as her Hugh.

For more Hugh news, you can find him at the Ilona Andrews website!

ERIC NORTHMAN

I’m not sure I need to say more. To those aware of this sexy vampire, you will understand completely why he made my list.

“We could go back,” he said. In the dome light of the car, his face looked hard as stone. “We could go back to your house. I can stay with you always. We can know each other’s bodies in every way, night after night. I could love you.” His nostrils flared, and he looked suddenly proud. “I could work. You would not be poor. I would help you.”

“Sounds like a marriage,” I said, trying to lighten the atmosphere. But my voice was too shaky.

“Yes,” he said.” (Dead to the World)

“I hurt with you. I bled with you – not only because we’re bonded but because of the love I have for you. — Eric Northman” (Dead in the Family)

“Eric was holding my hands, and I was digging my nails into him like we were doing something else. He won’t mind, I though, as I realized I’d drawn blood. And sure enough, he didn’t. “Let go,” he advised me, and I loosened my grip on his hands. “No, not of me,” he said smiling. “You can hold on to me as long as you want.” (Club Dead)

“You’re lips are bloody.’ He seized my face in both hands and kissed me. (Living Dead in Dallas)

“How grateful are you?” he whispered, his mouth hovering over mine. His eyes were very alert now, and his gaze was boring into mine.

“That kind of ruins it, when you say something like that,” I said, trying to keep my voice gentle. “You shouldn’t want me to have sex with you just because I owe you.”

“I don’t really care why you have sex with me, as long as you do it,” he said, equally gently.” (Club Dead)

I mentioned Eric in my vampire blog recently, but the book where he got amnesia blew my mind. I can’t explain why I lurv him so much, but it may have something to do with the fact that I started watching True Blood before reading the books, so I always had this guy in mind:

JERICHO Z. BARRONS

The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning is one that absolutely changed my life. Reading those first five books was literally like a mystical experience for me. Barrons was the anti-anti hero, the type of character you only come across once in a lifetime. (Well, he is tied with Eric Northman for me).

“Some people bring out the worst in you, others bring out the best, and then there are those remarkably rare, addictive ones who just bring out the most. Of everything.

They make you feel so alive that you’d follow them straight into hell, just to keep getting your fix.”

“Unpredictable as a hungry lion, he might be feared by everyone else, but he never ripped out my throat, only licked me, and, if his tongue was a little rough sometimes, it was worth it to walk beside the king of the jungle.”

“He pulls me around and kisses me. “You’re Mac,” he says. “And I’m Jericho. And nothing else matters. Never will. You exist in a place that is beyond all rules for me. Do you understand that?”

WINTER MAKEPEACE

From the Maiden Lane series book, Thief of Shadows, by Elizabeth Hoyt. Who knew the quiet, conservative schoolmaster was such a devastating hunk under that reserved demeanor? Hubba hubba. I also loved the older woman/younger man trope.

“Somehow she knew he would take a love affair very seriously indeed. Once that pinpoint focus was engaged, he would throw himself body and soul into the liaison. In the the woman he decided to take as a lover.

A shiver ran through her at the thought. To be the object of such ferocious regard was an alluring prospect, but it also gave her pause.”

“Dear God, what she saw in that look! How he had hidden these many years behind the guise of a simple schoolmaster, she didn’t know. Anger, passion, lust, and surging hunger swirled in his stormy eyes. Emotions so stark, so strong, she didn’t understand how he kept them under control. He looked as if he were about to attack her, ravish her, and conquer London and the world itself. He could’ve been a warrior, a statesman, a king.”

I did not cast Winter but my review at Goodreads had tons of fangirling in it.

VALENTINE NAPIER

Another book boyfriend of mine is Duke of Sin’s Duke of Montgomery, also from the Maiden Lane series. I five-starred this book at Goodreads and couldn’t get enough of this devilish rogue.

She’d said she loved. Loved him. What a strange and wondrous thing. And how it hurt, this love! What pain it caused, like tiny knives in the veins. He didn’t think he liked it much, but he’d endure it, yes he would, if only she’d return and stab him again.

Val is dark and damaged, yet a charming rake written to perfection by Hoyt.

I could go on and on, but some of my choices would bleed into my recent vampire blog (haha did you see what I did there?), and I don’t want to be repetitive. But of course Harry from the Marnie Baranuik series and Bones and Ian from the Night Huntress series would also have spots on my list.

Both Abby and I have cast James Marsters as Bones. In book one, he has platinum blond hair and ever since then, it’s been Spike all the way…

And okay, this is how I picture Harry from the Marnie Baranuik files:

SWOON.

One more book boyfriend honorable mention: pretty much all of those hot, horned blue aliens from the Ice Planet Barbarians series by Ruby Dixon. Who are your favorite book boyfriends? Leave a comment below. This is a topic I never tire of. 🙂