House of Dusk, House of Dawn: The House of Crimson and Clover by Sarah M. Cradit #bookreview #paranormal

Dive into the secret, ancient, powerful world of two New Orleans families, the Deschanels and the Sullivans…

From USA Today bestselling paranormal author Sarah M. Cradit comes House of Dusk, House of Dawn, the final installment in the bestselling witches family saga, The House of Crimson & Clover. Not a standalone story, this novel’s plot makes the most sense only after having the prior volumes.

This is the end.

This is the beginning.

The stage is set. The players, ready.

A midnight dynasty, cursed to fall. An empire of shadows, determined to rise once more.

Here they are, at the end of everything.

One wrong move spells irreversible defeat.

But, ah, what if they win? – Goodreads.com

Saying goodbye to some of these characters was bittersweet.  After spending so much time with them throughout this series, they seem almost real, but it was satisfying to see them reach a natural conclusion to their storylines – some with their happily ever after, some with the potential for one, and others…..no spoilers here, folks.  A few of them will show up in the author’s new series (I was thrilled to read my fav character is one of them), so it’s not a final farewell for all.

This is a gratifying ending to a fabulous paranormal series that did justice to its characters.  Don’t try diving into this series in the middle, you’ll drown in confusion – instead, start at the beginning and let these characters tell you their story.

I received an ARC of this book from the author.

 

Within the Garden of Twilight: The House of Crimson and Clover IX by Sarah M. Cradit #TuesdayBookBlog @TheWriterSarah

Temporary peace descends on the Deschanels in New Orleans. Loved ones have returned. A calm appears in the chaos. Life is, seemingly, back to normal.

Those who had been away look to establish their new routine. They trade intrigue for dinner parties. Survival skills for day jobs. Settling into a quiet life comes with a sense of long-awaited relief, and they want, desperately, to embrace it with open arms. To sit in silence in their gardens at twilight and dream a dream they dare not: One of health, happiness, and above, all family.

Yet under the surface lurks the shadows of their past, and the promises of tomorrow. A whisper in their ear, reminding them, “Soon.” – Goodreads.com

With only one more book in this series, the end is in sight, and while I’m sad to see it conclude, I’m anxious to see how the journey will end for these characters that have become almost real to me.

One of the things I enjoyed so much about this book was the number of characters included.  Some of the novels have focused on just a handful, but with Garden of Twilight, the reader learns exactly where everyone stands and how all of their individual situations are intertwined in the overall scheme of things.  In short – be ready for a humdinger of a showdown in the last book.

I was surprised a few times – especially with one character.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say his actions were out of character – just sudden and unexpected.  With another (my personal fav), I hated to see him hit rock bottom, but sometimes that needs to happen before you can become who you’re meant to be, and I’m excited to see his transformation.

Overall, I’m bittersweet about this series winding down, but I’m also looking forward to seeing this author expand into other worlds.  As always, if you’re new to this series, start from the beginning

I received a digital copy of this book from the author.

Lagniappes Collection II: A House of Crimson and Clover Boxed Set by Sarah M. Cradit #bookreview #TheWriterSarah

Dive into the secret, ancient, powerful world of two New Orleans families, the Deschanels and the 33279520Sullivans…

From USA Today bestselling paranormal author Sarah M. Cradit comes Lagniappes Collection II, the second collection of Crimson & Clover Lagniappes (bonus stories) in the bestselling witches family saga, The House of Crimson & Clover. They can be enjoyed as standalone tales, or complements to the series.

5 MORE BESTSELLING SHORT STORIES
ONE COMPELLING COLLECTION

PANDORA’S BOX: A peculiar heart meets its mate. Fate, though, has other plans.

THE MENAGERIE:Welcome to The Menagerie. You’ll be offered a single choice. Your deepest desires, granted. Once made, it cannot be undone.

A BAND OF HEATHER: Two worlds collide in the romantic Scottish Highlands.

THE EPHEMERAL: Autumn’s past and future connect in an unexpected way when mysterious Gabriel appears.

BANSHEE: I was eighteen when I died. Then, at eighteen, I was reborn. – Goodreads.com

I’ve previously reviewed Pandora’s Box here, The Menagerie here, and A Band of Heather here – but The Ephemeral and Banshee were both new to me.

The Ephemeral:  I had fun learning about this limb of the Sullivan family tree that branches up into Portland, OR.  It was unexpected, intriguing, and I’m curious to see where the story goes from here.

The Banshee:  ‘I was eighteen when I died.  Then, at eighteen, I was reborn.’  With a description like that, how can you not want to read this?  It grabbed me immediately and if you’re familiar with The House of Crimson and Clover series, you’ll be fascinated at what happened to Giselle after she died – a highly creative alternative to what could happen to a soul when it leaves the body.

If you’re unfamiliar with this series, all of these can be read as standalones – if you’re a fan of this series, you don’t want to miss this collection.

I received a digital copy of this book from the author.

 

The Last Dryad by Sarah M. Cradit #bookreviews #TuesdayBookBlog @TheWriterSarah

The Complex Book Series.
A Lone Planet. One Complex.32988663
Unlimited Chaos.

Two thousand years beyond our time, much has changed. Humans, forced to flee Earth after a nuclear holocaust, find themselves in the distant Seldova system. Here, they realize they are not alone. Metas, races of powerful beings, are also forced from their home after environmental tragedies. They come upon the same mecca of planets, beginning a decades-long war with the Humans for land and home.

Humans and Metas, weary of fighting, come to an uneasy truce. They cannot co-exist with animosity and bloodlust running high, and together, they propose The Complex: a societal test consisting of two years of comfortable isolation, occupied by both Meta races and Humans. The enticement for those who agree to this co-mingling is enough money to live on for many years. But two years is a long time to live with your enemies.

Wezlei, a Human, only knows about the old world from the books his father left behind. He dreams of a better life for his mother, who has surrounded him with love and safety all his life. He takes inspiration from the old tales of Robin Hood and embarks on a life of piracy to balance the unevenness of his world. In no one is this more evident than Tariq, a ruthless Dhampir whose cruelty is unprecedented.

When Wezlei witnesses firsthand the horrors the Dhampir inflicts on his “wife” Aerwen. one of the last living Dryads whom he has enslaved, he can’t simply turn away. He learns they have signed up for the Complex, and decides he has no choice but to do the same.

He has no plan, only a vision: Save Aerwen and put an end to Tariq’s reign of terror. – Goodreads.com

If you’re a fan of this author, you know the sci-fi path is a new direction for her, and one I’ve been looking forward to. The concept of this story is very appealing – different cultures/species forced to learn to live together after being driven from their respective planets.  But Tariq is the epitome of intolerance and puts both MCs through horrific abuse.  As characterization has always been a strength of this author (even with short novellas), feeling empathy for Wezlei and Aerwen is effortless for the reader.

Although this is a sci-fi novella, the world-building is exceptional with the limited amount of space and if the author plans additional books for this series, it’s an exciting foundation to build on.

I received a digital copy of this book from the author.

 

The Last Dryad by Sarah M. Cradit #FridayBookShare @ShelleyWilson72

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Friday Book Share was created by Shelley Wilson.   Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on a book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare.  The rules are as follow:

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favorite line/scene.

 

I’m reading The Last Dryad: The Complex by Sarah M. Cradit.

First line:  Wezlei almost didn’t mind the taste of blood pooling in his mouth.

Recruit fans by adding book blurb:

The Complex Book Series.
A Lone Planet. One Complex.
Unlimited Chaos.

Two thousand years beyond our time, much has changed. Humans, forced to flee Earth after a nuclear holocaust, find themselves in the distant Seldova system. Here, they realize they are not alone. Metas, races of powerful beings, are also forced from their home after environmental tragedies. They come upon the same mecca of planets, beginning a decades-long war with the Humans for land and home.

Humans and Metas, weary of fighting, come to an uneasy truce. They cannot co-exist with animosity and bloodlust running high, and together, they propose The Complex: a societal test consisting of two years of comfortable isolation, occupied by both Meta races and Humans. The enticement for those who agree to this co-mingling is enough money to live on for many years. But two years is a long time to live with your enemies.

Wezlei, a Human, only knows about the old world from the books his father left behind. He dreams of a better life for his mother, who has surrounded him with love and safety all his life. He takes inspiration from the old tales of Robin Hood and embarks on a life of piracy to balance the unevenness of his world. In no one is this more evident than Tariq, a ruthless Dhampir whose cruelty is unprecedented.

When Wezlei witnesses firsthand the horrors the Dhampir inflicts on his “wife” Aerwen. one of the last living Dryads whom he has enslaved, he can’t simply turn away. He learns they have signed up for the Complex, and decides he has no choice but to do the same.

He has no plan, only a vision: Save Aerwen and put an end to Tariq’s reign of terror.

Introduce the main character:  There are a couple, but I’ll focus on Aerwen, who is strong, determined, and proud.

Delightful design:

32988663

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audience appeal:  The Last Dryad is a different direction for this author, and would appeal to sci-fi fans, as well as devoted readers interested in Cradit’s expansion into other genres.

Your favorite line/scene:  Maybe he wasn’t Human.  Maybe he was a Meta who shared similar traits with Humans, and she’s misinterpreted the situation in her shock.  Witches and Warlocks especially, could pass for Human and often did.  It would be no great surprise to find a Warlock running an apothecary of deadly vegetation.

Secrets Amongst the Cypress: The House of Crimson and Clover #8 by Sarah M. Cradit #bookreviews @TheWriterSarah

Amelia and Jacob have landed in a very familiar where. The when is a whole other 31685273matter.

Jacob’s first experience time traveling leaves him and Amelia stranded in 1861 Louisiana on the cusp of the Civil War. With no luggage and no invitation, they find themselves at the mercy of Charles and Brigitte Deschanel, who, for now, believe they are cousins visiting from abroad.

The tragic circumstances which led them to flee the present now leave them both struggling to make sense of their own individual grief. Amelia’s sorrow drives her further from Jacob, and into the strange world of an eccentric man, Victor, who knows all too much about her. Jacob’s heartache leaves him cynical and weary, losing sight of who he is and was destined to become.

As the strange and terrible dynamics of the nineteenth century Deschanel family come to light, Amelia and Jacob are each drawn into the family’s complex web in myriad ways, challenging everything they held to be true. These revelations drive a deeper wedge between the couple, placing them in grave danger, from those around them… but also from themselves.

The hands of time have taken hold, and the clock is ticking. The longer they stay, the greater the risk of losing everything. – Goodreads.com

Various parts of this story are funny, heartbreaking, and revealing.  Seeing how Amelia and Jacob cope with being fish out of water in the year 1861 is quite amusing at times, although experiencing what Ophelie lived through is tragic and horrendous.  Learning about Victor is exciting because of potential future plot lines with his character.  Traveling back to 1861 is a treat, as it’s obvious the author did extensive research on this time period – and I love anything having to do with time travel.  This may be my favorite cover in this series yet – it’s beautiful!

One of this author’s greatest strengths is character development and the way Amelia and Jacob struggle to cope with the devastating trauma they’ve experienced is heartrending, but feels very real.  Although this is primarily their story, I enjoyed the addition of Finn, Ana, and Aleksandr and seeing how their own storyline may parallel Amelia and Jacob’s in the future – and Nic getting some page time is always a bonus.

Secrets Amongst the Cypress is a powerful, compelling read, but upon reaching the conclusion, I felt as if something was missing – but I can’t put my finger on it.  The book gives some spine-tingling hints of things to come in this series, but something felt incomplete.

If you’re a fan of urban fantasy/paranormal, I can’t recommend this series enough – but start from the beginning!

I received an ARC of this book from the author.

 

A Band Of Heather (A Crimson & Clover Lagniappe) by Sarah M. Cradit #TuesdayBookBlog #bookreview @TheWriterSarah

Dive into the secret, ancient, powerful world of two New Orleans families, 30143306the Deschanels and the Sullivans…

From USA Today bestselling paranormal author Sarah M. Cradit comes A Band of Heather. This short story is a Crimson & Clover Lagniappe (Series Bonus Story) in the bestselling witches family saga, The House of Crimson & Clover, and can be enjoyed as a standalone tale, or a complement to any of the books in the series.

Colleen arrives in Edinburgh, eager to pursue her dream of a life in medicine, despite her homesickness. She writes to her sister of the sweeping, gothic charms of Edinburgh, and the peculiar—and strangely familiar—teacher’s aide who dislikes her from day one.

Noah can’t believe the sister of his childhood tormentor has followed him across the world.

The two find themselves alone on campus over the holidays. On a whim, Noah proposes a getaway for the Christmas weekend, and Colleen accepts, both wondering at how easily they’ve thrown aside their judgment in exchange for a reprieve from their loneliness.

Nothing will be the same after their worlds collide in the Scottish Highlands. – Goodreads

From the start of this series, Colleen has always been the logical, level-headed, never-gets-ruffled head of the Deschanel family.  Always loving, but a no nonsense kind of woman.  What a treat it was to see her throw caution to the wind and, for once, follow her heart instead of her head and accept a spur of the moment invitation from Noah.  This was a very enjoyable short story that shows a softer, more spontaneous side of Colleen.

I received a digital copy of this short story in exchange for an honest review.

The Hinterland Veil: The House of Crimson and Clover #7 by Sarah M. Cradit @TheWriterSarah #TuesdayBookBlog

The Deschanels are spread across Europe, each in search of what matters most. 28811553

Finn finds himself closer to locating Ana every day, but he must exercise patience, and follow his Quinlan training, to prevent losing her forever.

Aleksandr begins to see the world through more mature eyes, as he discovers what it means to love someone other than his parents.

Nicolas knows he is losing Mercy to her own delusions, and he sets off to Scotland with her, desperate for a miracle.

At the center of everything sits Anasofiya and Cyler, each fighting their own internal battles, each racing against the clock toward very different outcomes.

The House of Crimson & Clover continues in March 2016.- Goodreads.com

Taking into consideration the cliffhanger involving Ana in the last book, I was more than anxious to see what became of her – and that question is answered in this new addition to the House of Crimson and Clover Series.  Of course, any time I’m able to read more about Nicolas is like adding hot fudge to my chocolate-peanut butter ice cream.  His character has made great strides, but he’s still Nic in all the best ways.

Again, this author amazes me at how she’s able to weave so many storylines involving a multitude of characters into a cohesive, intriguing, and complex plot.  The Hinterland Veil is full of questions and answers, happiness and anguish, mysteries and curious motives and the pace of this story is in no danger of slowing down – so catch up while you have the chance – just make sure to read this series in order.

I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Release Day – The Hinterland Veil: The House of Crimson and Clover Volume VII by Sarah M. Cradit @thewritersarah

THE HINTERLAND VEIL, the seventh volume in the bestselling Paranormal Southern Gothic series, The House of Crimson & Clover, is now available on all major online retailers.

Fairy Tree In Mystic Forest

Amazon | BN | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads

The Deschanels are scattered across Europe, each in search of what matters most.

Finding himself closer to Ana every day, Finn must exercise patience, and follow his Quinlan training, to prevent losing her forever.

Aleksandr sees the world through a different lens, as he discovers the joy and heartbreak of first love.

Desperate for a miracle, Nicolas fears losing Mercy to her own delusions, and together they set off for Scotland in search of the unknown.

At the center of everything sits Anasofiya and Cyler, each fighting their own internal battles, each hurtling toward very different outcomes.

In this compelling seventh volume, our heroes grow ever closer to their goals as bravery conquers fear and fate races time.

 

________

Need to catch up on the series first? Volume I, THE ILLUSIONS OF EVENTIDE, is FREE for a limited time.

Eventidefree_IG.jpg

Nicolas Deschanel was betrayed by the only two people who matter to him. Their disloyalty stung and an overwhelming sense of loss lingers. Nicolas has lived the high life professing to not have a care in the world, and now this illusion is calling his bluff.

Determined to take control of an existence now devoid of purpose, he sojourns to his family’s holiday home on the Gulf of Mexico. Resolved more than depressed, he plans to privately say goodbye to a world which no longer needs him. Of questionable fortune, he finds a woman, Mercy, sitting alone on the shore at eventide. Nicolas is conflicted between an obligation to help, and annoyance at her intrusion.

Mercy has many layers of secrets. Deepest of all, she cannot tell this Child of Man she is thousands of years old and very powerful. In her presence, Nicolas’ own dormant powers begin to surface, triggering a sequence of events that cause both of their lives to spiral further out of control. When old friends from both sides come to help, together they all learn a painful truth: new life can only begin once you’ve set free what means the most.

St. Charles at Dusk (House of Crimson and Clover 0.6) by Sarah M. Cradit #TuesdayBookBlog #bookreviews @TheWriterSarah

A father’s threats. A tragic accident. Unanswered questions. Oz Sullivan has finally 25471052moved past the tangled web surrounding his brief, but intense, relationship with the young, impetuous Adrienne Deschanel. Through his family, and successful career as an attorney, he has forged a tranquil predictability.

Then Adrienne unexpectedly emerges, with no memory of the life she once led. Her desperate attempt to flee the confusing and dark influences in the bayou instinctively propels her to the one face for which she has a name. Oz’s world is once again turned upside down, as he must decide how to help her without losing himself entirely.

Set amidst the lush and vibrant backdrop of New Orleans, St. Charles at Dusk tells the story of Oz and Adrienne; of forbidden love, and startling heartbreak. – Goodreads.com

For whatever reason, I somehow missed reading this book in The Crimson and Clover Series, so some aspects were a little surprising, while others were very enlightening.

From the other books, I gathered Oz and Adrienne’s path hadn’t been without bumps along the way, but I never knew their whole story until now.  Bumps is definitely an understatement.  Adrienne as a teenager was fun to read – a keen intellect, strong ideas, free-spirited, and someone who knows her own mind.  I also gained a better understanding of Oz and his family history.  The occasional scenes that included Nicolas were just icing on the cake.

The vivid descriptions of New Orleans made me realize it’s been far too long since I visited.  That being said, sometimes the book was overly descriptive and pulled me from the story and while I understand the need for the different time frames, it was confusing in some chapters.  As this book was published four years ago and I’ve read all subsequent books in this series, I have the advantage of seeing how this author has grown and progressed in her writing.

As always, I highly recommend this series, but reading the books in sequence.  I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.