1

Arctic Dawn: Stop the RoMESS and Kiss Her Already!

Penguin2.3

Arctic Dawn (The Norse Chronicles, #2)

The Norse Chronicles #2
Goodreads Rating: 4.39 Stars
332 Pages
Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Published July 5th, 2016
Get a copy here!

Alone and exhausted after her month-long sojourn as a shooting star, Solina Mundy flees to southern California to lie low, recuperate, and plot a survival strategy. The one person she trusts to watch her back is her best friend, Skyla Ramirez. But Skyla has been missing for weeks.

The arrival of a dangerous stranger and the discovery of a legendary weapon of mass destruction forces Solina out of hiding and back into the fight for her life. Solina knows she won’t last long on her own. She must find out what happened to Skyla and unite her contentious allies if she hopes to track down this devastating weapon before her enemies use it to burn the world to ash.

4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: so much delicious snark; love the scattered pop culture references; this is one roMESS I both am afraid to see the end of, and am dying to see resolved; quick read filled with action and adventure; love the continued focus on Norse mythology; I just want to squash these characters to pieces

I just… I don’t even… GAAAAAAAAH! Karissa Laurel, you have done it again–swept me up on a journey of snark, adventure, and cinnamon roll characters only to leave me hanging by a thread at the end, drooling for the next book. Please, please, tell me the next book comes out soonish–I don’t know how long I can stand to wait this time! I need to know, I need to knoooooow!

Ahem. Let me try to find a bit of coherence now, yes?

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Once again, this book was full to the BRIM with Norse mythology and pop culture references. I found myself giggling every couple of pages–there are references to Chuck Norris, to Disney movies, and SO many others I’m sure I didn’t even catch them all. Each time, I found myself cracking a smile–the mix between the “old” and the “new” really worked to keep a balance throughout this book, and draw the two worlds together in a coherent and well-planned way.

 

The plot is fast-paced and loaded with action. Between the battle scenes, the “AHA!” moments, and the general tenacity of the characters, I was torn between racing headlong toward the ending and slowing down enough to savor the story–after all, I don’t know when the next book will be released. It’s bound to be quite the long wait–but I just couldn’t keep myself from devouring this book! Karissa Laurel does a fine job of “wrapping up” the smaller plot line of the current book, and maintaining the larger, more out-of-focus story as set-up for the next installment. While these books end with sort-of cliffhangers, they manage to give readers a sense of completion and satisfaction.

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The snark is almost ten times that of the first book–there were SO MANY clap-backs, sassy moments, and deliciously played scenes, especially between Thorin and Solina. I both feared for and looked forward to scenes of them, anticipating heartache all the while wishing for more. Their weird push-and-pull dance is getting tighter, the more books are added to this series…and I’m looking forward to the explosion, honestly. I am anticipating it impatiently, if I’m honest–I just want to shake them until they kiss already and get it over with, because PENGUINS, the tension there is just bone-searing.

 

The rest of the cast is no less entertaining, though, so don’t be put-off! There are battles of life and death, there are several cruel twists of fate, there’s a trickster who fooled even ME… Pretty much anything you could ever want in a book about the children of Gods, you can find in this series, and it’s awesomely done!

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I cannot WAIT for book three–it’s going to be a nail-biting, emotionally-jarring time for me, I feel, as I’m invested in these characters to my very core. I need to know what happens next. I need it like penguins need webbed feet and round bellies. I need it like air, which I know sounds dramatic, but… It’s the truth. If you’re searching for a series with a heavy focus on Norse mythology, snarky characters, and roMESSes…this series?! Definitely for you. Don’t just take my word for it–go pick these books up! I’m in for the long haul with this one; you should be, too.

4

Of Light and Darkness: Romance?! No. RoMESS!

Penguin2.3

27886071

9969698

Goodreads Rating: 3.80 Stars
400 Pages
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication Date(s): 1st Edition June 26th, 2011; 2nd Edition January 11th, 2016
Also available on Kindle Unlimited!
Get a copy here!

Shayne Leighton’s stunning New Adult debut is a fiercely imaginative, multilayered dark fantasy where Alice In Wonderland meets Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire in a story about a girl caught between two societies . . . two magic sides . . . and two loves.

Charlotte is the only mortal in a society of beasts and nightmarish things. By night, she hunts other humans to satiate her Vampire guardian. By day, she struggles to find her place of belonging among the magic and monsters.
But when war conflicts her peaceful, however odd little life, she must fight for love and survival the only way she knows how…
…with her blood.

3.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: romance?! NO, this is a roMESS! it’s like…a love square meets a love triangle, if that makes sense? (and it’s epic); fated soulmates; vampires and wizards!; this is “light versus dark” tale taken to the extreme; a new spin on several old tropes; love the creative twist to vampire lore Shayne Leighton uses; some major grammatical errors brought the score down a bit for me

I…don’t even know what I just read, but I ADORED it and now need the second book ASAP. Is it September yet? I need book two!

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I just… I HAVE to start with the romance, because it’s epic, guys. Seriously, I tried explaining this drama to the hubs while reading, and I was like… “It’s like, it’s like…” And the hubs? Sort of smirked. “It’s a mess!” he said. So…yes. This is NOT romance. It’s a roMESS, and I loved every single moment of it, mostly because it was SO entertaining and amusing. Like seriously, everyone’s in love with the vampire…except that one dude who’s in love with the vampire’s charge. It was insanity, and awesome, and I giggled every time any of the characters fought over any of the other characters, which seemed to happen every chapter. It was just… gah! GAAAAH! I thoroughly loved how far off the beaten love-triangle track Shayne Leighton took this book. So many kudos to her!

 

There are some very annoying grammatical things happening in this read that, ultimately, took my rating down just a notch. The commas, guys. The commas are EVERYWHERE, and not always in the ways they should be. There are repeated words (as in, “for that” might be repeated twice in a row in the middle of a sentence). And while these things did not detract from my enjoyment of the read or entertainment of the story…it was a LOT, in the end.

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But I WAS enthralled, and I was entertained, and I giggled like a maniac more than once. Shayne Leighton brought a lot of spunk and creativity to the “light vs. dark” battle in this book–and squashed the idea that there are no unique stories to tell left in the world. This book is unique in every way that matters. Vampire lore is built upon in a different way, love triangles are squashed and then recreated… This entire book was one large, awesome journey.

 

And the actual romance–the one this book focuses on? It’s forbidden love, taken to the extreme. It’s “guardian turned lover.” It’s sweet, and tender, and makes several romances I’ve read recently pale vastly in comparison. It’s realistic, while so much of this book is magical. This romance is fated…but written so beautifully, you’ll forgive that tiny detail. The rest of the characters, as well, are beautifully-rounded. Each has a purpose. Each draws you further into the story–even those you come to loathe, and I promise, there’s at least one that I started out liking only to realize, several chapters farther, I actually REALLY hated.

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This whole read was a wild, fascinating journey, and I am SO glad I took a chance on this book. While there are some annoying grammatical issues, they did not, in the end, detract from my enthrallment in the least. The prose is not necessarily “flowery”…but it’s gorgeous, all the same, with some sobering, wise pearls hidden in the mix. The characters are well-rounded, snarky, and entertaining…and romance? No. From now on, this book will be considered a roMESS in my mind–and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all! If you like vampire/mortal love stories, fantastically magical journeys, and light vs. dark battles, this is the perfect read for you! Trust me–it’s worth picking up!