Welcome to my tour stop on the Starling Book Tour hosted by Book Nerd Tours. I am pleased to be able to bring you a guest post and giveaway along with my review for Starling, the final book in The Secrets of the Eternal Rose Series . I have been a big fan of this series and I am pleased to be able to finish the journey. For those of you who are new to this series, it features a young woman caught between two men in historic Vienna. Sweep back to the past and traverse the canals and help catch a killer. Before I get to all the goods, let me take a moment and reintroduce you all to Fiona a.k.a. Paula Stokes. Many of you may remember Paula was here in February with her contemporary book The Art of Lainey.
Here is more on Fiona:
Fiona Paul now lives in Portland, Oregon but travels a lot since she can’t breathe if she spends too much time away from the ocean. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in psychology and spent a year teaching English in Seoul, Korea while she was deciding what she wanted to be when she grew up. Answer: everything. In addition to being a teacher and writer, she’s also worked as a saute cook, sporting goods manager, veterinary assistant, and registered nurse. When she’s not working, you can usually find her kayaking, reading, or helping turtles cross the road. Her future goals include diving with great white sharks and writing more books, not necessarily in that order. Venom was her first novel. Fiona also writes under her real name Paula Stokes and she will have a contemporary novel THE ART OF LAINEY releasing in 2014. Visit Fiona on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads and find Paula Stokes on Facebook and Twitter.
Fiona is stopping by today with a comparison post or a grudge match if you will, on the two male love interests in her series. Falco vs. Luca.... take it away Fiona:
Today, I pitted free-spirited artist Falco against upstanding citizen and scholar Luca in all the categories that matter to see which guy is really best for Cassandra. Here are the fight results:
Results: 5 points for Luca and 5 points for Falco. It’s a draw! I guess you’ll have to pick up a copy of STARLING to see which guy is really the best choice for Cass :)
Well, that doesn't give us a clear cut answer as to who the winner is..... I am personally rooting for Falco, but I won't reveal who gets the girl, that is for me to know and you to find out!
A huge thanks to Fiona for stopping by today, and to the gals at Book Nerds Tours for allowing me to be a part of this terrific tour! Be sure to check out their site for more tour opportunities. In the meantime, I am pleased to offer you all a chance to win a copy of Starling by Fiona Paul. Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter. Please note: This giveaway is not hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings, I will not be responsible for picking the winners or distributing the prizes, visit Book Nerd Tours for the giveaway policies. Good Luck!
Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more chances to win. See the full schedule here.
The dark, seductive conclusion to the thrilling Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy!
In the final book in the trilogy, Cass and Luca are back in Venice trying to find the Book of the Eternal Rose to clear Luca's name and keep them both out of prison.
But the hunters become the hunted when the Order of the Eternal Rose figures out their plan.
Filled with twists and turns, danger and torrid romances, this novel brings the Secrets of the Eternal Rose novels to a thrilling, heart-pounding, sexy conclusion.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected Publication: March 20th 2014 by Philomel
Source: Author in exchange for an honest review
Four Stars: A thrilling and satisfying finale!
Cass and Luca have spent a week hiding out, avoiding the guards after their daring escape from the dungeons. Cass is more determined than ever to hunt down The Book of the Eternal Rose in order to expose those who are preying upon innocent girls. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against them. The deeper they dig, the more dangerous things become, until Cass is in a fight for her life. Can Cass and Luca find the book and destroy the Order of the Eternal Rose?
What I Liked:
- This third and final book picks up immediately after the exciting and gut wrenching finale of Belladonna. I loved that this book is action packed, thrilling and that it never lets up until the final pages. All my questions were answered and everything drew to a satisfying conclusion. Fans of this series will be delighted with this finale.
- I appreciated that the plot of this book was tight, fast and it never dragged. Cass is thrown into one terrifying situation after another. I loved the action and danger in this one. It is one of those reads that you want to read non stop. This is a much shorter book compared to its two predecessors, and I personally loved the quick pace.
- Cass has come a long way since we first met her in Venom. She shows tremendous courage and she is determined to take down the rich and powerful ones who are harming the working class girls. I loved how she transformed from a sheltered girl of privilege to a fighter. Even when things are dire, she never gives up. I gained a new appreciation for Cass and loved watching her transformation. I especially liked seeing her shed some of her prejudices when she ends up taking shelter amongst the courtesans.
- The romance settled out and ended perfectly. Yes, there was a love triangle in this series, but it is one that was believable. In Venom Cass is betrothed to a man she doesn't know any more since he has been away for so long. When Falco comes along and drags her into a terrifying adventure, she can't help but be swept away by his charming personality and bad boy image. Yet as time wears on, it is evident that Cass and Falco don't see eye to eye on many things, but they are still fiercely drawn to one another. Once Luca comes back into the picture, Cass realizes that he has always had her best interests at heart, and that his love for her is pure and unwavering. The question is will Cass choose the steadfast and true path or will she continue to seek adventure and let her heart be bold and daring? I liked watching her sort out her heart and I thought that her final choice was the right one, even though I was rooting for the other suitor. However, I loved how the man who didn't win her heart handled everything. He bowed out with class and I loved him even more for it. I liked that the love triangle was never a huge focus in this book and that it didn't feel ridiculous. I thought the romance was extremely well done and I enjoyed it.
- One of my favorite aspects of this series was the attention to detail and the world building. Ms. Paul has done a tremendous job in recreating Renaissance Venice. Venice is never romanticized, instead it is brought forth with all the good and the bad. I know most of us have romantic notions of riding in gondolas down the Grand Canal, but in reality the canals are smelly, polluted and traversing them is often dangerous. I also liked how the medical thinking of the time plays an important part of the plot. It is apparent that Ms. Paul has done an impressive amount of research in order to bring Vienna to life.
- This final installment brings together all the loose ends from the previous books and ties them off neatly so there are no nagging questions. I love when I get a satisfying ending to a brilliant series.
And The Not So Much:
- I was a bit disappointed that Belladonna didn't have a bigger role in this one. She is a selfish, nasty and despicable woman who is bent on discovering the key to immortality. Her beauty secrets are horrifying. I was expecting her to be front and center, and for her to play a more terrifying role in this book, unfortunately, her time is limited. I was also a bit disappointed in the final scene with her, I thought it was almost too easy, and I was expecting a bit more turmoil.
- Maximus plays an important role in helping Cass reach safety, but I was suffering book amnesia I couldn't remember exactly who he was and what his role in the past had been. I needed a bit of a refresher regarding his character.
- I missed Mada, Cass' best friend. She is noticeably absent from this book and only earns a mention. I was hoping that Cass would be reunited with her at some point, but alas she remains away in Florence with her husband.
Starling delivers with a thrilling, action packed storyline. This is a riveting book that provides a satisfying conclusion to an excellent historical series. I loved the character growth and the culmination of the romance. If you have yet to check out this series treat yourself to a trip back in time to Venice.
"I think to call them men is a bit misleading," she said. "Most of them are just boys who became older yet never grew up."
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.