Series: Celta's Heartmates

Review: Heart Legacy by Robin D. Owens

Posted November 3, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Heart Legacy by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
Heart Legacy by Robin D. Owens
Series: Celta's Heartmates #14
Also in this series: Heart Fate, HeartMate, HeartMate, Heart Change, Heart Dance, Heart Journey, Heart Secret
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: November 3rd 2015
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General
Pages: 368
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three-stars

The award-winning author returns to her “wonderfully imaginative”* world of Heart Fire and Heart Fortune for an all-new Celta novel about a young woman’s destiny, and the one man whose love could be her downfall. After the death of GrandLord Yew years ago, the Yews withdrew to their self-sustaining estate and disappeared from Celtan society. The current head of the household is believed to be eighteen-year-old Loridana. To find out, Draeg Blackthorn has been sent to the estate to spy, undercover as a stableman for the stridebeasts—beautiful creatures that hold a place in Lori’s heart no member of her family ever could. Bullied by her family, Lori has decided to abandon her bloodline and live on her own with her true family—her animals. When Draeg discovers she’s rejecting her heritage, he’s appalled. He’s come to love the land as much as the woman, even spinning small fantasies of marrying Lori and becoming Lord and Lady of the manor. Draeg wants her to stay and fight her elders. For Lori, it’s an alternative that could render her absolutely powerless to pursue her own destiny, and drive her further away from her perfect dreams and the man she loves, Draeg.
*Romance Junkies
 
From the Trade Paperback edition.

After the death of GrandLord Yew years ago, the Yews withdrew to their self-sustaining estate and disappeared from Celtan society. The current head of the household is believed to be eighteen-year-old Loridana. To find out, Draeg Blackthorn has been sent to the estate to spy, undercover as a stableman for the stridebeasts—beautiful creatures that hold a place in Lori’s heart no member of her family ever could.

Bullied by her family, Lori has decided to abandon her bloodline and live on her own with her true family—her animals. When Draeg discovers she’s rejecting her heritage, he’s appalled. He’s come to love the land as much as the woman, even spinning small fantasies of marrying Lori and becoming Lord and Lady of the manor. Draeg wants her to stay and fight her elders. For Lori, it’s an alternative that could render her absolutely powerless to pursue her own destiny, and drive her further away from her perfect dreams and the man she loves, Draeg.

Owens’ Celta’s Heartmates series is one of my favorites. The world-building is stellar. I always fall right into these stories and the characters come alive. For those who haven’t read any of the previous books, I would recommend going back and starting at the beginning of the series, with Heart Mate. The earlier books are often referenced and I feel like you get a more complete reading experience having read them all. The books are broken into two generations, with the split happening at book 7, Heart Fate. If you don’t feel up to taking on all 14 books, I recommend you at least read Heart Fate before starting this one, as the events of that book shaped this story.

Loridana Yew is unofficially D’Yew (the head of her family, a position given based on Psi power), but her family has been bullying and abusing her since she was young, and she hasn’t been formally given the title of D’Yew. Her parents died when she was younger, but her cousins and the Residence itself keep her under their thumb. The Residence especially (the house has developed sentience from years of absorbing the Psi power of its inhabitants), which has taken on the personality of the former T’Yew (male head of family), forces its will and agenda on her. Her body is monitored at all times for changes in heart rate and breathing, she’s locked in closets or zapped by the Residence if she gets out of line, and her cousins are quick to torment her further by doing damage to the only things she really loves – her animals. With no way to combat this treatment, Lori has made the decision to leave the family and move into a property she inherited from her mother.

Since T’Yew was killed and the Yews disappeared behind the walls of their self-sustaining estate, the other FirstFamilies have long wondered what they’re up to. When evidence points toward the family trying to murder or harm other members of society, Tinne Holly (the hero of Heart Fate) asks Draeg Blackthorn to go undercover as a stable hand on the Yew estate to spy on them and find out which – if any – are involved in the evil doings. Draeg realizes right away Lori isn’t involved, or even aware of what’s going on outside the estate. Though he suspects her cousins, he can find no proof and commits to staying until their plot is revealed or the attempted murderer is caught.

Though both have their own agenda, it isn’t long before their physical attraction turns into an emotional connection and they’re struggling to find ways to stay together. Neither fully trusts the other with their plans, but it soon becomes clear what they feel is more than just a passing fancy. When Draeg’s deception is revealed and Lori’s plans come out, they’ll need to fight hard to stay together…something that won’t work if they don’t have faith in one another.

Lori was young and somewhat naive when the story began. She’d been sheltered and knew little about life outside the walls of her estate. I liked how she grew as the novel progressed. I wish her abilities had been explored further. At one point T’Ash tries to test her with his testing stones (they reveal the level and focus of Psi power) but she’s rushed along before we find out what her strength is. I did like that she had time to come into her own at the end of the novel. She had several months on her own to become self-reliant, which I think she desperately needed.

In the beginning Draeg was a strong, interesting character who complimented Lori well. He loved the animals and had a solid sense of himself. He really came to love her land, and his feelings for her were genuine and sweet. I struggled to connect with him later in the story, however. His conviction that Lori was doing the wrong thing and his refusal to bend or compromise was frustrating.

Admittedly it’s been awhile since I read a Celta novel, but this one seemed more erotic than previous books. The sex scenes were drawn out and the language more coarse than I remember from previous books. It was jarring and not in keeping with the world. Though the major problem with book for me stems from the Draeg’s insistence that Lori is refusing to stay and fight, and his subsequent actions because of it. When he realizes her plans to abandon the land, he’s disappointed in her. That disappointment clouds his judgment and doesn’t allow him to truly see things from her perspective. Since he doesn’t realize – and can’t know – the extent of the abuse from her family, I was forgiving of him. At first. As the novel progressed and he refused to bend or go to her, however, I lost patience. In the end I felt he was the one who needed to apologize, and to make Lori realize he wanted her, with or without her title as D’Yew and the Yew estate.

Still, I liked both Draeg and Lori, and the way they were together. It was clear they cared for each other. Their love for the animals also came across well, and I adored their Fam’s (sentient animals who act as Familiar’s).

The ending brings down my final grade, but my love of the world, the romance and the Fams and animals made this a book worth reading.

three-stars


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Review: Heart Fire by Robin D. Owens

Posted January 22, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Review: Heart Fire by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
Heart Fire by Robin D. Owens
Series: Celta's HeartMates #13
Also in this series: Heart Fate, HeartMate, HeartMate, Heart Change, Heart Dance, Heart Journey, Heart Secret, Heart Legacy
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: November 4th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General
Pages: 368
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four-stars

NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED
On the planet Celta, accepting a HeartMate can be the greatest challenge in the universe…
Antenn, an architect hired to build a cathedral in Druida City, dares not think of his HeartMate. Even though he yearns for her, he’s taken steps to ensure she will be forever unknown to him. After all, how could he, a commoner who grew up in the slums, the brother of a murderer, be worthy of any woman?
Tiana, a priestess, has her own fears about being a HeartMate. She's watched her friends struggle with such a stormy destiny. She's sure her HeartMate has never claimed her due to a terrible scandal involving her Family, and she's set aside hopes for love.
Antenn's gotten the commission of his life. The cathedral will make him famous, but more, it will last for ages and prove to others he can contribute to Celta...if the controversial structure isn't destroyed while being built. Tiana, too, is an integral part of this process, but the villain who wrecked her Family is ready with firebombs. Can they trust each other in dangerous circumstances to succeed...and to love?

Antenn and Tiana! I’ve waiting for this book for years and years.

We first met Antenn back at the very beginning of the series, in Heart Mate. He and his brother were downwind boys who joined a gang. Antenn’s brother merged with two other boys to become a triad who shared thoughts and power, and he went mad when his triad brothers were killed. He ended up firebombing the council and killing several people. As his brother, Antenn carries the taint of a murderer, though he had nothing to do with it. Many of the Noble Families turn their nose up at him, and others spurn him outright. Building a new Cathedral, the first one for this new religion, is a way to overcome his past. Not only will it cement his place in society, but the Cathedral will live on forever, which offers him a bit of immorality.

The last thing he wants is to get involved with the Priestess assigned as liaison to the project, especially one with such a large chip on her shoulder. But he can’t deny his attraction to her, or his desire to see her happy.

Tiana is no stranger to scandal. When she was a girl her family was accused of practicing black magic and their home was destroyed. They were forced to flee under cover of night and their reputation was ruined. She’s spent many years trying to overcome her anger and grief at the injustices done to them, but hasn’t been successful. She’s up for a big promotion, but the High Priestess makes it clear she won’t consider Tiana unless she’s able to rid herself of her anger and focus on other things. This project is a way to help her channel that negative energy in a positive way. If only she didn’t have Antenn to deal with.

Though neither are interested in a relationship, especially with each other, they can’t deny their feelings for long. Especially when it looks like they may be Heart Mates…

The story was well done and did justice to both, I think. They were both a bit broken and scarred by their pasts. They worked very well together. Antenn offered Tiana a place to be herself, without her constant worry about her family and their smeared reputations – and even more, the injustice in what was done to them. For her part, Tiana offered Antenn unconditional acceptance, something he struggled to find within himself. 

The world is so amazing, I always end up fully immersed. Celta feels like a real place to me, and its inhabitants good friends. I always look forward to my visits with them, though I admit this book renewed my love for the series.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Heart Secret by Robin D. Owens

Posted September 18, 2012 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Heart Secret by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
Heart Secret by Robin D. Owens
Series: Celta's Heartmates #11
Also in this series: Heart Fate, HeartMate, HeartMate, Heart Change, Heart Dance, Heart Journey, Heart Legacy
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: August 7th 2012
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General
Pages: 368
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

On the faraway planet Celta, there are some things you can never tell—until someone discovers your Heart Secret…

When a virulent disease killed the woman he loved and her baby, Garrett Primross was left alive, a reluctant survivor. Now, as a private eye, he strives to banish the memories of his past and rebuild his life. The Healers of Celta have something else in mind: Discover why he survived.

He is monitored by Healer Artemisia Panax—his HeartMate, a love he never pursued. Still mourning his loss, he refuses to acknowledge her. Since her family was publicly disgraced, she's used to such treatment. She wants nothing more than to guard her livelihood and protect the secrets she's sworn to keep.

Thrown together by duty, Garrett and Artemisia find the body of the last Black Magic Cultist who ruined her family. Suspicion flares, but they have little choice but to investigate the crime together. When their own lives are placed in danger, they realize that denying their HeartMates is only denying their own future.

This is book number eleven in Owens’ Celta’s HeartMates series. While past events are mentioned, I think this can be read as a standalone.

Garrett is the sole survivor from his small estate of a terrible disease. When it took the girl he loved three years before, he vowed never to contact his HeartMate. He didn’t want to soil the memory of his first love, nor did he want to risk his heart again. Now they’re being forced to work together to help find a cure, since the disease is back. He tries to keep her at arms length, but can’t deny he’s drawn to her.

Artemisia’s family was cast out of their home after they were falsely accused of being part of a cult. They have since been tasked with taking care of BalmHeal, the private sanctuary of Celta that’s only available to those who are in desperate need. The entire family has been sworn to secrecy. She knows she has a HeartMate, but figures he never tried to contact her because of the scandal. And she’s ok with that. Mostly. She does want a family, however, and she hopes to find someone she can marry. She can’t deny an attraction to Garrett, but he’s a patient and therefore off limits. Plus, he’s kind of grumpy and prickly.

Even after they’re forced time together (while Garrett undergoes infection – he’s the only one on the planet who is immune – of a rare disease so they can hopefully find a cure), Garrett doesn’t want to claim Artemisia as his HeartMate. He wants to remain true to his first love and he resents that Artemisia makes him feel things for her.

With this novel, Owens moves firmly into the second generation of Celta families. I’m kind of torn here. I really like that we’re moving into a new generation and seeing outside the First Families. On the other hand, I kind of miss the sense of the world we got from the First Family’s point of view.

This is a darker novel. Garrett suffered through a traumatic event and there’s is a lot of pain and grief inside of him from it. He takes out his anger and guilt on Artemisia more than once. As we learn more about the events that shaped his past, it’s easy to forgive his treatment of her. Where I struggled was his complete about-face with her. One minute he didn’t want her as his HeartMate and the next he decided to claim her. That might have killed the novel for me, but he really had to work for it. If Artemisia had fallen at his feet as soon as he announced his change of heart, I don’t think this would have worked as well.

I enjoyed both characters. Artemisia was a strong women who was doing her best to make her way in the world, despite the scandal that still hung over her head. I only wish more had been done about the director of the Healing Hall she worked at. I was hoping for a comeuppance and was sorely disappointed in that regard.

Celta is such an interesting world, so easy to fall into. I can never wait to get the next installment and when I finish a new book, I always want to go back and re-read the old ones.

3.5 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley Trade. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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Lightning Review: Heart Journey by Robin D. Owens

Posted November 16, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Lightning Review: Heart Journey by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
Heart Journey by Robin D. Owens
Series: Celta's Heartmates #9
Also in this series: Heart Fate, HeartMate, HeartMate, Heart Change, Heart Dance, Heart Secret, Heart Legacy
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: August 3rd 2010
Genres: Fiction, Romance
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

View our feature on Robin Owens’s Heart Journey. New in the award-winning series of futuristic romance, fantasy, and sensual adventure.
Helena, a renowned cartographer, is exploring Celta when she finds out she has a HeartMate. Yearning for a partner, she is drawn to meet him.
Actor Raz Cherry is dedicated to his career. Uninterested in long-term commitments, he ignores an oracle that foretells of his HeartMate.
Though passion ignites, their lifestyles clash. Only when mysterious thefts threaten their families can they overcome the obstacles on their journey to love.

It took me a long time to get into this book. I picked it up and put it down several times before finally getting into the story. It didn’t grab me like many of the others in the series.

Raz is an actor and Helena is a cartographer. They’re both focused on their careers and not necessarily looking to settle down as heartmates. Helena is a bit more curious than Raz, and she seeks him out. Her plan is to claim him and take him along as she maps the planet. It isn’t long before she realizes he’s not going to be amenable to that. His career is just starting to take off and he’s hoping for a part in a new play.

While Helena was away on this latest trip – for about a year – her entire family, minus one small child, were killed by a fire. Now she has to decide if she’s going to let the Blackthorns adopt her niece, or take custody of her. She wants to do what’s best for the child, but she isn’t sure what that is.

Once I got into the story I enjoyed it. The mystery plot didn’t make much sense at first, but really came together at the end. I like the new direction Owens is going with the storyline. Finding out about the other ship is really intriguing.

I enjoyed it, because I always enjoy this world, but it isn’t a favorite.

3.75 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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Lightning Review: Heart Dance by Robin D. Owens

Posted November 20, 2009 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Heart Dance by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
Heart Dance by Robin D. Owens
Series: Celta's Heartmates #6
Also in this series: Heart Fate, HeartMate, HeartMate, Heart Change, Heart Journey, Heart Secret, Heart Legacy
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: 2008
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 334
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

Sixth in the bestselling futuristic romance series-from a RITA Award-winning author. First time in trade!

DuFleur Thyme is a scientist who's secretly experimenting with time. She'll allow no distractions from her work-not even from a HeartMate. Meanwhile, Saille T'Willow has sent his HeartGift out into the world in hopes of finding his HeartMate, who, it turns out, is DuFleur. Still,

DuFleur wants nothing to do with Saille, especially when she discovers that it was his grandmother who brought about her father's ruin. Unfortunately, her body can't help but submit to the passion he stirs in her. But when a scandal threatens Saille's position as head of the family, will DuFleur stand by his side?

 

Heart Dance is book 6 in Owens’ HeartMates series. I liked this book, but not as well as some of her others. You can see my reviews for the rest of the books here.

I loved Saille. I thought he was a strong, honorable man. He really stepped up and tried to fix all the problems left by his predecessor. I think I just liked him as a person. He was kind and loving, but also strong enough to stand up for himself and those he loved.

While I understood Dufleur’s reasons for pushing Saille away, I found it became tedious after awhile. It was obvious, even to her, that he loved her, yet she refused to trust him. That became very frustrating. I liked her on her own, I just didn’t care for her with Saille. I did like watching her grow as the story progressed though.

I liked both Myx, Saille’s Fam, and Fairyfoot, Dufleur’s Fam. I especially liked that Fairyfoot had to be taught some manners. She was far too smug for my tastes in the beginning.

3.5 out of 5

The series:

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This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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