6 Reasons Why the Paranormal Character is Always Male

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This post is in response to a little nugget that I read in Heather’s article at the Galaxy Express entitled Does Science Fiction Romance Need More Alpha Heroes? The specific section that caught my eye was this:

In response to the My Paranormal Malaise post at Dear Author, Lisa Paitz Spindler asked:

“Why is it the paranormal character is so often the hero and not the heroine?”

Yeah, what’s up with that?

I can tell you exactly what is up with that as I am a fan of paranormal romance and fiction. So here it goes… six reasons why the paranormal character is always the hero!

  1. We like our heroes mysterious. What is more mysterious than a mythological creature, be he vampire or lycanthrope or other?
  2. Strong powerful hero + average heroine = swoon. When an extraordinary specimen of the male gender sits up and takes notice of a rather ordinary female it is easier to place ourselves in the heroine’s shoes. That’s not because we think of ourselves as unworthy, this formula just makes it more accessible for readers. This scenario also tends to fill the tenderness and protectiveness side of the fantasy.
  3. Strong powerful hero + kickass heroine = hell yeah. When number two’s formula just doesn’t cut it there are the novels about strong heroes and stronger heroines. In this scenario the reader and heroine tend to dominate over the situation. The hero must work around the heroine to get in her good graces and who hasn’t imagine upon at least one occasion a strong sexy male groveling at your feet?
  4. Angel, Spike, Jean-Claude, Asher, Edward Cullen, Jasper Cullen, Eric Northman, and Bill Compton. Do I really need to go on with this point? I think this pretty much brings it home. Otherworldly men are downright sexy! Especially vampires!
  5. The desires of the paranormal fit better on a hero. The act of drinking blood is considered highly sexual in vampire romances. It’s become part of the erotic fantasy. Sometimes the heroine likes to pretend to be helpless and the hero’s act of feeding gives her a thrilling rush. Besides, I think I pretty much covered how icky it can be to read a heroine drinking blood.
  6. Redemption always looks better on a man. Many paranormal stories involve the preternatural lead repenting his past acts dictated by his nature, circumstances, and misinformed beliefs due to change. This makes him now a brooding hero and occasionally puts the heroine in the middle of the path toward his salvation or as his savior.

So there you go—six reasons paranormal stories always feature preternatural heroes.

Review: Winter’s Passage (Iron Fey, Book 1.5) by Julie Kagawa

Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey Series is addicting, delicious, and outstanding. While Winter’s Passage is a short novella it packs a punchy story.

It opens with Ash coming to collect on Meghan’s promise from Iron King. She asks to see how Puck is doing before going with him to Tir na Nog and the Winter Court. A quick look in on Puck shows he’s still healing from his wounds in Iron King.

Their journey into Unseelie territory is not without its dangers. Following them is the Hunter, an ancient enemy, one so powerful, it’s literally unable to die. He’s feared by humans and fey alike and if you’re unlucky enough to hear him calling for you, chances are you won’t survive to tell the tale.

What I liked best about the novella was the expansion of Meghan and Ash’s relationship. It really gains a lot of depth here, some of which is retold in Iron Daughter. That said, you shouldn’t skip this novel, because while Iron Daughter keeps you up to date you miss the romance and the action.

There are some truly clever, poignant, and sigh-worthy moments in Winter’s Passage. One of my favorites is when Meghan stays with Ash and tries to save them even though she could have run and saved herself. Ash is equal parts bemused and angry. This isn’t the behavior of a fey and he knows it will get her hurt, killed, or worse once under Queen Mab’s thumb. He tries to warn her, love her, and distance himself from her all at the same time. It makes for a fantastic struggle.

Rating: 5 Stars

Buy: Winter’s Passage (Kindle)

PS – For a limited time this novella is a free ebook.

Review: The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey, Book 2) by Julie Kagawa

Kagawa’s storytelling and world-building keeps getting better and better. The Iron Daughter is book two in the Iron Fey series and packs a delicious punch. I can tell you upfront that I can hardly wait for Iron Queen, the third and final installment to the trilogy. I wholeheartedly recommend everybody to read it, the series is that amazing.

All the old characters are back. Puck is healed and finally declares himself to Meghan, fleshing out the love triangle a little bit more. Ash is still his gorgeous royal brooding iciness. Grimalkin comes along for the ride, snarky as ever. Even Iron Horse reappears on the scene declaring he won’t serve a false king.

Queen Mab is keeping Meghan Chase imprisoned in the Unseelie Court deep in the heart of winter territory. This wouldn’t be so bad if Ash was around to help her navigate all the politics, but he hardly shows his face and when he does he’s back to that harsh icy demeanor that says he could care less. It confuses Meghan and hurts her too. She doesn’t understand and she doesn’t put two and two together from what Ash told her in Winter’s Passage.

On the night the Scepter of the Seasons is passed between Seelie and Unseelie courts, Meghan finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Iron Court makes a secret attack, killing the crown prince in the process. Meghan tried to help him fight but she couldn’t reach her magic and ends up using the Scepter to bash in some heads before she gets taken down. The Iron Fey leave her alone and disappear, taking all evidence with them. Queen Mab doesn’t believe Meghan for a minute and freezes her in solid ice before declaring war on the Summer Court.

There’s no way for Meghan to get out of the ice prison on her own, if only somebody believed her! She had to stop what was happening and stop it fast before the Summer and Winter courts destroyed each other.

Favorite Scene: Easily the end sequence when Ash and Meghan make their biggest decision about their relationship. Swoon.

Bad Gal: Virus – is a wickedly drawn character and very scary.

Fey Glamour: Meghan’s power over fey glamour is blocked or is it? Her discovery of Iron glamour is essential. If only she could wield it better.

Rating: 5 Stars

Buy: The Iron Daughter

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Review: The Iron King (Iron Fey, Book 1) by Julie Kagawa

I am in love with the Iron King by Julie Kagawa. Her novel is full of sumptuousness. Its details and world building are lavish and exciting. Her characters draw you in like Satyr pulls in unsuspecting humans to dance until they collapse from exhaustion, except in Kagawa’s case you come out happy and anticipating the next installment.

If I had to guess, the future of the story will involve a love triangle. At the moment I am 100% completely for Team Ash. He’s the type of character I just love to love. He’s aloof, slightly moody, hard to figure out and of course the more forbidden love interest, being an Unseelie prince. He’s Winter to Meghan’s Summer. The best thing about him? He’s unwilling to give up where others would quit without a second thought.

Puck (aka Robin Goodfellow) is the other love interest and as he’s yet to declare his feelings toward Meghan (if he truly has any of the romantic sort) I am afraid I’m not rooting for him. However, he is an excellent character and would make a good hero, far better for Meghan than Jacob Black for Bella Swan. He’s the merrymaker, the best friend, and the one most likely to fully have Meghan’s interests at heart.

Meghan is a great heroine. She rises to the challenge of rescuing her younger half brother from the fairy world and faces each obstacle with determination to not let it be the thing that stops her from completing her self imposed mission. Her greatest weakness is in fact her greatest strength. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to save those she loves (kind of like Harry Potter in that respect) and is unwilling to leave her friends behind. It will get her into trouble, but it’ll also be her salvation in the end.

This is just one novel from Harlequin’s new Teen line and honestly, they hit the nail on the head when it comes to young adult romance. Iron King was perfect in all aspects. I have no complaints other than that it ended and I must wait to read Iron Daughter.

Rating: 5 Stars

Buy: The Iron King (Harlequin Teen)

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Review: The Highlander’s Touch by Karen Marie Moning

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By: Sasha Muradali, guest blogger

The Highlander’s Touch is the third novel in the series of Highlanders by Karen Marie Moning. It is darker than the rest, but provides the ground work for four of the next novels.

Enter Lisa, a woman from the 21st century who is too nosy for her own good. Touching an ancient artifact, she finds herself stumbling back in time 700 years prior into ancient Scotland. But the thing is, and how romantically-novel-typical, Lisa falls 700 years back into the private bed chamber of Highland Laird Circenn. His nickname is “Sin,” believe it or not.

But nothing is as sweaty, sexy and frustrating as it seems, for Circenn has a secret; a very dark, deep secret.

Lisa, torn between anger and lust, left an ill mother behind when she fell back in time and that one factor pushes her not only to push Circenn away, but to find a way back to her century. Not having that Circenn is determined to not only keep her in his century, but help her let go of all the anger and bottled up emotions ready to consume her.

There are two problems: Circenn does not know how to return Lisa to her century and the ‘person’ that does…well, Circenn isn’t speaking to him, as they got into a rather interesting arguement.

Three guesses as to of whom we speak?

Adam Black, ladies, the fabulous Dark Fae himself, Adam Black!

But it gets better – Adam holds the key to Circenn’s secret. Actually, Adam is the reason for Circenn’s secret and it is worth reading to learn. The story builds up, and the tension between the two lead male characters reaches various levels of intelligence, humor, respect and spite.

What I absolutely love about this novel, is not the typical boy meets girl, girl meets boy, girl hates boy, boy tries to woo girl, girl whacks boy so on and so forth.

No, I dare say my favorite parts are the exchanges, as few as they are, between Circenn and Adam. Not only are they entertaining, but these key conversations, will help readers understand what is to come in the next four books.

The Highlander’s Touch is truly a joy to read.  Karen Marie Moning is on target and her Highlander novels only get better from here.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Buy: The Highlander’s Touch

Highlanders: A Series of Novels by Karen Marie Moning

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By: Sasha Muradali, guest reviewer

It’s been awhile since I’ve come across a series of books that I can honestly say I love, especially, from a genre that I do not commonly read. But that’s the beauty of Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series: it defies the ordinary and jumps head on into the extraordinary.

Set, in mostly, throughout the 1500s shifting in between modern times, the seven books center around seven incredible heroes. From twins Daegus and Drustan, to warriors Grimm, Circenn, Cian and Hawk, to the ‘abso-freakin-lutely’ stunning black fairy (fae) Adam, the series is full of intense story lines that cut across history, time and space.

Whether you enjoy fantasy, science-fiction, romance, fiction, action, adventure or mystery, there is a little bit of everything. Most book sellers classify the series as “Paranormal/Time-Travel Romance.” The series really reminds me of Stardust and Harry Potter in the sense that the author takes multiple facets of mythology and history combining them to make her own margarita concoction.

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For example, Drustan is a Highlander, yes, but he also has the ability to shift through time, was possessed by the 13 Darkest Druid beings, and is a Druid himself. Sounds more like Joss Whedon’s Angel the more I think about it.  Or take for example, Grimm, a Highland warrior with extraordinary powers who has the ability to turn into a Berserk, a raging human beast of exquisitely irreconcilable power bred to destroy.

As a series, the books are mind-blowing, but like everything else in life, there is good and bad. Individually, some of the books are far better than others. Hands-down the best book in the entire series is The Dark Highlander, the worst is Beyond the Highland Mist and the one that disappoints, for the direction it takes, is the The Immortal Highlander which brings back Adam Black (aka Puck aka “the Fool” aka The Black Fairy/Fae).

darkhighlanderOne of the most interesting characters brought to life is Aoibheal, the Queen of the Fae. She’s sexy, alluring, smart, wicked, spiteful, playful, yet, very firm in her beliefs and way of life. It’s through her and Adam that most of the issues throughout the seven books occur. Well, it’s through Adam most of the issues occur, it’s through Aoibheal that the problems are fixed. Together, these two characters add a stream of sensual humor that is unique and brands Karen Marie Moning’s style as an author.

Each Friday we will be featuring an in-depth review on each of the Highlander books and you can make sure not to miss a single one by keeping tabs on the tag for the author “Karen Marie Moning.”

But make no mistake, if you want an easy read, to keep you on your toes and encase your senses in the unbelievable and extremely wanting – this is the series for you!

Book in Order:

Visit Karen Marie Moning website.

Review: Summer’s Crossing (Iron Fey, Book 3.5) by Julie Kagawa

Summary: Summer’s Crossing is the first book in the Iron Fey series to not feature Meghan Chase as the narrator. It is told from Puck’s perspective. The story is a short novella to whet appetites between The Iron Queen and the release of The Iron Knight. Ash must find Grimalkin in order to start his quest to reunite with Meghan. Puck is determined to come along even if ice-boy doesn’t want him around. Before they can even begin, a snag crops up. Leanansidhe, the exiled faery queen, is calling in on the favor Ash promised her. She wants Ash to sneak into the Summer Court and steal back a violin that Queen Titania stole from her. She doesn’t care that it’s a suicide mission. How is Puck going to sneak a Winter faery across Summer lines?

Review: I enjoyed getting inside Puck’s head. I don’t know if I could follow him for a whole book, I’d much prefer to follow Ash, but Puck is genuinely heartbroken over Meghan and willing to help Ash because it helps Meghan even though he’s jealous of Ash’s position in her affections. Plus I have a feeling if Ash can become Iron Fey resistant or actually Iron Fey, Puck is going to switch too.

Favorite Scene: Oberon’s conversation with Puck. With the Summer King’s permission to be with Meghan and advice on how to get rid of his biggest rival, will Puck continue on the path he started or will he betray Ash and get rid of his competition for Meghan’s heart?

Romance: There really isn’t any romance in this novella because Meghan is not in the picture. She’s off page the entire time, but Puck and Ash are working together in hopes of seeing her again and because they love her.

Recommended: You can be pretty sure that portions of Summer’s Crossing will be found in The Iron Knight because Winter’s Passage, the other novella in the series, was incorporated in The Iron Queen. However if you’re like me you’re going to want to read this novella anyway so go for it!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Summer’s Crossing

Review: One Thousand Kisses (The Fey Realm, Book 2) by Jody Wallace

by Sandra Scholes, guest reviewer

The Fairy Court doesn’t stand a chance with Primary, Embor Fiertag in the ranks – he is a fun kind of guy, kind and normal for a fairy male, but he hasn’t bonded with a mate yet, and some of his kind are getting worried about him. As he is the Primary, he has a need to find a mate but he doesn’t admit to it, but there are other things he would like to get sorted out first – find the ones who made an attempt on his life, and see if he can get re elected. It’s a tall order, even for someone like him – but he can do it – hopefully!

This novel has a really good start, with a nice dose of good humor showing the main character Embor who has his hands full with a mystery toddler who insists on flying away even when he doesn’t want her to. As Embor is more used to court life, he finds he isn’t used to dealing with children or babies, so this encounter is something new for him. When he finds her mother, Anisette, all the worrying is over, but not the humor.

The story is set in a fantasy realm, yet uses some more modern language to mix with the humor, and Jody gives readers plenty of that to be going on with in the story, the reader can be assured of that. There is a good amount of fantasy violence, fairy drug abuse and bad language that propels the story forward in context, rather than it just being in the story. The fairies in the story are also aware of the real world around them in modern America, so there is some kind of familiarity for the readers too.

The one thousand kisses in the title refers to a book called The Thousand Kisses which is a guide for fairy people to use if they want to find a bondmate – lots of rituals are in there, but it isn’t something Embor wants to use. He does have an interest in Anisette, but will she find what she wants with him? She does use the rituals in the book after all. Many think this is the only way to find a bondmate, yet others have not followed the book’s teachings and found mates and bonded successfully. Embor, others think has no sex drive or interest in women, but he does have feelings for Anisette so why doesn’t he do something about it?

Readers will find a lot to like about this novel that looks at relationships in a fairy realm under fairy rule with fairy rules thrown in.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: One Thousand Kisses