Vessel Trilogy- Juliette Cross (Forged in Fire)

The Vessel Trilogy Banner 851 x 315

Forged in Fire Review:

“Forged in Fire” is the first book in one of my favorite romance series. The premise is unique, well-constructed, and captivating.

The Story-
On Genevieve’s twentieth birthday, she begins to encounter some strange things. There is more to meet the eye than she knows, and sexy Jude will be the one to introduce her to a world she never knew existed.

My Thoughts-
The world-building in this book is top-notch, and I was immediately drawn into the story. Jude is one of my favorite heroes ever. I do not say that lightly. Genevieve starts a bit young, but grows throughout, as she is meant to. Secondary characters are well-developed and flesh out the world and story. This is an extremely smartly written book, and you should pay attention to everything. The story builds throughout the trilogy with amazing payoffs.

The Bottom Line-
This book and series are not typical. They build and connect like an excellent tv show. This is not a fluffy romance that is solved in one book, then we move on to another couple. Although I love those, I am so glad books and series like this exist where I can immerse myself in a world and mystery and see a romance grow. This entire series is totally a must, and this book is a great intro to this wild ride!

Sealed in Sin Review-

Sealed in Sin is the second book in the Vessel Trilogy, and I suggest strongly that you read these in order. The first book is a great introduction to the world and the characters. This one is where things get twisty, the characters get more complex, and the pace starts flying. I seriously read this one as fast as I possibly could, and I happened to be on vacation in France at the time. Yep, I took time away from my gorgeous vacation in France to race through this book. I actually finished this under an old windmill by a stream, but I digress… The point is, this book brings the series to epic territory.

My Thoughts-
I’m skipping the story part of this review because I don’t want to give away any spoilers. If you are stumbling upon this review without having read the first book, you need to know: there are angels, there are demons: think Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, but not quite as dark and hopeless.
The best part of this book is the surprises and secrets which are uncovered as well as the growth of the characters. The heat factor is also raised in this book, and it has one of my fave sexual tension scenes in any book which made me feel like it was written specifically for me because I am such a musical theater geek. Yes, The Phantom of the Opera is hot. Ok, see? I can’t continue without giving away major plot points, but I will say that if you have no desire to immediately read book 3 upon completion of book 2, I worry for your soul.

Bottom Line-
Step 1: Buy all 3 for .99 each right now!
Step 2: Read book 1
Step 3: You will figure out the rest, but don’t forget to eat and sleep.

Amazon US –
Forged in Fire –
Sealed in Sin –
Bound in Black – (less)

Bound in Black- Review

Bound in Black is the third book in Cross’s Vessel Trilogy and is an extremely fitting end to this amazing series. I recommend reading this series in order as there are many references and plot twists that payoff throughout this book. I liken it to the same feeling you get when you read the final Harry Potter book.

The Story-
I’m not going to give away too much, but Genevieve has been through quite a journey since book 1, and this book is where the entire battle between good and evil comes to a head. And it is thrilling!

My Thoughts-
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this series. The hero is one of my absolute favorite hero in any romance ever. I can’t exactly explain why, but he is perfectly written for my tastes: dark and brooding, but sarcastic, yet protective, hot as hell… yum. The twists and reveals of this book are so juicy that I found myself just smiling broadly or exclaiming “oh man! I can’t believe she brought THAT back in!” Yes, it’s that kind of book. So much fun to read, and you are sad when it’s over.

Bottom Line-
If you are, indeed, sad when it’s over, know that Ms. Cross just signed a contract for a spin-off series which follows other characters from the Vessel Trilogy. I am so excited that there is more to come in this world, and I cannot wait to read it! 5 stars

Sexy couple in jacket hugging each other

“The Red Lily” Blog Tour and Review- Juliette Cross


Review- 5 Stars

This is the second book in the Vampire Blood series by Juliette Cross, which is an imaginative spin on fairytales with the best vampire mythology I’ve read in years. Book 1 was a Cinderella retelling setting the scene for a peasant rebellion against the vampire monarchy. This one is Red Riding Hood like you never imagined with the sexy Alpha vampire of your dreams. (Think Eric from True Blood with a tad more smolder and less sarcasm) It continues the story brilliantly and raises the stakes (haha) in ways that you can’t imagine.

The Story-
Sienna has never strayed far from the Sylvane Forest; she finds comfort in her mystical surroundings and the giant hart wolves that protect her. Now, she must venture out to help build a following for the rebellion that is the only hope for the kingdom. Nikolai is risking everything to join the rebellion, but this assignment is putting his heart in danger for the first time.

My Thoughts-
My favorite vampires are the ones that are a little bad, a little snarky and a LOT sexy: Eric from True Blood, Damon from Vampire Diaries, Spike from Buffy. Nikolai is all the smolder and the sexy of those guys without the psychopathic killer thing. The best thing about him, though, is how all-in he is with Sienna. He is completely drawn to her innocence, her kindness, her everything. Their journey is all the feels. This book raises the heat level from book 1 in the series with some super sexy times. And WARNING: Cross will rip your heart out and stomp on it a bit.

The Bottom Line-
Cross does a great job of deepening the rich mythology of this world without overwhelming you with backstory. You should read the first book in this series, but Nik and Sienna’s story is compelling on its own. The series progresses in a major way with this book, and you will be so ready for the next book when you finish. It’s not a cliff-hanger; it just heats the story up in a way that captivates and makes you want to immerse yourself in this world to learn all its secrets. If you like fairytales, paranormal, alpha vampire heroes, and/or bad-ass heroines, you should totally read this book and series. 5 stars

Enter Juliette’s Giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

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The Red Lily by Juliette Cross

Release Date: 6/19/17

Genre: Paranormal Romance

About The Red Lily:

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.

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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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Claim and Protect- Rhenna Morgan


The main reason I am not the biggest fan of contemporaries is because real life creeps in, and I read for escape. Well, somehow Morgan has won me over to her style of contemporary romance by making the men so amazing, you wish you met them in real life. Book 3 of The Haven Brotherhood not only holds up the crazy high bar set by the first two in the series, but even surpasses the previous ones. The reason? This hero, y’all.

The Story-
Trevor runs a bar, and when his new employee, Natalie, runs into some trouble with her ex, his protective instinct kicks in.

My Thoughts-
Normally, I’m not a huge fan of divorce politics in my romance, but this ex is so yuck, and Trevor is so yum that I thoroughly enjoyed the story. And all the stuff with her little boy and Trevor…swoon. Trevor is just the perfect southern gentleman cowboy with all kinds of sexiness and Alpha simmering under the surface. Natalie is extremely sympathetic and likable, and it is so nice to see her get her happy ending. Can we talk about the sex? OMG. I honestly don’t know how Ms. Morgan does it. Actually, Rhenna, I feel like we should be on a first name basis after reading your sexy scenes. Rhenna, how do you come up with new ways to raise the heat level without ever crossing the line into uncomfortable territory?

The Bottom Line-
Read this book. Read the whole series. These are IMO the best contemporary romance books out there right now, and I believe they will be winning some awards. 5 stars

Her Unexpected Engagement- Kyra Jacobs


“Her Unexpected Engagement” is the second book in the Checkerberry Inn series by Kyra Jacobs. I read the first one and enjoyed it, so I was more than ready for this book.  The Checkerberry Inn is the perfect backdrop for romance; it’s like a Hallmark movie with a touch of extra spiciness.  Like a cup of warm cider with just a splash of bourbon.

The Story-

Stephanie has had a crap time of it.  Her jerk ex-husband is a famous golfer who cheated on her in a very public way, which has made her suspicious, self-conscious, and defeated.  When a chance at a great new job and new start presents itself, she doesn’t expect to come face to face with her almost past. Miles has been spinning his wheels while everyone else’s lives seem to be sprinting by.  He wants a new shot at being his own man, but when Stephanie comes back to town, he must decide what that change will be.

My Thoughts-

While not earth-shattering, this story feels very real.  I identified with Stephanie and loved seeing her regain her confidence.  Miles is the kind of “hero” that almost any gal could see themselves settling down with: kind, funny, adores you, and helps make you a stronger, better person.  I loved their relationship and really felt like the history justified how it develops.  I would have liked to see more from the secondary characters, particularly the ones we met in the original Checkerberry novel, but when they were there, they brought a nice depth to the story.  I also could have used even more description of the scenery and the inn.  As someone who is enduring the longest summer of my life in southern Louisiana, a beautiful B&B in Michigan sounds like a slice of heaven.

The Good-

Like I said, Miles is wonderful.  He’s the hot “guy next door” that we wish we actually lived next door to.  Stephanie’s journey and progression was compelling, and I loved the outcome at the party.  Everyone wants that moment in their lives. The Checkerberry Inn is a great backdrop, especially for people who love quaint and comfy settings. (Like me)

The Bottom Line-

I enjoyed this read. It was relaxing and happy and comforting: all the things I look for when I pick up a Bliss novel.  At the same time, it deals with some very real issues in a very satisfying way. I will definitely be reading the next books in this series! 4 stars

In Touch- C.D. Brennan


“In Touch” is the first book in C.D. Brennan’s Play On series, and it was my first sports romance book.  Since rugby has always been a slight fascination of mine because of the large Scotsmen that play, this rugby-focused book was a great choice.

The Story-

Padraig is a professional rugby player, but after getting addicted to oxy, his career has taken a bit of a detour from the Irish National League to a podunk team in Michigan.  Gillian is a holistic physical therapist who is volunteering her time at the local rugby club to get some professional experience.  She knows that working with this particular club will be challenging because she must convert the boys to her methods while facing old demons.

My Thoughts-

This is one of the hardest reviews I’ve written, and it’s not because I didn’t like the book. About halfway through the book, I was thinking “wow, I LOVE sports-themed books! This is hot!” I identified with the main character, and I love that the hero is a sexy, Irish rugby player.  The writing is top-notch; the sex is great. So, why the difficulty? I think it lies in that I really wasn’t sure if Padraig convinced me that he was a good guy.  The other issue is that stuff with the addiction was very real and very serious. As it should be. But, am I prepared to read about it when I pick up a romance? Not sure.

The Good-

The rugby backdrop is so well done and really set this book apart from other sports-themed romance.  The characters are very complex and fully formed; I loved Gillian and felt like she was part me, part many of my friends.  Padraig is so hot and, were he a real person, would certainly be worth a tumble.  (Is he real? Can I have a picture?) The plot is character driven in the very best way, and the writing is excellent.

The Bottom Line-

This is not a breezy read; it is more serious, but satisfying.  I felt like I was reading about real people with real problems, not a Hallmark movie couple.  I will be reading other books by this author in the future, and hope that they will check in on this couple to ease my curiosity. 4 stars

Coffee, wine and…books?


What do coffee and wine have to do with books? Well, in my world they each represent one thing: comfort. I love nothing more than to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. If it is fall, smells like pumpkin, and I am wearing my fuzzy socks, all the better. I realize that I am a walking cliche with my scented candles and books about hot Scots, but I figured that I might as well embrace it.

This blog will be my happy place to write about those things that center me after a long day at work. The main focus will be reviews of books of the romance variety (I love historical, paranormal, contemporary, and am willing to try anything once!), but I also intend to throw in a few other things for fun. (Stay tuned for Hallmark Christmas movie season; I’m just sayin’.)

I’m going to kick off the book reviews by featuring some of my favorite authors and books, but will be reading and introducing new books as they release. If you have a review request, please let me know by commenting below. Thanks for stopping by, and I would love to hear from you!