Donna Reads: Ragnar (Mists of Albion #2) by Joanna Bell

What a disappointment. At 72% I skimmed along to the end to get to the HEA. I stopped reading every word because I simply could not abide Emma! After hating her in Book One, I hated her more as the main character in Book Two.

Also, one major flaw here: There was nothing original in this book. It was basically a mirror copy of the first book, Eirik. It was the same story told with different characters. I would have liked to see something changed up a bit. I understand the third book has a slight twist. The hero from the past goes into the future so I will likely read that one. This one was just a disappointment for me, though.

Emma was obnoxious, headstrong and annoying. She didn’t listen to anyone or anything and did whatever she pleased. In Eirik, she couldn’t keep her mouth shut and Paige ended up in a mental ward because of Emma’s big mouth.

I wanted to see more repentance from Emma in this book. I actually wanted to see her get what was coming to her and maybe have to suffer some herself. Instead she was still loud and overbearing and couldn’t keep quiet. She mouthed off where she shouldn’t have, and even after getting beat silly by a man in the beginning of the book, she still didn’t learn how to keep quiet. Woman weren’t loud and aggressive in the 9th century.

Why on earth did the hero love her? I honestly still don’t know. I get that she was healthier-looking than any 9th century Viking woman (she had nice skin and nice teeth). That wasn’t enough, though. Her personality was horrible. I really liked Ragnar, and I wanted better for him than Emma. Yes, they had a happy ending, but Emma was an awful person. He deserved more. Nothing softened her or made her a sympathetic character. I found myself actually wishing something terrible would happen to her, and by the 2/3 point of the book, I just didn’t care anymore. That was why I skimmed to the ending.

It’s a shame. I wanted to like this one a whole lot more.

Donna Reads: Eirik (Mists of Albion Book 1) by Joanna Bell

I haven’t read a good time travel romance in some time. This is a great one. Paige Renner has never quite fit in. She’s a college student who lost her mother when she was 5. Her father gave up on life and retreated into himself and his bedroom. Left to mostly fend for herself, lonely, little Paige discovers a new world and new friends when she accidentally touches a tree in the woods behind her house and finds herself in 9th century England.

Years pass, and she goes back and forth between worlds, visiting her friends, Willa and Eadgar. Sadly she learns that to talk in the modern world of her friends in the past gets her labeled as a freak and a weirdo. School sends her to various psychologists, and kids bully her. As a college student, she makes one last trip back to the past to maybe say goodbye and check on her friends, and she’s abducted by Vikings. With escape on her mind so that she can return to her own time, she doesn’t plan to catch the eye of the Viking Jarl, Eirik.

This was such a good book. I couldn’t put it down. I did skim some of the bits 2/3 of the way through with the obsessive doctor in the present who refuses to let Paige go and has her committed to a mental facility. I realize that part was necessary to wake her depressed father up. It seemed a little strange that he’d be in that much of a funk for fifteen years, but this was a fantasy story with time travel and all so it was understandable.

I loved the hero. Eirik was everything a Viking leader should be. He was strong and wise, and he loved Paige without question. He knew she was different, and he guessed she was from another world of some sort, and he accepted her as she was. He was so logical about everything for an uneducated warrior, and I liked his sage reasoning. He knew she loved him back although she wouldn’t admit as much until the end. Just a great love story. I highly recommend it.