Review: Crucible of Fate (Change of Heart #4) by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 5 stars

Crucible of Fate coverDomin Thorne should be on top of the world.  He is the semel-aten, the leader of the werepanther world, ruler of the city Sobek in Egypt, the capital of the werepanthers.  At his side are his new mate, Yuri the former shersuru of Logan Church as well as Mikail, Crane, and Taj from his former tribe, courtesy of Logan and Jin who knew it was crucial to have people he trusted around him as he began his rule.

But the tasks before him are even more formidable than he had imagined.  The old priest who supported him has died, and the new priest is intent on undermining his authority.   Crane is homesick and both Yuri and Mikail are not acting like themselves.  And Domin finds himself short tempered, and impatient with the pace of change in the rules and regulations he wants implemented.  Then his ex shows up just as a servant tries to kill him, and Yuri goes on a goodwill mission that turns deadly, and faced with his loss, Domin realizes that he truly loves Yuri, the only one to love him deeply and forever.

As his enemies gather all around him, Domin must prove to himself and all of Sobek that he is truly the semel-aten Logan believes he can be if he is to save those he loves and the werepanther world so desperately in need of change.

I hope that Mary Calmes intends to continue this series because with each book, it gets stronger, more deeply layered and complex.  Crucible of Fate picks up after the events of Honored Vow, and the fight in the arena between Domin and the former semel aten, Ammon, a circumstance planned by Logan.  Now in Sobek, the werepanther capital city in Egypt, we are given a Domin in crisis mode, inside and out.  Everything has  changed for Domin and it is overwhelming him on every front.  Domin has a mate in Yuri and it is so new for them both that neither has adjusted to their new status.  Yuri has always loved Domin, but Domin’s feelings for Yuri are still so brand new, bringing with them a measure of insecurity.  Logan gave permission for several close members of his tribe to go with Domin to insure his safety and to insure he would have people around him he could trust but none of them are acting like themselves.  Even the goals he wants to set for change within their society seem to distant to enact.  Mary Calmes gives us this wonderfully volatile man puts him down within an equally volatile framework and lets the explosions start to happen.

The author places characters we have come to love into situations where  their interpersonal relationships must expand and grow to their potential or all will be lost.  And it’s not just  Domin who must change, but Crane, Mikhail, Yuri and the entire court of Sobek.  It’s wonderful because we get to see the start of a social revolution but from the person’s view point who is planning it all.  Just a lovely touch.  As this author has done in the past, she takes the facts she has given us and then uses them to turn everything we know on its head by the end of the story.  All the little twists and turns she throws into the story takes Domin into a place I did not see coming, and I loved that.

And it’s not just the wonderful characterizations that greet us like old friends, but the vivid descriptions of Egypt, from the palace to the catacombs that help the reader visualize each and every scene our beloved werepanthers find themselves in.  But no matter how wonderful the settings (and they have been outstanding, especially Mongolia), it is the characters that continue to bring all of us back for more.  I never thought I would come to love Domin as I do when I initially met him. Then he was a bully, and a bit of a thug, deserving of a smackdown, which he got and then some.  But over the series, we have watched Domin evolve into a man of honor, worthy of both respect and love.  One of the true pleasures of this story, is Domin and Yuri’s story, watching their relationship deepen, strengthen and finally reveal itself as one between true mates.  It is just so rewarding and satisfying, I can’t wait for you to experience it yourself.

In fact you won’t find a quibble here.  Just the plea for another book.  Ilia, Jin and Logan’s son is introduced here, and while not giving you any spoilers, let’s just say he is worthy of his own series.  Crane has a wedding coming up, and so much more is on the horizon for them all that their story cries out to be heard (yes, that would be Danny’s voice we hear). So here I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping the future will bring us more in the Change of Heart series.  Until then I will return to the beginning and start over with Jin and Logan.  Don’t miss out on any of them.

 

Here are the books in the series in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and the events that occur:

Change of Heart (Change of Heart #1)

Trusted Bond (Change of Heart #2)

Honored Vow (Change of Heart #3)

Crucible of Fate (Change of Heart #4)

December is here, the year is almost over and the week ahead in Reviews

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Every year seems to go by more quickly than the last and 2012 is almost gone.  It has been a tumultuous time here at home,  in Maryland, and the entire northeast.  From the scorching heat and drought of the spring and summer months to the recent Derechos which brought high winds and flooding, it has been a regular smorgasbord of geological happenings and meteorological events.  We have had a major earthquake  from which the National Cathedral and the Washington Monument and other buildings have still not recovered from.  A heat wave and drought that killed much of the harvest from land and sea, with water levels down from lack of rain and snow to heat which baked the land and everyone on it.  We had high winds, tornados and of course flooding that still did not mitigate the low water table.  Really, 2012 has been our version of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and it’s not over yet.

Amazingly it was a year ago yesterday when I rolled out by my first blog, scrambling to get my feet under me and figure out what I wanted to say, what I wanted to review, and everything in between.  It took me a while to get my voice and now the mutterings can’t stop!  The thoughts keep tumbling out, rolling over one another like pebbles in a stream caught in a swift current, some concerned with vocabulary, others focused on eBook covers and design and more still on book content, reviews to be exact.  I hope I have helped some of you find your way to new authors or rediscover old ones that you have forgotten.  Later this month I will be rolling out my Best of 2012 lists, from Books to Covers.  I bet you have been making your lists too.  Let me know what book(s) is on them, and do you have a favorite cover artist, like Anne Cain, or even a favorite model?  Inquiring minds and all that.

So here’s to the beginning of the end of 2012.  I love this time of year, so much to reflect on and yet so much still to look forward to, including the holidays no matter which one you celebrate.  I’ll be talking to you soon.  In the meantime, look what’s coming up this week:

Monday, 12/3:                             Private Dicks:Undercovers Anthology

Tuesday, 12/4:                             The Journal of Sanctuary One (Sanctuary #6) by RJ Scott

Wed, 12/5:                                    Crucible of Fate (Change of Heart #4) by Mary Calmes

Thursday, 12/6:                           Too Careful By Half, a Roughstock story by BA Tortuga

Friday, 12/7:                                 Eight Days by C. Cardeno (a Christmas story)

Sat., 12/8                                         3 Dreamspinner Christmas Advent Calendar stories

So now I will leave you with a Vodka Christmas Cake recipe. You simply have to try this…

Once again this year, I’ve had requests for my Vodka Christmas Cake recipe, so here goes.

Please keep in your files as I am beginning to get tired of typing this up every year!

(Made mine this morning!!!!)

1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
Lemon juice
4 large eggs
Nuts
1…bottle Vodka
2 cups dried fruit
Sample a cup of Vodka to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the Vodka again to be sure it is of the highest quality then Repeat.

Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
At this point, it is best to make sure the Vodka is still OK. Try another cup just in case.

Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 eegs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

Pick the fruit up off the floor, wash it and put it in the bowl a piece at a time trying to count it. Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit getas stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver Sample the Vodka to test for tonsisticity.

Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or something. Check the Vodka. Now slift… shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

Don’t forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl through the window.

Finish the Vodka and wipe the counter with the cat ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~