Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Heart of the Anemoi (Four Books) by Laura Kaye

I read the first chapter of the first book in Laura Kaye's series, North of Need, just before it came out in 2011. Knowing this was a series, I decided to wait until she was done to read the novels. Figured I could then just sit and read, for hours, through the entire saga. 

It was definitely well worth the wait! 

Ms. Kaye has recently bundled the first three books for Kindle. 
The last book, East of Ecstasy, is available separately.

Hearts of the Anemoi Bundle [Kindle Edition]

 North of Need 

Hearts of the Anemoi #1


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.

This was a fascinating start to the Hearts of the Anemoi series. My heart hurt for Megan as she waited to get through the anniversary of her husband's death. She cries tears of sorrow all over a snowman she's created in her yard. Later, when a man with mismatched eyes shows up, then passes out, on her porch, it distracts her from her sorrow. 

Owen is something else...really. He's got a chance at mortality, and he's going to take it with both hands. Megan is ready to let her heart heal, too. I did wish that he had been more clear in what was needed to keep him there, and that she would have quit fighting her heart for so long. It would have been a much shorter book that way, though, and I wouldn't have wanted to miss the good parts!

Ms. Kaye has quite the world here, contemporary mixed with her Anemoi and the Olympic gods. In this one, as with the other three, I skimmed the repetition. I read a comment from one author, whose name I can't remember, who said that a writer needs to mention the important stuff three times. Unfortunately, I think many writers feel that means repeat it at least six times. I think readers are brighter than that.

Anyway, this book certainly made me want to read the rest of the series.

West of Want 

Hearts of the Anemoi #2

Betrayal is all he's ever known, but in her, he'll find a love strong enough to be trusted... 

When Marcella Raines' twin brother dies, she honors his request to be buried at sea, never expecting the violent storm that swamps her boat. Though she's gravely injured--and still emotionally damaged from her recent divorce--Ella fights to survive.

Zephyros Martius is the Supreme God of the West Wind and Spring, but being the strongest Anemoi hasn't protected him from betrayal and loss. Worse, he's sure his brother Eurus is behind it. When Zeph's heartbreak whips up a storm that shipwrecks a human, his guilt forces him to save her.

Ella is drawn to the vulnerability Zeph hides beneath his otherworldly masculinity and ancient blue eyes. And her honesty, empathy, and unique, calming influence leave Zeph wanting...everything. When Eurus threatens Ella, she and Zeph struggle to let go of the past, defend their future, and embrace what they most want--a love that can be trusted.

Goodness, Zeph is gorgeous, but haunted. He's had a lot of bad luck in his very long life. That seems to be continuing when, in a fit of temper, he causes a storm that swamps a boat. As he feels the life there fading, his guilt causes him to save her. His guilt also makes him watch over her. She's pretty, isn't she? Surely it's guilt that keeps him there. We know differently.

Ella has trust issues, too. It takes more than a pretty face to make her commit to a relationship. I liked that she and Zeph worked at it. Well, when they did! They both ran scared a time or three.

This is the book where we meet the bad guy, Eurus, who is Zeph's brother. And he really is pretty bad. And he LIKES it. Very creepily done, Ms. Kaye.

Again, the repetition made me skim, but I did enjoy seeing Owen and Megan again. And meeting the guys from the next two books was fun. Was very happy that the next book was right there in the Kindle Bundle so I could continue reading.

South of Surrender

Hearts of the Anemoi 3

She’s the only one who can see through his golden boy fa├žade to the broken god within…

Chrysander Notos, Supreme God of the South Wind and Summer, is on a mission: save Eurus from his death sentence and prove his troubled brother can be redeemed. But Eurus fights back, triggering vicious summer storms that threaten the mortal realm, dangerously drain Chrys, and earn the ire of the Olympic gods who ordered Eurus dead.

Laney Summerlyn refuses to give up her grandfather’s horse farm, despite her deteriorating vision. More than ever, she needs the organized routine of her life at Summerlyn Stables, until a ferocious storm brings an impossible—and beautiful—creature crashing down from the heavens.

Injured while fighting Eurus, Chrys finds himself at the mercy of a mortal woman whose compassion and acceptance he can’t resist. As they surrender to the passion flaring between them, immortal enemies close in, forcing Chrys to choose between his brother and the only woman who’s ever loved the real him.

Wow, if you thought Zeph from West of Want was gorgeous, just wait until you read Chrysander's description. Yeah, hot doesn't begin to cover it. From the previous books, I thought he was going to be a total man-whore. Nope, he's really a great guy. Why else would he be trying to save his evil brother Eurus? And he tries, boy does he try. That usually means he gets beat upon. 

Laney is losing her vision. When she finds a Pegasus in her barn, she can't quite believe it. She's even more confused when she wakes to find the winged creature gone, and a man in its place.

Poor Chrys is torn. Then he's ticked when brother dear, Eurus, brings his eye, and hatred toward Laney. Choices have to be made. Once again, I was reading as fast as I could to get to the climatic end. While each of these books doesn't actually end with a "cliffie", they don't tie up all the loose ends.

Well, until the last one, East of Ecstasy. Glad I waited for the series to finish before I started reading. The tension is extreme!

And, finally, separate from the Kindle Bundle:

East of Ecstasy

Hearts of the Anemoi #4
Annalise Fallston made peace with postponing her big-city dreams to care for her ill father, but lately she’s been filled with a restlessness not even her beloved painting dispels. Worse, the colors don’t speak to her as they always have, and all her efforts produce dark, foreboding images of a dangerous man and a terrifying future.

Devlin Eston, black-souled son of the evil Anemoi Eurus, is the only one who can thwart his father’s plan to overthrow the Supreme God of Wind and Storms. But first, Dev must master the unstable powers he’s been given. Distrusted and shunned by his own divine family, he never expected to find kindness and passion in the arms of a mortal.

But Devlin’s love puts Annalise in the path of a catastrophic storm, and in the final Armageddon showdown between the Anemoi and Eurus, sacrifices will be made, hearts broken, and lives changed forever…or lost.

Finally! The end of the Hearts of the Anemoi Series, and what an ending this was! Treachery, loss, joy, a couple major battles...wowza, what an ending! Ms. Kaye fulfilled all my hopes with this one.

Devlin is having a hard time. That's an understatement, for sure. He's been given great powers in the hopes that he can finally deal with Eurus. Unfortunately, Eurus is his father and the new powers are nearly overwhelming Devlin. Lots for him to deal with. 

Then he sees Annalise. And, more importantly, she sees him. He's shocked because she really shouldn't be able to do that.  When he sees the paints on her canvas come alive with a painting of him, he knows there's something supernatural about this seemingly human woman.  

The battle that we've all been waiting for is a doozy. Very well done, Ms. Kaye. I was on the edge of my seat and flipping through my kindle at a very fast clip. You know how sometimes the big ending of a series comes and you go: What the heck just happened?  That won't be the case here. I did cry a few tears. There were losses. But there is also an excellent winding up of this saga.

Again, well done, Ms. Kaye.

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