Though you may not have won the giveaway, there is still a chance to get the series (normally $7.99) for the near unbeatable price of $2.99 for TODAY only on Amazon.com. Get it as a gift for the holidays or get it for yourself! It’s a wonderful series!
Hi everyone! This giveaway has been particularly exciting as we’re giving away THREE books to TWO awesome Your Urban Fantasy followers by the ONE and only Caroline Hanson. But now the time has come to select our winners! As always, I want to thank all of you for participating. If you posted in the comment section of the announcement thread, you were entered for a chance (or multiple chances for those following the blog multiple ways) to win. And the winners are:
Please check your emails, ladies! Hope you enjoy! Thank you everyone for the continued support and I look forward to the next giveaway, and of course there’s more on the way!
Love is Mortal Review
Betrayal and redemption are the primary themes in Love is Mortal, book 3 in the Valerie Dearborn series. It also completes the story arc of Valerie and Lucas. Stuck in the land of the Fey, Valerie is desperate to get out of Cerdwellyn’s clutches. Her powers as an empath, while useful, are not enough and she’ll have to work with Lucas if they have any hope of freedom. But can she trust him after his betrayal?
I have enjoyed this series quite a bit so it was sad to see this come to the end, though this book was a fitting way to conclude their story. There’s a lot of character development, particularly on Lucas’s end. After the devastating revelations in Love is Fear, there was a lot of rebuilding to be done when it came to Lucas and Valerie’s relationship and not a lot of time to do it. The work around was effective.
There wasn’t as much action this time around as Val and Lucas spend a great deal of time captive. It’s more of a psychological game. The the start was a little on the slow side for me because of this, but it does hit its stride and doesn’t really stop until it’s over.
Even though this doesn’t leave on a cliffhanger, there are a lot of questions still left when it comes to the land of the Fey and Cerdwellyn’s past and future, as well as Jack and Rachel, so thankfully we’re not completely finished with Valerie Dearborn world. It’s a fabulous series and I still want more.
*ARC provided by the author.
I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Caroline Hanson, author of the fantastic Valerie Dearborn novels. With the third and final book (for this arc at least) now released, Ms. Hanson and I thought it’d be a great opportunity to hold a giveaway as well! But before that I had a few questions for our guest of honor.
1. Could you tell us a little about yourself? Where did you grow up and how did you come to love the Urban Fantasy and Paranormal genre?
I grew up in Fresno, California which is not particularly exciting. The most famous person to come out of our school is Kevin Federline– what’s that tell ya? I’m an only child and had strict parents so I spent a lot of time in my room reading. I moved to England at 20 which should also tell you something about me– halfway around the world from Fresno. Lol.
I loved Anne Rice and Depeche Mode as well as The Cure during high school and always liked paranormal books. But it was reading Laurell K Hamilton several years ago that started me on my urban fantasy obsession.
2. Can you share a little bit of your process with creating the Valerie Dearborn novels? Did you have a three initial books in mind, or were you initially planning one book and then your ideas expanded?
Valerie Dearborn actually came to me as a fairly full-fledged idea and was in response to what I had been reading. I did not like how action-based or mythology-based urban fantasy had become. Very external plot driver whereas Hamilton or even Meyer are all internal plot. I love internal conflict and building external problems to reflect the character’s internal bullshit. Joss Whedon is the master of that type of storytelling.
I also really don’t like the way vampires have been glamorized. That they have become all PC and nice. WTF? They’re killers! Very smart, very manipulative and very beautiful killers. That is what I find fascinating about vampires.
As for heroines, with the exception of Bella, they are usually very kick ass. I don’t relate to that. If a vampire was going to attack me I would probably huddle up in a ball and wait for the end. I wanted to read a story about a normal girl who gets dragged into the vampire stuff against her will. I think Valerie is relatable and that’s what has resonated with people. Or Lucas. Either way they like the books.
3. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Ugh. That’s tough and my answer isn’t very nice. I think in order to be successful, you have to be a little insecure with your writing. I’m an attorney (have you noticed how many successful writers are attorneys?) and I was terrible at law school. My law school was proud of the fact that they would tear us down and try to rebuild us. To succeed in writing one must be comfortable with being torn down. You will be told your writing blows. That’s just a fact. But successful writers take that criticism and look for the truth in it, even when what they want to say is ‘Go f*ck yourself!’ If you can’t cut your favorite scene or cut out thousands of words and start over again, you probably won’t be successful. And that sucks.
4. Do you have any favorite authors who have inspired you?
Well, as I said a little bit above it would be Laurell K Hamilton and Anne Rice. But I also love Laura Kinsale and Loretta Chase. I met Loretta Chase this last year and went up to her, wanting to tell her how much I loved her stories but I got all teary-eyed and had to leave because I was gonna cry. It was a little bizarre to have such a fan girl reaction.
5.What can we look for next for your future works and the Valerie Dearborn world and other future works?
You know, I’m not sure what’s next. I’ve written three books, two novellas, two short stories and a couple of other random things in the last two years and I like to think that I am now going to take a break. But writers write and I still have to tell Cerdwellyn’s story. Jack and Rachel’s stories are not complete and I have Molly. In my mind, I think I know what that story is. Or at least part of it, but that may change. I really have to let that percolate, because I know people want Valerie and Lucas in there too and right now I’m not sure they have enough conflict to be very interesting in that book. So the next to Valerie book is going to take a while.
I’m working on a few new things, the first of which is a book called A Lady Out of Time and the heroine is a tough girl. She is a soldier who goes back in time to England and meets a very stuffy duke. I’ve read a lot of historicals and am so sick of the virginal, weak heroine that I really want to write something different.
My other series is called Incendia which means to ‘set alight.’ It’s urban fantasy and different than a lot of the things I have seen. I think this is the series that will make the Lucas fans happy. I think they’ll fall in love with Alexander. It will be very emotionally based, have a love triangle, and both men are pretty flawed. It’s got a Roman feel to it but is modern. Mainly.
Thank you again to Ms. Hanson and we look forward to what you’ve got next!
With Your Urban Fantasy Ms. Hanson is holding a giveaway for TWO winners to receive the complete trilogy of this series. It’s perfect for those of you who are new to the series, or for those who still want a chance to read the final book. It’s a win win!
I am collecting entries through Saturday, December 8th. I will announce the winner the next day.
How to Enter (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY): My giveaways are only open to followers of Your Urban Fantasy who are 18 years of age or older. In order to enter YOU MUST COMMENT ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT POST! If you’re a new member, sign up on the right panel to follow my blog via email and/or Twitter. (Make sure you check your email to confirm your subscription. You should receive a notification immediately, so check your spam folder if you don’t see it right away). Current followers can just say so in their post and your entry will be added. Overall, there are up to 3 chances to win:
- Follow this blog via email (THIS IS REQUIRED)
- Follow me on Twitter (bonus entry)
- “Like” Your Urban Fantasy on Facebook (bonus entry)
While I do appreciate RSS subscribers, I cannot confirm your status as a follower so your entry will not count (sorry!); however, you are welcome to sign up by email and Twitter or Facebook. Good luck!
Epic doesn’t even begin to describe Kingmakers, the final novel of the Vampire Empire trilogy. Each installment is better than the last; Susan and Clay Griffith have done an amazing job at building momentum to this moment and it really doesn’t disappoint.
Adele leads the war against vampires to the north and Gareth is getting first hand experience with the it, fighting for Adele in the front lines of battle. But the vampires are formidable opponents and have gained the upper hand, quickly bringing the humans to their knees. Something must be done and Adele’s geomancy powers may be the ace in the hole that the human race needs to win once and for all.
The last novel is jam packed with story, but there’s a lot of action so it gets going much faster than its predecessors. Politics, betrayal, and new revelations are key to Adele and Gareth’s development. They are the heart of this saga after all. But with their seemingly impossible love, can the heart still beat?
Adele has matured wonderfully over the novels and she’s become really admirable. I liked seeing her in a major position of power, strategizing and making difficult decisions that challenge morality. It’s a nice departure from other urban fantasy novels where the heroines start at the bottom and have to work their way up. She’s on a slippery slope as she tries to control her geomancy powers, which may be dangerous to more than solely vampires.
Gareth is as wonderful as always with his selflessness. He’s even adorable at times as he still tries to fully understand human customs and history. His light moments with Adele really gave me the case of the warm fuzzies, if only because it feels so fleeting as the pull of his vampire heritage requires that he finally face his brother once and for all. That, and her powers seriously conflict with his entire being on a biological level beyond their control.
This book has pretty much everything you could ask for and you’ll experience practically every emotion while reading it. The ending is very powerful, enough that you may want to have kleenex on hand, but I won’t spoil it any further. My only complaint is that I want more. I love this world and I’m sad to see it end; though unfortunately that must happen to all good things…
Well done to the Griffiths on their fantastic work! This is definitely one of my favorite trilogies ever.
*ARC provided by the publisher
Did I spaz like a teenybopper at a Justin Bieber concert when I saw this? Maybe just a smidgen. I SO can’t wait to get my paws on this! If there’s anything I regret most with this series, it’s that I didn’t wait for all books to be released when I started it.
Anyway, the cover looks fantastic! Adele looks badass, too! This is probably my favorite cover with her. I liked his pose more on the second one. But I like the background the best here with the vampires. Looks scary!
To tie in (in part) with Your Urban Fantasy’s 10,000 views celebration, Caroline Hanson is offering her Valerie Dearborne novel “Love is Darkness” for FREE today and tomorrow through Amazon. If you didn’t get a chance to nab it soon after my review, here’s another chance! I really enjoy this series and I’m definitely looking forward to book 3! Thanks again to all of you guys and thank you, Ms. Hanson, for this offer!
The Rift Walker (Book 2 in the Vampire Empire series) takes place a number of months after first book, The Greyfriar. Adele is trying her best to stall her wedding, and in turn stall the impending war against the vampires, which would come at a much higher price than Adele is willing to pay. Lucky for her she has Greyfriar who returns to her side, putting us on pace for another swashbuckling adventure, and then some. They are on the run with her nation, her husband-to-be are on their trail, leaving her home vulnerable to enemy vampires’ advances.
Over the course of this novel Adele’s powers of geomancy are increasing to an end that no one can predict. Her love, The Greyfriar, is determined to stay by her side anyway, even if it’s to his own detriment, and the loyalties of a choice few in her court are tested as they also stand with the princess through much adversity.
First off, the model for the covers of these books totally reminds me of Mitchell the vampire on BBC’s Being Human, played by actor Aidan Turner.
I figured this was a good pic to use since the costuming is fairly close, though that’s from a photoshoot for The Hobbit.
As for the story, there was a lot of ground covered in this book with many significant developments. I was told that I should wait for the 3rd and final book to be released before reading this series; I though I’d be fine. But I’ve become quite attached to the characters and this world now. I am anxious to see how this saga ends so I sort of wish I heeded that advice.
Adele and Greyfriar’s love seems more and more impossible by the page but they are still fighting hard for each other and that’s really admirable to me. I just have a bad feeling about it, even though I want to be as hopeful as the two characters seem to be.
I still love Adele and Greyfriar the most, but her cat, Pet, is certainly up there. Their moments are super adorable with the little fur ball and (along with Adele and The Greyfriar’s moments) I admit it gave me the warm fuzzies.
Unlike the first book where it took the 50% mark to get me hooked, this book got going around the 33% mark, though the beginning is still fairly slow. At this point slow starts can be considered a pattern for this series.
Like the first book there is a blend of action, world building, and character development that really rounds out the story. It’s all well done, despite the boring politics. I really look forward to September, or maybe earlier if I’m lucky enough to nab an ARC. This series is a gem and it’s quickly become a favorite of mine. I read this in a day and I implement a 5-star policy for any full-length novel that can keep me engaged enough to read it that quickly. I suspect when the third and final book is released, it will be the same.
The Greyfriar (Book 1 in the Vampire Empire Trilogy) was my first proper introduction to the steampunk genre. In this bold alternate universe authored by husband and wife team Susan and Clay Griffith, vampires are vicious, powerful, and wisely feared by the human population. 150 years ago, vampires and altered the course of history as they emerged and destroyed much of human civilization toward northern territories, forcing survivors to move south. But humans are resilient beings and with time they become determined to fight back and restore their glory.
Part of that fight includes Princess Adele of Alexandria, a young lady poised to marry American Senator Clark in a political move that will unite their people and allow a full scale war against their fanged enemies. All goes according to plan until Adele is captured by the enemy and held prisoner in the northern lands. All hope seems lost, but there is The Greyfriar, a mysterious and legendary masked warrior that’s able to take on the vampires and win. He aides Adele, helping to keep her alive in this hostile territory.
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I will say that the beginning started out really great and action-packed, but then it hits a bit of a slump for me becoming riddled with politics and side characters that I know are important, but I found myself not caring about it very much. In short, I was bored for a good deal of time. I liked Adele and Greyfriar’s point of view and wanted more of that, so I was considering giving up on the book until it hit the 50% mark. After that I was really hooked and finished the book being really happy that the second book was available.
There is a lot of world building, but it’s really pretty fascinating as it incorporates airships, special weapons, and even a unique sense of wardrobe which really drives home that steampunk feel.
Adele makes mistakes, but overall for me she was a likable heroine. She is not the same person by the end of this book as she was in the beginning, so it was a satisfying evolution that promises even more as this trilogy unfolds.
I want to say a lot about the Greyfriar, but I found a pleasant surprise as I read the book, though I will not spoil it in this review. All I will say is that his character also experiences significant evolution. He was probably my favorite character. It’s nice when the title character can accomplish that, especially for me because I’m usually the type of reader who often follows a series for the sake of the side characters.
There’s a lot of action, a real sense of adventure, and a building romance that really make this book a success. I wasn’t expecting to become attached to these characters, but by the end I found myself completely invested in what would happen next. The book isn’t perfect, but I finished reading it being really glad that I invested in it.
“He was on the ground, unmoving, bloody ropes of intestine surrounding him. He needs those, she thought stupidly and rushed to him, trying to stuff them back into his stomach.”
In the latest Valerie Dearborn novel by Caroline Hanson, Love is Fear, we’re finally delving into the supernatural world that we merely heard about in the first book. The playing field evens out as Lucas, Rachel, Valerie, and Jack are thrust into the land of the Fey where vampires are even more vulnerable. This is actually Lucas’s plan as he desires to bring them back and restore balance because he feels that vampires have become too powerful. Of course, there’s the small issue of him being responsible for their near extinction and current dormancy in the first place, so they likely won’t be chummy with him upon their return. Not to mention the amount of tension that’s bound to flare up among our 4 “heroes” all trying to work together without killing one another. That proves to be a difficult enough task in itself.
Book 2 is even better than the first one. Valerie starts to come into her own a bit more as an empath—the defacto mediator between supernatural creatures—and I must admit that I quite enjoyed the power play between her and Lucas, especially since it is a part of her nature. Their relationship goes from hot to scorching!
There are a lot of huge developments that make this installment a must-not-miss. Everything is turned upside down as character dynamics drastically shift and secrets are revealed. I don’t know whether I should he happy that Hanson didn’t waste a lot of time getting to the good stuff or upset because we didn’t get more settled into the the former way of things.
Shippers, start your engines! Somebody somewhere determined that love triangles and quadrangles and polygons are a must-have for urban fantasy books and Hanson is certainly following suit, much to my personal chagrin. But I am enjoying the series so much that I will muddle through it…somehow…someway… Alls I know is that I’m Team Lucas. 9 times out of 10 I side with the vamps when it’s a viable option (the exceptions being The Hollows and maybe the Cassie Palmer series). Of course, that shouldn’t be very surprising when you see my username. All of her suitors (yes, it is now “all” instead of “both”) have their a-hole ways, so I’ll settle on the one with the most chemistry. It’s only the second book after all and it’s very obvious that the author as a lot more in store for Valerie Dearborn’s world. I am expecting that to include a lot of evolution and character growth.
I was hoping that with a slightly higher price tag of $3.99 the author would fix the spelling, formatting and grammar errors, but they are just as rampant as they were in the first book. I guess they won’t be fixed until the books are printed.
Errors aside, while we only get a taste of the new (though traditional) supernatural beings that will be thrown into the fray, it still makes for a satisfying read. Like the first one, expect plenty of action, plenty of smut (which one could argue is its own kind of action), and—most importantly—plenty of laughs with a good story somewhere in between. Along with the likes of The Hollows and Kate Daniels, this is definitely a quotable series! I have high hopes for Book 3 which I hope will be released later this year. You’ll know when I know!