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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Review: Blood Ties (The Vanderguard Vampires #1) by Lavinia Lewis

Blood Ties

Totally Bound
(Available for Early Download)

Vampire prince Thomas Vanderguard’s consort was killed by a soulless vampire drone over two hundred years ago. Now that Thomas has finally found love again, can he keep Daniel safe, or is history about to repeat itself?Vampire prince Thomas Vanderguard has been alone for over two hundred years—ever since the death blow that killed his companion, Jacob. For centuries, Drones have sought to eradicate his family’s royal lineage so that a rival family may seize the throne and gain control of their territory. But Thomas’ self-imposed solitude comes to an end when Daniel Alexander walks into his life. After several months of refusal, Thomas finally gives in to Daniel’s request to change him into a vampire, even though he fears Daniel will meet the same fate as Jacob.With a possible eternity of happiness stretching out in front of them, can Thomas keep his lover safe or is history about to repeat itself?Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a trilogy.Publisher's Note: This book was previously published elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for release with Totally Bound. 
Review by: fadia
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars


This is one of the best vampire books I have read in a while. It was not your usual coven where there is a "maker" but, an actual family with its quirks and insecurities. What captivated was the family dynamic between Thomas and the rest of their family and the way the author made their issues so real that you could often relate.

It is not easy to find love and to loose that person tragically. Thomas not only had to endure that; he also lived with the guilt of what could he have done different to save the man he loved. As with most things fate has a way of changing one's perception and this is where Daniel comes in. He is able to get past all of Thomas's defenses and allows him to open his heart again. That is until tragedy strikes that family again and close members of the family are killed by an ongoing war with an opposing family. 

All in all, this is the great beginning to a new series that I look forward to read even though it ends in a cliffhanger.



Excerpt

By reading any further, you are stating that you are 18 years of age, or over. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
Copyright © Lavinia Lewis 2015. All Rights Reserved, Total-E-Ntwined Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.

One year ago

Dong. Dong.
Thomas sighed dejectedly then met his brother’s gaze when the death knell rang out around them, shattering the silence in the study. They’d been awaiting their mother’s safe return from her meeting with the elders before he and his brother fulfilled their nightly patrolling duties. As the bell continued to toll, remorse overwhelmed Thomas. He should have been out there with his men. The death knell could mean only one thing—one of their own had died. In such circumstances, members of the royal household were notified of the death so that they could mourn for the vampire.
“What the hell?” Arianna looked over the top of her magazine and frowned. “Who’s kicked the bucket this time?”
Thomas hissed and bared his fangs. “Arianna! Show some respect.” He glared at his sister. “Someone is dead. It might very well be someone you know.”
“Sorry,” she replied meekly, peering up at Thomas from beneath her dark lashes. “I didn’t mean anything by it.”
Connor let out a weary sigh. “Again? When is this shit going to end?”
Thomas didn’t have the answer to his brother’s question because there was no let-up in the fighting and no end to the conflict in sight. So many people were dying in the war between the two opposing houses that it surprised Thomas that there was anyone left to fight. Yet their enemies kept coming. The Gemmellis kept creating an endless supply of Drones and Thomas and his men disposed of them in rapid succession.
“Come on, we’d better find out what’s going on.”
After rising from his seat, Thomas led his brother through the study. By the time they reached the door, Arianna had buried her nose in her magazine again. Thomas shook his head and muttered a curse under his breath. It was time for their sister to grow up. She was oblivious to the harshness of the war and the reality of their lives. But Thomas supposed he was partly responsible for her behavior. He had protected her from most of the ugliness of the world in which they lived. She didn’t fight, wasn’t on the front line like Thomas and Connor. She didn’t know what went on night after night with the Drones. She hadn’t seen the countless dead faces of friends and loved ones as Thomas and his brother had. Maybe if he hadn’t shielded her from so much, she wouldn’t be as blasé about death.
Thomas and Connor walked side by side through the large entrance hall and out the front doors of the palace. They were halfway across the immaculate, Italian-style courtyard when two warriors strode in their direction. Thomas was well acquainted with both men. He’d tutored them for centuries and hunted alongside them regularly. Aside from Thomas and his brother, who trained relentlessly, Franz and Jonas were the best warriors in the Tutelaries. Careful and precise, unyielding and oftentimes brutal, they were everything Thomas had taught them to be and more.
Franz was an imposingly tall warrior with wide shoulders and a body corded with hard muscles. His strength was unparalleled. Jonas was shorter, but his physique was no less impressive. However, it was his speed and the fluidity of his movements that set him apart from others of their kind. Together they were fast and they were efficient. Franz could bench press a truck without breaking a sweat, and Jonas could snap a man’s neck before his victim realized there were hands around it. The two vampires were the ultimate lethal weapons and made a formidable team.
Thomas had trained his warriors to kill with speed and accuracy, which set them apart from others of their kind. Every vampire was a natural-born killer, but under Thomas’ tutorage, the Tutelaries had become lethal. It was an important job and one that ensured their race endured. Vampires had survived for thousands of years only because they’d remained under the radar. If humans were to discover their kind, they would undoubtedly wage a war against vampires that would likely kill them all. The alternative was equally grim. The term lab rats sprang to mind. Humans would dissect and experiment upon vampires until their superior bodies gave up all of their secrets. A shudder ran down his spine as he thought about what could happen to his people if his warriors failed to do their jobs properly—if he failed.
“Franz, Jonas,” Thomas greeted curtly. “Who did we lose?”
The silvery-gray of Franz’s eyes became molten. Anger and regret rolled off him in waves. “Marcus Olivier,” he replied gruffly. “We were in the parking lot of Kenny’s when the Drones attacked.”
Thomas cursed under his breath. It was one thing to fight the war on their turf, but the parking lot of Kenny’s Juke Joint was not the place for it. Frequented by both humans and vampires, the bar was neutral territory, and as such, it was off limits. Both sides were supposed to respect that edict. But the Gemmelli family’s Drones had been overstepping the mark more and more. They were breaking the code all vampires had lived by for several millennia. They were bringing the war out into the open, and if they continued, it wouldn’t be long before humans discovered their kind. That would be a travesty for both parties.
“How many Drones were there?” Thomas inquired of his men.
Jonas flared his nostrils. “Five. We slaughtered three, but two of the fuckers snuck away like cowards while we were working over their friends.”
“Where is Marcus’ body?” Connor asked in a flat voice.
Turning to his brother, Thomas noted the expression of sadness on Connor’s face. His shoulders drooped and his arms hung slack at his sides. It was only then that Thomas remembered his brother and Marcus had been friends. Thomas had forgotten in his hurry to get answers. A wave of shame washed over him. He was behaving as insensitively as their sister. Had he become so desensitized to death that he’d lost the compassion he once prided himself on? A vampire’s empathy was the very thing that set him apart from a Drone.
“We brought him here,” Franz replied. “And left his body in the bell tower.”
Without another word, Connor stomped through the courtyard, leaving Thomas and his warriors alone. Attached to the side of the house, the bell tower was the final resting place of Thomas’ father. His tomb sat in the middle of the room, underneath the large brass bell. In the far corner, a hidden door led to the weapons room. It doubled as the training room and command center and was a place where Thomas and his warriors spent much of their time. Thomas was tempted to follow his brother and offer his support, but he thought better of it. He’d give Connor a few minutes to say his goodbyes privately, but no longer. There would be time enough to grieve when they had avenged Marcus’ death.
After Connor had disappeared, Thomas turned to his men. “Tell me everything,” he commanded.



About the Author

Lavinia discovered reading at an early age and could always be found with her nose in a book. She loved getting lost in a fantasy world even then. When her parents bought her a typewriter for Christmas at aged eleven, her fate was sealed. She spent hours dreaming up characters and creating stories. Not a lot has changed. Now when she is not writing you can find her enjoying a new release e-book.
Lavinia has lived all over the UK but currently resides in London, England. She has travelled extensively to places including Africa, Asia, Australia, America and most of Europe. Although some of her books are set in Texas she has never visited the state but plans to spend time there in the near future.
She is an avid reader and her favourite authors include J L Langley, Carol Lynne, Chris Owen and Andrew Grey. Lavinia particularly loves supernatural fiction and her favourite authors in this genre include Kelly Armstrong, Keri Arthur and Charlaine Harris.
Although Lavinia is a huge fan of the romance genre, she will admit to reading anything and everything. She loves horror, a good thriller and if a book has the capacity to make her cry, well, all the better. One thing she does insist on in a book however, regardless of genre is a happy ending, so you will always find one in the books she writes.



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