The Emerald Lily by Juliette Cross


  1. The Black Lily: ★★★★★
  2. The Red Lily: ★★★★★
  3. The White Lily: ★★★★

Thank you Netgalley and publisher (and author!) for providing a digital copy of this book to read and review!

This is the final book in the Vampire Blood series by Juliette Cross. It is about Princess Vilhelmina (Mina) and Mikhail Romanov, captain of the Bloodguard. It’s a vampire re-telling of Sleeping Beauty. Mikhail awakens Mina with a Blood Kiss after she had been cruelly placed in a coma by Queen Mordrid and her son, King Dominik, until the time when she would be forced to wed him.

Once awakened, Mina has no intention of being wed to the evil king and finds herself falling in love with the captain instead. Mikhail’s duty is to keep the princess safe and bring her to the Black Lily, the resistance against Queen Mordrid’s tyranny.

I won’t go into the rest of the details, since…spoilers! And plus, the book is not released yet, but will be on Monday, January 29, 2018! If you’re a fan of fantasy romance and like your man-pires hot, steamy, and REALLY into pleasuring their mates, this is the series for you!

The author didn’t waste time bringing on the “steam” in this one (which is fine by me). I really liked that the shy, docile princess from the previous books was nowhere to be found. Mikhail’s Blood Kiss got her all fired up, in more ways than one. She knew what she wanted and went after him (and her kingdom)! Just how I like my heroines.

Mikhail was super-hot and you will be surprised at the secrets uncovered by the end. We got to see the couples from the previous books with the Black Lily all coming together to kick ass.

Yay for sexy vampires! Maybe one day we will see more adventures from this world (hopefully).







“Vampire Night Bus Pounds My Butt” by Chuck Tingle


I read this as part of the MacHalo group’s little Halloween buddy smut challenge.

Some buses are sentient in the Tinglerverse. Vlad is one of these buses and is technically Bus 13.

“These living vehicles are rare but not unheard of, and my scoffing at one could be seen by some as racially insensitive.”

But there is something a little extra-different about Bus 13. Not only is it a “living bus,” but… dun dun dunnnn!!!!

It’s a vampire bus.

Our hero, Rick, of course ends up on Vlad (in more ways than one!) and he is your typical vampire bus: Eastern European accent, “incredibly handsome in a dark and brooding kind of way,” with a “muscular chest” and abs.

Vlad “takes the long route” and they go for a scenic drive, where Rick gets a woody because he can’t resist “the strange charisma of this handsome city vehicle.”

Vlad takes him back to his castle where he proceeds to make all of his “darkest fantasies come true.”

Guess what Vlad drinks instead of blood? Guess…

So, Vlad’s peen is inside the bus. Of course, this is another “gay for you” story with Rick never having been with another man before Vlad.

Can’t you imagine the accent as Vlad says: “How do you like that vampire bus c**k?”

“Oh my dark lord of the night!” Rick says. LOL

The ending is great! Rick is afraid Vlad is going to make him a bat, and he doesn’t. He makes him a living bus instead! hahaha

That wraps up this short little Freaky Friday edition. I never get tired of Tingle’s “living object” stories. hehe. Until next time, stay freaky.


Halloween Scary Movies – Cult Classic Style!

The wonderfully awesome Abby recently posted a blog called Top 10 Tuesday: Halloween Movies for the Faint of Heart. So I decided I just had to post my own version, but cult classic style. These movies are at times gross, cheesy, maybe a little scary still, and 100% classics! They are not literally Halloween movies, but a fun list to watch during this month and any other if you can stomach watching horror movies that might not have aged so well (and some that have). Some are more obscure than others. But all, in my view, are worthy to land a spot on any Best Of list like mine.

10. Parents


This is a quirky horror film that slices up a chunk of meat long pig style. I haven’t watched it in ages, but remember it being creepy and gross, yet wildly entertaining. It’s out there and very over the top.

9. Motel Hell


Here is another movie I haven’t watched in forever, but this movie seriously creeped me out. That garden scene, though. Another gross, over the top cult classic. You should watch it if you haven’t already. These two are real pieces of shit work.

8. Children of the Corn


One look at that face still gives me nightmares. I remember being so freaked out by this movie. Truly scary. “Outlander!”

7. Nightmare on Elm St.


I remember being so scared of this movie when I was younger that I was afraid to go to the bathroom by myself. Now, it seems campy, but at the time, this was Grade-A, top shelf horror, folks! lol. Remember Johnny Depp’s role when he gets sucked through the bed?

6. Hellraiser


Another seriously scary movie for me. Pinhead was so creepy. Even though it was scary, there was something really unique and mesmerizing about it, in my view.

5. Nightbreed


Another Clive Barker movie that I loved. Again, it was creative and weird and strangely compelling. For a horror movie. I highly recommend this one.

4. Scream


This movie sort of changed everything. It was a mashup of all the horror tropes and starred like every single “hot” actor/actress of the moment. The story was good, it was funny, tongue in cheek, and just checked all the boxes.

3. Evil Dead 2


One of the best. I kind of pretend the first movie never happened because this one was so good. (Although the first one terrified me as a teen.) Bruce Campbell just owns this like a boss. I love him. Making chainsaw hands look like they could be a cool accessory for any time of the year.

2. Fright Night


This movie was a huge influence in my life and I even mentioned it in a previous blog, For the Love of Vampires! Chris Sarandon was so swoon-worthy as bad guy vampire, Jerry Dandridge. He was one of my first hardcore teen crushes. I mean, you can’t see it here from the gif, but I thought he was attractive, anyway. LOL

1. Lost Boys


This was the first rated-R movie I saw in the theater. It changed my life. I crushed hardcore on every single actor in the movie! Kiefer Sutherland as villainous David, Jason Patric as Michael and even Corey Haim, the younger brother who has to  enlist Corey Feldman to help save his big brother. It’s just one of my all-time favorites and even had a good soundtrack!

Honorable mentions: Near Dark (another vampire movie, are you surprised), Maximum Overdrive, Event Horizon, and They Live.

Okay, that is my list. I noticed most of these are from the 80s, and that was when music and film really started to influence me (yes, I’m old). So I guess it makes sense that my choices would be from that time period. Have you seen any of these? Which are your favorites? Which would you like to see?

Until next time!


Mission: Improper (London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy) ★★★★☆


Y’all, this book was the perfect palate cleanser! Mission:Improper was my first Bec McMaster’s book, but it certainly won’t be my last. I have a feeling I’m going to be a big fan.

There’s mystery, there’s mayhem, there’s blood, and (of course) there’s a romance featuring a blue-blood (think vampire-lite) and a verwulfen (think werewolf-lite). Apparently, these two met a year before (in the original series-this is a spin-off) and have had it in for each other ever since.  Like bad. And I don’t necessarily mean in the I-hate-you-I-wish-you-would-die-a-million-deaths-each-more-horrible-than-the-last kind of way either. More like I-hate-you-and-I-want-you-naked-in-my-bed-so-you-can-pleasure-me-in-a-million-different-ways-each-more-orgasmic-than-the-last. You know what I’m talking about.

Image result for sexual tension klaus

Yeah, I love the whole “enemies to lovers” trope. When it’s done right, it gets me right in the feels. This situation makes a play at that angle, but it never quite got the whole “enemy” part down. We’re told a bunch of times that the MC blue-blood Caleb “Byrnes” is cold, aloof, and lacking a heart, but it doesn’t really come across on page that way to me. He always seems pretty damn passionate about everything, especially when it comes to Ingrid, our female verwulfen lead. 

Klaus & Caroline wallpaper titled thick sexual tension you can cut with a butter knife

(Yes, I know Klaus and Caroline are both technically vampires, but their chemistry is undeniable. Klaroline forever.)

And speaking of Ingrid, I really liked her. That doesn’t happen often for me with female leads, but Ingrid pulls it off. She was pretty fierce and was never one to back away from a fight. Of course, because she never backed away from a confrontation she had to be rescued by our main guy quite a few times. Insert mild eye roll here.

Image result for eyeroll gif vampire diaries

I know I’ve played up the romance part, but McMaster’s does a great job balancing romance with all the other delicious action and intrigue. And there’s a surprising amount to be found here, folks. On top of that, there’s a whole slew of characters that we get to meet. Many are from the main series, I’m sure, as they feel like old friends, but there are others whose stories have yet to be told. Like right now, I’m super interested in Gemma and Obsidian. I need to know what’s going on there. Need. To. Know. I guess I’m hooked. Well played. 

Image result for nod gif vampire diaries

So here’s the main drawback: even though the description says it’s the first in a series, you basically get dropped into the middle of a lot of shit going on with a lot of people you have no idea about. Even with that going against it, by the end of the book I was able to get a good feel for the backstories of the previous players and get kinda sorta caught up on the current political atmosphere. I’m not saying you can’t start with this book, because I totally did, but I think it’s probably beneficial to start with her London Steampunk series first.

I know this is a really vague review. In fact, it’s less of a review and more of a statement of feels than anything else, but that’s pretty much how I related to it. It was just a lot of fun to read and it made me happy to do it.

Image result for smile gif vampire diaries

There’s a lot out to choose from in this genre, or at least a lot in a variation of HR/PNR/Steampunk, but I think this series is totally worth the time. I was never bored and was genuinely interested in all of the characters and their stories. I’m 100% on-board with reading the next book, and, in the meantime, plan to catch up on the original series, too. It was just that good.

Sam Says (1)

Stay-tuned for more reviews from this series!

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…


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:







About Juliette Cross:


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.

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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):




(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.



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


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!


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.


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!


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:


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?”


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.


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:


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. 🙂