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A pick 'n' mix genre author. "I'm not greedy. I just like variety."

Monday, 3 June 2013

BTS Tours: Knights of Excalibur Series by Shannan Albright



REVISITING A CLASSIC LEGEND

Inspiration can come at the oddest times and with situations or item, which normally shouldn’t that one clear cut defining moment of Ah, ha! Like Robin Hood, King Arthur is what I call a classic legend. Legend for the reason we may or may not have actual concrete proof any of these men truly existed, and if they did, what actually did happen within those lives so long gone.

While taking a break for the day from writing I happened to turn on the TV and found Excalibur on. Being one of my favorite movies I sat back to enjoy the show, regardless of seeing it over at least ten times over the years. At the end of the movie I realized, though there is a plethora of movies and books out there dealing with King Arthur and his Knights, more often than not Gwenivere is always depicted in a bad light. The adulterous woman of weak moral fortitude whose actions set into motion the loss of Camelot.

This image always irritated me and I wanted to hear things from her perspective. I’ve always been attracted to the underdogs and maligned. What fun it would be to add my own personal twist on the infamous love triangle and show Gwenivere in a totally different light? 

Another thought came to me. We always hear Arthur being called the ‘Once and Future King.’ We all know what happened in his past, but what about his future?  My muse decided to chime in and mess with the short story I was writing, having just found out the project was a no go.

Getting back to work I quickly wrote an outline for a trilogy of books. I rewrote my short story. Beloved Monster became Beloved Wizard, and the Knights of Excalibur was born.


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Title: Beloved Wizard

Author: Shannan Albright
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Length: 70 Pages
Sub-Genres: Romance

Blurb:

Merci Tramaine is not happy to be called back into service by her old boss Arthur, especially when she is charged to find her missing ex-lover. Drake Monroe is Merlin reincarnated. With his powers bound by the Goddess Nimue, he has become a skilled fighter, but is no match for Nimue who kidnapped him, determined to destroy him forever.

The bloodline of Morgan Le Fey taints Merci, keeping her on the edge between light and dark. The goddess’s wicked trap springs shut, leaving both Drake and Merci racing against the clock. Passions ignite once again, but are they too late to plan a future or will they be torn from each other?
This time for eternity.

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Excerpt:

“I have no wish to be the next greatest anything. I like me just the way I am. I mind my own business and no one gets into my shit. Nice, quiet and uncomplicated.”

Color rose on Nimue’s fair complexion. Merci knew she’d just crossed the line, but couldn’t seem to care, even if the goddess could squash her like a bug. The only thing that mattered to her was Drake’s tall form moving ever closer toward them.

Nimue grabbed her upper arm in a punishing grip, whirled her around to face Drake. Nimue flung her hand out and Drake flew back like a puppet on a string, crashing into the far wall of the warehouse with a sickening flesh-meet-cinderblock thud. He lay crumpled amidst the debris like a broken doll.

Something snapped within Merci. Her blood scalded her veins. The taste of ash filled the back of her throat. Rage, cold and biting, filled her, coloring her vision in a red haze. Drawing energy from the earth, she channeled it up through her body, willing it to form. Her hands glowed, magic as hot as a stream of lava engulfed her. Her skin stung like the bite of a thousand fire ants as a small burst of electricity arched over her arms, snapping with pent up energy. The stench of ozone, hanging like a heavy cloud in the still air, filled the area. The force arched into Nimue, dropped her to the floor. Merci offered a feral smile while Nimue wreathed in pain against her magic. She bent down close enough for Nimue to hear her. “Since you don’t know me, I will explain this to you. You don’t fuck with what is mine. Drake, is mine.”

Buy Links:

Amazon.com
Bookstrand.com

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Review

3 Stars

The concept behind the idea of the world of The Knights of Excalibur Trilogy is interesting. The idea of the famous and well loved characters from the Arthurian Legends being reincarnated over the centuries until they are in our modern era, and of them retaining their memories and powers is also very interesting, but I felt this story, this instalment, was too rushed.

I'm all for diving into a story, but I felt the Beloved Wizard could have been longer/extended and therefore as a reader I would have had more time to get to know these reincarnated, well known, characters in their modernized and new state of being.

I feel there is a lot of possibilities for this world and characters and feel that if the book would have been longer and I had been given time with these characters I would have found the story more engaging. The story contains magic and action, and some hot moments between the feisty heroine and stubborn hero, but I felt I was thrown in at the final scene of their story rather than being allowed to share and witness their journey as individuals and as a couple.

(This book was received from author in exchange for an honest - and long overdue - review.)


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Title: The Knight’s Druid
Author: Shannan Albright
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Length: 96 Pages
Sub-Genres: Romance

Blurb:

What’s worse than a pissed off Knight? Colin Hennessy.

Shifter, Knight and quick-tempered Irishman, Colin remembers vividly his past life as Sir Kay. Haunted by the woman he once loved and lost, he has spent his lives searching for his lost love to no avail. Now Arthur is back and his life once again is filled with purpose. Joined by a common goal, he lives only to protect Arthur and his fellow Knights from the twisted, black magic of Mordred.

Juliet Boyd moves among societies rich and pampered, but she holds within her a terrible secret. One Vance Hollister is determined to exploit. Mordred is back in a new skin, now as Vance Hollister and the old evil is alive and well.

Colin and Juliet are unprepared for the flare of attraction that ignites between them from across a moonlit parking lot. Dare she open herself and expose her cursed gift? Can he save Juliet from Vance’s twisted manipulations or will he lose his second chance at love? A showdown between good and evil is coming to a head with Colin and Juliet right in the middle.

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Excerpts:

“Whatever Vance ordered you to do…don’t even think about it”

Buzz-cut took a step closer, his every move shadowed by his buddy Fugly. “Just what do you think a little thing like you could do?” Buzz-cut laughed.

Juliet pulled hard on the raw power woven through the earth and air. The surge prickled over her skin, crawling over her body like a million ants. Another beat of her heart and an electric buzz raced through her bloodstream making her lightheaded. Building energy this fast was a dangerous thing. It took a great deal of concentration to keep the swelling magic from going wild. Plus the body simply wasn’t built to withstand that much power forced into it. Much like an overloaded circuit board one uncontrolled surge and everything around a ten yard radius fried including the magic user.

Not good.

She would have to use this energy fast before it burned her out, as it stood now the physic backlash was going to be a doozy so she needed to take out both of them before that happened.

“Come and get it, boys,” she gritted out, thrusting her hands out in front of her which pulsed with a blue light.
“What the fuck?” Buzz-cut demanded, an edge of unease sharpened his tone.

“You wanted a piece of me, well you got it,” Juliet snapped, the pulsing light surrounding her hands flared white, the air crackled with static. Without warning the energy shot from her hands in two streams, homing in on her two would be attackers.

It hit them in the chest with a hissing crack, throwing them against the door with such force the frame cracked and the walls shook. Both men slumped to the floor in a boneless heap unconscious, the sharp tang of ozone filled the room as the energy she summoned reverted back to the elements of earth and air.

“Damn, woman, that was unexpected.” The deep accented voice slid over her exposed nerves, heightening her awareness of the man who suddenly appeared so close to her.

Colin.

“They didn’t give me much choice now did they?” Juliet snapped tersely, doing her damnedest to keep the world from tilting and the contents of her stomach from coming up.

“Aye, that they didn’t,” he agreed with a pensive look.

His intense regard kicked her pulse up a notch, clenching her hands into tight fists fighting against the irrational urge to stroke a hand over his strong jaw.

“You’re a bit pale perhaps you should sit for a wee bit?”

“A little help would have been nice,” she groused.

“And if there was a need for intervening I would have. You seemed to handle them quite well by yourself. You’re a powerful little thing, I’ve never seen the like and I’ve seen quite a bit in my life.”

Juliet tilted her head and grimaced against the throbbing pain taking up residence in her skull. Even the slightest movement felt like a hatchet cleaving into her skull. To her horror her knees wobbled, threatening to buckle under her. The backlash she dreaded engulfed her. Colin’s voice came from far off, his words made no sense as her vision fractured into black cracks threatening to pull her into the dark abyss.

Dimly she felt herself being lifted, heard Colin’s deep voice mumble something she thought was a curse. He felt so good, his body hard and warm. She laid her cheek against his chest hearing the beat of his heart and let herself fall into the blackness.

Buy Links:

Extasybooks.com

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Review

2 Stars

As with book one in the trilogy, Beloved Wizard, you are thrown right into the middle of the story, which would be great if I felt a knew the world and characters a lot better.

Colin and Jules experience lust at first sight and a "pull" toward each other, but personally, I feel their relationship was rushed. She might be feisty and he might be grumpy and they might clash a little, but there was no tension or build-up. The intimate scenes were sexy, but I felt the characters have no real connection bar this crazy spark.

There was still magic in the pages, a little zombie action, and I love me a shifter, but yet again I feel the story would have been more enjoyable if it were longer; if I had a chance to learn more about two of the new characters and their histories, and better yet, if I had learnt more about the secondary characters in book one and there was more indication to what the "big fight" was all about... I just feel this book was rushed and it is a real shame because Miss Albright is a good writer, with this interesting concepts, and she sure pens some sexy scenes. I just feel there should be so much more to the story then there actually is.

(This book was received from author in exchange for an honest - and long overdue - review.)
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Title: The King’s Lady
Author: Shannan Albright
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Length:
Sub-Genres: Romance

Blurb:

Arthur Penner is more than happy to aid a lady in need of help, especially if the woman is targeted by his nemesis Vance Hollister. The fact the lady in question turns out to be not only a powerful witch, but a gorgeous red head with a wealth of curves that don’t quit? Even better.
What he isn’t prepared for is the discovery that the woman just happens to be his reincarnated Queen Gwenivere, and worse, she has no memory of who he is.

His well-ordered life is crumbling around him as yet another surprise turns up in the form of his reincarnated sister. It seems the past is swallowing him whole, forcing him to let go of previous betrayals and trust once more.

Gwen McAllister finds herself between a rock and a hard spot. Drawn to the quiet strength and confidence of Arthur. It isn’t until her memories are savagely restored by a vengeful goddess that she realizes who she is and the bitter betrayal she caused. Even her familiar, a mouthy Himalayan named Salt seems to be against her, demanding she trust the very man she destroyed with her life.

A new threat is rising, one which will plunge the world they know into darkness. To defeat an old enemy they must depend on each other and learn to forgive. A tall order and time is running out. Can they let go of the past and embrace the promise of a future or will they lose everything in the ultimate battle between good and evil?

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Excerpt:

Arthur moved up the small path heading for the front door and the inevitable conflict with Vance. His blood pumped in readiness, and he controlled his breathing, remembering the first lesson he learned in the art of warfare. Never fight with your emotions.

The sound of shattering glass broke the peaceful air surrounding the neighborhood. A huge shadow hurtled past him, forcing him a step back to keep from being hit. Drake and Merci moved to his side as they looked first to the broken front window and then to the old recliner now resting  on its side next to the large elm tree. A curse exploded from Drake as he leapt up the steps and kicked in the door, Merci on his heels as they disappeared inside.

Arthur followed, pulling out the long buck knife strapped to his ankle, his hand firm around the handle. He stepped into the home, ignoring the broken pieces of furniture strewn about the room. His entire focus riveted on the broad back of a tall dark-haired man impeccably dressed and pulsing with enough twisted magic it repelled him to take a step back. Gritting his teeth against the pressure building against his temples, he forced his feet to carry him further into the room, Drake and Merci at his sides, their combined magic ready to engage.

Vance swung his head to the side, pinning Arthur with a gaze of pure malice. “I was expecting you to show up much later, Father. I assumed I would already be gone and the prize with me. Ah, well, that’s what I get for assuming, don’t you agree?”

“You underestimated me yet again, Vance,” Arthur drawled, his southern accent becoming more pronounced. “It’s becoming a habit of yours, you know?”

“Not this time. This time you underestimated me. Tell your guard dogs to back off, or I’ll kill the witch.”
At his demand, he swung around, showing what his big body kept hidden. A blaze of red hair cascaded down her shoulders in a wild tumble of curls framing a heart-shaped face. Thick dark lashes framed large eyes slightly tilted up and dominated her delicate features. Full lush lips parted as she rasped in a breath. Vance’s hand tightened around her throat and lifted her up until she was forced to stand on her toes in order to keep from strangling.

Arthur could only stare in mute silence, stunned and helpless against the pull of those glistening blue eyes the color of the Caribbean Sea. Eyes he hoped he would never again gaze into, for within those sparkling eyes housed the soul of the only woman he had ever loved. And the one whose betrayal he could never forgive. 

Buy Links:


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Review

4 Stars

Out of all three books in the trilogy, The King's Lady was my favourite. In part it is because I know the story of Arthur and Guinevere, but this book was twice as long as the first two books in the trilogy, which means as a reader I was given more time to process everything that had happened so far, but also get to know Shannan's versions of these characters.

Although - and as with the previous books - I feel that I would have liked to see more resistance and tension in the characters relationship. Arthur and Gwen's relationship wasn't rushed, but they have a huge history, which has caused severe damage, feelings of betrayal on both sides... I think a little more tension and time would have made the intimate moments and sex scenes more gratifying.

On the whole this book was a good conclusion to the story. Different types of magic abound in the pages, there was more action, some terrifying creatures, heartfelt and healing moments, the baddies got their butts kicked and it ended on a satisfying note. Happily Ever Afters all around.

(This book was received from author in exchange for an honest - and long overdue - review.)

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About The Author:


Growing up she was the dreamer in her family, something not always thought of as a positive thing. As a child she would draw and build stories around her pictures, so writing was a natural extension for her. Recently a family member told her that from now on she would encourage those dreamers she knew. Stating with hard work and focus dreams can come true. Shannan Albright is proof that dreaming can be a positive thing.

When not writing she spends her time between oil painting and reading. She loves writing paranormal, urban fantasy, historical and fantasy romances because of the world building and rich characters she finds. She loves dark, edgy heroes and heroines overcoming impossible odds internal and external.

She is a "hopeful" Romantic who believes a healthy relationship built on respect and a strong partnership is the key to a happy ever after.

Shannan Albright
Amazon.com

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Tour Schedule:

April 17 (Kickoff Party): Close Encounters with the Night Kind:  http://closeencounterswiththenightkind.blogspot.com

April 17: S J Maylee Interview: http://SJMaylee.com

April 23: Full Moon Bites Interview:  http://www.fullmoonbites.net/

April 23: The Log Line Blog (Beloved Wizard) Spotlight: http://theloglineblog.blogspot.com

April 25: Demon Lovers Books and More: Review/Guest Post

April 27: All About Heat Romance: Guest Post/Giveaway

May 1: House Millar: Review/Interview http://apmassie.com/blog

May 3: Grinelda Markowitz Erotic Writing: Guest Post http://grineldamarkowitz.wordpress.com/

May 6: Romance Book Junkies: Guest Post and Series Review http://www.romancebookjunkies.com,

May 16: The Bunny’s: Review /Guest Post  http://blog.kybunnies.com

May 20: The Jeep Diva: Series Review and Interview  www.thejeepdiva.com

May 20: Talk Supe: Series Review and Book Blast http://www.talkingsupe.com

May 21: The Log Line Blog: Spotlight (The Knight’s Druid) http://theloglineblog.blogspot.com

May 23: Read 2 Review: Interview http://read2review.com

May 30: Angels with Attitudes: Interview/Giveaway http://angelswithattitudebookreviews-joelle.blogspot.com

June 3: My World: Series Review and Guest Post
                       
June 5: All I Want and More: Guest Post/Giveaway  http://alliwantandmore.blogspot.com/

June 6: Deal Sharing Aunt: Series Review and Giveaway  http://www.dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/

June 10: Read Between the Lines: Guest Post www.rbtlreviews.com 

June 11: The Log Line Blog: Spotlight (The King’s Lady)  http://theloglineblog.blogspot.com

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