Review: Heart Fortune by Robin D. Owens

Heart Fortune by Robin D. OwensFormat read: ebook purchased from Amazon
Series: Celta’s Heartmates, #12
Genre: Futuristic Romance, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy Romance
Release Date: Aug. 6, 2013
Number of pages: 384 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Formats available: ebook, paperback
Purchasing Info: Author’s website | Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Book Depository US | Book Depository (UK) | Publisher’s Website

Jace Bayrum has always been a loner. Concerned more with getting an adrenaline fix and making money to live on his own, Jace cares little for family ties or matters of the heart. On the other hand Glyssa Licorice, Jace’s former fling and true mate, is both loving and loyal. She is determined to track down her HeartMate and have him claim her.

After hearing that Jace has been involved in an accident, Glyssa sets out to find him, departing for the excavation site of the lost starship Lugh’s Spear. Though her goal is to help Jace and finesse him into recognizing her as his mate, the excavation itself draws her in…

Thrust by fate into working side-by-side, Jace and Glyssa’s electric connection from years before sparks once more. She intrigues him, and Jace begins to realize that a HeartMate can make a difference. And one as magnetic as Glyssa could be exactly what he has been searching for…

My Thoughts:

Three things make Robin D. Owens’ Celta series compulsively readable for me: 1) she’s found a way to make the fated mate trope have romantic tension and make logical sense, 2) the worldbuilding behind Celta is not only multi-layered and totally awesome, but it seems eminently livable, and 3) the fams, the fams, the fams, who rock this particular entry in the series.

The Celta series is a futuristic lost colony series. So they are part of the Pern tradition without the dragon-induced rape. (I’m including that bit for Draconismoi). But what I mean is that the Celtans also escaped Earth because they had a major difference of opinion with the powers that be and decided to go their own way. In the case of Celta, the difference was that all the colonists had some kind of psychic talent.

Why does the fated mate trope work in the Celta series, at least for me? Because even though someone might have a mate, that doesn’t mean things automatically work out. And Owens has done stories in the series where people either don’t have fated mates, or make real relationships after the fated mate relationship fails. In the case of this particular story, the participants come really close to screwing things up.

In other words, just because they know who their partner is supposed to be, it doesn’t mean they are required to accept the partnership. Either or both of them can reject it. The worldbuilding is well-developed here, there are laws in place so that neither one can be forced.

In this story, we see why Jace has some darn good reasons that he doesn’t believe in any kind of love. Not between partners, and not between parents and children. No experience whatsoever.

On the other hand, his prospective mate does believe in love, because she’s grown up as the child of a HeartMate marriage. One of her best friends found her mate after a very rocky courtship, so she knows that the heartache can bring joy.

Jace has never seen love work, but then he’s made sure that he never has to. He’s lived his life on the surface of emotions. His own, and other people’s. He may be the first person in his family to have enough of the psychic power the Celtans call Flair to experience the power passages that make it possible for him to even have a HeartMate, which is pretty damn ironic.

The story takes place at an archaeological expedition, which is pretty cool. The Celtans have never forgotten where they came from, or how they got there. The dig is at the site of Lugh’s Spear, one of the two ships that brought them from Earth to Celta. The site has recently been re-discovered, so there are artifacts to discover and mysteries to solve.

Glyssa, being a librarian (yay!) has come to record the discovery. It’s an excuse to be near Jace again, to hopefully get him to acknowledge their bond. That attempt very nearly backfires, but Glyssa’s work achieves her final degree of advancement in her profession. Go Glyssa!

The structure of the society of Celta has been built up through many layers of stories. It feels solid. Each new person has a place. They know some people that we’ve met before, but also introduce us to new ones. I also find it interesting that for a somewhat fantasy-type society, rank has some mutability. Families rise to GrandLord and GreatLord status based on Flair testing. They can also fall based on that testing.

Heart Mate by Robin D. OwensThen there are the fam animals. Fams are companion animals with enough Flair to communicate telepathically with their people. They can be seemingly any species, and all of them seem to have personality to spare, from Zanth the FamCat in the very first book, HeartMate, to Lepid the young and excitable FamFox and Zem the FamHawkcel in Heart Fortune. Lepid and Zem steal the show in this story. At many points they are more likable, and certainly more clear thinking, than their humans.

Verdict: As with many of the Celta stories, there is both a romance and a mystery going on in this book, although the biggest mystery is either whether Jace will get his head out of his ass or whether Glyssa will stop being a doormat and force him to. She can’t force him to be her HeartMate, but she can certainly stop letting him have his own way on everything. It takes her a long time before she realizes that standing up for herself is the only way forward for both of them.

Of course, they nearly get killed in the other mystery along the way. And I did not catch who that perp was, but then, I wasn’t looking. I was too busy watching the antics of the Fams. Lepid, the very young and very inquisitive FoxFam is probably the cutest character ever, and Zem possibly has the most heart.


I give  Heart Fortune by Robin D. Owens 4 feathered stars (for Zem)!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

13 for 2013: A Baker’s Dozen of My Most Anticipated Reads

“Love looks forward, hate looks backward, and anxiety stalks NetGalley and Edelweiss for early review copies.” That is not the way the saying goes, but it works for me.

I’m also hoping that there will be review copies of the Spring books at least on the American Library Association Midwinter Exhibits floor–especially since I won’t need to worry about what I carry home with me. I’ll be home. The conference is here in Seattle this year.

So, what books are at the tippy top of my wishlist for 2013?

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris, otherwise known as Sookie Stackhouse’s last hurrah. Even though the last few books in the series haven’t been quite up to the high bar set by the early entries, I have to know how Sookie’s story ends. Don’t you?

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon is the 8th doorstop in her giant, world-traveling, era-spanning Outlander series. The series has been described as “historical fiction with a Moebius twist,” and that’s the best short summation I’ve read for the damn thing that makes any sense. What they are is the best way to lose about three days, every time there’s a new one–and I can’t wait.

The Second Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay. I’ll confess that I have this one because I did stalk NetGalley for months after reading The First Rule of Ten, but the official date of publication is January 1, 2013, so it’s on the list. Tenzing Norbu is interesting as a detective because he is just different enough to see the world slightly askew, and it helps him solve crimes. The world he solves crimes in is itself slightly askew. Of all the places for an ex-monk to end up, Hollywood? Really? Marvelous!

Cast in Sorrow by Michelle Sagara will be number 9 in her Chronicles of Elantra. I just finished book 8, Cast in Peril, last week, and I’m already jonesing for my next fix. It doesn’t help that Cast in Peril ended in the middle of a very dangerous journey, not that Kaylin ever manages to stay out of trouble for long. So this wait is even more cliffhanger-esque than normal.

Imager’s Battalion by L.E. Modesitt Jr. When I finished the first trilogy in Modesitt’s Imager Portfolio, I thought he was done. The story was marvelous, but his hero’s journey was over. Little did I know he had a prequel in mind. Quaeryt’s journey from bureaucratic aide to military leader reads a bit like Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. And that’s not bad company at all.

Untitled Psy-Changeling #12 by Nalini Singh. I hate this. The publisher and the author are being particularly coy about this one. Even the title is supposed to be a huge spoiler for some shocking secret mystery. As annoyed as I am about this, I adore the Psy-Changeling series, so I can’t wait for the book. Whatever it’s called.

Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French is the second book in French’s new mystery series featuring therapist Frieda Klein. Something about the first book, Blue Monday, absolutely grabbed me. I think it had to do with how much Klein wanted to keep the case at arm’s length, and how personal it all turned out to be.  Blue Monday was chilling and I want to see if Tuesday’s Gone is just as good.

One-Eyed Jack by Elizabeth Bear is something I’ve wanted for a long time, but never expected to see. It’s a continuation of her utterly wondrous Promethean Age series. The Promethean Age books were urban fantasy of the crossover school, something that isn’t done well nearly often enough. In the Promethean Age, Faerie exists alongside our world, and events can effect both, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

Wicked as She Wants by Delilah S. Dawson is the second book in Dawson’s absolutely yummy Blud series. The first book, Wicked as They Come, was dark, creepy, sensual and extremely eerie. At the same time, the love story was hauntingly beautiful. And I want to see more bludbunnies. Any writer who can come up with piranha rabbits has to have more tricks up her sleeve.

Calculated in Death  and Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb. I still want to know how Nora Roberts does it. Calculated and Thankless are the two In Death books scheduled for 2013. I have a hard time believing that they are numbers 36 and 37 in the series. Odds are that one will be close to awesome, and one will be a visit with old friends, which is still not bad. I’m going to buy them both anyway and read them in one gulp the minute I get them.

The Human Division by John Scalzi is Scalzi’s first novel in his Old Man’s War universe since Zoe’s Tale in 2008. Old Man’s War is military science fiction, with a slice of social commentary, and just a hint of a love story. It’s also just plain awesome. And anything new by Scalzi is automatically great news. Even more fascinating, The Human Division is going to be released as a digital serial, starting in January. So the only question is whether I get it in bits, or do I wait for the finished novel? Or both?

Heart Fortune by Robin D. Owens is the twelfth book in Owens’ Celta series. In Celta, Robin D. Owens has created the kind of world that readers want to live on, as well as experience vicariously through her stories. I’ve read the entire Celta series, and they are one of the few romance series I’ve read that manages to make the “fated mate” concept work–probably because she occasionally subverts it.

Blood and Magick by James R. Tuck. This is the third book in the Deacon Chalk series, and I love them. I found Deacon because it’s getting to be too long a wait between Dresden Files books (and it looks like 2013 will be a year without Harry). Deacon Chalk mostly takes out his demons with guns. Lots and lots of guns. But he knows some on the side of the righteous, too. Deacon Chalk is urban fantasy of the purely kick-butt fun school.

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay will be my birthday present this year, or close enough. Kay writes fantasy mixed with a large helping of historical fiction. The result is a magical blending of history as it might have been. Beautiful, complex, breath-takingly poignant. Kay writes worlds of awe and wonder. I can’t wait to be awestruck again.

These are the books. For 2013 it seemed fitting to choose a baker’s dozen, or 13, books that  I’m looking forward to the most.

If you’re curious about what happened to last year’s “Anticipateds” stop by Book Lovers Inc. on Thursday.

What books are you looking forward to the most in 2013?

What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? AKA The Sunday Post 8-5-12

Looking at the calendar, it’s pretty clear that the break is over. Three tours this week AND three next week.

Oh, and I’m going to a family reunion over the weekend. Can I schedule or what?

Lucky for me, my friend Cryselle from Cryselle’s Bookshelf will be guest reviewing on Friday! Thank you, Cryselle!

But between now and Friday, what’s going on?

Monday’s Ebook Review Central features Dreamspinner’s June titles. This was the month they released their Time is Eternity Daily Dose collection of short stories, novellettes and novellas. Let’s just say it felt like eternity compiling the review list with all the added titles. You’ll see tomorrow.

Tuesday I’ll be interview Sheri Fredrick’s about her contemporary fantasy Remedy Maker, as well as reviewing this fun new book. Her Remedy Maker, Rhycious, is a centaur with PTSD after a century-long war against the wood-nymphs. One of the cooler things about this story is that the mythological creatures live in real-world Pennsylvania, in Amish country.

Wednesday is the day that Laurie Frankel will be giving away a copy of her new book, Goodbye for Now, in conjunction with an interview and a review of that absolutely fascinating story. I’m still trying to find the right words to describe the story. It’s a love story for the 21st century, absolutely. What happens when a geek decides that he doesn’t want to let go?

Thursday’s guest is Nana Malone. She’ll be at Reading Reality to talk about Forsaken Protector, the second book in her Protectors series. (The first book, Reluctant Protector, is available free for Kindle, check it out!) These read like superhero romances to me, and they’re fun!

And if this week isn’t awesome enough, there’s next week to look forward to!

Jane Kindred will be here early next week to talk about her wicked angels and protective demons series, The House of Arkhangel’sk. The first book in the series, The Fallen Queen, was amazing and intense, and the second book, The Midnight Court, promises more of the same. Along with convoluted angelic court politics and demonic love. Reviews will be posted with the interview. Yum!

Speaking of yummy, I couldn’t resist Adrienne Giordano’s Relentless Pursuit when it popped up on NetGalley. I’ve read the entire Private Protectors series, and I’ve loved every single one of them, so a new one is a real treat. If you like romantic suspense of the security-agency persuasion, give Giordano’s series a try. Start with Man Law. (Not thrilled with the title, but the book was terrific!)

That should be enough for one week. Or even two. But it’s not. The next Robin Owens Celta book, Heart Secret will be out on August 7. Yep. Already pre-ordered.

Hearts and Swords

I pre-ordered Robin D. Owens collection of Celtan novellas, Hearts and Swords, because I love this series. When the book auto-shipped itself into my iPad at midnight on Tuesday, I dropped what I was reading and dived right in. I’m glad I did. (And this is what I love about ebooks!)

The first story in the collection is Heart and Sword. It doesn’t actually take place on Celta. It’s about the discovery of Celta, and takes place on Nuada’s Sword, one of the colony ships. Which is both off-course and way overdue, in a manner of speaking. The three-ship expedition planned on being in space for about seventy-five years. A century-and-a-half tops. Instead, when the Captain’s Exec wakes Kelse Bountry from cryo-sleep, it’s been 250 years, and Kelse has a mutiny on his hands. And all three ships are running out of critical supplies. Like food. And fuel.

Kelse has been woken to make the life-or-death decisions, because that is his psi-power, his Flair. Everyone on board all three ships has Flair. They ran from Earth because they were being persecuted for their psi. The mutineers believe that a nearby wormhole will return them to a civilized Earth that has hopefully gotten over its prejudices. The loyalists don’t want to take that risk, they remember the psi purges all too well. The last planetary probes tell Kelse that the system just ahead has a planet that should support human life, but the approach path will use up the last of every ship’s fuel.

What does the good Captain choose?

Escape Rating A: This is a fantastic foundation story for the series. It reminded me, quite favorably, of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover Landfall, and a even little bit of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsdawn, the establishing stories for those beloved series. Robin Owens couldn’t ask for much better company.

There are three other stories in this collection. All concern characters who have appeared in earlier books, and whose stories just needed telling.

Noble Heart is particularly compelling for long-time readers of the series. Members of the Clover family have appeared in many of the stories. Mitchella Clover married into the nobility by marrying Straif Blackthorne in Heart Choice. On Celta, everyone has expected the Clovers to test into the nobility for some time. Their Flair has been increasing with each generation. And unlike the inbred nobility, the commoner Clovers have a LOT of generations. Mitchella’s cousin Walker Clover has been young Nuin T’Ash’s tutor and bodyguard. Walker is not an ambitious man. But Walker’s family has been keeping a secret from him. Walker’s mother is not Fen Clover, but Latif Heliotrope, a noblewoman his father had an affair with just before he married Fen.

Nuin’s first Flair Passage triggers Walker’s Passages. All three of them at once. After five days of fever dreams, Walker new Flair power instantly catapults the entire Clover family to GrandLord status. Not first-tier nobility, but second-tier, and vaulting them over the third-tier in one huge leap. The rise in status produces jealousy among the nobles, which is expected. It also produces a near-civil war inside the family, and the older generation that has always run the very-profitable Clover family business thinks that it can continue to run things with Walker as a figurehead.

Walker didn’t want to be the Head of the Family, but now that he is GrandLord Walker, he damn well will be Head of the Family. He was taught to do his duty, and that is now his duty. Whatever it takes.

Escape Rating A: Walker is a very interesting character. He doesn’t want this, but he’s going to do it. He does complain a little, but he should. His entire identity changes in about 15 minutes. There’s also a love story here, but it’s a part of the changes in Walker’s life and status, and his establishment of himself. Very, very well done.

This was a great collection of stories, but I think you need to be a fan of the Celta books in order to really get full enjoyment out of it. The other two stories, Heart Story and especially Heart and Soul, directly relate to events in previous books.If you are a fan, you are in for a real treat! If you’ve never read the Celta books, and you like futurist romance, start with Heart Mate. You’ll be glad you did