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Malice Striker - Jianne Carlo This review can also be found on my blog.

This was my first read by Jianne Carlo, and I was pleasantly surprised. When I read the first few pages, my first thought was “uh oh”. Why? Well, the story takes place in the 10th century AD, and the characters are Vikings. What you get are complicated names to pronounce and the dialogue for that time period is not one that I’m used to reading a lot of. However, I was hooked from the beginning, so I am glad that I decided to stick with it and see where the story went.

Skatha and Brökk were excellent protagonists. Skatha was the type of heroine I love to read about. She may have been young and a virgin, but despite being blind, she was independent, kind, and she had spunk. As for Brökk, I wasn’t sure about him in the beginning. I wasn’t sure if his intentions were good, or if he was really going to go ahead with his plan of using Skatha as an end to his means.

“What use have I for healing hands and wisdom in a woman? Women cook, birth and complain. ‘Tis their role.”

Another thing I liked was that Brökk didn’t keep the truth from her for very long. As soon as they felt more comfortable around each other, they each confessed their deepest secrets. When he learns of her impairment, not only do his protective instincts go into overdrive, but his admiration for her soars – for her inner strength, the way she views the world, and the way she navigates it. It was just sweet to seeing her teach the big lug a thing or two. They had excellent chemistry together which led up to great sex. The sex scenes burned up the pages. It may sound ridiculous, but I giggled a few times because of the verbiage used, but it stayed true to the time period (I think). The author was quite descriptive which just further sucked you in (no pun intended). But it wasn’t just wild, crazy rutting, or as Brökk would say, swiving. He was capable of being gentle and romantic. A favorite scene that comes to mind are the hot springs *sigh*

The dramatic portion was also well done. My heart broke a little for Skatha and Brökk, but as usual their ability to communicate saved me from spilling a few tears. Once all the drama died down, it was time for a spot of humor. I couldn’t stop laughing at the end. There are a few funny scenes between him and the strict abbess. I love that he couldn’t seem to intimidate the woman. That was the perfect way of making him work hard to regain the love of his life.

He inhaled the fresh sweetness of a new morn, the morn he and Skatha were to say their vows, and grinned like a sotted court jester. “Brother, you wear the smile of a lovesick fool.”

At the end of this, I came away from the story bearing a huge grin, heaving a sigh and a definite plan to read more of Jianne Carlo’s work. I look forward to book two and I hope there will be a cameo of these two. This was sweet, funny, sizzling and easy to read. If you don’t mind the names tripping you up a little, then this is a book for you.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy from the author. A review in exchange was not promised.