My Familiar Stranger

Victoria Danann
My Familiar Stranger
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TOP PICKS


Publisher
7th House
Release Date
April 2012
ISBN
9781933320496
Series
Book 1 of The Order of the Black Swan
Genre
Action/Adventure Romance, Alternate Universe, Chick-lit, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance, Paranormal with Romantic Elements, Romantic Science Fiction/Futuristic, Urban Fantasy, Vamps & Shifters Romance

SUMMARY
Smart. Sexy. Magical.

NOMINATED FOR BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE OF 2012 REVIEWERS' CHOICE AWARDS.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY...
Between the Bind: "This book was a ride!"

Books, Books, and More: "If I could write like this, I would never do anything else."

Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK: "...a very complex book that is beautiful and heartwarming. There are numerous laugh out loud moments, as well as several nail biting edge of your seat moments. The adventure quotient is high, but not too much so. The romance in the novel is built in seamlessly, exquisitely enhancing the story."

The Paranormal Romance Guild: "This book is not the usual paranormal story that I am used to reading. It is way better. ... There are many surprises and in this reviewer's opinion this book had it all."

Bitten by Paranormal Romance: "My Familiar Stranger was a wonderfully engrossing paranormal romance with just a dash of science fiction that grabbed me from page one and didn't let go! Ms. Danann absolutely knows how to get a series going."

Coffee Addicted Writer. "I have read many vampire novels over the years, some good and some just plain awful. My Familiar Stranger is a breath of fresh air to the vampire genre that has been done to death thanks to the overrated Twilight series. My Familiar Stranger has an original plot. I thought it was pure genius that the author would set the book in a parallel universe. The characters are all likeable and the dialogue is snappy."

A SECRET SOCIETY, HOT HEROES, AND VAMPIRES come together where chance intersects romance for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure proving that true love can find you in the strangest places, even far, far from home.


DESCRIPTION...

Minutes ahead of inevitable assassination, Elora Laiken is forcibly transported to an alternate dimension similar, but not identical, to her own. She is stranded. Alone. Far from home. A stranger in a "strangish" land.

Of course a girl could suffer worse problems than having gorgeous suitors. Perhaps more importantly, in the midst of an epidemic of vampire related abductions, can she stay alive long enough to choose between an honor debt, true love, or the breathlessness of single-minded passion?

My Familiar Stranger is a full length, stand alone, Paranormal/Fantasy Romance novel that also sets up the foundation for the Black Swan series. It is loved by fans of paranormal romance, fantasy romance, and urban fantasy.

Erotica quotient: 18+. Some steamy scenes. No menage. No BDSM.

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Sep 07, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
144 people found the following review helpful
With inventive world building and a deep grounding in its mythology, MY FAMILIAR STRANGER is certainly a new take on the paranormal romance. While I had issues with parts of the narrative and structure, I have hopes that this is a developing series that will be worth watching.

When Princess Elora Laiken's world is brutally attacked, her mentor does the only thing he can to save her by shoving her through a portal into another dimension. Elora barely survives the journey, falling bloody and battered in a strange world—and surrounded by a band of very impressive warriors.

It is only much later, once her injuries have begun to properly heal, that Elora learns that she has arrived in the compound of the Black Swan, an ancient order dedicated to defending their world from the threat of vampires. Elora's arrival is a shock to all of them, but also raises a terrible question—if she could make the journey from her world to theirs, how many others can do the same?

Elora's inherent intelligence and loyalty make her a worthy candidate to join the Order, which has never permitted a woman until her arrival. But it is her oddly stunning looks and gentle sympathy that draw the men of the Order to her. As her exploration of this new dimension continues, Elora quickly realizes that passion can take many forms, and that she will be forced to choose between two men who have come to mean the world to her. But as the threat of vampire attacks and abductions increase and the Order is called into battle, will she remain alive long enough to make her choice?

It was clear a great deal of thought went into all the aspects of the world-building, especially the story about the formation of the Order of the Black Swan. I was especially impressed with the blend of fairy tale lore and more traditional paranormal elements of vampires and paramilitary guardians. Though the excess of some details made for some slow-going at times, there were elements I really enjoyed.

With such complexities and careful planning, it was no surprise that the characters were quite engrossing. Each came with a detailed history, and came into sharper focus through their interactions with Elora. For her part, Elora is a born survivor, and eventhough her life has been fairly sheltered and shallow up until her journey, she adapts well and insists on standing on her own two feet, for which I applauded her. Watching her bounce back from the trauma of the book's opening to become a passionate, courageous heroine was a treat.

I need to be honest and say I really don't like love triangles. It's totally personal, and while I do think the triangle that eventually developed in this story was well done and quite surprising, it isn't an element I relish reading. In the end, though, I was really proud of Elora for forging her own destiny in her new world, and fighting for her happy ending on her own terms. Her suitors are both fascinating and undeniably attractive in their own way; while I definitely have my favorite between them, I liked that they both offered her choices and the chance to grow on her own terms.

However, there were times when the details of the story interrupted and slowed down the pace. This was especially noticeable in scenes where important conversations are summarized rather than written out, and it felt imbalanced to have the focus on a character's clothes or furniture rather than on the dialogue and development of the plot. With such a great, complicated cast, losing out on a moment of their interactions was a noticeable loss. There were also several tense shifts that pulled me out of the narrative.

This is a very promising series, and though this book was uneven, I am interested to see what the future holds in store for the Order of the Black Swan, especially with the my own favorite character from this story whose journey, I think, has only just begun.
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