Review: Chain of Illusions

chain of illusionsReviewed by Jen

This third installment in the Bringer and the Bane series picks up immediately where the last one left off, with both Rell and Siban at a turning point in their lives.  Both are about to undergo the transformation into Bringers, but first Rell must shed her Bane form and become human again.

If you’re lost already, don’t feel bad.  The prologue of the book delivers a fairly good info dump that sets the stage for the story.  Chances are, you’re going to feel like you’re jumping in to the middle of a love story in progress. But that’s true even for those of us who have read the series from the beginning. It’s one of my complaints.  [Read more…]

Review: Kiss of the Betrayer

Reviewed by Jen

This second story in the Bringer and the Bane series picks up much where the first book left off.  All the main players are back, only this time, the core romance features Jade and Luc.

We already knew that Jade hated Luc, though now we find out why. She believes he is responsible for her sister turning Bane more than a decade ago.  Luc had been a suitor to Esmerelda, but through his actions, the Bane attacked the girls’ home, killed their father and turned Esmerelda into a demon.  Rell (as she is known now) raised her young sister, while teetering on the brink between good and evil.  Now she demands justice, in the form of Luc’s death.

Killing Luc becomes increasingly difficult, once Ravyn turns him into a Bringer.  And shortly after, the same happens with Jade.  She and Luc are brought deeper in the fold of Ravyn and Rhys’ fight and in doing so, they draw closer.  Jade must decide whether her future lies with the man she’s hated all her life –or the sister who is losing more of her humanity by the day.

The story moved slowly for me.  It wasn’t bad, it just dragged a bit, especially in the first half. I started to get a little excited when it looked like there might be an unlikely demon love-connection.  In fact, I found the possibility even more intriguing than what was developing between Luc and Jade, but alas, it was just a taste.  I feel fairly certain it won’t amount to anything when all is said and done, but I hope it is explored a bit more in the next book.

It’s been a year or so since I read Shield of Fire, and I felt like this book assumed a familiarity with the story covered there.  Frankly, I had forgotten some of it and when we picked up some of the old dangling threads, the answers left me a little more confused than satisfied.

The main love story was ok.  Usually, my beef in romance is that the love happens too fast, but here it was just a bit too slow.  Maybe love isn’t the right word… I just wanted more movement… to feel a little more engaged.

I’ll tell you one thing that definitely worked, though. Icarus.  I find this character so intriguing. I want to know everything about him. I want all of his backstory. I want him to have a romance. I want him to have a book. Now. Now. Now.  I’ve already got my theories!!! Let’s make it happen.  (*sigh*) Until then, clearly we have Siban’s book next.  I would like to order a little more angst please.

Rating: C+

*ARC Provided by Entangled via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Kiss of the Betrayer
by Boone Brux
Release Date: November 19, 2012
Publisher: Entangled

AAD Author Spotlight & Giveaway: Boone Brux

Boone Brux joins us today for our latest AAD Author Spotlight.  Boone lives in Alaska, where she lives with her husband and twin daughters. She has a soft spot for the paranormal –especially demons.  Please help me welcome her to the blog!

Jen: Shield of Fire is your debut novel. Tell me a little about the journey to get it to print.

Boone: This has been a long haul, mainly because Shield was the first full-length novel I ever wrote. It started out as a historical and through many rewrites, finally became a fantasy romance. I have to admit, my poor editors had their hands full with this story. They did a stellar job guiding me through the process. It was such a learning experience.

Jen: For new readers, could you talk a little bit about the world of the Bringers and the Bane? Boone: The story takes place in the land of Inness. A thousand years before the Demon Bane besieged the land and began building their army by stealing human souls and converting them to demons. The queen beseeched the Bringer King to open the Arch of the Mystics and rid her land of the Bane. Jen: Do you have a little snippet you could share?

She made no move, only stared at him.
After several torturous seconds, she reached for the hem of her shift, and pulled the garment over her head in one quick motion. His eyes opened and he sat up, no longer interested in pretending.
Ravyn gasped and crushed the shift against her breasts. He pushed back the covers and stood, his naked body lit by the moon’s glow. The whites of her eyes rounded but she didn’t retreat. He refused to accept her embarrassment—not with him—not ever. With only inches separating them, Ravyn’s desire and apprehension rippled along his skin. The beast stirred. He’d give her one chance to leave.
“You shouldn’t be here.” She nodded. “I know.”
He took a step toward her. “I can’t give you what you seek, Ravyn. I can’t be who you need me to be.”
She stepped toward him. “I understand. Please don’t send me away. I want this.”
His honor faded with her words. He pulled the crumpled material from her hand and exposed her naked form. Heat radiated from her. He stepped closer, but she wouldn’t meet his eyes.
“Don’t hide yourself. Not from me.” He tipped her chin so she would look at him. “Do you understand?”
She nodded, but her posture remained stiff. He trailed a finger across her shoulder, down her breast, and over her nipple. The tips pebbled under his caress. Ravyn sucked in a breath and grabbed his hip for support. He loved the way she responded to him, the way her body nearly sizzled under his touch. He palmed one full breast and rolled the extended nub between his thumb and index finger.
She answered by arching into his hand. With tentative strokes, Ravyn smoothed her fingers across his torso. Her light touches delivered spikes of pleasure through his body as her nails scraped across his flat nipple. He wrapped his free arm around her back and pulled her close, needing to feel her body. His erection pressed fully against the soft skin of her stomach.
Ravyn tilted her head to look at him, her lips parting in an invitation—one he instantly accepted. Mouths met and tongues danced. This part she’d learned well. No inhibitions muddied the execution of her kiss. She matched him stroke for stroke and moan for moan. The beast pushed against him, wanting more, needing to take control. Rhys held the urge to dominate at bay and sank into their kiss.

Jen: (*fans self*) Wow. Will the next book feature Jade and Luc? Will we learn more about Ravyn’s parents/ history/ mysterious look-a-like?

Boone: Yes, Kiss of the Betrayer focuses on Jade and Luc. Those two are a couple of mischief makers. Neither one makes the wisest choices, so they tend to get in trouble. Plus Jade hates Luc, for reasons that will be revealed in the book. Anybody who has a significant part in the series will have their character arc grow and will hopefully have their story tied up either at the end or before the last book. There will only be one dangling threat, which I won’t say anymore about. (Mimes locking lips and throwing away the key.) So yes, you’ll find out about Ravyn’s parents later in the series. The look-a-like woman will be revealed within the next two books.
Jen: How many different types of Bringers are there? Will they all eventually end up with those awesome tattoos?
Boone: There are four different types of Bringers: The Shields, who have groovy tattoos on their backs of dragons or phoenixes, or any other creature I may want to throw in there. Shields protect and serve. There are the Redeemers, who have sun tattoos on the palms of their hands. They’re healers, but can be brutal when yanking a soul back from death or healing injuries. They really aren’t the gentle womenfolk of lore. There are the Tells, who have a single line tattooed from underneath their lip to the indent above their chin. They know things, not mind reading, but are rather like a medieval Magic Eight Ball. The sense when things are false or which direction someone traveled, but they don’t know specifics. Last is what Ravyn is, which I can’t tell you about yet, sorry.
Jen:  Tell us about Everything Erotic Anthologies—Just how dirty are we talking about? (**Wags eyebrows*)
Boone: Read them with a fire extinguisher.  There are some seriously hot, down and dirty scenes. Thus the erotic title. I’d never written erotica before I teamed up with this incredibly talented group. Wow, what a lesson. I learned so much from them, which definitely carried over into chapter seventeen in Shield of Fire.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Boone: I love Janet Evanovich, Darynda Jones, Karen Marie Moning, and Christopher Moore. These are my “I’ll buy anything they write” authors. Darynda is actually an AAD author I think. Lucky me. I’m going to stalk her.
Jen: I’m totally going to stalk her too. Do you write full time? How do you spend your day?
Boone: I do write full-time, though that term is relative. I have ten yr. old twins, so writing full time often times means make our lunch and drive me somewhere. I am lucky to not have to punch a time clock. I try to write while the kids are in school. The balance between actual writing and all the other stuff, like promo, still eludes me, but I’m getting better. Summer gets a bit tricky. I try to squeeze in exercise because my butt is growing with all the sitting I do during the day. I usually have a coffee date twice a month with a writer friend. Other than that’s it’s just the glamorous life of a writer, cooking, cleaning, mentally flogging myself for not having enough time for everything.
Jen: What are you most looking forward to from AAD in NOLA?
Boone: I answer this question the same way because I really mean it. I’m looking most forward to talking to readers. I have tons of writer acquaintances, but seeing readers in their element is sure to be a learning and rewarding experience. I’m also looking forward to the suffocating heat. Okay, I say that now and may change my mind by August, but it’s 11 below out this morning. My skin hasn’t seen daylight for months. Can’t wait to sink into the hot, moisture laden air of NOLA.

Boone is generously giving away a copy of Shield of Fire.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter.  In the meantime, be sure to visit her at her website! a Rafflecopter giveaway <a href=”http://rafl.es/enable-js”>You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>.

Review: Shield of Fire

Reviewed by Jen

Ravyn has always known she was different. But the sisters in the abbey where she was raised always told her that her gifts were really a curse. She feared she was Bane… a demon. She had never seen one of the evil ones, though, until the depraved Brother Powell summons the demon Icarus to grant him a sacrifice.

Though Powell offers him another girl, Icarus is looking specifically for Ravyn. His father, the demon ruler, wants her so that he can absorb her powers. But Ravyn manages to escape and stumbles upon Rhys. He is a Bringer, a warrior who fights the demons. And it doesn’t take long for them both to realize that she is a Bringer as well.

Rhys takes Ravyn under his protection. In her company, the hardened Bringer begins to have feelings he hasn’t experienced in centuries. But soon he starts to question whether he can open himself up to love without sacrificing his honor as a Bringer or his ability to protect Ravyn. All this, as the Bane intensify their efforts to capture the young woman with so much untapped power.

My biggest complaint about the book was that the pacing was uneven. There were some slow parts as we approached the midway point. And I hated the unnecessary hurt Rhys causes when he takes the martyr’s route in the second half. But there were a lot of things I did like too. While the setting isn’t overtly spelled out, the book had an alternative-medieval feel… all that great warriors/ dragon/ swordsman stuff. And I enjoyed the love story between Rhys and Raven (despite the aforementioned detour.) You can see her bringing him back to life as he exposes her to things she never could have imagined as a sheltered girl in the abbey.

The love scenes were hot, but they also managed to include emotional intimacy without feeling cheesy. The main characters were well developed… even the villainous Icarus never fell flat. (And speaking of Icarus –there is obviously more to this demon than meets the eye. I have a feeling there are big surprises on the horizon regarding him.) We’re also introduced to a great cast of supporting characters, which presumably will anchor future books in the series. My money is on Luc and Jade for book two.

I liked it. And I’m interested to see where the story goes next. 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Shield of Fire
by Boone Brux
Release Date: December 6, 2011
Publisher: Entangled Publishing