Monday, July 22, 2013

BBF Day One - REVIEWS, GIVEAWAY & TEASERS with Lauren Grimley:

Welcome to day one of the Blogger Book Fair!
Check the BBF Page for giveaways, author & blog links as well as book deal!

Todays Tour Follows author Lauren Grimley - Alex Crocker Series
Genres: urban fantasy, paranormal romance, vampire series





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Book Blurb:
Alex was quite sure that "gifted" was a term which delusional parents applied to their strictly average children, that vampires were gorgeous dead guys in her eighth-grade girls' novels, and "Seers" was a middle schooler's misspelling of a department store famous for power tools. Teachers, however, don't know everything, and it’s Alex’s turn to be educated.

Hoping just to clear her mind, Alex Crocker leaves work for a late night run across the small city of Bristol, Massachusetts. Instead she is dragged violently into a feud she never would have known existed. She quickly learns she’s being hunted for possessing a gift she never wanted, one that could kill her or provide her the power she’ll need to protect herself and those she cares for.

Despite her desire to maintain her independence, Alex quickly becomes tied to the Rectinatti vampires through bonds of friendship, loyalty, and most surprisingly, love. These bonds, coupled with the new knowledge that she is in grave danger are enough to make her want to stay, but it’s learning what is really at stake that drives her to fight.



Teaser:
Alex was quite sure gifted was a term delusional parents applied to their strictly average children, 
vampires were gorgeous dead guys in her eighth-grade girls' novels, and Seers was a middle schooler's misspelling of a department store known for power tools. Teachers, however, don't know everything–it’s Alex’s turn to be educated.

R
unning alone the night before school ends, Alex is violently attacked. Regaining consciousness, she finds herself in the home of the Rectinatti Regan, the leader of one of two covens of vampires battling nightly on the streets of her city. If that discovery wasn't enough to make her think she'd gone insane, she realizes she's sensing the emotions of another of the vampires as strongly as she feels her own. Discovering these creatures have the answers to what she is and why she was attacked, she decides she wants to stay, despite knowing it is a dangerous, possibly deadly desire.



4 Fabulous Stars!
An Enjoyable, Thrilling Adventure That Will Keep You Reading All The Way Through!


The Rundown:
Alex Crocker is a high school English teacher who’s had the incredible gift of insight since she was a young girl. She’s always been able to sense what others are feeling, their emotional state an open book to her. Thinking her scarily accurate “woman intuition” a burden rather than a gift, she’s lived a sheltered and solitary life. One night, while out jogging, she’s attacked by a large man in an alley. Trying to fight her way free, she quickly sees three more men have joined the fray and fearing she won't survive the night, she fights harder only to realize she is truly outmatched, especially when she glimpses the fangs in one of her attackers.

Patrolling the streets for signs of the Others, Rocky and Sage see a woman being attacked in an alley. Rushing to her rescue, they quickly notice that her scent, her essence, is different than that of a normal human. And when Sage tries to use his “gift” to persuade her to forget the nights event and it doesn’t work, confusion and curiosity urge them to take the injured woman back to their coven.

Alex, though not scared, is suddenly in unfamiliar settings, surrounded by strangers who aren’t human, and quickly finds herself in the middle of a feud that's as old as the vampires themselves. But the real challenge is when they think she is the prophesied Seer who will be the strongest of her kind and bring balance to the war. But thats only if she survives the “maturity” which could either kill her or drive her completely insane.

The Review:
Its rare that I can be surprised by a paranormal story. I love all things paranormal and even with the same recurring storylines, I always find the idea of a world hidden and different from the one I live in, exciting. So when I picked up this read, I was looking forward to it, but I never expected to be pulled in and completely captivated by it in the way that I was.

In short, I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this book!

Lauren Grimley, in her debut novel, Unforeseen, paints a unique and fascinating world of vampires living secretly among humans, protecting them, all with a thrilling twist and individuality to her story. The vampires weren’t your typical scary, hardcore vamps. They sleep in beds, had true feelings and ate real food. As a rule, they didn’t drink human blood and not because they were abstaining but because they didn’t like it and it couldn’t nourish them properly. They depended on each other for feeding, needing their own essence to sustain them and keep them strong. It gave them human qualities and tames the traditional lore. Rather than being demonized or infected, they were a species just as humans. I loved this! They also had age ranges, allowing those who hadn’t “matured”, to still be part of daylight hours and venture into the sun. They had title and position within their society, allowing the elders the respect they earned throughout the centuries.

Characters...
The main part of this story centers on Alex. When we meet her, she’s your average human with a slightly enhanced sense of herself and others. As the story progresses, Alex becomes this promising, formidable force who could be indispensable if trained well. She decides early on she wants to be useful and not let her power, which could potentially kill her, leave her dead or insane. Each member of the house becomes an integral part of Alex’s new life. Darian, her leader, Sarah and Rocky, her best friends, Sage, her mentor and Markus, her lover. Alex learns a lot of lessons during her time with her new family, some embarrassing, some hilarious but most essential to who she will become. The romance was sweet and unexpected. When the book begins, I thought we were getting a different pairing but as the story progressed, Markus and Alex become the romantic focus and they balanced each other out. She’s a bit high strung and demanding and he’s calm and reserved.

I really liked the backstory on Rocky. That vamp needs a hug if ever a vamp needed one! And though we didn’t get much backstory on the other housemates, all the characters were well developed and had substance  It was easy to connect with each one because they were written so well, each having their own individual personality, making them intense yet intriguing.

I enjoyed the quirky dialogue and playfulness of the coven. Every minute, from the exciting beginning to the nail biting last scene had me glued to my seat!

Aww, not five stars? Why...
The only reason for not giving Unforeseen five stars was there were a couple of plot holes and questions I wish had been addressed. Why didn't Levi try to escape if he had all that power? Maybe he did and we just never learned it but I wish it has been covered. Also why did Darian question the Others having a Knower if Leonce and Darian were cousins? What did that mean? Why was Alex the only female Seer? Hopefully that question will be covered in the next book as well as what became of their histories. I want to know more about the fascinating Seer lineage.

But just to be clear, NONE of that distracted from how much I enjoyed this story!

The Wrap Up:
There are only a handful of books I’ve read where I immediately wanted to turn back to the first page and instantly do a re-read once I hit the last page. This is definitely one of them. As soon as I was done, I wanted to re-live the adventure all over again. Thankfully, I have book two in my hands to fulfill that wish.

Lauren Grimley entertained me with fun and exciting characters, a well developed and written story with a creative and different spin. She has a new fan to add to her collection!



Buy Unforeseen!



Book Blurb:
With strength comes vulnerabilities. With love comes loss. With power comes pain. The world Alex now belongs to hinges on such balance. Her every step seems to be lurching her precariously closer to one wrong side or another.
Alex had known her life as a Seer wouldn’t be easy. She knew her gift would be difficult to control and constantly sensing others’ emotions would be overwhelming. She even knew she’d be hunted for the power it would provide whichever coven of vampires controlled her. What she didn’t foresee were the difficulties she’d have with the parts of her life she ought to be able to control: her decisions, her actions, and her relationships.

It isn’t until she’s botched every facet of her new life that the opportunity arises to make things right. Rocky’s lover has been abducted, and Alex’s gift is the best shot at bringing her home alive. But even that will require tipping the scales in a direction no one but Alex can understand.

This sequel to Unforeseen is a darker tale of the battles Alex continues to fight against her enemies, her gift, and even herself. This time victory might cost her sanity, her lover, or her life.



Teaser: 

With strength comes vulnerabilities. With love comes loss. With power comes pain. The world Alex now belongs to hinges on such balance. Her every step seems to be lurching her precariously closer to one wrong side or another.

Alex had known her life as a Seer wouldn’t be easy. She knew her gift would be difficult to control and constantly sensing others’ emotions would be overwhelming. She even knew she’d be hunted for the power it would provide whichever coven of vampires controlled her. What she didn’t foresee were the difficulties she’d have with the parts of her life she ought to be able to control: her decisions, her actions, and her relationships.

It isn’t until she’s botched every facet of her new life that the opportunity arises to make things right. Rocky’s lover has been abducted, and Alex’s gift is the best shot at bringing her home alive. But even that will require tipping the scales in a direction no one but Alex can understand.

This sequel to Unforeseen is a darker tale of the battles Alex continues to fight against her enemies, her gift, and even herself. This time victory might cost her sanity, her lover, or her life.



5 Outstanding Stars!
Engaging, Layered and Powerful! I Loved This Read!

The Rundown:

Alex Crocker and friends are back in this adventurous, thrilling read. At the end of book one, Unforeseen, Alex has just “matured” into her Seer powers. Her friends are by her side and along with hoping she will come out of her maturing with her sanity intact, they also hope she will be a benefit to their coven as the prophesied Seer. But keeping her sanity isn’t as easy as she was hoping it would be. Her powers are bombarding her, sometimes leaving her balled up on the couch and blasting her music to help drown out all the sensing emotions surrounding her. She even goes to extremes to relieve some of the pressure. She also wants independence and a life outside of her gift and she’s having an internal power struggle trying to find balance. within herself as well as within the coven.

Along with trying to survive her gift, she’s also trying to survive a death threat thats places her and her friends in danger. With an underlying war on the horizon, sometimes Alex just wishes she could be a normal human, oblivious to her new world. But then again, sometimes she doesn’t.

The Review:
UnVeiled is the second book in the Alex Crocker Series and this spectacularly, well written read is loaded with an exciting and thrilling plot as the story moves forward and Alex learns to deal with her abilities, the vampire nation is edging towards war, and those close to home are in severe danger. Along with tons of angsty emotion and a wealth of character development, this read kept me glued from beginning to end!

Characters...
All is not sunny in Alex’s ever changing world. As she endeavors to find a balance with her inherited power and struggles to find her place within her new family, she’s bombarded with traditions, rules and confinements she’s never had to deal with as well as the consequences thats comes from misguided attempts to keep a part of her old life in hand.

I loved Alex’s conflict. Just because she got these powers doesn’t mean that life is all grand and colorful. She struggles and struggles hard to get a grip on the influx of emotions that stampede her every second of the day. She’s not this superhero right out of the box that can defy logic and even though she’s got these powers, she’s still a human who can get banged up and hurt. She has to find balance, a way to get a handle on her gift or face the very real fact that it could drive her insane or kill her.

I just love her character. She’s smart (most of the time), she’s headstrong and stubborn and she stands up for what she believes in, what she thinks is right and wrong and even though she has an entire coven at her disposal who could and would treat her like this precious commodity they believe her to be, she wants to fight alongside the warriors, take warrior punishment, be treated as an equal and fight for her coven. And best of all, she wants to earn her place. I can’t say enough about her moral code and her bravery. I absolutely loved Alex, flaws and all!

The rest of the cast is back and boy is there a lot happening.

Alex and Markus’s romance and commitment to one another is flourishing, growing stronger with each passing day but as Alex tries to find her place, Markus has to come to terms with his traditions and Alex’s progressive thinking and independence. Sparks fly and not always in a good way.

Alex and Darian butt heads as she tries to settle into the coven. She’s got a temper and she’s not handling her powers well and Darian is trying to be forgiving but he’s the leader and he needs her to respect that and try and understand why he makes the decisions he makes. I think Darian is a wonderful character who leads with not only a firm hand but compassion.

And then there’s Sage. Oh how that vamp can cause chaos just by being in a room. I completely love Sage and his snarky humor. He cares for Alex as a friend but also as a brother. He even takes to calling her <i>twerp</i> as her brother Levi did. He grounds Alex with his wisdom and experience. He is her solace and drives her when she falls and becomes dispirited. He believes in tough love and he proves it by not allowing her to wallow. I really like their friendship and I know she’s with Markus, but I could see something blooming there if things were different. He’s brooding and darkness and she’s pleasant and light. I love it when they are in scenes together.

Rocky is dealing with a lot of stress and issues in this book and thankfully, he has the support of his best friend, Alex, to help guide him along the way. He protects her and she protects him. I adore Rocky and I adore his friendship and loyalty to Alex.

The Wrap Up:
Unveiled is an intelligent, fascinating, adventurous and compelling read. So many things happened in this one book. I was glued to my reading chair the whole way through. A lot of the questions I had from book one were answered and thankfully, new questions were posed, so there has to be a book three in the works because I think I’ve found my new favorite paranormal series! I can’t wait for the adventure to continue!



Buy UnVeiled!


About the Author:

Lauren Grimley lives in central Massachusetts where she grew up, but her heart is on the beaches of Cape Cod where she spends as much of her time as possible. After graduating from Boston University she became a middle school English teacher. She now balances writing, reading, and correcting, all with a cat on her lap and a glass of red wine close by. 


Unforeseen, the first novel in the Alex Crocker Seer series, was Lauren’s debut novel, and she’s thrilled to be continuing the series with Unveiled. To learn more about her or her writing or to connect with her online visit her website at www.laurengrimley.com

Contact the Author:


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