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Review: Alaskan Fury (Guardians of the First Realm Book 2) by Sara King

fury“It is the mark of the mind untrained to take its own processes as valid for all men, and its own judgments for absolute truth.” ― Aleister Crowley, Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on The Book of the Law

Ah, the hubris of the male of the species. No, it doesn’t really matter what species. Human. Shifter. Full animal. But make that a multiple centuries old Wereverine, and all bets are off. I mean, come on, Dude. You know the Hunters are out to get you. You know they will kill anyone and everyone they have to to get their hands on your lovely little Phoenix mate. And what do you do? You still want to run around out in the woods, advertising the poor, lonely werewolf in the woods who only needs a goodhearted little human female to love and protect. Snort. Like the Hunters aren’t going to figure it out?!?! Sigh.

The second in Sara King’s Guardians of the First Realm series, after Alaskan Fire is Alaskan Fury, and it is a fast thrill ride from the first. The wereverine being careless and self-centered is what got them into trouble last time, but they survived. But this time it may cost all of the residents of Blaze the Phoenix’s lodge their firefreedom – or their lives. But then, for people who turn into animals, or spirits who pop out of different realms, what is the difference?

Kaashifah the Fury, Chosen warrior of the Lord of War, has spent centuries tied to the djinn ‘Aqrab of the Fourth lands, each waiting for the other’s death blow. A blow that will place one or the other at the eternal mercy of the one who deals the blow. Deadly enemies, they are forced to live side-by-side through the ages, waiting for a wish that never comes. But now, to save their friends and neighbors, as well as save themselves from the Inquisition, they must put aside everything and work together for the good of all.

Again, King has written a fast paced, thoughtful novel of not only paranormals, but of those who hunt them. The tale twists and turns, giving both sides of the story, from the paranormals who only want to be left alone in the vastness of Alaska to the Hunters who are trained from birth to hunt, use, and kill them. The characters are diverse and well written, though again there needed to be an editor, so keep that in mind. There are unusual characters here, from Wereverine (were wolverine) to Phoenix, Fury, Djinn and more. Overall, a strong read for those who like strong women characters, fast paced action, and a good story line.

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Alaskan Fire – Book One, Guardians of the First Realm by Sara King – A Keeper

“The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.” – George R. R. Martin

It wasn’t supposed to be, well, “easy,” not exactly. I mean, moving into an isolated, 10,000 square foot fishing lodge in the backwoods of Alaska isn’t for the weak of heart or soul. But when you inherit a good bit of money, just enough to buy your dream, it is hard to think about all the things that can happen when you are a 6’4” woman with orange hair, huge feet, and a childhood wish to run a back country fishing lodge. So, Blaze dove in, monster feet first. But, well, yeah. Stuff happens.

“Stuff” like your handyman suddenly turning into a were wolverine and attacking not an hour after the bush plane drops her off on the banks of Lake Ebony on the Yentna River. Yep. Things are going downhill from here, toot sweet. Oh, werewolves and wolverine, dragons and Thunderbird and, well, you get the point. And baby, “Something Wicked definitely this way comes…” But, darn it, this is HER place – even if a curmudgeonly, foul tempered, bad mouthed wolverine IS accusing her of being some kind of fantasy creature bent on elbowing in on “his” territory. Hey, she has the proof of her ownership of those thirty acres in her safety deposit box! Jerk.

I was truly surprised and thrilled to find a new-to-me author I am now so enthralled with. Alaskan Fire is a new sort of beast. A fantasy/paranormal with new and fascinating world and character building. Yes, there are the “standard” list of fantasy characters. Weres and dragons, etcetera. But done with an interesting twist of characterization and storyline that created a book I honestly couldn’t put down. And rather than gulping the book in huge bites, I savored it, taking my time and learning to love a couple of pretty unusual oddballs. Let’s face it. Jack the wereverine is someone that I would normally absolutely “despise” in any other situation. From the first, I hated him. I mean really hated him. But stepping back, I began to learn who he was, deep down. All the millennia of being alive, through a time when man was barely walking erect, through the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, and beyond . . . centuries without measure, filled with love and loss and more pain than any one creature should be forced to bear. Yep. Jack is a piece of work. And before it was over, well, I may never be a charter member of the Jack Fan Club, but I absolutely want to continue the story. Because this? Well, this was awesome.

“I read once that the ancient Egyptians had fifty words for sand & the Eskimos had a hundred words for snow. I wish I had a thousand words for love, but all that comes to mind is the way you move against me while you sleep & there are no words for that.” ― Brian Andreas, Story People: Selected Stories & Drawings of Brian Andreas

I will warn you that Ms. King has an obsessive love affair with misplaced and unnecessary commas, as well as unnecessary hyphens, so expect it. Yes, she needs an editor. But her writing overall is so compelling even I was able to overlook it. And that is pretty darn special. Oh, and this is not the “meet the guy and hump him within five minutes” story. This is much, much better than that. Those are fine, in their place, but this is a real, honest to goodness novel with power to spare. There is a somewhat “HEA” … but I see a lot more in store for Blaze and Jack than some simple ending. A lot more.

“Alaskan Fire” is the first of Sara King’s “Guardians of the First Realm” series. Book two is “Alaskan Fury” and I already have it downloaded. Here’s a hint for Were and Human alike – these are Kindle Unlimited, so what are you waiting for?!

 

Review: A Cold War by Alan Russell #Bestof2015 #SuspenseThriller

“Nothing could be more heart rending than this mute and motionless dispair” – ― Émile Zola, Thérèse Raquin

“She was a genius of sadness, immersing herself in it, separating its numerous strands, appreciating its subtle nuances. She was a prism through which sadness could be divided into its infinite spectrum.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Despair. Horrible, gut wrenching, soul destroying despair. Nina Granville’s life has become a hell on earth unlike any most ‘normal’ people could ever understand. Fear so deep her bones ache with it. Because Nina is a captive. A captive of a monster in a land where ice, snow, and death are balanced on the head of a pin. Where the wrong breath, the wrong move, can mean immediate, or long, drawn-out death.

Captured and held in the wilds of Alaska by a sadistic monster, Nina is doing everything she can to survive, but the brutality is nearly unbearable, the psychological terror breathtaking. Nina is, very literally, in hell. A frozen hell, buried in ice and snow. Repeatedly raped, beaten and terrorized, she has little reason to continue living.

“There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run Cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGree.

The same poem. Over. And Over. And Over. The repetitive dirge, of a madman. No hope. No hope. . .

Until she finds Elese Martin. Or at least, Elese’s journal. Elise – the madman’s last victim. Elise suffered as Nina does now. The beatings. The rapes. The terror. Elise, who was held on for years. Who had, and lost, a child by the monster. Who made a plan.

Now, Nina needs to plan. To plan, to hope.

This book was, literally, heart wrenching. Alan Russell literally broke my heart with his writing. Nina’s pain, her struggle, was written so well I felt it. The story is incredibly well-written, well-paced and the characters and landscape feel so very real I could almost smell the smoke, the cold, the forests of Alaska. There are so many layers in the book, layers that I fell through as if through water, sinking into blackness.

It is an important story, an important book, with strength and depth. I can’t recommend it highly enough, but be ready to feel Nina’s and Elise’s pain, their desperation and despair. It is breathtaking, twisted, and amazing.

I received A Cold War from the publisher in an uncorrected proof. All thoughts are my own, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Strap in for the ride of your life.

Review: Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.” – Robert Fulghum

This dream was worse, So. Much. Worse. Than all the others. Horrifying, bloody, savage. And the worst part?

It was true.

Solina’s brother is dead, torn apart by a wolf-like creature. A monster who talks. Who thinks, and plans, and has yet another goal.

Kill Solina. Eat her alive.

A baker by trade, an introvert by nature, Solina Mundy is pulled to Alaska where her beloved twin met his end. Ostensibly, to gather her brothers things and close down his apartment. Realistically? To find out what really happened to her brother. Everyone is hiding things. Everyone apparently knows things she doesn’t. And they have no intention of telling her anything – or of helping her in any way. Go Home, Little Girl. Nobody wants you here.

Like. Hell. Solina is afraid, sure. She is, by nature, passive. A homebody who spends her time working in her parent’s bakery, kowtowing to their every wish. She has always left her twin, Mani, to be the adventurous one, the one who allowed her to live vicariously through his actions. But now, Mani is dead, and Solina is meeting obstacles every way she turns. Mani’s boss, Thorin, is a cold, unwielding jerk, belittling and demeaning in word and action. Val, on the other hand, is a Player, in all forms of the word. He was Mani’s best friend, and helped Solina though the first few months after Mani’s death. But now that she is there, she finds that he is more like a bull moose in rut than a real friend, and no matter how she tries to keep him in the friend zone, he keeps pushing, pushing, pushing. No respect there, only a single-minded determination to drag her into bed, no matter the pain it brings Solina when she comes to realize that he only wants to screw, not to be real friends. Val, the “Patron Saint of the Perpetual Erection.” Sigh. What a jerk. When she needs a friend as much now as she did when Mani died. Possibly even more.

Then, Solina meets Skyla. A former Marine and one tough cookie, Skyla is the woman Mani loved. And she loved him as well, with all her heart. She isn’t about to let his death go unpunished. And if helping Solina will help her meet that goal, she is all over it. Sol and Skyla quickly become close friends. Which is all to the positive, as the world begins to blow up around them.

You see, Solina and her twin are more than they ever could have expected. And if their enemies have anything to say about it, Solina will die as her brother did, ripped apart by a monster. And then?

And then, the world will burn.

This book is amazing. Really amazing. It delves into a mythology I have read very little about, and I found that incredibly refreshing. I don’t want to give things away – whatever I say will cause spoilers, and as I know my review will be one of the first ones out there, I don’t want to ruin it for other readers. Suffice it to say that it is a wonderful pleasure to watch a woman like Solina, an introverted woman who never even raised her voice in the past, much less her hand in anger, grow into someone who is learning to embrace her own power. This isn’t a Mary Sue “I was just a normal person and now I magically kick backside” sort of story. Solina takes the pain and gets up, over and over again, learning the whole way, making mistakes, and suffering for it. She isn’t stupid – far from it. Those around her, except for Skyla, treat her like she is worthless – though the whole world, and their own survival, balances upon her staying alive. Their dismissal of her Ticked. Me. Off. Which makes it even more fun when she takes their dismissal and slowly, but surely, turns it back on them.

This is, I deeply and profoundly hope, the first of a series. The book doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger, per se. But there is plenty of room for the story to continue. My only problem? Now I have to WAIT for the next one!!! Sigh. That is going to be MASSIVELY difficult!!!

I Highly recommend this book for those of you who enjoy a well written modern day Fantasy with a mythology you certainly haven’t read much on before (if any), well-developed female characters (yes, with an ‘s’ – there are several well developed characters here, even if one of them makes me want to slit her throat and watch her eyes dim to empty black), a creative story line and wicked good thrills.

Midnight Burning was received from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. I will have the next in the series on my Must Have list – I enjoyed it that much.

If you like my reviews, please choose “This review was helpful” on Amazon, or whichever site you visit to purchase your books. The authors will appreciate it, as it draws more attention to my reviews! Thank you!!!

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Review: Bear Attraction (Shifters Unbound 6.5) by Jennifer Ashley

18759787I am hooked on Jennifer Ashley’s “Shifters Unbound” series. Set in Austin, Texas – an old stomping ground of mine – the series is set in the Austin Shiftertown. After the outing of shifters, they are rounded up (no matter if they are living in the outback of Alaska – the humans turn them in… cretins!) and shoved into broken-down slums to live all together, wolves, cats, bears . . . wow. Humans are really dumb.

This edition of the series focuses on one of my favorite characters, Rebecca. A Kodiak bear, Rebecca is captured and removed from her home in the woods of Alaska (really, people? All the isolated acreage in Alaska, and you have to drag her all the way to Texas and stuff her in a house with four other bears?!) Used to being mostly alone and able to wander and roam at will, being stuffed into a house with so many others is uncomfortable, to say the least. And the shock collars shifters are forced to wear, to keep them from “Attacking Humans! Shriek!!” are not only uncomfortable and demeaning, the darn things HURT if you have to defend yourself from humans with guns . . . I have watched Rebecca through the other books in the series, and was glad to get to the book that focuses on her. After getting in trouble for going for a run in the wrong place (Stupid humans. Building their pharma company so near Shiftertown. Just what are they up to, anyway?? I don’t trust them!) Rebecca is forced into the care of Walker, a human male who is the muscle behind the Shifter policing agency, until a missing shifter groupie is found.

This book was a surprise given what Rebecca and Walker find during their search – a good surprise. I hope to learn more about that in future books – that Ms. Ashley doesn’t let that drop. This is definitely “summertime and the reading is easy” reading, but I always enjoy Ms. Ashley’s work.

Review: Murder Over Kodiak by Robin Barefield

25368273“To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world. — John Muir

Alaska is what happens when Willy Wonka and the witch from Hansel and Gretel elope, buy a place together upstate, renounce their sweet teeth, and turn into health fanatics. — Sloane Crosley

I love Alaskan mystery/suspense/adventure tales. There is just something about the landscape, the breathtaking beauty, and unusual characters that calls out to the wannabe homesteader in my soul. The person who could be perfectly happy in a cabin in the woods, surrounded by beauty on all sides, wild creatures, the scent of spruce, cedar and pine, the sound of an eagle’s cry.

Of course, the whole, “damn it’s COLD!”, the snow higher than the eves, and the mosquitoes larger than 747’s, and the idea of breaking a leg and being eaten by bears in the woods is rather off-putting . . . Grin. But I can still get a vicarious thrill from authors like the marvelous Dana Stabenow. And now, Robin L. Barefield. Ms. Barefield’s Murder Over Kodiak” is her second book, and it holds great promise as a new series for my lists.

There is much to recommend Murder Over Kodiak, and not just my rather obsessive love of Alaskan fiction. Dr. Jane Marcus is a research biologist posted to Kodiak Island. Located off the south coast of Alaska, separated from the mainland by the Shelikof Strait, Kodiak is the largest island in the Kodiak Archipelago. Isolated, often cut off from the continent by fog and vicious storms, Kodiak is a quiet island of oddballs and academics, rather boring but for the gossip. Until, that is, things start to fall apart.

Three people have died from PSP, paralytic shellfish poisoning, a saxitoxin found in shellfish, one of the more popular foodstuffs on the island. As a biologist for The Kodiak Braxton Marine Biology and Fisheries Research Center, it is Jane’s job to not only help develop a test for PSP that can be easily administered by those who dig shellfish for their dinner, but to identify the strain of toxin that killed the victims. When Jane sends Craig, her student and assistant, on his first solo trip to gather shellfish for testing she isn’t worried. Craig is methodical, cautious, and knowledgeable about the dangers inherent in the wilds of the island. Bears and poisonous plants abound, but Craig is more than competent. He can handle anything.

Anything, but the bombing of the airplane he shares with an oddly assorted cast of characters. Though Craig hasn’t an enemy in the world, all of the others, including the pilot, have their own set of enemies, any of which could make them the target for a devastating bomb. A much hated corporate raider, known for destroying companies and their owners. His Senator wife, involved in a hard fought reelection campaign with a possible Mexican drug cartel puppet. The much hated Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge manager, bullying others about the rules of the park but breaking them continuously for his own aggrandizement with his political cronies. And a local cannery owner whose bitter wife may or may not be involved. Then there is poor Bill, the sweet young pilot, whose ‘girlfriend’ is the epitome of a disturbed teenage girl. Any could be the target of  the bomb. But who was its intended target?

Things get even more ‘interesting’ in the Chinese manner as Jane’s life is threatened, the press arrives in a voracious hoard, and the suspect list grows. From the decidedly self-centred son of the Senator to possible Mexican cartel hitters, the terror cranks up to an unexpected, highly appealing climax.   Barefield uses her knowledge of Kodiak, its people, the ‘Alaskan Mindset’ and the ecology and weather of the island to create a beautifully crafted, and unexpected, novel.

The only thing that really bothered me about the novel, as with so many other self-published books, is the lack of editorial oversight. I am perfectly capable of immersing myself in novels, losing all sense of time. However, though it seems a small thing, improper adverb placement was completely distracting, bringing me crashing out of the story in irritation every few pages. Another issue I often see? Relying on spell check. It is a tool, much like a wrench or a screwdriver. It relies upon the wielder to utilize it correctly. Ms. Barefield could have paid a bit more attention. A few other issues, but minor.

Even given the editorial issues, this book touched the aspiring Alaskan in my soul. I will be reading the first book by Ms. Barefield when I can, and will watch for others by her. If you want to learn more about Kodiak and the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuse, visit Ms. Barefield here.

I received “Murder Over Kodiak” from StoryCartel in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

DSC_3769I live an incredible life in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.  I hope to share my life with you and talk about Kodiak wildlife and the beautiful, and sometimes challenging, environment in which I live.

I have a master’s degree in fish and wildlife biology and have worked the last 30 years as a wildlife-viewing guide on Kodiak Island.  I am currently writing a book about the wildlife of Kodiak Island, so many of my blog posts will be dedicated to wildlife facts and news.

My husband and I own and operate Munsey’s Bear Camp, a hunting, fishing, and wildlife-viewing lodge.  It is a small lodge, and we only accommodate six people at a time, but these small groups are perfect for viewing wildlife, especially when we hike up a stream and sit quietly on the bank watching Kodiak bears chase and catch salmon.

Our lodge is our home, where we live year-round with our two cats.  We experience the breath-taking beauty of a sunset on a perfect July evening, and the raging 100 mph winds of a stormy January afternoon.

Wildlife biology is my first passion, and my second is writing mysteries.  The first rule of living in the wilderness is to embrace solitude and solitary endeavors.  Writing is the most solitary of endeavors, so it is perfect for me.  Mysteries are what I like to read, so mysteries are what I write.  I currently have one mystery, Big Game, published in 2012 and available at Amazon Kindle.  My second novel, Murder Over Kodiak, was published in April, 2015.

Please join me on my blog and interact in the discussion.  I look forward to meeting you, learning about your life, and sharing mine.

https://i2.wp.com/www.kodiak.org/uploads/gallery_slides/image/.660x390/bears_birds_1.jpg

 

Review: A Cold Day For Murder: Kate Shugak #1 $1.99 Audible

audible

 

A Cold Day for Murder: A Kate Shugak Mystery | [Dana Stabenow]

Written by: Dana Stabenow
Narrated by:
Marguerite Gavin
Length:
5 hrs and 31 mins
Series: Kate Shugak, Book 1
Unabridged
Audiobook
Release Date:
10-18-11
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Regular Price:
$17.49
Member Price:
$12.24 or 1 Credit
Special Price:$1.99

 

Publisher’s Summary

Eighteen months ago, Aleut Kate Shugak quit her job investigating sex crimes for the Anchorage DA’s office and retreated to her father’s homestead in a national park in the interior of Alaska. But the world has a way of beating a path to her door, however remote. In the middle of one of the bitterest Decembers in recent memory ex-boss — and ex-lover — Jack Morgan shows up with an FBI agent in tow. A Park ranger with powerful relatives is missing, and now the investigator Jack sent in to look for him is missing, too.

Reluctantly, Kate, along with Mutt, her half-wolf, half-husky sidekick, leaves her wilderness refuge to follow a frozen trail through the Park, twenty thousand square miles of mountain and tundra sparsely populated with hunters, fishermen, trappers, mushers, pilots and homesteaders. Her formidable grandmother and Native chief, Ekaterina Shugak, is — for reasons of her own — against Kate’s investigation; her cousin, Martin, may be Kate’s prime suspect; and the local trooper, Jim Chopin, is more interested in Kate than in her investigation. In the end, the sanctuary she sought after five and a half years in the urban jungles may prove more lethal than anything she left behind in the city streets of Anchorage.

State of suspense: listen to more Alaskan mysteries in the Kate Shugak series.

©2011 Dana Stabenow (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc

Review:

When I noticed A Cold Day For Murder was only $1.99 at Audible, I went back to look at my review here on my site. . . and realized, there isn’t a review here. Hum… Being a HUGE lover of Dana Stabenow, I am somewhat flummoxed that I only have a review for Fire and Ice, which is from her Liam Campbell series, reviewed on site. Well, fiddle. There are nearly 950 reviews on Amazon, so my review won’t make that much difference I suppose – and seeing as how I have over 500 reviews on Amazon (yea!) I am not going to go through pages and pages to see if I wrote reviews before I started SIRTBT. So, here is a short review (Me? A Short Review?! Will wonders never cease?)

Kate Shugak is one of my favorite female characters of all time. Tough and determined, she is also damaged and flawed – in other words, a very real, very human character. Kate is Aleut, raised by her grandmother Ekaterina, a former Tribal Council member and still chief. She grew up in The Park, “twenty million acres, almost four times the size of Denali National Park but with less than one percent of the tourists.” Occupied by Native Aleut and a collection of oddballs and “stay away from them or you will get your ass shot – and you might be dinner as well” types, The Park is a wonderland – and a cold, heartless land where the slightest misstep could mean a brutal death.

The story itself has been well described by others, and you get the gist from the summary. What I want to tell you about is the world of Kate and her tribe. The Aleut have suffered for centuries, first at the hands of the Russians, then the Americans, and Stabenow weaves that story in to her narrative – giving you a good idea of just why the tribal members could really care less that a rich little white boy has gone missing – good riddance to the Outsider with the rich and powerful daddy.

What is truly breathtaking about Stabenow’s writing is her descriptive narrative – her true love for her native land shines out through her writing. And being a huge Marguerite Gavin fan, I am always pulled into all of the Kate stories.

A Fatal Thaw | [Dana Stabenow]Book Two, A Fatal Thaw, is now on Audible, and I can finally add it to my collection! There are 20 books in the series now (Book 11, The Singing of the Dead, is still not available on 271297Audible, but hopefully whatever is keeping it unavailable will be corrected soon.)

I will warn you – if you like the first book, they are like potato chips – you can’t listen to just one!

Release Day! Icebreaker: Wild Women of Alaska, #4 By Tiffinie Helmer

 

Icebreaker
by Tiffinie Helmer
Series: Wild Women of Alaska, #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 12, 2014

 

 

Join the Facebook Party on Wednesday, November 12th from 7:30pm-9:30pm to celebrate the release of Icebreaker.

 

He’ll have to turn up the heat in order to melt her heart…

Logan Slade made the biggest mistake of his life eight years ago when he left his high school sweetheart at the altar and reported to the military. Now he’s returned home and ready to do whatever it takes to win her back. But Trixie Frost isn’t the same starry-eyed girl who believed he could do no wrong. Now she’s stronger, independent, and more fascinating than any other woman he’s ever met.

Trixie has spent the last eight years trying to forget Logan while devoting her life to the quirky town of North Pole, Alaska. She’s in a good place, dating a nice man and ready to take the next step in their relationship until Logan walks into her bar and turns her life upside down again.

This sexy, determined, military version of Logan is a bigger threat to her than the boy she’d loved to distraction. She can’t let him chip away at the protective wall of ice erected around her heart. Because there’s no way she’ll be able to put the pieces back a second time.

 

“I don’t want you here,” Trixie said.

“Too bad,” Logan said. “I’m not leaving.”

“Why are you so adamant about that? I know you, Logan. You leave, remember? It’s what you’re good at.”

“Once. I left once. I’m not leaving again.”

“Your ‘once’ was eight years long.”

“I know. It took me a while to understand what I really wanted. You are what I want.”

“Well, you can’t have me. I’m not available.”

A chill slid over him. “You married to someone else?”

“I don’t have to be with someone to be unavailable,” she finished.

 

 

 

Buy the Other Books in the Series

 

Book 1: Reel Trouble

 

Book 2: Bushwacked

 

Book 3: Fireweed

 

 

USA Today Bestselling Author Tiffinie Helmer is always up for a gripping adventure. Raised in Alaska, she was dragged ‘Outside’ by her husband, but escapes the lower forty-eight to spend her summers commercial fishing on the Bering Sea.

A mother of four, Tiffinie divides her time between enjoying her family, throwing her acclaimed pottery, and writing of flawed characters in unique and severe situations.

 

Newsletter Sign-up: http://www.tiffiniehelmer.com/contact.htmlJoin Tiffinie’s Street Team: Tiff’s Wild Readers

 

 

 

 

Review: Eternal Hunt by Lucas McWilliams Narrated by David Dietz

22811928The Windigo stories, it is surmised, came out of the fear of dwindling supplies and starvation. Underlying fear that glimmers in Windigo stories is the constantly desperate struggle to survive – food ran out, the weather was prohibitive, cannibalism was an inevitable result. There is nothing worse than being alone, cold and hungry – the mind begins to play tricks. As a result, Windigo became this huge creature, 20-30′ feet high, with a block of ice surrounding it, particularly its heart, he was lipless, great bloody fangs, and bloody feet, hissing breath you could hear for miles, great speed and supernatural strength. – Shannon Thunderbird, M.A., Gispudwada Tribe – An Interview with Thunderbird About Windigo

Life in the wilds of Alaska can be not only hard, but deadly.  Bitter cold and starvation are very real, and loneliness in this bitter landscape can drive even the most stable beyond madness.  When Caleb’s plane goes down in the backcountry, his cousin Logan knows that he must reach him as quickly as possible if he is to have any chance of surviving.  However, what he finds when he finally locates Caleb at an old trapper’s cabin proves that sometimes, survival isn’t for the best.

Lucas McWilliams has written an action/thriller with researched elements of Windigo legend.  Of course, the Windigo is not just a Native American legend, but rather an archetype settled within the collective unconscious of humanity, harkening back to a time when humans huddled together in fear of the dark.  The dark is inherent in this particular tale, on many levels – from the Windigo to the modern day military political machine.

The research on the Seneca and the Windigo myth is good, and the overall storyline showed promise.  Personally, as a Native Quapaw, I was uncomfortable with the “prototypical Native American Mythos/Character” developed by the author.  It is easy for a non-native author to gather up legends and weave them into their books.  It is harder to not fall into the trap of creating such a clichéd stereotype as to insult the very people you are writing about.  

This is, in my opinion of course, a book geared towards teenaged male ideology.

The women in the book are weak and hypersexual, falling into bed with the lead character without a whimper, no matter how badly he treats them.  Though there is a supposed relationship between the lead and one of the female characters, he has no problem with having sex with other women on a whim, encouraging the idea that “real men” don’t do honesty.  The action is well enough written, but again, the stereotypes in the book were uncomfortable for me.  There are highly unrealistic happenings in what should be the “realistic” parts of the book, but the horror portions make up for it.  Overall, though I am a huge fan of Joe Hill, Matthew Reilly, James Rollins, Richard Matheson and other action adventure and horror writers, I couldn’t really compare this book with any of my favorites.

Maybe because I had issues with the Windigo portion of the tale, but also because of the misogynistic bent.  Be that as it may, for a certain audience this book will definitely appeal.

I received this book from Audiobooks Monthly in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. 

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