BookMusings: (Re)Discovering Pagan Literature

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On Pagan Romance, Take II

Yes, it is that time of year again! It is hearts and flowers and candy time! Which also means that it is time for me to revisit a favorite literary genre: romance.

I am not ashamed to admit that most of the books on my e-reader are romance. They often contain elements of other genres (I am particular fan of science fiction romance, or sfr, and fantasy romance), but the lovey dovey stuff is definitely there. Since my first two posts on the topic (here and here), I have discovered several more books which should interest my fellow bibliophiles.

First up is Frozen by Meljean Brook, in which construction engineer Olivia Martin discovers that there is far more to Erik Gulbrandr than she had ever imagined. Without giving away too much of the plot, I will say that Erik is not human, the wolves circling their refuge are not really wolves, and that the whole things ties back to Norse mythology and relationships between the children of Odin and Loki. Plus, sex and a happily ever after.

Next is the Sister Witches Mystery series by Lauren Quick. Over the course of three volumes -- The Mayhem Sisters, Midsummer Night's Mayhem, and Fly By Midnight -- Quick follows the adventures of Vivi, Honora, and Clover Mayhem. Kidnapping, murder, corporate espionage, horrible monsters, malicious magic, stolen magic, scary villains, and (of course!) romance. Things have never been so exciting in the enchanted world of Everland.  

The terrific anthology Night Shift contains four long stories. Of particular interest to Pagan readers is "The Beast of Blackmoor" by Milla Vane, an intensely erotic tale.* As I note in my review over at Eternal Haunted Summer: the story opens with teenage Kavik entering a temple of Vela and demanding that the Goddess help him free his land from the tyrant Barin; when he does not get the answer he wants, he pisses in her offering bowl. In righteous anger, the Goddess places a curse on him: his end will come with the woman in the red cloak. Years later, Mala rides into his life, Chosen of Vela on a sworn quest to “tame the Beast of Blackmoor.” She is distraught and confused when she discovers that the “beast” is Kavik, a fallen prince trying to help his people, and not the vile Barin or the demon which stalks Blackmoor, slaughtering innocents and fouling the rivers. She has faith in the Goddess — but at what cost?

Vane’s story is filled with Gods and Goddesses; the landscape is rich with spirits. Vela is a fierce Goddess of compassion, beauty, and justice; it is said that she carved the maze of canyons on the border of Blackmoor with her fingers while birthing Justice and Law. In the early days of creation, the lusty Hanan not only “speared his cock into humans, but had also fucked every animal he encountered, no matter how big or small.” As a result, the world is filled with marvelous creatures, such as the sentient equine Shim who accompanies Mala on her quest. Enam is the Sun, but he is not an entirely benevolent Deity; his light may bring life, but he is caged in the heavens so that he does not burn the world. Nemek is the God of healing, and potions blessed by him will heal any pain, any wound; sadly, few of his devotees venture into Blackmoor, these days.

I've mentioned the erotic romance Once In a Blue Moon by Delilah Devlin before, but it is worth highlighting again. The first book in the new Beaux Reve Coven series, it centers on a circle of powerful witches -- witches who are in hiding. When their location is discovered (by a sexy troll, no less), the women have to decide whether to stand their ground with their new allies, or run again. This is one of those rare paranormal romances which is actually polytheist-friendly: the Goddess of the witches and Thor are both honored. 

One of my favorite authors of erotic romance is Joey W Hill, and at least two of books are very Pagan-friendly: If Wishes Were Horses, and Threads of Faith. The first is a paranormal murder mystery romance, the second a (simple) paranormal romance. Ignore the awful cover of If Wishes Were Horses and dive right in; you won't be disappointed. The cover of Threads of Faith is much better, and it is a quick, sexy, satisfying read.  

Another polytheist-friendly paranormal romance is Sigil Fire by Erzabet Bishop, and its short sequel Written on Skin. Author of the non-paranormal Erotic Pagans series, Bishop here tries her hand at urban fantasy-romance, with great success. Sigil Fire centers on the succubus Sonia and the vampire/blood witch Fae, great protagonists supported by a diverse cast of secondary characters. Written on Skin focuses on Genevieve, a young woman in search of "more." What that "more" is she is not sure; but after she gets a tattoo from Fae, Genevieve discovers that there is far more to the world than she ever imagined. And that longing leads her straight to the Cirque Nocturne, and the beautiful copper-haired aerialist Maliah .... Magic, mystery, passion, adventure, heartbreak, narrow escapes, angels and Goddesses. Oh, and a happily ever after. 

Steal the Light, the first volume in Lexi Blake's Thieves series, gets a mention here, but not a full recommendation. I simply haven't had the chance to read it yet. I have read a few of Blake's other books, and loved them. And I find the idea of a novel which includes werewolves, vampires, fae, occult art objects, and a female protagonist drawn to two very different men to be quite intriguing. If anyone else has read it, let me know your thoughts. Otherwise, I will post my own review soon.

I loved Deborah Blake's Wickedly Dangerousthe first in a new urban fantasy-romance series about modern-day Baba Yagas. The second volume, Wickedly Wonderful, is in my reading queue, and I am waiting to pre-order the third volume. In Blake's series, Baga Yaga is a title borne by the handful of women responsible for guarding the boundary between the mundane realm and the magical realm; they answer directly to the Fae Queen. In this first volume, Barbara Yager answers a call for help when children begin disappearing in upstate New York. With the assistance of her dragon/pit bull, Chudo-Yudo, and her three loyal horsemen (e.g., Dawn, Sun, and Midnight, now in the guise of motorcyclists), and the grieving sheriff, she discovers a connection between a new hydrofracking venture and damage done to the Fae realm. But what does that have to do with the disappearing children ...? The second volume moves to the West Coast, where young Beka Yancey answers a call for help from the local Mer and Selkie -- and, in the process, meets battle-scarred veteran Marcus Dermott, who is in for quite a shock when he discovers that Beka is not a bubble-headed surfer girl, after all ....

So, there you have them: a few romantic, exciting, and sensual reads for your Valentine's weekend. Pour yourself a glass of your favorite bubbly, fix up a plate of your favorite dessert, and treat yourself to a good book.

*Fair warning, though: this is an erotic fantasy. There are a number of graphic sex scenes, and, at one point, Kavik ties up Mala in a desperate attempt to rein in his own anger and self-loathing. Additionally, sex is used by the villains as a weapon; rape is alluded to, though never graphically depicted. These scenes may be uncomfortable for some readers.


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Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine Eternal Haunted Summer. She is also the editor-in-chief of Bibliotheca Alexandrina. She thinks it is incredibly unfair that she must work for a living rather than being able to read all day. In her next life, she would like to be a library cat.


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