To Seduce an Assassin, a fantasy, paranormal romance written and copyrighted, here in e-book format by Jayla Jasso.
Plot: Yavi and his twin brother Yajna are the emperors of Nandala with Yavi the functional head of state because he was first to emerge. They were able to overthrow Thakur, the villainous former ruler who had usurped the throne from their father. They both are valiant warriors and trained Assassins, and also exceptionally handsome and masculine. Yajna has been able to marry the beautiful Jiandra from the neighboring kingdom and enjoys a life of married bliss. Yavi, unfortunately had led a life of dalliance with young women until one of them had died in a manner to which he somehow felt he had contributed and he vows to live a life of celibacy. Now six years later, the country still is low on funds from the devastating manner in which it had been left by the former ruler plus the fact that the country seemed to be cursed by the length of period it suffers cold weather. It was impoverished further by the palace’s Master Chef, Terijan absconding with money that he gives to Uman, the inhuman son of Thakur who is planning a revolt. He is caught and hung, but is revived as a living ghoul to join Uman and the rest of his similarly conditioned followers. Graciella, the much younger sister of Jiandra is brought to the castle to visit, is a superb cook, and gladly assumes the Master Chef’s duties. Grace also has been in love with Yavi since she met him at her sister’s wedding at fourteen. From this intriguing background the story unfolds as she tries now as a twenty year old beauty to make the thirty-year-old Emperor understand she no longer is a child and that it is about time for him to give up his vow. The tale also is replete with fantasy and the occult where the villains cannot be killed, except for discovery late of a weapon that can be helpful; a special magical gem given to Jiandra that keeps her safe from harm and also gives her the ability to heal wounds/disease; a troubled brother of Jiandra and Grace who resides in a monastery but upon occasion assumes a persona of another world. The story further provides ample battle as well as sexual activity to an interesting conclusion.
Discussion: The author has given the reader of romantic novels a book they really can enjoy, especially if they also like a little of the ‘unreal’. The males are handsome, valiant warriors with all their proper musculature and abilities; the women exceptionally beautiful; intertwining sub-plots; acceptable action battle scenes; fantasy/occult additions, and sexual activity that is explicit but well done so as to be accepted as the expected results of steadily advancing romantic attraction rather than as simple eroticism.
5* For romance afficanados.
Vanished in Berlin ISBN: 9781507669709, Libertine Press (2015) by Gry Finsnes.
Plot: Norway has been invaded by Nazi Germany. Young Norwegian Ellen Langno whose studies in Vienna have brought her almost to concert ready status is enamored of young composer/violinist German citizen Fredrick Koll who had come to Norway to be with her. He has disappeared. Even though the countries are at war, Ellen obtains permission to return to Vienna to finish her studies with her Jewish teacher and simultaneously to attempt to ascertain what has happened to Frederick. She becomes reacquainted with Paul, a part-time member of the old group of art students that ‘hung out together’. He was a businessman but with a quite commendable sketching ability and now was a Nazi officer who offers to help her. Eventually, he finds a list detailing that her love had been drafted into the Navy and was a member of the crew of a submarine that had been sunk. Numerous complications ensue because she now must make numerous decisions. She believes that she may be pregnant with Fredrick’s child; she must see his mother in Berlin, and Paul proposes marriage. Before and during these various happenings, the story resorts to numerous flashbacks of the time before her return to Vienna when Fredrick had followed her back to Norway. Included are the many required moves and subterfuge strategies employed to avoid the invasion forces so as not to be forced into the army to fight the Norwegians and simultaneously problems with her family and friends who were distrustful of him because of his nationality. Eventually, the story proceeds to a point where she asks Paul for time to recover from her loss and the story moves on in a rapidly developing manner to a conclusion that provides an ideal base for the second book in the series.
Discussion: The author states “I have done my best to keep to the facts of the Second World War …” and “The plot is entirely fictive, but all of the historical dates and background of the war are correct as far as I know. Many of the events which the main characters go through actually happened during the siege and occupation of Norway.” She also points “…to a few of the more unusual facts and explain.” Included in the list was the interesting: “The Germans gave crystal meth to fighting soldiers.” This is the third of this author’s books read by this reviewer and from this perspective it perhaps may best be described by paraphrasing part of my remarks about the earlier read of the author’s Stones Don’t Speak. Ellen is an attractive, self-centered woman accustomed to attention (here as a performer) being thrust into a totally unfamiliar and distasteful situation to which she has little desire or inclination to attempt to adjust until the situation leaves little alternative, and then her reaction may not always be the wisest. Nor is that of her lover who is sadly lost in the situation. The conclusion or summary, however, is identical.
Summary: The story provides an appealing tale centered on a particularly disturbing time and place in history and in a location seldom visited by authors.
4* Engaging, somewhat suspenseful tale of a time/place seldom recalled.