CARNAL Review, Victoria Danann Interview and #Giveaway!

Happy Thursday! I’m pleased to welcome author Victoria Danann to the blog today to talk about her new book, CARNAL, book one in The Exiled series. I had the pleasure of reading a copy of the book, which was released a few days ago.

First, about Victoria: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of eleven romances. Victoria’s Knights of Black Swan series won Best Paranormal Romance Series two years in a row, from Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild. Her paranormal romances come with fresh perspectives with a dash of sci-fi, a flourish of fantasy, enough humor to make you laugh out loud, and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. Her heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, or past-life therapists. Her heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners. (Usually.) Victoria lives in The Woodlands, Texas, with her husband and a very smart, mostly black German Shepherd. You can reach her via her website; Facebook; Twitter; Pinterest; Goodreads; or sign up for her mailing list.

carnalABOUT CARNAL: The angel, Kellareal, stopped the genocide of generations of hybrids who had been bred for research and spent their entire lives imprisoned. Against orders, he spirited them away to a dimension where they would have freedom and purpose. In a vindictive fit, Rosie Storm asked Kellareal for a place to hide out. He knew just the place for her to grow up, learn emotional control—and other things.


What I Loved:

*The worldbuilding was inventive and complex. Danann does a great job, once Rosie finally lands among the Exiled, of quickly creating characters and an overarching situation whose outcome one really cares about. Character development also is excellent—you’ll love the Exiled! This has made me want to go back and pick up the author’s Black Swan series to see the beginning of all the worldbuilding.

*The chemistry. Withholding our first meeting of Carnal for a few chapters was brilliant because with a name like Carnal, well, you just knew he was going to be sex on legs, so it was a fun tease to hear about him from others before finally meeting him. And he doesn’t disappoint. But like all great paranormal heroes, he’s also embued with a sense of duty that often gets in his own way, and he’s Alpha with a capital A. But Rosie can hold her own. Danann also has Carnal’s first action in the book one that could have been seen as brutal, but she manages to make it not only noble but heartbreaking. That’s a damned good feat to pull off, especially with a new character.


* The storytelling. What can I say? It’s a story well-told by a master of the craft. I have begun to shy away from PNR because it’s become awfully predictable as a genre. So when I find a book like this—which manages to surprise me and rope me into its world—that’s a great gift.

What I Didn’t Love So Much:

* My own ignorance. This is the first book in a new series, but I do wish there had been an asterisk somewhere to tell me it’s a spinoff of the long-running Black Swan series. I settled in once the “real” book began, but be forewarned: there’s a “here’s what you’ve missed” series of book summaries at the beginning that threw me off. Then there’s a long soliloquy from the angel Kellareal that’s a fun read because Danann gives him such an entertaining voice. But it’s still a big chunk of backstory to get through before the actual story begins. I do understand the need for it, and it was skillfully done, but just be warned that it’s there if you’re like me and have a tendency to skip over backstory prologues.

* Rosie, as the heroine, is quite immature—it fits with her background, but it took me a while to warm up to her. She’s smart and feisty, though, and this is definitely a setup book for the series, so she needed a way to grow up. And I ended up liking her.


I loved the read. Even if I wasn’t wild about the way it started with all the background, once I got into the story itself, and especially once the sexy bad boy Carnal gets into the picture, I found it hard to put down. The gutsy ending is…wow. I’d give it a solid 4.5 of 5 Gators. (Yes, life is now measured in gators.)

Now, let’s hear from Victoria!

* * * * * *

What’s the hardest scene you’ve ever written?

A Summoner’s Tale, Knights of Black Swan, Book 3. Elora and Blackie are both injured, trying to crawl their way through a biting ice storm to the shelter of a dolmen. If that wasn’t bad enough, her water has broken and she’s in labor. I’ll never forget writing that scene because I was crying so hard I could hardly make out text on the monitor.

 What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile?

Mr. Mann

Favorite book when you were a child:

Snow White

Your five favorite authors:

Terry Pratchett, Karen Marie Moning (Fever Series), Stephen King, Tifinnie DeBartolo, Shakespeare

Book that changed your life:

Born Rich, by Bob Proctor

What’s next?

The next Black Swan book, Journey Man, releases March 29th and deals with a topic readers have been requesting for a long time.

* * * * *

Hmmmm, that sounds intriguing! I’m sponsoring a giveaway of CARNAL (available in ebook only, but in multiple formats) or a $5 Amazon or Book Depo gift card/book credit. Just leave a comment and tell me if you’re a fan of Shakespeare! I think this is the first time Ol’ Will has shown up in one of the interviews. My primary degree is in English Lit and I had a wonderful professor for Shakespeare, so while I wouldn’t list him as a favorite, I do like his work.

Your turn!



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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

19 thoughts on “CARNAL Review, Victoria Danann Interview and #Giveaway!

  1. hum no i’m no fan of shakespear.
    i’ve also just read a book that while first in a series is alsoa spin off from another one and yes it tended to make me feel like i missed something even if teh book was wonderful so i’m interested in this one ( i do think i have teh forst in teh black swann series i will have to check and start by that)

  2. No Shakespeare for me. I enjoy spin offs, I really like to have read the main stories first.

  3. I’ve never actually read any of his works, so I’m not able to say if I’m a fan or not.

  4. Love Shakespeare. I’d rather see one of the plays than read one, to be honest. I’ve been lucky enough to see several, by first-rate companies.

  5. I actually really like some of Shakespeare’s plays. Othello, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  6. In high school, I had to read four of the plays with a lot of footnotes to explain the archaic English & customs. I’m not sure I’m a fan but I did appreciate the works.

  7. Not a fan of Shakespeare. Love the gator rating scale! I’ll have to scope out the original series first before I read Carnal.

  8. Thank you for the review and the posting, Suzanne. 😀 Re: The Bard. I did some graduate work in English history (just after Alfred the Great) and had to learn to read primary sources written in Old English. After that, the archaic language of Shakespeare was not a problem.

    In my opinion, Romeo and Juliet as the supreme piece of literature to which we all should aspire.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Victoria! After a failed attempt at the original Canterbury Tales, I can see how Shakespeare was much easier! Once you get into the rhythm of his writing, it’s actually not too hard…and a really good professor helps :-).

  9. I’ve seen movie versions of Hamlet and Macbeth and enjoyed them. But I didn’t enjoy reading either one in high school.

  10. My father was an English professor, and Shakespeare was his area of specialization; this meant the plays were always available to me. At some point, when I was a teen and was looking for something to read, I picked up the comedies and read them all. While I read a number of the histories and tragedies for school, I never was much into them. At least I enjoy the comedies!