Cupid the horrible boyfriend

Happy St. Valentines’ Day! Everyone’s heard of Cupid, right? (Eros to the Greeks.) He might have been a god of love, but he still sucked as a boyfriend. Psyche and Eros/Cupid are one of the exceptionally rare Greek/Roman romances that didn’t end horribly, which may be another reason they’re not so popular. Either way, their story is a truly mythological tale, filled with all the requisite pettiness and stupidity.

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He’s the god of erotic desire, DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT WAS TO FIND G-RATED IMAGES?!?!

Mortal Psyche was so beautiful some people started worshiping her instead of Aphrodite/Venus. In a mature and logical response to this, Aphrodite/Venus sent her son, Eros/Cupid, to make Psyche fall in love with the ugliest man he could find.

This plan backfired when Eros/Cupid stabbed himself with the arrow meant for her.

Through some divine trickery, Eros/Cupid arranged a sort of marriage where Psyche lived in a magnificent house with invisible servants and he stopped by to visit her only at night, never letting her see his face. (I guess he had to keep it secret from his mother or something.) Eventually, Psyche’s curiosity won over and she lit a lamp while he slept. Stunned at finding the most beautiful man she’d ever seen, she then proceeded to dump hot wax all over him.

Extra crispy Eros/Cupid then flew screaming to his mother (literally) and abandoned Psyche to wander the earth. While Eros/Cupid was healing at his mother’s house, Psyche had the brilliant idea of asking Aphrodite/Venus for help finding him.

Ever the ideal mother-in-law, Aphrodite/Venus agreed to help find Eros/Cupid if Psyche could complete four impossible tasks.

First, Psyche had to sort a giant pile of mixed seeds before dawn (did I mention she was now pregnant?). Luckily, an ant assembled an army of insects in aid. Aphrodite/Venus next demanded that she fetch golden fleece from homicidal sheep. Psyche gathered wool caught on briers. Now fairly frothing, Aphrodite/Venus ordered Psyche to collect black waters from the rivers of Styx and Cocytus. This time, Zeus/Jupiter actually showed some decency for once and sent his eagle to do the task for her.

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Then again, I guess if you want to talk Greek/Roman tools, just about every male deity beats out Eros/Cupid. (Image via moco-choco)

The final task was to obtain a dose of the beauty of Persephone/Proserpina. Upon success, Psyche was filled with curiosity (again) and opened the box containing Persephone/Proserpina’s beauty, but instead found that it was filled with Stygian sleep.

Now healed from his flambéing, Eros/Cupid decided he might have overreacted to the whole scorching thing. He drew the Stygian sleep from Psyche’s face then took his case to Zeus/Jupiter. Zeus/Jupiter blessed Eros/Cupid and Psyche’s union, made Psyche immortal, and ordered Aphrodite/Venus to back off. In exchange, Eros/Cupid would help should Zeus/Jupiter ever want to woo a woman (because what else would Zeus/Jupiter want?).

And there you have it. The story ends with Eros/Cupid spending eternity in love with Psyche, but I still think he sucked as a boyfriend. He really doesn’t do anything but make Psyche work to get him back. I see lots of parallels to this and the Loki/Sigyn story—total tool loved by girl who’s way too good for him—but that’s mythology for you.

Let’s hope Eros/Cupid makes a better husband.

Blog Tour Review: Eclipse (The Priestess Trilogy, #3) by @MelissaSasina

Priestess Trilogy Tour

P3 Eclipse 750Tensions escalate between two clans, threatening their fragile peace. On one side stand the Túath, on the other the Milidh. The prize: control of the land of Éire. Yet amidst this brewing conflict, another more dangerous threat looms. The village of Tara is ripped apart, not by war, but by the seed of betrayal as the priestess’ own kinswoman, Gráinne, conspires to seize control. Enemies shall become allies and Shiovra is faced with a difficult choice, one that will ultimately engulf her world in an irreversible eclipse.

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4 out of 5 stars

This is the last book. The conclusion. The END. It’s hard to believe that this series is finally complete, but one could certainly do worse by way of endings.

I’ve been following this series since I downloaded the first, Defiance, during a free promo over a year ago. One of my favorite things about this book has been the world building and the historical tidbits Sasina tosses in with her mythological references and there was definitely more of that!

The plot:

I admit I was a little intimidated at that word count, but the scenes are broken up into bite sized pieces and this reads very quickly. Like its predecessors, this book has a plot that moves along at a grueling pace and you’d better be ready to keep up!

Something important happens in nearly every scene, so there’s very little “drag.” This is the kind of writing style I like best—the kind that makes you lose track of time.

The characters:

There’s a great deal of what I call “head hopping” in this book, which is to say we get inside the heads of quite a few characters. On one hand, I think I would have preferred a greater degree of exclusivity in order to give us more insight into the main cast. On the other hand, we did have a glimpse into everyone—villains, heroes, and everything in between.

There is one point I wish I could ignore, but it influenced my opinion of the book too much not to mention. There’s this thing where the leader of one of the villages tells his wife to sleep with this other guy in order to secure said other guy as an ally. The result is this love triangle with a mutual understanding and consent between three partners.

The thing that bothers me about that is…well, I didn’t feel there was enough explanation. I get that the husband was okay with the whole arrangement, but why?

Was it supposed to be a cultural thing like in ancient Sparta (where wives could take any lover they wanted so long as their husband approved)? In the second book, it was kind of implied that women were supposed to remain chaste before matrimony, is that only before? Was it a personal thing where the one character just really wanted Other Guy as an ally? I just feel like there wasn’t enough set up for the modern western way of thinking and I would have liked a little more of that.

Otherwise, I truly did enjoy this book. This author excels at world building and making the setting feel authentic. She truly brings myths to life and I would definitely recommend this series to anyone interested in a different kind of fantasy novel.

Defiance
The Priestess Trilogy # 1
By – Melissa Sasina
Genre –  Fantasy/Romance
 
Shiovra has been named High Priestess of the village Tara, but she quickly finds herself hunted by the Milidh, a clan born of war and vengeance. With the safety of Tara at stake, it is decided that she is to seek aid from her betrothed, one she considers the enemy. At her side is Odhrán, a Milidh warrior sworn to protect her and determined to gain her trust. But their journey is fraught with peril and Shiovra learns that darkness lurks in the hearts of her own kin. Steeped in ancient Irish myth, this tale is spun of love, war, and DEFIANCE.
 
 

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ARC Review: Mercy (The Ferryman + The Flame, #4) by Rhiannon Paille @RhiPaille

Mercy

Sometimes it hurts instead . . .
For fans of John Green, Assassin’s Creed and Sailor Moon

Krishani thought Kaliel was lost forever. Slave to the hunger, and the cold, and the enemies who took everything, he longs for death. Taking shelter in a human body, Krishani finds the one thing he gave up on centuries ago — Kaliel.

Maeva doesn’t know who she is — what she is, but she knows she doesn’t belong. Hunted by her past, stalked by a boy intent on killing her, she longs to remember. Confused and alone, Maeva learns why memories are the most painful things of all.

Sorrow, Hunger, Passion and Danger collide in the fourth installment of The Ferryman & The Flame.

Blurb and cover from BN.com

5 out of 5 stars

Best in the series yet, but man oh man do I need extra therapy now.

I came into this book with a mixture of excitement because I loved the earlier books as well as dread because, as implied, I have read the earlier books. When I heard there was a ten thousand year gap between this and the previous installment, Vulture, taking us into modern times, I was a bit hesitant, but I thought it was pulled off very well. The author eases us into the 21st century without losing the flavor of the other books or letting us forget that in ten thousand years, even immortals change.

The plot:

I had no idea what was going to happen and pretty much every time I made a prediction, I guessed wrong. The story took its own path and I thought it turned out better than my original expectation. As with the earlier books, I loved the blending of mythologies and the references to different cultures and the author’s explanation for how they were all interconnected.

There was less reference to the Land of the Beasts and the Land of Immortals than in the previous novels and I’m not sure how I felt about that. I suppose it was understandable since the story was taking place in the Lands of Men, but I’m hoping for more of the other Lands in Asylum.

The characters:

Kaliel is on her fourth body to date (I’m not counting all Tor’s failed attempts) and as far as she knows, her name is Maeva and she is nothing but a normal teenager in an obscure Canadian town. She seemed more mature to me, there was less naïveté to her personality and greater wisdom, not sure exactly how to put it.

As for Krishani—oh my poor sweet baby. After ten thousand years as a Vulture, he’s managed to cling to his identity and the past nine years in the body of a cancer patient. I felt for him more in this book than I did in Justice when he was slowly turning into a soul-eating demon. I just…loved everything about his character in this book and want, want, want them to have a stupid HEA at the end of this series so fricking bad.

On a brief note, I adore Pux as much as ever (another of my sweet babies), hate Shimma (that blonde succubus can jump headfirst down a well), am reevaluating my initial appraisal of Elwen (he’s on probation), and am waiting for someone to upside Tor in the head with a brick (he has it coming).

I am as much a fan of this series as ever and I certainly recommend it. The descriptions are beautiful, the love story is gorgeous, the world building is epic, and it just keeps getting better.

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Lessons from Greek Mythology: A little party might kill everybody

I have never been one for parties or clubbing (a noisy room full of sweaty strangers, who wouldn’t love that?), but apparently that is what people my age are expected to do. Nonetheless, I am a reader and as Edgar Allen Poe (The Masque of the Red Death) and Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet) taught us, such gatherings are dangerous things. But perhaps the hazards are not so perfectly illustrated outside of Greek mythology. Seriously, it was a wonder people kept going to these things.

The Trojans learned the hard way.

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They thought they had just won a long and laborious war that had lasted over a decade. As far as they knew, their enemies had run away and left this big wooden horse as an offering, so what did they do? They threw a huge shindig, got plastered, and while they were all passed out, Greeks climbed out of the wooden horse and opened the gates, letting in more Greeks who killed/imprisoned them all.

And Andromeda’s old flame…and all his buddies.

There was this bloke, Phineus, who was engaged to Andromeda before she was bound to the rock and left out for the sea monster and so on and so forth. When Phineus heard that Andromeda was now supposed to be married to Perseus—who had rescued her from aforementioned sea monster—he was a little upset.

Therefore, Phineus barged into the wedding feast with a gaggle of his friends and a whole bunch of swords to claim the princess. Needless to say, Perseus was not particularly pleased about this. After a bit of bashing each other around, Perseus got sick of fighting and uncovered the head of Medusa, turning Phineus and his friends into stone.

Not to mention the suitors of Penelope.

Firstly, if a woman puts you off for close to two decades, I think it’s safe to say she’s not all that into you. In any event, these creeps hung around the apparently dead Odysseus’ house, waiting for Penelope to pick a new husband.

It was one big feast that went on without end and they started to eat Penelope out of house and home. Then all of a sudden, her wayward husband returns from his seven-year dalliance with a goddess and locks the suitors into the banquet hall while he and his son proceed to kill everyone in the room.

I could go on, but I think I have made my point. Greek stories were not big on morality, but there is one thing they have taught me—no matter what happens, no matter what you do, DON’T GO TO THE PARTY.

ARC Review: Windswept (Moonlit, #2) by Jadie Jones @JadieJones1

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Tanzy’s journey continues in Windswept, the second installment of the Moonlit Trilogy…

Tanzy Hightower is the key in an ancient prophecy pivotal to the existence of all beings, both Seen and Unseen. Unseen who have waited a millennium for her birth are relentless in their efforts to see the prophecy fulfilled–whether for good or evil, depending on which side of the conflict one stands. Others have sworn an oath to end Tanzy’s existence, permanently.

Already, Tanzy’s body has been compromised by her enemies, her veins now home to the blood of a wild horse whose instincts are becoming impossible to control. While Tanzy’s Unseen enemies work to draw her out of a remote safe house, her friends beg her to stay in hiding. She is torn, wanting to reunite with Lucas, who has loved Tanzy since her first incarnation, yet unsure whether fulfilling the ancient prophecy will protect those she loves or destroy them.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

Release Date: July 8, 2014 from WiDo Publishing

5 out of 5 stars
I am FREAKING OUT. How did I not see that coming? Who would have seen that coming? Holy mother of crap, how could this happen? Next book, next book, next book, next book—give me the next book now, now, now—

*deep breath*

As you can see, this book has incited some fangirling. Because of Reasons, I didn’t start it until recently plus I took awhile to sit down and read it once I had it. Once I did…well. Please see the opening paragraph for answers. Without a doubt, this book shall be awarded a seat on my Shelf of Awesome beside it’s predecessor.

The plot:
To the author, you were nearly the cause of fratricide several times when my brothers interrupted me while reading this. (And I mean that in the best possible way.) I saw somewhere this book is over 100k words, but it didn’t feel like that. I tore through it in no time and there was not a dull line anywhere. This book was even more full of betrayals, twists, and shockers than the first one and no matter how hard I tried to figure everything out, I was still surprised.

Like with the first book, I spent a good deal of time missing Lucas when he wasn’t around. (Shut up.) He and Tanzy are so beautiful together and I will ship them until the day I die.

The characters:
Tanzy has basically done a whole 360 from the quiet, isolated girl she was at the beginning of Moonlit. Now she’s a determined, hardcore warrior queen pitted against the nastiest immortal in existence I’m thinking maybe he should be scared. Her relationship with Lucas has also had a few (many) hitches, but she’s still willing to work at it and that warms my little fangirl heart to no end.

We met another character at the end of Moonlit—Jayce. I wasn’t sure I’d like her and usually I don’t like the friend-type characters, but I love Jayce. Oh, sweet, adorable, artistic, intermittently deadly Jayce. If she dies, I will be furious.

As for Vanessa—I have no idea what the hell is going on with Vanessa. Let’s just say she makes politicians look honest and leave it at that.

There are a bunch of other new characters that make an appearance as well—Bridget, Reese, Iris, Abby, Kate—and one or two others. (What’s up with Mouse?) But I’m just going to skim over them here and go straight to Lucas.

I’ve mentioned him three times before this paragraph, so you have probably picked up that I’m in Lucas’ fan club. He’s another one of “my babies” (a hypothetical collective of fictional characters I wish I could protect from their creators’ cruelty). I just…he’s an awesome character. The author doesn’t make him all perfect and sparkly and gooey and I love that—his persona seems real. I need to come up with a ship name for him and Tanzy…

I recommend this book, I recommend this series, I recommend this author. If anyone asks me if I liked this, be prepared for a deluge of half-finished sentences, jumping up and down, and excited hand flailing.

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The Natural Predator of the Vampire

Assuming the vampire is the natural predator of the human, what is the natural predator of the vampire?

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I asked this question awhile back on my Facebook page and got a wide variety of responses. Werewolves and witches were the most popular choices, Buffy was in there somewhere, one person even suggested killer owls, and a few put forth dhampirs, vampire/human hybrids, that only feed off vampire blood (that was probably my favorite).

Bram Stoker to Stephanie Meyer—one of the most common consensus among writers of vampire literature is that they do not get along with werewolves. They’re like Tolkien’s Elves and Dwarves—they hate each others guts into oblivion—but they seem too evenly matched to me. A true predator has a distinctive advantage over their prey. One might say the Werewolves have the edge of going out in the sunlight, but they are at their strongest under a full moon and there goes that idea.

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I confess to never having read Dracula, but I’ve been told Stoker put forth the theory that vampires are hunted by witches. This leaves too many variables for me. You need to explain whether or not the witches in question are a separate species or a special classification of human and if they actually feed off the vampires or just use them in spells…I think this makes them more of just an enemy.

Buffy doesn’t count because she is a single human, not a race. (Though I’m sure lots of vampires would have nightmares about her.) As for killer owls—holy crap if there was an owl that ate vampires, I’d never sleep again.

A dhampir is probably the closest to what I had in mind. There is a certain irony in a half human creature feeding off vampires and if you go by the general philosophy on dhampirs, they possess all the strengths of the vampire and none of the weaknesses (sunlight, silver, wooden stakes, crosses, garlic, what have you). Marvel Comic’s Blade went with this theory.

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Tied with the dhampir in my personal opinion, is a creature that feeds not on the vampire’s blood, but their life force. I’m not really sure what it would be called or what its vulnerabilities would be, but I imagine it in human form with preternatural strength just like its prey.

Vampire lore has been rehashed and retold of late more than any other mythological creature’s with the exception of perhaps fey. Because of that, there are a multitude of versions of vampires and therefore a multitude of possible predators. This question could be answered twenty different ways by twenty different people and they could all be right. It’s all subjective to the particular incarnation of the lore. Nonetheless, it seems there should be a rule about this because after all, everything in nature gets hunted by something. Why would the paranormal world be any different? This might just be something to address in my Fanged Princess series…

Review: Bonded (The Shadowlight Saga, #1) by Mande Matthews @MandeMatthews

ShadowLight_Bonded_600x900

Hallad Avarson’s vow to protect a mysterious warrior maiden pits his best friend against him, endangers the life of his little sister, and leads him into a treacherous realm of magic and intrigue.

This richly imagined epic fantasy transports readers into a tale of seductive power, heart-wrenching love, and edge-of-your seat thrills, while following inspiring young heroes and heroines as they discover their abilities and destinies interweave with the fate of a captivatingly original world.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads and author’s website

5 out of 5 stars

This book has led me to conclude that Norse mythology in fantasy books is entirely underrated. I had so much fun reading this and experienced such a wide range of emotions. It was different from other books I’ve read in its fresh take on the Nordic legends and its storyline and premise and I am very, very excited for Broken coming this year!

The plot:

This book starts off with a lot of questions—who is Swan? Who’s after her? Why can Hal hear her in his head? We are given a lot of answers, but a few new questions by the end that only serve to entice one for the next book. I greatly enjoyed this story and the characters and I was rooting for them, cheering at their victories, and cringing at their defeats.

The characters:

The main focus of the story is Hal, though his younger sister, her intended, and several others all have chapters in their perspectives. Hal was a character who took responsibility very seriously as the heir apparent to his father’s leadership of the village. I quickly grew fond of him and the relationships between him and Emma and him and Swan were precious.

Erik is Hal’s blood brother and Emma’s swain. He was headstrong, stubborn, overreacted, and could be very difficult to reason with. And I adored him to bits. I normally just want to clobber those sorts of characters, but Ms. Matthews made Erik relatable and showed his loving side in a way that made up for it even when I got frustrated with him. He truly loves Emma and is willing to do anything for her and it was just so sweet! (Fangirl moment over. Promise.)

Swan is a rather mysterious and one doesn’t quite know what to make of her. Even if you have read the prequel novella, there are still things that aren’t quite clear. Normally, the maiden warrior characters are hit or miss for me and Swan was definitely a hit. She can hold her own, but Ms. Matthews made sure to give her enough vulnerabilities to make her sympathetic. She was certainly one of my favorite she-warriors of 2013.

Emma was so adorable. Loving, caring, innocent, with a desire to see everyone safe, but not an airheaded, oblivious moron. It was tormentive to see her in the clutches of Lothar and I kind of hated her mother for :SPOILER: giving her over to him. :SPOILER OVER: I really hope she and Erik get their HEA in the end.

I am very excited for the next book in this series and wish the author would hurry up and publish it already. It’s not everyday I find a good YA Epic Fantasy and I want more of this one!

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