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October Releases

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Taste of Winter Blog Tour - Review + Excerpt: A Taste of Winter (Lakeside #2) by Laila Blake

Author: Laila Blake
Series: Lakeside
Number in Series: 2
Format: ARC ePub
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Pages: 238
Publisher: Lilt Literary
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction/New Adult/Paranormal Romance













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Synopsis from Goodreads

Picking up where BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON left off, A TASTE OF WINTER is the second book in a romantic paranormal fantasy trilogy, set in alternate history medieval times. It follows the life of young Moira, a half fae noblewoman who fell in love with her shape-shifter guard and ran away from her ancestral home.

Traveling the country, searching for a safe place to stay, the two of them soon realize that life is not as kind to them as they might have hoped. They feel the sting of prejudice and bigotry in each town they visit, and the reality of poverty and winter begin to erode Moira and Owain’s blossoming love.

In the castle they left behind, darker plans are afoot. The fae spy Brody is slowly taking over, and he has no love for humans. He needs to be stopped before he can seize power and trigger another war between the races. But Moira and Owain are long gone, and Brody always seems two steps ahead.

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EXCERPT

Excerpt from Chapter 7

Moira woke with a start. Her heart was hammering in her chest and she found herself patting her head and hair trying to extinguish the flames she had dreamed. Still only marginally conscious, she moaned in pain, yowled and curled in on that body that seemed to be pummeled with incorporeal kicks and beatings.
“Owain!” she cried out, as just for a moment, the pain did not seem to hers but his—the flames not on her but on his hair and eye-brows, his face distorted in blind agony. And suddenly, like a veil lifting, the beatings stopped. She touched her face just to make sure, just to feel herself rooted in reality, but there were no burns, no pain anymore. The room was lit by her glow, but Moira still felt around in the bed as though her eyes could have deceived her and missed him.
“Owain!” she called again. He wasn’t there. She had fallen asleep in his arms, but he was there no longer.
She was out of bed a second later. Something was wrong. Very wrong. She could feel it in her skin, in her bones, in her face that still felt scorched even though she had run her fingers over it to check several times.
Where was Owain?
She found herself rubbing her naked arms. Distracted by the strong glow, she strode over to the small and almost blind mirror. She had to trust her fingers about the health of her skin, but the glow was strong enough for both mirror and widow to capture and reflect back at her. Almost too late she remembered to draw the curtains. She shivered again—not because she was cold, though. Something was wrong. It hadn’t been an ordinary dream, that much she was all but certain of. She couldn’t trust herself entirely, not when she was this scared—but even though the direct pain had left her body, her face and her skin—it was still there, had shifted deeper into a hidden place in her soul. Inside, she was hurting and the more she allowed her mind to search for that pain, the more she could feel it.
Moira uttered a confused whimper and then quickly shook her head. Tears had sprung to her eyes and she could hardly see the clothes she was grasping for. She had to find him, that was all she knew: Owain was in terrible danger, and she had to find him.
Even as she had forced a dress down over her body and tights up her legs, she could still see the glow coming from her hands and face. That, too, gave her cause to worry. It had never stayed this long before. She shivered and then found a pair of gloves and a heavy cowl to pull deep into her face.
Her fingers on the door knob, she hesitated. If anyone saw her like this, she knew there was a chance she could make it all so much worse. But she couldn’t sit there and hide, not when her soul seemed to be crumbling, battered and dying inside her body. She couldn’t stay still, couldn’t let him hurt without even trying. He wouldn’t leave her to stay safe himself and neither would she.
As she pushed herself down the staircase and all but fled through the tavern and out into the night, the feeling of pain grew stronger again. She closed her eyes but there was only heavy rain and the wind howling in her ears. Stumbling a few steps down into the muddy streets, she found herself shouting: “Owain! Owain!”
But the wind swallowed the sound.
Tears ran down her cheeks, but she was barely aware of them through the colder water that smacked against her skin with each step. Her dress was soaked almost immediately and her shoes water-logged. She slipped in the mud once, caught herself on a lamp post and called for him again. The next time, she tore her knee open on a piece of gravel. She cursed and ran on. She could feel him—the wolf and the man—could feel them cringing in agony, fighting with their last vestige of strength. He was still alive, she knew that much. He was still alive and she had to find him!
The connection was fragile and tiny—it was nothing like the way she felt in his arms when they lay together spent and happy and wrapped up in each other’s beings, each other’s souls. But it was a connection—and without thinking, without questioning, she followed.


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     A Taste of Winter is the sequel to Blake's Lakeside series. In this book, we embark on Moira and Owain's journey after they ran away from Rochmond castle. They are madly in love with each other, but sadly, the rest of the world isn't. Owain being a Blaidyn (werewolf) seems to be the only thing people worry about. Not only must they suffer through the prejudice of those around them, they have to suffer with their living conditions as well. Moira is a former lady who doesn't know life outside the castle and Owain is a werewolf no one will hire. They travel day to day with very little to spare. They have no one idea how long they can go on or where they will go next.

     I really enjoyed this sequel. By the Light of the Moon was such a beautiful fantasy world and I couldn't wait to immerse myself in that world again. Blake made it worth the wait. In the last book, we focused more on the worldbuilding and plots. In this book, it slowed down a bit as the main focus is Moira and Owain. I loved that we get the chance to see their love grow and how protective they are of one another. Moira is a human/Fae hybrid. She has power, but it isn't much. She doesn't know the world or how to survive in it on her own. Owain is tough and knows the world like the back of his hand. I like that it got to a point where it switched up a bit. Owain suffers a terrible injury and Moira is left the save him. I love that even though she is scared and has no idea what to do, she keeps her wits about her and is able to save him.

    Moira and Owain had encountered many challenges. I love that the book is realistic in this manner. They may be in love, but it won't be easy. It was heartbreaking seeing the doubt they had whether they could survive like this especially Owain. He is a strong man with a lot of pride. He feels like he took Moira away from her comfortable life and is dragging her through Hell. He hates that he can't give her what she needs. He hates that he has left them vulnerable. It made me love him more because it just shows how much he loves her. What surprised me most though was Moira's strength in this book. She has grown so much. She had enough strength for both her and Owain. Owain doubted his ability to take care of her and Moira was the one to step up and say we take care of each other. She gave an amazing speech when Owain was about to do something royally stupid and I felt the need to give her a standing ovation.

     The story is mainly told through Moira and Owain, but we also got more story from Maeve, Moira's mother. She is a Fae who loves the human world (most Fae don't). She is back to try and fix what she could to save Moira. Her story is sad and it is far from over. We learn so much the last third of the book. She has been through a lot and has made a lot of sacrifices to save Moira. I can't wait to see where her story leads because where it left off has me very worried.

      As I said most of this book is about Moira and Owain. But we do get a little bit of the scheming that is taking place since Moira is gone. Brody/Brock has a plan and that plan will ruin the Fae and humans. We get to see just how vile and manipulative he is in this book. His hatred for humans is insurmountable. He will do anything to get rid of us and the Crosslings (human/Fae hybrids). We do have a bit of a surprise at the end, so maybe things will look up. Nonetheless, things just got crazy.

      This was a wonderful sequel. I had a hard time putting it down. I love the world of Fae, werewolves, and humans. I like that there is a bit of realism thrown into this Fantasy world. I love that we got romance and some super sexy scenes. Thank you so much, Blake. If you are expecting a sweet little romance, look elsewhere. Those scenes were hot and I loved every one of them. This is a great read for Paranormal Romance fans. I can't wait for the conclusion. It will be epic.


Rating:




*This book belongs to the following challenges*
The Book Vixen's 2014 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Under The Covers Book Blog 2014 Immortals Reading Challenge


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About Laila Blake

Laila Blake (lailablake.com) is an author, linguist and translator. She writes character-driven love stories, co-hosts the podcast Lilt and blogs about writing, feminism and society. Her work has been featured in numerous anthologies. Keeping a balance between her different interests, Laila Blake’s body of work encompasses literary erotica, romance, and various fields in speculative fiction (dystopian/post-apocalypse, fantasy, paranormal romance and urban fantasy) and she adores finding ways to mix and match. A self-proclaimed nerd, she lives in Cologne/Germany, harbors a deep fondness for obscure folk singers and plays the guitar. She loves photography, science documentaries and classic literature, as well as Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory. You can find her across the web. To stay up to date with her most recent publications, please consider signing up for her spam-free newsletter.

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