Monday, May 22, 2017

~ REVIEW AND EXCERPT BLITZ! ~ Order of the Sicari Series ~ By Monica Burns

Ancient Rome Collides with Present-Day and Only Love Can Save an Empire’s Collapse and Ensure Another’s Downfall! 

Assassin's Honor 

(Order of the Sicari #1)

Only love can save a telekinetic assassin's honor in a world where Ancient Rome never fell. Passion abounds in this award-winning series.

The Roman Empire never collapsed for Ares DeLuca and other Sicari. Ares comes from an ancient bloodline of telekinetic assassins who have lived in the shadows for two millennia. The Sicari are honor bound to kill only in the name of justice, but Ares broke the Order’s code and used his sword for revenge. Love cost him dearly once before, and he’s not willing to pay the price again. At least not until hot, sweet, delectable Emma enters his world. Not only does she have the ability to save an ancient empire’s collapse, she holds the key to a valuable Sicari relic and quite likely the key to his heart.

Archeologist Emma Zale sees the past when she touches ancient relics. It’s how she uncovered evidence of an ancient order of assassins—the Sicari. When a sinfully dark stranger shows up on her Chicago doorstep, he drags her into a world where ancient Rome still rules, and telekinesis and empaths are the norm. But someone wants her dead, and her only hope of survival is an assassin who’s every bit as dangerous to her body as he is to her heart.

Ancient Rome Collides with Present-Day Chicago and Only Love Can Save an Empire’s Collapse and Ensure Another’s Downfall

This award-winning series (reissued for the first time) starts off with a bang with an exciting combination of romance, suspense, sexy paranormal assassin heroes, and extraordinary world-building. 

~ My Review ~
4 out of 5 Stars

For me, this book was definitely one that instantly grabs you and sucks you in.  I have to admit I'm a bit of a sucker for mysteries that involve ancient secret societies, searching for lost relics -- all the good stuff.  You add a touch of magical abilities, and some GREAT, hot romance, and I am a HAPPY girl.  This book made me a happy, happy girl.

Another plus for this book? The perfect combination of damsel in distress, and damsel doesn't need you.  In fact, YOU need damsel, or you're in big trouble.  The female lead of this story is brilliant, educated, tough, and not afraid to go wherever she needs to go, or do whatever she needs to do, to find the answers she needs.  Yes, she's an archeologist, and it somewhat comes with the territory, but when you reach a certain level of danger -- like lots of people around you dying, and a good chance you're next -- that's when most archeologists probably decide to move on.  Not Emma. It only pushed her more, because now she had vengeance in her heart and some killers to bring to justice.

And then there's THERE'S a guy to give you some drive to keep placing your life in danger.  I'd help that man find any secrets he wanted.  Granted, in the beginning, their meeting wasn't the best, and I probably would've wanted to kill him (as she did), because he didn't go about his introduction in the best way, which he did realize later.  In fact, this is probably one of the very few parts of the book that still stands out to me as a part of the book that bugged me a bit -- but only a bit, mostly because of hindsight, and how it ended up working out.  But in the moment (and I won’t give it away with spoilers), it was...awkward to put it best.  Their interaction felt a little wrong considering she had no idea who he was, other than the fact that it appeared he was extremely dangerous.  The scene made me uncomfortable at the time, but as I said, hindsight makes it a little better, once you know more about him.

Ares is a very sexy dude with very literally the weight of the world on his shoulders, and had no idea how much Emma would change everything, and in how many ways she would change it.  I liked how they got to know each other (after the above mentioned scene), and the fact that it was complicated.  Yes, my inner-monologue did a ton of "why don't you just say....?!" or "why don't you just do this?" It's so simple!  But these two are taught not to trust, and both are in very big, and at the beginning, very different, danger.  Trust and relationship stuff SHOULD be complicated, even though they desperately want to give into their extreme attraction to each other -- you know, human and all.  Some may be annoyed by the back and forth, but to me it makes very realistic sense.

This book was so much awesome to me, because it wasn't just romance. It wasn't just your average historical mystery.  It was a ton of hold-your-breath danger, what the heck is gonna happen next, who can we trust, and OMG! Is it 3am already?!  Yeah...that kind of book. 

And did I mention the hot romance?  We all know as readers that authors can sometimes make sex scenes feel like it's an author writing a sex scene; it can feel a little awkward, and just one weird word used to describe a body part can throw off the whole feeling of the scene.  This never happens in this book.  Some of the best written scenes I've read -- not distracting to the story either, like the author was throwing sex scenes in to get the readers’ attention.  And vice-versa with the story itself.  The story undoubtedly could've held its own with no sex scenes at all.  It was a great balance.

As we know it's a series, and one common concern about the end of a book in a series is cliffhangers, I'll put your mind (sort of) at ease.  There's only a very minor cliffhanger, in the fact that the story for this book was wrapped up, but there was a set up that leaves us looking forward to what happens in the next book.  In my opinion, the end of the book did fall a little flat, and could've had a little more excitement, but there was an end that set up the next book without killing you like the end of a Walking Dead episode, or the last season of Game of Thrones. 

I'm really, really looking forward to what happens next with all of these characters and their search for ancient history, the extreme danger they'll no doubt be in, and more super sexiness that I know we'll be seeing too!

Available for purchase at 


Assassin's Heart 

(Order of the Sicari #2)

Can the truth of the soul Conquer the pain of its ancient past. 

Unlike other Sicari, Lysander Condellaire has telepathic and telekinetic powers. Not until the night a Praetorian tortured him and left him for dead did he understand why. Now, the half-angelic, half-demonic face he sees in the mirror is a reminder of the monster he must keep hidden or face expulsion from the order of assassins known as the Sicari. But his dreams of ancient Rome hint at a destiny difficult to accept, especially when it involves the woman he loves, but can never have. 

A gifted healer in the Order, Phaedra DeLuca witnessed her mother’s murder when she was a little girl. The haunting memory makes her loathe everything Praetorian. When she travels to Rome in search of an ancient artifact, she must work alongside a man who once cruelly rejected her love and healing touch. But her dreams of ancient Rome tell of an irreversible and possibly dangerous future. For the distant past and present are about to collide–with the one man she is destined to love. 

~ My Review ~
5 out of 5 Stars
Once again, this series does not disappoint.  I love when a series has several different things happening at the same time, keeping you on your toes, but not burying or confusing you.  This author accomplishes that perfectly.  There are so many exciting things happening concurrently, but they blend together perfectly.

As we learn more about some of our favorite members of the order (or members that become favorites as we read this book), we find so many super cool twists that show many of them are much more connected than we realized.  And by connected, I mean by past events going back thousands of years, to events that have happened in recent years.  When Lysander is one of the first to figure out many of these connections, he’s immediately devastated, as he thinks it changes everything he ever thought it was, and although he’s falling for Phaedra, he truly believes these truths will make her hate him, so he decides to end things first.

The problem is that Phaedra is not your average woman.  She’s a kickass heroine in a thousand different ways.  Although hurt at first, she’s not buying what Lysander’s selling.  She knows something’s up.  And when they’re both sent to Rome on a mission, with Lysander assigned to lead, the phrase “nobody puts Baby in a corner” comes to mind over and over, just as “no one puts Phaedra in a corner”.  I LOVE Phaedra.  Whether it’s the woman who raised her (and also leads the order), or Lysander that constantly tries to keep her out of harm’s way, she goes ahead with her own thing – and she’s pretty much always right.

I won’t give it away too much, but one of the critical parts of the story brings us back and forth from a story in ancient Rome to current day.  I absolutely loved the depth this added to the story. What happened in the times of ancient Rome were not only revealing for critical information to their mission in current day Rome, but it also brings some shocking revelations that Phaedra is one of the first to start figuring out.

Once again, the writing in this book was perfect.  The fight scenes kept you on the edge of your seat, and you never had to re-read it to figure out what was going on, no matter how action packed it was.  There were definitely some super HOT scenes, and they were very smoothly written, not awkward or moments where you want to say “please stop over using that word” (we’ve all read at least one of those).  Everything she wrote felt real, flowed smoothly, wasn’t drawn out, but wasn’t too short either.

This book kept my attention the entire time, and I most definitely enjoyed it.  I can’t wait to see what happens next with the mysteries they’ve discovered in Rome!

Available for purchase at 


Inferno's Kiss 

(Order of the Sicari #3)

The Sicari brotherhood is back and this time they're taking no prisoners when it comes to protecting the Order as warriors and lovers are torn between duty and desire. 

Dante Condellaire, heir apparent to the Sicari Lords, knows that being a true leader means sacrifice. For Dante it was relinquishing all erotic pleasures. But he never expected his willpower to be tested so fiercely by Cleopatra Vorenus, expert assassin of the Order, and daughter of the man he is positioned to succeed. 

Cleo prefers working alone—until she meets Dante who shares her goal: to destroy a Praetorian stronghold where Sicari women are imprisoned for devious purposes. Bringing the mission off without a hitch pumps up more than their resolve. It sets off a sexual spark too combustible to ignore. 

As their attraction flares like an inferno, the stakes are raised. So are the risks. Before the mission is over, Dante and Cleo will be plunged into a dangerous conspiracy where a traitor threatens the very foundation of the Order, as well as the fiery bond between Dante and Cleo—warriors and lovers now torn between duty and desire. 

“WOW! A kick-ass self-confident heroine and an alpha male with a side order of vulnerability practically guarantee a mind blowing reading experience." — Fresh Fiction 

“I loved that Cleo is the experienced lover while Dante is the virgin. Hallelujah and pass the cornbread. The sexual tension in here had me on edge, waiting to see if Dante would succumb or abstain.” — Smexy Books 

~ My Review ~
3 out of 5 Stars
I have to admit, this review was REALLY hard for me to write.  This book is the third book in a series that has thus far been an even combination of mystery, romance, love of family – created or blood related – and the intensifying battle between the Sicari and the Praetorians.  However, this book felt like it took a sharp turn away from the developing story between the battle between the Sicari and Praetorians, and the treasure they both searched for that could potentially declare a winner once and for all.  Instead, the book largely focused on not one, but this time two, romances.  It was very heavy on the sex scenes and/or sexual tension between the two couples.

The reason this was hard for me to rate, was because if you like SUPER steamy romances, this may be a book that you really enjoy.  Once again, the author does a good job in the way she writes them, doesn’t make them awkward, and makes them very natural.  However, this is the third book in a series that had some major build up going on in the previous two books to what was going to happen between the Sicari and Praetorians, and what would come of this secret that dates back to ancient Rome, and what it could change for all of them.  Although this subject is certainly addressed, it felt like it was rushed to a close, and we never really got much in the way of answers.  I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it came to a slightly abrupt, and to me felt like not-so-satisfying end.

In rating this, I rated it based on continuity of the story, and that I felt the ending wasn’t as satisfying as I was hoping. BUT, if you’ve been following this story more for the romances, then this story may end up being your favorite one, since you will definitely get your fill!  This is certainly a book that you will have to read on your own to find what YOU feel the rating should be, since it was well written, just to me, not the same direction as the other books.

Available for purchase at 


The Order of the Sicari Series

 About the Author

Monica Burns is a bestselling author of spicy historical and paranormal romance. She penned her first romance at the age of nine when she selected the pseudonym she uses today. Her historical book awards include the 2011 RT BookReviews Reviewers Choice Award and the 2012 Gayle Wilson Heart of Excellence Award for Pleasure Me.

She is also the recipient of the prestigious paranormal romance award, the 2011 PRISM Best of the Best award for Assassin’s Heart. From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica is a survivor who believes every hero and heroine deserves a HEA (Happily Ever After), especially if she’s writing the story.

You can find Monica at


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