A Touch of Ruin – Book Review

So, I reviewed the first of a trilogy (?) of a Hades and Persephone retelling, A Touch of Darkness. Just this last week, the sequel dropped and I had it read in a few days. I thought I would take the time to review both of the books to support the author, Scarlett St. Clair. I think newer writers can use all the help we loyal supporters can give them.

A Touch of Ruin by Scarlett St. Clair takes place a few months after A Touch of Darkness. Persephone and Hades are officially public, though all still think Persephone is a mortal. Except for her best friend, Lexa who knows the truth ( who gets a whole story within this book as well).  Persephone is still dealing with the pressure of her mother’s displeasure of being with Hades, her boss is requiring an exclusive story on her and Hades relationship, and now she just found out, her friend Sybil, an oracle of Apollo’s, has lost all her power since she won’t sleep with Apollo. Justice warrior Persephone to the rescue!

Everything is going wrong. Hades past is catching up to him, and Persephone is still dealing with her feelings on trust and love. Her powers are manifesting in ways she can’t control, and all the general stress of life and being in the public has gotten to Persephone in ways that are not helping matters.

Basically, everything is going wrong. By the way, this is classic sequel territory. You have the set up in the first book, the fall down in the second, and redemption comes in the third book. You start to see some redemption by the last quarter of A Touch of Ruin. But this is long after you’ve wanted to shake the dickens out of Persephone. How could she be so stupid? Answer? Because we all do stupid things when we are insecure, unsure, and afraid. (Perse, I’ve been there). But redemption is sweet. While Hades isn’t the best communicator of all times, : insert dark and brooding types never are : he desperately loves Persephone and he really is trying. There are even current social issues of death. I won’t say more as it will spoil.

This book still left me with certain questions, like how in the first one, Hades uses his powers of invisibility to ‘spy’ on Persephone, but you are left wondering if he really was. And if other gods can bestow favors, why can’t Persephone?  And while I love how Scarlett inserted one of the myths of Pirithous, I found it slightly rushed towards the end and I was hoping Persephone was a tad bit stronger. Just a tad. But hey, I’m a writer, I will always want to put my spin on a perfectly lovely story.

This book tends to focus a lot on sex, and as a good sex scenes type book, this hits the nail. We’ve all read our erotic fiction, this one is pretty darn good for that.

I love how we get tastes of other gods in this one. Apollo (I actually love his character), Hermes, Hecate, Aphrodite, and even Helen of Troy are brought in. Hermes and Hecate are truly great supporting characters. Well written and fun and full of depth, they are just the perfect ensemble cast for Persephone.

This book, while not the level of flair as A Touch of Darkness, is still really enjoyable and makes me anxious for book number three. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars, but then, most sequels hit this way.

If, like I said in A Touch of Darkness review, you are looking for a fun retelling of the classic myth, then check out books one and two. I can’t wait for number three!

I’m kind of hoping Ms. St. Clair tackles other myths over time. I can see her going to town on so many.

Kate

A Touch of Darkness – Book Review

I love classic story retellings. Emma by Jane Austen to Clueless, Twelfth Night by Shakespeare to She’s the Man, and Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare to 10 Things I Hate About You, just to name three films of that ilk. So when I was on Pinterest browsing one day and came across quotes and lines from a Hades and Persephone retelling, I knew I just had to check it out.

A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair is one of this guilty pleasure books that tickle the fancy of any mythology junkie, which I happen to be. I have already read other versions of Hades and Persephone, Cupid and Psyche, Jack Frost and his “winter princess”. Basically it’s like glorified fan fiction, but who cares.

A Touch of Darkness is a modern twist on the ancient myth. Here you have Persephone, an almost college graduate living in New Athens, striving to become an investigative journalist, all while trying to get away from the crushing pressure of her goddess mother, Demeter. Persephone is an unknown goddess herself, but her powers are killing plants. That’s it. She can’t use glamour magic to hide her divine self, so she has to borrow her mother’s, something that irks her and keeps her under mommy’s control. 

Persephone has an internship at The Daily which is what leads her to end up celebrating at Nevernight, one of Hades casinos. And also one of the places Demeter has forbid her daughter from visiting. Interacting with any of the divine in general is a big no no for Persephone as well as she has not had her coming out, so to speak, so she is 100% unknown. But well, sheltered girls are apt to want to spread their wings. Not only does Persephone end up at the nightclub, but she also ventures into single players club and sits down to a card game with a handsome stranger. Oops. Can we guess who this is? Not only is it a god, but it’s Hades himself, where she also inadvertently ended up making a deal with Hades. Boy, how to take mommy’s rules and in with them.

Now she’s stuck having to fulfill a bargain with Lord of the underworld, fighting her attraction to him, dealing with Adonis, who steals her exclusive story on Hades, among a host of other problems. How in the world is a “useless” goddess going to handle all the pressure?

This book has so much more in it than I have even scratched the surface of. Several of the divine make appearances, not to mention the pesky nymphs and backstabbing mortals with favors. Do Persephone and Hades work out? And just what is going on in the Underworld? 

I read this book in a day and a half last summer, loved it so much, I reread it again right off the bat, then had to wait till April of this year for the sequel! The romance and attraction between Hades and Persephone is palpable and sucks you in, in just the best ways. I loved this book. I purchased the kindle version which doesn’t have some of the extras the paperback has.  I am tempted to get the paper copies.

5 out of five stars for fun off the top. Side warning, this book is definitely for adults. Nut read it if you like myth retellings. And then the sequel is next for me to review. The next in the series is A Touch of Ruin.

Kate

 

 

Don’t Make Me Come Up There – Flash Fiction

Photo by Ryan Hutton on Unsplash

“Don’t make me come up there,” he bellows at the sky. His face is murderous, the scowl etching deep lines into his forehead. The frown isn’t visible on his mouth as his thick beard covers from nose down.

“Darling, who in the world are you yelling at?” comes the soft, and slightly worried question from the woman leaning out of the sliding glass door. The light behind her casts her in an elegant silhouette and the burly man glances back at her, his scowl softening slightly.

“The damn twins are arguing again,” he mutters, jerking a thumb upwards towards the scintillating star-studded black sky framed by tall conifers.

The dainty woman arches a fine brow and glances upward. She doesn’t hear a thing; the forest is so dense and thick she can’t even hear the lake that is just a couple minute’s walk from the glamorous mountain home.

“I don’t hear anything,” she finally says, holding out her palm for him to take. He reaches out and his hand engulfs her, but he allows her to tug him back to the warmly lit interior. He gives one more ferocious glare back at the “silent” sky, then follows her back inside, sliding shut the door and pulling the blinds closed.

“Now where were we before you decided you needed to go out and yell at the sky?” she teases as she hands him back his half-drunk glass of wine and picking hers up as well.  She sinks into the sofa and tugs him towards her.

“When Cass and Pol start arguing, no one can hear a thing,” he mutters, settling down next to her.

She just shakes her head, not having a clue who he is talking about.

But how is she to know she is sitting next to a god?

It’s A Little Bit Greek To Me

A sudden rainstorm over a two day period came and blew out the heat and summer dust. In a few days the summer smell went to autumn, or early autumn, in a flash.  Step outside to gorgeousness and sweet air.  It’s been a minor perfection.

Work has kept me at a constant spiral of in, out, split shifts, late nights, huge workloads, and a constant ever present desire to write when I can. Even a few words. An older gentleman who has heard my work asked me the other day if I was still writing. He’s so sweet. Yes, I am still writing. A lot more than I thought I could while being this busy, but also a lot less than I would like. Time is much more precious. Reading too. I read this amazing retelling of the Hades and Persephone story. Very adult. Very good. I love Greek myths, always have, and retellings are fun. I found Lore Olympus on Webtoon, which I had seen some of the art on Pinterest, and it has been another delightful retelling. Modernized. I would love to read more retellings.

Lore Olympus. Persephone and Hades…. yum!

A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

Lore Olympus  

I’m on the hunt for more fun retellings of other Greek or Mythology  stories.

Wilson Tennu has gotten a few more words out recently, which as been nice. I like how I’m able to step into another frame and write about him. I had to get over some road blocks with him.

Just like I recently picked up a novel about the Sierra Nevadas I started a couple years ago. I finally knuckled down and came to a point where I have been trying to get to, and now have some basis, and plot points. It is a huge event for me because I write by the seat of my pants. Though at least with this novel, I’m taking a novel I already love and have read multiple times and rewriting it to be like what I want as I always found some fault. I’ve changed the setting and the theme some. Instead of a harmless mistake of scheduling, this is an actual setup of two people by the sister of the girl and her husband who met the guy and is a friends. Guy and Gal hate each other from a work standpoint, but well, things change. Surprisingly, Instagram is what helped take this novel off because I could find pictures of the place I was writing about, since I live 8 hours away these days. I grew up there, but haven’t been back in a 20 years. So I needed a bit of help.

I’m going to include a few lines of a Wilson Tennu poem I’m working on. It’s nearly finished, but not quite. I was inspired by Greek Muses, muses in my life, and tarot or oracle cards. It’s from Wilson’s POV

I watch her shuffle the large deck of cards
cutting, rotating, shuffling again.
She has four decks, one classic,
the other three are one’s she lovingly stroked
then tapped rhythmically with her pearl varnished nails.
It’s a height of summertime kind of day, and she,
she’s an oracle, Delphi would admit her in an instant.
A grass heated breeze blows in through wire screens,
wild florals and sweet wild oat turning tan and gold
as July slowly bakes on, lazily spinning the ceiling fan,
around and around, and she sits in the middle of my bed,
her legs crossed under her white skirt spread out ,
her blonde hair snapping out impatient like;
Electricity flows through her veins and lightning
flashes in her ever changing sea and sky blue eyes.
“Y know I’m no good at this,” she sing-songs her words,
shaking her head bemused, flipping a card over with a small frown,
two little indents forming between her brows.
She and I had joked about a reading, answering existential questions
as we sang our way through the breakdown and mopping
when she’s as put together as any chef should be.
As unlike she is now, all Greek muse like,
humming her approval of one card I pick
consulting her books at another,
and our glasses sit, sweating pools of water rings
on the wooden table, forgotten in the moment.

By Katie Lyn Branson copywrite 2019

Isn’t that fun? Summer ish?

Kate