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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-21 04:10
Good action, not so good romance
Lochlann (Order of the Black Knights) - Andrea Speed

Order of the Black Knights Violence has been Lochlann O’Connor’s companion since he was born into a family of old-school Irish terrorists. From there he is recruited into Alpha, a secret government agency dedicated to fighting terrorism—with extreme prejudice. Lochlann’s bravery, efficiency, ruthlessness, and the natural deadeye aim that lets him hit anything that moves, quickly make him one of the shadowy organization’s most valued operatives. Cas Vega joins Alpha because it’s marginally better than a prison sentence. He’s a former drug cartel assassin—or at least that’s his story. But Lochlann is suspicious. Despite an irrational and overwhelming attraction to Cas, Lochlann has questions, and they soon lead to a deeper and deadlier mystery. What is Alpha’s true purpose, and why does it seem they want to eliminate Lochlann? Lochlann and Cas must work together to get to the bottom of Alpha’s scheme and escape it—and all while Cas keeps secrets that could cost him his life if they’re revealed. But it’s not an alliance that can last. Duty turns the men into enemies, even while fate compels them into each other’s arms. Before they can contemplate which will prevail, they must figure out how to survive.

Review:

WARNING FOR GRAPHIC PHYSICAL VIOLENCE, A WHOLE LOT OF IT.

Dear Andrea Speed,

I really wanted to like another book of yours as much as I liked your “Infected” series, so when I saw this one, I one clicked as soon as I checked whether this story could be read as a stand-alone.

Now when I finished the book, I can confirm that it was indeed a stand –alone. I am guessing that all the love stories in other books follow the same framework, but that’s the only thing that connects them ( or maybe that’s not the only thing, all I know that this book did not require any prior knowledge of any events or to be familiar with the other characters).

So, this is the very beginning of the book , for this reason I do not think it counts as a spoiler.

"EVERY CENTURY has seen its knights. But there are those who are never seen. They do what must be done, what has to be done—when nobody wants to get their hands dirty. They are called the Black Knights. First created in the 1100s by the wizard Moriel, these men seem cold and hard, and it is said that some have no soul. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man who waits inside. The question is whether or not he will kill the individual before he figures it out. Through the ages, they’ve conquered and ruled and taken what they wanted. And they have adapted to modern times. Instead of being bullies for hire, they have taken their skills further—the Internet, the CIA, government infiltration, hacking, special ops, assassination. But each one of them has a need they don’t understand—to squash, kill, or destroy. If the Knight pardons an enemy, he will no longer be cursed. If not, he will continue to live the same life again and again, and each life will make him harder and more unyielding. And each life will make it is less likely that he can be saved. "

 

Readers I adore the redemption stories, I adore when m/m romance storyline is mixed up with the action/adventure. I was *really* excited to start this one, however as much as I was excited by the prospect of reading enemies to lovers storyline and forgiving your enemy, something bothered me already. And when I read the prologue which featured Lochlann; I was bothered even more, because set up didn’t make much sense to me.

 

Was Moriel supposed to be the devil of these books with whom all those mysterious knights made pacts and then trying to get rid of the pact? Because we all know how well it usually went for many fictional characters – trying to break up the pact with the devil. I didn’t know but was excited to find out. Here is what I found out from prologue which featured two of Lochlann’s past lives – his family was killed and he wanted a revenge on the man who killed his family and Moriel offered Lochlann to enter into his service and revenge would be his reward. Of course Lochlann agreed, only the service apparently spun centuries and after his first life we get the glimpse of the year 1963 when Lochlann once again kills a man who has the potential to save him by becoming his lover, only Lochlann remembers all of this in his dying moments and Moriel is here to gloat or to express regret that Lochlann still didn’t learn.

 

I wished I would have gotten an explanation as to why Moriel was interested in this pact in the first place. Lochlann was not a bad guy in his first life – he wanted to avenge his family and for that he deserved to be cursed forever till he finds in himself to forgive the reincarnation of the guy who killed his loved ones? But why? What’s the point? It is not as if Moriel wanted his soul, because instead of taking the soul when Lochlan dies, he keeps giving him more and more chances to get it right.

 

And after that we are in present time and meet Lochlann who is one of the best members of Alpha, fictional agency of undercover operatives and assassins which allegedly does dirty jobs for the government, only it looks like something in Alpha’s core is very rotten and as you can see from the blurb Lochlann gets a very strong vibe that his employer wants him dead and tries very hard to achieve that purpose.

 

Alpha constantly recruits new guys – and they target very specific type of recruits and one day Cas shows up and Lochlann is assigned as his trainer and soon enough Lochlann takes Cas as part of his team.

 

There is plenty of action in this book. In fact the author can write action scenes very well , please also beware that the action is mostly very violent, because when I said that Alpha takes dirty jobs I was not kidding.

 

Cas and Lochlan’s love story is very important, but also secondary storyline and I would not have minded it at all, if I saw a *love story*. All I saw was they are attracted, they have sex, then boom – they are in love. Why they were in love I have had no idea whatsoever, the author didn’t show me that. I mean I understand that the reincarnation storyline was supposed to be a shortcut for why they fell in love ( although it is not like we were treated to the past life showing them falling for each other), but it just didn’t work for me at all.

 

Grade: B for action scenes, C- for romance

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text 2017-06-12 13:05
Blog Tour Stop for The Angel Knights Series by Mary Ting with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

 

Today’s stop is for Mary Ting’s The Angel Knights Series. We will have info about the books and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 


 

The Angel Knights

Prequel/Novella

 

 

Michael and Claudia’s decision to move back to Crossroads was to keep their children safe, but they can’t escape who they are. Their children, Zachary and Lucia, were destined to be demon hunters—Venators. From the age they were able to hold a sword, they were trained to become the best and to ensure they would become leaders one day. All is peaceful throughout the land until the Fallen and demons’ presences were felt in the between and on Earth. As the Venators investigate these locations, they will quickly learn how dangerous their lives are. Hearts will be broken. Teammates will lose their lives. And they will face obstacles which will test their faith. As danger grows, the fear of fallen angels and demons regrouping has the Divine Elders on pins and needles. Now, Zachary and Lucia, along with Uncle Davin, must prepare themselves—mentally and physically—to live on Earth to investigate where the focal point of evil resides before it’s too late.

**Strongly recommended to read before the rest of the books!**

 

 

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The Chosen Knights

The Angel Knights Series Book 1

 

 

(HIGHLY recommend to read prequel first--The Angel Knights)

*** SILVER AWARD WINNER 2016--YA FANTASY--READERS' FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARD***

 

A page turning mystery with a supernatural twist that entertains to the last page! ~InD'tale Magazine When teens go missing in Hawaii, a group of demon-hunters—half human and half angel—disguised as high school students, must leave Crossroads, the place where they reside. In a race against time, they uncover the mystery connecting the missing teens, which dates back to the era of the Knights Templar. However, when they discover one of the Templars passed down a book containing all the secrets and codes to finding a particular treasure, they soon realize this forbidden treasure needs to be found before Cyrus, the lord of the possessor demons, acquires it—a treasure which been safeguarded and hidden from him. There is only one problem: the pages containing the clues leading to the treasure is missing. When the first page is found, Cyrus threatens to kill more descendants of the Knights Templar if it is not given to him by Friday the thirteenth. In the midst of threats and discovery, the demon-hunting angels find they are not alone when supernatural beings begin to reveal themselves. Can they put their differences aside and work together to solve the Knights Templars’ cipher? As they astral travel to the past, they witness a lot more than they have bargained for. And some things are better left unseen.

 

 

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The Blessed Knights

The Angel Knight Series Book 2

 

 

 

Above a small hill lay a home. And green men peer out under the dome. Thirteen crisscrossing arches behold, with angels singing must be told. Cubes like teeth thus showed, pierce one and the door shall glow. Part the sea like Moses, to see the bundle of red roses. Only then you shall see, what is destined to be free. Eli, Lucia’s half-demon love interest, has been stabbed with a true-cross dagger and captured by Cyrus, master of the possessor demons. The Chosen Knights must work together once again not only to save Eli, but also to decipher a clue to find the second missing page of Jacques de Molay’s journal. Meanwhile, Uncle Davin informs Crossroads’ Divine Elders of the danger ahead and learns there is much to fear. Countless children are being taken from all over the world to be turned into demons. Michael, one of the Divine Elders, has no choice but to intervene. The Chosen Knights track down Mortem, the demon who is the key to finding Cyrus, and learn they must travel deep into the pit of a Hawaiian volcano. When they astral travel to the past in search of a clue and follow Jacques de Molay to Rosselyn Chapel in medieval Scotland, what they find will rewrite history.

 

 

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Though it seemed impossible, in no time he stood in front of me. He appeared like a ghost, then became translucent, and then took on the form of black mist outlining the shape of his face and body. The beauty and the mystery of this supernatural being hypnotized me. As his entity flickered in and out, a soft wind lightly tousled my hair and caressed my body. To my surprise, an incredible warmth filled me. I gasped, unsure of what to do. I should be deathly afraid of the unknown, but I wasn’t. His stare never faltered. It reached to the depths of my soul as he breathed in the air of my existence, and I his. He smelled like a mixture of sweet coconut and the freshest greens of nature. As his lips moved closer to mine, a cool mist floated out of his mouth, then back in, and I felt my body levitate, feeling weightless as a withered leaf falling from a branch swaying with the autumn wind. Eli’s dark, menacing eyes told me he was dangerous. Something wicked ran in his blood. I sensed it with every angel instinct in me. Yet, at the same time, I sensed something good. How could I feel both at the same time? Then a strong urge forced me to close my eyes. When I opened them, he had vanished. He was sitting with his back to me again, as if what I had experienced was only a figment of my imagination. What the heck just happened? “Lucia? Are you okay?” I heard Jack’s voice, snapping me out of my trance. “Jack? Did you see? Was he just...?” Jack had no idea what I meant. I stopped asking him questions, realizing some kind of supernatural activity had happened. Stunned by how easily Eli had controlled me, he was...what?

 

 

 

International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children's chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

 

Links

 

Website *** Blog *** Pinterest *** Amazon *** Goodreads
 

 

 

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Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/blog-tour-stop-angel-knights-series-mary-ting-excerpt-giveaway
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review 2017-06-01 23:38
Reading progress update: I've read 475 out of 475 pages.
The Templar Legacy - Steve Berry

I wasn't quite prepared to give ths four stars, but it was better than 3.5.  If there had been a 3.75,, that would have been perfect.

 

The plot is nicely complex, with several unexpected twists and turns.  Again, it's easily compared to Dan Brown's blockbuster The DaVinci Code, but this is by far the superior book.  Plot, characters, everything, head and shoulders above.

 

Recently retired Justice Department agent Cotton Malone is settling into his new entrepreneurship as a bookseller in Copenhagen when he's pulled into a deadly quest to locate the long-lost treasure of the Knights Templar.  Much of the action takes place in the environs of Rennes-le-Chateau in southern France and incorporates the same background "facts" as the Brown book, generously borrowed from Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

 

The extensive borrowing became annoying to me after a while, but probably only because I've read HB/HG several times -- I have my own tattered copy -- as well as some of the fan fiction/fact-tion that grew up around it and some of the source material.  Berry goes into a great deal of detail, maybe more than he needed to.  That pulled the rating down for me.

 

But the writing is good and the characters very well done.  I like books where I can easily imagine the characters as real -- I can hear their distinct voices in my mind as I read, see their actions and even facial expressions -- and Berry accomplished this. His characters are also varied, they have baggage and doubts, and they aren't perfect.

 

There were a couple of small bloopers that didn't really impact my enjoyment of the story, but did bring me out of the action for a while and left me alert for others rather than being completely absorbed. 

The first blooper was that Malone didn't check his rental car for a tracking device.  The second was that the back window of that rental car was shot out, but he continued driving through the rain storm and never mentioned anything about the car being wet inside.

(spoiler show)

 

The ending veered into the too good to be true end of the spectrum, and I wasn't entirely comfortable with some of the moralizing, but it wasn't bad.

 

I have a couple more of Berry's books and may take a look at them when I have time.

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text 2017-06-01 18:15
Reading progress update: I've read 324 out of 475 pages.
The Templar Legacy - Steve Berry

I sneaked in some extra reading time this morning.

 

Can I finish it today?  Maybe.

 

Although author Berry really lays on the details of history/mythtory, the plot is intricate enough to keep the action moving.  At times the background does become intrusive -- and repetitive, especially for someone who has already read Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The DaVinci Code and any number of others on the same theme.

 

But there are some intriguing twists, enough to keep it interesting.

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text 2017-05-31 18:51
Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 475 pages.
The Templar Legacy - Steve Berry

Much better written than The DaVinci Code, though based on the same "myths."  And the plot isn't nearly as transparent.  I read Dan Brown's book in an afternoon but had the "mystery" solved in about three pages.  At least Steve Berry's book has me intrigued and guessing.

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