Friday, February 10, 2017

Review: The Truth About Cats and Wolves by @AletheaKontis plus Once Upon a Kiss

These two new releases by Alethea Kontis will entertain and nurture the romantic in you. What better way to weather these trying times? And as per usual with Ms. Kontis, the stories have a delightful depth to them, blasting through tropes even in the context of a fairy tale.

The Truth About Cats and Wolves: A Nocturne Falls Universe Story by Alethea Kontis is a fun, refreshing romantic urban fantasy following Kai Xanthopoulos, a young woman on the verge of discovering--and deciding--her fate, beginning with her inexplicable encounter with a refugee werewolf who wants the Nocturne Falls police to catch him. Finn's arrival is certainly no accident, but his connection to Kai comes as a surprise to everyone and leads to the discovery of her long-awaited powers. To add to the fun, Owen--the cat that can talk to her?--he's more than he's let on, and his secrets could mean trouble for Kai on the distant horizon.

Kontis' love story busts through urban fantasy tropes with glee. Kai is a wonderfully strong young woman, both in personality and in her emerging powers. Kai's powers give her options, as contrasted with some urban fantasy stories where the woman is constantly beholden to her dangerous companions. Furthermore, Kai's introspection--balanced well by the story's action and magic--is honest in a way that makes me want to be her. Where other protagonists might simper over the abusive bad boy, Kai evaluates her options and her emotions in a way that respects her self and those around her. As icing on the cake, werewolf Finn is not your typical 'bad' boy, either, or Kai would kick him to the curb in the second chapter.

There's plenty of magic and fun, too. Both cat and wolf carry endearing traits over to their human form. Kai's family and friends range from fairy to novice witch. Nocturne Falls is a delightful urban fantasy town (by Kristen Painter) where paranormals like Kai keep the human residents in the dark using spelled water. But of course, spelled water can't hide everything! Kai and her fae friends have to be careful not to give away the town's secret (or get in trouble with Harmswood paranormal school) as they seek to break Finn's curse.

I hope there's a follow-up to The Truth About Cats and Wolves. Kontis gives readers a light-hearted coming-of-age romance, with a tasty hint of more adventure to come.

And as long as we're talking about Alethea Kontis, here's another recent release that I couldn't resist snatching up!

Let's take a look at Once Upon a Kiss: 17 Romantic Faerie Tales anthology, with "Glass Mountain" by Alethea Kontis.

In this gorgeous anthology, an author's note accompanies each story, noting the original fairy tale inspiration and thoughts behind changes made to the original source material. Many of the original fairy tales will be familiar to readers--such as the little mermaid in "The Sea King's Daughter," a beautiful retelling by Anthea Sharp. Kontis' tale is based on a folk tale I'd never read before and is even more enjoyable for it, complete with strange spells and princesses who fall into them. The stories range in length from short stories to novellas with chapters. A very enjoyable anthology with surprising diversity in tone and subject, and a steal at its current 99c price.

Here's a fun "Fairy Tale Rant" by Alethea Kontis covering the original fairy tale, Old RinkRank. I'd never read the tale before myself and found it enjoyable to look it up after reading the anthology. Her Fairy Tale Rants were quite popular and she would love to do them again for her patreon members.


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