Book Review: Midnight Burning

review-cover-midnight burningTitle: Midnight Burning [The Norse Chronicles 1]

Author: Karissa Laurel

Genre: Mythology, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Solina Mundy lives a quiet life, running the family bakery in her small North Carolina hometown. But one night, she suffers a vivid nightmare in which a wolfish beast is devouring her twin brother, who lives in Alaska. The next morning, police notify her that Mani is dead. Driven to learn the truth, Solina heads for the Land of the Midnight Sun. Once there, she begins to suspect Mani’s friends know more about his death than they’ve let on. Skyla, an ex-Marine, is the only one willing to help her.

As Solina and Skyla delve into the mystery surrounding Mani’s death, Solina is stunned to learn that her own life is tied to Mani’s friends, his death, and the fate of the entire world. If she can’t learn to control her newfound gifts and keep her friends safe, a long-lost dominion over mortals will rise again, and everything she knows will fall into darkness.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

To be honest, I’m not sure how best to categorize Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel. Going into the story I didn’t know a lot about the book, and at first, I was under the mistaken impression that this was going to be a werewolf-oriented paranormal romance. Don’t ask me why. It was so much more than that.

The book was part romance, part paranormal thriller with a whole lot of Nordic mythology thrown in.

The plot was interesting and complex, filled with healthy doses of danger, a smoldering love triangle and supernatural powers woven together with a new spin on a very old mythos. I was engrossed from the very beginning. The book was well written, fast paced, and I never felt the need to pause, re-read, or put the book down until the very end. The characters were complex and distinct (with the exception of some of the minor Valkyrie characters, but who cares?).

Honestly, my only real complaint about the book at all is that I was kind of perturbed by the abrupt ending. It seemed like just when the romance was about to break through into something juicy, the book ended. My inner fangirl died a little as I was really looking forward to seeing where the relationship between Solina and Thorin might go. Instead, the situation was left open-ended. On one hand, I understand. I’m sure (read: I hope) there will be further books in this series that will delve further into the romance, but on the other hand, my romance-reader heartfelt unfulfilled.

Either way, it was a good book. I loved the mythos, the danger, Solina’s ever-growing and out of control powers…and I can’t really argue the ending because although it wasn’t what I wanted, it was intriguing. I enjoyed my peek into the work of this new author, and I can’t wait to see how this story will evolve as the series goes on.

If you’re looking for a solid paranormal thriller with a bit of romance and mythology mixed in, I’d highly recommend you check this book out.

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Book Review: Ignited

cover-review-ignitedTitle: Ignited [Ignited Series 1]

Author: Desni Dantone

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Seventeen year old Kris Young is on the run from a throng of superhuman golden-eyed freaks hell-bent on seeing her dead, and she doesn’t know why. Good thing she has her guardian angel to protect her…sort of.

Kris is aided by Nathan, the mysterious man that ends up being anything but angelic when he rescues her for the fourth time in fourteen years. Even if the handsome hero illusion is shattered by his harsh treatment of her, he knows how to fight this strange enemy and is determined to keep her safe at all costs.

As the body count rises in their wake, Nathan introduces Kris to a world in which not everyone is human and the battle lines between good and evil are clearly drawn. Kris’s piece in the puzzle is something neither is aware of and, as they uncover the truth, neither is prepared for what they find. Overcoming twists and revelations that shatter both of their lives, they discover that nothing is as it seems and nothing, least of all their hearts, are safe.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I can honestly say that I was surprised how much I like this book. I picked up Ignited on a whim because it was only .99 on Amazon and I liked the look of the cover. I didn’t particularly know what the book was about, but it had a lot of positive reviews, and I was willing to give it a try. I am so glad that I did.

Ignited by Desni Dantone is the story of Kris, a seventeen-year-old girl whose life has been plagued with tragic accidents and mysterious circumstances. As the story unfolds Kris slowly begins to learn that her tragic, but rather ordinary life is anything but; she’s being hunted by supernatural beings on both sides of an ancient war, and she has no idea why. The story firmly sits in the YA Urban Fantasy category with some tones of romance to spice things up, and just enough action and danger to keep the story moving along at a good chug.

Technically speaking, the story is well written. There were a few moments when my editing pet peeves made me cringe (mostly conjunctions being used to start sentences), but other than that, there weren’t a lot of spelling or punctuation errors involved. The narrative moved along smoothly at a decent pace, and I didn’t find myself stumbling over the language at any particular point.

The characters were well-fleshed out, and delightfully sarcastic in the best ways. Kris was a strong female lead who was often unexpectedly shoved into situations that could have broken her—and would have broken just about anyone else—but somehow, despite her bouts of breaking down into tears (I can’t really blame her for that), she escaped relatively unscathed. She took the conflict in stride and managed to hold her own. Nathan and Alec were both sinfully sexy and equal parts broody, flirty, and dangerous. Though love triangles aren’t every one’s cup of tea, I enjoy a good battle of the hearts, and both the male leads put up a good fight. There was no clear winner for me.

The world building of this book was an interesting stray from the norm. I was convinced I knew what the supernatural aspect of this story was when I started the story, and quickly found out that I was entirely wrong—and boy was I glad! There’s been a few Greek mythology based stories to come out the last few years, but they’re still relatively few and far between, so it was nice to delve into a relatively untouched category of paranormal fantasy—I’m so tired of vampires and werewolves right now.

I really don’t want to ruin this story for everyone, so I’ll keep this review deliberately vague… but overall, I really enjoyed the story. There wasn’t anything that stuck out at me as negative as I read through the book. I liked the characters, the plot, the writing style…all of it. I’d certainly recommend this series to anyone who’s looking for a new YA Paranormal Romance to pick up—I know I’ll be moving on to pick up the second book in the series shortly.