Celia Aaron-Blood Prince

I guarantee that if Celia Aaron writes it, I will read it. Every.damn.time. I love her work so much. I’ve talked about before about how I think she’s a new chapter in Modern Southern Gothic fiction. She writes such layered stories with a lot of nuance. Her FMCs are strong characters in and of themselves, and she gives them a lot of smarts and stubbornness. Blood Prince fits in well with her style, even if it doesn’t take place in the South, unless, well, you consider the Underworld the South.

So, this is Celia’s take on the Helen of Troy story. For those who aren’t familiar with the story, Paris, the prince of Troy is asked to judge a beauty contest between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. They bribe him and Aphrodite offers Paris the most beautiful woman in the world. That just happens to be Helen, Queen of Sparta, wife to Menelaus. As the story goes, either he went and kidnapped her and brought her to Troy or Aphrodite spirited her away. Either way, Helen and Paris end up together in Troy and madly in love. Menelaus, understandably, is really fucking pissed, so he and his allies lay siege to Troy. Eventually, Menelaus challenges Paris to a duel, and Paris either dies or runs away, depending on which story you read. Then, the Trojan Horse shows up.

OK, that’s the way that Homer told it. Celia’s version is slightly different. In her version, Priam, Paris’ dad, is the vampire king, and the vamps aren’t bad. Menelaus is a demon lord, and demons are bad. Menelaus bought Helen, a daughter of Zeus and full of magic, at an auction to be his wife. He did terrible, terrible things to her. We don’t know most of what he did to her at any point, other than killing her brothers and torturing her mother, we just know that it was terrible. When Paris was there and saw Helen in a rose garden, lightning struck, and they fell in love. He took her home to Troy, where they lived happily ever after, at least until Menelaus showed up and tried to get her back. Paris went to fight Menelaus and he lost. Then when Menelaus came to get Helen, she killed herself so that he couldn’t have her anymore.

Flash forward a few centuries and Elena, one of the maiden warriors of Artemis and her chief strategist, is out wandering through the streets of Paris. She runs into a huge guy who ends up taking her and shoving her in his car. Right before that happens, she sees the vampire prince Paris teleporting towards her, with a really angry look on his face. Last she knew, he was dallying with Artemis, so she can’t figure out why he’s mad at her. When she gets in the car, the man sticks some silver bracelets on her which block her magic and then tells her that, oh, BTW, he’s her husband.

Paris manages to help her escape, and tells Elena that she’s actually Helen of Troy. Artemis rescued her body after death, took her memories, and turned her into one of her warriors.

Elena/Helen is pretty damn kick ass. She’s smart, tricksy, wily, and a master tactician. She pretty much strategically outthinks everyone. Paris is more than willing to go with her plans because he knows that she’s not only the best at it but that she’s already thought through all the possible steps and problems before she finalizes anything. It’s like she already has seen every possible outcome and knows what definitely happen. It’s pretty cool. I love that Elena/Helen is so kick ass and that she is seriously fierce. She isn’t necessarily a damsel in distress. She definitely causes the distress. She’s confident and sure of herself and her power. The nice thing is that Paris isn’t threatened by that. He values her, her powers, and her abilities. He knows that if she’s by his side then he can’t fail.

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Oh, Iphi. I love her. She and Helen are a pair. I think that she’s just super fun, and not quite right, but in a good way. I would love to see a story about Iphi because I’m pretty sure that she would get into all kinds of good trouble.

Apollo is such a horndog. So funny. I wonder how many upset husbands he’s left in his wake over the centuries, because you know he has. Or maybe he just managed to charm them all, who knows. I feel like he’s one of those jackasses who is such a huge asshole but you can’t help but like him because he’s a charming fuck.

OK, that’s all I have to say today. Go check this one out! Happy reading!

Eris Adderly-The Eighth House

Anyone who reads on Literotica may be familiar with The Eighth House by DeathandTaxes. Well, D&T turns out to be Eris Adderly. The funny thing is that I found her stories on Lit and her books on Amazon separately and liked them both. It wasn’t until she said something on FB about another story that I realized that they were the same person. I read this story once or twice on Lit. So OK, maybe it was more like five or six times, but who’s counting? I’ve been waiting for this book to come out for a long time and pre-ordered it as soon as I could. I’m really enjoying the differences.

Persephone is my favorite myth. We all know the story. Persephone gets taken to the Underworld to be married to Hades. Demeter goes nuts and nothing grows, famines happen, all kinds of terrible things. Persephone eats 6 pomegranate¬†seeds, which would usually relegate her to the Underworld forever, but a compromise is met, she’ll live with Hades for 6 months of the year, and the other 6 months, she’ll live on Olympus. The 6 months she lives in the Underworld are fall and winter, spring and summer are when she comes back. There’s just something so… I don’t know. The story just speaks to me so much. So, when I found Eris’s version, I had to read it. It was like something jumped out at me and said READ. So I did.

So, here we go, The Eighth House.

We open on a beach, where Persephone has just been having an interlude with a mortal man. She’s not all that satisfied, but her lover thinks that she’s all that and a bag of chips, which of course, she totally is. I mean, goddess, right? When she leaves that guy, she heads to see Polyxene, a mortal woman who she considers a friend. She’s been visiting Polyxene¬†off and on for many years, sometimes giving her samples of plants that are very powerful and stronger. Anyway, while she is there, Persephone asks to wear Polyxene’s ring, does some magic to it, and tells Polyxene that if the ring hasn’t changed when Persephone sees her again, she can have what’s in it.

Flash to the Underworld. Hades is being confronted by Aphrodite. She wants a favor from Hades, and she reminds Hades that he owes her. She tells him that her favor is that he will take Persephone and make her his. When questioned, Aphrodite tells Hades that the reason for it is that Hermes, Aphrodite’s lover, is paying too much attention to Persephone.

Demeter, Persephone’s mother, has done everything she can to keep her away from the gods on Olympos. Demeter thinks that Persephone is still a maiden and hasn’t had anything to do with any man. She treats Persephone like she is a little girl, not as if she’s a grown goddess. So, Demeter sends her dear, darling, “maiden” daughter off to Nysa to gather baskets of flowers with Artemis and Athena.

While she is there, Hades arranges for the earth to open up and for Persephone to fall into the Underworld and into his arms. He had been planning on just playing with Persephone up until that point. When he saw, smelt, and felt her, he knew that he was doomed.

Alright, here is where we split. The Eighth House is a wonderful book. Not only is a good retelling of the Persephone/Hades myth, you get a book with a great plotline, wonderful descriptions, and hot sex scenes. So, really, it’s a win/win in my view. I have put it under dark romance because there is BDSM in there, but it isn’t as dark as other books I’ve put in there. There is an HEA, which yay! I don’t always need an HEA, but it’s nice to read. Right now this book is on KU, but as always, I recommend that you buy it. You’ll want to read it over and over.

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Before I go anywhere else with this post, I need to talk about the bridge scene. I can neither confirm nor deny that I have that whooooooole scene highlighted in my Kindle for… reasons. It is one of the most mind-blowing scenes that I’ve ever read. I mean, I’ve read some really hot sex scenes, but the reason that this one really got to me what the whole trust issue between Persephone and Hades. It’s not like it was easy for her to do what she did, but that’s what makes it so amazing.

Ok, now that I have that out of the way. Hades is now one of my newest book boyfriends. He is so devoted to Persephone, even when he is trying hard to control himself and not to be. Not only that, he actually gives a fuck about his job and about the souls under his care. I love his physical description, it’s a really stark image in my head but stark in a good way, like a statue carved of ivory with ebony accents.

Persephone. Poor Persephone. Polyxene was the only one who even came close knowing her before she met Hades. At one point, during a fight she’s having with her mother towards the end of the book, she tells her mom that she’s been boning mortal males all this time and what did it say about her mother that Hades knew more about her than her own mother did. I, personally, don’t think that Demeter really likes Persephone all that much. I mean, sure, she probably loved her, but just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you actually like them all the time.

I’m really glad that I bought this one. Like I said, I had it on pre-order as long as it was possible to. I may have squeed a little bit when I found out that Eris was turning it into a book. It looks like it’s going to be the first one in a series, and I can’t wait to see what else she has coming for us!