The Red Lily Juliette Cross
Series: Tales of the Red Lily, #1
Released: June 19, 2017
Entangled Publishing: Select Otherworld
Reviewed by Sheena
Favorite Quote: “If another man tried to do that to you, I’d have to rip out his tongue.” “You’re very territorial.”
“Very. Glad you’ve noted.”
Storytelling is such an art form. I’d even argue that it is underrated. Weaving clever stories and building upon complex arcs is taken for granted these days, so trust me when I say, to find a true story-teller is a treasure.
The Red Lily’s primary plot is a shrewd and steady build to a whole lot of “wow, aww, No! and WHOA!” and it is a ton of fun to read. Loosely based on what you will recognize as hallmarks of Little Red Riding-hood, the novel spins the fairytale and gives it a new, darker and sleek paranormal twist. In this alluring world, there isn’t much better than a sexy, paranormal twisty vamp named Nikolai and his restrained pursuit of little red…
When Red falls for the Big Bad Vampire…
The Black Lily resistance needs a larger army if they are to defeat the vampire monarchy. In order to do so, former lieutenant and traitor to the vampire Crown, Nikolai must seek help from the red-hooded temptress he needs to avoid at all costs. The secret he carries could prove dangerous for her if she gets too close…even though keeping her close—very close—is the only thing on his mind.
Sienna will do anything for the Black Lily, and when Nikolai asks for her assistance to gain the trust of the commonwealth, it’s the last thing she wants to do. The thought of leaving her woods and her wolves behind is terrifying…not to mention the danger being with Nikolai poses.
The Red Lily is book two of the Vampire Blood, series, know right off, that starting with book one is not a necessity, as Cross deftly maneuvers the plot to bring new readers up to speed. Even so, there is some nuance that would be a shame to miss out on if you haven’t read book one, The Black Lily. Nevertheless, The Red Lily is all about Sienna, an innocent young woman who lives in the wooded forest under the devotion and protection of a wolf pack. Clad in her red cape with her red hair and her reputation as the Red Witch, Sienna quite enjoys her quiet life, but is compelled to lend a hand to those fighting oppression under the evil queen and decides to serve the Black Lily as a recruiter of sorts, searching the realms for anyone who is inclined to take up arms and join the cause. She can’t go alone and needs protection- enter Nikolai. Sexy, vampire traitor to the bad, mad queen- he is everything she fantasizes about but would never touch, until fate pairs them together and touching is the least of their problems (but thank GOD they touched, because the chemistry! *fans self*).
With Nikolai as an escort, Sienna couldn’t be in safer, hands, only danger and attraction tests their connection at every turn. What starts out as a journey to muster loyal troops, soon evolves into a roller coasting plot that ran the spectrum of human emotion. There was humor, and sensuality, fear, angst (more angst) heart soaring to heart breaking and forgiveness and victory and by the time it was over, I was turned inside out in a most delicious way.
I’m determined to keep this spoiler free, since much is answered in this novel, however, mysterious seeds are also sown and you will just have to discover for yourself what you believe is in store for this world. I will share some of the fun (read: hot stuff) because what’s good paranormal romance/adventure without a little something to warm you up?
“Strange how that act of intimacy had washed away the angst and tension from before. Then she realized that was exactly what he was trying to do. He’d wanted her pleasure alone, he’d said. He’d certainly gotten it”
“You’re a fool to fall into such a woman’s trap.” His smile faded. “Am I?” He edged closer, standing straight. “And what trap is that?” “She’s just using you.” Unable to bite back her tongue, Sienna continued on. “She’s a…a blood whore.” He corralled her till her back hit the wall. “Oh, she most definitely is that.” “You’ve been with her before, haven’t you?” “A vampire must feed.” He braced one hand above her head, his gaze intent and watchful. “And I am very hungry, sweetheart.
!!!! For the love of God, feed him Sienna! (spoiler alert- she feeds him! *fist pumps!)
“I could taste you forever.”
“My heart would give out in a day,” she panted, incredulous he would do and say something so naughty. “Perhaps in an hour.”
Nikolai and Sienna pushed each other’s buttons, both hiding secrets that threaten to change their futures. I appreciated that while Nikolia suffered a little from “I’m not good enough-itis” he snapped out of it before it repeated ad nauseam. He spent a significant amount of time hiding behind his unaffected vampire persona, however, not so long that it turned me off. The icing on the cake was the alternate POVs where I was able to get into both their heads and see the other for who they thought they were vs how they were perceived and perhaps most importantly, what they desired vs what they felt they deserved, the latter breaking my heart and the former giving me hope. I adore a tale of personal triumph and redemption and this one pays off in spades. If I had it my way, things would pick up a little sooner, there was a relaxed feel to the beginning that made the early part of the plot feel/read slower than the content should have allowed. Once things got started the pace gave way to rapt, page turning entertainment so I’m chalking the slow beginning to the initial “clank, clank, clank’ that one experiences when climbing that first top hill of a roller coaster you won’t forget. You know something big is going to happen, you know you are powerless to influence it, and you can’t wait for the first shoe to drop.
Mysterious and sensual paranormal romance with strong action and well developed emotional threads, The Red Lily is a sure bet for a satisfying summer read.