Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Count's Lair by Stephanie Burkhart - Review and Giveaway

This review is in conjunction with a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Stephanie will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via the rafflecopter at the end of this post. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Count Anton Varga is haunted by the curse of the moon. It tugs on his emotions, ravishing his soul. Anton abhors the beast he must learn to tame if he is to find peace.

Lady Amelia Andrassy is an accomplished pianist, but her life in Budapest has been filled with heartache. When Amelia faints in the Duma's bookstore, it's Anton's strong arms that cradle her fall. His unusual eyes spark with hers, replacing their individual loneliness with the promise of feral passion.

After a two-month separation, Anton is ready to walk into Amelia's life again, but is Amelia ready to fan the spark they shared into a flame?

My Revivew:

This is book two in the Budapest Moon series. I haven't read book one, and I did feel like I missed a bit of the story. I was able to catch on, but I think I would recommend that readers start with book one to get the full experience of the story.

The message of this story is all about trust. Both our hero and heroine suffer from trust issues. Unfortunately, Anton has a secret he's loathe to share with Amelia, lest he lose her forever, and she suspects he's hiding something so really struggles with their relationship. There is no denying the physical attraction between them, but both want more. It's two steps forward, one back for many chapters.

The author does a wonderful job with her description of Hungary, its people, setting and many traditions. The setting also made this book have a pretty dark feel, which was a bit atypical of the usual romance. I've read other books by this author, and have always admired her writing skill. This book was a departure from the other in terms of tone. I also suspect this may be one of her first published works as the writing and plot weren't as tight or well created as some of her others. I still enjoyed this, and she certainly did a bang up job with the characters who were so real and clear.

The last portion of the book moved much more quickly than the start, when Amelia finds herself in great danger. I wish the whole book had been more like this! I think it would have made a more "un-put-downable" read.

That said, I liked the book. The setting was a character all its own, and the rest of the ensemble kept me interested. I'm glad I had a chance to read this book and look forward to more from the author.

3.5 flowers - This was a good book. I liked it.

Here's an excerpt:

"Amelia, to be honest about my intentions, I want to court you."

"Court me?" She stepped back.

He grabbed her wrist, as if desperate to keep her near him. His eyes impaled her, making her breathless. Was it too soon to think of always and forever with him? Had he really changed? Her heart believed so. Now, she just had to convince her head.

"I have no one to ask for permission, but you. Search your heart. I care for you deeply. I want to explore this, Amelia, but only if you do. I swear I'm ready for this."

Her lips trembled as she stepped forward, moved by the conviction in his voice. Dare she fall in love again? The chance was worth it. "Yes."

"Thank you." He wrapped his arms around her, infusing her with his warmth. She melted against the length of his body, savoring the contact. It felt right.

He parted from her, placed his hands on her upper arms, and looked at her. "The feelings I have when I'm near you are nothing like I've had before, but--"

"Go on." She prompted when he delayed too long.

"But I have a secret, too -- a secret that chokes me when I think of telling you."

"Anton--" A secret?

He held up his hand. "Let me finish. I promise to tell you, but I can't right now. I can only give you clues." "Really?"

"You must accept this, Amelia. I know it may be unusual, but it's the only way I can think of to be honest with you."

Taken off guard, she faced him. Anton's full lips and smoldering eyes riveted her to him. In fact, his looks were everything she was attracted to in a man, but it all came down to trust. Could she trust him? If she said yes to him right now, then she was giving him her trust, which included his secret.

"How many clues do you have?"

"Three. Once you know my secret, if you want to break our courtship, you can. I'll understand."

Her body shivered. Was his secret dangerous? Even if it was, did she care? A part of her just wanted to throw herself into his arms and let come what may. Another part of her told her to keep her feet firmly on the ground.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate and is addicted to coffee. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.








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  1. Great excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway.

    And I would like to add I am always pleasantly surprised that Goddess Fish acknowledges all of their blog tour participants. Nice to see the recognition. ;)

  2. I really loved the review. The excerpt was great.

  3. Thanks so much for having me here today. It's always a treat to visit It's Raining Books. I'm glad you liked the story. I hope the Budapest Moon series puts you in the mood for some paranormal romance.

    Steph Burkhart
    Romance Under the Moonlight

  4. thanks for the great excerpt :D

  5. thanx for introducing a new author to me!!!

  6. Thanks for your honest review. I hate it too when I jump into the middle of a series. I always feel I'm missing something.

  7. i liked the excerpt

  8. I liked the excerpt!



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