*I requested this book for review from one of the authors.
Fighting and sex. What a combination! Both are moments of heightened emotions. Vikings are the perfect essence to use for this. They are strong in the emotion they portray. And there are so many legends and myths that could be used in their magical world.
Fathom by Mark Henry:
It's Jerrik's funeral. Solveig is heartbroken that her husband died in battle. But Solveig doesn't believe her brothers story of Jerrik's death. Somethings off, and her brother's a terrible liar. She decides the truth is on the boat that will fill with the clan warriors and head out to fight for Jerrik's revenge. She sneaks on and stows away to learn the truth. The truth is far more than what Solveig is ready for. And she accepts it.
Solveig's determination never sways. She has a deep love for her husband and will do anything for it and to find the truth of what happened to him. We see her with her husband before he left to battle. There is a deep connection there and with others present in the story.
The story felt a bit rough around the edges for me though. I didn't feel like I was into the story. I thought it was because of the erotic essence here, but it's one of the stories I didn't feel the flow through it in this collection.
Salvage Want by Annice Sands:
Elena's father has arranged for her to marry again. She'll be well taken care of and living in the luxury she deserves with the young man. The morning of her wedding, the town is raided by the savages that have been attacking through the land. Elena is taken by the leader of the clan because of her beauty. Wulf holds her in his tent, but seems better mannered than the man she was betrothed to.
I absolutely loved this story. Wulf is an amazing character. Elena too! The growth she makes here with her views is wonderful. The story flows and feels true to the characters. The writing is of a style I enjoy and could get lost in. It had a rhythm that kept me going with the story.
Oh I loved the surprise we come across at the end. Nice fantasy feel to the story.
Wildflower in Snow by Paul Goat Allen:
Heima is dwindling in number of residents from the attacks by Cree and disease. Gyda, the chieftains wife, is not in a loving relationship with her husband. But Gyda is in one with Soren. The village is doomed with the constant attacks back and forth between Cree and Heima, and the cleric knows it's coming. He's seen it.
This is a full story. It feels longer than the others but we get so much here. There's a world created, Gyda's life is lived, along with learning of Soren's answers to his life as well. I love that Gyda's body is not what many would call perfect. She's scarred from life of a warrior along with having children. And she's loved for it. She's proud of her body and all she's lived through. There is a magical and mysterious feel to Soren. When Gyda is with Soren, he seems to take her to another world. There is a reason for this, and we learn it through Soren and who he is. The cleric, Visman, has a great view on how the fighters are raised now. I really liked the implication and what is being said as it's a truth.
I couldn't stop reading the story of Gyda and Soren. Their fight to survive and love. Oh! I was even starting to tear up at the events. Then! Surprise! Paul wrote this to catch your heart, and that he does.
Mark of the Raven by Alyssa Breck:
Kara waits for her love of her youth to arrive at their meeting point. Instead, a tall, beautiful man approaches her saying it's her time to "come home". Kara has no choice and is taken. She now has a purpose and duty, which she can soon retire from. But her desire for the loved one she was taken from will set her on a new path.
The beginning of this story had me curious. Stories of Valkyries and warriors, then the manner of which Kara was taken. I wanted more!
Kara is a determined woman. But she holds her honor and duty close to her and does as she's to do, never giving up on the love she once felt and would love to have back. Kara is to escort the worth warriors to the secret halls, and there comes a time she returns to her home village to do just that. She goes to see Gram, her love. She's still in love with him and he's never moved on. The sign, the raven, is there and he will fall in battle soon, so Kara has to make a choice on what to do. They do get their time together and it's beautiful.
I enjoyed the story of the way of a Valkyrie and the blend with love. I fell for Alyssa's writing style with the characters and felt their connection.
The Wolf Who Swallowed the Sun by Saranna DeWylde:
Aphrodite "Jack" Jackson doesn't fall for all the lines men give. She's heard all and then some with being a prison guard for sex offenders. But today is a first when a werewolf attacks. She is saved by a beautiful man arrives to help her after a severe bite on her arm. Finn carries her off to safety, away from the attacking wolves. Soon Finn realizes who Jack is and has a job to do. Jack starts to fall for the man who saves her, even after he tells her what he's to do.
This story has a current time setting. It feels more urban fantasy than of the viking legends, but there is a legend that this story plays off of.
Jack is a strong woman who doesn't fall for the woos of men. Yet she does find herself attracted to Finn. The connection between the two is deeper than she knows yet it's all so new as well.
The story was good and I may have enjoyed it more but the story feels like it's not complete to me. I felt like the story didn't have a solid ending, that I should have more to bring me to a feeling of completion. But didn't get it. I feel as if we get a piece to a bigger world and series.