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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Frostbound by Sharon Ashwood

Frostbound by Sharon Ashwood
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full (363 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Review by: Xeranthemum

Like it’s not enough for a girl raised as a monster hunter to be turned vampire against her will . . . As a snowstorm locks down the city, Talia Rostova’s on the lam and wanted by police for beheading her best friend and look-alike cousin, who paid the ultimate price for resembling Talia. Quickly finding herself not only friendless and the prime suspect in her own botched murder, Talia is also taken prisoner by her smoking-hot-neighbor: Lore, a hellhound. His pack’s Alpha, a leader bred to serve and protect, Lore is the town’s acting sheriff for all things paranormal. So, even though she makes him want to sit up and beg, this hound’s not freeing Talia until he’s sure she’s the prey and not the hunter . . . and he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to sniff out the truth.

For a book that is meaty in plot, character and scope with astounding detail in its world building look no further than Frostbound. Paranormal romance readers are in for a treat.

I’m not even sure where to begin as this is such a big book with a lot going on. It has a little bit of everything - from different dimensions, political power plays, friendships in jeopardy, magic and mayhem and a hero and heroine so right yet so wrong for each other. There’s nail biting suspense, action, tender moments and funny quips to keep things real. Despite the myriad of elements that pepper the story, Ms. Ashwood has written this book in an intricate fashion that makes sense. Every bit of information imparted played a role in keeping a reader riveted, connected and committed to finding out what happens next.

Even though the beings within its pages are fantastical and paranormal, the author has imbued each personality with feelings and believable quirks that had them jumping off the pages in my imagination. They are well rounded and their dialogue was unique to each character. Ms. Ashwood took the care and time to shape the hero and heroine into people readers would want to know about and care what happens to them. Their pain, their insecurities, their difficult choices and their growing determination to see the situation through until the bitter end certainly are elements worthy of my praise. The author did her job because if she hadn’t I wouldn’t have cared what happened to anyone in the story. As it is, I not only have an interest but it goes beyond this book

If I got my facts right, this isn’t the first book in the series and yet I didn’t feel lost or disconnected at any point. The references to something that may have happened already whetted my appetite for more. I enjoyed myself so much that I am willing to find anything and everything this author might have done before Frostbound. It made that much of an impact.

Talia is the heroine. She’s had a very unusual childhood and I found her refreshing. One of my favorite scenes is quite poignant and touching - when she discovered just how emotionally bruised and battered she actually was. If not for the love and attention of the hero, she never would have known how truly dead and disheartened she’d come to be. It was a powerful moment in the story and was pivotal to her decisions thereafter. What a potent bit of writing

Lore is delicious. He’s so complicated and burdened that I liked his character a lot. I valued his sense of responsibility, his fairness and I respected him. Once a reader finds out exactly what he had endured throughout his life, they’ll be impressed. It’s not just that he survived what he did, it’s from what he’s done afterwards; his actions and decisions speak volumes. Lore is a hero I could and did cheer for.

The villain is a creep. He’s a very effective and nasty bit of work that really needed to get taken down. I enjoyed the build up to the big confrontation. The author put a lot of effort and thought into it and it showed. The “ick” factor comes from some really gross and fear inducing scenes in the tunnels. Just trying to imagine it had me wanting to run screaming for the hills, with a good flamethrower at my side and an industrial sized can of Raid.

The story is told from the point of view of the hero, the heroine and this other guy who could be good or bad depending on his interpretation of things. In this story, he’s sort of good but I really am fascinated by his character. He was so interesting. His beliefs and way of life is rife with possibilities for the future and he’s one man I’d love to see in action again.

Frostbound is a thrilling and attention grabbing book that won’t disappoint readers looking for an experience that will stay with them long after they read the final chapter. Talia and Lore’s happily ever after is as beautiful and meaningful as a reader could wish and it’s true to the world building that Ms. Ashwood established. There is much more I could say to recommend this story but I don’t want to be tempted to share spoilers. Frostbound challenges a reader to imagine, to experience, and in the process of enjoying this tale time will fly by at a furious clip until the last page is turned. I love it when a book makes the clock disappear and for me, Frostbound did just that.