Monday, August 19, 2013

Book Tour for the Bonded By Blood Series by Arial Burnz (Review & GIVEAWAY)


We're starting off the week with a sweeping paranormal series, Bonded by Blood by Arial Burnz.  Ms. Burnz is here today talking about what sets her vamps apart from others and you have the chance to win some great prizes by answering the question posed by Ms. Burnz in her post below.  Learn even more about this series through the tantalizing tidbits below and through my review.  So let's get started and Welcome Arial Burnz!


I love twists on traditions and that’s the approach I’ve taken with my vampire lore in the Bonded By Blood Chronicles. There are several I’ve done, but I can’t really talk about a lot of them without revealing any spoilers. Let’s just say on some of these I’ve filled in the blanks with some unknown elements of vampire lore and tradition usually skipped in every other movie I’ve seen or book I’ve read.
One tradition I can talk about is the fear of, or damage by, crosses and blessed items. Though this is true in my vampire lore, there’s a definitive stipulation: The items cannot be blessed by any ol’ priest mumbling the typical Latin, “Pater filius et spiritus sanctus.” There’s an incantation I’ve created, using a few versus from the Psalms and spoken in ancient Hebrew. Additionally, there are three parts to the incantation. The first erects the barrier or cleansing (depending on what the person reciting the incantation visualized). The second incantation is a request to remove the barrier/cleansing. And the third is the final response to take the barrier/incantation down. There is purpose for the three parts, but I don’t want to reveal any spoilers. This incantation is known only by the members of the Army of Light, the elite priests and nuns inside the greater body of the church who are the “gatekeepers” of those who become vampires. But through the centuries, these incantations are eventually leaked out and that’s how the “superstition” of blessed items is created by the time the 21st century rolls around in my novels.
Vampires in my lore also cannot be created just by biting or feeding from a mortal. I use a similar transformation process that Anne Rice did in her Vampire Chronicles with the transference of blood. However, one cannot be made into a vampire unwillingly or without the approval of the Vamsyrian Council. (Sidebar: I created a new name for this race of immortals because prior to 1732, the word vampire didn’t exist. I decided to create a name that could easily morph into the word vampire.) Creating someone unwillingly unleashes the wrath of God on the Vamsyrian race, so they’ve set up a system to ensure nothing like that happens. It’s a rather rigid structure in an otherwise loner-type society. The Vamsyrian Council is there to oversee the process and ensure the person making the choice is indeed willing. And to ensure the person becoming a vampire is educated on their options, they must face a member of the Army of Light who will try to talk them out of their decision. Once the initiate has heard both options, they make their choice. Any willing candidate created outside of process is hunted down and destroyed. The Council rules with fear, but for the most part, they leave Vamsyrians to their own devices.

Do you have some favorite vampire lore features? Sunlight harms them or not? Cannot be seen in mirrors? Crosses and blessed items damaging or no? Please share!

MIDNIGHT CONQUEST:

Masked in a Gypsy guise, Broderick MacDougal hides his vampiric identity while seeking to destroy the man who slaughtered his family. When an old Clan rival ensnares Broderick in a trap using an enticing widow, he is compelled to discover if she is bait or an accomplice, and the cinnamon-haired beauty is his next conquest.
Widow of an abusive husband, Davina Stewart-Russell clings to the only image that gave her strength during those dark times—the Gypsy rogue who stole her heart as a youth. After nine years, she is finally face-to-face with him again, but reality clashes with fantasy as she is confronted with Broderick’s passionate pursuit.
When Davina’s past returns to haunt her, Broderick is forced to reveal a dark secret worse than anything Davina thought possible. The challenge before them has fatal risks and neither of them is prepared for the sacrifices expected for the sake of eternal love.

EXCERPT:

“Chess?”
Snapping out of her stupor, she gawked at Broderick. “What?”
He sauntered toward the chess table and picked up a black marble pawn. “Do you play?”
“Very well, thank you.” Davina maintained a defensive posture. “And when do Gypsies find the time to play chess?”
“I haven’t always been a Gypsy, you know.”
“I gathered that, considering your current attire.” Davina hoped he would take the conversation further and she could learn a bit more about his past, which intrigued her. Broderick chuckled and sat at the table. She sighed with disappointment.
“Please,” Broderick pressed, motioning toward the chair across from him. “Join me in a friendly game.”
“Why?”
Broderick traveled his eyes down Davina’s body, sending delightful, heated tingles through to her toes. “Because I enjoy your company, and wish to engage in a battle of wits.” His eyes met hers, challenging.
She refused to take the bait. “Well, I do not, sir. Please leave.”
“Do not wish to engage in a battle of wits, or do not enjoy my company?”
“Neither.”
Broderick’s head tipped back in laughter, a laughter that filled the parlor and her soul. She shook off the strange desire to join in, reminding herself he mocked her.
“I really must ask you to leave.”
“I’m making a valiant effort to pay you a proper visit.” Shaking his head, he crossed his ankle upon his knee. “I will not leave this room until you play me a splendid game of chess.” His leveling eyes told her he meant to do just what he said. With his deep voice, he added, “If you force me to leave, I shall steal into your bedchamber in the middle of the night, and seduce myself into your dreams.”
Her stomach fluttered, and Davina cursed him under her breath as she seated before him. “You are intolerable, Gypsy.”
“Thank you, milady.”
“‘Twas not a compliment.”
Broderick chuckled.

MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:

There's a lot going on in this first book in the Bonded By Blood series Midnight Conquest by Arial Burnz, almost too much at times.  It's a sweeping saga that Ms. Burnz has created full of blood, sweat, and tears and makes for a difficult read at times due to its intensity, subject matter of domestic abuse, and its length.  The early parts of the story get weighted down with lots of info and setting up the mythos behind Vamsyrians but picks up the pace towards the end to culminate in a satisfying but quickly resolved conclusion.  While there's a definitive ending for many characters there's still plenty of issues left to deal with in the next installment that has already been released and is one that you won't want to miss.

Broderick has been unlucky in love and these betrayals have changed his life dramatically.  His wife's betrayal as well as that of another beguiling temptress have left him with no choice but to join the ranks of vampire in order to enact his revenge towards Angus, who slaughtered his family.  Part of his plan requires him to stay in hiding which leads to him becoming part of a Gypsy caravan and telling fortunes.  The day he meets sweet Davina will irrevocably change his future, and with the secrets surrounding her and a Prophecy that they're smack dab in the middle of, the future of all Immortals.  He's immediately drawn to her and tells her that life will be difficult for her ahead but that she must endure.  Years later his attraction is just as intense but she's become hardened over the years due to abuse and it will take much wooing to win her over as danger and evil surrounds them.  Their relationship requires much struggle as the past comes back to haunt them but endures through sensual and immensely satisfying sexual interludes.  Broderick is a wonderful hero who's a bit rough around the edges now after starting off as a gentleman early in life.  He's rugged, loyal, and desperate to take past pains away from Davina.  Though he's a bit overbearing at times, and obsessed with revenge to ocassionally lose sight of all else, I still found him immensely appealing and thought Davina earned the right to have someone so protective to care for her.  

Since that fateful day in the Gypsy camp Davina has kept the image of Broderick in mind whenever she needed something to keep her going.  After enduring years of vicious domestic abuse she finally thinks she's free but the past is still with her as it's hardened her heart And made her question her own beliefs and the real meaning of love.  Davina is a typical heroine of the time as she did as she was bid.  She was a loving mother and good to those in her inner circle, particularly her maid Rosselyn who has much mystery surrounding her and plays a bigger role in the story than you'd think.  Davina showed brief flashes of backbone but for the most part merely endured and was overpowered by the larger than life Broderick.

There are numerous villains in this story (Ian is particularly nasty) and just when you think one has gotten their comeuppance another comes out of the woodwork.  This led to a lot of jumping around in the storyline and became almost laughable in you kept wondering what bad thing would befell our main couple next.  The author vividly depicts this time period but doesn't let it overwhelm the story.  The Gypsy caravan is particularly colorful with memorable characters, both good and bad, and made for an exotic start to the story.  This story presents a lot of action and romance with an intriguing paranormal mythos that sometimes gets too overloaded but always kept me interested.  Ms. Burnz shows great promise and has me wanting to continue reading this series as will those who enjoy the paranormal and historical genres.

My rating for this is a B-/C+

*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

MIDNIGHT CAPTIVE:

Cailin MacDougal has lived a dangerous life being the adopted daughter of vampire Broderick "Rick" MacDougal, so she had no choice but to learn to fight in order to protect herself. However, such behavior is hardly desirable in a dutiful wife who's supposed to embroider and run a household. This aggressive side of her behavior should be easy enough to hide from her betrothed...shouldn't it?
After being away at fencing school for seven years, James Knightly has returned as a master swordsman, ready to captain his own ship and finally wed his childhood sweetheart, Cailin MacDougal. What he finds waiting for him is a dagger-toting hellion for a bride, an immortal father-in-law, and an enemy bent on extracting revenge by threatening the family James holds most dear--the MacDougals.
Broderick MacDougal is lured away from his family with the promise of-at last-learning a way to protect those he loves from his clan enemy, Angus Campbell. Broderick knows he's headed for a trap, but the bait is too tempting to resist...and he unravels the beginning of a prophecy that will lead to redemption for all vampires. The cost of such redemption, though, may be the very soul of the woman he would die for...his wife, Davina.

EXCERPT:

“Is my lady dressed?” James’s deep voice swept through the room like a warm breeze. Cailin’s heart staccatoed in her breast.
“Aye, you may see her if you wish.” Margeret stepped aside, allowing James to enter the room.
Cailin stood and had to stop herself from gawking. Dark-brown hose hugged his muscular thighs above knee-high black boots formed over his calves, making her mouth water. Midnight-blue sleeves, bloused and laced at his shoulders, protruded from the matching brown brocade vest. Save for the cod piece at his groin—which Cailin found herself staring at a bit too long—and the billowing sleeves, his outfit left little to the imagination of his excellent and wondrously fit form. His baldric was slung over his right shoulder and hung diagonally across his chest, the sword her father presented him nestled at his trim hip. He looked magnificent. Her eyes finally met his. The roguish grin on his face told her he enjoyed her open admiration of his outfit.
Cailin cleared her throat. “Give us a moment, would you, Maggie?”
“My pleasure,” she said, and sat herself upon the settee at the foot of Cailin’s bed.
She tore her eyes away from James and glared at her handmaid. “We are hardly going to consummate our marriage in the few moments I am requesting. Please step out of the room.”
“I most certainly will not!”
Cailin marched over to Margeret and shooed her out of the chamber all the while saying, “James and I are to be wed in a just a few months. Even if he did toss my skirts, we are to be wed anyway! What difference does—”
“A pox on that mouth of yours, child!” She stood in the hallway, pointing that scolding finger. “We taught you better than—” Cailin closed and latched the door.
James dashed to Cailin and snatched her up, his hands on her bottom and wrapping her legs around his waist as he carried her giggling to the bed. She screeched when she lost her shoe.
“I can guarantee,” his deep, husky voice promised as he nuzzled her neck, “that I can most certainly toss your skirts and consummate our marriage in just moments!”
Playfully beating his shoulder, she spoke through her laughter. “Behave, you rogue! She is going to break that door down if you do not cease your wonderful ravishing of my person.”

BUY LINK here.

AUTHOR INFO:

Arial Burnz has been an avid reader of both paranormal and fantasy fiction for over thirty years. With bedtime stories filled with unicorns, hobbits, dragons and elves, she had no choice but to craft her own tales, penning to life the many magical creatures roaming her mind and dreams. And with a romantic husband who's taught her the meaning of true love, she's helpless to weave romance into her tales. Now she shares them with the world. Arial Burnz lives in Rancho Cucamonga, California, with her husband (a.k.a. her romance novel hero)—who is also a descendent of Clan MacDougal—along with their dog and two cats.

Website:  http://www.arialburnz.com
Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/authorarialburnz
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/arialburnz

**********GIVEAWAY**********

Arial will be awarding a $15 Amazon or BN Gift Card (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and her Virtual Book Tour.  Also, at every stop a randomly drawn commenter will be awarded a 5-Star Short Story eBook, Romance Trading Card set, and signed Bonded By Blood series post card. 

-To be entered, leave a comment answering Arial's question (in bold at the end of her post), along with your email addy.

-Winners will be chosen randomly from all comments made throughout the tour, so the more you comment the greater your chances of winning.  A list of all participating blogs can be found here.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM CST on 9/16.

27 comments:

  1. Thanks for this great giveaway ;)

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    1. Hello, Beppe!! Thanks so much for stopping by and good luck on the drawing! :D

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  2. I think that it's the twists on known lore that keeps us coming back for more.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Hey, Mary! Nice to see you at the next stop. LOL...Gee, that sounds like MY series! (At least that's what I strive for.) Thanks for being so supportive. Good luck on the drawing!

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  3. I may not have a favorite piece of vampire lore, but one thing I typcially like is some sort of issue with sunlight. I love the different ways that authors try to explain the aversion to light, or the process of becoming a vampire. If there's any kind of "science" or believability to me, I usually love it. Or if there is a believable kind of "magic" involved. Thanks for sharing!

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

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    1. Oh...you must love to read fantasy book, too. Fantasy readers love all that detailed stuff and a lot going on with the plot. Since I am fantasy reader above being a romance reader, it obviously influences my style of writing. ;)

      Great to see you here at the next stop, Andra!! *waves* Good luck on the drawing!!

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  4. I really love the idea that they cannot be seen in a mirror. What a weird feeling that must be.

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    1. I agree!! I contemplated for a long time if I was going to do that. The most common reason I'd heard was because a vampire doesn't have a soul, therefore they can't be seen in a mirror. However, that's the whole point of my vampires - to trap their souls in their body, so if I used it, I would have had to have created a whole other reason.

      I was at a writer/reader convention attending a panel of paranormal authors. I can't remember what author talked about it, but she said she had the same "characteristic" for her vampire - unable to see themselves in mirrors - and she said she kicked herself in the ass later on in the series for setting that up. She said she had to be SOOOO conscious of mirrors in all her books after that (I guess the mirror thing played a part in the first plot).

      However, she did have a little fun with it by having one of her vampires standing in front of a mirror, not seeing the mirror right away, and once he saw it, he lunged backwards! It made for some comedic elements.

      When I heard her say that, I was just at the stage of trying to figure out if I was going to use that and I thought, "Well, that settles it! I'm DEFINITELY not going to do the mirror thing!" LOL

      Thanks for stopping by, MomJane!! Good luck on the drawing!

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  5. I like that you've taken the traditional vampire lore and made some of your own twists. I look forward to fresh take


    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

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    1. Thanks so much, Shannon!! I do hope you'll give the series a try. Midnight Conquest is now permanently FREE, so be sure to pick up a copy. I want to introduce my series to as many people as possible!

      Good luck on the drawing!

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  6. Thanks so much for having me here this today! I'll answer each comment individually. Looking forward to interacting with everyone!

    Cheers!
    Arial ;)

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    1. Thank YOU so much for being here today! I'm honored to be hosting you. You've written an intriguing series and I wish you much success with it.

      The Scarf Princess

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    2. Woo hoo! That's so wonderful to hear, Jody! I'm glad you're enjoying it. :D

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  7. I love this excerpt. What a playful couple. Usually the heroine is prissy and would not abide such shenanigans prior to being married. Cailin sounds fun!

    In some Greek folklore, one cause of vampirism was having a cat jump across one's grave. Also, being excommunicated could cause vampirism. I guess that was one way to get people to follow the church's rules! Nobody wanted to risk becoming a vampire.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

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    1. You're absolutely right, Catherine!! About the excommunication part. I had not heard about the Greek folklore...how fun!! I'm actually creating Norse vampires in the next book, along with Norse shapeshifters. These vampires can most certainly be out during the day. I'll have to look into the Greek vampires and maybe throw one of those in there! I'm introducing the lore of a few pantheons in book 4, not just the "traditional" Christian take on the topic.

      Thanks so much for your kind comments about Cailin and James. I do hope you enjoy the series. Good luck on the drawing!! :D

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  8. What a great excerpt! I'm loving this tour!

    hense1kk (At) cmich (dot) edu

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    1. I'm so glad, Kate!! Thanks for leaving the comment. Good luck on the drawing! ;)

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  9. like all the features

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  10. I like it when people's blood have different tastes and vampires can differentiate them and have preferences.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    schan26.wisc(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Well, THAT'S kinda fun!! I like that! Thanks so much for commenting, Sin. Good luck on the drawing!!

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  11. Thanks for the review, makes me want to read the book even more.

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Woo hoo! It's always good to hear that! Good luck on the drawing! :D

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  12. Just purchased the first in this series from ARE, looking forward to reading it.

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    1. Hello, Paula!!

      Sorry for the delay in my response. SOOOO jazzed to hear you're looking forward to reading the series and thank you SOOO much for buying me book! Squeeeeee!!! Yer a doll!

      I need your e-mail to do the drawing, hun. Please come back and comment your e-mail address. I'll be doing the drawing at the end of the day.

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  13. I finally finished my tour and I've done the drawing for the individual blogs and the overall winners.

    Overall Commenter Winner for the $15 Gift Card – Andra Lynn
    Blog Host Winner – Straight from the Library ($20 Gift Card)

    Individual Blog Winners (Commenters) for eBook short story & swag:
    Danita Minnis Blog – BN100
    Christine Young Romance Writer – Kate
    Crazy Four Books – Andra Lynn
    Musing and Ramblings – Shelley Summers
    Words of Wisdome from the Scarf Princess – Mary Preston
    Unabridged Andra – Amer (VampedChik)
    Andi’s Book Reviews – Valerie R
    Straight from the Library – Only 2 people commented, so they both win – Mary Preston & Eva Millien
    It’s Raining Books – Rita Wray
    Long and Short Reviews – BN100

    Thanks to everyone who participated!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

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