Review: North of Need by Laura Kaye

 

 

Title: North of Need

Author: Laura Kaye

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

ISBN: B0061EOBK4

   

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

While attempting to escape the agonizing memories she associates with Christmas, twenty-nine-year-old widow Megan Snow builds a snow family outside the mountain cabin she once shared with her husband–and collapses in tears against the snowman at the sight of what she’ll never have.

Called to life by the power of Megan’s tears, snow god Owen Winters appears unconscious on her doorstep in the midst of a raging blizzard. As she nurses him to health, Owen finds unexpected solace in her company and unimagined pleasure in the warmth of her body, and vows to win her heart for a chance at humanity.

Megan is drawn to Owen’s mismatched eyes, otherworldly masculinity, and enthusiasm for the littlest things, and her heart opens enough to believe he’s a Christmas miracle. But this miracle comes with an expiration–before the snow melts and the temperature rises, Megan must let go of her widow’s grief and learn to trust love again, or she’ll lose Owen forever."

West of Want coming Spring 2012; South of Surrender coming Summer 2012; East of Ecstasy coming Fall 2012

Review:

When I started reading North of Need, I was instantly intrigued.  The hero, a god of winter, is a snowman brought to life by the heroine’s tears of grief.  I had to read this!  I don’t think I’ve read a book about a snowman coming to life.  It made me wonder what Frosty would look like if he took the guise of a human.  Armed with the knowledge of Frosty’s fate, I was even more interested to see how the author handled the life cycle of a snowman.  Winter doesn’t last forever, so there would be more tears somewhere down the line.  How everything worked out after that also had my interest piqued.

I loved the start of this novel.  Megan is hiding away from the world, still grieving for her husband, who died two years before.  On Christmas Day, of all horrible things!  Megan feels guilty for John’s death, and she just can’t forgive herself.  She is stuck in a cycle of grief that silently eats away at her, worrying her family and her friends.

Alone in their cabin retreat, Megan is ready for another year of unhappiness without her beloved John.  He was her sun and stars, and without him, she doesn’t feel complete.  She can’t imagine feeling that much love for another, nor can she contemplate suffering another loss.  Once is enough, and Megan is resigned to living a lifetime alone, mourning for something that she can’t trust herself to have again.

After making a family of snowmen in the yard during a freak blizzard, she is shocked by the arrival of a half-naked, very sexy man.  Owen desperately needs her help, and even if he is a stranger, Megan can’t just leave him outside in the freezing cold.  What she doesn’t know is that Owen is an Anemoi, a weather god.  He is a god of snow, and he has come to help Megan move on with her life on behalf of John.  If Owen can earn Megan’s love, he can also become mortal, giving up his centuries’ long existence.  Orphaned at a young age and then betrayed by love, Owen needs just as much healing as Megan.

I loved the beginning of the book.  I even enjoyed the end of North of Need.  It’s the middle that didn’t live up to my expectations.  While I love the premise, I had a difficult time staying engaged in the story.  There wasn’t enough conflict between Megan and Owen, which left my attention wandering.  They are such nice people, almost without flaws, and that left them boring and one-dimensional.  Their perfection didn’t keep me riveted to the pages.  They get along almost from the moment that they meet, and fall instantly and deeply in love.  There wasn’t much soul searching until the end, and instead there was eating, romping in bed, eating, romping in the snow, and more eating.   It wasn’t until near the conclusion, when Megan’s fear and distrust almost causes a disaster, that I felt caught up in the plot again. 

North of Need is a pleasant read about two pleasant people.  The love scenes are smoking hot, but there is a lack of tension during the middle that send my mind wandering away from the story.  Even though North of Need fell a little short of my expectations, I am looking forward to seeing where the series goes with the next book in the series, West of Want.

Grade: C+

Review copy provided by publisher

The BLI Holiday Reading Challenge

Novella Review: Only Us: A Fool’s Gold Holiday by Susan Mallery

 

Title: Only Us

Author: Susan Mallery

Publisher:  HQN

ISBN: B005Q0B4ZY

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Pet groomer Carina Fiore wants nothing more than to confess her feelings to the man she loves. She’s drawn to veterinarian Cameron McKenzie’s good looks, caring nature and especially his devotion to his young daughter. But he’s also her boss and a good friend. Putting her heart on the line could cost Rina both her job and their friendship forever.

Since his divorce, Cameron hasn’t been willing to trust his heart—or his daughter—with anyone else. For months he’s pushed away all thoughts of taking Rina in his arms and kissing her, unwilling to risk their friendship for a single night of pleasure. But when a kiss under the mistletoe unlocks the simmering passion between them, Rina and Cameron may just find love for the holidays after all…

An ebook exclusive Fool’s Gold series novella.

Review:

Having recently read Only Yours and enjoying it, I didn’t hesitate to click the BUY button at Amazon when I saw Only Us.  I have been sampling several novellas lately, and  I have enjoyed them, though at varying levels.  I would have liked Only Us if the story hadn’t been so meager.  It was $1.59, and it didn’t even clock in at 100 pages.  I don’t even know if it was 50 pages, so I have to say right off the bat that the price paid was a bit hefty considering the few page turns.

Rina is in love with veterinarian Cameron, and she also loves his young daughter, Kaitlyn.  With the holiday season approaching, Rina decides to risk her friendship with Cameron by confessing her feelings for him.  The gun-shy vet isn’t ready to hear about her feelings, though, and he wants to just stay friends.  Friends are always there for you, and friends don’t walk out on you like his ex-wife did years ago.  Left with an infant to raise, Cameron firmly locked away his heart and is steadfast in his resolve to remain single and unattached.  There’s less risk that way.  Obviously, the guy has some serious trust issues to overcome.

Rina puts a lot on the line by risking her present relationship with Cameron, but she realizes that she will never be content just being his friend and just being Kaitlyn’s babysitter.  I have to give her credit for doing something that had some huge ramifications for her, both personally and financially.  Since Rina rented space at the vet clinic for her grooming business, there was a great big reason to just keep going with the flow.  What if, as what happened, she was rejected? Would she be able to continue dealing with Cameron on a day to day basis?  I wouldn’t have been able to, and the thought of disturbing the status quo that much would given me a panic attack.  Lucky for Rina she is made of tougher stuff.

The conflict resolution at the end of the story did make me smile, because everyone got their Happily Ever After.  I think that the story could have been longer, though, because there were so many issues for Cameron to work through.  A visit from Simon from Only Yours, and his ensuing advice, tidily gives Cameron something to think about.  While it was nice to see the socially awkward Simon basking in the happy glow of Montana’s love, I wish that Cameron had taken just a bit longer, and pondered just a bit harder, during his soul searching.  Given the page constraints, though, all of the story threads were neatly tied together, and left me grinning.  I just wish Only Us had been longer and better developed.

Grade: B-

Review copy purchased from AmazonThe BLI Holiday Reading Challenge