Review: Endre by S.T. Bende *Giveaway*

Friday, September 27, 2013

By S.T. Bende
Release: September 9, 2013
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Entranced Publishing, Rush
Amazon | B&N | KoboGoodreads
Rating: A Whole Bottle of Wine

Sometimes, finding your destiny means doing the exact opposite of what The Fates have planned.

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.


Aly's Review: 
I have a not so shocking confession: I am obsessed with S.T. Bende's Elsker Saga. I love it...hardcore! I raved about it. I championed Kristia's WINNING wedding dress. I even used my absolute favorite GIF on Goodreads begging for more.

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And finally S.T. gave me more Ull and Kristia in the form of Endre (Elsker Saga #2)!

Endre is a fantastic follow up to Elsker that simultaneously left me satisfied and longing for more. Ull and Kristia have gone from the love struck college couple we met in Elsker to a married couple fighting for their lives during the Norse apocalypse. This book had it ALL for me. Love, action, adventure, drama...really my list of nouns could go on for miles. I adored everything about this book.

Ull, *sigh* for someone who gives me zero "dirty", I sure do have the hots for that, Norse god. He is romantic, and sweet, and no matter how hard he tries he can't resist his protective "alpha male" tendencies. And Kristia, she never ceases to amaze me. She is fierce and loyal, putting her own safety on the line to protect those she loves, especially Ull. Together, they make up a team that ultimately...wait a minute! I'm not spoiling Endre for you! You are just going to have to read this one for yourself.

As expected S.T. Bende has delivered again. This New Adult book swept me off my feet and into a fantasy land that I never wanted to leave. She flawlessly blended Norse mythology and a heart stopping romance into a book you never knew you wanted to read. Elsker and Endre have definitely made my "Must Read" list and I urge everyone to pick them up. You will not be disappointed. While I am currently still on my happy little Endre high, I know it won't be long before I start begging for more from the Elsker gang. *Cough*Gunnar*cough, cough* I am giving Endre, 5 HUGE glasses of wine!

About the Author:

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.

Find ST on Twitter, her blog, or send her an e-mail. While you’re at it, introduce yourself to @UllMyhr -- when he’s not saving the cosmos from dark elves, he loves meeting new friends. Especially the human kind.
Author social media links

Twitter: or @stbende
Email: stbende(at)gmail(dot)com

Endre Excerpt:

“What do you want to know?” Ull lowered his sunglasses lazily and eyed me with a look that made my insides burn.
“Well,” I paused. “Uh… what am I supposed to do if I’m attacked?”
“You mean if this happened?” Ull launched himself off the chaise, wrapping one arm around my waist and dragging me across the beach. He cradled me in his arms and landed in the froth where the ocean met the shore.
“See? I’m totally defenseless?” I gazed up at him, my back pressed firmly against the wet sand. He hovered over me, supporting his weight on his forearms.
“I am afraid you are.” Piercing blue eyes locked in on mine. Between the depth of his stare and the heat from his abs, I forgot everything else.
“Um …” I bit my bottom lip.
Ull tilted his head to one side, a small smile playing at one corner of his mouth. “Now what did you want to know?”
“I--” I broke off as a wave washed over us. The warm saltwater lapped up to my waist then retreated, leaving a film of sand over my legs.
“You were asking me how to defend yourself?” Dangit, it was hard to focus with Ull’s dripping body pressing against mine. Yes, I wanted whatever it was I’d asked about. Self-defense, right. But there was something else I wanted more.
I bent my knee and twined my calf around Ull’s. I shifted my hips just an inch and stared into those endless blue eyes. They sparkled in the sunlight. My arms were trapped beneath his torso, so I turned my palms upward to touch the spot where his chest met his shoulders. It was so smooth, so firm, and so very, very warm. My eyes never left his as I moved my thumb along the line of his shoulder, down his biceps and down to the crook of his arm. I drew a slow circle inside his elbow and Ull blinked.
“Kristia,” he whispered.
“Yes?” I tried to reach up to stroke the stubble lining his square chin, but my arms were pinned.
“You are not trying to defend yourself.”
“So?” I raised my head and kissed his jaw. “Maybe I don’t feel like fighting you off.”
“Mmm,” Ull closed his eyes as I kissed my way up to his ear. “So if someone came after you, you would just let them do this?”
He swiftly rolled onto his back, forcing me on top of him. He shoved his fingers in my hair and tugged gently, pulling my head back. He kept the other hand just above the bottom of my bikini, firmly pressing my hips into his. I squirmed against the hold, trying to find a way out of his grip. Though I tactically had the upper hand, I couldn’t move.
“Well I wouldn’t let just anyone do this.”
“I should hope not,” he growled softly. He raked his teeth along my throat and paused at the hollow of my neck. “Because this could end very badly for you.” He ran his tongue along my collarbone. I shivered.
In a lightning-quick move, Ull flipped me onto my back and pinned my arms above my head with one hand. I gazed adoringly at the fierce assassin glowering over me. “And this. What would you do if someone did this to you?”
“Uh,” I blinked. If I told Ull what I really wanted to do right now, I’d turn every possible shade of crimson.
“Focus Kristia.” Ull stared at me. “What would you do if you were trapped?”
“I… uh… I’d,” I blushed. “You seriously want me to fight you off?”
“If you are so bent on going through with this little exercise, then yes. Give it your best shot. And then I believe, you promised to pay me for the lesson.”
“Gladly.” I narrowed my eyes and wrenched my arm as hard as I could. It didn’t budge. I tried again but it was futile.
“You are outmaneuvered and I am twice your weight. Try something else.” Ull commanded.
I threw my shoulder into his chest and tried to roll to one side.
“You cannot out-force me. Look at the difference in our masses. Think tactically, Kristia. What can you do that will debilitate me?”
My eyes widened. “You don’t want me to--”
“I want you to find a way to get me off you. Do what you have to do.”
I closed my eyes and raised a knee to his groin. Ull groaned and rolled off me.
“I’m so sorry! You said to--”
He raised a hand and waved at me, turning away.
“I’m sorry,” I repeated.
“That was good.” He rolled back with a grimace. “But if someone is bent on capturing you, they will come back for more. And quickly. Your next step should be to run.”
“If you want I can get some ice for--”
“Run, darling.” It was a threat. “Now.”

 We have an excerpt from Ull's POV!
Take it away ST...

Hei hei! I’m ST Bende, and I adore IndyCar racing, McVities cookies, and a certain blonde haired Swede from True Blood. 
White Zin Bookends has been so sweet to my imaginary friends and me since we “met” during the NA Crush Tourney, and I’m excited to share an Elsker Saga special with y’all. This scene is written from Ull’s perspective on the day he met Kristia. Ull is the Norse God of Winter, and in Elsker he decides to take a break from Asgard to study at Cardiff University in Wales. In this scene, he takes care of some Asgardian responsibilities before he takes off for the British Museum -- where he meets Kristia for the first time. The full version is posted over in the Elsker Street Team Facebook page, so if you want to read more of Ull’s perspective leave a comment letting me know you’d like to join the team. For now, I hope you enjoy seeing a bit of Elsker from Ull’s POV! And a huge thank you to White Zin Bookends for being such a huge support of the Saga. Jeg elsker deg, y’all.

“Now,” I gave the command through my earpiece.
“You sure, mate?” Gunnar panted from the other end of the line. He was on the ground in the forest of Svartalfheim, and I was ensconced in my London home. But I distinctly heard pounding feet through my laptop. Gunnar was on the move.
“I am sure. Three. Two. One. Fire.”
“Arugh!” Gunnar’s battle cry rang out and twenty identical sounds followed. Though I was realms away I could visualize the scene. Gunnar would turn first, followed by his flank. The first line would fire crossbows in two… one… there they were. The whoosh of arrows was followed by anguished shrieks. Then came the impact. Shrieks became gurgles as the victims choked on their own blood. The bodies hit the ground. Seven? No, eight dark elves must have fallen.
I leaned back in my chair and stared at the ceiling. “Second line in three. Two. One. Now.”
“Charge!” Gunnar ordered. The thunder of ten assassins boomed from the speakers. They were on the move.
“And strike … now,” I said calmly.
“Arugh!” Gunnar cried again. Now I heard the clang of battle swords. Mostly broadswords from the sound of the pitch, but I knew at least two members carried rapiers. They ran cleanup.  
I waited until I heard ten bodies fall.  “Any of ours?” I asked.
“None, mate.” I could practically hear Gunnar’s grin. He lived for this stuff. I loathed it.
“Check the bodies. Dismember them, just in case. Heads in the lock box.” It was standard protocol for an uprising. They were coming closer together these days; a near sure sign Ragnarok was close. Odin collected the heads for research.
“Wouldn’t think of skipping that part,” Gunnar chuckled. “Anything else, Captain?”
I rubbed my forehead, kneading the deep line that seemed fixed between my eyes these days. Two taps at the keyboard and a new screen came up. “Hold on Gunnar.” I squinted. Ten hot spots illuminated the northwest quadrant of my screen.  “There are more.”
“I doubt it. My airborne team scouted the forest before we dropped in. It’s clear.”
“Gunnar, I am looking at ten bodies in--” I stared harder. “Is there a cave behind the heavy foliage at your eleven o’clock?”
“Possibly. Why?”
“Lock and load, friend. You have company.” I typed again and the screen zoomed in on the cave. I switched the view from heat source to satellite. “Eight more dark elves and two … trolls?”
“No way, man. They hate each other.”
“I know.” I scratched the two-day stubble on my chin. I could not be bothered with shaving at a time like this. Three rebellions in four days was unprecedented. Even for Svartalfheim. “No matter. Kill them all.”
“You don’t think they’re the wives and kids, do you?” Gunnar whispered.
“Does it matter?” I closed my eyes. I hated this part of the job most of all. It was why I refused to continue as a ground assassin. I was purely tactical now, and only in dire situations. But Odin’s orders had been explicit -- no survivors. “Take them out.”
“But Ull--”
“Do it, Gunnar.” I rubbed my forehead again and tried to ignore the pounding.
“Aye aye. Lock and load, Team One. Team Two, surround that.” He must have pointed. I watched the screen and saw ten bodies circle the cave. “On my call, Team One enter. No survivors. Three. Two. One. Now.”
I closed my eyes when I heard the screaming. Arrows pierced flesh with a ripping sound, and I heard two distinctly female voices crying. I cringed. This was absolutely the worst part of protecting Asgard. The senseless killing.
Only it wasn’t senseless. Something was bringing these normally warring races together against us. And until we got to the bottom of things, Odin was unyielding in his determination to obliterate any threat to the realm. Even if it went against everything we stood for.
“It’s over, mate.” Gunnar’s voice came through two minutes later. He sounded exhausted. “Are we clear?”
I studied the screen again. There was nothing amiss in the satellite view, and when I switched back to heat view, I counted twenty bodies.  “Are all your men accounted for? I see twenty live sources.”
“Hold on,” Gunnar paused as he counted. “Yep. All here.”
“Were there any children?” I held my breath.
“No. Though the trolls couldn’t have been more than a few hundred years old. Juveniles, but old enough to fight.” Gunnar sounded detached.
Veldig bra.” Very well. I studied the screen one more time. “You are clear. Decapitate the bodies, call for Heimdall and open the Bifrost. Speak to Odin on your way back. I will run debriefing tomorrow.” I clicked the screen and the images disappeared.
“Aren’t you coming back to Asgard now?” Gunnar asked.
“No. I need to clear my head for a while.”
“Fair enough. Sorry I had to drag you into this,” Gunnar apologized. “Anders still hasn’t stopped bleeding, or we’d have used him.”
“I understand. I cannot hide in Midgard forever, right?”
“Well you are the tactical go-to man. But I know how you feel about this part of the job. Sorry again.”
“Water under the Bifrost.” I shrugged. “Get the heads to Odin before they dry out. And tell the team I said ‘Well done.’”
“High praise from the mighty God of Winter,” Gunnar laughed.
“Shove it, Gunnar. Ull out.” I closed the screen and stared out the window. Mortal children played in the park across the street. Adults threw balls to dogs, who leaped joyfully, unaware of the absolute destruction that had just occurred. All orchestrated by me, just a hundred yards away. Mother would have been so proud.
I shoved my chair back and stretched my legs as I stood. I tilted my head from side to side, taking pleasure in the cracking sound. Two knots down, seven hundred to go. I pushed my chair under the desk, straightened the papers to the left of my laptop, and picked up my glass. I carried it upstairs and filled it again. After I drank, I put my palms on both sides of the sink and let my head drop. In the past four days, I had orchestrated the deaths of one hundred and eight insurgents, at least two of whom had been women. I was a monster.
I had to get out of here. With clipped strides, I crossed to my bedroom, pulled on a sweater, and jogged down two flights of stairs. I grabbed my keys and my wallet from the basket by the door and locked up.
I had no idea where I was going, but I could not be alone.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for letting me visit girls! Ull has mad love for y'all. ;)