Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Tour for Guarding Poppy by Christine Wenrick (Review & GIVEAWAY)

Fans of the paranormal will be drawn to this story of powerful men and women fighting evil who find love at the most unexpected of times.  Keep reading to get a glimpse of Guarding Poppy by Christine Wenrick, along with my review of it, and learn even more by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour.  You'll also learn about creating a book series as well as having the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card and autographed copies of Someone Else's Skye and Guarding Poppy.

For just about any writer, no matter your level of experience, developing a multi-book series can feel daunting when looked at as a whole. There can be dozens of characters to keep straight and clearly define with the reader, while at the same time creating interests in their story.
A tricky prospect.
So why take on such a herculean task?
Because in a series a writer has the space and time to make the characters, and their stories, that much richer. I love doing series because I love introducing new characters several books ahead. This gives the reader an opportunity to want to know that character’s full story. Who doesn’t love the idea of the flawed second cousin who seemed to have that extra spark with the heroine’s blind sister? You get the idea.
But before you put fingers to keyboard to start your first epic series, two major points must be addressed. One, there has to be a uniting theme, purpose or event that becomes that connecting thread for the series. And two, you should have storylines that relate but feel individually fresh from one story to the other.
In the case of my Men of Brahm Hill, I chose an enormous battle scene at the end of my first series to be the catalyst for the new one. To be fair, I had seen this second series coming for quite some time because I had fallen in love with the Brethren heroes introduced in my very first book,The Charmed. They were gifted, strong and determined, balanced with the right amount of humor and sarcasm. What woman doesn’t melt for that combination?
I then simply let my mind wander about all the possibilities and results that battle could bring. Having a single event to link my characters together was the key. If I ever felt blocked during the writing process, I simply return to that battle scene, the single life-altering event that ties these men, their lives, and their purpose, together.
The second part of the equation is a little trickier. As an author it can be easy to fall into familiar patterns where you find yourself penning virtually the same story as the one three books ago. So what’s the secret? Focus on what makes this Hero and Heroine unique. If you can’t figure out how they are different from every other character you’ve ever written then how can you expect them to have a different story? Their differences are the key to leading them down their ownunique path.
And don’t forget to throw a twist or two in there that the reader doesn’t see coming. You know . . . the kind that makes them want to throw the book to the end of the sofa and just stare at it for a while before they dare pick it up again. That’s always good.
Now you’re ready to tackle your first series. Knock ’em dead! (Sorry, bad paranormal humor.)

One night . . . one violent, supernatural battle . . . and five stories of the men whose lives will be changed by it.
Alec Lambert was born to lead. He’s a ruling Elder of The Brethren, possessing steely confidence, natural smarts, and decisive problem solving abilities . . . and he’s not too bad on the eyes, either. Everything in his life has gone exactly according to plan—until the night of Brahm Hill. Alec loses his best friend at the hands of the uncle he trusted like a father, along with his previously unshakable faith to lead those with whom he’s charged. Despite this, he continues to press ahead, and for his next assignment he’s asked to protect a very beautiful but very clumsy Dhampir who’s being hunted by a powerful warlock. Suddenly, he finds his whole Brethren world is turned upside down . . . and he finds himself harboring a desire for her he can’t explain.
Poppy Honeywell knows she’s far from perfect. Bad things tend to happen when she’s around. She’s more than a little clumsy, with a phobia or two mixed in. Not to mention that her name is certainly unusual. But she doesn’t have time to worry about all that because she’s on the run and not about to back down from the arrogant Elder who’s just been assigned as her protector. The real problem, though . . . she’s irresistibly drawn to this man who faces constant danger and takes charge so naturally. But Poppy also sees that taking charge of others helps Alec mask his own very deep pain.
Will Alec find his way out of the darkness and surrender to his feelings for Poppy before the warlock chasing her catches up to them both?


“Why. Am. I. On. A. Plane?” Poppy emphasized each word as her hands gripped at the luxurious sofa arm beside her. But the modern jet seemed determined to bounce all of them out of their seats as the cabin continued to jostle about angrily. They were definitely in the middle of some mean turbulence, which was to be expected of anyone fool enough to be flying in a small plane in winter conditions.  
“Because it’s the most efficient way to get someone across an ocean,” Alec answered. “We still have about an hour or so before we land. So you’re going to have to let me know if you’re going to panic on me.”
Her gaze narrowed on him angrily as she pushed her next breath through her nostrils. “Can I just hit you instead and we’ll call it even?!”
His brow lifted as if he found that comment interesting.
Poppy leapt to her feet inside the small cabin and she noticed Alec braced his hands against his chair arm as if to steady himself. Surely he didn’t think she was really going to hit him? “You’re not going to trip again, are you?” he asked her.
Poppy glared at him and then down at herself. She was looking for any reasonable explanation to defend the innate clumsiness he’d gotten to experience firsthand within the first minute of meeting her in Joseph’s study. “These are very challenging heels!”
Yep. That was the best she could come up with.
The Elder smiled. No, it was definitely more of a smirk. “I’m sure they are,” he replied. “Now, will you please sit down before you get bounced off your feet? The turbulence may get worse before it gets better.”
Worse?” Poppy squeaked. She might very well end up back in his lap if this turbulence got any worse. She didn’t like to think of herself as a coward, but when it came to flying she definitely was, even more so than her irrational fear of spiders. They just had too many legs. “Look—you need to understand. I don’t fly! Ever . . .! You need to find a way to land this plane, right now!”
“I can’t do that. As I explained, we’re over a lake.”
“Well get un-over the lake!”
The Elder didn’t say anything in response, just seemed to contemplate that. He removed the reading glasses that were a dead giveaway that he was human, though, he looked fit enough to give even one of his Dhampir guards a run for their money. He’d certainly felt fit enough when she had crash-landed into his chest in Joseph’s study . . . which had been utterly embarrassing. One moment, she’d been fully prepared to burst in and make her case to Joseph about why she needed to stay at The Hallow, and the next, the tip of her shoe had caught on the carpet and she was flying forward straight into a complete stranger.
“In an effort to have us all on the ground safely as soon as possible, I do not recommend suddenly veering off course to get ‘un-over’ a lake. We will be starting our descent shortly.”
“Oh God, descent . . .,” she mumbled to herself as she rubbed her hands over her face. “This is not good. This is not good.”
“It will be all—”
“Where are we landing . . . Elder Lambert?” she added awkwardly, realizing they had not actually exchanged first names.  
He returned his glasses to the bridge of his nose and went back to looking at his tablet. “You may call me Alec. I much prefer it to Elder Lambert. We’ll be landing in Alberta at The Oracle, The Brethren site I’m in charge of. After discussing it, Joseph and I felt this would be the best place for you to stay.”
“Well, isn’t that nice,” she answered him flippantly. “You discussed it. By any chance—in any of this heavy dialogue—did anyone consider asking me if I wanted to go to Canada?”
Alec just sighed in that ‘you’re going to cause me a lot of trouble, aren’t you’ sort of way.


Not having read the first book in the Men of Brahm Hill series I didn't know what to expect.  It was easy to get caught up in this world and what I ultimately got was an exciting read with enticing characters and an intriguing hierarchy of paranormal creatures.  From start to finish I was caught up in the heartbreak of a leader carrying around unrelenting guilt and the unexpected woman who brings joy to his life while dealing with her own issues.

Alec has been in a fog of duty since his uncle went to the dark side helming an army against him and killing his best friend.  He's closed off his heart and devotes himself to work so others won't get hurt, but the strain is starting to show.  When another Elder asks him to protect the young woman he considers a daughter though life will never be the same for him again.  He longs to protect her and keep her safe and enjoys their verbal sparring that brings excitement to his life.  He learns to care again about the living and the future as opposed to dwelling on the past.  Just when their HEA looks to be within reach fate steps in in a game-changing moment and turns him into something more than human and spells big change for the series.  Alec is a super sexy alpha male who kept his true feelings buried behind a facade of seriousness.  Being around Poppy showed a super sexy carefree man with the weight of the world not as burdening as before and had me drooling over him from start to finish.

Poppy has lived a life on the run with a witch of intense evil constantly on her trail.  It made for a solitary existence with very few relationships.  After watching everyone she cared about be hurt she became convinced she was cursed which is further demonstrated by her unrelenting clumsiness.  This led to many humorous moments but also frustration in her beliefs that made her seem immature.  As a Dhamphir I had hoped for a powerful heroine, but it's not until halfway through the book that she starts embracing her paranormal half through training.  Though the sexual tension is obvious between her and Alec from the very beginning theirs is a rocky relationship where she wants feelings and he just wants sex.  The longer they're together though the more his barriers come down, but just when they're at their happiest Poppy's single act changes everything and puts her on a collision course with the witch wanting her dead.  Poppy's a likable character for the most part and it was a satisfying journey watching her come out of her shell.  She luckily had a great support system that made her battle with destiny an exciting one.

The relationship between Alec and Poppy evolved quickly but was full of sexual tension and a sensual tug of war as Alec was hard to resist.  There were numerous hot and heavy sexual encounters which fans of erotic reads will enjoy and that were nicely spaced throughout the story.  Along with a strong main couple there were a slew of immensely likable secondary characters that caught my attention.  The sweet yet lonely Maya who still pines for her lost love Phinneas made my heart ache and the hope presented to her throughout this story also points to intrigue for the next installment.  Readers get reintroduced to the powerful and sexy shifter Kane who can be counted on to bring humor to the scene and surprising support for someone who appears so flippant.  Issues involving soldiers created through nefarious means also left me intrigued as their story promises heartbreak as well.  All in all these facets combined to make for an intriguing and steamy read.  Though the story went on a bit too long, and much of the action in the latter half of the story revolved around characters from previous books, I was still enthralled by the action, romance, and promise of what's yet to come and recommend this to all fans of the paranormal.

My rating for this is a B.

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



Christine is a graduate of Washington State University where she received a BA in Interior Design. And true to form of using mostly her ‘right brain’, she splits her time between her commercial design career and her imaginary world of writing. She lives in the scenic Pacific Northwest where she enjoys hiking, camping and photographing many of the wonderful places that served as inspiration for her writing. Her biggest reward in life is any given day when one of her books connects with a reader because she herself is such a lover of reading. Some of her favorite authors include Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, and Kimberly Derting.

TWITTER: (@CWenrick)


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  1. Excellent review, sounds like a great read.

  2. Thanks for having me here today! And thank you for the review!

    1. Thank YOU for being here! Is there anything you can share about what's up next for the series?

      The Scarf Princess

    2. Absolutely Jody! The third book in the series, Leaving Lily Behind, will be out next April. Unfortunately, that means I'm going to make a lot of people unhappy who have been patiently waiting for Maya's story. I promise we will get there! Next up, the Unnatural Hybrids you mentioned in your review (Which I'm impressed by. I sneakily mentioned them in passing in this book knowing their story would be next).

  3. Thanks for sharing this excerpt!

  4. I liked the review and the excerpt!


  6. Great review...definitely gives me a good impression of this book.

  7. Hi!
    being an international follower can i enter even if only for one the prizes?
    Thank you!

    1. I don't see why you can't enter, Marta. If you win the other prize you can just decline it after all. Good luck in winning the Amazon GC!

      The Scraf Princess

    2. Okay. Thank you so much for replying!

  8. Thanks for the insight into the thoughts behind these series and for the review (and, of course, for the giveaway!). Good luck on the tour!