Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cross Keys by Ally Shields Review and Giveaway!

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Description:

When the first wanderer—a common elf who isn’t authorized to use the portal—is
spotted on the streets of New Orleans, the king assigns Kameo Ryndel to capture
the elf and bring him home to Elvenrude. But before she can intervene, he's
shot and his body stolen by the gunmen. Just as puzzling is the appearance at
the scene of Seth Lormarc, an Elite elf from a rival guild and heir to the
centuries-old feud between their two families.

Seth is in New Orleans at the behest of his grandfather to find out who was
behind the portal breach that could expose their existence to the world of men.
His best lead is the intriguing Kam Ryndel. When he stakes out her apartment
and finds her sneaking out in the middle of the night, dressed in black and
leaping to the top of the nearest building, he realizes she's more than a
beautiful woman. That kind of feat requires magic. Ancient magic.

As their paths cross and draw them deeper into a mysterious conspiracy,
attraction sparks between them, but there’s little time for romance. The portal
breach is tied to an illegal smuggling operation that has come to the attention
of the human CIA. And the stakes are raised when Kam and Seth discover a band
of rebels deep inside Elvenrude that offers nothing except violence and destruction
of their world.

Excerpt:

Caleb nodded absently at the departing couple,
then returned his gaze to Kam. “I’m serious. It’s time you became more involved
with trade matters. In fact,” he paused, “you have several decisions you should
be making. When are you coming home?”

“I’m here now.” She clamped down on a spark of
anger. Why did every conversation with him lead into demands about the future?

“You know that isn’t what I meant.”

She stiffened. “It’s too soon for any long-term
decisions. I like where we are now.” A storm was gathering in his eyes, and she
took steps to head off a fight. The King's Harvest Ball was hardly the time or
place. She tilted her head and looked at him. “Are you about ready to leave?” A
diversion was in order before she lost her temper and said something she’d
regret. “I have to be back in the city by early morning, and I can think of
better things we could be doing.”

“More than ready.” His smile held a provocative
edge. “Shall we start our round of goodbyes?”

“I’m going to visit the ladies’ room, then I’ll
catch up with you.”

“Don’t be long.”

She ducked her head and hurried away, anxious
to get out of sight before he realized just how annoyed she was. She shoved the
door open into the hallway a little harder than was necessary and ran into a
solid body. She stumbled, throwing out her arms for balance.

“Oh, I’m so sor—” Strong hands caught her, and
she looked up into Seth Lormarc’s glittering green eyes. “You!”

His eyes widened in surprise. “Do I know you?”

A spark of unexpected awareness ran up her
arms, and she tried to shake off his grasp. He held tight until she was steady.
“No, but I know who you are.” She looked pointedly at his hands. “Take your
hands off me.”

“No problem.” He released her and stepped back,
a smile parting his lips. “Are you always so charming?”

She frowned at him, ready to give a sharp
retort, then hesitated, realizing how rude she’d been. “You’re quite right.
Mother would be appalled at my manners. Thank you for your assistance. Now, if
you’ll excuse me.”

“Certainly.” He moved to one side.

Her throat suddenly dry, Kam hurried past and
down the hall. Insufferable Lormarcs. She entered the powder room and took a
deep breath. The mirror revealed her heated cheeks, and she dipped a
handkerchief in the water basin to cool her face. Why had she reacted so
strongly, been so impolite? Was it the lazy smile he’d made little attempt to
hide or just her anger at Caleb spilling over onto the first male she saw?

My Review
I loved this story!! I'm so glad I found out it's going to have a continuation. This one is about elves who live in the human world but still hide their secrets from humans. They have magical ports to transfer them from Elvenrude, their home land, and the human land. When elves start showing up in the human New Orleans that shouldn't be there, then are murdered and missing, things begin to get crazy and the fun really starts. 

Kam is a great leading lady. She's smart and independent and wants to work for her place, not have it given or dictated to her. So when she gets a job from the king to uncover these bad occurrences, she does so with everything. Except there's Seth, who's from a competing house of elves and she thinks he's the problem. But he thinks she's the problem. So they follow each other's moves. Thank goodness they figured out how to work together, though that just leads to exceptional frustration. They are so drawn to each other. Plus I absolutely loved seth's cousin Rhyden. I think he may be my favorite character. 

Both kam and Seth has obligations to their families. And kam is in a place where her family wants her married, though she has Caleb, her boyfriend, she loves him, as friends. Caleb wants her home with children, not fighting for the king. I thought I would hate him, but he's a great guy. And Kam's sister is hilarious. Both families have their differences but both surprised me at the end. I knew who the bad guy was but I did not see how evil he really was. It was shocking. And I loved the relationship with the king and his right hand man. It's fascinating. 

What was also fascinating is the great world building. I loved how the author fit Elvenrude into such a beautiful place but almost normal. The mystery and suspense kept this book in my hand. The romance kept me wanting more. This was such a great start to a series and I can't wait for more. I've become a huge fan of this author and find her creativity amazing. Well done! 5 PAWS!!!

 

Bio:

Ally Shields grew up in the Midwest along the
Mississippi River and currently resides near Des Moines. Writing has always
been a part of her life, but in 2009, after a career in law and juvenile
justice, she turned to full-time fiction writing. Her first urban fantasy
novel, Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch Book One) was published in 2012 and
the seven book series was completed in 2015. She loves to travel in the US and
abroad and incorporates many of those settings into her books. Ms. Shields can
be contacted through her website or twitter (@ShieldsAlly).

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