Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father s disappearance, her mother s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her. Raine is drawn to Torin s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run. Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about him. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only is she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.
In a word: fascinating Norse mythology, heart-fluttering romance, a strong female protagonist and snappy dialog.
I had a blast reading Runes! It had just the right mix of contemporary high school romance and an interesting paranormal element that didn’t overwhelm the story. And I’m happy that this is the first in a new series. The characters are so engaging and well done that you want to see what’s going to happen to them next. So many elements were executed in just the right way, which made the story flow and the pages fly by.
Raine is a high school girl whose life is going pretty well. She’s a co-captain on the school swim team, she has her loyal friends Cora and Eirik for moral support, and she’s got a loveable but quirky mother who is always there for her. There’s just one thing wrong: Raine’s father is still missing, after his plane crashed a few months ago. His body was never found, and so the authorities are still looking for him. But Raine’s starting to lose hope, even if her mother isn’t.
One day fate literally knocks on her door, in the form of hunky and mysterious Torin St. James, the teen who has just moved into the house next door. Raine is drawn to Torin, but he’s cocky and can’t seem to leave Raine alone. He also seems to have some unusual talents, like fixing the neighbor’s damaged mailbox and knowing things about her private life that he shouldn’t. During a game of Ultimate Frisbee, Raine is mortally injured by another newcomer in town, a girl from Norway named Maliina who oddly seems to hate Raine. But Torin steps in and miraculously heals her injuries, leading Raine to start questioning some of the odd things she’s started to notice: why do Maliina and her two Norse friends have weird tattoos that appear and disappear? and why do they seem to have super human strength?
When more bad things start to happen, especially to members of the swim team, Raine begins to suspect Torin and Maliina and her friends are responsible. As she slowly drags some of the answers from Torin, she starts to realize that she is falling for him, which is a problem because she has just started dating Eirik. Resourceful and tenacious, Raine is determined to get answers to the mysteries around her, while keeping Torin at arm’s length.
I thought the romance was really well done. You know that Torin and Raine will eventually get together, but Walters takes it slow, building their attraction little by little. Raine is confused by the way Torin makes her feel, especially since she is loyal to Eirik and doesn’t want to hurt him. The romance is very tame, however, and even though this book is aimed at the YA crowd, I wanted a little more of it. The moments when Raine and Torin are together sizzle with tension. Torin is a bad boy type, but he’s also got a protective side when it comes to Raine. I loved that he had a duality about him—bad boy, Harley-riding guy one minute—and sweet and tender protector the next.
All of the supporting characters worked for me, too, even the bad guys. I hated Andris, Ingrid and Maliina at first, but later grew to appreciate them. Cora was one of my favorite characters, a sweet and loyal friend to Raine who only wants the best for her. And I adored the playful banter between Eirik and Raine, especially in the beginning before they hook up. In fact, the dialog throughout was really well done. Walters has a talent for writing natural dialog that sounds as if it has come out of the mouths of actual people.
I was fascinated by the Norse mythology parts of the story. I thought it was a fresh change from the usual Greek myths that writers often turn to. Although the mythology is just barely introduced in this book, I’d like to read more about it in the next book. I also loved the author’s use of runes, the tattoo-like marks that appear on skin and objects, that are used for protection, healing or controlling people. There are so many stories out there right now that use magical tattoos as a device, and it was nice to see something a little different.
My only complaint about the book is the cover. I really don’t care for it at all. For one thing, the models don’t do the author’s descriptions justice, and they just look too old to represent teenagers. If I had run across this book on my own, without being part of a blog tour, I never would have given it a second glance. The cover screams “indie book” to me, and a more professional design would get this wonderful story more attention, in my opinion.
But the story itself is well worth the time. An exciting showdown and several surprises at the end set the reader up for book two, Immortal, which will be released later this year. If you love well-drawn characters, sizzling romantic tension, and stories with a unique paranormal element, you should not miss Runes.
Many thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.
Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, will be released April 2013. She s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN. Ednah also writes New Adult paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. She is presently working on book 2, IMMORTALS. Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published four more books in this series. She’s presently working on book six. You can visit her on her websites, Facebook, twitter, ya-twitter, Google-plus, and RomanceBlog, YAblog.
Now for a special excerpt from Runes, from Torin’s point of view! The excerpts are different on each day of the tour, so if you missed any, click here for the complete tour schedule. Today is Day Five of the tour.
I removed the piece of paper from under my biker gloves, checked the names of the neighbors. Nosy neighbors were the Rutledges—husband was an ex-marine and the wife a homemaker. No kids. In fact, there were no kids in the cul-de-sac except for the Cooper girl. Perfect. I didn’t want to socialize with any teens except those that I came for.
I sauntered down the driveway. The curtains across the street moved again and I hid a smile. The attention didn’t bother me. I was used to it.
The closer I got to the house next door, the stronger the vibes I’d felt became. The runes on a car in the driveway cinched it. One of us lived here. Still, it didn’t explain the powerful essence.
I pressed the doorbell and waited.
Someone yanked the door open and a girl snapped, “About time you got he…”
Her voice trailed off, hazel eyes widening, pupils dilating, until I could see specks of green in the irises. The kick in the gut feeling surprised me and I sucked in a breath. I’d seen my share of gorgeous women, but something about this one…
She had expressive eyes, fragile features including the most kissable lips I’d seen on any woman in centuries—lush and juicy bottom, perfectly shaped top. The freckles dotting her nose added something to her looks. My fingers itched to reach out and stroke them. I was a lips man, but a complete sucker for freckles, which didn’t explain the sudden urge to bolt. I didn’t run from women, period! Her essence was the one I’d sensed. It was strong. Different. Like nothing I’d ever encountered before. Why would a Mortal have such a unique essence?
“I’m looking for Eirik Seville,” I said impatiently.
Make sure to check out any of these blogs tomorrow for the next part of the story!
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