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Release Day Review - Blood Secrets by Jeannie Holmes - 4 1/2 Qwills

Blood Secrets
AuthorJeannie Holmes
Series:  Alexandra Sabian 2
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Publisher: Dell (July 5, 2011)
Price: $7.99
Language: English
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
ISBN978-0-553-59268-9
Review Copy: Galley Provided by Publisher

Cover and Description:

Release Day Review - Blood Secrets by Jeannie Holmes - 4 1/2 Qwills
WHEN ALEXANDRA SABIAN SINKS HER TEETH INTO AN INVESTIGATION, SHE DOESN’T LET GO.

Alex allowed a case involving murdered vamps to get personal and is suspended from the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation. Now she’s facing an official inquiry but has a chance to redeem herself. The catch: She must once again work with Varik Baudelaire, her former mentor and ex-fiancé, as he spearheads a search for a missing college student. But Varik has been keeping secrets from Alex, and his mysterious past is on a collision course with his present.

When Alex and Varik discover a carefully handcrafted doll at a crime scene, neither of them can see how close the danger really is or that a killer known as the Dollmaker has made Alex the object of his horrific desire. Now the only way out of the Dollmaker’s lair is through the twilight realm of the Shadowlands, where all secrets—for better or worse—will be revealed.


My thoughts:

Blood Secrets is the second book in the Alexandra Sabian series. It picks up directly after the end of Blood Law.  Alexandra is in trouble in more ways than one. She's up for internal review at the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations (FBPI) for perhaps going rogue. Varik Baudelaire is now in charge of  investigations in Jefferson, Mississippi. Varik and Alex have a history together. It seems like they may be getting back together despite Alex's brother's intense dislike of Varik.

In addition to personal and personnel issues, horrific crimes are being committed.  It's up to Varik to solve the murders. Because of Alex's special talents Varik requests that she be allowed to work the case under his supervision. At the time, no one knows that Alex is firmly in the killer's sights.

Jeannie Holmes writes compelling characters - whether they are good, evil or somewhere in between.  Alex is a complex character. She's got a firm sense of what is right, but will break the rules to pursue what is right. That's what landed her in hot water with the FBPI. She did the right thing, but in the wrong way in Book 1, Blood Law. Now she is dealing with the fallout, while helping Varik investigate the Dollmaker murders.  In Blood Secrets, we find out more and more about Alex's past, about things kept from her that she's yet to find out. I can't wait to see what happens when she does know.

Varik Baudelaire is an alpha male, but with compassion and heart. He's not an over the top alpha. He's someone who is easy to like. Unfortunately, years before he'd promised to keep secrets from Alex. They have a rocky history, but an obvious chemistry. I want Alex and Varik to be together despite their ups and downs. Varik must try to balance his feelings for Alex with his work for the FBPI, which is not easy for him.

While Alex and Varik are very well fleshed out, Jeannie Holmes does not skimp on development of the secondary characters including Alex's mother and brother. Jeannie's especially adept at portraying the in between characters - people who are ethically struggling or are blind to what they are doing because of bigotry (against vampires).  None of the characters in the story are perfect. They all have crossed the line in one way or another - even Alex and Varik. This makes them much more believable.  I'm eagerly looking forward to one of the secondary in between characters getting their comeuppance or coming clean in the following books.

The Dollmaker is creepy and unsettling. I don't think I'll ever look at a doll quite the same way. The plot around him was deftly woven drawing on events from Alex's past. He's pure evil, though even he believes he's doing what he does for a more noble reason.

Blood Secrets is a terrifically written, well paced story that combines Urban Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense, and a touch of Romance. Blood Secrets pulls you in, does not let go and leaves you wanting more.

I give Blood Secrets 4 1/2 Qwills.

Release Day Review - Blood Secrets by Jeannie Holmes - 4 1/2 Qwills


I recommend that you read the series in order.

Prior books in the Alexandra Sabian series:

Blood Law
AuthorJeannie Holmes
Series:  Alexandra Sabian 1
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Publisher: Dell (July 6, 2011)
Price: $7.99
Language: English
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
ISBN978-0-553-59267-2

Release Day Review - Blood Secrets by Jeannie Holmes - 4 1/2 Qwills
To stop a vampire killer, she’ll have to slay her own demons first.

A provocative and savvy vampire, Alexandra Sabian moves to the sleepy hamlet of Jefferson, Mississippi—population 6,000, half vampires—to escape the demons lurking in her past. As an enforcer for the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations (FBPI), Alex must maintain the uneasy peace between her kind and humans, including Jefferson’s bigoted sheriff, who’d be happy to see all vampires banished from town. Then really dead vamps start turning up—beheaded, crucified, and defanged, the same gruesome manner in which Alex’s father was murdered decades ago. For Alex, the professional has become way too personal.

Things get even more complicated when the FBPI sends in some unnervingly sexy backup: Alex’s onetime mentor, lover, and fiancé, Varik Baudelaire. Still stinging from the betrayal that ended their short-lived engagement, Alex is determined not to give in to the temptation that soon threatens to short-circuit her investigation. But as the vamp body count grows and the public panic level rises, Varik may be Alex’s only hope to stop a relentless killer who’s got his own score to settle and his own bloody past to put right.

Read an excerpt of Blood Law at the Publisher's site by clicking here.

Read The Qwillery's interview of Jeannie by clicking here.

Interview with Jeannie Holmes and Giveaway - June 21, 2011

Please welcome Jeannie Holmes to The Qwillery.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Jeannie:  I need two things in order to write effectively: music and an empty house. Complete silence actually distracts me. I know many authors prefer to work without music or noise, but I simply must have music. As for the empty house, it’s weird but I can’t concentrate knowing there is someone in the house. The cats (I have four.) don’t bother me, but if my husband is home – forget it.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Jeannie:  I’m somewhere in the middle. When I start a new project, I like to plot out the main twists and turns but I always leave room for surprises. Characters have a way of taking over a story and sending it in new directions. I love it when that happens.

TQ:  What inspired you to write the Alexandra Sabian series?

Jeannie:  A life-long fascination with vampires, mysteries, and science fiction. Ever since I was six and saw Bela Lugosi as Dracula, vampires have fascinated me. I’ve studied the lore and legends from different counties and I’m always amazed by the similarities but also the vast differences. I also grew up ready Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown and have been a science fiction geek for as long as I can remember – I’m a huge Doctor Who fan! When I first started writing the series, I wanted to be able to combine all of these elements. No one told me I couldn’t so I did.

TQ:  Why did you set the series in Mississippi?

Jeannie:  I set the series in Mississippi because it’s my home state. I grew up in a rural area where the nearest town was twenty miles away. It was very easy to imagine vampires and other supernatural critters running around in the dark. Plus, the South has a rich tradition of storytelling that often involves the paranormal, and I wanted to carry on that tradition but bring it into a modern genre like urban fantasy.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do to create the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations?

Jeannie:  A lot! I spent a total of about two years researching police procedures, forensics, and other aspects of law enforcement. I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve been able to make connections within the law enforcement community and they’ve been kind enough to answer questions. The most extreme bit of research I’ve done was to spend a twelve-hour shift riding shotgun with a patrol officer on a Saturday night. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Blood Secrets?

Jeannie:  That’s a tough question because every scene is a favorite in some way. If I had to choose, I would pick a scene between Alex and Varik that’s about mid-way through the book. Varik is attempting to prove a point but he uses some rather unconventional methods to do it. I also love the final scene in the book. I don’t want to give anything away, but I had a little too much fun writing certain events.

TQ:  In Blood Secrets, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

Jeannie:  The most difficult character is the bad guy – the Dollmaker. I really don’t like being in his head. It’s a dark place and he’s just creepy. The easiest characters to write are Alex and Varik. They’re both very distinct personalities, and I don’t usually have much difficulty writing from their view points. When they’re together on a page, the conversations and arguments practically write themselves.

TQ:  Who should play Alexandra Sabian and Varik Baudelaire if the books become movies?

Jeannie:  Ben Barnes is Varik. Hands down. I had no idea Ben Barnes even existed until I saw a poster in a theater for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian a few years ago. It featured Ben and I remember stopping in the middle of the theater’s lobby, grabbing my husband’s arm, point at the poster and saying (rather loudly), “That’s Varik!” Ben fits the image I’ve had in my head of Varik from the start so I would definitely want him to play that role. As for Alex, I honestly have no clue who should play her in a movie. I’ve heard suggestions of everyone from Jessica Biel to Jessica Alba to Felicia Day to Emma Watson. If the books ever became movies, I’d leave casting that role up to the experts.

TQ:  Is there a playlist for Blood Secrets and what is it?

Jeannie:  There is a massive playlist for Blood Secrets – everything from the Dixie Chicks to Marilyn Manson. A few artists made frequent appearances though: Godsmack, Motley Crue, Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Kamelot.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Alexandra Sabian series?

Jeannie:  I plan for six books total, and hopefully, I’ll get to write them all.

TQ:  What's next?

Jeannie:  I have a short story appearing in an anthology that will be out this fall. The story is a steampunk-inspired romantic fantasy which is completely different from the Alex series, and I had a lot of fun writing it. Currently, I’m working on a couple of projects. I can’t say much about them right now, but I’m really excited about them. The next two Alex books are plotted and I’ll be returning to them soon.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery

Jeannie:  My pleasure and thanks for inviting me!


About Jeannie's Books

Blood Law
Alexandra Sabian 1
(Dell, July 6, 2010)
Interview with Jeannie Holmes and Giveaway - June 21, 2011
To stop a vampire killer, she’ll have to slay her own demons first.

A provocative and savvy vampire, Alexandra Sabian moves to the sleepy hamlet of Jefferson, Mississippi—population 6,000, half vampires—to escape the demons lurking in her past. As an enforcer for the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigations (FBPI), Alex must maintain the uneasy peace between her kind and humans, including Jefferson’s bigoted sheriff, who’d be happy to see all vampires banished from town. Then really dead vamps start turning up—beheaded, crucified, and defanged, the same gruesome manner in which Alex’s father was murdered decades ago. For Alex, the professional has become way too personal.

Things get even more complicated when the FBPI sends in some unnervingly sexy backup: Alex’s onetime mentor, lover, and fiancé, Varik Baudelaire. Still stinging from the betrayal that ended their short-lived engagement, Alex is determined not to give in to the temptation that soon threatens to short-circuit her investigation. But as the vamp body count grows and the public panic level rises, Varik may be Alex’s only hope to stop a relentless killer who’s got his own score to settle and his own bloody past to put right.

Amazon : B&N : Book Depository : Borders

Blood Secrets
Alexandra Sabian 2
(Dell, July 5, 2011)
Interview with Jeannie Holmes and Giveaway - June 21, 2011
WHEN ALEXANDRA SABIAN SINKS HER TEETH INTO AN INVESTIGATION, SHE DOESN’T LET GO.

Alex allowed a case involving murdered vamps to get personal and is suspended from the Federal Bureau of Preternatural Investigation. Now she’s facing an official inquiry but has a chance to redeem herself. The catch: She must once again work with Varik Baudelaire, her former mentor and ex-fiancé, as he spearheads a search for a missing college student. But Varik has been keeping secrets from Alex, and his mysterious past is on a collision course with his present.

When Alex and Varik discover a carefully handcrafted doll at a crime scene, neither of them can see how close the danger really is or that a killer known as the Dollmaker has made Alex the object of his horrific desire. Now the only way out of the Dollmaker’s lair is through the twilight realm of the Shadowlands, where all secrets—for better or worse—will be revealed.

Amazon : B&N : Book Depository : Borders


About Jeannie

Interview with Jeannie Holmes and Giveaway - June 21, 2011
Jeannie Holmes is the author of the Alexandra Sabian series, and fears spiders, large bodies of water, and bad weather. She moved from the backwoods of southwestern Mississippi to the Alabama Gulf Coast where she now lives with her husband and four neurotic cats. She enjoys art, exploring old cemeteries, traveling, and when she isn’t writing or has her nose stuck in a book, she spends her time searching for a really good cup of coffee.

Jeannie's Links

Website
Jeannie Holmes Fan Forum
Wayward Muses & Shiny Objects (Blog)
LiveJournal
Facebook Fan Page
Twitter
Goodreads
Criminal Minds (Contributing poster)


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a copy of Blood Law (Alexandra Sabian 1) and Blood Secrets (Alexandra Sabian 2). Please note the books will not be sent until on or after the release date of Blood Secrets.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What is your favorite vampire movie?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*
Release Day Review - Blood Secrets by Jeannie Holmes - 4 1/2 QwillsInterview with Jeannie Holmes and Giveaway - June 21, 2011

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