I was going through my recent reviews and realised that I had accumulated even more than I remembered, so I decided that perhaps I could share more than one at a time. Why these two novels together? Well, they are very different, so I thought they might appeal to very different readers, but I found both very compelling. I hope you find them as interesting as I did.
First, Eros. The Aegean Chronicles 2 by Yelle Hughes.
I know the writer from a writer’s group (ASMSG) and she’s always generously sharing everybody else’s content. She also designs her own covers and is always supportive of other’s efforts. She’s fascinated by Greek mythology and I read the first book in her series, Triton (you can check that review, here) at a particularly challenging time in my life and it made it more bearable. One of my favourite characters from that book was Erok (Eros but he’d changed his name. You’ll have to read the book to know more), and I’d been intrigued as to what had happened to the character since. So… I could not resist.
First, the description of the book:
Sindi Carrington is on a mission: Find a prop to pose with her young clients. She discovers a black and white tiger in the thrift shop that is absolutely perfect. So perfect, Sindi practically steals him out of the bin. Obsessed with her new find, she takes him home for herself instead of using him as a model in her studio.
Centuries ago, Erok Karlakos, the former God of Love, runs away from his baby cherub image to become a warrior of Greece. A tragic relationship and his mother’s incessant whining was the catalyst for his revolt. Caught and captured in an undignified way, disqualifies the immortal from taking on the title, “damsel in distress”. After he meets the quirky photographer, he has no complaints. Yet, there’s something familiar about this mortal, though he can’t quite put his finger on it. Erok needs to escape and finally meet Sindi face to face.
After one failed marriage, will he be able to trust Sindi won’t try to stab him if he reveals his true identity? Will she freak when she finds out he is a god? Alternatively, will he to pay the price of losing another true love? Does Sindi have what it takes to keep her man…warts and all? On the other hand, will she fall into the same pattern of mistrust? The Fates will test her. She hopes she passes this time.
A head’s up; this is an adult book with some erotic content for grown folks.
Just because we’re older, doesn’t mean we don’t like to have fun.
Now, my review:
Eros. The Aegean Chronicles 2 by Yelle Hughes. Greek Gods Close and Personal and Romance in a Grand Scale
I read Triton, the first book in Yelle Hughes’s Aegean Chronicles some time ago and I enjoyed it enormously. I read it at a point in my life when I was going through hard times (illness in the family) and I found it very therapeutic as it took my mind off things. And the second book is worthy of the series. The mixture of fantasy, Greek mythology, fun characters, conspiracy, adventures, and fabulous locations ticks all the necessary boxes to ensure all around entertainment. There is erotica too. Erotica is not a genre I read often or I favour, so I wouldn’t dare to comment on how well this book compares to others in that aspect, although I must admit there is a scene in Eros’s house (although he prefers to be called Erok) that I found intensely beautiful. I’ll only tell you that wings are involved.
In the first novel in the series we met three Greek gods who come into contact with three women in Columbus, Ari, Sindy and Gail. What follows when the Gods set eyes on the women (and in some cases spend time with them, unwillingly or not) is only the beginning of the stories told in the series, as Greek gods are notably similar to human, and we have stories of resentment, revenge, envy, and conspiracies ahoy. In this novel we discover what had happened to Erok when he went missing, and how he reencounters his true love. Ms. Hughes gives us not only a hot romance (one of the most romantic stories I’ve read in recent times) but also chuckles, excitement, fights and tales of friendship and eternal bonds. There are many unexplained things and stories left to tell at the end of this novel that will keep us coming back for more, but on its own it is a memorable and satisfying read.
Second, The Damnable Legacy by G. Elizabeth Kretchmer
I had not heard of the author before, but was contacted by somebody working for Booktrope (it’s an interesting concept and I admit to being intrigued by it to the point of submitting a book I’d written long ago. So far I haven’t heard anything, and to be honest I’d be surprised if I did, but…) who’d read some of my reviews and thought I might like this book (it’s not surprising I have a long list of books to read). When I read what it was about I couldn’t resist. And having heard from the author since, I have another one of her books (quite different), in my list to read. I’ll keep you posted. But first, a description, so you’ll see why I was intrigued.
Lynn Van Swol still regrets the decision she made thirty years ago to place her daughter for adoption so she could climb the highest mountains of the world. Frankie Rizzoni is the troubled biological granddaughter Lynn has never known. And Beth Mahoney is a minister’s wife with terminal cancer and the only one who knows the relationship between the two. She designs a plan upon her deathbed to bring Lynn and Frankie together, but now, narrating from the afterlife, she must helplessly watch as her legacy threatens to unravel. The Damnable Legacy is a story about both love and survival, exploring the importance of attachment, place, and faith, and asking how far we should go to achieve our goals -and at what cost.
Here, my review.
The Damnable Legacy by G. Elizabeth Kretchmer. Climbing to the top and discovering a few home truths.
I was offered a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Although I don’t have a bucket list as such, on my list of things to do and places to visit, Alaska is pretty high up. As much as I love a good adventure and great plots, I’m always game for books that dig deep into characters’ psyches and are full of people being tested and revealing their strengths and weaknesses. A novel that promised complex characters and an expedition climbing Mount Delani ticked all the boxes for me. And I’m happy to say it delivered. And how!
The narrator of The Damnable Legacy is Beth. In some ways the novel is a standard (if there is such a thing) first-person narration. Only Beth happens to be dead, and what she narrates is, rather than her life, that of the people she has left behind and she cares about, or those who have somehow become embroiled in her plans for her husband, Ryan, and Frankie, the granddaughter of a friend also deceased. Beth made her husband promise he’d climb Delani and organised his trip as part of her ploy to ensure his wellbeing and that of Frankie.
Beth is not a ghost as we usually understand them. She does not appear to the living, to her upmost frustration at times, as she’d like to intervene, to be able to question or warn, but she can’t. This is not a novel in the vein of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, either. Beth doesn’t even know where she is now, but she thinks she might be in hell, condemned to be the spectator of things she set in motion, but that don’t always go according to her plans and that she has no control over. She is an enhanced spectator, and through her we see what happens to different characters, and she can tell us what they feel, but not, what they really think or what they plan to do next. Her reactions might guide or mirror ours, although sometimes they don’t, because she has a personal investment in the matter, and what she sees makes her reflect on her actions and her beliefs about herself.
Although thanks to Beth we have access to some privileged information, we have to interpret people’s actions based on the clues we are given, and on observations that are not neutral or always enlightened. We might disagree with her at times, but we are drawn into the action and the lives of these characters, and we get reminded that things aren’t always as they seem to be, that appearances might be deceptive, and that we must learn to question not only other people’s motives but also our own.
All the characters are complex, many of them are dealing with loss of one kind or another, and some are more likeable than others (Ryan, Marisa, some of the people Frankie meets on her way), some grow and change over time (Brad, Jack and Frankie), and some are difficult to fully understand or empathise with, but engaging and fascinating in spite (or because) of that, like Lyn.
I’m not a professional climber, but the organising of the climb to Delani, the dynamics between the members of the expedition, the omens, the difficulties they face, and the descriptions of the process and the landscape, rang true and are vividly and beautifully written. Frankie’s search for Ryan, that parallels that expedition, is interspersed in the narration and she also encounters many difficulties although of a different nature. There is closure to the adventure part of both stories, but what the future holds for some of the main characters is left open to the reader’s imagination. For me, at least, the novel ends in a hopeful note.
A novel that made me think, feel and marvel. I recommend it to readers who enjoy stories with a heart, in beautiful settings, with an interesting adventure background, and complex and challenging characters.
I look forward to reading more novels by the author.
As you see, two very different offerings today. Thanks to Yelle and G. Elizabeth for their books, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know, like, share, comment, and CLICK!