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3.7 out of 5 stars
Heartmate
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on February 13, 2014
Loved it, can't wait to read the others ones. Not to. Often I find a new author that I really enjoy.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon August 6, 2012
HEART MATE (Celta's Heartmates #1) by Robin D. Owens

HEART MATE is the first storyline in Robin D Owens' Celta's Heart Mates series. A fantasy romance novel, Heart Mate is the story of two people, each with a past filled with sorrow and pain, and a loneliness that threatens to engulf their being.

Background: Celta is a planet colonized by the people of Earth over 400 years ago. The people of Celta have magical powers known as Flairs and psychic ability is the norm. The political structure includes the 13 Greathouses and the colony First Families. A society and culture based on magical spells, Divination (foretelling) dice and cards, life Passages, animal familiars and a belief that each man and woman will find their Heart Mate-their one true love.

Rand T'Ash is 37 years old, a Greatlord, Nobleman and member of the Noble Council, Stonemaster, gem caller and the sole surviving member of the Ash Grand Family. As a Noble he is respected, but he is also feared for the 'berserker savagery' and the murder of the people who destroyed his family and his home when he was only 6 years old. Rand T'Ash knows he will find his Heart Mate this night, but will she accept the HeartGift he crafted during his last Passage almost 20 years earlier. But growing up in the Downwind ghettos of Druida have pummeled his self-esteem and with that the knowledge that he was never properly raised in the art or procedures of courting.

Danith Mallow is a bookkeeper, with little Flair who regularly shops at T'Ash Phoenix-a high end, upscale jewelry store where the pieces magically call to her. But this evening one piece in particular grabs her attention. Believing the necklace has been charmed, Danith runs from the shop to find that intentions of the shop owner are beyond her beliefs. When a mysterious stranger is found in her home bearing the necklace, she is once again drawn to its' powers. But the necklace had been stolen and someone from T'Ash's past has made his presence once again known.

Throughout the story Rand T'Ash will struggle in his attempts to convince Danith that they are Heart Mates. She is a non-believer in the lure of a Heart Mate and continues to refuse T'Ash's gifts of jewels and flowers. At times the number of gifts becomes humorous especially when Princess aka Pansy, Danith's cat struts through the house bedecked in all of the jewels including earrings and chains. Rand's Fam Zanth is an overgrown house cat who is both companion and conscience for a man troubled by his past and continues to play match maker whenever he can. And it is Zanth's presence that soothes Rand whenever his inner beast wants lose.

There are several storylines that coalesce and merge. Danith's discovery of her Flair and affinity to animals: Rand's friendship with the Holly Family and his honor to pay back a debt: the gang-style slayings and attacks against Rand, the Holly Family and his Fam: Danith's friendship and falling-out with the Clover family: and of course, Rand's sad albeit humorous attempts to woo and court Danith. Zanth's demands for an emerald collar will remind everyone of a spoiled child.

HEART MATE is a fantasy of fairy tales and the HEA. To be honest, I do not know WHAT the people of Celta are, but for the sake of the storyline, they are Celtans with magical powers and the ability to teleport and speak telepathically. As I read I thought Fae or Elves, but they are what they are 'characters from the imagination of Robin D Owens. A heart-warming storyline, that at times I had to reign in a few tears especially when Rand T'Ash admitted he was lost, a strong and powerful man lost in the knowledge that he had been rejected by the one person who could save his soul. These storylines get me every time.

see all of my reviews at :thereadingcafe.com
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2004
Robin D. Owens demonstrates she has a strong voice and is endowed with magical imagery. I finished a similar Offworld tale by another writer, one with potential, but the lack of imagery crippled the book. The writer failed to 'see' the world she created, failed to root in sound logic the things that happened. She 'decided' things would happen, not because it was a natural extension of the special world and the characters. That is NOT the case with HEARTMATE. Owens paints a special world, grounded solidly because of her logic and imagery.
In her tale of the world of Celta, a settlement by Earth space explorers, it's ruled by the thirteen royal houses of the
Twenty-five first families that settled this new planet. They had left Earth, because they were different, they were gifted with "Flair" meaning they were witches and warlocks. They have various powers and these have developed over the centuries, amplified by Celta.
This tales centers on Rand Ash, now called T'Ash. At six years old, his family was destroyed in a fire set by a rival house, planning on ending the whole house of Ash. He escaped, after watching his two older brothers, father and mother die, as his world went up in flames. Downwind - the slums of Celta - offered him shelter. As a grown man, he left behind the harsh life there, and hunts down those who killed his family. Then he rebuilt the GreatHouse of Ash.
His vibrant flair centers on gems, so he is a master jeweler. He and his Fam, familiar Zanth - a large tomcat that has magical powers and can talk telepathically to T'Ash - are respected among the GreatHouses. Only life is hollow for T'ash. He needs his HeartMate. People can marry on Celta as they please, but the ultimate in marriages is one with your HeartMate, a match to you in every way.
Using a scrying bowl and special divining dice, T'ash learns his HeartMate is a woman named Danith Mallow. She often comes to his jewellery store and makes small purchases. He is very pleased by what he can scry about this woman. However, Zanth has to pass his own inspection before he concurs. He begins turning up on Danith's doorstep to see if this woman is worthy of his FamMan. Zanth tells T'ash Danith is special, her Flair aura is pink, unheard of in the Ruling Houses of Celta, and that she is destined to be a great animal healer.
T'ash immediately tries to woo her in his inept fashion, showering her and her cat Pansy, who prefers to be called Princess, with jewels and flowers. Instead of winning his HeartMate, he frightens her. She feels she is a nobody. Raised in an orphanage and deemed to have no Flair, she is content, secure in her common world. Only T'ash is relentless, and changes her whole life. These changes are not welcomed but fought against as she fears him and his powers overwhelming her. She cannot possible be the HeartMate to this powerful lord.
Owens created a vivid world of Celta, she uses her "Flair" of imagery to bring the magical realm to you with gentle, strong and emotional characters. She takes the pagan roots of the Lord and Lady, brings them to her new world, and remakes them into the foundation for the wonderful tale. Zanth is especially well done. The tomcat FAM that loves jewellery, is good at fighting, and has his own way of doing things. You feel for poor Danith, her whole life nearly overwhelmed by this powerful lord, and yet you take T'Ash into your heart as well. A man with the ability to do anything he pleases, yet is so inept in wooing the lady of his heart.
It just does not get any better than this. Heart Thief the sequel (which I love even more) and Heart Duel follow. Most especially impressive to know this was her first novel, even more impress that she shows she can do it again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2004
Some idiot had traded this book in at a used book store! Not me - this one's a keeper!! The cat on the cover was what first caught my attention. The story was what kept it. I loved the world Ms. Owens has created. I especially liked the cats, talents, gems, the plant based names, and the Celtic aspects. Celtia is a world I want to revisit. More like this one, please.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2004
True love, soul mates, heartmate - they are the same on Celta where a group of humans with psychic talents settled to escape persecution from Earth. Rand T'Ash is rough around the edges and to marry his Heartmate is his greatest desire. Rands profession is a jeweler (he is a very talented one) and he has made an incredible necklace for only one woman - Danith Mallow. The problems are that Danith can't see beyond their social differences and she feels unworthy because of her near null psychic talents.
Ms Owens has written an interesting story. While Rand's ideas of courtship are humorous in a "he has no clue what he is doing" kind of fashion, I really felt that Danith was a little hard on him. Both have the common background of being orphans. Except Rand's family was murdered when he was a small boy and he survived. After living on the streets he had to fight his way back to reclaim his family name while lacking the social skills of others in his class. Because of his upbringing he was very straight forward, which I actually liked.
For Danith, as an orphan her talents had been over looked and therefore not discovered. Rand helps her through discovering them and to get the necessary training so she could use them. This set them on equal status level and yet she still fought her attraction for him. Sadly for me, this became old. She wants to be with him, yet she doesn't. Rand has a familiar that was his only "family"; this added humor to the story. The way Zanth (the familiar) spoke and reacted to situations, I can see my own cats acting. And while it wouldn't be a romance without the couples having problems and hero taking control, because of Danith the couple didn't work for me.
The world is fascinating and sounds like a growing community where everyone should have their place, but is starting to face the same social class issues that occur for us on Earth. Which is another reason Rand endeared himself to me because he was fighting to keep this from happening, where people just fall through the cracks for one reason or another.
I would really be interested to read her future novels just to see what happens several years in the future with some of the kids from the street gangs. Also I found the fact that they use their psychic talents much as we use technology fascinating. I will read other books by Ms Owens as she has the ability to tell a wonderful story, but HEARTMATE was longer than I felt it needed to be.
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on March 24, 2004
Sci-Fi type romance seem be hot right now and it's not surprising with writers like Susan Grant, Robin Popp, Catherine Spangler, and now CJ Barry and Robin Owens. I bought this book because of the kitty on the front. I LOVE kitty and my Mr. Mouse rules our home. So of course, the books is so enchanting with the "telephathic/talking" kitty and is meaner than a snake and loves chocolate deserts!
I love the characters, then tension, the romance, the self doubt and the trials to reach each other.
The WHOLE concept is just so original and loving. This was my FAVORITE book ever...until I read Heart Thief....so now I have two favorites!!
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on February 2, 2004
This book wasn't bad. Interesting characters, nice love scenes.
But there were some things I didn't like about it. First, I thought the writing was choppy - it didn't flow, and many of the scenes were too short. They were also somewhat repetitive. The author used the characters' ability to teleport (orb?) as a sort of shorthand to get them from one place to another. There was a lot of hand-to-hand combat, and it all kind of ran together. I never could figure out the purpose of the central fight scene - was it to give the hero and heroine a chance to make love between life-threatening sword fights (hey, how awkward is that?), or to show how good T'Ash was with a sword, or to show that he was no longer a street tough, or to set up the later revelation that he was now a responsible citizen interested in bettering society? I just wish that more space had been devoted to developing the relationship rather than let the events push it along.
That said, this is a book that I've kept, rather than trade it in, and I will read the others in the series.
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on October 22, 2003
I am so tired of traditional "romance" novels so I really enjoyed this book.
The world Robin D.Owens created impressed me; the combination of psychic abilities and magical power in the people of Celta. I didn't feel comfortable with the "Royal ruling class" society structure though. It seemed a little extreme to me; which was touched on by the character T'Ash, since he grew up in the streets. So the auther may address this in future books I hope.
Some other reviewers didn't like the character of T'Ash much, found him too macho or whatever. I can see how he would come accross like this, however, having grown up without any guidence since he was six years old, I think it's understandable that he didn't have much finesse when courting his Heart Mate. At least he believed in Heart Mates, unlike Danith, our female lead character. She was soooooo annoying after awhile. I had to remind myself that the author was just trying to say she had issues from being an orphan, wanting to be in control of her own life etc. BUT, she was at times just sort of nasty and judgemental, it just took her too long to realize her feelings, it would have been just as good a book if they had gotten together a little sooner, and if she thawed a little sooner; the conflict could have still been within her, the fear of change, but without the coldness toward the hero. Regardless of what I consider character flaws(which may be just my subjective opinion), I loved the fact that they lived in a magical world, and could communicate with their cats telepathically, and I'll definitely buy her other books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
For those who enjoy a mixture of Sic Fi, Fantasy and Romance HEART MATE will be right up your alley. Humans have colonized another world but these humans had something special about them. Call it psi ability or magic those with the 'Flair' are able to do many wonderful and interesting things. Ms. Owens doesn't spend a considerable amount of time developing the background of the why's or wherefore's, she lets the context of the story do that for her, and it works quite well. By the end you have a fair knowledge of how their universe is put together and the rules they live under, certainly enough to follow and enjoy the plot and the characters.
Which is good because the true strength of the story is the characters and the story line that entwines them. Rand T'Ash, a person with immense Flair but a twisted and tortured past, has found he true Heart Mate, the one person that matches him perfectly, the Ying for his Yang. The only problem is she doesn't believe it and wants nothing to do with him!
There is romance here by the buckets full! The end is predictable but doesn't detract from the twisted, painful, and sometimes humorous trail they take to find it. While not spending a lot of time on technical trivia Ms. Owens does flesh out her characters, especially Rand and Danith, with spectacular effect. By the end of the book you know them intimately, their flaws, and pains and ultimately their triumph.
This was the first book by Ms. Owens that I have had the pleasure to read, it won't be the last. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
This one I defiantly RECOMMEND.
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on April 21, 2003
It is amazing to think this is a first book from Owens. Her storyteller's ability is strong, her use of humour done with flair, her adapting ancient Celt lore into a whole new world is done with strong imagination. It is obvious there will be more
"Heart" tale from the world of Celta, where there are gifted people who are blessed with Fams (familiars). Anyone who loves kitties will enough this tale that is so original.
I cannot wait for Heart Thief! One of the best books I have ever read, so I hope there will be many more visits to Celta!
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