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WINGING IT Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die. In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstöm has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as WINGING IT Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die. In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstöm has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life—but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a new set of battle buddies: cackling, gossiping, squabbling, party-hearty women. With wings. So not the Marines. But Vig can’t give up on someone as special as Kera. With a storm of oh-crap magic speeding straight for L.A., survival will depend on combining their strengths: Kera’s discipline, Vig’s loyalty… and the Crows’ sheer love of battle. Boy, are they in trouble.


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WINGING IT Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die. In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstöm has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as WINGING IT Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die. In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstöm has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life—but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a new set of battle buddies: cackling, gossiping, squabbling, party-hearty women. With wings. So not the Marines. But Vig can’t give up on someone as special as Kera. With a storm of oh-crap magic speeding straight for L.A., survival will depend on combining their strengths: Kera’s discipline, Vig’s loyalty… and the Crows’ sheer love of battle. Boy, are they in trouble.

30 review for The Unleashing

  1. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    1 - Dazed & Confused star. DNF @ 25%. Me after 10% - Me after 25% - I am not someone who gives up on books easily, but I have spent the last couple of hours (more like 4 hours) reading this book and I still don't really wholly understand what is going on, which in effect has slowly drained all my interest in it away. This book is set (up to where I read) in LA. The author on her opening to the reader, confirms it is a stand-alone as well as the start of a series. I am going to go out on a limb an 1 - Dazed & Confused star. DNF @ 25%. Me after 10% - Me after 25% - I am not someone who gives up on books easily, but I have spent the last couple of hours (more like 4 hours) reading this book and I still don't really wholly understand what is going on, which in effect has slowly drained all my interest in it away. This book is set (up to where I read) in LA. The author on her opening to the reader, confirms it is a stand-alone as well as the start of a series. I am going to go out on a limb and say The Unleashing is firmly in the 'series' bracket, mainly because is hard to tell who are actually the main characters, the author introduces an absolute plethora of people and POVs from the get go, and I don't really have a clue who is whom and where or what their parts in the story are. Add too that she habitually changes the way the other characters address each other from their forenames to their surnames and I am all sorts of confused. It was like an episode of MTV Real World L.A, but with a bit of violence at the beginning, add in to that your first day at the office, where you are introduced to so many new people you forgot who most of them are by the time you sit down at your desk, and thats pretty much where I was with it. I am all for big epic lengthy reads, with lots of characters, side plots and POV's, I read and loved War & Peace so I really have no problem with that sort of writing, but The Unleashing is so, so confusing in its lack of definition, the overload of information you are given doesn't really seem relevant this early on in the book. For me, the main characters need to be established and understood and then you add everyone else into the mix. Not for me on this occasion I am afraid, I wish it was, I love a read that is different in its themes, but I need to be able to ascertain where its going and who the characters are more importantly. ARC generously provided via Netgalley, I am sorry that I cannot offer a more positive review on this occasion.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jo ★The Book Sloth★

    4.5 Love SL Stars Contrary to what the pic might suggest the book isn't dark. Dying isn't fun, but dying and coming back as a member of a crew of homocidal bitches is really tricky. Kera is grateful for her second chance at life but the conditions that come with it... not so sure. She is too uptight and moral for the group of crazy ladies, otherwise known as the Crows, warrior women that literally bring death everywhere they go and they love it. The one positive thing about her new life? Her savior 4.5 Love SL Stars Contrary to what the pic might suggest the book isn't dark. Dying isn't fun, but dying and coming back as a member of a crew of homocidal bitches is really tricky. Kera is grateful for her second chance at life but the conditions that come with it... not so sure. She is too uptight and moral for the group of crazy ladies, otherwise known as the Crows, warrior women that literally bring death everywhere they go and they love it. The one positive thing about her new life? Her savior who turns out isn't damaged. Vig the Viking is one hot and reliable guy to have around and his helping Kera get used to her new life(among other things) makes things a bit easier for her. I'll be the first person to tell you that this book isn't memorable at all. It is a no-brainer, have-fun-at-the-moment kind of book. It is funny and fast and easy to read but just 4 days after reading it I remember almost nothing. So the 4.5 stars are because I had fun at the moment, not because I think that this book is a literary treasure(and let's be honest, I never read these). So... The book has what I call the SL characters. They were all slightly crazy, a lot chaotic, very badass and completely unrealistic. Just how I love them. You don't try to get into their place, you don't get involved in their problems, you just laugh at their madness. Still I can't say that either Kera or Vig were of my favorite characters by the author. The Crows did remind me of Kresley Cole's Valkyries a bit...Maybe that's why I loved it. The book was completely drama free, even Kera's struggle with accepting that her previous life was over wasn't blown out of proportion. It was fast and action filled and light on the romance. I loved seeing the Norse mythology(even inaccurate) and fantasizing about all these Vikings gathered in one place. And I'm really interested in learning more about the Clans and their members. The book was slightly confusing at the beginning with all these stuff thrown to the reader with almost no explenationg but it got better on that aspect. Generally it was a nice, fun book to pass a few hours and laugh a little. ****************************************************** I got an ARC! I got an ARC!! I got an ARC!!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish

    This story was released on 3/31 without much fanfare - and a tragedy, that! If you got a copy, please review it. If not...WHY not?? 4 ‘just winging it’ stars! I’ll start by saying that never have I enjoyed Norse and Viking lore more than I have while reading The Unleashing. As Ms. Laurenston states in her opening letter to the readers: "I have taken some liberties with these gods and their histories. As I did my research, I found multiple interpretations of individual gods and their backstories, This story was released on 3/31 without much fanfare - and a tragedy, that! If you got a copy, please review it. If not...WHY not?? 4 ‘just winging it’ stars! I’ll start by saying that never have I enjoyed Norse and Viking lore more than I have while reading The Unleashing. As Ms. Laurenston states in her opening letter to the readers: "I have taken some liberties with these gods and their histories. As I did my research, I found multiple interpretations of individual gods and their backstories, so I really had no choice. I would pick the one I liked best and then put my own twist on it." And I am sooooooo glad she did because the world she’s created is an exciting, sexy, entertaining place to be! Blurb… Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die. In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstrom has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life—but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a new set of battle buddies: cackling, gossiping, squabbling, party-hearty women. With wings. So not the Marines. But Vig can’t give up on someone as special as Kera. With a storm of oh-crap magic speeding straight for L.A., survival will depend on combining their strengths: Kera’s discipline, Vig’s loyalty… and the Crows’ sheer love of battle. Boy, are they in trouble. My thoughts... While reading The Unleashing I was, at times, reminded of Kristen Ashley’s Rock Chicks – that crazy group of women who love and support one another despite their differences – or maybe because those differences are quirky in a ‘can’t help but love you, bless your heart’ kind of way. I was also reminded of Sandra Hill’s Vangel world, loaded with humor and sexy men and women who are more than they appear. But that said, Shelly Laurenston’s Call of Crows is like nothing I’ve ever read. Witches and demons and gods and goddesses - and humans who want to be any or all of those things – and the grab for power that’s to be expected when you put them all together are what make up this story. But fear not! There are also beings amongst us who are in place to keep the balance and make sure no one has more of that power than they can be trusted with, and they are who made this such an entertaining story! It’s is sexy and funny and has so many twists and turns that I was constantly wondering what might happen next. Worth mentioning… Because there has been some misinformation floating about regarding this series, Ms. Laurenston also shared this in her note to her readers: "Well, this is it. The first book in my new series, Call of the Crows, and right off the bat, I want you to understand this is not a rewrite of an old book nor is it a fleshing out of an old book. The Unleashing is a brand-new book and series, with brand-new characters, brand-new locale, and brand-new trouble. Although my book Hunting Season, which has been out since 2005, was the start of this idea (introducing the two main Viking Clans at the heart of this series, the Crows and the Ravens), The Unleashing is me taking the whole thing to the next level, and it’s a definite stand-alone." The bottom line… The Unleashing is just fun reading, no question about it. Kera and Vig are all kinds of awesome and make a perfect couple. The entire cast of characters is made up of great people who have stories of their own needing to be told, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming up next in the Call of Crows world! An ARC was generously provided by Kensington Publishing Corp via Netgalley. To show my appreciation I’m giving them an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jilly

    So, you see the cover, with ab-man and the foreboding dark birds behind him. And, our story starts with Kera, our heroine, becoming a mythological Crow whose job is to work for the Nordic goddess Skuld as an assassin. “For they are the Crows,” he intoned solemnly, “and they are the harbingers of death.” Now, you are thinking, this is a dark urban fantasy book with Nordic mythology as its basis, right? Well, you'd be wrong. Really really wrong. Because, somehow, with this premise, along with to So, you see the cover, with ab-man and the foreboding dark birds behind him. And, our story starts with Kera, our heroine, becoming a mythological Crow whose job is to work for the Nordic goddess Skuld as an assassin. “For they are the Crows,” he intoned solemnly, “and they are the harbingers of death.” Now, you are thinking, this is a dark urban fantasy book with Nordic mythology as its basis, right? Well, you'd be wrong. Really really wrong. Because, somehow, with this premise, along with tons of battles, bloody deaths, human sacrifice, and tons of gore, this book is actually hilarious. It's got a silly comedic thing going on with insane and funny dialogue. It's absolutely nothing that I was expecting. First off, we have stupid characters. I'm not talking about stupidly-written characters, I mean they are just not that intelligent - none of them. We have a group of women - the Crows, and a group of men - the Ravens, who are kind of like the male counterparts to the Crows. They act like a really bad sorority and fraternity with the maturity level of college freshmen. But, it would have to be a pretty bad college because these people would never be admitted to a decent university. Kat started to drag the new girl back into Vig's house. "No more painkillers and tequila!" she ordered. "That was disgusting," Rolf complained. "I hate watching cute chicks vomit. It totally kills their cute." See? You could hear that exact conversation at many frat parties every weekend. ummm, what is it intended for? So, Kera was a former Marine who was killed by some jerk behind her job at a coffee shop. Her favorite customer, some homeless guy, saw her dying and called out to the goddess Skuld to save her. Skuld saved her, but Kera would only commit to serving Skuld if she would also be allowed to bring her dog, Brodie. This brings us the most epic dog in book history. Because, not only does Skuld save Brodie, but she makes Brodie a Crow as well. And, let's just say that it is the best thing ever... because Crows have wings.... "What the holy fuck?" "Keep your voice down," Annalisa whispered. "Keep my voice down?" Brodie stood and walked from one side of the kitchen to the other, wings up, head held high. There was even a little prance to her step. "What is with this dog?" Erin demanded. "She's acting like a stripper with new tits." "She's proud," Annalisa said. That's right, you work it, girlfriend! And, it turns out that the "homeless guy" that helped Kera get her second life as a Crow wasn't homeless at all - he is a Raven with a crush on her. She thought he was a homeless veteran who needed her help - a mentally ill homeless veteran. His name is Ludvig, Vig for short, and his sister, the Valkyrie, Kat, was trying to cheer him up. At least he saved Kera's life so she owes him. Right? "You need to see the positive side." "What positive side?" "Now she knows that you're not mentally ill, which means you need a little fixing up. Women love to fix up shit...At first, she'll be hanging around you trying to figure out how to pay that debt off, and that's when you'll wheedle your way in." "I don't want to wheedle." "There's no shame in the wheedle." "Really? Because I feel like there should be a little shame." Okay, that cracked me up. If you are a Seinfeld fan, you get why it cracked me up. There is just hilarious banter, crazy situations, quirky characters, and surprisingly explicit sex galore in this book. It is like a very mixed bag of genres mashed together to create this strange, but fun book. I think it's definitely going to be a 'love it' or 'hate it' kind of thing. I am in the "love it" category.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sammy Loves Books

    ****** 2 "Info Dump Disaster" Stars!!! ****** The Crows, The Harbingers of Death Where do I begin, and what can I say? The beginning of this book was a dis-organized mess. I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of characters, groups of fighters, and number of gods I was introduced to. The amount of information dumped in the first 25% of this book was ridiculous. After many attempts, I eventually stopped reading this book and was determined that it would become a DNF. I finally restarted this book ****** 2 "Info Dump Disaster" Stars!!! ****** The Crows, The Harbingers of Death Where do I begin, and what can I say? The beginning of this book was a dis-organized mess. I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of characters, groups of fighters, and number of gods I was introduced to. The amount of information dumped in the first 25% of this book was ridiculous. After many attempts, I eventually stopped reading this book and was determined that it would become a DNF. I finally restarted this book (for the 4th time) and kept a log of the character names and groups of fighters. This was very helpful and I found that I was finally able to complete this book. In case you are curious, this is my actual list: (view spoiler)[ Kera Watson, the heroine Erin Amsel Tessa Kelly Annalisa Godhavi Maeve Dinapoli Alessandra Esporza Jacinda (Jace) Berisha Yardley King Betty Lieberman Leigh Rachel Sherri Paula Ginny Simone Brianna Vig Rundstom, the hero, a Raven Katja "Kat" Rundstom, hero's sister, a Valkyre Handsom Rolf Landvik Siggy Kasperson Stieg Engstrom Notto Oveson Danski "Ski" Eriksen Singvlad Voll Embla Leaders: Chloe Wong, Leader of the Crows Frieda, Leader of Giant killers Josef, Leader of the Ravens Rada, Leader of the Ran Ormi Bentsen, Leader of the Protectors Brandt Lindgren, Leader of the Silent Shona Sari, Leader of the Mara Elders Gods: Darrbee, god Odin, god Thor, god Freyja, goddess Ran, goddess Vidar, god Tyr, god Gullveig of Vanir, god Groups: The Crows The Giant Killers The Ravens, The Protectors, Claws of Rana, The Silent Ones, The Mara (hide spoiler)] Kera Kera, the heroine is killed and awakes in a house, naked, with new powers, and under attack. Kera soon learns that after her death, a Nordic goddess deemed her soul worthy and selected her to be a member of her Crows. Kera was a marine before her death, and has a very uptight personality. I wanted to like her, but she was too tightly wound for my taste. And her panic attacks were just too much for me and I could not relate. The Crows are just one of many groups of fighters and each group represents a different Nordic god. The Crows are not true decedents of Vikings, and are the only fighters that are inducted in after death, instead of born into the group. So the Crows are discriminated against and disrespected by all other fighters. The Crows are disorganized and have no real structure. Their leader is recently divorced from the Leader of the Ravens, and they cannot be near each other without fighting. Their fights are immature and difficult to read. By difficult, I mean, ANNOYING!!! No one teaches Kera a damn thing about her new life as a Crow, so she ends up learning everything from Vig. I was beyond annoyed...I was disgusted by the Crows' behavior as a whole. Vig Vig is a real Viking with wild dark hair and a full beard!! He's also a Raven, and absolutely Amazing. He was the best part of this book, and the only person that didn't annoy the hell out of me. He was patient and explained EVERYTHING to Kera. He taught her how to fly, fight, and kill. The Crows, however, were useless in helping Kera transition, and I pretty much hated them all. The Ravens Aaaahh, the Ravens. These are the sexy ass male version of the Crows. Except they were all Viking decedents, and totally BadAss!! They were kind, calm, and HAWT!! I could sooo be a member of the Raven Cheerleaders!! Give me a 'R'. Give me an 'A'. Give me a 'V'. Now Ravish My Body Ravens!!! Yeah, they were that yummy!! So by the 50% mark, I was even wondering if this was gonna be a romance. It turned out to be one, but the romance was not the focus of the book. It kinda felt like it accidentally happened. There was no angst. And Vig and Kera were a very likable couple. Just not a very rememberable couple. The sex was a 3 on a scale of 1-5. And there wasn't much of it. Maybe two love sessions and one oral escapade that was witnessed by many. How embarrassing, LOL. I am so torn on what to rate this book. Part of me wants to give it a 1 star because it took so much damn work to read it, and I had to MAKE myself finish it. I also hated the Crows because they were all rude, self centered bitches. Then a part of me wants to give it a 3.5 star for the world building and the yummy Ravens. Vig gets a 4 star as a hero, but the sex only gets a 3 star. So this one gets, 2 "I made myself finish this book" Stars ARC received from Kensington via Netgalley. Release Date March 31, 2015

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lo Bookfrantic

    "ARC received from Kensington via Netgalley" Release date: March 31, 2015 Genre: Paranormal/Nordic/Greek Gods My Rating: 4 awesome stars. The Unleashing is a Viking Paranormal story that takes place right in the big city of Los Angeles and it takes you to a world of Nordic and Greek Gods. I've read PRN before but never anything like this so I found myself soaking all this new information and truly enjoyed the ride. Honestly the first 35% into the book I was so confused with so many "ARC received from Kensington via Netgalley" Release date: March 31, 2015 Genre: Paranormal/Nordic/Greek Gods My Rating: 4 awesome stars. The Unleashing is a Viking Paranormal story that takes place right in the big city of Los Angeles and it takes you to a world of Nordic and Greek Gods. I've read PRN before but never anything like this so I found myself soaking all this new information and truly enjoyed the ride. Honestly the first 35% into the book I was so confused with so many characters POV my mind was going crazy. It was so hard to focus on what was going on. However, as you go on the story, this book picks up pretty quickly and I found myself recognizing the characters and really enjoying them. It wasn't really as dark as I thought it would be, it was actually hilarious. I mean, yes there was action lots of it it was awesome! There was suspense but mostly there was lots of drama and lot of funny & hilarious scenes. Couple of times I had to step out of the room so I wouldn't wake anyone up, take a brake and laughed my ass out to the point that I was crying. LOL This story was basically about these two main characters Vig (a bad ass Viking) and Kera (an ex vet). Kera as a human found helself alone and working at a local coffee shop. She found a dog and rescued her without realizing her dog was keeping her safe while she was giving the dog a safe home too. Vig met Kera at the coffee shop and felt madly in love with her. When Kera got killed behind her coffee shop, Vig was there and prayed to his gods to bring her back. They did but she wouldn't accept the offer of a new life unless they bring her dog a Pit Bull that she named "Brodie Hawaii" back with her. The dog is an important character on this story, I freaking LOVED her because she became Kera's protector. My Vig My Kera My "Brodie" the dog LOL When Kera wakes up from being dead she has a lot of shit to learn of her brand new life. In return of a new life given by the Greek Gods, Kera now became a crow. Crows are females harbingers of death. Kera struggles to fit into her new life but this ride is what make this book so much interesting because there' so many HOT, strong, stone headed female characters that become her sisters-crow which means lots of DRAMA. And I freaking couldn't help liking them all. Even though there was lots of craziness, I freaking loved them and just can't wait to get to know them more. The Crows females harbingers of death Vig helped Kera get adjusted to her new life. He teached her how to fly and shows her how to kill. The more time they spend together the more the physical attraction occurs and is just not physically he truly loved her. Even though there wasn't a lot of sex on this book there was some and it was definitely steamy. The sex scenes between Vig & Kera were freaking HOT it had me melting for Vig. Damn him, he was so nice and perfect to her and I just felt head over heels for him. “Kera, I’m a descendant of Vikings and I’ve not only had an entire day of my own battles, but I’ve watched you kick ass from here to Vanaheim.”Kera put her arms around his shoulders and wrapped her fingers in his hair. “Your point?”“My point is that I’m harder than I’ve ever been. You can’t expect me to just ignore that until we get back to my house.” Vig "She might never truly belong to him, but he would always belong to her. Always." Kera "I’ve fallen in love with you. But if you tell the Crows, especially Erin, that I said it first, I will tear your toenails out while you’re sleeping.” I just freaking loved these two!! The action was fantastic I couldn't get enough of it. The ending was fabulous because it only means the beginning to the next book and an awesome series that is to come. This is my first book by this author and is definitely not going to be my last. I completely recommend this book to all PRN lovers however I must say it is not an easy read but if you like the Nordic, Greek, Hot Vikins, and bad ass female characters you will truly love this one. Looking forward to the next book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Aisling Zena

    9/3/2016 Quick re-read for The Undoing! 4-4.5 Crow Rage stars Kera Watson is a former marine. She's tough, organized and disciplined. One night as she goes to take the trash out she's attacked and killed. Ludvig “Vig” Rundstrom arrives too late to save her but he gives her a chance for a second life. And here is where everything gets tricky. Do you remember your Norse mythology?If not this is a chance to brush it up. I'm familiar with it, so some things were not completely unknown to me but even 9/3/2016 Quick re-read for The Undoing! 4-4.5 Crow Rage stars Kera Watson is a former marine. She's tough, organized and disciplined. One night as she goes to take the trash out she's attacked and killed. Ludvig “Vig” Rundstrom arrives too late to save her but he gives her a chance for a second life. And here is where everything gets tricky. Do you remember your Norse mythology?If not this is a chance to brush it up. I'm familiar with it, so some things were not completely unknown to me but even so it took me at least to 35-40% to sort out all the new information Shelly Laurenston unleashes in this book. This is also a multiple POV book. So we don't only have the main couples POV but most of the major players around them. So the first few chapters are a bit dizzying but if you stick to it, it becomes smoother. It's a bit of a challenge keeping track of all the Crows and Clans but it does get easier as the book progresses. Vig calls to Skuld when Kera is killed. Skuld is one of three Norn,female beings who rule the destiny of gods and men,a bit like the equivalent of the Fates in Greek mythology. In this book Skuld chooses women she deems worthy to give a second life to and turns them into her Crows, the Harbingers of Death. Kera doesn't mesh well with the rest of the party-loving, carefree Crows and turns to Vig for help. Vig is an old fashioned Viking and looks it. He was smitten with Kera, before he saved her and was quite shy about it. I enjoyed reading their POVs and how their relationship progressed. I also loved that Vig was big and scary to everyone else but kind of sweet and introvert with Kera. The Crows were your typical Shelly Laurenston psychopathic nutters with adorkable elements. Some piss you off and others you love on first sentence. It was a crazy, mythological overload, with romance sharing the spotlight with action book.And I loved it! I enjoyed all the mythology and I'm really looking forward to reading the next one. Do I recommend this one? Absolutely, especially for PNR/UF fans but don't pick it up as a light read, you need your wits about you for this one! Be warned this ends on a cliffhanger in terms of plot but our couple get their HFN/HEA.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Athena Shardbearer

    Vikings???? Romance??? Kinda want! DNF at 30% Can't deal with stupid anymore. Vikings???? Romance??? Kinda want! DNF at 30% Can't deal with stupid anymore.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life)

    3/31/15: Now Available! This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life. 4 Stars! I had so much fun reading this book! I have found that if I read too many books in one genre, I start getting bored and need to switch gears to something completely different. I have been reading so many romance novels lately that they have started to drive me a little crazy so I decided pull this book out of my to be read pile to mix things up a bit. I have never read any of Shelly Laurenston's work before but 3/31/15: Now Available! This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life. 4 Stars! I had so much fun reading this book! I have found that if I read too many books in one genre, I start getting bored and need to switch gears to something completely different. I have been reading so many romance novels lately that they have started to drive me a little crazy so I decided pull this book out of my to be read pile to mix things up a bit. I have never read any of Shelly Laurenston's work before but I thought this would be a great place to jump in since it is the beginning of a new series. As it turns out, I think I have found another series that I will need to keep up with and a new author to watch out for. It did take me a little while to really understand the world in this book. I think that the world building was well done but there was just so much information to process. Once the rules for the world in this book were established in my mind, the story really took off and I had a hard time putting the book down before I knew it. I found that the mythology behind the world to be incredibly unique. This book is different that anything else I have had a chance to read. I did think that there were a whole lot of characters to keep straight. The fact that they sometimes used the character's first name and used their last name at other times made it a little more confusing for me. I did figure out who the key figures in the story were going to be pretty early in the book and everything started to come together for me. I really liked the two main characters in this story. Kera is starting her second life as a Crow. She is a former Marine and likes for things to be organized and planned. Unfortunately for her, the Crows like to play things by ear and the training is really non-existent. Vig is a Raven and he has had his eye on Kera for quite some time. It is because of Vig that Kera is getting this chance at a second life and he tries to teach her some of the skills that she is going to need as a Crow. This book did a lot of things really well. I found the world building to be well done and the world created was different than anything else I have had a chance to read. The book had moments of humor which I really loved. I think sometimes things can get too serious and I think that the humor worked into this story made the characters feel more realistic. I loved the main characters and thought that the chemistry between them was incredible. The pacing of the book was perfect with just enough action to keep things really interesting. I would highly recommend this book to fans of anything paranormal. There is some romance in this book but it does not overwhelm the story in any way. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in this exciting new series. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Kensington Publishing Corp. and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marulett

    AH-MA-ZING!!!! Fave quote: "Let´s get some sleep and let me hold you while we do. Maybe I can protect you from the bad dreams." AH-MA-ZING!!!! Fave quote: "Let´s get some sleep and let me hold you while we do. Maybe I can protect you from the bad dreams."

  11. 4 out of 5

    Courtnie

    1.5 stars. Woe-ly black birds, this was not for me. Kera Watson dies by butcher knife (ouch) outside of her coffee house where she is 'saved' by a Norse god who grants her a second life as a Crow. The band of women who make up the god, Skuld's, Crow group are the 'harbingers of death' for the Norse gods and their ilk. (I think.) Kera, however, isn't someone Skuld would have picked for her merry band (I think), but rather, she was saved as a favor to Ludvig Rundstom, a Raven, who had a little crush 1.5 stars. Woe-ly black birds, this was not for me. Kera Watson dies by butcher knife (ouch) outside of her coffee house where she is 'saved' by a Norse god who grants her a second life as a Crow. The band of women who make up the god, Skuld's, Crow group are the 'harbingers of death' for the Norse gods and their ilk. (I think.) Kera, however, isn't someone Skuld would have picked for her merry band (I think), but rather, she was saved as a favor to Ludvig Rundstom, a Raven, who had a little crush on her and found (stalked) her at the moment of her death. Basically, three things were happening at once in The Unleashing : 1.) Kera acclimates herself to her new life, which meant meeting all her other Crow gals, which meant pages upon pages of catty girl fighting. This is where the half star comes from because I can see how, if you're a fan of Laurenston's humor, this would be a hit for you. I get it, she has a way with zee dialogue. Unfortunately for me, I've found that I am not a fan of her type of humor. For example, the word 'bitch' is used 48 times. This does not include the other forms of 'bitchy' or 'bitches'. All the funny is centered around how horrible these women are to each other and they only way they communicate is through snark. A little of that goes a long way for me, and ultimately the unhealthy female relationships (and screaming hissy fits and actual physical fighting) really hindered me from believing that this was a group of women that band together to accomplish anything. So this part of the book, not enjoyable. 2.) Kera tries on a relationship with the Viking dude who saved her life. I picked this book up because of the Viking dude. It's a weakness of mine that I just don't talk about much. I think I'm always on the search for my next Eric Northman, and I might just need to let that go. The relationship was a huge miss for me. Firstly, and mostly, their relationship is pretty poorly developed. Vig had been stalking her for a good many months beforehand, so already had 'feelings' (I guess). I generally like to see my characters get to know each other. Instead, this happened: “I like you,” he suddenly said, gazing at her with those penetrating dark eyes. “I like you a lot. I want to date you. At least to start. Then I’d like to have sex with you, but I want to start with dating. When you have time. I know you’re just starting in this life and I don’t want to overwhelm you.” I probably have a gigantic stick up my butt, but this does not work for me in romance. 3.) Kera tries to find her purpose in her new life with the Crows, etc. Purpose meaning the fighting/killing part, or something. Her place in the group. Honestly, I really have no clue how this part ended up because I kept waiting for this to happen and it didn't until 86% or better. Here's how this book went down for me: I wanted to quit at 20% because I couldn't stand how all the characters treated each other, and I basically didn't like anyone. I wanted to quit at 34% because I thought I was going to read a paranormal romance with a bunch of action attached to it (Vikings and Norse gods invoke lots of visuals of supernatural crap) and nothing was happening. I wanted to quit at 50% because I kept checking my progress and groaning that I wasn't done yet, but I talked myself out of it because I had made it that far! I REALLY wanted to quit at 82%. I just didn't have what it took to care. Kera went to Asgard to learn how to fight and Katherine Hepburn was there and my eyes just wanted to glaze over. This is where I skimmed to the end. And by skimmed, I mean I swiped left really quickly. Unfortunately, these pages had all the unleashing, but by that point I was just like, blah blah blah, oh, that's too bad for that one girl, blah blah blah. The characterization drove me batty and rarely made sense. In her first life, Kera thought Vig, a guy who came in daily to buy 4 bear claws and a coffee, was a homeless vet w/ brain trauma...and the book later goes on to say that she is excellent at reading people. Which, how does brain scrambled, homeless ex-military translate to supernatural viking with wings? I don't think that qualifies as 'excellent'. I get that you can't know what you don't know, but 'excellent' would have had her thinking 'guy with alpha male syndrome who needs to shave'. But whatevs. I'll leave this quote as my final thought. “Vikings weren’t just brutal raiders, we were also traders. We traded with each other. We traded with other cultures if they had something we wanted. It was a huge part of our society, as was the raping and pillaging when necessary. And it still is today. Well . . . the trading is still part of our society.” “Did the rise of feminism cut down on the whole raping and pillaging thing?” Kera asked, smirking. “It definitely helped.” He laughed. While I found the premise of the book appealing, I can't get into Laurenston's voice and style which made The Unleashing a definite miss for me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julia's Book Haven

    4.5 Stars I think this is a really good start to this series. I enjoyed all the characters. This first book in the series is about a new Crow named Kera and a slightly scary Raven blacksmith Vig. I loved their easiness with each other and their banter. I can't wait to see more of the Crows and Ravens. They were all pretty funny, but I also liked their code. Standing by your sister no matter what. Supporting her in anything she needs. It was lovely. And I am a big fan of all things Vikings and No 4.5 Stars I think this is a really good start to this series. I enjoyed all the characters. This first book in the series is about a new Crow named Kera and a slightly scary Raven blacksmith Vig. I loved their easiness with each other and their banter. I can't wait to see more of the Crows and Ravens. They were all pretty funny, but I also liked their code. Standing by your sister no matter what. Supporting her in anything she needs. It was lovely. And I am a big fan of all things Vikings and Norse mythology. Good romance books that focus on Norse mythology are not easy to find so if you are looking for one I definitely suggest this one. The one thing about the book that sort of bugged me is that at times it felt like the POV was jumping all over the place and it made the flow of the book a little choppy. But eventually it smooths out and gets easier to go along with. I highly recommend this one to anyone looking for a good viking paranormal read! P.S. I <3 Brodie The Dog/Crow ARC provided by Netgallery for an honest review

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mindy Lou's Book Review

    I find Shelly Laurenston's books to be a fun read. The romance is more of a side thing but there is a lot going on to keep me entertained. I like the idea of a bunch of women who get brought back from the dead to become Skuld's crow warriors. I'm all about girl power. Plus it's fun when some of them are a bit on the crazy side. Their bickering was funny. I would consider this a standalone but it does lead you up to something big that you will find continues into the next book. I find Shelly Laurenston's books to be a fun read. The romance is more of a side thing but there is a lot going on to keep me entertained. I like the idea of a bunch of women who get brought back from the dead to become Skuld's crow warriors. I'm all about girl power. Plus it's fun when some of them are a bit on the crazy side. Their bickering was funny. I would consider this a standalone but it does lead you up to something big that you will find continues into the next book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kat Kennedy

    54 pages was enough to constitute a no from me. So many POVs (4-5) jammed every 4 paragraphs or so in the 2 chapters I read. They all sound the same too, so I was bored very quickly.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tanya Urban Fantasy Freak

    A *new* series by Shelly Laurenston/G.A. Aiken? Take my money please! A *new* series by Shelly Laurenston/G.A. Aiken? Take my money please!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)

    This was a group read for the Dangerous Hero Addict Support Group, and I'm glad it got voted for. It gave me that push to read Shelly Laurenston. I've heard from many that she's a good author, and I actually have most of her Dragon books written under G.A. Aiken, but I just hadn't gotten around to reading her books written under this name. One thing that one needs to understand about this book is that it's very heroine and women-bonding centered. Kera is a woman who needed strong bonds with women This was a group read for the Dangerous Hero Addict Support Group, and I'm glad it got voted for. It gave me that push to read Shelly Laurenston. I've heard from many that she's a good author, and I actually have most of her Dragon books written under G.A. Aiken, but I just hadn't gotten around to reading her books written under this name. One thing that one needs to understand about this book is that it's very heroine and women-bonding centered. Kera is a woman who needed strong bonds with women who had her back and who accepted her no matter what, and she found that with the Crows. At the same time, it's a romance, but the romance doesn't really develop until maybe 70 or so pages into the novel. Having said that, I found this very enjoyable. It's really funny and every character is a real 'character'. There's even a dog that manages to steal some scenes. I liked Vig, a lot. He's a dangerous hero, but in a cuddly kind of way (when he's not in battle mode and ripping people's arms off.) He's very supportive to Kera, and I'd call him the perfect boyfriend. I would say the cover is highly misleading. I tried not to be embarrassed about it when I'd have it at work and my coworkers saw it. Vig has a big beard and lots of hair. He's not a clean-shaven male model type. I guess the publishers didn't think people would go for a cover with Vig as he looks in the book. It seems to me that having big beards is very much in vogue, so I'd find that intriguing if the cover actually reflected that (not that like facial hair, because I don't). I like that Vig was comfortable with himself and thus with Kera as she was. I think that's so crucial in a relationship that people accept you as you are. They want the best for you, but they aren't constantly trying to change you. The romance worked for me because it was built on mutual like and respect, as well as passion and strong emotion. This book is pretty violent, with descriptive action scenes. It wasn't over the top, and after reading Matt Reilly this past month, it seemed kind of mild, to be honest. The story is about a violent subculture of fighters for the Norse gods who go all out. I wasn't surprised for it to be violent with that expectation. The story itself is intriguing and makes me want to keep reading this series. So I really liked this one. I liked Kera a lot. She was a real person and I appreciated her strengths and weaknesses. She was very caring, but tough as well. I loved the multicultural feel to this book. There are people of just about every race and ethnicity. And considering this is based on Norse mythology, it was cool that Laurenston was able to achieve this. I also loved how the Crows are all strong women but not all cut from the same mode. I love when the diversity of strong women is presented instead of making it seem like all women have to be the same to be strong and confident. There was a lot to appreciate about this book. Four well earned stars.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    When she returned from Afghanistan, Kera took a job in a café just to make ends meet. Then one night as she is taking the trash out to the dumpster in the back alley she runs into a man attacking a woman. She steps in and is stabbed in the chest. As she is about to take her last breath, the Norse goddess Skuld makes her an offer. If she joins with her minions, the crows she can have a second chance at life. But the price is she must deliver Skuld's judgement to humans who are deemed deserving of When she returned from Afghanistan, Kera took a job in a café just to make ends meet. Then one night as she is taking the trash out to the dumpster in the back alley she runs into a man attacking a woman. She steps in and is stabbed in the chest. As she is about to take her last breath, the Norse goddess Skuld makes her an offer. If she joins with her minions, the crows she can have a second chance at life. But the price is she must deliver Skuld's judgement to humans who are deemed deserving of death. So, that sounds promising and there are definitely great moments. Moments that could have been pulled right out of a favorite graphic novel. But the book is a bit of a mess. It suffers from way too many POVs, things happen for no apparent reason, and there are characters whose purpose for being in the book is tantamount to a child being given the role of a mushroom in the school play. Who knows, maybe they're important in the coming books, maybe the many POVs start to make sense as the series develops ... but this book needs to stand on its own and I'm sorry to say it didn't. And the icing on the cake is a cover that makes no sense. I mean that's obviously supposed to be Ludvig, and I guess he's the hero of the story. He's also described as scruffy, hairy and having a beard. That isn't a beard. That's designer fuzz. OK maybe I should quit bitching....oh wait. Bitching. The number of times one female character refers to another female character as "bitch" is close to 50. So maybe it's just me but aren't we better than this? Haven't we moved on? It really doesn't add anything to the story and honestly I was kind of over it after the third "bitch" before page ten.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    Actual Rating: 2.5 stars. April 2015: I am not feeling this book or this genre right now, so I have decided to pause it for a while; I'll come back to it once the second installment is out. “I’ll take your offer . . . but only if I can bring my dog. No dog, no deal.” “You’re serious? You’re willing to give up your chance at a second life for a dog?” “I won’t go without Brodie.” “You do know,” the woman asked Kera, “that you’re standing in front of me with a knife sticking out of your chest? Right? Actual Rating: 2.5 stars. April 2015: I am not feeling this book or this genre right now, so I have decided to pause it for a while; I'll come back to it once the second installment is out. “I’ll take your offer . . . but only if I can bring my dog. No dog, no deal.” “You’re serious? You’re willing to give up your chance at a second life for a dog?” “I won’t go without Brodie.” “You do know,” the woman asked Kera, “that you’re standing in front of me with a knife sticking out of your chest? Right? I send you back now, like this, and it’s over. No second life. No feasting at Valhalla. No Ragnarok. You do understand that, right?” “Not really. I don’t know what Valhalla and Ragnarok have to do with anything. What I do know is that I don’t go anywhere without Brodie. I’m not leaving her. She comes with me or I don’t go. It’s that simple.” “You’d give up everything I’m offering you for a dog?” “She was there for me when no one else was. I won’t leave her.” The woman leaned back a bit. “Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.” November 2016: This book starts great, but after finishing it I have no idea what the story really was. It has waaaay too many POVs which scatters everything. I am not a patient person, so I don't know if I'll be able to endure another installment with this many point of views.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    "When the Crows and Ravens come out, Laurenston's fans will rejoice." Read this review in its entirety at Fresh Fiction "When the Crows and Ravens come out, Laurenston's fans will rejoice." Read this review in its entirety at Fresh Fiction

  20. 4 out of 5

    Yodamom

    4.6 big shiny smiley Viking stars. Norse mythology mixed with humor and near bionic powers. Kera is a second chance person with a second chance dog. Her second chance came when a voice asked her a question and she answered yes, with one condition. She wouldn't step into a new life without her dog. She woke in a strange bed, with uncomfortable memories in a house filled with huge beings. She did not hide, she fought beside her sweet little dog Brodie Hawaii. What she didn't know was that she had j 4.6 big shiny smiley Viking stars. Norse mythology mixed with humor and near bionic powers. Kera is a second chance person with a second chance dog. Her second chance came when a voice asked her a question and she answered yes, with one condition. She wouldn't step into a new life without her dog. She woke in a strange bed, with uncomfortable memories in a house filled with huge beings. She did not hide, she fought beside her sweet little dog Brodie Hawaii. What she didn't know was that she had just kicked supernatural ancient arse and taken weapons of mystery. The weirdest part was who set her on this path. She is now a member of The Crows, one known as the thieves. There are many clans that protect and serve Odin. the Ravens are a second. The Ravens are a clan filled with huge Viking men, One of them Vig., is all that big bad Viking stuff of nightmares and more. The bigger they are the harder they fall. There is a romance brewing of course. It is slow, this baby had to be worked at. Both parties had issues and then there was the heckling. Yep, the big bad bachelor got snarked by his friends. Vig is THE GUY, well I was sold. Perfect timing for this reader, I love a great chase. Her initiation into this band of semi heroes comes with lessons, fights, nudity, emotional outbursts, unfiltered words, dog tricks and laugh your self to tears moments. These characters had me glued to the pages never a dull moment. What a fabulous way to start a new series. It was a just right read for my taste, I was left chuckling and wanting so much more. Now where is book 2 ?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Penny

    Actual Rating: 2.5 stars. April 2015: I am not feeling this book or this genre right now, so I have decided to pause it for a while; I'll come back to it once the second installment is out. “I’ll take your offer . . . but only if I can bring my dog. No dog, no deal.” “You’re serious? You’re willing to give up your chance at a second life for a dog?” “I won’t go without Brodie.” “You do know,” the woman asked Kera, “that you’re standing in front of me with a knife sticking out of your chest? Right? Actual Rating: 2.5 stars. April 2015: I am not feeling this book or this genre right now, so I have decided to pause it for a while; I'll come back to it once the second installment is out. “I’ll take your offer . . . but only if I can bring my dog. No dog, no deal.” “You’re serious? You’re willing to give up your chance at a second life for a dog?” “I won’t go without Brodie.” “You do know,” the woman asked Kera, “that you’re standing in front of me with a knife sticking out of your chest? Right? I send you back now, like this, and it’s over. No second life. No feasting at Valhalla. No Ragnarok. You do understand that, right?” “Not really. I don’t know what Valhalla and Ragnarok have to do with anything. What I do know is that I don’t go anywhere without Brodie. I’m not leaving her. She comes with me or I don’t go. It’s that simple.” “You’d give up everything I’m offering you for a dog?” “She was there for me when no one else was. I won’t leave her.” The woman leaned back a bit. “Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.” November 2016: This book starts great, but after finishing it I have no idea what the story really was. It has waaaay too many POVs, which scatters everything. I am not a patient person, so I don't know if I'll be able to endure another installment with this many point of views.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. My apologies to the friend I "buddy read" this with. She loves this series and this book. I don't. I really really REALLY don't. So sorry Buddy. I have to rip this one apart. Starting with! 1) That COVER. Dude is hot, can wash clothes on his abs, five o'clock shadow, helpfully lost his shirt, etc., etc., etc. My beef with it? That's NOT the MC hero. I read the ENTIRE CRAPPY BOOK to see if our Hero gets a shave. He doesn't. Dude is a VIKING, complete with the full BEARD. Like so Viking, he was chas My apologies to the friend I "buddy read" this with. She loves this series and this book. I don't. I really really REALLY don't. So sorry Buddy. I have to rip this one apart. Starting with! 1) That COVER. Dude is hot, can wash clothes on his abs, five o'clock shadow, helpfully lost his shirt, etc., etc., etc. My beef with it? That's NOT the MC hero. I read the ENTIRE CRAPPY BOOK to see if our Hero gets a shave. He doesn't. Dude is a VIKING, complete with the full BEARD. Like so Viking, he was chased around LA by a lady who was trying to hire him for a Viking movie, THAT'S how authentic he was. FULL BEARD. Cover? five o'clock scruff. Hot, yes. MC? No. Yes, the author has little to say in the way of the cover, but this author has clout. So much so that apparently editors were not going to red ink ANYTHING between the covers, even though it DESPERATELY needed it. So yeah, boo to the cover. 2) The blurb on the back cover. It must have been the pitch to the publisher, because it doesn't exactly match the book. To the point where the book starts AFTER the blurb. Like right after. As in, we get no backstory or the blurb fleshed out. Just BOOM, into the story. And the MC H never saw the MC h kick @ss, so how would he know she could do it? So fail on the blurb being misleading and not explained or written through at all. 3) h wakes up naked and alone except for her new dog, to find strange people, including a man entering the room where she was asleep. He flies through the door and doorframe and she is attacked from behind, so she starts to fight to defend herself. Because crazy people attacking her for no good reason. Said crazy people are Thor's Giant Killers, at the house of the Crows, looking for a piece of jewelry Thor lost. They think the Crows stole it. To get the Crows to leave their house, the Giant Killers used the Crow's goddess' ring or something, that they must have gotten in a less than legitimate fashion, because the Crows were all a twitter to get it back. This is Norse mythology, right? So why wasn't the FIRST thought, Loki must have it?!? Isn't he the trickster god? Nope, must be the Crows. Because they STEAL. There is NO proof of that in the ENTIRE book. They manipulate, threaten, browbeat and intimidate, but they NEVER stole. Is it because they are the only non-Nordic group out of all of the groups shown? The group has people with darker than translucent skin, so they must be thieves? Kinda not PC or true. So anyway, these Giant Killers used an ill-gotten ring of Skuld, the Crow's goddess, to enter their home and look for their god's stolen jewelry. They were the ones who stole, not the Crows. 4) h has NO CLUE was is going on. She is assigned a mentor who treats her like crap, because we need some contrived drama in a book where nothing happens til over halfway through. Seriously, for 140 pages, we have the two at each others throats, literally, when the mentor goes for advice and is told to apologize. She does and they become besties. Not fully, but practically. Anywho, h is shown to the Crow who makes sure the new girl gets money so she can survive for a bit on her own, but there is NO ONE there to explain to her what the HECK is going on. Mentor-poo won't cause, irrational hatred, so h finds H, who is part of the group called the Ravens, they follow Odin and are all male. Crows all female. The Ravens, who are antangonistic towards the Crows traditionally, tell her more about what is going on than her "Crow sisters". They go on and on about "Crow sisters", but I don't think they know what that term means. Unless it means being b*tchy and horrible and rude to each other. 5) So page 140, new BFFs, but STILL not telling h jack, squat or diddly. So they decide to take her to get answers by 76% of the way into the book. She visits the Crow seer and sees the first Crow and her four sisters being created. First Crow was asked by Skuld what her name was. She says she is Slave, because when she was taken by the Viking raiders, that's what she became and she lost her name. Skuld calls her She-With-No-Name. Kunta Kinte she is NOT. Supposed to be so tough, but gives in to the raiders who kidnapped, tortured and killed her by agreeing her name was Slave?!? I really think that thinking isn't a big thing in this book. Oh, and Raven-Pookums gave the h a book on the basic set up of the Norse pantheon. Does Lover Girl read it and make things easier for her and the reader in understanding what the f is going on? Nope. 6) This vision makes our h run off to Raven Pookums so he can help her be able to kill. So, WITHOUT TELLING HER WHERE HE IS TAKING HER AND THE CONSEQUENCES UNTIL THEY ARE THERE, he takes her to Askgard or some Viking Norse place where all the dead warriors fight to practice to get better for Ragnarok. So it's ok for her to kill them, cause they are already dead and come back to "life" every day. But don't die yourself, because then YOU are dead FOREVER!!!1! Whut. First off, why did the vision make her want to be able to kill? It explained NOTHING. Second, HE DIDN'T TELL HER HE WAS TAKING HER SOME PLACE WHERE IF SHE DIDN'T MAKE IT THROUGH THE FIGHT, SHE WAS DEAD. I was angry for her. She was angry, but a lil naughtiness and all was forgiven. And she never seemed to make the connection that not ALL of the warriors there were dead. She and the H were not, if they could visit, couldn't others? And GUESS what Cupcake did? She killed someone who was actually, really ALIVE. Without realizing it. And Raven Pookums knew and decided not to tell her so she wouldn't get upset. Nothing like keeping secrets in a relationship. 7) Violence was glorified to a really disturbing degree. An unhealthy degree. Like, when the H was slowly killing his "prey", he was so clinical about it. And he had to be stopped, multiple times, from killing another Norse mythology god follower, "just because he figured he should". That is creepy AF. No, just no. 8) The h and thus, the reader, are told there are nine groups. We meet: 1. the Crows-Skuld, 2. Ravens-Odin, 3. Protectors, not sure who they follow, 4. The Silent, ditto, no clue, 5. the Mar? ocean water people, 6) Giant Killers-Thor, 7. Valkyeries-Freya and I think that is it. All HATE the Crows and each other. They are all super-powered children who use violence to deal with ALL of their issues with one another. It's sickening. 9) And what the HELL is it with the gods' and goddess' inability to hang onto their jewelry?!? If they are imbued with special powers, why the HELL don't they pay closer attention to it?!? Don't they have protections and stuff on their property? And wouldn't the loss of multiple amulets of power tip them off that SOMEthing bad was coming?!? SERIOUSLY, NO ONE has ANY brains in this book. I'm sure there are things I am missing about what I hate about this book, but I just don't have the energy to try to remember them right now. It was bad enough to read it once. I don't want to have to re-live more of it. 1, I wish I could give this steaming pile negative, stars. My apologies if this is a fav of yours. It didn't work for me. Not giving up on this genre. Just...hesitant to do so.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Al George

    Ton of fun. One of the best books I've listened to this year! Typical Laurenston silliness and I loved it. You never leave a sister behind no matter how annoying she is. Love that message. The pitbull? Star of this book if you asked me. Read for the URR 2018 New Years Challenge, 3. Animal Lovers' Romance Ton of fun. One of the best books I've listened to this year! Typical Laurenston silliness and I loved it. You never leave a sister behind no matter how annoying she is. Love that message. The pitbull? Star of this book if you asked me. Read for the URR 2018 New Years Challenge, 3. Animal Lovers' Romance

  24. 5 out of 5

    "Avonna

    The Unleashing (Call of the Crows, #1) by Shelly Laurenston is the first book in a new paranormal series based on Norse mythology. This is the first book I have read by this author and it definitely will not be the last. I picked this up because the second book is on Net Galley and I like to read paranormal series in order due to the world-building. This author’s writing is witty, sharp and entertaining. Kera Watson is an ex-Marine who survived two tours in Afghanistan and then came home and was The Unleashing (Call of the Crows, #1) by Shelly Laurenston is the first book in a new paranormal series based on Norse mythology. This is the first book I have read by this author and it definitely will not be the last. I picked this up because the second book is on Net Galley and I like to read paranormal series in order due to the world-building. This author’s writing is witty, sharp and entertaining. Kera Watson is an ex-Marine who survived two tours in Afghanistan and then came home and was killed behind the coffee shop she was managing. Ludvig ‘Vig” Rundstom is a regular that Kera believed to be a damaged vet that she always took care of, but he is a Viking Raven and as Kera is breathing her last, he called on Skuld to make her a Crow and give her a second life. Kera has to learn to trust and go to battle with her new Crow sisters while learning all about her new life among the Norse clans. This book was a fast and easy read. I loved all the characters introduced in this first book especially Brodie Hawaii, Kera’s pitbull. I have a rescued pittie and was so happy everyone loved her. The world-building was different and interesting. I am so looking forward to getting right into the next book in this series and I also need to check out more of this author’s work.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I heart Shelly Laurenston! Everything I have read by her I have enjoyed and this is no exception. With Laurenston you expect somewhat off the wall characters, interesting action filled plotlines and humor. Again, no exception.. Although there are definitely quirky characters there isn’t quite as much humor as there has been in some of her previous books but that didn’t make me like this book any less. This is a brand new series set in a completely different world. There was no cross over from an I heart Shelly Laurenston! Everything I have read by her I have enjoyed and this is no exception. With Laurenston you expect somewhat off the wall characters, interesting action filled plotlines and humor. Again, no exception.. Although there are definitely quirky characters there isn’t quite as much humor as there has been in some of her previous books but that didn’t make me like this book any less. This is a brand new series set in a completely different world. There was no cross over from any of her shifter series at least not in this book, so if you are looking for that be prepared that it is not going to happen. This series is all about VIKINGS! Yes that’s right, Vikings! In my lowly opinion there are just not enough Viking books out there so I am ecstatic that one of my favorite authors has started a Viking series! Whoot Whoot Sometimes I feel bad for the first book in a new paranormal series but this is the book that sets up the whole new world. It has to set up the rest of the series and paint a picture and sometimes it can be a bit confusing as the author lays down the tracks. Sometimes the main characters can take a bit of a hit because of this. So an author really has to start strong and I think Laurenston accomplished that with Kera and Vig. They are both very strong characters in different ways. Kera is our bad a$$ ex-marine that is having a hard time adjusting to her new life as a Crow. Vig is her lifeline in this new world. He is her very deadly but super sweet rock. Vig is kind of the boogey man in the Viking world, he is fierce and ultra deadly. When you want mass destruction you send in Vig and he’s good at it, but he gets a bad rap. He’s actually super sweet and kind of shy. He takes a shining to Kera in her human life and when she is killed he is the one that helps bring her back. When Kera first wakes it’s in the middle of a raid and her new warrior strength kicks in, she vaguely remembers dying and how she was brought back. When she first sees Vig after her waking he’s the one familiar face and she clings to that. Come to find out he is not what she expected at all. These two make a great team, while Vig does take on a bit of a mentor roll it is clear that there is no dividing line between teacher and student this is pure heat and attraction. I adored Vig and wished we had some more face time with him and maybe saw a bit more of that made him so scary but what time we did have with him was well spent. Watching Kera adjust was a fun ride. The other Crows did not know what to make of this newcomer trying to organize them. Didn’t Kera know they did not DO organization? Kera was well on her way to alienating all of the Crows but after a few eye opening experiences and finding her next life calling she started to find her footing. There are a lot of side characters in this book between all of the Crows and Ravens all with strong personalities. Keeping track of them all could be a bit overwhelming but as the series goes on it’ll become easier. I liked every single character and cannot wait to see how they develop. The world/plotline is very interesting and will keep you engaged from beginning to end. It’s a cool twist on the Vikings. I’m looking forward to the next book whenever it may come out. Rating 4.5

  26. 4 out of 5

    ShoSho

    4.5 stars This was my first book by Shelly Laurenston but I've read all her "Dragon kin" books under the name G.A Aiken and I have enjoyed most of them. I can say this was better than any of them. The world building was simple and great and nothing I'v read before.It had a set of characters that were crazy ,hilarious and fun.Their interactions reminded me of the "Valkyries" from Kresley Cole books and "the dragons and their mates" from G.A Aiken books. But that's the only thing it had in common wi 4.5 stars This was my first book by Shelly Laurenston but I've read all her "Dragon kin" books under the name G.A Aiken and I have enjoyed most of them. I can say this was better than any of them. The world building was simple and great and nothing I'v read before.It had a set of characters that were crazy ,hilarious and fun.Their interactions reminded me of the "Valkyries" from Kresley Cole books and "the dragons and their mates" from G.A Aiken books. But that's the only thing it had in common with those books. The world building is unique and it has a new way of introducing the gods like Thor and Odin that hasn't been done before (I've read so many version of these Gods that I'd never have thought there could be new way ! ) The book was long but it was funny and action packed so it only took me a bit more than a day to finish it and I enjoyed every moment of it. From netgalley in exchange for an honest review

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nadia

    Thanks to Marvel's Thor (I'm talking about the movie. And I know it had very little to do with the actual mythology, but it served the purpose and it got me interested in finding out more), I realized how very little (nothing, really) I knew about Nordic gods and mythology, and ever since I tried to soak up everything on this subject I could get my hands on. So, naturally I wouldn't pass the chance to read something new because 1) it's about my new favorite topic and 2) Shelly Laurenston wrote i Thanks to Marvel's Thor (I'm talking about the movie. And I know it had very little to do with the actual mythology, but it served the purpose and it got me interested in finding out more), I realized how very little (nothing, really) I knew about Nordic gods and mythology, and ever since I tried to soak up everything on this subject I could get my hands on. So, naturally I wouldn't pass the chance to read something new because 1) it's about my new favorite topic and 2) Shelly Laurenston wrote it. The Unleashing is unlike any other book by Shelly Laurenston or G.A.Aiken I've read, and yet in her true style, she made it an extremely enjoyable read. I couldn't put it down. Hell, I even messed up my one and only status update on GR because I was in a hurry to continue reading. I won't give you a synopsis because I probably wouldn't do it right, but you can always read the blurb. Better yet, go in blind. You won't regret it. It took me some time to warm up to the heroine, mainly because I am used to heroines who are tough as nails and don't have much qualms about killing. And while Kera was most certainly as tough as they get, her reluctance to deliver the final blow was a bit off-putting. Now, I know I sound like a sociopath, but when you read about all those heroines who won't bat an eye after putting a sword or bullet or whatever through a monster (literally and figuratively speaking), seeing a character having a moral dilemma about it is a bit disconcerting. Mainly because it makes me feel like I'm a psychotic lunatic with killer tendencies, but also because innocent people pay the price of her unwillingness to do the deed. In this book though, it lead to an epic fighting scene and then I kinda found Kera cool. The world-building was phenomenal, awesome, amazing, epic, ubercool, I mean mind=blown. To be honest, I didn't expect anything less from Laurenston. Romance took the backseat in this book and at times I almost forgot there was some lovin' supposed to happen. Instead I got awesome side characters, strong-willed mythological creatures, epic fight scenes, silly dialogues and just a whole lot of awesomeness. One question for the end: when can I get the sequel? Is tomorrow good? Or now? Now works too. Yes, now would be better. Can I get the sequel now? Please? A big thank you to Kensington for providing me with an ARC via NetGalley

  28. 5 out of 5

    Denisa

    I'm sorry, I just couldn't. There were some things that I liked in this book, I won't deny that. I liked the plot and idea of the story, the viking lore and all the clans. But I absolutely hated the characters! All of them! Ok, some more than others, but still, I couldn't stand the main ones. She acted like a 12 year old! And he wasn't that much better either! And the writing style was pretty annoying as well. So I couldn't finish it, I couldn't even read 35%. I'm sorry, I just couldn't. There were some things that I liked in this book, I won't deny that. I liked the plot and idea of the story, the viking lore and all the clans. But I absolutely hated the characters! All of them! Ok, some more than others, but still, I couldn't stand the main ones. She acted like a 12 year old! And he wasn't that much better either! And the writing style was pretty annoying as well. So I couldn't finish it, I couldn't even read 35%.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Fantastic start to the series. I'm even tempted to pay ca. 10 € for the second book and I've never spent that much on a ebook. Fantastic start to the series. I'm even tempted to pay ca. 10 € for the second book and I've never spent that much on a ebook.

  30. 5 out of 5

    MrsJoseph *grouchy*

    http://bookslifewine.com/r-the-unleas... 4.5 Stars Quite some time ago I read a book by Shelly Laurenston titled Hunting Season (The Gathering, #1) . I loved Hunting Season and the entire world that Ms Laurentston created and I was disappointed to learn that she had no intention of finishing the series. When I saw advertisements for The Unleashing...OMG, I was so excited! Ms Laurenston explicitly states that The Unleashing was not a part of The Gathering, instead it's a brand new book and serie http://bookslifewine.com/r-the-unleas... 4.5 Stars Quite some time ago I read a book by Shelly Laurenston titled Hunting Season (The Gathering, #1) . I loved Hunting Season and the entire world that Ms Laurentston created and I was disappointed to learn that she had no intention of finishing the series. When I saw advertisements for The Unleashing...OMG, I was so excited! Ms Laurenston explicitly states that The Unleashing was not a part of The Gathering, instead it's a brand new book and series based in the same "world." I. Don't. Care. This was exactly what I was looking for. Ms Laurenston's world full of Viking gods and goddesses, Crows and Ravens, supernatural crimes and evil gods/goddesses is just amazingly detailed and wonderful. I can tell that Ms Laurenston made some significant changes in her world and the writing of this new book: The Unleashing is still funny and exhilarating but its a lot less vulgar (sad face) and a bit more serious. I first started reading The Unleashing one morning while getting ready for work. I had a few minutes to myself and thought, "Why not?" 20 minutes later as I was running desperately late for work I realized I was going to really enjoy this book...and that this was a good reason never to read before leaving for work! I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the heroine, Kera, having to learn (deal with?) her training as a Marine and her new life as a Crow. I can only imagine how difficult it is to have relearn everything you thought you ever knew about life. It was interesting watching Kera try to assimilate (or not) into her new Crow life as well as the Crows learning to work with (and not around) Kera. The hardest thing about Kera's new life as a Crow was the lack of military discipline. The Crows are warriors but they are not soldiers. They do what is required of them (kill) but they are not trained and disciplined in the same way soldiers are - this really distressed Kera as military order was how she focused her life. “What the hell was that about?” Alessandra asked. “She had to go.” “Aren’t you her mentor? Aren’t you supposed to be helping her?” “She had a clipboard! There is no help for people who walk around with clipboards for absolutely no apparent reason!” Alessandra went back to the tablet she was working on as Leigh stormed over, a beer now in her hand. “You have to do something.” “I know. I know.” Erin returned to her deck chair. “Trust me. I know. ” “Not only is she a menace,” Leigh went on, now good and panicked, “but she’s all eager and hopeful, ready to change everything with her focused energy and positive work ethic. We can’t have that, Amsel.” One of my favorite parts of The Unleashing was the story of how the Crows were first started. I really appreciated that history as well as meeting the First Crow. The strength of the First Crow - her ability to survive after all of horrors life threw at her - was amzing. I also loved the visit to Asgard and the confidence that Kera achieved there. Vig. I loved Vig and I loved how much he loved Kera. I also loved the way that Vig was scary to everyone else but when it came to Kera he was initially tongue-tied. That was simply adorable. I loved that while the Marines taught Kera to fight and defend, it was Vig who was able to "teach" Kera how to kill. Gosh, that sounds horrible but read the book and it'll make sense! The relationship that Vig and Kera have was so touching. Unlike a lot of Romances where the couple's major tie to each other is their physical attraction, Vig and Kera are shown comforting each other and growing together. There must be special discussion about Brodie Hawaii - Kera's rescued pit bull. OMG. I adored Brodie and thought she was the best. I loved that Ms Laurenston talked about animal rescue and the horrors of dog fighting. Brodie was the BEST and I'm sitting on a spoiler so freaking hard cause there's a scene in here that had me cheering my ass off. GO Brodie!! :-D “On one condition,” she’d told the veiled woman. “I have to bring my dog.” Fathomless eyes had frowned at her over the veil. “What?” “I’ll take your offer . . . but only if I can bring my dog. No dog, no deal.” “You’re serious? You’re willing to give up your chance at a second life for a dog?” “I won’t go without Brodie.” Folding her arms over her chest, the woman had held what looked like a watering can . . . which seemed, to put it mildly, weird. “You do know,” the woman asked Kera, “that you’re standing in front of me with a knife sticking out of your chest? Right? I send you back now, like this, and it’s over. No second life. No feasting at Valhalla. No Ragnarok. You do understand that, right?” “Not really. I don’t know what Valhalla and Ragnarok have to do with anything. What I do know is that I don’t go anywhere without Brodie. I’m not leaving her. She comes with me or I don’t go. It’s that simple.” “You’d give up everything I’m offering you for a dog?” “She was there for me when no one else was. I won’t leave her.” The woman leaned back a bit. “Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.” Kera jerked the hammer again, dragging the man down the hall. While she did, her dog, Brodie, had her back. Snapping and charging at anyone who got too close to Kera. To this day, Kera couldn’t tell what had possessed her to help the ugly little dog. Brodie had not been friendly. But Kera had just moved back to Los Angeles after leaving the Marines. She’d been feeling edgy, tense . . . and angry. Getting work had been harder than she’d thought it would be. Her old friends from high school didn’t know how to talk to her. They treated her like a freak, an outsider. At least that’s the way it felt at the time. And that was perhaps what had attracted Kera to the dog. God knows, Brodie had looked like a freak, an outsider herself at that moment. In the end, it had turned out that ugly, mean little dog was willing to do anything, risk anything, to protect Kera. And Brodie’s apparent reward for that loyalty? Well, now she was a tall, muscular, one hundred or so pound, beautiful pit bull with all her teeth and her muzzle undamaged. But Brodie was still willing to do anything, risk anything to protect Kera. I LOVED Brodie Hawaii. I really enjoyed The Unleashing and I will be anxiously awaiting the next installment in the series. There are very few things about the book that I didn't like: I felt the story dragged in a few places and I wished for more sex and violence (how horrible that sounds, lol!). Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The Unleashing and other books written by Shelly Laurenston can be found at Shelly Laurenston's website.

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