Fun reframing of Norse mythology, with Loki as the hero and Odin as the bad guy, set in modern-day society.
Centuries ago, Loki/Logan was framed by OdFun reframing of Norse mythology, with Loki as the hero and Odin as the bad guy, set in modern-day society.
Centuries ago, Loki/Logan was framed by Odin for the (unsuccessful) murder of Baldur/Kiran. Now Logan and Kiran have finally found the person who can clear Logan/Loki's name and let them regain their place in society: Odin's human granddaughter, Jordan. Once they convince her that they're not crazy -- oh, and that she's the perfect woman for both of them, that is.
I can't quite pinpoint what I liked so much about this, but it was probably the humor. I hope Bell writes another in this series....more
Cop Rafe is astounded to find himself irresistibly drawn to green witch Elissa and lion shapeshifter Jude, and they to him. After spending his whole lCop Rafe is astounded to find himself irresistibly drawn to green witch Elissa and lion shapeshifter Jude, and they to him. After spending his whole life denying his dual nature as a cougar shapeshifter, Rafe finds himself not only covering up for Jude, an unregistered and undrugged dual, he also starts questioning his own decision to take the required-by-law anti-shifting medication. Before he can even process these new events, Jude is kidnapped by the Agency and Elissa needs Rafe's help to get him back before the government goons kill him--or worse. However, Elissa's magic is based on sex, and using Rafe to power her spells might doom her marriage and the strange, tentative bond linking the three of them.
The pace is fast, but still allows for plenty of character growth and while there's plenty of sex, it doesn't take over the story--given the nature of Elissa's powers, the way it's used in the story actually makes a lot of sense. All the characters, even the ones who appear briefly, act in ways that seem entirely reasonable for the situation. The mythology (for lack of a better word) that powers Elissa's magic is consistent, frequently referencing the Lord, the Lady, and the Trickster. Overall, a very engaging romance. I'm looking forward to the next in the series....more
First, I would like to say, squee! Second, Thea Harrison is now on my auto-buy list.
In many ways, this is classic genre romance: Dragos is super-rich,First, I would like to say, squee! Second, Thea Harrison is now on my auto-buy list.
In many ways, this is classic genre romance: Dragos is super-rich, powerful, arrogant... and an immortal dragon shifter. Pia is a feisty, innocent mortal with untapped powers and a passel of evil on her tail that only Dragos can save her from. What made this so enjoyable was how Harrison took these classic romance archetypes and created a fresh, exciting world with them. She showed the world and its characters without miring the reader in info-dumpery; the nuance and maturity of the characters is demonstrated through real emotional reactions and adult conversations (there are some Carpathian-style rage scenes on Dragos's part, but the way they're presented shows how Pia and Dragos are able to talk with each other and learn from each other); and, in a nice change of pace from a lot of PNR/UF, while Pia has some kick-ass fighting abilities, she's very conscious of consequences -- she'll fight if she has to, but she's always looking for other ways of handling her problems. That, plus strong threads of sensuality and humor made this a thoroughly enjoyable read.
There's a ton of sequel bait secondary characters, so I'm pretty sure this series will go on for quite awhile, but based on how much I enjoyed this book, I'm totally ok with that. I can't wait for the next one!...more
At the beginning of this series, I would pick up these books if I happened across them. At this point, they're on my auto-buy list. I think Ashwood haAt the beginning of this series, I would pick up these books if I happened across them. At this point, they're on my auto-buy list. I think Ashwood has really hit her stride with Frostbound.
The characters: I've liked and admired the hellhound Lore since his introduction and I'm happy he was matched with someone as strong and compassionate as Talia.
Raised in a clan of genocidal monster Hunters, Talia was changed into a vampire against her will as an act of vengeance against her father. I've seen similar storylines play out in other series with mixed results. It's to Ashwood's credit that the character she created in Talia isn't just likable, she's someone I can respect.
The worldbuilding: consistently fantastic. Not just the social rules, but the physical layout of Fairview. The elements of the city (including the Castle) are so well developed, they're like characters themselves. In my nerdiness, I wish we could get a map of the town; I'm sure the author has one she refers to. The descriptions are so precise and consistent between books.
The plot: both in urban fantasy and in romance terms, the plot was engrossing, well paced and intelligent. These books are all stand-alones but connected. There's no cliffhanger ending but I still happily anticipate reading the next one as soon as it comes out....more
I love this book so much that when I could no longer find it at a public library, I hunted it down on the used market. (That probably doesn't sound liI love this book so much that when I could no longer find it at a public library, I hunted it down on the used market. (That probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but it's been one of my public library repeat reads since I was a kid; it was like an every three years ritual for me.)
Do I still love this book now? Yes. It's scary, sensual (in a non-graphic way), smart, magical, empowering and in many other ways fabulous. Plus, it's set in New Zealand, which as a kid growing up in one of the landlocked parts of the US, that seemed kind of magical in and of itself. Anyway, I still vividly recall certain scenes, and the wonder of reading those scenes is still there for me as an adult.
Here's a quote from one of those scenes. I'm not sure if it's my favorite, but it's a good representation of the heroine, Laura Chant, and her ally, Sorry (Sorenson Carlisle) as she makes an object of power under the supervision of the witch Winter (Sorry's mother):
"Stamp, your name is to be Laura. I'm sharing my name with you. I'm putting my power into you and you must do my work. Don't listen to anyone but me." She thought for what seemed like a long time, though it was really only a single second, and in that time, oddly enough, the picture of the old, whistling kettle at home came into her mind. "You are to be my command laid on my enemy. You'll make a hole in him through which he'll drip away until he runs dry. As he drips out darkness, we'll smile together, me outside, you inside. We'll " (she found her voice rising higher and growing a little hysterical) " ... we'll crush him between our smiles." She looked up at the reflected witches and said nervously, "Is that enough?"
"Quite enough," Winter said, and behind the fine lace of her age, Laura saw a reflection of Sorry's wariness.
"Terrific!" exclaimed Sorry. "Chant, can I be on your side? I'd hate to be your enemy."...more
I think this might be my favorite of the series -- the world building is more thought-out than previous installments, the plot isn't all slash-hack-goI think this might be my favorite of the series -- the world building is more thought-out than previous installments, the plot isn't all slash-hack-gore, and the h/h... I loved them both. Singh's heroes have gotten kind of samey-same for me, but Jason's patience and quietness and gentleness really made him stand out. And watching him and Mahiya sort of unintentionally help each other heal and accidentally fall in love in the process ... yay. Really enjoyed this one in a way that renewed my interest in this author....more
For those who haven't read the earlier books or who don't remember all the details, the opening chapter very nicely interweaves action with expositionFor those who haven't read the earlier books or who don't remember all the details, the opening chapter very nicely interweaves action with exposition to remind readers of what's happened previously*. Still, it's probably best to read this series in order.
I like how Sabina has matured since the first book. For someone who started out so reckless, almost to the point of apathetic self-destruction, watching her try to build relationships, think about consequences and restrain her impulses is really satisfying. Not that she becomes a milquetoast character by any means -- she's still a smart-mouth who sometimes flies off the handle -- but she tries to plan ahead and think about repercussions before she acts now.
I also really like how her (romantic) relationship with Adam develops in this book - there's still a lot of push-pull and not just because she's a vampire and he's a mage - but it makes sense and, I think, is part of what helps to ground the new, mature version of herself.
Also, Giguhl, her demon/cat familiar... so cute!
The humor is sometimes a little more frat-boy/slap-stick than I generally care for, but it's consistent (so if you've liked it in the past, you'll probably still like it).
The plotting is fine, no complaints, but this is definitely a series I read more for the characters more than for the action.
* (There's also occasional info-dumping paragraphs further in the book that I'm going to blame on the editor, since I've seen those sort of back-catalog spoilers pretty consistently within this genre. Personally, I find that they discourage me from reading any books I've missed, but it seems to be an industry standard.)
This review is based on a digital ARC received via NetGalley....more
Well, the first thing I did after finishing this was to start re-reading Inhuman World of the Lupi 3.5, which is where we first meet Kai and Nathan. AWell, the first thing I did after finishing this was to start re-reading Inhuman World of the Lupi 3.5, which is where we first meet Kai and Nathan. Actually, now I kind of want to re-read the entire series.
I love these characters: how they're mature adults who still make mistakes and have room to grow. As a part of that, I also love how nuanced the morality is: characters are not good or evil in a static way, but become so because of decisions they make over time. And these decisions don't come with big flashing warning signs "stop! your alignment will change from neutral good to chaotic evil with this choice!" Once his history is pulled apart and explored, the big bad in this book -- who rapes and tortures or destroys at will -- becomes sympathetic. It's not that his actions become sympathetic, but he as a flawed but at one time heroic being becomes deserving of compassion. And it's not that the author does a magic hand-wave to sweep the trauma he caused under the rug. It is acknowledged and does serve to develop the series story arc -- or it looks that way, given the ending.
Anyway, I really like that Wilks is willing to go there with her writing. I don't see a lot of moral explorations like this in genre fiction, and when I do it's usually a lot more heavy handed than this. Very much looking forward to the next book!...more
I went in expecting a slow burn romance, and more in the mood for fantasy anyway, so this all worked pretty well for me. I liked Xavier, he's3.5 stars
I went in expecting a slow burn romance, and more in the mood for fantasy anyway, so this all worked pretty well for me. I liked Xavier, he's a lot more contemplative than one normally sees in PNR, and Tess was pretty cool. I also liked seeing more of Julian, he kind of cracks me up.
The first half felt like an extended training montage, reminiscent of too many '80s movies to name. Lots more exploration of Vampyre society than we've seen in the past too, which I generally enjoyed. (It always strikes me as very weird when authors depict present-day society filled with openly-supernatural beings, who each have their own subcultures, as if that wouldn't have had massive sociopolitical implications throughout the centuries. The US Congress? Would maybe still exist. A particular song by J-Zay? I'm skeptical.)
The second half is where all the plot, action, and romance lived. So, if you just want to know enough about the goings-on in this volume to be prepared for book 8, you could probably start in the middle somewhere and be ok.