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Beasts

 

Beasts by [Angelina Kanan]

Beasts by Angelina Kanan is a classic example of the paranormal werewolf genre. Selene Knight is an alpha struggling to find her place in the world after the tragic death of her sister. For years she has run away from her past, but she is unable to continue avoiding it when an increase in wendigo sightings forces her to pay a visit to her brother, which also means having to encounter her estranged father and the bitter memories of her childhood home. Add the stress of a burgeoning relationship with her elusive mate, and Selene has a lot on her plate.

Beasts contains elements that will please fans of werewolf romance, including a mysterious and sexy mate with a tragic past, and an abundance of conflict stemming from the politics within and between packs. While the story line is enthralling, I was left wanting more from the scenes meant to be exciting, tense, or romantic. While the old adage “show, don’t tell” could be used here to draw readers further into this imaginative world. Much of the narration is devoted to explaining the relationships between characters and how those characters feel, as well as how Selene herself feels.

The most compelling character is Selene; as a female alpha who leads a small pack and is plagued by a host of demons from her past, readers will root for Selene to succeed. Her mate also proves to be an interesting character, with the question of his identity being the first of many mysteries Selene unravels as she gets to know him. Also strong are the connections between Selene and her deceased sister, as well as her brother. These sibling relationships, filled with love and loss, are touching. The rest of the characters blend together. Brett is the “sassy male friend who loves clothes and makeup” stereotype, while the other members of Selene’s pack come to the foreground when they are important to the plot.

The strongest aspect of this book is the plot, which presents some interesting conflicts and surprising reveals. Many readers will likely enjoy the relationship between Selene and her handsome mate.

Pages: 212| ASIN: B088TFBHJL

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The Winter of Swords: A Grimdark Epic

The Winter of Swords: A Grimdark Epic (Overthrown Book 1) by [Bunce, Aaron]

What begins as a carefree adventure among siblings turns deadly in a heartbeat when Eisa is left alone following the violent deaths of her loved ones. Snatched from the scene and carried away by what can only be described as a monster of epic proportions, she is left wondering why she was allowed, or perhaps chosen, to live. A story seemingly unconnected to the tumultuous lives of Julian, Roman, Dennah, DaeGeroth, Balin and Gladeus soon becomes much more clearly interwoven into the experiences of all of the them. None of them could have predicted the evils that lie beyond the wide expanses of beautiful countryside they all know so well.

The Winter of Swords, by Aaron Bunce, is a stunning visual of fright-filled fantasy, old world charm, and a wide assortment of well-developed characters. From the moment I began reading of Eisa’s experience in the wilderness, I was swept into a world of creatures and hidden realms from which I found it difficult to separate myself–the hallmark of effective writing. Eisa’s entire ordeal set the stage for some of the most fantastic imagery I have read in a long time. Not many books can boast such horrifying beings so vividly described and so dreaded by even the reader.

Roman, one of the chief characters in Bunce’s work, has the most poignant subplot in my opinion. His backstory tugs at the heartstrings. The scene set by Bunce at the farm owned by Garon is a step-by-step reveal of one heart-wrenching horror after another. It is an artfully written chapter that has the feel of a slow motion movie scene set to an emotionally-gripping score.

Though Bunce’s book is filled with delightfully terrifying images, for me, there was none quite like the scene that takes place involving Julian in the simple town of Craymore. When an author can conjure up a visceral reaction with the mere mention of the sound of a horn in the distance, you know you have found an author to follow. More unsettling than the beastly gnarls was the powerful commandment of the horn’s sounding–wonderfully ominous and capable of provoking a sense of mystery.

Bunce has managed to give readers a novel rich with dialogue. Not every book of this genre is able to carry out a plot so heavy with character interactions. Many books rely on narrative to tell the story, but Bunce is more than capable of telling the tale via characters’ thoughts and exchanges.

While it is solidly based in fantasy, the element of mystery is strong throughout the plot, and that is one of many striking factors in Bunce’s work. Bunce has created a spectacular work of fiction which will appeal to readers who enjoy fantasy with incredible creatures, high drama, and an assortment of strong lead characters.

Pages: 818 | ASIN: B07MCX4CFD

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