North of Need

by Laura Kaye

4 Star Review

A Toasty-Warm Read For Any Cold Night

North of Need by Laura Kaye

Reviewed: January 18, 2012

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: Hearts of the Anemoi, Book 1

Rating: 4 Stars

Length: 234 Pages

Formats: Print, eBook

Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me by Entangled Publishing, LLC via NetGalley. This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.

What I Read...

Still crippled by grief from the loss of her husband two years ago, Megan Snow is holed up alone in their...her mountain cabin. Christmas is the worst, the two year anniversary of his death, and being with family and friends is unthinkable. Alone is better. Marginally. the pain of loss threatens to crush her, pushing her out into the snow, nearly compelling her to exhaust herself just so she can sleep, maybe alone isn't the best thing at all.

But she did get a snowman family made while she was out there. The sight of which, father, mother, and child snowman representing the family that she would never have, made her break down completely. Her tears soaked into the largest of the three as she crumpled against it, lost, alone, and in so much pain she couldn't see straight.

She'd made it back inside before the blizzard hit, the fierce storm battering the cabin and pounding the snow against the outer walls. It was the sort of storm that could kill if you're caught in it, so when Megan hears the sound of something slam down on her porch, she's horrified to open the front door and find a man, unconscious and freezing, lying there.

Owen Winters opens his eyes to the concerned gaze of Megan Snow, the woman whose tears and grief had cried out to him and drawn him to the corporeal plane. As a god of winter he has until the next thaw to endear himself to her if he has any hope of remaining. Unless Megan falls in love with him as he had her before he even spoke to her, he'll lose her and any hope of becoming human.

What I Thought...

The one constant between the three vastly different Laura Kaye books I've read is this: they've reached into my heart and squeezed. Her books are full of sweeping emotion that run the gamut and her characters are so believable that I can't help but be drawn into their lives, feeling for their loves, their pains, their miseries, and their joys. Her books are a sure bet for emotionally satisfying entertainment.

In this paranormal romance series debut, Kaye also thrills with some genuinely original mythos and unique world building, providing both a fresh sense of fun and relief from a market glutted with vampires, werewolves, angels, and demons. I loved the introduction to the Anemoi, and thought the blend of mythology and real world global climate issues was a brilliant element that added a particularly appealing layer of logical plausibility to a wildly imaginative world.

Megan and Owen were solid, likable characters. Megan's grief and guilt were poignant and painful, and Owen's enthusiasm for life...and for Megan...was infectious. They had great chemistry. I would have preferred the evolution of their relationship to not be quite as condensed as it was, though. My reading preferences lie in a slower, more organic romantic relationship development. Less than a week between Megan's sobbing grief and her willingness to embrace both the supernatural elements of Owen's existence and a new love in her heart seemed a bit of a stretch, even for the romantic in me.

I liked Owen a lot. He was charming and cute in a totally endearing sort of way. I have to admit, though, I prefer my leading men to be a little more intense alpha male. For all that I enjoyed him, there were times when he reminded me more of a big, enthusiastic puppy than a sexy winter god. His love of ice cream was cute. Making an igloo was cute. Hell, even his mismatched eyes and aw-shucks personality were cute. Cute just doesn't totally crank my personal engine for male romantic leads.

The storyline may not have had a lot of surprises, as it followed a fairly predictable formula, but the creativity of the world building, originality of the mythos, and the appeal of the characters more than made up for it. I'm excited to see what Kaye comes up with next in this wonderful world she's created. I have no doubt it'll pack an emotional punch. I have no doubt it'll be a thoroughly entertaining read with both sweet and sexy moments. I have absolutely no doubt that when I read it, it'll leave me feeling good. That, beyond all else, is what Kaye books do, after all.

Happy Reading! ~ Tracy

...and You?

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