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Review by Anniek
Kristopher has been the winter king for thousands of years. He rules from his frozen throne and is part of the council, which contains thirteen kings. All of them are finding their fated queens and he's the next one in line. Kristopher is drinking a cup of coffee at Starbucks when she walks in. The minute he sees her he knows that she is his queen. All he has to do now is convince her to come home with him. When he realizes that his kingdom is under attack, Kristopher has no time to lose.
Poppy has had the worst day ever. All she wants is a nice hot cup of coffee, but every time she takes a sip her coffee is cold. She couldn't even take a hot shower since the water was cold as well. Poppy is having a migraine and struggles through the day. In the evening she finally has a chance to stop by Starbucks to get the much needed hot coffee. When this one turns cold too Poppy loses her temper on her way home. In a dark alley she meets Kristopher. When Kristopher tells her who he is and who she is fated to be Poppy needs to make a difficult choice.
Kristopher has lived for thousands of years. He was a sixteen year old boy when he changed into the winter king and came out a man. Kristopher knows how to rule. He's brave, intelligent and even a little arrogant. He thinks he can outsmart Poppy, but is terribly wrong. He underestimates her and when he notices her true power, he knows that he has found his match. I liked reading about the love he feels for his sister and for Poppy. He's a true king in every way. Kristopher has heard rumors of a traitor amongst the thirteen kings. Now that Yggdrasil is under attack by the Entity, which could lead to the destruction of the winter realm, Kristopher will do anything to keep his queen safe.
Poppy is a human warlock. Even though she doesn't perform magic in the human world, this is forbidden, she's more powerful than she knows. Poppy is a caring and sweet person, but can also be very feisty. She makes instruction manuals for a living and is good at what she does. Poppy is smart and she's a quick thinker. I loved the way she challenges Kristopher when he tries to ambush her. She's a perfect match for him and I knew straight away that she would be an outstanding queen.
The Winter King is an amazing story. It goes back and forth between the past and the present. Heather Killough-Walden uses the proper language for each era and it's little details like this that makes The Winter King a captivating read. The vivid way Heather Killough-Walden tells this story made it almost possible for me to smell the snow and feel the cold of the winter world. Kristopher and Poppy are a perfect match from the moment they meet each other and I loved to read about their journey together. Heather Killough-Walden knows how to write a magical story and definitely managed to enchant me. This is my first book of the Kings series and I can't wait to read the other stories. The Winter King already has me addicted. This book is an absolute must-read, it kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.
- “If you believe anything I tell you, believe this. You are my queen, therefore, you are my world. You are the most important piece on the chessboard. Everything I do from here on out will be about you. I will eat, sleep, and drink you. I will breathe you. And I will stop breathing without you… If you go, the game is lost.” -
If you love to read about magic, beautifully created realms and fated love The Winter King is a story you shouldn't miss. Even though The Winter King is book eight in a series it can easily be read as a standalone.
About Heather Killough-Walden
1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m… complicated. Like everyone is complicated. I’m a child and a woman and a mother and a daughter and I have hopes and wishes and fears and dreams. Lately though, I’ve lost touch with some parts of myself. I feel I’ve lost something. Innocence maybe. Perhaps it’s as simple as that.
I’m growing older, and when you grow older, you notice things you didn’t notice before. This is both good and bad. You notice the colors of leaves, the smell of autumn, the way stars are brighter in the cold and Orion sleeps on the horizon in Winter. But you notice the discomfort that changing temperatures bring, too. You feel the wind, not just hear it. You feel it deep down. And most of all, you understand the very meaning of pain in a way young people cannot. Pain – and fear. There is no fear greater than a parent’s fear for the future of their child. There’s no greater pain than the one you share with others who have lost what you’ve lost.
Lately, I feel I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. Everything seems turned upside down and nothing makes a whole lot of sense any longer. Is it just me? Have I gone mad? I do wonder sometimes. The world seems to be falling apart, from rising temperatures to vital insects and precious animals going the way of the dodo, to a terrible, enormous step backward in human rights – and I feel that deep inside. Today I have this sense that I’m a thousand-piece puzzle and some of my pieces have been stolen and tossed in a rubbish bin somewhere. I’m incomplete and mixed up. Does that make any sense?
2. What makes your heart beat faster?
Fine writing instruments, of course. I love the feel of an extra fine nib fountain pen in my hands if the ink runs smooth. I love leather journals. And I adore boots. LOL I know how that sounds. But it’s true. Boots and, well, nice shoes in general. Especially if they’re Italian. Would you like to know why shoes make me so damn happy? Not long ago, I broke my back. It was agonizing and I temporarily lost the use of my right leg. I’d always loved shoes, but suddenly I had all of these shoes that I imagined myself never being able to wear again. Never being able to walk in. And that pissed me off more than anything. So I fought – hard. I put weight on my leg time and time again, fell time and time again, and kept trying. I did physical therapy, had surgery (died during the surgery – now I know what there is after death), and kept going. Eventually, I regained the use of my leg, though it’s still not 100%. But now I can wear my shoes, and sometimes I wonder if I would have tried so hard if I hadn’t loved shoes as much as I do. In a way, they gave me something to fight for. One of my life’s goals now is to wear each and every pair down before I die.
3. If you could create the perfect romantic day what would it look like?
Oh man. I’m so tired anymore, romance has a completely different meaning to me than it probably does to the bulk of my readers. To me, romance is sitting on the couch next to the one you love with popcorn and a movie. And then playing a video game, maybe. Eating ice cream. Sleeping. Lots and lots of sleeping.
4. Who is your favorite romantic couple?
I adore the love that Samuel Clemens had for his wife. Sam Clemens, or Mark Twain as you may know him, was a born bigot. He didn’t think much of women, and made that opinion public knowledge. And then, one day… he met his wife. And just like that, he had a revelation. He realized that all his life, he’d been a bloody idiot. He was amazed by his wife, and by women in general. He suddenly understood all they did, all they were capable of, and how men could so easily be blinded to their power – because women were not only powerful, but modest about that power. He was fascinated by his wife, and he would have done anything for her. In the end, he did do anything for her.
5. Could you describe what romance means to you?
Romance is not sex. I want to make that exceedingly clear. Sex is sex. Nearly every species of animal across the globe has sex, and an extraordinarily large portion of those do nothing whatsoever that can be considered “romantic.” As a matter of fact, there is a species of fish that copulates through violent rape and often times, the female dies during this act. Animals just have sex – because it’s necessary to the survival of the species. So what is romance then, if not sex? To me, romance is love. Not Valentine’s Day love. But real, honest, bone-deep, dirty and messy and trying and awful and wonderful love and irreplaceable love. It’s sticking beside your life partner through poverty and sickness, when they’re puking or fat or skinny or broken out with hives or going bald. It’s standing up for the one you love even when you know they’re wrong. It’s having their back, not only when you’re newly weds, but when you’ve celebrated your fiftieth anniversary. It’s never cheating. It’s not even wanting to. Romance is best friends. Romance is eternal. Because love is too.
6. Do you find it difficult to write about romance?
Oh god, yes. This is one of those questions that barely brushes the tip of the iceberg of how I feel toward writing romance novels. For one thing, all you have to do is read through my answer to the previous question to know that I don’t consider romance novels to have anything to do with romance whatsoever. So writing them means that I basically have to put my own feelings and my own experience on a backburner. I have to write what I know my readers want to escape into – pure, un-adultered fantasy that has absolutely nothing to do with real love. It’s hard. It’s so hard in fact, that I have had panic attacks while writing sex scenes. Sex scenes to me mean Xanax, and lots of it. They mean deep breaths and crying and self pep-talks and brisk walks in the cold. Somehow I get through them all and get the books out there, and damned it all if they aren’t really, really good.
In the end, I think it’s the knowledge that I’m helping my readers that gets me through the rough spots. I know that many of them depend on these books, and even those scenes, to escape the pain in their lives. Real life, and even real sex, basically sucks. Let’s be honest. Women do a lot of acting, a lot of putting-up-with, and a lot of self sacrificing in sex. We aren’t built to achieve the pleasure from sex than men so easily achieve. So we don’t get out of it what men get out of it. Therefore, I give women something better. Something to at least dream about. At the end of the day, I do it for them. I don’t think I could do it otherwise.
7. Can you tell us about your most romantic experience?
Well, I have two. When my husband proposed to me, he took me to Disney World. Long story. But I will never forget the moment I saw the Mickey and Minnie tags on the suitcases he’d packed. That was twenty-five years ago. He knew how much I loved Disney World, and he went into debt to give it to me. By comparison, our entire wedding cost $800. LOL It was Disney that mattered, and he knew that – because he knew me. That’s romantic. My other most romantic experience actually happened recently. For my tenth anniversary, my husband gave me a vacuum cleaner. In short, he’s not great with gift giving. The Disney World trip was the first and last awesome gift he gave me – until my latest birthday. We’d been playing a certain video game that year, and in the video game, there was this teddy bear with scars and patches on it and long claws and I just fell in love with it. (I love stuff like that – the spooky, gothic stuff). For my birthday, he actually had a professional plushy artist commission the bear for me. He was almost as large as me and he was absolutely the most perfect plushy I’d ever seen. I named him “Hollow,” and he’s sitting next to me as I write this. The fact that my husband paid such close attention to what I loved and went out of his way to have this unique gift made for me speaks volumes of romance. That attention to detail is one of the things that defines love. Then there’s the fact that he’s stuck with me through all of the bullshit life has thrown at us. That means something too.
8. What kind of music do you like to listen to when you're in a romantic mood?
I don’t really get into romantic “moods.” Like I said, romance is something strong and ongoing and has nothing to do with sex. Sorry! LOL
9. Which country personifies romance for you and why?
Any and all of them. If two people love each other deep in their souls, then they have romance. And it doesn’t matter where they live.
10. What can we expect from you in the future?
LOTS. I am working on non-romance books, non-fiction books, and new romance series (paranormal of course). I am not going to stop writing until I’m dead. J And even then, maybe I’ll be a ghost writer…. I know. That was bad. xoxo
One very lucky reader of With Love For Books will win an ecopy of The Winter King by Heather Killough-Walden.