logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Warrior
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text SPOILER ALERT! 2018-10-30 16:42
Bloodsong Trilogy by Asa Drake (aka C. Dean Andersson)

I’ve always been an avid reader; a quiet moment to me means a chance to get a chapter or two in.  Back in the 80s while I was in the Marine Corps we had lots of down time on weekends, and thankfully a lot of Marines were into AD&D, so there was that.  Heck- once we even brought our books with us on a week-long field deployment so we could finish a module featuring a vampire named Strahd von Zarovich.  Good times.

 

ravenloft_i6

I always wonder how much this one would be worth without all my notes marking it up...[/caption]

 

One slow Saturday I went to the PX to find something to read.  I’m a longtime fantasy fan (who isn’t these days, but I’m old so I can stake my claim!) who loves a good hack-n-slash featuring a female protagonist.  Back in the 80s that type of novel was in woefully short supply.  That day I came across two titles that seemed to fit the bill: The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon (also a former Marine- Semper Fi!) & Werebeasts of Hel by Asa Drake (aka C. Dean Andersson- a former Airman, but I won’t hold that against him).

 

Now, as much as I tried to like Moon’s book, I couldn’t.  The titular character was female practically in name only- she was asexual to the point of almost becoming her defining trait and the story plodded along like a broke down mule in knee deep mud.  Even back then I understood the issues with female leads in SF/F and making her a fully-fleshed person with loves, hates, needs & desires would’ve been tricky at best, but it didn’t even seem like there was an effort made there.

 

Then I read Werebeasts of Hel.  

 

Even though it was the third book of the trilogy, there was enough backstory involved so it wasn’t hard to follow.  Most importantly, I was now dying to read the first two.

Built from Norse mythology & history and billed as the “Heavy Metal of Fantasy” by Publisher’s Weekly, all three books even featured cover art by Boris Vallejo!  In the 80s that was pretty much the Seal of Approval!

 

n20639

 

Starting with Warrior Witch of Hel, the story arc centers upon a woman named Freyadis whose village was raided by the evil sorcerer, King Nidhug, who served Hel, Goddess of Death.   With her husband and infant son killed & her daughter Guthrun taken captive, Freyadis was subjected to various abuses, bound to a tree and left to die, her infant son’s corpse tied to her breast.  Never passing up an opportunity, Hel offered Freyadis a chance to return as an undead Hel warrior if she would pray to her as she died. 

 

Nidhug, of course, has betrayed Hel by stealing a relic of her power called the War Skull for his own ends.  After enduring even more of Nidhug’s depravities- including in gladiatorial combat- and finding her daughter in Helheim, Freyadis- now known as Bloodsong from her arena fights- is tasked by Hel to recover the War Skull and bring Nidhug down in exchange for freedom.  Must’ve been a Tuesday.

 

Along the way Bloodsong finds allies like Huld- an elf-blooded witch in service to Freya, Jalna- a slave unfortunate enough to catch Nidhug’s attention & Tyrulf- the warrior in Nidhug’s army who’s attracted to Jalna.  Bloodsong also has a very nasty surprise waiting for her when she reaches Nidhug’s fortress.

 

1866306

 

The second book, Death Riders of Hel, picks up a few years later: Guthrun is discovered to be a witch and studies with Huld while Bloodsong and her friends have forged a life in the aftermath.  A new threat arises from Thokk- a Hel-witch determined to both finish what Nidhug started and convert Guthrun to the dark side.  Thanks to her mistress, Thokk has a way of striking at Bloodsong where it’ll hurt her the most.  Bloodsong forms an alliance with a tribe of shapeshifting berserkers and is willing to pay any price to save Guthrun from becoming a Hel-witch.  But will the lure of darkness be too great for Gudrun to overcome, especially when being lured by a familiar presence?

 

1866308

 

Werebeasts of Hel takes place years later, but unfolds much the same way.  Years of peace after defeating Hel, life goes on, friends & lovers… then, BOOM!  Third time’s the charm, eh?  An old adversary returns to lead Hel's armies- one who knows Bloodsong's weaknesses and she's hard pressed to stand against him alone.  This time Odin himself provides a little divine assistance and Bloodsong has to forge an alliance with an altogether new breed of creatures to help stop Hel from conquering them all.

 

The best thing about these books is they are what they are.  Nothing fancy or elaborate- it's all straightforward, fast-paced, in-your-face adventure: here's the situation, now let's do something about it!  It’s a gloriously grim & gory Nordic hack-n-slash with good doses of horror and a few splashes of romance tossed in for variety.  This is a bleak, icy world teetering on the edge of apocalypse.  Death lurks around every turn, defeat is all but certain, friends are lost, sacrifices appear pointless and at times it takes all the heroes have just to keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

 

It’s fucking great!!!  My copies of these are lovingly well-worn for good reason.  I’m glad I found ebook copies to help save them even more wear and tear.

 

Now I’ll admit the omnibus edition doesn’t thrill me at all.  Though the alterations fleshed a lot of things out it was also watered down and a lot of things were added that just flat out confused me.  But it’ll probably do for you if you haven’t read the originals.  If you can find the originals or individual ebooks, get ‘em!  You won’t be sorry!

 

4.5/5 stars

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-18 07:09
Hero
Loving A Warrior - Melanie Backe-Hansen

Matt literally runs into Shane the week before he begins his training.  When they see one another next, it is under high pressure conditions.  He cannot help that he is attracted to his buddy.  He just has to be a big boy and control it.

 

Shane is equally attracted to Matt.  Which will break and act on it first?  Being a SEAL is what these men want.  That means giving to their country, more than to themselves.  Shane is not sure he can choose that anymore.

 

I was truly impressed with both the characters and the information given about the scenario.  This was a really well written story and I could not put it down!  I loved the banter, and the humor.  I especially loved how real the book felt.  Like I was with them in the moment.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publishers.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-01 21:28
Assassinations, ruby hilt daggers, Richard the Lionheart, and Irishmen
King's Warrior - Kris Kennedy

She stepped to him, pressed her breasts up against him. His thighs were hard against the front of hers, the hilts of his weapons bumped against her hips and belly, and dark, dangerous desire burned in his eyes. She wanted all of it. All of him. “Show me.” She slid her arms around his neck. “For I have been dying to be wanted the way you do.”

 

The first in the Renegade Lords series and an expanded version of a previously published novella, King's Warrior came in heavy with the steamy sex scenes and finished up with a historical fiction twist. Beginning with an introduction to a group of criminal boys, this story focuses on Tadhg, the one who decides to strike out on his own.

 

This worried her, that she would experience chills of excitement because a stranger had promised he’d return after he dragged the bodies of rogue soldiers to a whorehouse and dumped them for her.

She turned inside to stuff rags in the other men’s mouths.

 

As usual with Kennedy's couples, they sparked, sizzled, and steamed up the pages. Tadhg (author provides a link to a Youtube video to hear how the name is pronounced) and Magdalena pretty much have an instant chemistry and lust. While the sex scenes were always inspiring, they popped up too frequently in the first half for me; I'm more of a fan of gradual building growth to the bedroom or up against the wall, as was the case at times here. 

 

The King handed him the dagger. “Take it, Irish, take it and run hard.”

 

The second half is where we get to the meat of the adventure and the explanation as to why Tadhg is on the run. In this fictional version of history, King Richard just may have paid for a group of assassins to kill the King of Jerusalem. The King of France, Prince John, and Geoffrey d'Argent the Baron of Sherwood are chasing Tadhg trying to get the dagger he carries that will implicate Richard in the assassination. (The author provides this fascinating look at how she took real history, weaved it in and out to create this story) It was fun and exciting to see real historical figures like Richard the Lionheart, William Marshal, Earl of Huntington, Prince John, and Sherwood flitter in and out of the scenes.

 

He knew now that even if he never saw Ireland again, he’d still somehow found his way home.

 

With the sex scenes appearing a bit too soon and taking over the first half, the story felt somewhat uneven with the more plot heavy second half. The sex scenes and plot were done well, they just didn't mesh. Magdalena was the stronger character of the two with Tadhg's past resting to much in the shade to give him a flush character feel. However, Tadhg and Magdalena never lacked for passion and I'm wildly anticipating Tadhg's circle of friends' stories.

 

“It is too good,” she whispered.

“I know,” he rasped, and sucked her bottom lip into his mouth.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-10-01 01:23
50%
King's Warrior - Kris Kennedy

“Aye?” His voice was thick.

Her cheeks flamed. “Oh, aye. I thought…I thought you were going to…take me,” she finished in a rush, flushing.

One dark brow arched in silent reply, then he nodded toward her body, in front of which he still knelt, her gown still bunched against her belly, one of her knees still hooked over his shoulder. “I consider you taken,” he said, his voice roughened like a knot in silk.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-09-30 17:00
Reading Update: 10%
King's Warrior - Kris Kennedy

The author gave a link to a youtube video of someone pronouncing the hero's name, Tadhg, and now I'm spiraling down an Irish people talking video hole. Not going to ask for help from this one, they're a little more lyrical than my mid-western accent, lol.

 

The link if you want to hear how Tadhg is pronounced (or at least how this person thinks it should be) - Youtube

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?