Blue Christmas

Desperado 

Frankly My Dear

 Here Comes Santa Claus

 The Last Viking

The Love Potion

My Fair Viking

Sweeter Savage Love

A Tale of Two Vikings

Truly Madly Viking

Viking Unchained

 

 
Viking Heat
by Sandra Hill
(Berkley Sensation, $7.99, R) ISBN 978-0-425-23067-1
****
Who doesn’t love a sexy Viking? In my opinion, Vikings haven’t been overdone in the manner of sexy cowboys, or sexy pirates (I love them both, but come on, you can almost write their lines for them) so the “hot Viking” story is still tons of fun to read.  Viking Heat delivers.

Let’s start with our heroine, Joy Nelson. It’s 2009, and Joy is a psychologist who is grieving the loss of her big brother, Matthew. After meeting the Navy SEAL that recovered Matthew’s body, she decides to become a WEAL, a female SEAL. While boot camp is very tough and monumentally intense, Joy makes her way through on brains, guts and determination.

We learn that Joy has had a hard time with men after dating a string of cute, shallow guys, so she’s decided to give dating a break and focus on her military training. When a fellow WEAL opts out of an assignment, Joy is called in to pose as a slave to be sold to bust up a group of terrorists. With six SEALs at her back, she’s pretty confident that everything will go just fine.

Not really fine…somehow Joy ends up thrown back in time to the tenth century in the Norselands. She’s still up for auction, but this time it’s for real. Two mischievous brothers buy her as a gift for their older brother, Brandr- a Viking warlord. 

Brandr Igorsson is a Jomsviking warrior in the year 955 AD when he finds out that nearly his entire family has been massacred by a rival clan, and he is the new jarl in charge of the family home, Bear’s Lair. He immediately gathers men and makes a plan to avenge his family, but his anger and bitterness get the better of him. Brandr becomes obsessed with revenge, living in darkness and even some of his own men are afraid of him. When Joy tumbles into his life, courtesy of his younger brothers, he’s completely taken aback by this woman warrior, with her modern ideas, wild stories and psychoanalysis. Joy is similarly disturbed by Brandr’s possessive, archaic, chauvinistic ways. One thing is for certain, they are magnetically attracted to one another, but they can’t get along - or even understand one another most of the time. Brandr’s certain he won’t let Joy go, and Joy wants to find out why she’s been thrown back in time, what her purpose is, and try to deal with the strange old world she’s attempting to live in.

Viking Heat is a very funny, sexy tale. Hill has a knack for the kind of engrossing story telling that transports a reader to a different place - in this case, a very different place.

My only complaint about Viking Heat is that it goes beyond funny to just over-the-top silly at times. While the scenario of a modern psychologist/WEAL woman falling for a tenth century Viking warlord is set up with numerous humorous moments that are bound to happen, sometimes the funny bits fall flat because they seem so expected. Of course Joy tries to help Brandr find his feminine side - good luck with that, lady!

I loved the character of Brandr. While Joy is a funny, admirable heroine, she is definitely outshone by dark, brooding, surprisingly sensitive Brandr. He oozes sexuality, with a healthy dose of testosterone and some grieving darkness that every woman would want to save him from thrown in. Brandr’s character evolves throughout the book; he is thoroughly portrayed from the beginning through to the end. The depth that Hill gives him is incredible - he is a unique hero and that alone makes it worth reading this book, even without the excellent background characters, setting and love story.

I would like to commend Sandra Hill for writing an experienced, sexually educated heroine. Thee virginal prude parade that often graces romance novels can get tiresome. Come on, it’s really 2009 now and variety is nice.

If you’d like a good laugh, and a great escape with a sexy Viking this fall, Viking Heat will deliver what you need.  

--Amy Wroblewsky


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