**REVIEW** ~ Eagle’s Honor: Banished, by Sandra Schwab

Erotic Historical Romance set in Ancient Rome and Britain

18+/Adult Read

Book Blurb

Sandra ScwabA proud warrior.
A brave woman.
A forbidden love that is tested by the intrigues of ancient Rome and the hostilities at the northernmost edge of the empire.Centurion Marcus Florius Corvus has a splendid career in the legions ahead of him. Yet a visit to Rome and a chance encounter with an old friend change his whole life: He falls in love with one of his friend’s pleasure slaves and becomes entrapped in an evil scheme designed to destroy him. And yet—he cannot help risking everything for Lia, the woman he has given his heart to, even if it means he will be banished to one of the most dangerous places in the Roman Empire: the northern frontier of Britannia.

My Review

Another Gem of a Romance *****

Eagle’s Honor: Banished is the second book I have read by Sandra Schwab, the first being Devil’s Return (Allen’s Miscellany #4). Once again this author played my emotions like the proverbial violin and at several points during the read I was moved to tears.

Romances set in the time of the Roman Empire are few and far between and I jumped at the chance to read and review it. I am fascinated by this time period, in particular the dichotomy between the civilized nature of the Romans and their assumed right to rule over others, be they slaves or their enemies, a right which can sometimes manifest itself in acts of great cruelty. I enjoyed how Ms Schwab takes the reader on a journey of forbidden love in this novel and at the same time explores these aspects of Roman life in the capital Rome and on the fringes of the Empire.

The heroine Lia is a pleasure slave and dancer in the home of Titus, a wily Roman. It is there she meets the Centurion Marcus, a guest of Titus, when she is instructed to ‘entertain’ him. Marcus has recently returned to Rome after spending time in the legions. Their ensuing love affair sets off a chain of events that will change their lives forever as Marcus vows to make Lia his, unaware of the malicious plot of others. I loved how Marcus courts her mind and her body, focusing on her wellbeing and pleasure, this woman whose sole existence has hitherto been to serve others. It is a romantic and page turning read with many sensual and erotic scenes, but don’t be fooled, Ms Schwab makes the couple work incredibly hard for their HEA!

Lia, bred to be a slave, knows no other life other than to obey and is an expert at masking her true feelings. I just loved how Marcus makes her feel like a woman of worth. Marcus is a true man of honour, disliking the often heartless and cruel excesses of Rome and has no love of many of its values. Yet the fates do not smile kindly on a love affair between a Roman Centurion from a distinguished family and a mere plaything, and the couple face the repercussions of their actions as a plot to discredit Marcus unravels. Honour is important to Marcus and he has to fight hard to balance his allegiance to Rome, his family honour and his love for Lia.

The story is first and foremost a romance but it also explores the themes of family and friendship – I hugely enjoyed the character of Alaric in particular, and also how the author depicted life amongst the Roman military. Ms Schwab has clearly carried out a great deal of research into the time period and this added to my enjoyment of the read.

Highly recommended for lovers of historical romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this novel was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon US  Amazon UK

Connect with the Author

http://www.sandraschwab.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sandraschwab

https://twitter.com/ScribblingSandy

 

~**IRREVOCABLE**~ by Skye Callahan ~ BLOG TOUR (Includes Review, Excerpt and Giveaway)

Irrevocable BB 2

 

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An 18+ read. Warning: This isn’t your rainbows and love sonnets kind of romance. This story explores topics of abduction and slavery, and contains explicit scenes of graphic violence and (non-con/dub-con) sex.

I have been SO looking forward to reading this new novel by Skye Callahan. I LOVE dark reads for a host of reasons: the examination of the psychology of power; the preservation of self versus the desire of another to dominate and destroy; the erotic sex; the often taboo scenes and the plots where characters’ survival often rests on a knife edge, not forgetting the presence of the dark alpha anti-heroes, whose possible redemption, when faced with a woman who gets under their skin and makes them question their actions, fascinates me.

I was therefore delighted to be gifted a review copy of Irrevocable to participate in this blog tour. Let me say upfront, Skye Callahan does not disappoint on any one of the reasons I love this sub genre of romance. It is a FREAKIN” AMAZING read! Scroll down for the book blurb, a sizzling excerpt, my review and details on how to enter the associated rafflecopter giveaway, where you can win a paperback copy of Irrevocable and oodles of other great prizes! Tina ❤

Irrevocable

 

SYNOPSIS

Sometimes when you can’t go back, the only way out is to descend into the darkness.

my Captor

When I woke in that place, I just wanted to survive. But survival came at a cost, for which they demanded my will and body.

my Master

With pain came acceptance. Fully-dependent on the man who claimed me, I learned to appreciate what I had-life and relative safety.

my Protector

I watched him spill blood and tend my injuries. With betrayal came a revelation.

The only way out was to bring them all down or die trying.

Goodreads

BUY LINKS

AMAZON
US:  UK:   CA:  AU: 

SIGNED PAPERBACKS

US: $13.99 | CA: $17.99 | INTL: $26.99

EXCERPT 

Through the haze of sleep, I felt hands on me. Cold and rough. I thought for a fleeting moment that it might have been Kyle. Then, I remembered our break up. It had happened weeks ago, but maybe that part was the dream. My memory was fucked and I couldn’t latch onto a thought long enough to ride it out of the fog.

Too many hands. They groped and pulled—rough against my skin and digging into muscle and bone. I tried to retreat, my back pressed into a hard surface beneath me, and my nostrils filled with the smell of musk and damp stale air. I had no idea where I was, or how I’d gotten there. I kicked and gasped, trying to get back to the surface where reality lurked, shimmering in the distance, but just out of reach, like the sun on the surface of the water during a dive.

A hand latched onto my hair and held my head back. My eyelids were finally freed from the sticky muck that held me in semi-consciousness, and I opened them to find myself staring up into unfamiliar green eyes. I only held his gaze for a few seconds—if that—but it seemed like it lasted for hours as my brain fought to categorize the details. Its useless attempt to understand what was going on. The man clutching my hair had vivid green eyes, but they may as well have been black given the emotionless void they displayed. His hair was shaggy, brown with a mix of grey, the same colors that stood out in his unkempt stubble. As if he needed any help looking rough. He exhaled and his breath settled over my face, reeking of booze and cigarettes. The smell made me queasy, but I didn’t have time to dwell on that, as another set of hands tugged at my jeans.

My gaze traveled around the room, taking in the small crowd. At least half a dozen men surrounded the table where they had me spread out like a holiday feast. All dressed differently, from ragged tank tops to well-fitting dark button-down shirts, but they all projected an air of unchecked danger. Necks marked with tattoos, hands covered in callouses and scars. Scruffy faces accented their sneers and smirks, as they stood above me staring down with eyes starved of humanity and full of lust.

Apparently, they didn’t expect me to put up a fight, because aside from the hand tangled in my hair, no one seemed concerned with keeping a tight grip on me. Probably because they outnumbered me, and I assumed they would have no problem beating the crap out of me as I struggled. They’d downright enjoy it. Unfortunately, I didn’t fully consider how that scenario would play out. I bucked and managed to knee the one pulling on my waistband in the face. He grunted, but I can’t imagine I inflicted as much pain as his retaliatory blow to my ribs. I sucked in air and rolled, curling around the injury and gasping for each painful breath as the sickening throb exacerbated my confusion. 

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My Review

Freakin’ Brilliant!

A freakingly brilliant read that kept me glued to my Kindle until the wee hours! I LOVE dark erotic reads and this ranks amongst one of the best I have read in a long time. Like others in the genre it contains explicit scenes of sex and violence (especially sexual violence) and is also deeply psychological as it examines the themes of domination, submission and sadism. It also contains a heart rending love story, hot love making, super erotic scenes and self-sacrifice. This particular dark read spotlights how far would you submit to survive and in doing so could you preserve your sense of self?

The heroine ‘Silver’ (whose real name we only learn towards the end of the novel) is abducted and taken to a ‘retreat’ run by the twisted megalomaniac crime lord Ross, who dabbles in the pleasures afforded by slaves alongside other illegal activities. Silver finds herself in the hands of Kirk to be trained as a slave. She is left under no illusions as to her new role, to be his sexual toy for him or his sadistic boss Ross to use as they desire. She soon realises that her only way to survive is to submit to the pleasure and pain Kirk her ‘master’ subjects her to. Yet she constantly rebels against this as she fears that to do so she will break completely.

Kirk is a conundrum to Silver and the reader, a cruel and harsh task master who is not pleased to find himself saddled with a difficult slave to train, but he will do what it takes to keep her in line, however painful it is. As they spend more time together however, Kirk occasionally reveals the existence of a softer side, but he will not deviate from his responsibility of training his slave. From this unequal relationship a strong bond develops between them, yet can Silver reconcile herself to her new role and can she survive in such a sadistic and violent environment which is overseen by Kirk’s boss Ross?

I LOVED Silver and Kirk. Silver is strong and feisty despite enduring so much and Kirk is a hottie who appears to be a monster, yet is far less of a monster than others within the world she finds herself in. The scenes between Silver and Kirk are intense and downright hot, but at times had me in despair and reaching for the tissues!

Aside from the hero and heroine, there are some other great characterisations, from the evil and sadistic Ross and Gabe to Miles, his second in command. Note to author – like other readers, I too would love to see Miles have his own book!

I will not say any more but the novel has an inventive and well-paced roller coaster of a plot, with many surprises, including a great twist. Lovers of dark romances will certainly want to add it to their reading list! A 5 star read!

A copy of this novel was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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AUTHOR BIO

I’ve been coming up with stories for as long as I can remember, and in elementary school I began writing them all down. Ghosts and vampires, have always been my favorite beings to write about. Maybe it was growing up with a grandma who always told me about how she’d always rush home to watch Dark Shadows, and growing up reading and watching anything paranormal that I could find.

My debut, Fractured Legacy (Paranormal Urban Fantasy novella), was released on October 22, 2013, and the sequel Beyond the Divide is currently in progress and expected to release in early 2014.

I am also taking a departure from the paranormal world with a BDSM Romance, Bound and Unbroken, which will also be released in early 2014. I go where my characters lead me, and Eric and Lena decided that I needed a definite break from the paranormal.

When I’m not spending time with the voices in my head, I work in business consulting and hang out with my husband and all of our furry family members.

Random Stuff:

I LOVE Rum, but that’s probably not a secret.

I love sexy cars more than I love rum. My top picks would be a ’65 Mustang, practically any Bugatti Veyron, or an Aston Martin Vanquish.

I once based a character in a story on my husband, and the character died.

Don’t bother trying to figure it out, I never released that book.

I’ve never met some of my closest friends in person–some of them live on the other side of the world.

I never set out for anyone at work to know that I’m a writer, but now they buy my books, so it’s a good deal.

I’m not terribly good at being girly–I don’t wear makeup, only own 4 pairs of shoes, and I’ve never had a manicure.

I learned to handle a gun before I learned long division.

I cuss like a sailor unless I’m around my grandma.

While most of the people in my graduate research classes were buried in books, I was glued to the TV researching the evolving portrayal of “Indianness”.

I’ve seen Disturbed in concert 3 times.

I still have a crush on Jason David Frank (aka Tommy Oliver the Green/White Ranger)

I work with my husband and it’s the 3rd time we’ve worked for the same business.

If I’m not watching Top Gear, I’m probably watching something that was filmed before I was born. Currently, Dick Van Dyke is in my DVD player.

I have a phobia of crickets.

Should I throw you one hell of a fact if you’ve made it this far? I was diagnosed with PTSD two and a half years ago, and my doctor suggested that

I start writing again to help cope with the symptoms.

Where to stalk Skye:

Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/1gVX96i

Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/Hmwsrp

Twitter: http://bit.ly/HchK5M   or  @Skye_Callahan

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Giveaway

Click on the link to win some fantastic prizes including a paperback of Irrevocable!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Bad Death, by Naima Haviland

TheBadDeath-KindleCoverA Gothic Masterpiece of Dark Romance, Horror and Suspense – Review and Author Giveaway

The Bad Death, part of Naima Haviland’s vampire trilogy, tantalises the reader with a spellbinding paranormal tale of romance, horror and suspense. The author skillfully weaves the vampire myth with African Gullah legends to create a dark and gripping narrative, which, when read in conjunction with the accompanying novel Bloodroom, will forever haunt your dreams.

In The Bad Death, set in South Carolina in 1788, a mysterious African beauty emerges from the family crypt of Julian Mouret, the owner of Lion’s Court plantation. This woman enthralls this handsome slave owner with an outlandish tale of peril and flight. Although Julian fears for her sanity, he determines to keep Anika (or Annie as she is known) safe as a series of horrifying mutilation murders ensues, indicating to the slaves the presence of “plat-eyes”—shape-shifting blood-sucking supernatural creatures. Anika becomes empowered to end the rampage, but at stake is not only her own life but the soul of the man she is coming to love.

The Bad Death does contain a  Bloodroom spoiler, so if you intend to read it you may first want to read Bloodroom, to which this book serves as both a prequel and a sequel. Scroll to the end of this review for a link to our Bloodroom review. Naima Haviland is also kindly offering one lucky reader of our blog a digital copy of both Bloodroom and A Bad Death. Scroll down for details of this giveaway, where all you need to do is comment with your name.

I absolutely adore this series! I fell in love with Julian in Bloodroom, being both repelled and attracted to him – I cannot get him out of my head. The Bad Death gives the reader an insight into his actions in Bloodroom, where as a creature of the dark he maintains a thread of humanity. In The Bad Death Julian values rationality over superstition, yet Anika and the events which occur are anything but rational. He refuses to acknowledge the existence of beings which science does not recognise. Julian cannot explain the sexual pull and connection he feels to Anika, whom readers of Bloodroom immediately recognise is possessed by the spirit of Natalie his human lover in that book. Although compelled to keep Anika close, he is also repelled by her as he believes that she is a liar and a trickster at worse and at best mad. What will be Julian’s downfall? – Madness if he realises that such evil actually exists or ignorance as he does not realise the true horror of what he and others face?

Anika is a fantastic kick-ass heroine, protecting those she cares about in any way she can. Although this book is very much focused on Anika, Natalie’s influence is pivotal, as through her possession she imparts her ballet dancer’s strength and flexibility on Anika and also her knowledge of how to defeat vampires. Natalie’s spirit (whom Anika refers to as ‘the Hag’) also gives Anika an insight into Natalie and Julian’s dark romance. Anika regards her possession more favourably as the novel progresses and becomes increasingly attracted to Julian. She is torn between her attraction to Julian and to Marcus, the Mouret’s slave driver, himself a slave. Bitter rivalry and jealousy exist between both men over Anika  and there is also plenty of sexual tension and well crafted sensual love making scenes throughout.

There are a host of supporting characters. These include Tumba, the resident witch doctor, a free black man, whose role appears to be a malevolent one. We also meet the teenage Jane Eliza, whom readers of Bloodroom will recognise as Swisher, who plays such a key role in that book. Julian’s mother, Miss Elizabeth, is a character whom I loved, as she is brave and resourceful and whilst not fully comprehending the true evil around her is supportive of Anika.

The novel contains horror and violence and visceral scenes of bloodlust and gore juxtaposed with passionate lovemaking and lush descriptions of the landscape. I was particularly impressed by the dark, gothic descriptions of the waterways, which link Lion’s Court to adjacent plantations, the descriptions of these and the rice fields and the overarching sky became more and more threatening as the novel progresses. I also enjoyed the magical scenes where Natalie takes possession of Anika  and compels her to dance the ballet and imbues her with visions and feelings from the future. The author has carried out a lot of research into the history of slaves and plantation owners, the Gullah language, folklore and culture and the environment of South Carolina in the late eighteenth century. I was held spellbound and totally immersed in the world and minds of the characters.

The Bad Death is an original and haunting tale. Don’t take my word for it – check out the author’s web and blog sites to read her excerpts and to gain an insight into the characters and the world that she has created. I am certainly looking forward to book 3 of the trilogy, due for release next year.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for an honest and fair review.

For my review of Bloodroom click here

http://naimahaviland.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Books.by.Naima.Haviland

To buy a copy – currently available both in paperback and Kindle. Click to buy at Amazon US Click to buy at Amazon UK

For a chance to win a digital copy of both Bloodroom and The Bad Death simply leave your name below in the comments section. A draw will be made on 27th September 2013 and the lucky winner informed.

Betrayed (# 3 in the Roman/Druid Series), by Christina Phillips

17401185[1]-002Erotic Historical Romance

Adult content 18+

A Beautiful and Passionate Meeting Of Soul Mates

Betrayed is an erotic historical romance, set in Roman Britain. It describes a beautiful and passionate love between two sworn enemies, Tacitus, a Roman Tribune and Nimue, a priestess from the Druid nobility, whom the Romans are pledged to eradicate. It is a fantastic addition to the other two books in Christina Phillips’ Roman/Druid Series, Forbidden and Captive, and can be read as a stand alone.

Betrayed takes place in Cymru, in 51 A.D, where the Romans are committed to quashing rebellion. Whilst on an important mission for Caratacus, the Briton King, Druid priestess Nimue is injured and captured. Tacitus is entranced by her beauty and demeanor. To prevent her being treated as a spoil of war to be sold to the highest bidder, he purchases her as his slave, lest any other man seeks to possess her.

Tacitus ensures that Nimue has the best medical care while she recuperates and gives her more freedoms than a slave is due. Initially Nimue is unaware that Tacitus owns her and does not comprehend why she is not held with the other prisoners. There is a strong sexual chemistry between them and as passion ignites, Nimue decides to take advantage of what his body has to offer, whilst biding her time until her recovery so that she can complete her mission for the Briton King.

Nimue is angry and mortified when she comprehends her lowly status, which she regards as being little more than a whore. However, she cannot prevent herself falling in love with Tacitus, enemy of the Druids, who would turn her over for torture and cruxifiction if he knew of her true heritage. She knows that she is coveted by other officers in the legion and realises that Tacitus spoke the truth when he said that he enslaved her for her own safety. However, her promise to Caratacus and her birthright dictate that she must betray him and this is heartbreaking. Nimue also has a task to carry out for her goddess, linked to a sacred bluestone, which her people hold in high esteem. I was so drawn into the world that the author created that I lay awake at night fretting about what would happen to Nimue and Tacitus and whether they would get their HEA!

Nimue is a fantastic heroine, not only brave but also possessing great knowledge as she is an acolyte to the goddess Arianrhod. She seeks guidance and enlightenment in some mystical scenes which take place throughout the novel. She is also a skilled healer and archer. She is loyal to her people and wants to free them from the indignities she sees them suffer. She knows that Tacitus will view her actions as the ultimate betrayal and also what will happen to her if she fails. She also carries a secret burden and heartbreak from her past.

Tacitus is a wonderful hero, masterful and passionate. A complex and honourable individual, he does not always conform to Roman views. He has never taken a slave and will not force himself on a woman. Tacitus is entranced by Nimue, who is open and confident in her sexuality and is amused that she, a slave, gives him orders. He strives to understand her customs and beliefs. However, what will he do when he discovers that she is not just a Celt, but a Druid who communes with the gods, let alone one who is hell bent on betraying his trust?

The author creates a world full characters that jumped of the page. I am no scholar of ancient Britain but she appears to have done a lot of research into the customs, religion and medicinal uses of various herbs etc. of the time. The erotic scenes are beautifully executed and you could really sense the growing connection between the lovers, who, despite being sworn enemies were a perfect foil for each other. I feared that I, along with my Kindle, would spontaneously combust whilst reading it!

I recommend this novel to all lovers of erotic romance, especially those who like a historical theme and a strong heroine and a leading man who is the embodiment of male sexuality and virtue. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Tainted.

I was lucky enough to win a copy of the e-book of Betrayed in a competition and have carried out an honest and fair review.

Click for Christina Phillips’ website.

Find out more at Ellora’s Cave

Permission to feature cover art kindly received from Ellora’s Cave

Edited by Victoria Reese

Cover design by Fiona Jayde

Cover photography by Andreas Gradin and Medvedev Vladimir/Shutterstock.com