As many of you know, I’m trying to find my groove in book blogging again, and it just so happens that one of my favorite authors, Karina Halle, released her latest novel, The Royal Rogue (link is to the book’s Kindle page), this past Saturday.
(This post was originally published at The ReInVintaged Life.)
***Christa Paige is a new-to-me author, and I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review of this book.***
Love Vampires? Love Vampire Romance? Then this is the book for you! Enduring Bond is the first in the Allies of the Kan Asma Vampires series, and tells the story of Ashe and Mariyah.
Ashe is a proud alpha male vampire who was imprisoned by the nefarious Lifespan Institute for over thirty years and tortured in the name of science. Mariyah is a brilliant young scientist who took a lucrative job with the Lifespan Institute believing she would be working to eradicate terminal illnesses. Instead, she becomes trapped in her job in a horrific place run by a sadistic scientist who will stop at nothing to discover the secrets of the Kan Asma vampires’ longevity and exploit it.
From Christa Paige’s website:
“Mariyah’s life takes a deadly turn when her blood becomes the key to the Lifespan Institute’s fountain of youth. When she is left to bleed out in the cell of a vampire prisoner, the last thing she expects is to survive. A-Fourteen shows her mercy by not killing her…and Mariyah ends up giving him her heart. If she fails him, he will die, and his blood will be on her hands, staining her soul.
Now she needs to protect herself while trying to rescue the love of her life. When she forms an alliance with the Kan Asma refugees, she plays a dangerous game of double agent. She knows the risks, and she also knows time is running out.
Mariyah will do anything to save A-Fourteen and set him free…even if it means sacrificing herself to give him a chance to live.”
Right away, Ms. Paige pulls you in with her gifts of description, story-telling, and scene-setting. You’ll get the important backstories necessary to the development of these characters and this particular story. (This was very important to me, as I was unfamiliar with the Kan Asma vampires before this book.) You’ll walk the dank halls of the Lifespan Institute’s basement, hear the mournful wails of the tortured vampires, and feel the oppression of the lecherous mad scientist. And you’ll fall for hot, swoon-worthy Ashe, and beautiful, sensitive Mariyah, and root for them from the start.
Perhaps my favorite thing about this novel, and what sets it apart from so many others, is – without getting too spoiler-y, I hope – Mariah is not your typical damsel in distress. While in grave danger herself, it is she who orchestrates Ashe’s rescue.
I have been a fan of Paranormal Romance, especially featuring vampires, for far longer than they’ve been popping up on bestseller lists, and have read a LOT of vampire romance. With the mega-successes of the genre in the mid-aughts to early teens, the market became entirely too over-saturated. Since then it’s been really hard for me to find a well-written vampire romance that I really, truly enjoy. But not only did this novel deliver; I feel like Kan Asma vampires can be my new Black Dagger Brotherhood!
If you’ve missed the vampire romances that were around pre-Twilight/Vampire Diaries/Sookie Stackhouse, then you should definitely check Enduring Bond out.
I gave it 5 out of 5 stars at GoodReads
(This post was originally published at The ReInVintaged Life.)
The last time I was on this blog, I did the cover reveal for Black Hearts by Karina Halle.
Well, now I’m back with a teaser to go with the cover. Black Hearts will be released February 19 (THIS COMING SUNDAY!), and you will NOT want to miss it! Here’s just a little taste of what’s to come….
The fog is continuing to roll in, bringing a briny mist that you can taste. Only the tops of the bridge remain visible, the orange red seeming to glow against grey skies, while shadows of the structure come and go as the fog moves in.
Violet stares in quiet fascination, her dark eyes taking it in. I can see the fog reflected in them, giving her an eerie quality. She appears to be listening but whether it’s the fog horns, the chatter of the fishermen, the lapping waves, or the dull roar of the bridge traffic, I don’t know. Could be something else entirely.
I don’t want to break her concentration or bring her back from whatever world she’s in. I just stand beside her and let her be. If anything, it says a lot about her comfort level with me if she lets herself drift away.
After a few minutes, she slowly turns to me and blinks. “How long did you say you were going to be in San Francisco for?”
“I don’t know,” I say carefully. “It depends if I find what I’m looking for.”
“And what are you looking for?”
“A reason to stay.” I hold her gaze with mine. The sea breeze picks up a few strands of her hair, moving them across her face like a black veil. Without thinking, I reach over and brush them away, tucking them behind her ear.
I could kiss her. I should kiss her. The feel of her skin against my fingers ignites a million torches inside.
Then she looks away, uncomfortable, the silence between us changing.
I steer the subject onto her. “You said your mother is a famous photographer. Does she have a studio?”
She lets out a soft sigh, her eyes back on the bridge. “Yeah. In the mission district.”
“And you don’t want the same for yourself?”
She rubs her lips together in thought before looking down at her hands that hang over the side of the railing. “As I said, I don’t know what I want. I’m not sure I feel comfortable with the idea of having a studio. My mom does portraits of people. That’s not what I like to shoot.”
“Not a people person?”
A wry smile cracks her lips. “No. Not really. It’s too…intimate. My mom is great at it because people feel comfortable with her. She can…I don’t know, manipulate their feelings.”
Interesting. Very interesting.
People like my father.
“So they end up exposing pieces of themselves that they don’t see. I guess I have the same intuition as her but the one on one is too much for me. I prefer to work with nature. With this.” She gestures to the fog. “No one else really understands how beautiful this is to me.”
I look back at the fog, moving faster now. I wouldn’t call it beautiful. Moody. Dark, maybe. If anything, her beauty stands out more because of the bleakness around her.
“My goal is to take photos that show how I see the world. All the beauty in it. The world is such an ugly and beautiful place, horrible and hopeful. I want to show the light in all the dark places.” She pauses and gives me a sheepish look. “Sorry. I know that must have sounded hella pretentious.”
I slowly shake my head because she sounds anything but that. She sounds real. She sounds like something I want to shake loose from her, to let free and run wild.
“You’re not pretentious,” I tell her, my voice low. “Not even close.”
“That’s not what I hear.”
“What do you hear?” I move in closer to her, the distance between us just a few inches. She doesn’t back up. “What does the world tell you you are?”
I watch her swallow, take a moment. “Oh, you know. I’m too self-absorbed. Narcissistic. Pretentious. I live too much in my head, I’m too anti-social, too distant. I feel too much, care too much. My mother has always chided me for being too sensitive and then I was diagnosed with having hyper-sensitivity, so it turns out she was right. I am too sensitive. About everything. And there’s not a single thing I can do about it except know that when I experience reality, it’s not what everyone else experiences. For better or for worse.” She sighs. “Mainly for worse.”
I feel like this is something she doesn’t unload on many people. My instincts about her were right. She’s fragile but not weak, too much a part of the world and too much removed from it. A contradiction.
“I’m sorry,” she says, shooting me a glance. “I didn’t mean to blab away like that. I know you probably think I’m crazy now. Hell, I think I’m crazy half the time. I really wish I could just be like everyone else. To just…shut it all off.”
“You’re not crazy,” I tell her. “I’m just understanding you better.”
Her mouth quirks up into a dry smile. “I’m surprised you understand me at all. We’ve only just met.”
“True,” I tell her as I reach out and run my fingers along her jaw, tipping her chin up. “But I’m sure you of all people would know that sometimes you can connect with someone in ways you didn’t think you could. Or should.”
She barely nods, her eyes focused on mine, anticipation on her brow. I’m met with the overwhelming desire to protect and shield her which is extremely inconvenient, if not unwelcome, given the circumstances. One minute I need to fuck her, the next I need to protect her, and in the end, what I really need is to do the job I set out to do.
EXCERPT: BLACK HEARTS, SINS DUET #1 Copyright Karina Halle 2017
If you like your romance a little (or a lot) dark and dangerous, then this is definitely for you!