I'm super excited to not only review Guarding Poppy but to also have a chance to catch up with author Christine Wenrick. She's been a guest on the blog before and I'm happy to have her here once again since she's one of my more recent favorites! I hope you enjoy today's stop and don't forget that there's a giveaway that includes a grand prize of a $100 Amazon Giftcard!
Christine is a graduate of Washington State University where she received a BA in Interior Design. And true to form of using mostly her ‘right brain’, she splits her time between her commercial design career and her imaginary world of writing.
She lives in the scenic Pacific Northwest where she enjoys hiking, camping and photographing many of the wonderful places that served as inspiration for her writing.
Her biggest reward in life is any given day when one of her books connects with a reader because she herself is such a lover of reading.
Some of her favorite authors include Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, and Kimberly Derting.
Find Christine:Online l Facebook l Facebook Fan Page l Twitter l GoodReads l Amazon
Adria: Hi Christine! Welcome back to the blog, it’s great having you here again! I do hope you’re not allergic to cats (I am) because I’ve got two busybodies that refuse to leave:
Christine: Glad to be back! And I love cats so we should be just fine.
Adria: Since we last chatted you have seen the release of Someone Else’s Skye and now Guarding Poppy, which is the second book of the Men of Brahm Hill series. Time sure flies by! How does it feel to be promoting your 5th book?
Christine: It’s unbelievable how fast time flies. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was obsessively staying up to all kinds’ of crazy hours in the morning trying to complete my first book, The Charmed. Luckily for me, I’ve gotten faster and more streamlined with my craft so I’m able to get more sleep.
Adria: For anyone who isn’t familiar with your work, can you tell them what Guarding Poppy is about?
Christine: Guarding Poppy is the second book in my Men of Brahm Hill series which is centered on the consequences of an enormous supernatural battle that ended my first series. Guarding Poppy tells the story of Alec Lambert, a human leader of the Brethren who, when we meet him, is dealing with (or rather not dealing with) the loss of his best friend, Lucas, in that very battle. He is next charged with guarding one very quirky half-witch who is on the run from a dangerous warlock.
Adria: Guarding Poppy is a far cry from the smaller world of vamps, dhampirs and werewolves that you started out with when you released The Charmed Trilogy. What kind of research did you do for Guarding Poppy, how did you prepare for the expansion of the world you had created?
Christine: The world-building does gets quite a bit bigger in this Brethren series because their goal as an organization is to protect humans from all kinds of evil supernatural beings around the world. Plus I’ve added an alternate dimension into the mix. It takes a tremendous amount of research that I break out into each book and use as a base. Then I basically turn it upside down and put my own spin on things, which is half the fun of writing paranormal!
Adria: You’ve said that there will be five books in the Men of Brahm Hill series, we’ve already had Kane’s story and now Alec’s, can you tell me who’s book is next or is it a secret?
Christine: The next book in the series is Leaving Lily Behind. In the first two books we get introduced to Lily through Kane under his pet name for her, Lemon. But obviously since Kane is with Skye, he is not her hero. I’ll leave you to guess who that might be . . . Well, maybe I’ll give you a hint. He’s very tall, very quiet and very close to Kane.
Adria: Speaking of Alec, he is one of a few characters who first appeared in the Charmed Trilogy so he’s been around for quite some time. How have the events in The Charmed Trilogy changed and shaped him into the man readers meet in Guarding Poppy? What makes Alec such a good leader and a good hero?
Christine: I love Alec! When we first meet him in The Charmed, he is young, brash and arrogant. He has been prepared all his life to eventually take over as Elder, the highest position within the Brethren. But he was not prepared to lose his best friend at the hands of his deceitful uncle the night of Brahm Hill. Those events have shaken him but he tries not to show it to the people around him. At the beginning of our story he is efficient in his duties but he is colder and more remote than we’ve known him in the previous books. Enter Poppy.
What makes Alec a good leader and hero is his confidence (something a leader must have), his faith that he can affect change and good in this often dark supernatural world, and how he truly cares for the people serving him. Also, his respect for the truth. He never waivers from telling it or wanting to know it.
Adria: What can readers expect from Guarding Poppy?
Christine: Anyone who has read my work before knows you can usually count on at least one good twist in the story. Guarding Poppy there are a couple. Also, if you follow the hints carefully you will be given clues for the stories coming up.
Adria: I’ve already read Guarding Poppy (it was awesome by the way), so I know the answer for this book but I’d like to know if we’ll see Olivia, Caleb, Jax and Gemma in future books (Can you tell I still can’t let them go completely)?
Christine: There will always be a special place in my heart for those four characters because they were my first characters. I spent two years of my writing life with them. So of course, we will have to revisit them at least once at some point.
Adria: Are you working on anything new right now (Gosh that sounds so nosy, lol)?
Christine: I’m working on book four. And no, you don’t get any hints on who this story is about.
Adria: Christine, thank you so much for chatting with me today, I really appreciate it, is there anything else you would like to say?
Christine: Thanks for having me here today at Adria’s Romance Reviews! And I just want to say thank you to all the readers and fans out there. Without you there would be no Men of Brahm Hill series. You’re the best!
Format: .mobi (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: August 1, 2014
ONE NIGHT . . . ONE VIOLENT, SUPERNATURAL BATTLE . . .
AND FIVE STORIES OF THE MEN WHOSE LIVES WILL BE CHANGED BY IT.
Alec Lambert was born to lead. He’s a ruling Elder of The Brethren, possessing steely confidence, natural smarts, and decisive problem solving abilities . . . and he’s not too bad on the eyes, either. Everything in his life has gone exactly according to plan—until the night of Brahm Hill. Alec loses his best friend at the hands of the uncle he trusted like a father, along with his previously unshakable faith to lead those with whom he’s charged. Despite this, he continues to press ahead, and for his next assignment he’s asked to protect a very beautiful but very clumsy Dhampir who’s being hunted by a powerful warlock. Suddenly, he finds his whole Brethren world is turned upside down . . . and he finds himself harboring a desire for her he can’t explain.
Poppy Honeywell knows she’s far from perfect. Bad things tend to happen when she’s around. She’s more than a little clumsy, with a phobia or two mixed in. Not to mention that her name is certainly unusual. But she doesn’t have time to worry about all that because she’s on the run and not about to back down from the arrogant Elder who’s just been assigned as her protector, claiming he has all the answers to her problems. The real problem, though, is . . . she’s irresistibly drawn to this man who faces constant danger and takes charge so naturally. But Poppy also sees that taking charge of others helps Alec mask his own very deep pain.
WILL ALEC FIND HIS WAY OUT OF THE DARKNESS AND SURRENDER TO HIS FEELINGS FOR POPPY BEFORE THE WARLOCK CHASING HER CATCHES UP TO THEM BOTH?
As a leader, Alec Lambert is responsible for the safety of all those who follow him, but he’s still reeling from his uncle’s betrayal and the murder of his best friend. He’s still shaken and more than a little uncertain about his own future in the Brethren. On the run for as long as she can remember, Poppy Honeywell is used to doing things on her own and in her own way. Being forced to hide among strangers isn’t easy for her but despite being hunted by something more powerful than her, Poppy finds some comfort in Alec and together they work to solve the mystery of her “curse” and to defeat the person that has been hunting Poppy for so long.
That was the only word running through my mind for a few minutes after I finished Guarding Poppy. It was a thrilling ride from beginning to end and I had a hard time putting this book down!
I love that author Christine Wenrick is gradually taking this series into darker, more serious territory where anything can happen and no one is completely safe. Her previous books, beginning with The Charmed Trilogy were more romance mixed with a bit of paranormal but now, the stakes are higher and the paranormal world is slowly but surely beginning to overwhelm the members of the Brethren and it seems that those members are going to have to make a choice: Modify the way they’ve always seen/done things or risk being eradicated by what is coming.
There’s a time for fluffy romance and a time for blood, battle and mayhem and thankfully, Wenrick knows how to balance both. I never felt overdosed on any particular element and that made this book work really well for me. Along with Wenrick’s easy to follow style of writing of course.
Alec and Poppy have great chemistry both as a couple and as a team, they work well together and I loved how even though Alec is a leader, he doesn’t just assume he knows what’s best. He listens to those around him and is willing to let someone else with more knowledge take the lead. He treats Poppy as an equal and to me that is so attractive in a hero. Poppy isn’t a wimpy female either. Even though she’s spent her life on the run, she will stand and fight to protect those she cares about and she won’t allow herself to be pushed around by anyone. She’s feisty but fair. I liked her personality. She’s the type of character who can save herself even when it looks like she can’t.
There’s so much going for this book in terms of plot and action sequences, not to mention surprises at almost every turn! I do enjoy a book that can catch me off guard and Guarding Poppy did just that. Alec had a few shocking revelations tossed his way as did Poppy and I couldn’t be more thrilled with them and the direction those revelations are taking the series. I was happy to see Caleb, Olivia, Jax and Gemma again and to see that Olivia’s stubborn personality still hasn’t changed.
Final Verdict: Guarding Poppy is definitely one of my favorite reads this year but as much as I enjoyed Alec and Poppy, I’m totally holding out for Lucas’ story. With his shocking connection to Alec and his new found status as a paranormal creature, Lucas seems like he’s got a lot going on and I am dying to know how his story is going to play out!
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