Friday, August 21, 2015

Stake-Out by Lily Luchesi & Stormrise by Skye Knizley: Book Reviews with Excerpts

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Title:  Stake-Out
Series:  Paranormal Book Detectives #1
Author:  Lily Luchesi
Published:  May 19th, 2015
Publisher:  Vamptasy Publishing
Genre:  Paranormal
Content Warning:  Graphic violence and adult language
Recommended Age:  17+

Synopsis:  Detective Danny Mancini is on a case, following a murder suspect. When he catches him, he finds out that the perp isn’t even human: he’s a 200 year old rogue vampire!
The department doesn’t believe him, and puts him on early retirement, despite his many years of service to the Chicago Police Department, which sends him into a downward spiral.
Two years later, Danny gets an invitation from the beautiful, young and very attractive Detective Angelica Cross to join a secret branch of the FBI to help her track down Vincent, the wayward vamp.
But renegade werewolves, meddling immortal witches and Danny’s strange visions of a life lived a century ago with Angelica make things more difficult than it should be.

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Excerpt from Stake-Out by Lily Luchesi:

"Should I...say something? A prayer?" he asked Angelica, uncertain.

"Only if it makes you feel better," she said. "Better off saving your breath until you've finished your duties. After that, say all the prayers you want for your friend."
He sighed, and started reciting the Hail Mary in his mind, if only to distract him and steady his nerves for what he was about to do. He held the stake in place with his left hand and swung the hammer down with all his strength with his right. He felt the crunch of bone and the pressure of the muscles before the stake lodged itself into Camille's heart.
Dark, cold and rancid blood spewed out of the wound, hitting him in the face. He didn't tear his eyes away, however, from the hideous sight that was formerly his best friend. Her eyes--formerly bright green--snapped open; the whites were reddish and the irises were gone, it was all black pupil. Her formerly wide and friendly mouth opened. He watched, as if in slow motion, the jaw widen and distend beyond any lengths humanly possible, as Vincent's had two years prior, as he had attacked that girl. The fangs were fully extended and as sharp as the very stake he'd used on her. But was the absolute worst, above the aforementioned atrocities, was the shriek that emitted from her throat. It started out softly, like a kitten whining, but it steadily and rapidly got louder until it resembled a cross between nails on a blackboard, a bat's call and a demonic crow's caw. He wanted to cover his ears, close his eyes, and rock like a baby until the men in the white coats came to take him away. But he couldn't. He knew that he needed to save Camille's soul before he lost whatever remained of his mind.
He dropped the hammer to the floor of the grave and grabbed the dagger Angelica handed him. The shriek stopped, mercifully, but the sound still reverberated in his ears. He wondered idly if he'd have hearing damage. He looked at Camille. Blood was covering her uniform, splattered on her hands, arms and face. Blood also trickled from her mouth (where she'd gnashed her fangs against her lower lip) and nose. Her eyes followed his movements, filled with blind hate and hunger. Her fanged mouth was set in a vicious grimace. Any pity he'd had for Camille vanished. This thing was not his partner and he was going to rid the world of this abomination once and for all.
He brandished the dagger and Camille looked at him even more hatefully. With a simple swipe, he severed the head from the body. Blood oozed out below the head and onto the white lining of the coffin before the eyes faded back to Camille's natural green and the fangs retreated back into her gums. She was no longer a monster and her soul was set free.


I really enjoyed this story all the up to the cliffhanger  ending.  The conclusion was just a bit too rushed, and I was disappointed that the book just sort of ended, and I have to wait for the next installment.  I loved the characters. The writing style was just about perfect.  The action was fast, and every chapter propelled the story along so I was never bored.  I loved the hidden supernatural sub-culture that exists in this author’s imagination.  I just bought right into the whole paranormal  sha-bang .  I also enjoyed the pop culture references and had to laugh out-loud a few times.  I look forward to reading more with these characters by this author.

I got this book via Kindle Unlimited.

Reviewed by Laurie-J

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About the Author:
Lily Luchesi is a young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle by the time she was twelve, and, as her family has always been what they now call “Gothic”, she doesn’t believe she shall ever change. She is also a hopeless romantic and avid music-lover, and will always associate vampires with love, blood and rock and roll. Her interest in poetry came around the same time as when she was given a book of Edgar Allan Poe’s complete work. She then realized that she had been writing her own poetry since she could hold a pen, and just had not known the correct terms. She finished her first manuscript at the age of fourteen, and now, at twenty-one, has two contributing credits in anthologies and a debut novel, Stake-Out, was published by Vamptasy Publishing on May 19th, 2015.
She had a short story titled “Undead Ever After” in the Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly anthology Love Sucks, published on June 13th, 2015.
Her short (LGBTQA) erotic horror story “The Devil’s Dozen” will be published in the Hot Ink Press anthology Death, Love and Lust (release date TBA).

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Title:  Stormrise
Series:  The Storm Chronicles #1
Author:  Skye Knizley
Published:  October 31st, 2013
Publisher:  Vamptasy Publishing
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Content Warning:  R-rated action, violence, and sexual content
Recommended Age:  16+

Synopsis:  Life isn’t easy for Detective Raven Storm. Her best friend was recently killed and dismembered, her latest case ended with her partner in intensive care, and her mother, the vampiric Mistress of the City is playing matchmaker… again. The last thing she wants is another bizarre murder case with a partner she doesn’t know. But that is exactly what she gets when she is handed the enigmatic case of Nathan King, who was found in his car with a gaping hole where his stomach should be.
Soon Raven is unraveling a mystery that leads her deep into the city’s preternatural underworld, and into the arms of a sexy vampire she barely knows, but whose heart she seeks in the darkness…

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Excerpt from Stormrise by Skye Knizley:

The neon lights of the ‘All Live, All Nude’ sign flickered in the rain, showering the street with sparks that sizzled and flared in the cold night, an electric cadence to match the distant rumble of thunder as dark clouds continued to roll in off the lake and blanket the Windy City in an autumnal thunderstorm. Detective Raven Storm stood beneath the sparking sign, her pale skin contrasting with a waterfall of hair so red it was almost black. Her green eyes glowed with a feral light in the alternating flashes of lightning from the storm and sparks showering from the tilting sign above.

Raven’s heels clicked on the sidewalk and splashed in puddles as she walked back and forth in the shadows, her stylish grey pantsuit and silk blouse darkened where the cold rain had soaked through. She didn't notice the chill. She was watching the apartment building opposite the club for her latest and only suspect in a series of brutal murders that had taken the lives of seventeen women in the last three weeks. The news called him the Lakeside Strangler; the details of his savage attacks had been leaked to the press and the city had been in a panic ever since. She was going to end his killing spree tonight, one way or another.
Shortly before one in the morning she saw him: a young heartthrob, his black suit and fedora drenched with rain. He held an umbrella in one hand, a gorgeous young woman’s arm in the other, keeping her safe from the rain under the umbrella while he got soaked. Raven watched the couple enter the old apartment building, her heart beating faster. She didn’t want to wait, didn’t want to endanger another woman, but she had to be sure. The suspect had evaded her before and this could be just a young couple out for a lark; she'd had only a glimpse of his face before he had vanished into the darkness. Shooting the wrong guy would be bad form and lead to red tape.
Raven held her ground, waiting until the pair had entered the elevator before sprinting across the street and bounding up the stairs two at a time, her balance perfect as she ran, her heels ringing out on the ground. She slid to a halt in front of the elevators and rang for the car, tapping one heel against the floor while she waited for the doors to open, hoping she wouldn't again be too late or that she would be wrong altogether.
Seconds later she stepped out on the twelfth floor of the building. The suspect's apartment was at the end of the hall and Raven jogged towards it, her senses stretched to the maximum. When she reached the apartment, she pressed her ear to the steel security door and listened intently. Somewhere inside she could hear the couple kissing and the faint rustle of the woman’s dress as the man pawed at her. The sound of kissing ended abruptly; in her mind’s eye Raven saw her suspect pulling his victim’s dress over her head before wrapping his hands around her slender neck. She could wait no longer; if he followed the pattern he would soon strangle and rape his victim and make his escape. With a single, powerful blow, she kicked the door open and crashed through, her left hand drawing the stainless-steel Automag pistol from its holster beneath her jacket.
She had been right. The suspect was kneeling over the woman, her dress draped over his shoulders like a cape, his hands wrapped around her slender throat in a vice-like grip. The woman writhed and gasped for air, her legs flailing between his thighs as she fought to escape.
“Chicago Police!” Raven yelled, the gun pointed evenly at the man's head. “Release the woman and freeze!”
The suspect smiled and raised his hands, allowing the woman between his knees to wheeze and cough for breath.
“Of course, officer,” he said in a German-accented voice. “Have I done something wrong? My girlfriend and I were just having a little exotic fun!”
“Shut up and keep your hands where I can see them.” Raven moved closer, her eyes flicking between the gasping woman and the suspect. "You are under arrest for battery and second-degree assault!"
“I think not, officer,” he replied gleefully. “I find prison to be so boring and confining. Catch me if you can!”
The man moved in a blur, leaping to his feet and rushing towards the young detective with his arms stretched wide.
Raven fired twice, but he was so supernaturally quick that her shots went wide, punching melon-sized holes in the wall behind him. She didn’t have time to adjust her aim before the large man slammed into her, knocking her to the floor. Her head cracked against the hard tile flooring and stars jumped behind her eyes, making them water. When she could see again, he was straddling her, his wine-scented breath warm in her nose.
“Now, I'll kill you, and then take my pleasure with her,” he crowed, saliva trailing from his lips. “Two damsels for the price of one; what could be better? Such a beautiful dark and stormy night!”
Raven growled and writhed under the larger man, recoiling in disgust as she felt his swelling manhood pressed against her thigh.
“I’m a Chicago police officer,” she said between clenched teeth. “You kill me and you'll be out of options. You'll have nowhere to run and it will be life in prison without parole. Let me go and give yourself up!”
The killer leaned closer, his tongue trailing over Raven’s cheek before he whispered, “Oh! No! No, no, no! I have given you a death sentence and it will be carried out! Once you are dead I'll have all the options in the world. Do I take your body or kill the other one? Do I take her then kill her? Kill her then take her? Decisions, decisions, it's so hard to choose; I'm giddy with anticipation!”
Giggling like a maniac, he ground his crotch into Raven’s thigh, moaning with lust and perverse pleasure at the feeling of the helpless woman beneath him.
Raven snarled and closed her eyes tight, ignoring the madman on top of her. When she opened them again, her green eyes glowed with power, the black pupils becoming the feral slits of a predatory cat. With a growl, she head-butted the man, breaking his nose and causing him to loosen his grip. She then pushed him away with all her strength, sending him flying across the room to land painfully on top of an antique side table.
“I'm also,” she said, regaining her feet, “the youngest child of Valentina, Mistress of the City. Surrender and I'll see you get a fair trial before they lock your ass away. Keep fighting me and I'll surely pull your head off!”
The killer rolled off the side table and stretched, his back cracking loudly.
“Ah, you would be the Mistress’s bastard child, then!” he replied with a sneer. “The pathetic half-vampire! Your father was a police detective too, wasn’t he? Dead before his time? Head all blown off with his own gun? It will be a pleasure to feel your corpse cool beneath me as I take you one last time!”
Still grinning, the killer shook, his skin melting and flowing like butter in the sun, his shape exploding outward until he looked altogether alien. He blinked huge, multifaceted eyes and flexed claws longer than Raven’s entire arm, each joint cracking as bones settled into place.
“A doppelganger!” Raven breathed. “No wonder you were so hard to catch.”
“Indeed,” the creature replied in a chorus of voices. “Our body is legion, and when we finish with you, we will move on and continue our work elsewhere! So many beautiful women, so little time, as they say!”


WOW!!  This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Knizley but it won’t be the last.  I LOVED this book from the very first page to the last word.   I  found the writing style easy to read and the book very hard to put down.  The story held me captive in the best possible way.  Raven is a unique and fascinating heroine.  I loved her back story bits and relationship  issues with her siblings and mom – Messy and mixed-up.  I loved the suspense and the mystery along with action scenes that brought me right into the melee.  The romance was well-done – believable and hot but not (thank goodness) all consuming.  I just picked up Stormrage, the next book, and I can’t wait to read it!

I got this book via Kindle Unlimited.

Reviewed by Laurie-J

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About the Author:
Skye Knizley lives officially in the middle of nowhere. Really, it is.
When at home she spends her time writing urban fantasy novels including the best-selling Storm Chronicles series and the Midnight Roads, a series loosely based on her own travels around the country. Her debut ‘Chronicles novel, Stormrise, struck gold less than twenty four hours from being unleashed on an unsuspecting public, hitting best seller status in three categories in the US, UK, Australia and Canada. Her additional novels have all followed suit and she has no plans to stop writing any time soon.
If she’s not setting quill to parchment Skye can be found hiking with her Siberian Husky, camping, motorcycling, ghost hunting, or gaming.
Skye is a proud Wicca, musician and gamer girl and will happily discuss any of those topics. And no, practicing Wicca doesn’t mean she dances naked around stone circles. As far as you know.

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Don't miss the fourth book in the Storm Chronicles, Shadowstorm, due to be released August 29th.

Also, be sure to join the Facebook release party!

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Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
Two Winners!

  • ebook copy of Stake-Out (INT)
  • Signed print copy of Stormrise and Swag pack (US) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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