Have I got not one, but two, treats in store for you today. Reviews of the prequel novella and book one of the Blood Web Chronicles: a scintillating new paranormal series. Currently available on kindle with paperback and audio versions on the way.
About the Author(s)
Caedis Knight is the pen name of established fantasy authors Jacqueline Silvester and N J Simmonds. In 2019 they teamed up to write their first paranormal romance series BLOOD WEB CHRONICLES and never looked back. The first book in the series was released 15 Oct 2020.
About the Blood Web Chronicles
Dive into a fantasy world hidden among our own – a dark world full of vampires, witches, werewolves, fae, shifters, ghosts and mermaids. Co-authored by two established fantasy authors, Jacqueline Silvester and N J Simmonds, the Blood Web Chronicles series is perfect for fans of Crescent City, True Blood and Veronica Mars.
Saskia de la Cruz is a Verity Witch – her only magic being that she can tell the truth from a lie. As an investigative reporter for The Blood Web Chronicle, the biggest news outlet on the paranormal dark Blood Web, Saskia spends her days cracking twisted para cases hoping that someday, some case, will bring her closer to finding her missing sister. Each book centers on a different European city, and a different paranormal crime, and are supported by a prequel novella set in LA and a Christmas special in Lapland.
With vibrant characters, page-turning suspense and steamy romance, this new series has been dubbed by early readers as “a fun crime-solving sexual adventure across Europe.” The series is classified as 18+ due to adult content. Book 1 in the series, ‘Vampires in Moscow’ (along with the prequel novella ‘Sirens of Los Angeles’) is available from 15th October 2020.
About Sirens of Los Angeles
Find out how Saskia de la Cruz became a reporter for paranormal newspaper The Blood Web Chronicle in this delicious prequel novella.
Saskia is a Verity Witch – her only magic being that she can tell the truth from a lie.
When she sets off for the glitzy shores of Malibu to spend spring break with her sister Mikayla, her one goal is to forget her university worries and issues with outdated witch hierarchies, and drown them in surfer six-packs and tequila cocktails.
But when local influencers and male models start washing up ashore, drained of their youth, Saskia knows something wicked dwells in the deep. Which is perfectly fine because she plans on staying the hell away from the water! That is until her powerful, siren-obsessed sister disappears, and the search leads Saskia deeper than she ever thought possible.
Accompanied by beautiful but suspicious surfers Eden and Zee, Saskia will have to travel for her answers to the home of Hollywood’s vainest residents – the ocean floor.
With vibrant characters, page-turning suspense and steamy romance, this new series has been described by internationally renown author, Anna Day, as “Addictive, sexy and wickedly funny.”
About Vampires of Moscow
Saskia de la Cruz is a Verity Witch – her only magic being that she can tell the truth from a lie.
As an investigative reporter for The Blood Web Chronicle, the biggest news outlet on the paranormal dark Blood Web, Saskia spends her days cracking twisted para cases hoping that someday, some case, will bring her closer to finding her missing sister.
In snowy Moscow drained corpses of illegal workers have begun to turn up, with hundreds more reported missing. When Saskia is sent on assignment to investigate an oligarch Vampire crime ring that might be behind the deaths, she plans to get in out of the city’s frozen grasp quickly…preferably with her neck intact.
But beautiful ballet dancer Konstantin Volkov and his wildcard brother Lukka complicate things. The vampire brothers have their own reasons for solving the string of murders, reasons that conflict with Saskia’s mission. Soon, Saskia finds herself enmeshed in the city’s glittering web of crime, passion, and violence, where truths and lies are one and the same.
With vibrant characters, page-turning suspense and steamy romance, this new series has been dubbed by early readers as “a fun crime-solving sexual adventure across Europe.”
What I Thought
Sirens of Los Angeles
This prequel novella starts with a bang. It’s steamy and sassy but also really explores the relationship between Saskia and her mysterious sister Mikayla. Sometimes novellas feel a bit like extra padding but this is a complete story in its own right and I’d highly recommend reading it before you get stuck in with the vampires.
The story was funny, hella sexy and very pacy. It shows that paranormals are not to be messed with but despite being a ‘lowly’ Verity witch it turns out being able to tell truth from lies and speak multiple languages is actually pretty useful.
Saskia is a modern woman and I love her air of confidence despite her inner turmoil at being ‘not as good’ as her sister. She is confident in her sexuality and sexual prowess but just a word of warning if you blush easily maybe don’t read this in public. She’s also super smart and resourceful so even when things look trike there’s no way out Saskia comes up with a plan. It may not be a good one but it’s much better than being passive.
We are left with a huge unanswered question that is set to be the driver of the whole series. The Blood Web Chronicles only gets introduced at the end but leaves the reader desperate for more, of both the mystery and Saskia’s need job, so it’s very lucky that book one is ready and waiting to bite.
Vampires of Moscow
This book starts some time after Sirens and Saskia is already deep into the Blood Web and causing mayhem. Looks like she has had a number of ‘final warnings’ and this assignment in Moscow is not one she can refuse.
This woman is not afraid to put herself in harm’s way to get her story and it’s great being in her head as we get immersed into the city.
Once again this is a fast paced read and we waste little time in meeting the vampire brothers. Thankfully. I have struggled with reading this year but these stories I whipped through. Not going to lie some of my first fictional crushes were vampires so I am super here for this.
Love the pop culture references littered throughout which makes the story feel modern but with some added nostalgia, I particularly liked the Paul Rudd mention.
Brothers Lukka and Konstantin strike that great mix of evil brooding bad boys with a secret side and they soon take advantage of Saskia’s skills!
But is it a case of bad boy(s) turn good or simply bad boy(s) that you should keep well away from your mother. Considering who Saskia’s mother is though that question is a little misleading. Needless to say that she is unlikely to approve of Saskia’s connections.
A story with grit, in a murky paranormal underworld, and plucky determination from Saskia. I love that the backdrop for each will take us to a different locale and that she has that key driver for moving forward. Mikayla is there in the background. The research and theming makes us feel like we are investigating alongside Saskia and I wouldn’t say no to a future Blood Web Chronicles themed road trip post pandemic. Rachel, Elizabeth – are you in?
If you love crime, complex families, urban fantasy and paranormal romance then this series is the perfect combo and I can’t wait to see who, or what we meet next. Will they meet Santa at Lapland, is he is a fae?
Treat yourself to you some bloody vampires and seductive Sirens. This series is the authors’ gift to us for us having to do 2020.
I am part of the Verity Knights street team for the series and I did receive gifted copies of the books in exchange for an honest review but I’d already pre-ordered them and wish I could do a series link pre-order. Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour to see what everyone else thought.
It’s so exciting when an online bud (@yaundermyskin) is releasing a book and what a perfect cover for a Halloween Release. Mina and the Undead is out April Fool’s Day Cover Design by Becky Chilcott.
MINA AND THE UNDEAD is a YA Gothic murder mystery set in 1990s New Orleans.
Mina is staying with her sister in New Orleans for Fang Fest 1995. She’s thrilled to land a job in a horror movie mansion, reconnecting with her sister while they scare the tourists. When Mina stumbles upon a body at work, she’s dragged into a murder investigation. Someone is replicating New Orleans’ darkest myths, and Mina must discover the truth before she becomes the latest victim.
I’m 666% here for this vibe and it is definitely going on my 2021 TBR!
About the Book
A powerful debut about women, witchcraft, revenge, grief and the ties that bind us.
In 17th-century England, civil war rages and witches have become pawns in a plot to oust the King. Young, red-haired Evey does not want to be a witch, but she cannot deny the magick coursing through her veins.
A storm is coming.
After witnessing the murder of her mother by witch-hunters, Evey vows to avenge her. Fury burns in her bright and strong. But she has promised her mother that she will keep her gifted, little sister Dill, her mother’s favourite, safe.
But battling terrible jealousy, Evey abandons Dill with their Aunt Grey at the coven in the woods, and sets off to town where crowds are gathering for the witch trials.
As the lust for blood and retribution rises to fever pitch, will Evey keep true to the bonds of sisterhood and to her witching ways?
With an enchantingly dark, wintery atmosphere and beautiful lyrical writing, WITCH is the perfect read for fans of A Skinful of Shadows by Francis Hardinge, Witch Child by Celia Rees and Witch Hill by Marcus Sedgwick.
About the Author
Finbar Hawkins is a graduate of the Bath Spa MA in Writing for Young People. He grew up in London and now lives in Wiltshire with his family, in a place steeped in myth and legend. He is a creative director for Aardman in Bristol, where he makes fun interactive things for children of all ages. Follow on twitter @finbar_hawkins
What I Thought
Author Finbar Hawkins has written the perfect read for this time of year. His debut Witch is a young adult novel set in the time of the witch trials, but more importantly it’s a tale of two sisters, and one teenager’s trial to find herself.
It starts with a bang, straight in to the action that throws our young protagonist Evey on the run with younger sister Dill. The sister she harbours a jealousy towards, her mother’s favourite, the one with magick. This quiet sibling rivalry festers to the extent that she shuns Dill’s name for her, Eveline of the Birds.
But what burns inside her is the need for revenge and it is this revenge that is too often missing from the tales of the women put on trial for witchcraft. But in Witch, magic is more than simply things others simply don’t understand or fear. At least it is when pushed to be so.
Evey’s journey through revenge and to herself is aided by Anne, the daughter of the local magistrate and she finds sisterhood with her, and her way back to sisterhood in general. I wasn’t sure if there was going to be a touch of romance between them, and there was one secret that I thought Anne was keeping where I was really wrong with my guess. I’d love to know if that was a clever misdirection or if I totally made it up 😂.
I loved the writing and a couple of descriptions stood out. “a desk slumbered beneath papers like fallen leaves, and a feather quill wept black tears for its master’s hand.” and “I licked the edge of my words.” Hopefully they made it across from the review copy to the finished text. I also loved the honesty that the author shared with us about some changes that were made between the copy I read and what is published, showing the value of sensitivity reading and understanding the modern situation even when writing something historically set.
As Halloween night draws ever closer settle down to this atmospheric read, and if like me you have a younger sister too remember not to feed the green eyed monster. Although saying that has oddly got me thinking about one of the character’s surname 🤔.
With thanks to Laura Smythe for the gifted copy for the purposes of honest review.
Do check out my guest post from Monday and the rest of the blog tour spots – Ironically today’s post is by Never Judge a Book by its Cover – but with this one you can because that stunner matches up to the insides.