Water Bound by Christine Feehan

Water Bound is the first book in a new Sea Haven series by Christine Feehan, called Sisters of the Heart. It follows the last book of the Drake Sisters series but can be read as a stand-a-lone. The plot picks up on the same day as Hidden Currents ended.

water-bound

The last thing Lev Prakenskii remembered was being lost in the swirling currents of the ocean and getting sucked deeper into the nothingness of a freezing black eddy off the coastal town of Sea Haven. Just as quickly, just a miraculously, he was saved—pulled ashore by a beautiful stranger. But Lev has no memory of who he is—or why he seems to possess the violent instincts of a trained killer. All he knows is that he fears for his life, and for the life of his unexpected savior.

Her name is Rikki, a sea~urchin diver in Sea Haven. She has always felt an affinity for the ocean, and for the seductive pull of the tides. And now she feels drawn in the same way to the enigmatic man she rescued. But soon they will be bound by something even stronger, and their tantalizing secrets will engulf them both in a whirlpool of dizzying passion and inescapable danger.

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Water Bound was the first book I ever read with an autistic heroine and I love how the author portrayed her. She has lots of quirks and concerns but never comes across as stupid, ignorant or selfish. She knows that she needs things a certain way in her life and is mostly comfortable with that fact. She has sisters she chooses to make a life with and tries to overcome her taciturn, solitary lifestyle in order to give back emotionally to those she loves.

Rikki is incredibly independent and fears being a burden on her family, probably due to her background in foster care and state run facilities. I like how she and Lev work together and Lev’s journey into understanding how she thinks. Lev shows a remarkable understanding of what changes Rikki can accept and how to slowly introduce new things that challenge her perceptions of her limitations in life. Of course he makes mistakes sometimes but hey – to err is to be human.

I’ve included one of my favourite humorous scenes in the book. Rikki is caring for Lev after his head injury and he is getting pretty tired of eating the PB she thinks constitutes the perfect food.

<Rikki speaking>  “I’ll fix you a sandwich.”

He looked pained. “I don’t eat peanut butter.”

That genuinely shocked her. “Who doesn’t eat peanut butter? It’s the perfect food.”

He shuddered. “Even to make up for all the things I’ve done wrong, I don’t think I can do it.”

“For a man who carries around as many weapons as you do, you’re a bit of a baby.”

“It isn’t being a baby not to eat peanut butter. I don’t think babies eat the stuff.”

“That’s un-American.”

“I’m not certain I am American,” he pointed out.

She had to agree with him there. “Fine. You can put peanut butter on waffles. Blythe bought some of those frozen thingies that you put in the toaster. I’m not sure how old they are. Do frozen foods last like four years or more?”

He groaned and dropped into the nearest kitchen chair, pushing his head into his hands. “Death by peanut butter. I never thought I’d go that way.”

Feehan, Christine. Water Bound (Sea Haven-Sisters of the Heart Book 1) (Kindle Locations 2038-2048). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Water Bound introduces the idea of a new type of magic where certain people are born with a special affinity to control an element, but it’s more than just the ability to use fire or water. There is an emotional connection to it as well, and unlike the previous magical gifts we have experienced in Sea Haven, using element “magic” does not drain you of strength. But your gifts are also limited to that one element.

Clearly each of the remaining Prakenskii brothers are going to be paired up with one of the Sisters of the Heart <so called because they are not biologically related > in the series. I hope we learn more about them and get to see them reunite with each other.

The next book in the series is Spirit Bound so I will try to review it in the next few weeks, as I count down the days until the last book in the series is released in March!

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xx

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Exquisite Trouble – a review

In a genre saturated with terrible biker romance/erotica, there are a small handful of authors who stand apart. Ann Mayburn, with her Iron Horse MC series is definitely one of those stand-outs.

The first two novels, Exquisite Trouble and Exquisite Danger, are Mayburn’s debut MC couple, Smoke (hero) and Swan (heroine). I’m going to review the books separately, but because they are about the same hero/heroine, I’ll try to get up my review for the second book this week as well.

smoke 1

Blurb:

Before I met Smoke I’d never been kissed, really kissed, by a man, let alone a biker sex god bent on taking my virginity and my heart.

I got dragged into the deadly world of the Iron Horse MC by my crazy twin sister who is engaged to the club’s President and even crazier mom who only cares about herself. Smoke has been assigned by the club to keep me safe even though he’s everything that I should be afraid of. He’s the kind of man who lives by his own rules and does whatever he wants whenever he wants, but he treats me like I’m something rare and precious, not a socially dysfunctional basket case who has no idea how to love, but needs him more than her next breath.

Not that my feelings matter, because if we don’t find my mother soon, the only thing I’ll have to be worried about is who is going to kill me first.

NOTE- This is Part One of a Two Part book with a ‘Happy for Now’ ending.

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I loved Exquisite Trouble but I did find it a little bit hard to get into the rhythm of Mayburn’s writing. She wrote first person perspective and it might just be the first time I’ve read this style since highschool. Also, Swan is autistic, so her brain tends to jump around a lot, which means the writing does too. Once I got used to her idiosyncrasies though, I settled in and enjoyed the story.

One of the best things about Ann Mayburn, which I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts, is that she does a phenomenal job of building an entire world in her series. I love that her couples don’t exist in a private bubble; they interact with other characters and it all fits. It flows. Feels natural. This is incredibly difficult to achieve (I’m guessing, considering the huge numbers of authors who fail) but in an MC type story where there are so many secondary characters who are integral to both plot and character development, it is even more important. And this author nails it on the head.

One thing I wish is that there were more scenes from Smoke’s POV. The book finishes from his perspective but the rest of the time we can only see his thoughts from his conversations, or from Swan’s interpretation of Smoke … which is problematic at times. Because of Swan’s autism, she has a difficult time reading people and understanding certain social cues and situations. As a result, there are points in the book when you know she is misunderstanding him.

The second book has many more scenes from Smoke’s POV which is awesome, and he reflects on the mistakes he made with Swan in the beginning. Smoke starts out as the typical egotistical, alpha-male, sexually dominant biker, but changes his way of relating to and understanding Swan as he gets to know her better and realizes the differences in which they communicate.

Swan is a kick-ass, take no names, completely comfortable with violence chica. Raised by a mob assassin mother-figure and mentally unstable Spec Ops superstar father, she curses like a sailor and stands beside her man. But at the same time, due to an isolated childhood and problems relating to other people, especially her peers, she is very vulnerable emotionally. She has limits that absolutely cannot be pushed without her shutting down. Swan is also a virgin, and once Smoke realizes these things about her, he discovers a sweet, gentle side of himself that only comes out for his girl. I wish the reader could have had those chapters from his POV to see these realizations occur, so it is great that the next book has more dual perspective sections.

Smoke and Swan are one of those couples where you can just see that they were made for each other, and their love makes you believe in a higher power.

I do wish that the book was a bit longer, to allow for more interaction between Swan and some of the other characters, particularly Beach, her twin’s fiance and the President of the same MC Smoke belongs to. Other than that, their story is awesome and I highly recommend this series if you need a break from the biker junk littering the romance and erotica genres right now.

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xx