Hei hei, everyone! Welcome to my stop on the ENDRE by ST Bende blog tour, hosted by Entranced Publishing! Today I’m not only reviewing the 2nd book in the Elsker Saga, ENDRE, but I also have ST over to answer a couple of questions about the book, Norse mythology, and random other questions I wanted to know her answer to. ST is fantastic, so make sure you leave her a nice comment down below 🙂
Endre by ST Bende
Released: September 9, 2013
Publisher: Entranced Publishing
Series: Elsker Saga #2
Genre: NA Paranormal Romance (with YA crossover appeal)
Winning the heart of an immortal assassin was a dream come true for Kristia Tostenson. Now she’s knee deep in wedding plans, goddess lessons, and stolen kisses. But her decision to become immortal could end in heartbreak — not only for Kristia, but for the god who loves her. Because while Ull would do anything to protect his bride, even the God of Winter is powerless against the Norse apocalypse. Ragnarok is coming. And the gods aren’t even close to ready.
Note: ENDRE is the second book in the Elsker Saga by ST Bende. If you’re new to the series, make sure you check out my review of book #1: ELSKER. As hard as I try not to, this review may end up containing some spoilers.
One of my favorite things about ELSKER was the blossoming love story between Kristia and Ull. ENDRE ended up being very much their love story, yet again! Their love has developed from the awkward getting to you know you phase to now the pre-wedding jitters, the wedding, and the honeymoon phase of their married life. But as everyone knows all too well, the bliss can’t last forever. These two love birds are in the fight of their life–literally–the fight for their loved ones, and ultimately the fight to prevent their world as they know it from ending.
In ENDRE, it’s obvious that Kristia has grown tremendously as a character. Before, she was shy, not very confident, a bit awkward, and very opposed to change. Now that she’s about to become a goddess, marry her best friend, and help save the world, she’s a new woman. She’s grown to be very confident and definitely believes that she can take care of her own. She’s willing to make a huge sacrifice in order to become immortal and almost seems to embrace it with open arms, despite her nerves. Mr. Ull Myhr, on the other hand, seems to be his usual self: loving, strong, devoted, and way too overbearing when it comes to Kristia’s protection. He drove me batty with how extreme he was taking her safety. If she didn’t tell him one of her visions ASAP, he lost his cool and repeatedly told her to not keep things from him. I’m so glad Kristia loves and respects him as much as she does: she’d get frustrated but ultimately would acquiesce if it made him happy. More power to ya, sister!
I want to get into the action of the novel but I have to take a paragraph to discuss the–eek!!–wedding! Bende knows how to write a phenomenal wedding scene. This chapter was so very visual and emotional, I felt like I was actually there. I shed a few tears, I must admit. It was beautifully written, I just couldn’t help it. Ull is, in true Ull fashion, the best groom imaginable. The gift he gave Kristia sounded gorgeous. The romantic hideaway in the trees outside the church for the two of them to be alone before going to the reception made my heart melt. He wanted to make this day special for Kristia and I definitely think he made it magical.
On to the action and the dreaded Ragnarok. Knowing that this inevitable battle was going to happen, I was surprised at how this wasn’t the main focus on the novel. I’m a major plot and action person, but I loved how Kristia and Ull were able to let this slip their minds for the couple of weeks they allowed themselves to enjoy being husband and wife. But when this battle did happen, I wasn’t prepared! In ELSKER, this major event was foreshadowed and Kristia had visions on how she thought it was going to go down. But once it happened for real, I was still surprised. It was heart pounding and just reaffirmed how way too incredibly invested I was in these characters! I’m not going to say what happens or how it ends, but I will say this: I got a nagging feeling in the pit of stomach that things were not over.
ST Bende has created a wonderful paranormal romance in The Elsker Saga. I really enjoyed reading ELSKER and after reading ENDRE, I know that I won’t be satisfied until the very last book in the series. ENDRE has to be my favorite of the two, thus far. I loved seeing Kristia come into her own and not be afraid of change. I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey I’ve been on with Kristia and Ull; their love story is beautiful and built to last. The secondary cast of characters are intriguing and I love getting to know more about them as the story line continues. I can’t wait for book #3!
|5 Thought Clouds!|
I received an ebook copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
1. Hi ST! Thanks so much for answering some of my questions today! To start off, can you give a quick pitch of what The Elsker Saga is about?
Thank you for letting me visit The Bookish Daydreamer. I’m so excited to be here!
The Elsker Saga follows twenty-year-old Kristia Tostenson as she leaves her one stoplight town of Nehalem, Oregon, to study abroad at Cardiff University in Wales. When she gets there she falls for Ull Myhr — who happens to be the Norse God of Winter. Ull is fated to die at the epic battle of Ragnarok, and Kristia’s crazy visions are the only thing that can save their realms. Her orderly life just got very messy.
Coincidentally, I’m in Nehalem today! I’m going to hit up all of Kristia’s favorite spots — the creek, the coffee shop, the car the berries ate . . . (check the picture. Because you can’t make this stuff up.)
2. What has been your favorite part about writing this series? Anything you’ve done differently writing the 2nd book than you did with the 1st one?
Oh, gosh. I love these stories so, so much. I loved researching the Norse myths. I loved finding ways to make them my own, and I absolutely loved getting to know Kristia and Ull. There were nights when they’d just start chattering away in my head and I’d have to get out of bed and write a scene just so I could get some sleep. They’re my very real imaginary friends. And it’s been so amazing to meet readers who embrace them as much as I do.
As for differences, I have to confess that I never meant for ELSKER and ENDRE to be books. I wrote them together as one really long journal entry, just for me. It wasn’t until later that I decided to split them into two stories and make them books. Basically, when you read ELSKER and ENDRE, y’all are reading my journal. How scary is that? 🙂
3. We got a quick glimpse of Ull’s real world in ELSKER, do we get to meet and spend more time with the other gods in ENDRE?
Yes and no. This is still very much Kristia and Ull’s story, and their primary interactions are with Gunnar, Inga and Olaug. But everybody’s favorite Norn, Elsker, will be back to help Kristia find her place in Ull’s world. You’ll get to meet the infamous Skadi, and Idunn, the Goddess of Wisdom. And Ull’s mom comes into the picture — I hope you’ll get a kick out of Kristia’s interactions with Sif (the Goddess of Beauty).
4. Besides Ull’s physical attractiveness–swoon!–what do you think it is about him that has Kristia head over heels in love?
His intensity. Ull has this overbearing, all consuming love for Kristia that leads him to do absolutely anything for her. He’s a trained killer who spent his existence thinking he was going to die alone, and now that he has the one thing he always wanted, he’s going to do everything he can to protect it. It’s really cute. I mean, how can you not love a guy who’s willing to fill your flat with white flowers, take you home to meet his grandma, and give up his immortality to spend one lifetime with you?
5. In ELSKER, Kristia decides to make a big life change and study abroad. Did you ever study abroad yourself?
I studied in London. And I LOVED it. I’d move back in a heartbeat if I had the chance. The theatre, the people, the daffodils in the parks in springtime, the little coffee shop that had big comfy couches and every single flavor of Torani syrup, including Almond Roca. (Shout-out to the Bean ‘n Cup in Camden!) The whole experience was just amazing.
A lot of Kristia’s reactions to the UK are things I wrote in my journal when I lived there. I love making fun of myself in my books, and let’s just say Kristia wasn’t the only one who was intimidated by curries . . . or obsessed with Caramel McVities. Mmm, McVities . . .
6. If you could pick one myth to be true, which one would it be and why?
Oh, wow. Well I’d love to go skiing with a certain God of Winter . . .
7. I’ve tried out your amazing waffle recipe, yum! Do you have any other Scandinavian recipes you highly recommend?!
Aren’t those waffles delicious? Sometimes I make them without the buttermilk, and they’re every bit as good. I also love Norwegian pancakes — they’re like crepes, and the real Olaug serves them with butter, sugar, and lemons from the tree in her backyard. Perfection.
What about y’all? If you could have a book boyfriend cook you any meal, which BBF would it be and what would they make? Tell me in the comments!
Before finding domestic bliss in suburbia, ST Bende lived in Manhattan Beach (became overly fond of Peet’s Coffee) and Europe… where she became overly fond of McVities cookies. Her love of Scandinavian culture and a very patient Norwegian teacher inspired the books of The Elsker Saga (TUR, ELSKER and ENDRE). She is an audio co-host of #NALitChat, and helps compile indie new releases for the USA Today HEA blog. She hopes her characters make you smile and that one day, pastries will be considered a health food.