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A Bloody Doubleheader Review – Redemption and Absolution

1+1 Book Review = Doubleheader

1+1 Vampire Book Review = a Bloody Doubleheader! 

FESTIVE Halloween flavored bloody vampire festivities galore this Saturday Afternoon!

I have a new favorite author in my little pool of paranormal romance, YES romance. But honestly I like my romance with action, and the action better come first, like I get in the first two in the series by Susannah Sandlin; REDEMPTION and ABSOLUTION. This is the official party in the blogosphere for this sexy alpha male teddy bear tell all book in the Penton Legacy series. about a hot alpha male called Mirren Kincaid but I read both, and man am I glad. Yes again boys and girls, this is a paranormal romance. I said I was working on my Harlequin Romance related PTSD and what better way to do it by reading two books in a row about hot sexy vampires, strong female characters and a whole lot of blood and guts, oh and did I mention there is a few pointy things that make you go OUCH as your head rolls away from your body? No? Well I will be less remiss next, till then shall we get to the “heart” of it? My reviews!

(Don’t miss out on a chance following the reviews to win one Kindle Paper White (or $100 U.S. gift card to Amazon, B&N, or Book Depository winner’s choice), 5 signed print or audio copies of Absolution winner’s choice of print or audio.)

 

PENTON LEGACY SERIES:

I have somewhat been turned off by vampire novels this last year. Perhaps it was the Twilight insurgence which finally got me, perhaps the fact that everywhere I turned there was another vampire novel, love story, war, book about shifters and vampire war, a love story etc etc etc. But the titles of these two books intrigued me and even though they were paranormal romance I read a review of the first one and the synopsis and took the bait, boy am I glad I did.

“You’re traveling to an alternate future, a future not only of hunger and lust but of obsession and power. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of powerful emotions and ties that bind. That’s the signpost up ahead – your next stop, Penton, Alabama…”

JR from Dallas aka Matthias

JR from Dallas aka Matthias

Yes suspend your belief for a bit, this is not just a steamy hot paranormal romance, it is riddled with power struggles and family feuds which rival some of Dallas’s episodes. There is a papa vampire who is also a Tribunal leader in charge of judgement against those who commit crimes (yes they do govern and police themselves)  as the money and power hungry JR who does anything and everything, including a bit of murder and mayhem to get his family back into the fold and under his thumb.

This Master Vampires, Matthias, will play a huge role in Absolution and he is not above kidnapping human’s with talents and traits beneficial to maintaining his power and machinations on ruling over all (Oh now I can picture him with a mini-me and bald..oh wait I am going off on another Cabin G tangent!). There are two master vampires who we are introduced to in the first book, Redemption and with each book one is featured. Aiden is a strong alpha male who is soft at the edges, more refined, where as his 2nd in command is a huge, and I mean 6’8″ huge, heavily tattooed and muscle bound and screaming baddass from the get go with an ax, a sword and a past, a dark dark past. This is the story device for both Redemption and Absolution. One day you will have to learn to forgive yourself, not just those around you, and sometimes it takes a nudge, or in this case a defibrillator of looooove to the heart for both of these alpha males, whether they want it or not!

REDEMPTION – THE REVIEW

There is the lost wandering waif who is also a doctor,Dr. Krystal Harris who while innocently looking to open a small general practice in a small town that literally falls into this mess by saving the first victim of this civil war brewing on her way into town to interview for the job. She then ends up kidnapped and later becomes… oh wait nope… spoilers! But it is a good one I promise! In the end our good doctor actually takes the job, and without being held at gun point while she signs her name on the dotted line in blood (no that did not happen but those who do read it will get my lame attempt at a joke).We have characters both human and vampire living in essentially a town that was closed because of the economy forcing it to go kaput and having it taken over a clan of vampires and the humans who are vaccine free.

You see, again picture if you will, a future in America where a simple vaccine has basically become the boon of a vampires existence, why? Because it causes the blood bags they feed on poison. Vampires are starving, and no they have not come out, so there is no synthetics and no one is playing vegetarian here. They need un-vaccinated humans to stay alive. It is a VAMPICAUST and we didn’t even do it on purpose nor are we even aware. I giggled a bit and flicked onward to finish Redemption lickety-split.

This brings us to something in the first book which bothered me a bit, the fact that our kidnapped doctor and Alpha Vamp fell so hard and fast. I was getting a bit disappointed because it seems to be a trend these days with romances, there is just no believability in it happening that fast? Right? Well, wrong! Susannah solved that little problem, so suspend those beliefs my friends and take her word for it, in this vampire myth, it can happen and happen hard fast and at times cheap and dirty, though I have to say this was in no way cheap and in many ways very dirty. I give her two thumbs up and a full five pints of blood for her wonderfully wrought and steamy sex scenes. Steamy….steamy…. steamy sex scenes. Ones that were not raunchy, did not use the word thrust and were of equal and balanced passion. They were beautiful. Which is saying a lot for me! There is a reason for fast and furious, and it means just more book for the juicier bits of the story, like ripping of hearts out but metaphorically and literally. Yes a real vampire tale! Gimme more! Just like most small towns there are more things going on than you will find in the bigger watered down by population cities. More color, more drama and more tales to be told. Susannah doesn’t stop to even let us breath, she just keeps it rolling!

Redemption is Aiden and Krys’ story. Aiden is trying to create a utopia in the chaos this vaccine has created. Where the bonded humans are treated as family, not chattel. Aiden is broken, broken by his past and newbie vamp history and broken from the ties that bind him to an estranged and deranged brother. A war catapulted these two into the world of night and blood letting feedings and only redemption is going to save Aiden from himself (perhaps that comes bottled in a feisty little doctor named Krys!).

The community is a functioning society with both humans and vampires. They all work,have a paycheck, live, build and work hard at constructing a community all can call home. Everyone is here voluntarily, both human’s and vampires. In fact the vampires have taken broken individuals and saved many from a life on the streets or the death at the end of a needle or the bottom of a bottle. Commendable? Sure a eensie weensie bit cheesy, yes but I like cheese and am a sucker for stuff like this. Plus it is really hard to create an original vampire story that is off the wire, it makes people get all defensive about traditional mythos, and hey why try to fix something that is not broke? Oh and BTW not one of these vampires sparkle, another brownie point!

Aiden, the main alpha, Master Vampire and leader of this vampire and human community is not only shmexy, he is gentle, and he is kind and his campire-esque badassery is more of a “gentlemen draw your guns at dawn” science. Krys, our doctor is another broken character who has pulled herself up by her bra straps and stepped into the world of student loans and the need for a place to call home, Penton, Alabama sounded perfect. And she is right, despite all that happens to her and how she lands where she does with both feet on the ground, albeit it running hither and yon alot with a civil war in the vampire world starting to come to a frothing mess, she is there and ends up fitting right in to not only Penton, ALbut Aiden’s life.

But this is not it, and I was blessed enough to have an ARC of  ABSOLUTION to read right after finishing REDEMPTION so the action never ended.

It is a small town series, nothing has changed much from the usual modern day un-Hollywooded version of the vampire myth, what has been added is the vaccine twist, and kiddies it works and makes for a more functional and stand out vampire mythos. And, the story is just starting….

ABSOLUTION – THE REVIEW

ABSOLUTION takes off right where REDMEPTION left off and in the form of Mr. Tall (6′ 8″), dark (Scottish) and ultimate baddassery award of the year, put a Kilt on it and give me a blue ribbon to pull so see just where else he is tattooed Master Vampire of Yummines, Mirren Kincaid. He is fierce, heck he was a Gallowglass warrior in his former life some four-hundred or so years ago. Even Aiden cannot boast that!

The Gallowglass were a band of warriors that keep being called mercenaries, correction, they were not, they were an elite band of warriors who were the direct servants to the leader of the clan. Think of Samurai gone Scott. In societies and countries who were set up to run like this every lord or clan leader or crazy ass leader of a band of monkeymen had an elite set of warriors, and they were bad ass, the biggest bad asses. And Mirrem was one of the Gallowglass (which literally in Gaelic means servant or indebted to a Chief.) The problem is that people saw them as a band of mercenaries because they were not led nor did they take orders from the head of the military under this chief. But as a working Gallowglass (spelled for us US and twenty-first century peeps) We have bastardized and written history from the viewpoint of the winners. They were beholden be it as indentured or not, to a chief and did what they were told. If their chief died, they did not kill themselves, but they went to be hired on or become indebted to another, so yes it seems like they are mercenaries, but mercenary leaves a bad taste on my tongue when I say it and everyone was indebted to a lord or chief back then, and those that were part of the Gallowglass had honor, despite how fierce they were, how deadly and how hard they swung their ax, they had honor. It shows each time Mirren burns a tattoo into his arm.

What happened between the time he became a vampire and attached himself as the Tribunal’s executioner was his time as a Ronin warrior, he had lost his master, he was lordless. So even in taking on the job as “THE SLAYER” for the Tribunal actually took the mercenary status away, for he followed their orders,  and what he did until the one faithful day he refused to go that far, was dishonorable though he kept up his tattooing because he felt every death, and never wanted to forget them. Yes another broken alpha who punishes himself. (oh come closer let me yank that blue ribbon – listen to the Kilt Song if you still do not get it.. snickering)

As I mention in the beginning where I compare a member of the Tribunal to JR from Dallas, Matthias  likes kidnapping those with power to serve his own obsession with obtaining any and all power he can steal, conquer or manipulate into, not work for it like an honorable man. He is one of our leading villains, and he likes kidnapping people too. He found one of those he enjoys kidnapping, one with power, Glory Cumming. Another broken but fiercely independent woman who was abused and drugged has been living as a chew toy for Matthias (said vamp) for a month. The twist? Someone caught “The Slayer” and now is holding him in a cell, slowly starving him and widdling him down. It takes these two personalities thrust together by this megalomania and his son William (who calls himself Will and is one of Aiden’s lieutenants) who has never been treat much better than JR treated John Ross Ewing, III. Just like JR, for Matthias blood and loyalty forced is more important than being a good parent. Unlike John Ross Ewing, III, Matthias’ son left and hid for a reason, his father did not fit into where he wanted to be in life. His father forced him to be a vampire at the age of 22 when he turned him. Sick and twisted doesn’t even begin to describe this man. Somehow through a lack of parental guidance or attention, Will managed to escape the cycle and become his own man.

(As you are beginning to see, this is a complex and engaging series. Just writing it out I want to keep going, but I want you to enjoy what I have written and I want to wrap this up.)

Where Aiden and Krys are soft and gentle, in as much as they can be, Mirren and Glory’s story is hot, rough and edgy. She is not afraid to do what it takes to not only keep her man but make a place to call her own in this town, which means defending it to the end. She also is not afraid of him. After all what kind of woman other than a fierce one would fiddle with a man’s dials and electronics, root through his video library and move his tools. Which means learning what her power is all about and accepting it as part of who she is. Just as Mirren learns to accept himself for who he is, and give himself Absolution from his past deeds and crimes.

Glory is going to be a favorite of mine because she cooks. I wanted to have this glorious recipe all created and photographed for you but you are going to have to take it from me, the zen chef and do what Glory did for Mirren, whip up your partners favorite food because a way to a mans heart is through his stomach, yes I know silly but true. For this story boy is it ever true because it was the nail that drove the final spike through and Glory got it right with the first pot of stew. She also discovered her nitch in the community which will not only allow her dream of being a chef come true and is going to be able to make many a vampires dreams and memories a reality, with a taste of their favorite it food, from before they were turned to after!

All and all this book and the first one in the Penton Legacy Series is brilliantly told, funny and bold and so engaging. I really cannot wait for Omega to come out. I gave Redemption a 4 and I am giving Absolution a 5 star review. Throw in the sex scenes in both books at five stars? And make food a primary focus in a book? Cabin Goddess herby places this in the…

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Five Blood Bags

 

ABSOLUTION at GOODREADSAbsolution (The Penton Vampire Legacy, Book two)

By Susannah Sandlin

Release date: October 9, 2012

Publisher: Montlake Romance

With the vampire world on the brink of civil war over the scarcity of untainted human blood, battle lines are being drawn between the once peaceful vampire and human enclave of Penton, Alabama, and the powerful Vampire Tribunal.

A Scottish gallowglass warrior turned vampire in the early 17th century, Mirren Kincaid once served the Tribunal as its most creative and ruthless executioner—a time when he was known as the Slayer. But when assigned a killing he found questionable, Mirren abandoned the Tribunal’s political machinations and disappeared—only to resurface two centuries later as the protector and second-in-command of Penton. Now the Tribunal wants him back on their side—or dead.

To break their rogue agent, they capture Glory Cummings, the descendant of a shaman, and send her to restore Mirren’s bloodthirsty nature. But instead of a monster, Glory sees a man burdened by the weight of his past. Could her magic touch—meant by the tribunal to bring out a violent killer—actually help Mirren break his bonds and discover the love he doesn’t believe he deserves?

It’s a town under siege, a powerful warrior in a battle with his past, and one woman who can make the earth move—literally—as the Penton Legacy continues.

Amazon    Barnes & Noble   Book Depository

REDEMPTION on GOODREADSRedemption (The Penton Vampire Legacy, Book One)

By Susannah Sandlin

Following a worldwide pandemic whose vaccine left human blood deadly to vampires, the vampire community is on the verge of starvation and panic. Some have fanned into rural areas, where the vaccine was less prevalent, and are taking unsuspecting humans as blood slaves. Others are simply starving, which for a vampire is worse than death—a raging hunger in a creature too weak to feed.

Immune to these struggles—at first—is Penton, a tiny community in rural Chambers County, Alabama, an abandoned cotton mill town that has been repopulated by charismatic vampire Aidan Murphy, his scathe of 50 vampires, and their willingly bonded humans. Aidan has recruited his people carefully, believing in a peaceful community where the humans are respected and the vampires retain a bit of their humanity.

But an unresolved family feud and the paranoia of the Vampire Tribunal descend on Penton in the form of Aidan’s brother, Owen Murphy. Owen has been issued a death warrant that can only be commuted if he destroys Penton—and Aidan, against whom he’s held a grudge since both were turned vampire in 17th-century Ireland.  Owen begins a systematic attack on the town, first killing its doctor, then attacking one of Aidan’s own human familiars

To protect his people, Aidan is forced to go against his principles and kidnap an unvaccinated human doctor—and finds himself falling in love for the first time since the death of his wife in Ireland centuries ago.

Dr. Krystal Harris, forced into a world she never knew existed, must face up to her own abusive past to learn if the feelings she’s developing for her kidnapper are real—or just a warped, supernatural kind of Stockholm Syndrome in which she’s allowing herself to become a victim yet again.

Susannah Sandlin’s REDEMPTION is the first in the Penton Legacy series. Book two, ABSOLUTION, will be out September 18, and book three, OMEGA, on December 18.

Amazon      Barnes and Noble     Book Depository

Redemption (Penton Legacy #1) Redemption (Penton Legacy #1) 
by Susannah Sandlin (Goodreads Author)
Absolution (Penton Legacy #2) Absolution (Penton Legacy #2) 
by Susannah Sandlin (Goodreads Author)

Omega (Penton Legacy, #3)  
Omega (Penton Legacy, #3) 
by Susannah Sandlin (Goodreads Author)

 

 

Storm Force (Omega Force, #1) Storm Force (Omega Force, #1)  AMAZON SERIAL NOVEL
by Susannah Sandlin (Goodreads Author)

 

 

 About the Author:

 

Susannah SandlinSusannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night.

A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?)

The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.

FACEBOOK WEBSITE TWITTER GOODREADS INDIEBOUND

GIVEAWAY as promised! For one Kindle Paper White (or $100 U.S. gift card to Amazon, B&N, or Book Depository winner’s choice), 5 signed print or audio copies of Absolution winner’s choice of print or audio.)

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8 Comments

  1. I feel this way about romance as well. I don’t mind it but find the way authors write is to be the issue. I don’t like when it happens quick and there has to be something else mystery action something to perk it up straight romance doesn’t work for me. This however sounds interesting and I like those covers. Looks good.
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  2. I love this series..rocking reviews my friend!
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  3. Enjoyed reading your reviews.Can’t wait to start this series.
    elaing8(at)netscape(dot)net

  4. Very nice reviews. The books sound good.

    bn100candg(at)Hotmail(dot)com

  5. Great reviews… very detailed and now I want to read the stories:)
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  6. i love how you write your reviews, thank you a a lot for sharing your opinion with us ( i love this series!!!)

  7. I get hung up on the genre label of romance too. I’m sure there are books I read that classify as paranormal romance but it is better if I don’t know that before I start reading them. These sound interesting though and you have written a fab review as usual.
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  8. Fantastic reviews! I was already excited to start the series; now I’m even more so!
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