Thursday, May 26, 2016

Book Reviews: Knights of the Tarot by Nina Mason


Nina Mason has just re-released significantly revised editions of the books previously published as Starry Knight and Dark and Stormy Knight. If you've read them in the original version, you might want to do so again because they're very different now. If you haven't yet checked out Nina's excellent books, you don't know what you're missing!

Knights of the Tarot, a four-part series, was born of a relatively simple concept. Nina wanted to write a paranormal/fantasy series incorporating different forms of divination. Tarot cards, astrology, runes, numerology, and the like. From that kernel grew the overarching storyline. The heroes of this contemporary paranormal series are Scottish noblemen of times past who were taken by the faeries into Avalon to serve as breeding drones to the queen, the legendary Morgan le Fay. Each of the books tells the story of a particular knight and the heroine whose love saves him from his unhappy existence.

Each hero grapples with a different relationship with their cruel and selfish queen. Callum Lyon, the knight of book one (Knight of Wands), is free of Morgan’s influence, having escaped Avalon after faking his death. Leith MacQuill, the knight of book two (Knight of Cups), was expelled from Avalon after the queen discovered his affair with one of the ladies of her court. To punish Leith, Morgan cursed him so any women he should fall in love with in the future would die.

In book three (Knight of Pentacles, which releases on June 13), Axel Lochlann, a rune-casting Highlander of Viking descent, is still enslaved to the queen, who he serves as a guardian of the portal between the mortal and immortal realms.

The Knight of Swords (book four) is Finn MacKnight does not yet know he is destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy telling of the queen’s overthrow by a natural-born drone.

The knights are blood-drinking shape-shifters who can assume the form of any creature, real or mythical, but generally take the form of their alter ego. Callum’s preferred form is a lion, Leith’s is a Kellas Cat, Axel’s is a gyrfalcon, and Finn’s is a jaguar.

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Title: Knight of Wands
Author: Nina Mason
Series: Knights of the Tarot (book one)
Genre: PNR/UF
Heat Level: Erotic
Formats: Kindle, Paperback, Kindle Unlimited
Release Date: May 24

Here's the blurb for Knight of Wands:

Paranormal Investigator Vanessa Meadows believes in every kind of magic except love. When her new boss sends her on an assignment to remote Caithness, Scotland, she’s determined to do whatever it takes to prove the Vampire of Barrogill is more than a legend. First, however, she must get inside the castle where the entity is believed to dwell.

Castle Barrogill belongs to Callum Lyon, a handsome baron and reclusive political astrologer. Their strong mutual attraction proves a boon to Vanessa’s plans, but, once inside his castle, she encounters more paranormal activity than she bargained for. There’s no vampire, but there is a blood-drinking faery knight—and a ghost who will stop at nothing to keep her there. Will freedom-loving Vanessa’s feelings for Callum, coupled with nudges from the other side, be enough to persuade her to give him a chance? Or will the dark secrets of Castle Barrogill only reinforce her unwillingness to put her faith in the power of love?

Here's an excerpt from Knight of Wands:

“Have a look at your adoring fan over there,” Duncan said, leaning in. “I do believe she’s visually undressing you.”

Callum looked up from the book he’d been signing Political Astrology through the Ages, his latest in a series on the subject. The fan in question stood by the refreshment table, clutching the book to her chest. Was she undressing him with her gaze? A smile stole across his mouth as interest deepened its hook. Judging by the heat of her stare, he was already naked in her mind.

While delivering his lecture on the same topic, he’d seen her in the third row, giving him equally heated looks. All through his talk, her presence, not to mention her seductive stare, had made it difficult to concentrate on his notes. Luckily, he knew the topic well enough to wing it.

Licking his lips, he traced the long, smooth contours of flesh and muscle beneath the posh black pantsuit she wore. She was tall and slender—willowy—with an angular face and a wide, full mouth that stretched into an inviting smile as his gaze met hers with an electrical charge he felt in his groin. Her eyes were as blue and deep as a loch. Mesmerized, he returned the smile. How easily he could get lost in those eyes, forget how to swim, and realize too late he was drowning.

He lowered his gaze to her breasts, which were large, firm, and unharnessed. Did she have an aversion to undergarments? He hoped not, given his penchant for naughty lingerie. He dressed her in a lacy black corset and thigh-high stockings. Oh, aye. She definitely had the figure to indulge his weakness. Swallowing his rising lust, he shifted in his chair to ease the tightening in his trousers.

Turning to Duncan, he asked, “Who is she? Do you know?”

“I’m afraid I don’t,” his friend replied.

Swallowing, Callum shifted his focus to the woman directly in front of him. She was fiftyish, plump, and squat with curly dishwater hair. “What was the name again?”

“Sorcha.”

“That’s lovely.” He grinned through the qualm inflicted by the name. “I once had a wife called Sorcha.”

His statement clearly aroused her interest. “Would you be looking for a new wife by any chance, your lordship? Because, if you are, I ken a bonny lass who’d be just perfect for you.”

“Oh, aye?” Still smiling falsely, he arched an eyebrow. “What sign would she be then?”

“She’s a Gemini.” The woman beamed at him in a manner suggesting the lady in question was probably her daughter.

“Ah. I see.” He cleared his throat. “Well, Sorcha, that’s too bad. Because, you see, I make it a strict policy never to get tangled up with anyone born under the sign of the twins. They’re far too changeable for me, I’m afraid.”

He signed her book and handed it back. He made more or less the same claim whatever the answer. Well-meaning women were forever trying to set him up—usually with themselves. He sought out the dark-haired lass again, wondering what sign she might be. Not that it mattered, since what he had in mind would be brief and involve very little talking.

Buy Knight of Wands now on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Wands-Knights-Tarot-Book-ebook/dp/B01CYH38IC

Read more of Knight of Wands for free on Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/story/68103579-knight-of-wands


My Rating:


My Review:



I seldom read paranormal and was initially hesitant to sign on for this book, but given that I have only had rave reviews for the author’s previous works - I wanted to give it a go. I am ever so glad I did. Nina Mason has never failed to entertain AND educate me. I always feel as if I’ve gained IQ points after reading her work as I typically walk away with at least five new words to add to my vocabulary. Her writing is richly detailed, marvelously descriptive, and is a tasteful and luxurious feast of words. She creates highly sensual scenes that are well finessed and leave me breathless, I want to call it elegant smut… can we lobby for that to become a trend? She has taken folklore and mythology, created a unique cast of characters, and woven a delightful modern-day tale that I did not want to quit. The story was highly creative, flowed smoothly, and felt lavishly textured and posh. I adored it and see it as one of those series that can go on and on into infinity… just saying…



Empress DJ


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Title: Knight of Cups
Author: Nina Mason
Series: Knights of the Tarot (book two)
Genre: PNR/UF
Heat Level: Erotic
Formats: Kindle, Paperback, Kindle Unlimited
Release Date: May 24

Here's the blurb for Knight of Cups:

When Gwyndolen Darling, a sexual abuse survivor who lives in a fantasy world, travels to Scotland to meet her obsession, she soon finds herself in a dark faery tale of epic proportions. Sir Leith MacQuill, the object of her quest, isn't just a reclusive author who's into BDSM, he also is a shapeshifting faery knight who carries a curse that will kill any woman who captures his heart.

When his usual methods fail to protect Gwyn, a dead ringer for the wife he tragically lost back in 1746, Sir Leith must find a way to break the curse or lose his One True Love a second time. Unfortunately, the article he needs to reverse the hex is in the otherworld land he was banished from by the ruthless faery queen who cursed him.

Gwyn must, therefore, undertake the dangerous mission alone. Will she find the courage to fight for herself and her knight? Or will she choose to stay inside the imaginary tower she's built to keep herself safe from the world?

Here's an excerpt from Knight of Cups:


Leith slipped into the garden shed, stripped off his clothes, and contemplated what lay ahead. Shifting was a self-abandoning experience much the way orgasm was. La petite mort, the French called it. The little death. Orgasm, not shifting. The absolute dissolution of mind and body brought about by shifting was closer to a near-death experience.

Peace followed the quieting of conscious thought, especially the grief and regret that seemed always to be squirming inside his heart like worms boring their way through an apple.

The hush of animal instinct was heavenly—or would be if his human self didn’t squat in the background making a nuisance of itself. Conversely, the cat was always there, too, living inside him like a restless embryo, constantly striving to make more room for itself inside his subconscious womb.

Sometimes it was a wildcat, big and blood-hungry. Other times it was a kitten, docile and contented. Often, it woke him in the night, needing to stretch its restricted limbs. Occasionally, its swiping claws would tear at his insides, drawing blood.

The change was nothing to him now (the whole process only took a minute), but it wasn’t always so. Like sex or roleplaying, like everything, really, shifting got easier with practice.

In the early days, the transformation took place from the inside out. He would sit for a spell meditating upon the picture of himself as the cat before speaking the incantation. He would imagine himself growing fur, a snout, and a tail; envision his hands and feet becoming paws and his ears rising to the top of his head to form points. It took a considerable amount of effort and concentration back then.

Now, he simply called the sleeping cat forth.

Here, kitty, kitty.


Well, no, it wasn’t quite that simple. He still had to recite the ancient spell Belphoebe taught him before he turned her over to the druids and imagine himself covered in black fur with a long tail and slanted green eyes.

Taking a deep breath, he got down on all fours on the shed’s dirty floor. Grit dug into his knees and palms as he called the image of a Kellas Cat into his mind and spoke the magic words.

Fee-faw
Fee-faw
Fee-faw


His hands and feet changed first. The feeling was like the chills one gets with a fever. His toes and fingers retracted as their nailbeds sprouted claws. He dug their sharp points into the rough wood of the floor as a symphony of smells waltzed up his elongating snout. The sharply pungent steer manure behind him led the way, followed by the garden’s roses, lavender, and honeysuckle. The sea come next with his bracing primordial pong. Then, the woods joined in with the soft notes of soil, grass, pine, and decaying leaves. Finally, he caught the scent of that earthy perfume Mother Nature dabbed on after the first few drops of rain.

Inside him, the cat purred like a lawnmower.

His shoulders, back, and haunches changed next. The hands of an invisible sculptor pushed, pulled, and reshaped the cellular clay of his form. Flesh, blood, and bone magically and painlessly reconfigured in a matter of moments.

Buy Knight of Cups now on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Cups-Knights-Tarot-Book-ebook/dp/B01CYV21BS

Read more of Knight of Cups for free on Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/69275123-knight-of-cups-knights-of-the-tarot-2


My Rating:



My Review:



Nina Mason continues to dazzle me with her highly imaginative and creative hybrid genre blending paranormal/erotic/historical/romance. While I tend to avoid anything historical and am rather selective in the paranormal I read, I will gladly put my personal preferences aside and read anything penned by the talented Ms. Mason. In her second installment of the Knights of the Tarot series, Knight of Cups, she has penned yet another steamy book of elegant smut with hits of humor, while teaching us about the Hitherworld and Thitherworld and that fairy tales and mythology are based on truth - which is at once an exciting and scary thought. Ms. Mason’s lush and richly descriptive style paints vivid pictures as well as maintains an active movie reel in my head - while reading and long after I have put my kindle down.

Empress DJ


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Knight of Pentacles Coming Soon!

Title: Knight of Pentacles
Author: Nina Mason
Series: Knights of the Tarot (book three)
Genre: PNR/UF
Heat Level: Erotic
Formats: Kindle, paperback, Kindle Unlimited
Release Date: June 13


Pre-order now! https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Pentacles-Knights-Tarot-Book-ebook/dp/B01CYT94R4





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About the author:


Nina Mason is an incurable romantic who strives to write the same kind of books she loves to read: those that entertain, edify, educate, and enlighten. She has one other series out at present, Royal Pains, which follows a Scottish duke and duchess through the events of the Restoration period.

Born and raised in Southern California, Ms. Mason currently lives with her family in Woodstock, Georgia. When she isn't writing, she works as a consultant for Pure Romance, a line of relationship-enhancement products.

Nina combines author readings with in-home Pure Romance parties. For more information, email her at ninamasonauthor@gmail.com.

Visit Nina's website: http://ninamasonauthor.com
Follow Nina on Facebook: http://facebook.com/ninamasonromance
Follow Nina on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ninamasonauthor
Subscribe to Nina's newsletter: https://vr2.verticalresponse.com/s/authorninamasonsnewsletter

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