DARK LIAISON with J.D. Brown and giveaway

Being a Romani-Vampyre with an ancestor who wants you dead isn’t normal. Neither is this sequel.  


Ema Marx wishes her life would go back to normal, but there’s nothing normal about being a Romani-Vampyre with an ancestor who wants you dead. Apollyon is back, wreaking havoc on the lives of everyone she cares about while plotting her demise.

Ema thought she would find a new best friend in her trainer, Bridget, until the exotic vampire vies for Jesu’s attention. Jesu can date who he wants, right? Ema has more important things to worry about, like honing her powers. When Apollyon’s thugs appear out of the shadows to attack her, Ema knows it’s time to take action. But everyone else has other plans in mind.

One thing is for certain, being under house arrest in the German vampyre king’s castle was not part of her plan to save the day.

Muse It Up Publishing (all eReaders)


My review of DARK LIAISON

4 Stars

Ema Marx is in way over her head.  She’s on the run from Apollyon, a.k.a Lucifer among other appellations, and Jalmari.  People think Ema is Jesu’s premonition realized but Ema isn’t too sure about that.  Ema’s current goals are:

1)      Stay alive.

2)      Learn her new capabilities.

3)      Train and learn self-defense and survival skills. 

4)      Do the right thing.

Ema and Jesu have taken refuge with the German vampyre king and queen.  Ema feels like a prisoner in the castle.  Other than keeping her alive her sequestration doesn’t really accomplish much else.  She has a full plate and none of it is easy when everyone is intent on keeping her in the dark.  If she is this “savior” shouldn’t she be let in on all these secrets?  Keeping her clueless could lead to dangerous situations and possibly even her death.  What kind of “ordained savior” gets herself killed before she accomplishes her mission?  Then there’s the whole attraction/connection thing with Jesu.  Ema simply doesn’t have time for this complication, besides she doesn’t particularly trust men right now.  Jesu appears different but is he really and why is she even wondering ?

DARK LIAISON is an adrenaline fueled ride that picks up right where Dark Heirloom leaves off.  I really appreciate that kind of continuity.

Ema goes from one crisis or intense situation to another; all the while learning, growing, and gradually coming into her own.  She isn’t there yet but is definitely headed in the right direction.  I like the fact that Ema is being given the chance to learn and grow into what’s expected of her.  This also gives other characters a chance to shine by occasionally helping or saving the heroine and adding depth because Ema isn’t the all powerful be-all end-all.  Thank you.

There are a lot of undercurrents in DARK LIAISON. Organizations, hierarchical layers, royalty, protocol and so many rules it’s an invitation to trouble, especially for a neophyte like Ema.  I found myself questioning everyone and everything with very few exceptions. New characters are introduced and there are revelations which opened up numerous possibilities while raising a plethora of questions.  More questions are raised than answered.  I find this unpredictability makes reading more exciting while some of the new characters had me giving google a work out.

Ms.Brown’s vamps have the emotional capacity to love deeply for eternity, a thousand years is the blink of an eye.  Imagine their capacity for jealousy, hate, pettiness and all the less exalted emotions.  Scary aint it?   Unfortunately I think those baser emotions are going to cause a lot of trouble for the Ema and Jesu in the not too distant future, courtesy of one character from Jesu’s past.  I can’t wait to see if I’m right.  That’s half the fun isn’t it?  My only pet peeve was the way Ema yanked Jesu’s chain so often.  I understand a time or two but it became a bit much for me.

DARK LIAISON is packed with action, characters and information but never felt like too much.  Imagine a white water rapids ride, it’s a bit like that.  DARK LIAISON definitely builds on the promise of Dark Heirloom.  I’m fully engaged in Ema and Jesu’s battle against the evil Apollyon and thanks to the cliff hanger, on pins and needles for the next installment.  I have a love/hate relationship with cliff hangers.

If you’re looking for an exciting new series that has

1)      A heroine that’s given the time to grow and develop.

2)     Strong characters overall.

3)      A romance that doesn’t overtake the story or evolve into a sex manual.

4)      Plenty of action and mystery.

The Ema Marx series is your answer.  I do recommend reading the series in order to fully appreciate the character growth and situations they find themselves in.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

She wasn’t bitten. She’s not undead. So how did Ema Marx become a vampire? 

“You’re a vampire” is so not what Ema Marx wants to hear when she wakes from a two-day coma in a cryptic yet exquisite castle in northern Finland. Unfortunately, it explains a lot. Like why she’s able to see in the dark and walk through solid objects. What she doesn’t understand is why the other vampires expect her to have all the answers. It’s their fault she turned into one of them…right?

Jalmari’s hatred for his old-man intensifies when he’s ordered to bring that troublesome girl to their castle. He has a clan to run, there’s no time for babysitting newborn vampires no matter how they were converted to their culture. But when a two-thousand-year-old premonition threatens to take the crown and his life, Jalmari sees no other choice than to take out the catalyst. Ema Marx. Fortunately for Ema, she could also be the clan’s only savior.

The race to figure out her vampiric origins is on. And maybe she’ll get the hang of the blood-drinking gig along the way…

My review of DARK HEIRLOOM

4 stars

Ema goes from being a woman cheated on by her boyfriend to having a scary guy try to kill her in an alley.  Even though Ema escapes her life goes downhill from there.  After being tracked down by scary guy Ema wakes up in Finland of all places. The worst part isn’t waking thousands of miles from home it’s being told she’s now a vampire.  Ema can’t return to Chicago, her mother, or find closure with her ex-lover,Anthony.  What does she do now?  

Ema Marx is an ordinary woman thrust into extraordinary circumstances, or so she believes. An encounter in an alley with a man trying to kill her precipitates changes.  After her assailant hunts her down Ema wakes to find herself in a Finnish island castle.  Ema is totally clueless about why she’s there and what she’s become.  She’s no longer simply ordinary but is she the woman foretold millennia ago?

Much of Ema’s charm lies in the fact that even after turning she’s still herself.  She slowly discovers her powers, makes mistakes often and needs a lot of practice.  She’s a bit on the snarky side and never loses her wariness of those around her; however, she’s willing to take a leap of faith when she needs to.  Last but not least, my favorite thing about Ema is that she doesn’t suddenly turn into Ms.Amazing Vampire.  There’s no miraculous acquisition of kick ass abilities and talents by osmosis, thus allowing her to defeat the ancient bad guy.  There’s a lot to appreciate and love about Ema.

Prince Jalmari ta Korento is the leader of the Neo-Draugrian clan.  He’s also the scary guy in the alley.  Ema is half Romani and Jalmari is duty bound to kill her per a decree handed down by his father centuries ago.  When Jalmari senses Ema changing the waters get really murky, really fast.  Jalmari is a villain but not completely.  He’s complicated and easy to relate to.   I couldn’t truly dislike him and felt for what he’s had to live with and sacrifice.

Leena is Jalmari’s lover and the one person Jalmari truly loves.  It’s unfortunate she can never be his Queen.  Leena in turn is devoted to Jalmari and loyal to the nth degree.  Leena despises Ema and the threat she poses.

Jesu is Jalmai’s brother.  Jesu is the seer.  The circumstances around his birth and childhood have made him fundamentally different from Jalmari.  Jesu is taken with Ema.  He helps her discover her abilities and how to use them. Ema needs to be able to defend herself.  The world is a dangerous place for her.

Naamah and Maria are Jalmari’s second and third in command. Maria lives in the castle and is very much a mother figure.  Naamah lives in Helsinki and we only meet him near the end.  They pledged fealty to Apollyon (one of his many names) Jalmari and Jesu’s father.

DARK HEIRLOOM reads old school yet fresh and reminds me why I was originally drawn to the paranormal/fantasy genre.  Because the vampyres/vampires co-exist with humans there isn’t a lot of world building needed. Ms.Brown focuses on societal and historical building.  From their origins to passing themselves off as gods or demi-gods to modern day Ms.Brown blends the biblical, historical, mythological and even scientific into a convincing origination story and past.  The society created is complex with each clan having unique physical traits, abilities and territories.  Ema is very much an anomaly and the repercussions of her turning will be felt throughout vampyric society.  How exciting for us.

DARK HEIRLOOM is cohesive and doesn’t devolve into weird tangents, a big plus in my book.  There is some mystery and ambiguity but nothing that leaves the reader frustrated or annoyed.  Questions are left at the end but they lead naturally into the sequel.

Wonderful writing, plot, characters, and pacing make DARK HEIRLOOM easy to lose yourself in.  I’m really looking forward to DARK LIAISONS, the second in the Ema Marx series.

Chapter One


            A scream tore from my throat. The rapid slap of my sneakers against asphalt echoed through the alley. Wind ripped my hair and coat back as if trying to halt my escape.  A chain link fence rose in the distance as I neared the end of the alley. Shit. I could have sworn this one opened to Clark Street.


I froze. My heart pounded in my ears. Tears fell as I closed my eyes. Please, please, God…

            His heinous laugh drowned out my ragged breath. Caught at a dead end, I had no choice but to turn and face him. He stood in the shadows, the darkness of his attire blended in with the night. Only the glow of his emerald-colored eyes gave him away.

Think, I shouted to myself. What does he want? My purse? My money? With a shaky hand, I pulled my wallet from my bag and flung it at him. He shifted his weight, dodging the wallet in one simple move. I stared like an idiot as it landed in the gutter behind him. Why is he chasing me if he doesn’t want my money? What else could he want?

He grinned, bearing a set of abnormally sharp, fluorescent-white teeth. Who the hell is this freak? He stepped toward me. My fists clenched as I stepped back. He took another step forward. My back pressed against the cold metal of the fence. Tears blurred my vision and fell as ice melted through the back of my coat. Chills rolled down my spine, sending a quiver to my lip. I swallowed the lump of panic building in my throat. “Leave me alone!”

He kept advancing, his eyes locked on my face, his gait slow with one foot in front of the other, like a cat. I shoved a trembling hand in my purse in search of my pepper spray. He snatched my wrist and yanked me to my knees. The contents of my purse spilled and scattered.

“What makes you think I want anything from you?” he sneered.

My chest heaved as I pushed myself up. From the corner of my eye, I glanced at the mouth of the alley, now behind me.

He scoffed. “You think you can run? Go ahead, mouse. Run.”

I did.

I was almost to the street when a thick shadow dropped from the sky. Two rock-solid fists shoved my chest. I fell backward. My head hit the pavement. Stars danced in the periphery of my vision as I struggled to sit up, but my limbs moved in slow motion.

Two hands, each finger adorned by a silver ring, gripped my shoulders and lifted me. My back hit something solid and cold—a brick wall. My feet dangled above the ground. He held me at eye level; his sour breath churned my stomach as his face inched closer to mine.

“I know what you’re thinking.” His voice was deep, smooth, as he rolled his R’s. “You’ve done nothing wrong. Nevertheless, once you kill one rat, you have to kill them all. Even a little mouse like yourself.”

My blood drained at the utterance of the word kill. I squirmed in his grasp. “Please, don’t hurt me.”

He clenched my jaw with one hand as his fingernails dug into my skin. I cried not from the pain, but from fear.

“Would you like to know a secret?” His hot breath caused bile to rise in my throat. “Only you disgusting rats can see our eyes glow. I’m sure you knew that already. I’m sure your mother told you the stories. I’ll bet you didn’t listen to her. I bet you thought they were just fairy tales and bad dreams, hmm?”

I had no idea what he was talking about. I concentrated on finding a way out of his grip, hoping his guard would slip while he continued his monologue.

“You know, when you find one rat, there are a dozen more in the nest.” He tightened his grasp. “Where’s your rathole, eh little mouse?”

“Let me go!” Pain manifested in every inch of my face. My jaw throbbed and my head spun. A stiff ache cut through my spine. Fear and cold shook my core. Exhaustion weighed down my struggling limbs. I just wanted it to end.

He studied my face for a moment, a frown tugged at his lips. “Very well.”

He released my jaw then reached back under his jacket. The sound of sharp metal being unsheathed pierced the night as he drew out a long silver dagger. My eyes widened at the emblems engraved on every inch of the blade and handle. I recognized them as Norse in origin. I also recognized the precise way in which he held the dagger level with my left rib cage. He’s going to stab me in the heart.

J.D is giving away an ecopy of either Dark Heirloom or Dark Liaison, winners choice.  I’m kinda curious as to which y’all prefer, paranormal romance, urban fantasy or a bit of both?  Giveaway ends @ 12am est June 10th, 2013.  Winner announced shortly thereafter.


Author Bio:  J.D. Brown writes Urban Fantasy for MuseItUp Publishing, as well as a monthly “how-to” newsletter column for PDMI Freelance Publishing. She graduated from The International Academy of Design and Technology with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts and currently lives in Wisconsin with her two Pomeranians. J.D. loves paranormal characters; from vampires and werewolves, demons and angels, to witches and ghost. She is a self-proclaimed expert in vampire and Greek mythology. Her writings are often a combination of suspense and romance. J.D. enjoys helping her fellow writers and interacting with her fans and leads an active life on the web.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. I’m most definitely in the bit of both camp. I can have both, so I’m having both.

  2. I enjoy reading both, along with so many other genres. As long as a story is written well, I love getting lost in a good story. Your a new author to me and I would like to start with your first book in this series. Thanks for the contest.

  3. For those of us who love to be riveted…on the edge of our seats as we turn page after page in a well written, thrilling novel: this sounds like just what the doctor ordered. I look forward to the journey.

  4. I love a little bit both. Thanks for the giveaway.


  6. like paranormals

  7. Thanks for having me on Manic Readers, Ivy. And thank you for the fabulous reviews.

  8. You’re welcome J.D. Glad to have you visit any time.

    I enjoyed them even if you did leave me hanging..:) Hope all those Manic Readers out there will enjoy them too.

  9. Congrats to Victoria who chose DARK HEIRLOOM.

    Thanks to all who stopped by. Look forward to seeing y’all often!

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