Gemma Murphy has been following Catullus Graves and his friends for some time now After first seeing him in the Northwest Territory of Canada, she now finds herself on a boat, to England A reporter, she loves to investigate, and she knows Catullus and his crew have many secrets.Catullus is a member of The Blades of the Rose, a secret organization that protects Sources, those items that hold magical power throughout the world from the evil Heirs of Albion The Heirs now have the primal source, and have plans to use it for world domination The Blades are hot on their trail, and are willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to stop them.The first time Catullus set eyes on the red haired, freckled beauty in Canada, it stirs him A genius inventor, Catullus has a very scientific approach when it comes to romance, which means he isn t quite the ladies man Soon Catullus becomes aware that Gemma is following them, and when the Heirs spot her with the Blades, her life becomes endangered She wants to prove to the Blades she is a competent fighter, and she wants to break down Catullus s serious ways, and show him just how wicked romance can be.Stranger is the fourth book in Zoe Archer s The Blades of the Rose series and held much anticipation for me to discover Catullus whom we meet in great detail in book three, Rebel Catullus is reserved, a bit shy and awkward when it comes to women He loves fine waistcoats and is extremely smart His match, Gemma is just the kind of woman who can break him out of his mold She has spunk and spirit, yet she is very kind and from the start understands who this man is Although Catullus is black, she never once sees his skin color as a deterrent I absolutely adored their romance The uncertainty Catullus has in the bedroom is very endearing, and once he gains confidence watch out.The adventure in this one weaves in the King Arthur legend, as the Blades rush to prevent the Heirs from using the primal source I didn t love the adventure as much as the previous books Besides an evil form of King Arthur being resurrected, for some time Catullus and Gemma find themselves in Otherworld, an alternate fairy world It just didn t grab me like the other books did I did thoroughly enjoy the banter between Catullus and other blade members Bennet Day and Nathan Lesperance and their spouses The pages where all of them are working together are some of my favorite And of course the pages with the hot smex in a tree house.After finishing this series, four books in four months, I can say they have been a joy to read With the mixture of historical, paranormal and adventure, Zoe Archer brings something different to these books I really hope we get Blades in the future, and Catullus has just made his way onto my boyfriend list.Rating B Trigger warnings racism, violence, misogynistic bullshitIs this series ridiculous Definitely Is it also a crapton of fun YES There are two main things that I love about this series 1 It features protagonists of colour2 It s set in fun locations around the worldI mean, the magic and the way mythology comes into the story is super fucking fun too But those are the two main things that stand out to me So I was a liiiiiiiittle disappointed when this one turned out to be set predominantly in England, but considering the male love interest is a black man who s an inventor and highly respected by his peers, I managed to overcome my disappointment This is probably my favourite of the series The relationship between Gemma and Catullus is adorable Catullus is an awkward little squish and I love him I loved that the protagonists from the earlier books in the series come back for the big final battle Etcetera I had one big fuck off sized gripe with this book, and that was that King Arthur who turns up in the course of the story is referred to throughout as Your Highness DEAR AMERICA HIGHNESS PRINCE PRINCESS MAJESTY KING QUEEN IT S NOT THAT FUCKING HARD JESUS CHRIST WHY DON T AUTHORS OR EDITORS UNDERSTAND THIS OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOD Anyway This was a lot of fun and a very satisfying end to the series But if I have to read one book where a king or queen is referred to as your highness I mma fucking cut someone. He Protects The World S Magic With His Science But Even The Best Scientists Can Fall Prey To The Right Chemistry Looking For TroubleGemma Murphy Has A Nose For A Story Even If The Boys In Chicago S Newsrooms Would Rather Focus On Her Chest So When She Runs Into A Handsome Man Of Mystery Discussing How To Save The World From Fancy Pants Brit Conspirators, She S Sensing A Scoop Especially When He Mentions There S Magic Involved Of Course, Getting Him On The Record Would Be Easier If He Hadn T Caught Her EavesdroppingLighting His FuseCatullus Graves Knows What It S Like To Be Shut Out His Ancestors Were Slaves And He S A Genius Inventor With Appropriately Eccentric Habits, So Even People Who Love Him Find Him A Little Odd But After Meeting A Certain Redheaded Scribbler, He S Thinking Of Other Types Of Science Inconvenient, Given That He Needs To Focus On Preventing The End Of The World As We Know It But With Gemma S Insatiable Curiosity Sparking Catullus Inventive Impulses, They Might Set Off Something Explosive Anyway sigh It s always so sad to say goodbye to a series But it s also wonderful at the same time Seeing everything tie together and resolve itself is great This book was no exception We got to see all the previously mentioned characters draw together to fight the ultimate battle against the Heirs It was really nice getting to see the previous heroes and heroines and reaffirm that they are happy together.Catullus is the one constant character through all the books in this series He is a brilliant, particular man that caught my interest from the very first meet I ve been really looking forward to his book and am glad that I finally got to get a closer look at his personality I only wish that I had gotten to see of the person he was described as being dedicated inventor with a hard time staying interested in people before his mind wandered back to an invention instead of just being told about it He really seemed stunningly normal here when you look at his actions and ignore what we re told about him I don t know what changed between the first two books and the last two books, but something did The first two books were excellent, but the last two books were increasingly less interesting for me I actually had to take a couple week break in the middle of this one in the hopes that absence would make the heart grow fonder Luckily it did, so it ended up being average instead of a complete disappointment.One thing that has really bothered me is the way the supernatural part developed I absolutely loved it in the first two books, but then the third book confused me by branching out into shapeshifters And then this one completely blew me out of the water by including the mythical Arthur and the Fae It just got too weird for me It s not my series, so obviously the author can do what she wants, but as the reader I got a certain impression of what this series would be like in terms of magic from the first two books and I had a hard time adjusting when that changed I don t know why some magic was believable for me and some wasn t, but I really had a hard time enjoying the direction this book took.Added to my lack of interest in the plot this time around, I really had a hard time caring about Catullus and Gemma once they got together I don t require a tempestuous relationship by any means, but they were both a little too sweet and pleasant to keep my attention One of my friends used the term Disney esque to describe part of the relationship in the last book, and that seems apt here too They were just too sweet and too good and too accepting of each other for me to care at all I didn t dislike them, but I didn t find them interesting at all.The author s skill with detail and plotting was still there, but without a story I cared about it was really hard for me to work my way through this book I enjoyed seeing the Heirs finally confronted on a large scale and loved seeing previous characters that I enjoyed, but I was rather disappointed on the whole I also was incredibly irritated by the convenient way view spoiler Gemma was able to share magic with Catullus hide spoiler Really Really The first 3 books of this series were fun adventures with some adult time thrown in for good measure.3 4 of this book had 2 of the horniest adults constantly ogling each other despite being in constant life threatening situations I realize I started this series because I belonged to a book club called Vaginal Fantasy but this was so much chaos plus smushy gushy gooey eyes that I had to force my way to the end and only bc I d read 3 books up to this point.Bleuph Double bleuph If I could go back in time I would smack Warrior out of my naive little hands There is much better smut adventure out there I could go into way detail about how this book wasted my LIFE but I m going to move on. Love this series, love this author This was not my favorite but still solid Read for Halloween 2017 Reading Challenge Steampunk category Now I realize this book was not particularly steampunky while the other s in the series lead themselves to steampunk light But I wanted to read it, so I counted it as such Judge me I m good with that Synopsis This series is an ongoing fight between the Blades of the Rose and the Heirs evil men bent on using magic for the so called greater good of mother England By this book, they have found the Primal Source of magic and intend to use it to conquer the world Cat and Gemma met in the previous book and Gemma has been following Cat and his peeps to get a story After all, she is a reporter and a story begs to be written The two fall in lust later followed by love and are reunited with the many of the previous Blades to beat back the Heirs before world domination is theirs Cue a trip to fairy land and some serious battles and a dragon and we have an adventure, folks Why it did or didn t work for me It was fine Just weaker than the three previous books I didn t feel as much love and attachment between the MCs as I did with other Blades books, especially the first which is my favorite of the series Just in case you actually cared This was a fun walk through a great adventure And truth be told, the adventure fighting, magicing and all that business, was my favorite part of the book A good ending to the series No complaints on my part Signed, Zoe Archer, you re still one of my favorite authors Although this one is the same insta love and continual lust preoccupation of the other three volumes, I enjoyed both the two lead characters so much that I didn t mind Until they got to fairyland where I completely and utterly lost patience with them Ok, imagine this the world is going to be destroyed as you know it, unless you save it swiftly Do you hang out with you new lover, kissing, speaking words of love, etc etc, or do you get off your ass and save the world already Sadly the author s answer is too much of the former. While I loved how Catalus and Gemma s romance really flourished and grew with this book, the book dragged in places But since this book was the last in the series it stood to reason it was going to be bigger I was surprised at what magic the Heirs brought forth, but in the end ZA managed to make it work for me It was a good wrap up to the story and that series. This one was a little disappointing to me after the fabulous three books before it Having said that, there were some things I really, really liked about it, and I appreciate that the last in a series is sometimes very difficult to write.Some things I really liked about this one The hero and heroine are both great, really great All the heroes and heroines in this series have been excellent, and these two are no different Neither of them is one dimensional, and the hero, in particular, is complex than most of the other heroes in the series He s a scientist, an inventor and an introvert He s not used to blowing his own trumpet, and I get the impression that he feels a bit past it at 41 The heroine is a journalist from Chicago, of Italian Irish ancestry and used to fighting for what she wants I liked the progression of the hero and heroine s relationship from total lust to deep love It just seems so real, and although it happens quickly it feels right I loved the way the story leapt straight on from the previous book seamlessly I loved the length Although the pace dropped off in the middle for me, the length allows the story to be given justice and the writing to really flow.Some things I didn t like so much The magic bit in the middle just didn t work well for me There were too many pixies etc, and it made me think of bad set moments from The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland NOT my favorite movie I would have preferred for something much darker, unnerving and scary It felt a bit like a wasted opportunity The involvement of the Heirs was minimal I would have preferred something all the previous books in the series were stamped heavily with the Heirs as really nasty villains, and it felt, in this one, that the whole story was missing that element a bit It was all a bit on the nice side Although the heroine s career was touched on, I felt that the author could have taken this a bit further It is a fascinating theme the first woman in a tough career in a tough city.So, in all, not the best of these series, but still very enjoyable.3.5 stars, but I bumped it up because Catullus is so great. Overall I thought it was enjoyable but I did start to struggle at around the halfway mark I d give it a 3.5 to 4 stars I really missed the balance of reality vs paranormal that the other books had This one was pure over the top fantasy world like Alice in Wonderland or something along the lines of an acid trip, i.e.,16 feet tall imaginary historical characters coming to life Nothing felt real about this story, so it wasn t what I was expecting or hoping Also, didn t really love the relationship between Catullus and Gemma A bit too syrupy sweet And for three books now we hear all about his great inventions skill, so you would think we would see a lot of that in his book But not much A battle scene early in the book implies his ingenuity but we don t see much else Still, the series rocked as a whole and I am a solid fan of Zoe Archer.
Zo Archer is a RITA award nominated romance author whose stories are about smart, capable heroines and the heroes who love them She is the author of the acclaimed Blades of the Rose series, as well as the Hellraiser, and Nemesis Unlimited series, among others She also writes Regency set romances as Eva Leigh Visit her on the Web at
- Mass Market Paperback
- 463 pages
- Zoe Archer
- 06 November 2018 Zoe Archer