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    Mythology and legend brought forward

    “One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” - Friedrich Nietzsche “I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.” - Robert Fulghum This dream was worse, So. Much. Worse. Than all the others. Horrifying, bloody, savage. And the worst part? It was true. Solina’s brother is dead, torn apart by a wolf-like creature. A monster who talks. Who thinks, and plans, and has yet another goal. Kill Solina. Eat her alive. A baker by trade, an introvert by nature, Solina Mundy is pulled to Alaska where her beloved twin met his end. Ostensively, to gather her brothers things and close down his apartment. Realistically? To find out what really happened to her brother. Everyone is hiding things. Everyone apparently knows things she doesn’t. And they have no intention of telling her anything – or of helping her in any way. Go Home, Little Girl. Nobody wants you here. Like. Hell. Solina is afraid, sure. She is, by nature, passive. A homebody who spends her time working in her parent’s bakery, kowtowing to their every wish. She has always left her twin, Mani, to be the adventurous one, the one who allowed her to live vicariously through his actions. But now, Mani is dead, and Solina is meeting obstacles every way she turns. Mani’s boss, Thorin, is a cold, unwielding jerk, belittling and demeaning in word and action. Val, on the other hand, is a Player, in all forms of the word. He was Mani’s best friend, and helped Solina though the first few months after Mani’s death. But now that she is there, she finds that he is more like a bull moose in rut than a real friend, and no matter how she tries to keep him in the friend zone, he keeps pushing, pushing, pushing. No respect there, only a single-minded determination to drag her into bed, no matter the pain it brings Solina when she comes to realize that he only wants to screw, not to be real friends. Val, the “Patron Saint of the Perpetual Erection.” Sigh. What a jerk. When she needs a friend as much now as she did when Mani died. Possibly even more. Then, Solina meets Skyla. A former Marine and one tough cookie, Skyla is the woman Mani loved. And she loved him as well, with all her heart. She isn’t about to let his death go unpunished. And if helping Solina will help her meet that goal, she is all over it. Sol and Skyla quickly become close friends. Which is all to the positive, as the world begins to blow up around them. You see, Solina and her twin are more than they ever could have expected. And if their enemies have anything to say about it, Solina will die as her brother did, ripped apart by a monster. And then? And then, the world will burn. This book is amazing. Really amazing. It delves into a mythology I have read very little about, and I found that incredibly refreshing. I don’t want to give things away – whatever I say will cause spoilers, and as I know my review will be one of the first ones out there, I don’t want to ruin it for other readers. Suffice it to say that it is a wonderful pleasure to watch a woman like Solina, an introverted woman who never even raised her voice in the past, much less her hand in anger, grow into someone who is learning to embrace her own power. This isn’t a Mary Sue “I was just a normal person and now I magically kick backside” sort of story. Solina takes the pain and gets up, over and over again, learning the whole way, making mistakes, and suffering for it. She isn’t stupid – far from it. Those around her, except for Skyla, treat her like she is worthless – though the whole world, and their own survival, balances upon her staying alive. Their dismissal of her Ticked. Me. Off. Which makes it even more fun when she takes their dismissal and slowly, but surely, turns it back on them. This is, I deeply and profoundly hope, the first of a series. The book doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger, per se. But there is plenty of room for the story to continue. My only problem? Now I have to WAIT for the next one!!! Sigh. That is going to be MASSIVELY difficult!!! I Highly recommend this book for those of you who enjoy a well written modern day Fantasy with a mythology you certainly haven’t read much on before (if any), well-developed female characters (yes, with an ‘s’ – there are several well developed characters here, even if one of them makes me want to slit her throat and watch her eyes dim to empty black), a creative story line and wicked good thrills. Midnight Burning was received from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. If you like my reviews, please choose “This review was helpful” on Amazon, or whichever site you visit to purchase your books. The authors will appreciate it, as it draws more attention to my reviews! Thank you!!!
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    Midnight Burning

    Plot twists and turns abound in this multifaceted tale. Suspense abounds as the main character journeys the distance, becoming entangled in events out of her control. Laurel develops her world in a well-rounded manner that allowed me to picture it without impeding my imagination, allowing me to put myself in the story. The characters were quite intriguing. Her gradual character development allowed me to get to know them as details became relevant. The dialogue was fantastic. It was so real. The genuine conversations added so much to the story and to the characters’ development. The main character was a blast. Her smart, sassy persona made her someone that I wanted to see succeed. The love triangle amidst the mystery, that was part of the mystery, added an extra layer to the tale. For me, this was a great introduction to Laurel’s writing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and would definitely recommend it to others. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
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    An enjoyable interpretation of Norse legend

    I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Solina Mundy, a baker from North Carolina, has never wandered far from her family's bakery whereas her twin brother, Mani, struck out on his own and traveled to Alaska where he found a job as an adventure guide. Despite the great distance between them, the bond between Solina and Mani was not diminished. Mani shared his adventures in the Alaskan wilderness with Solina and encouraged her to discover adventures on her own, but Solina was content to continue helping her parents with the family business. One night Solina had a nightmare about Mani being brutally attacked and killed by a wolf-like creature. The next morning, the family was notified that Mani died from what appeared to be an attack by a wild animal; however, his apartment showed signs of a break-in. Unable to ignore what she saw in her nightmare, Solina travels to Alaska to settle her brother's affairs and investigate the odd circumstances surrounding Mani's death. Solina considers the flight to Alaska an adventure in of itself, but she discovers that she plays a vital role in an epic battle that was waged centuries ago between Norse gods; a battle that will determine the fate of humans and gods alike. My first impression of Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel was that Mani got caught in a war between two groups of supernatural creatures; which is not entirely true. About halfway through the book, readers discover that the opposing sides in the upcoming battle are Norse gods and the battle being waged is Ragnarok. I was not disappointed by this twist, but I was a little surprised. I found it a refreshing change from the werewolf versus vampire theme, and I happen to enjoy reading modern interpretations of legends from different cultures. The story does have a slow start and the characters seem superficial at first, and there is a reason for this. If you keep reading, Laurel adds depth and interest to the characters once their true natures are revealed. Despite the slow start, I am glad that I stuck with the story. It is a modern interpretation of a Norse legend and a really enjoyable read. I am anxious to read more about Solina and the upcoming battle in the next book of this well-written and fascinating series.
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    Romance, mystery, tension

    Author Karissa Laurel created a non-stop, character driven, thrill ride in Midnight Burning. Laurel mixes ancient myths and heroes with modern-day scenarios, she crafts a refreshing story-line. Guaranteed to thrill the reader, Laurel infuses tension, actions, and mystery in this novel. With steady and smooth pacing, Laurel weaves the many plot lines together to form an intriguing paranormal mystery novel. Even though Burning Midnight contains mystery and paranormal elements, Laurel also includes humor and romance giving the reader relief from the tension and action as each chapter barrels toward the conclusion. Concluding my mystery paranormal review of Burning Midnight, I find the characters well-developed with strong personalities. Laurel's writing style is smooth, clear, and clean. Midnight Burning was a good beginning to this series. However, it does leave something of a cliff hanger in the ending. I look forward to the next book. MIDNIGHT BURNING RECOMMENDATION: STARS 4 A suitable novel for anyone who likes a paranormal mysteries with fantasy and humor, I recommend this novel for young adults to adults. FINALLY PLEASE NOTE: I received this book from the author and chose to voluntarily review it with an honest mystery/paranormal novel review. Book reviews of any novel are dependent on the book review author’s opinion. Consequently, all book reviews on-line and on my blog, are my opinion. Without a doubt, the ARC did not affect my voluntary mystery/paranormal novel review.
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    Fascinating story!

    This was a well-written, engrossing story. Solina travels to Alaska after being informed that her twin brother is dead. She begins to pack up his belongings and also speaks to his friends and co-workers to try to understand what happened. She is shocked to discover that there is more going on than she ever realized, that there are gods and other creatures out there, and that she herself has powers she did not know existed. This book was richly plotted and became more and more fascinating the further I got into the story. I can't wait to read the next book in this series!
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