Categories
Fantasy Young Adult

Blog Tour Stop! Born At Dawn by Christina Davis

     Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours for having me on the tour for Born at Dawn!  First I’ll share the quick facts and synopsis, then a quick review and my favorite quotes (memorable moments) from the book!  Also make sure to scroll down and check out the other hosts, author info and book links!

Born Dawn

Quick Facts:

  • Title: Born At Dawn
  • Series: Da’Valia Trilogy – #1
  • Author: Christina Davis
  • Publisher & Release: Indie, November 15th 2020
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Length: 301 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 yes!

Here is the synopsis:

When a heist goes terribly wrong and the binding spell holding 17-year-old Neva’s powers at bay is shattered, the half-human thief knows she’s in trouble.

Neva has always hidden her Da’Valian heritage while working risky jobs to make a name for herself and serving at her family’s tavern, but she won’t be able to hide much longer. She can either risk the safety of those she cares about or seek out her mother’s people to gain control over her emerging powers.

The Da’Valia are beautiful, brutal creatures created by the god of war, and the austere Da’Valian soldier Astiand reluctantly agrees to take Neva to his clan under his protection. She makes unexpected friends, including the handsome fighter Emiliand, and a new enemy in the clan’s ruthless leader.

Spying on her guardian, the sly heroine quickly discovers just how deep she has stumbled into a dangerous, developing clan feud.

Will she be able to embrace who she is in time to keep her loved ones safe?

Overall I felt like I couldn’t read this book fast enough, and I know I can’t wait for the next book.  In a young adult fantasy era where authors tend to focus on terrible and repetitive inner monologues, Born At Dawn is a fast paced, plot driven book that manages to include a decent amount of world building and characterization as well.  

The species and clan relationships were well defined and the magic is definitely interesting as well.  I liked the flames and magic shields and ESPECIALLY the teamwork aspect of sharing both offensive and defensive magic.  The history of the Da’Valia was cool to learn about too, with the females born at dawn and a lighter color, and the males born at midnight of a darker coloring.  I wanted a little more history there but loved the concept.

My only two issues were that a lot of people and places and things had similar sounding names, so it was hard to keep apart – but there was a glossary in the back!  My other issue is why in the world, Neva, the main character who really is brave and resourceful and motivated and independent – would practically jump into bed with a jackass that lied and tried to keep her prisoner.  She seemed so much better than that!  (Note: only some kissing and horns stroking actually occured).  Oh…maybe the cover too- loved it, loved a glimpse of the city, but since Neva’s hair is long, where are her horns!! It was shorn when she was human to hide her ears!

I know I am supposed to focus on sharing my favorite quotes – but honestly I didn’t find many quotable passages.  A HUGE strength of the book was the consistently solid writing and it did not need purple prose to make it interesting or readable!  Nothing broke the flow of story for me and I loved the book for that reason!

So here are my favorite *spoiler free* memorable moments:

  • A time when Neva unleashed her inner power at a mountain in a very Alina Starkov-ish way, with the sun setting and the snow glowing orange – I cheered when she brought down an avalanche
  • A moment when Neva saw her mother’s ghost – a gift from the god of death – and while a little creepy, the ghost told Neva that she was “strong, powerful, and dangerous”
  • All the times that a hard-@$$ weapons master helped Neva, and the reasons she gave for doing so
  • The scene with my shippable couple – Neva and Emiliand – where they are practice fighting and having a conversation about being different breeds
  • And my favorite: the scene where Neva’s family and inner circle of thieves totally accepts her and Neva just feels so loved.  I had all the warm fuzzles for those people❤❤❤

I definitely can not wait for book two.  The clan battle is going to heat up and I hope Emiliand comes back, I just shipped that so hard.  I actually liked Neva’ s character which is rare for me in YA books and I want her to have an alliance – and romance? With someone who loves and fights for her, not imprisons her.

I also really hope for a Monazhi related prequel story at some point, the chapter intros weren’t enough!

Now that I have saved about the book forever – here is the link to the rest of the tour! I hope you will check out the other hosts!

TOUR SCHEDULE: Born at Dawn (Da’Valia Trilogy) by Christina Davis

About the author:

Christina_Davis

Christina Davis was raised in the Santa Cruz Mountains and is a California girl at heart. She spent much of her childhood in and out of hospitals and embraced reading as an escape. After being home-schooled through high school, she graduated summa cum laude from San Jose State University and attended NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute before embarking on a decade-long career in journalism. She enjoys chocolate, cosplay, coffee, and board games, but not necessarily in that order. She now lives in beautiful Monterey County with her husband and daughter.

Author Links:
Website: https://christinadaviswrites.wordpress.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ChristinaDavisWrites/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristinaDWri
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaDavisWrites

Book Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Born-Dawn-Fantasy-Adventure-DaValia-ebook/dp/B08CXRH4XL/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54981861-born-at-dawn

Categories
Fantasy

Book Tour Stop and Giveaway! A Wizard’s Forge by A.M. Justice

     Thank you so much to Storytellers On Tour for having me on the tour for A Wizard’s Forge!  Please check out the links at the bottom for the giveaway and other tour hosts!  While this was published in 2016, we are featuring the book to generate buzz for the upcoming sequel, A Wizard’s Sacrifice, coming on October 6th

a-wizards-forge_justice_banner-hosts

Quick Facts: 

  • Title: A Wizard’s Forge
  • Series: The Woern Saga, #1
  • Author: A.M. Justice
  • Published: Wise Ink Creative Publishing – September 2016
  • Length: 326 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟 with caution

Here is the synopsis:

Wizards are forged, not born.

Victoria of Ourtown lived through a nightmare to become the ruthless soldier known as Vic the Blade. Once she wished to explore the world settled by her spacefaring ancestors; now she thinks only of revenge.

Prince Ashel’s carefree days are filled with music, revels, and dreams of a life with Vic. Those hopes die when the thrust of an assassin’s knife drives him to war.

The target of Vic’s and Ashel’s wrath is Lornk Korng, a tyrant whose schemes stretch across a continent and a lifetime.

A mysterious alien race holds the key to a legendary—and lethal—power. Whoever possesses this power will hold the world in their hands. Will they save it, or doom it?

A gripping tale of empowerment and revenge plays out against a breathtaking backdrop of dark fantasy and science fiction.

     I have strong mixed feelings about the book but ended up at a 3 star rating.  Let me talk about the good things and then come back to the bad things, and end on a good note again.

     I liked the plot in general quite a bit.  A girl is captured as a young teen and sent to be essentially a sex slave to a realm lord.  She ends up escaped and in the hands of the Royal family of his enemy country, then in the military, and eventually obviously discovers magical prowess.  Whatever other misgivings I had, the book stayed interesting. 

     The only power that seems to exist in the land is mind speech and Listening, which is frustrating for those who don’t have it and interesting if not complicated for those who do.  Other than this telekinesis, only the wizard(s) have any magical prowess involving air/matter manipulation and the ability is guarded by a strange race of desert people. 

     The characters are a true mixed bag but there were a few highlights, including the manipulative Queen Elekia, Prince Ashel, and quite a few of the soldiers within Vic’s military circle.  

     The world building is pretty well done including religious descriptions that differ but are all based off of the Legend (or reality depending on who you ask) of the space ship Elesendar that originally brought humans to the world.

     And now I branch into my many digressions.  I feel like the space ship had to be real because you can’t just create warp drives and captains logs, but it’s totally irrelevant to the entire story, world, book, etc.  One other sci-fi element exists but the world denizens don’t even have electricity or firearms or anything, it’s very much a world of horses and swords WHERE a random network teleportation device exists.  Ummm…?

     As far as content, Vic’s entire world rotates around her lasting feelings for her captor, who tortured and stripped and humiliated her while constantly assaulting her. Now Vic was only 14 at first so it’s like grooming a child but with torture. But then in the weirdest situations, even while intent on killing him years and years later she kept remembering his fingers doing things to her and getting aroused and there were some pretty graphic descriptions.  Even with that she was just going to hop in bed with his son too.  And she never gets past it, or seems very hard to try to.  I thought this was written by a guy that has never interacted with a female and was a little surprised when I went back and reminded myself who was writing it.

     Additionally, there were so many times where random names and places were thrown in and never mentioned before.  Development between characters was hardly there – one minute they just met, then the book fast forwards and everyone is close friends without anything in between.  This occurred with skills too, Vic became a pretty pro wizard in about ten minutes and then a day or two later was capable of huge feats.  Plot forwarding is a plus but development in general is a hard no in this book.  This is why I didn’t list any of the main characters as favorites, it was impossible to connect to them. There are also a huge number of times where characters jump out of character and their actions make little sense.  

     There is one stylistic thing that kept popping up where chapters or breaks would begin in the middle of action, then we had to backtrack to learn what was going on.  To me this was just confusing and jarring every time because I thought I missed something, then learned to roll with it.  The other thing related to this is that especially with major revelations or with action happening, I think the author was trying to connect dots in the readers head by being vague and cryptic but I frankly just didn’t get it at times and wish the information had been spelled out.  

     Also Woern, as far as I remember, was never mentioned so I’m curious about the name of the series.

     Ok deep breath, let’s pull this back to the positives.

     I read the entire thing without skimming, no matter how frustrating it got.  I saw a LOT of really hard but sensible criticism for this book and I think the author probably took some of it into consideration for the next book, which I at least do want to read at some point.

     Do I recommend this book?  Honestly I have mixed feelings but the plot itself isn’t terrible and I think there are plenty of people who will enjoy it.


     Thank you again to Storytellers On Tour for having me! Here is the schedule so that you guys can see what the others thought of the book:

Tour Schedule: A Wizard’s Forge by A.M. Justice


The giveaway:

**GIVEAWAY**
We’re hosting a tour-wide giveaway!
 
Prize: The Woern Saga Book Bundle – Grand Prize: Signed Paperbacks, Runners-Up: Ebooks
Starts: September 30th, 2020 at 12:00am EDT
Ends: October 7th, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT
Restrictions: Paperbacks are US Only. Ebooks are international
Direct link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e832e98847/?

Book info and Author links:

• Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30813842-a-wizard-s-forge
• Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1945769076

Author Links
Website: https://www.amjusticeauthor.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AMJusticeWrites
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AMJusticeauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amjusticeauthor/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6903962.A_M_Justice

Categories
Contemporary Fiction Middle Grade Mysteries

Book Tour And Giveaway! The Wild Path by Sarah R. Baughman

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours for having me on the tour for The Wild path!! I will share the synopsis, a quick review, and my favorite quotes from the book mixed in!. I will start by saying that this book has a huge 5 star 🐴🐴🐴🐴🐴❤❤❤❤❤🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating from me as a horse person with questionable mental health at times, just so timely and perfect.

Categories
Fantasy

Blog Tour! Review: Tuyo by Rachel Neumeier

0830201150_HDR~2Thank you so much to Storytellers on Tour for letting me join the tour for this wonderful book!  A gorgeous finished copy was provided in exchange for a feature and honest review.

Quick Facts:

  • Title: Tuyo
  • Series: Standalone?
  • Author: Rachel Neumeier
  • Publisher & Release: Indie – May, 2020
  • Length: 410 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 yes!

Here is the synopsis:

Raised a warrior in the harsh winter country, Ryo inGara has always been willing to die for his family and his tribe. When war erupts against the summer country, the prospect of death in battle seems imminent. But when his warleader leaves Ryo as a sacrifice — a tuyo — to die at the hands of their enemies, he faces a fate he never imagined.

Ryo’s captor, a lord of the summer country, may be an enemy . . . but far worse enemies are moving, with the current war nothing but the opening moves in a hidden game Ryo barely glimpses, a game in which all his people may be merely pawns. Suddenly Ryo finds his convictions overturned and his loyalties uncertain. Should he support the man who holds him prisoner, the only man who may be able to defeat their greater enemy? And even if he does, can he persuade his people to do the same?

This book literally ticked every box I can think of in an epic fantasy.  Strong character arcs, detailed setting and world building, culture, enemies to friends, family bonds, political motivations, military strategy, and even one super snarky stallion.

Ryo is left as a sacrifice and ends up a captive, guest, translator, of the warlord for which he was left.  Ryo experiences a massive amount of culture shock when he is thrown into life with the Lau.  So much of the narrative is Ryo comparing the Lau to his Ugaro people, and it’s just an unbelievable character arc as he learns to judge men by their actions, not their birth.  I loved the grand theme of overcoming cultural differences to fight larger enemies.

Aras, the Lau Warlord, is a great character too.  He, in turn, isn’t familiar with many Ugaro customs, and it’s just a very character driven read as the two men, then two nations, learn about their common enemy and forge a working bond.  The friendship bonds are even better!

The setting and world are closely detailed as well.  From the frozen mountains and forests of the tribes to the summer lands of the Lau, I thought the author did a phenomenal job tying each group’s culture and legends into the climates that so define them.  To quickly touch on the magic: think psychological warfare on steroids, with some light elemental skills as well.

One of my favorite aspects was how she went deep into cultural customs on both sides.  The over politeness and certain rituals of the Ugaro tribes struck me as extremely well thought out, and the Lau had their own norms.  Some of my favorite scenes were the great meetings towards the end, but part of that was how much I just loved Ryo’s family.  Especially his father.  I let out a few “HA”‘s courtesy of the family dialogue 

Family and honor among friends played a huge role too.  Without going into too much more detail, I will just say again in general that the relationships in the book are so intricately started and built upon, until the end result was something really special.

In short: I feel like I’m rambling and not doing the book justice at all.  If you like strong families, culture, overcoming cultural biases, enemies to friends, setting and relationships, and magic throughout…. You need this book.  I definitely plan on checking out the author’s works too.

I hope you’ll check out the other stops on the tour by visiting https://storytellersontour.online/2020/07/30/tour-schedule-tuyo-by-rachel-neumeier/ !  The author information and book links are available there as well!

PL1tI1ZQ

Categories
Fantasy Young Adult

Book Tour! Wings of Fate by Skye Horn

Thank you so much to Bookfox Tours and Skye Horn for having me on the Bookstagram tour for Wings of Fate! An E-Book was provided in exchange for an honest review and all opinions are my own.

Quick Facts:

  • Title: Wings of Fate
  • Series: Kingdoms of Faerie #1
  • Author: Skye Horn
  • Publisher & Release: Self – May 17, 2020
  • Length: 284 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⚡ yes for fantasy romance fans

Here is the description from GoodReads:

In a world without magic, Thea is ordinary, but everything changes when she discovers she is a lost princess from a kingdom in Faerie. 

Now, a land Thea never knew existed expects her to become queen—but only if she can stop her villainous father who sits on her throne from releasing the Goddess of Death first. As darkness spreads across the Kingdoms of Faerie, Thea must prepare for the battle ahead by mastering the magic that runs through her veins with the help of the Fae who brought her home—a guardian sworn to protect her with his life.

With proper training, Thea might able to stop her father, but saving her kingdom may cost her heart.

Purely for entertainment value, I enjoyed reading through this book.  There are themes of soul mates, sisterly love and forgiveness, found family, and blood ties, among many others.  There is constant action or light romance, so the book reads pretty quickly and doesn’t give a chance to get boring.

Thea is a young woman who seems drawn to her destiny, which is to become the queen of a Faerie Kingdom.  I was a little confused because her father, even though he is an evil tyrant who wants to wipe out humans, seems to be the rightful king and has been for quite a while.  The book made it sound like he was an imposter and the throne was Thea’s,  but I think the majority of humans and fae just wanted the heir to take over.

The legends were my favorite part of the book for sure.  It is based loosely on the celtic legend around Aine and Morrigan.   I went a bit down the rabbit hole trying to link them in mythology as more than a potential aspect, but – as I said, at face value, the book is quite entertaining.

I think soulmates and fate are interesting concepts.  Sometimes they translate as insta-love.  Not my most favorite trope but there was a good bit of soul searching involving Kieran and Thea around old traditions that might prohibit a relationship.  I think I would have had an easier time believing their love if it wasn’t quite so instant, but I have read enough fated bond books to put it aside and say “ok so they fell in love in two weeks.”

Overall though the storyline was pretty well thought out, entertaining, and fast-paced.  Some of the cruelties inflicted by the king, Thea’s father, really made my blood boil.  The sisterly forgiveness and redemption themes are strong and good.  The relationships between the various orphans and their protectors carried the book a long ways for me as well.  Like best side characters ever. Plus did I mention a unicorn?

If I was rating purely for entertainment I would give it 5⭐, and will definitely check out book 2 to see what that sneaky Morrigan is up to.

Thank you guys again for having me on the tour!!

Skye Horn can be found online at https://skyehorn.com/

Categories
Fantasy

Book Tour Stop!! I, Exile by David Samuels

Thank you so much to Storytellers On Tour for having me on the book tour for I, Exile by David Samuels! This is a fast-paced fantasy adventure about old magic and a heist gone wrong, that turns into so much more!

Quick Facts:

  • Title: I, Exile
  • Series: A Thief’s Tale #1
  • Author: David Samuels
  • Publisher & Release: self – 02/29/2020
  • Length: 229 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⚡ for fantasy and adventure fans!

Here is the description from Amazon:

Exiled into a wasteland because of a heist gone wrong, Emelith vows to hunt down the one responsible. Except not all is what it seems in the haunted realm of the Cauldron.

Classic Swords & Sorcery meets cinematic 90’s action (Tomb Raider, The Mummy, Indiana Jones) in this rollicking thief’s tale.

I, Exile was a perfect read for me right now.  It is a shorter book with nearly non stop action, and not all the wordy fluff that comes with a lot of fantasy books.  Don’t get me wrong, I love fluff, but sometimes a fast-paced adventure is a great change of pace.

Emelith is the main character, a thief who is captured during a heist and then exiled out into the wastes.  She is bent on tracking down and having the head of her partner for the heist having backfired.  I would have liked to know more about her abilities and why she is such a great thief, but Emelith’s diplomatic skills and personal growth in the story are two things I really like about her character.  The strongest women can admit when they’re wrong and learn from their misconceptions and I love seeing that in books.  As a 30 something I definitely appreciate a slightly older main character as well.

After meeting a tribe of exiles led by an old sorceress, Emelith starts to realize that there is so much more to everything than meets the eye.  I liked the banter between the tribe, most of the characters, and especially Ruso the dog, who takes an instant liking to Emelith. 

An ancient necromancer trying to gain his soul back, giant worms and spiders, heat and sun and cold, plus some nasty blue monsters are just a few of the things the tribe must face as they journey in pursuit of Emelith’s possessed partner.  It was interesting to read about the magic possessed by the sorceress as well as the necromancer/lich, we get a history and back story but not too much small detail.

Samuels does a great job with setting and geological descriptions as far as giving us a context for the story.    He really packed quite a lot of world building and setting into a short book. 

My biggest and really only issue with the book was the language.  Some times there was tribal language and slang appropriate to the setting and culture, and sometimes there was modern slang which to me just doesn’t fit in a fantasy.  Also a cannon was mentioned where for the rest of the book, only magic and swords and bows were used with no mention of firepower.

Overall I totally recommend to fans of fantasy adventures and mixed casts of characters. I was never bored at all while reading and I can’t wait to see where Samuels takes this series.

Here is the link to the tour webpage, I hope you will consider checking out the other hosts and finding more information about the book here! https://www.storytellersontour.online/2020/07/24/tour-schedule-i-exile-by-david-m-samuels/

Categories
Fantasy Mysteries Young Adult

Blog Tour Post! Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

Where Dreams Descend_Cover

  • Title: Where Dreams Descend
  • Series: Kingdom of Cards #1
  • Author: Janella Angeles
  • Publisher & Release: Wednesday Books, 8/25/2020
  • Length: 451 pages
  • Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⚡ Maybe

Here is the description from GoodReads:

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles.  They provided a free e-ARC for review purposes.

First off, the description of this book sounded entirely amazing and I knew I had to read it.  A murdery magic mystery set against an icy world and a circus? Ok sign me up.

Lets start with the world building and atmosphere: I didn’t understand the world. There were a handful of repetitive questions being asked, over and over, about the history of the town, with absolutely no answers given. The air of mystery surrounding the world was extremely shallow because only the surface of the Town’s history was ever scratched.  The physical description of the buildings, districts, and weather were good, with literally no other world building outside of the immediate setting.  The town is described as a cold and icy place, but is it supposed to mirror the rest of the island or continent?  For all we know the island is an isolated incident of magic. 

I can’t deal when authors expect the reader to be psychic – if the characters *KNOW* something, maybe we should be told that information? Jack kept saying “they” and we never know who “they” are and no one ever says what’s going on. It happened between the women at the circus a few times too. I really wanted to DNF the book at times because I think it’s just bad writing that all this mustery became boring.

The characters were not much more interesting.  Kailla wants to get out of her life as a club performer, and is determined to ruin herself in order to impress a small group of magicians in the Town in order to have an opportunity to perform.  Yes, fine, prove yourself to the boy’s club.  Her motivation seemed lackluster and overdone in such a tiny setting. Also it didn’t make sense that if women weren’t really allowed to do show magic, only work magic, why was a women in charge of the magic police? Next up, what the heck is even going on with Demarco? We read over 400 pages and literally learned nothing of substance about him until the end, and then it’s just more mystery.  Another brooding dark character who repeats his own inner monologue 500 times. I don’t love the recent YA trend of using repetition to make books longer.  Jack was another evasive twit and supposedly the villain of the piece.  The only characters I even remotely liked were the circus women, and Kailla’s assistant there who was nice and straightforward and a good friend.  

I understand that the author’s goal was to create a huge mystery but if all we get is repetition and angst with no substance, it is just boring.  I also didn’t get the little bit of romance very much, it’s hard to ship two characters who are both so evasive and I didn’t really understand why brave and fearless Kailla was suddenly so afraid of Jack during the middle chapters.

The plot had a few action points but the author dropped them pretty quickly in favor of the characters just angst-ing at each other some more. I won’t lie that I ended up skimming, a lot.

If you liked the Night Circus – lots of words amid a tiny bit of action action and a little playing hard to get – you’ll probably love this.

I believe the duology is redeemable in book 2 which is why even though this is a harsh review, I believe it is appropriate for the tour.  

Thank you again for allowing me to participate in the tour and bring you this book which releases on 8/25!

Mei Lin Barral Photography_Janella Angeles

About the author:

JANELLA ANGELES is a Filipino-American author who got her start in writing through consuming glorious amounts of fanfiction at a young age—which eventually led to penning a few of her own, and later on, creating original stories from her imagination. A lifelong lover of books, she’s lucky enough to be working in the business of publishing them on top of writing them. She currently resides in Massachusetts, where she’s most likely to be found listening to musicals on repeat and daydreaming too much for her own good. Where Dreams Descend is her first book.

Buy Link:https://read.macmillan.com/lp/where-dreams-descend/

Social LinksTwitter: @Janella_Angeles // Instagram: @Janella_Angeles

Categories
Fantasy Young Adult

Book Tour! Review: Trial by Obsidian by Naomi Kelly

  • Title: Trial by Obsidian
  • Author: Naomi Kelley
  • Length: 242 pages
  • Pub date: August 2019
  • Publisher: Independent
  • Rate & Rec ⭐⭐ – hear me out though

Today is my stop on the Instagram book tour for Trial by Obsidian, and here as well is my full review! Despite my rating just hear me out on this one and make your own decision.

Here is the description from Amazon:

The poverty-stricken southern lands of Deshure have kept Juniper Obsidian hidden all her life. Her concealed identity kept her safe. Until now. The northern lands of Sinlara are home to the Chambers. Here rules are enforced and wars are waged, but since the end of the War fifteen years ago things have been quiet. That is until they get their hands on Juniper.

When an enemy who has an uncertain a past as she does a future offers her help, Juniper must question what really makes us who we are? Can she trust the man before her? Is there more to loyalty than a boarder? More to family than a blood-line? The time has come where she must learn to stand and fight.

Hiding is no longer an option.

In brief, the summary of the story is that the Sinlaran faction systematically eradicated the mage clans, of which a few individuals remain. One of them, the main character Juniper, is captured. A handsome defector from the “bad guys” helps her escape and then the plotting begins.

It really isn’t a bad story. I will bluntly say that my rating is because I have a hard time with books that have poor editing; even a friend proofreading would have made this much more readable. It had missing words, wrong words, punctuation, mixed tenses, a few spelling errors, it was not one small thing but a vastly unedited book. As a disclaimer: I read the Kindle Unlimited version, and there may be editions out with further editing as I haven’t seen this mentioned in many other reviews.

Putting the editing aside, the world building had a good start but was underdeveloped. I now think this is a standalone?  Still, aspects of the political structure, history of the clans, mood of the citizenry, even architecture, a little more fleshing of certain events at the beginning would have helped. While reading, I could kind of figure out the political structure as I went, but if this is geared towards young readers will they know the basic Greek alphabet? What about Sinlaran geography? Are we in the mountains or forest or plains? I just like a little more general world immersion in a novel where this was mostly character and action based.  Also on the immersion note, in a high fantasy world it’s not quite appropriate to bring in popular mythology, in this case Greek – lots of Greek themes but still, this is a made up fantasy world and they won’t believe in our myths.

About the pacing, this is a short book and the action did keep coming. It kept a decent pace once I pieced the world together from the choppy beginning, and never felt bored reading. The magic system is fairly basic, each clan had a specific gem or rock (Obsidian, garnet, etc) that they drew their powers from. The abilities varied as some could be healers, garnets had fire affinity, one clan seemed to be metal workers/crafters, and together they could feed off each other and be stronger which was a concept that I liked – bloodline vs element being present

As a romance heavy novel, the two main characters did a rather quick enemies to lovers. They bonded over proximity and shared experiences, which is great but why did Reuben practically worship Juniper? I did appreciate the aspect of feeling SEEN, and liked Reuben because his matter-of-fact-isms almost felt like a nod to Star Trek’s android Data, but it could be total coincidence. He was the only character who spoke like that so I wondered.

Reuben had a heck of a betrayal pulled over on him though, which was a curious and rude choice on the Alpha’s part. (The political structure looked like Brave New World, with alpha through delta in descending rank). The characters were definitely individually the best and most developed part of the book. Their motivations made sense if nothing else and I liked Juniper well enough too as the main character.

Long story short: if you are able to just read and let your mind wander over the editing mishaps and fill in a few plot points, this is a quick romp into a light fantasy world. I would compare the reading experience to early Morgan Rice (she got an editor at some point, I think) or Melissa de la Cruz (romance heavy with questionable development.) There is lots of kissing and off page sex but nothing too intense. There is again a chance that I managed to read an early version, as other reviews are stating that the book has great development so I might have missed something.

I would probably recommend for fantasy romance readers that are not hardcore fantasy buffs.

The author can be found on Instagram @NaomiKellyWriting

Here is the link to the book on Amazon: