Authors Showcase: Fantasy and Blood

The Book: Dark Deceit

The Author: Cathie Dunn

The Story: On his return from battle at Lincoln, Geoffrey de Mortagne, under-sheriff of Gloucester and spy for the Empress Matilda, assists a dying knight caught in an ambush. Promising to look after the welfare of the knight’s only daughter, Geoffrey stays at her manor, investigating the murder. Keen to join the Empress on her progress through England, he is torn between his oath and his duty.

Left to defend her manor following her father’s death, Alleyne de Bellac reluctantly accepts Geoffrey’s support. As she doesn’t trust the taciturn stranger, she asks Will d’Arques, an old friend, for help. But loyalties change. Her life in danger and her inheritance at stake, Alleyne must decide which man to trust.

Discover England and Normandy divided by a brutal civil war, where vows are broken as allegiances waver.

Review by Wordwonk: Layered with authentic detail that will delight any historian, Dark Deceit is a well-written tale of romance, intrigue and dastardly machinations. At its core is Lady Alleyne, a knight’s daughter. When her father is mysteriously murdered, she inherits his manor–but in uncertain times will she manage to keep it? Gallant Geoffrey steps in to offer his assistance, but despite her attraction to the under-sheriff, Alleyne is determined to seek help from an old flame, Will d’Arques.

As the first of a series, Dark Deceit sets up the conflict well. The backdrop of war-torn England and Normandy provides ample drama going forward. The ending of the novel breaks at a good spot, and lets the reader know the happy ending is only happy-for-now. I enjoyed watching Alleyne blunder her way to love. Equally satisfying was Geoffrey’s quest to set his own personal demons to rest. I’ll be looking for the next book in the series.

Review by Cait O’Sullivan: I love historicals and trust them to take me to a time long past. Cathie Dunne doesn’t disappoint, both in the setting of her novel and in her ability to transport me there. I allied quickly with Alleyne and was soon captivated by her and the choices she made throughout, watching her character grow stronger with each decision. The pace moves quickly and you’ll find yourself reading into the wee hours of the night! Great stuff, I loved it.

The Book: Vaempires: Zombie Rising

The Author: Thomas Winship

The Story: The tale of the Evolutionary War resumes in Væmpires: Zombie Rising.

Væmpires have taken control of twelve major cities. Their leader, Vielyn, seeks the atomic weapons that will bring the rest of the world to its knees.

Vampire forces are reeling. As Linq and Ray race to the royal estate to rendezvous with Cassandra and Daniel, the princess is captured and Daniel falls.

With the fate of world shifting to their teenage shoulders, Linq and Ray must deal with tremendous losses while battling a most unexpected—and undeadly—new foe.

Review by Jen McConnel: The latest installment in the Vaempires series doesn’t disappoint. Following Linq and Ray through the decimated city of Orion, this book happens almost simultaneously with the events in Vaempires: Revolution. The different perspective is fresh, and Linq’s POV engaged me much more than Daniel’s, the hero of the first two books in this action-packed series.

Linq’s a genius and Ray’s a well-trained warrior, but even they may not be any match for the strange Vaempires that threaten the world, especially when it becomes clear that the Vaempires just won’t stay dead. Overlaying the story of the two friends are gruesome snapshots of the fate of the spunky princess, Cassandra.

Winship has built a world of action, terror, and intrigue, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next! Be warned: this series is not for the squeamish or the faint of heart, but the heroes are flawed, the villains are chilling, and the futuristic view of our world is properly horrifying. A great, quick read!

Review by Robert Zimmermann: Vaempres: Zombie Rising is a great continuation of book 1 of the Evolutionary War series, Vaempires: Revolution. In that book, we follow Daniel the newly appointed acting-leader of the Vampires kingdom after a worldwide revolt by the Vaempires. He’s racing across the city of Orion in search of his friends and Princess Cassandra. Zombie Rising takes on the less seen view-point of Daniel’s best friends Linq and Ray.

For a majority of this novella the reader follow alongside Linq and Ray as they make their way toward their friend’s Daniel and Cassie who were last known to be at the royal palace. Along the way there is a large amount of action while the two teenage vampires battle occasional Vaempires. This was a welcomed element carrying over from Book 1. I loved the action, the fast paced reading, and was pleased to know I could fly through this one and not want to put it down.

Aside from straight up action, this novella has some slower paced moments, as well. I didn’t mind them at all. When following Daniel, the almost non-stop action fit his character’s personality of always moving forward toward the goal. When reading about Linq and Ray, there’s a slightly different feel. There’s more planning involved. There’s also a little less rush to get to the Palace due to slight lack of urgency.

It was also great meeting up with Cassie again briefly. The reader is able to see just how much of a bad a** she is and how quick thinking she is. All of the characters in Winship’s books have been great to get to know, not just Cassie.

With the surprises that occurred at the ending of this novella, even if this sounds obvious from the five-star rating, I can’t wait for the next installment. All I’ll allow myself to say about it is that I hope Thomas Winship is working on whatever title comes next….right now. I need to keep reading about the Evolutionary War.

 

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