Tagged: romance

Water So Deep by Nichole Giles

Water So Deep by Nichole Giles(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Seventeen-year-old Emma Harris is drowning on dry land.

No one knows what’s happening to her, and she’d like to keep her evolution from human to mermaid a secret, but the truth is getting harder and harder to hide. From her adoptive family, from her friends, and especially from the irresistible James Phelps.

Her time in the ocean is spent dodging a possessive merman, while her time on land is split between caring for her special-needs brother and squeezing in every last possible moment of human life. She soon realizes falling for James is unavoidable when he constantly comes to Emma’s rescue and somehow manages to see through her carefully constructed icy facade to the vulnerability she lives with every day. Everything about James makes Emma yearn for a life on land she just can’t have.

When Emma’s brother disappears on her watch, James is the only person she trusts to help her save him. But even if they can save her brother, nothing can prevent her return to the sea. Whether she likes it or not, Emma is changing—unable to breathe without yielding to the tide—and it’s only a matter of time before she’s forced to surrender forever.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received an ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

One of the things that was the most striking about Water So Deep was the world-building.  I haven’t read a lot of mermaid books but the way Nichole Giles portrays her mermaids makes a lot of sense to me.  Emma, our main character, is a changeling, meaning she appears human now but she’s been gradually shifting into her natural mermaid form.  Unfortunately for her, this means that it’s getting harder and harder to breathe just air; she has to go swim underwater for hours at a time with growing frequency.  In the past, she could last a week without swimming and by the time our story starts, she has to go swimming for a couple of hours every other day or so.  Like I said, this is one of the more ‘believable’ human-to-mermaid stories (inasmuch as a fantasy creature can be believable) and it’s also one of the more enjoyable because it adds just another complicated layer onto Emma’s already complicated life.

The characters were both good and bad.  Emma herself is a great character as are James, her love interest, and Keith, her developmentally disabled brother.  She was nearly raped and beat up a year previously by one of the popular jocks at school so when she starts her senior year she’s a complete outcast.  James, being the new guy, knows nothing of her history and is quite taken with her.  This starts a push-and-pull dynamic between the two, with Emma feeling very conflicted about her growing feelings for James and the knowledge that she’ll have to leave him at the end of the school year because she’ll be a full mermaid.  We also get to see things from James’ point of view as he falls in love with Emma and tries to understand and help her with her problems.  Will he be able to succeed where Gran (who knows the truth about Emma) has failed?

But while those two were awesome characters, my actual favourite was Keith.  Keith is moderately developmentally disabled; he’s quite innocent and sweet and has a bit of trouble with his grade level work but at the same time he’s quite capable of doing things on his own.  What struck me the most about Nichole Giles’ characterization of him was that she doesn’t make him out to be a Magical Disabled Person capable of things above what normal people can do and she doesn’t make him into a Pitiable Disabled Person, someone who can’t do anything for themselves and needs to be helped constantly.  He has his strengths and he certainly has his struggles; it’s a very nuanced human portrayal of an intellectual disability, one that is really quite rare in YA, let alone ‘adult’ fiction.

The only character that was not very good was Merrick, the possessive merman mentioned in the blurb.  Throughout the novel Giles’ portrayal of him is quite good: he sees Emma as a prize, a reward for being the guard to Atlantis as well as one of the very few merfolk that can assume a human form.  And because he feels entitled to her, he also treats her like an object at times, infuriating Emma to no end.  Without delving too deeply into my own experiences, the way she describes Merrick’s gaze, that mixture of entitlement, lust and a bit of anger is so realistic it makes me shiver.  So why did I say Merrick wasn’t a very good character?  I can’t tell you precisely because that would spoil the ending but let’s just say that his character does a total 180 at the end of the novel with no lead up to it and it really doesn’t fit with his earlier characterization.  It just feels odd, like he’s the Deus ex Machina for Emma instead of the antagonist.

And that leads right into the problem with Water So Deep: the plot.  Don’t get me wrong, the plot is absolutely amazing for about 90% of the novel.  It’s slower than your average YA novel because it’s very largely character driven but you never really get bored because we switch between Emma and James to see both of their sides of the story.  That keeps the pacing consistent, if slow and because Nichole Giles has such a beautiful writing style it didn’t bother me in the least.  She is excellent at making you feel the characters’ emotions and sympathize with their struggles, more so than you would with your average YA author.  However, the problem with this novel was in the ending.  Again I can’t say much without spoiling things but the events leading up to the ending were logical but the ending itself was awful.  It made sense in the context of the story in general except for Merrick’s total 180 but it was very abrupt and rushed.  Really, it felt like Giles realized she had reached her word count limit or something and just had to stop.  The problem is that the ending is very ambiguous, which would not be bad if there was a sequel or at least more of a hint of the fates of the characters.

I was so involved with these characters and kind of concerned about the possibility of there not being a sequel that I actually contacted the author to ask if there would be one, to which she replied: “To answer your question, yes, there will be at least one sequel.”  She’s hoping for fall of this year, so thank goodness for that!  It’s a testament to her writing skill that I was so involved with the characters and so concerned about their ambiguous fates that I actually contacted her.  Believe me when I say that I’m so glad that there will be a sequel.  So despite the overly dramatic cliffhanger at the end, I did love Water So Deep and I’m very much looking forward to the sequel.  If anything I’ve said in this review intrigues you, go check out the book!  It officially releases on February 2 of this year.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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September Sky by John Heldt

September Sky by John Heldt(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

When unemployed San Francisco reporter Chuck Townsend and his college-dropout son, Justin, take a cruise to Mexico in 2016, each hopes to rebuild a relationship after years of estrangement. But they find more than common ground aboard the ship. They meet a mysterious lecturer who touts the possibilities of time travel. Within days, Chuck and Justin find themselves in 1900, riding a train to Texas, intent on preventing a distant uncle from being hanged for a crime he did not commit. Their quick trip to Galveston, however, becomes long and complicated when they wrangle with business rivals and fall for two beautiful librarians on the eve of a hurricane that will destroy the city. Filled with humor, history, romance, and heartbreak, SEPTEMBER SKY follows two directionless souls on the adventure of a lifetime as they try to make peace with the past, find new purpose, and grapple with the knowledge of things to come.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.]

One of the things that I’ve noticed about time travel novels is that oftentimes the protagonists will try to change history but will usually fail.  But what if they succeeded after a fashion?  John Heldt explores that far more interesting possibility in September Sky as a sort of side dish to the main course: the journey of Chuck and Justin in the past in a bid to find a purpose in their lives.

As with John Heldt’s Northwest Passage series, his new American Journey series has one thing that really stands out: its characters.  He’s able to create fascinating and realistic characters that can be strong but are also very human because they have their weak moments.  Chuck has problems reconnecting with the son he ignored because of his career while Justin has problems coping with his latest romantic debacle and the fact that he doesn’t even really know his dad.  Both of them can be incredibly selfless like Justin in the last huge event in the book but both can be selfish because they fall in love and want to take the women they love back to the future when they leave, assuming that their time is far better.  What will they do in the end?  The answer may surprise you but when I look back on their actions, it completely fits in with how they developed and grew as characters throughout the novel.  It’s a rather satisfying journey to see two directionless men find love and possibly even a purpose in life.  Chuck and Justin as well as Charlotte and Emily all stick out to me as memorable characters.  And even though the book focuses on the journey of the two men, Charlotte and Emily are both three dimensional characters with problems, motivations and strengths of their own; they’re not just there as romantic subplots.

Of all the things that surprised me in this book, I think the world-building was the most surprising.  The Northwest Passage series had time travel in various locations, yes, but it was never really explained in all that much detail.  Here in September Sky we actually meet someone who has harnessed the power of time travel and can go back to the past at will (with some important limitations, mind you).  We get a sort of explanation of how it works which was actually quite satisfying even if it’s not exactly the most scientific ever; it’s based on science and is completely speculative.  Still, it was actually fascinating and a main source of conflict for Justin and Chuck because they had to have their individual ‘keys’ back to the future or else they would be stuck in 1900 forever.

The plot was not very fast-paced in the beginning but the characters and the events were so interesting that it didn’t matter.  As the novel goes on, however, the pacing just keeps increasing until you just can’t put the book down.  And trust me when I say that John Heldt certainly hasn’t lost his capacity to surprise his readers.  Just when you think you know how things are going to happen, he throws a wrench into the works and you’re left guessing until the very end of the novel.  These plot twists don’t come out of nowhere, however.  When you look back on how the characters develop and how their actions tend to drive the story it makes sense.  It’s just hard to see the twists when you’re reading September Sky the first time around.  And trust me when I say that this is a book you’ll want to read over and over and over again.  It’s just that good.

Here in September Sky, you have everything that you can ask for in a time travel novel: a little bit of science and imagination, some romance, great characters and an unpredictable plot.  You can’t ask for anything more!  Even though the book has a satisfying conclusion, if you’re like me you’ll be left eager for the next installment in the series to see how John Heldt is going to get his other time travelers into the past.  Will we meet our mysterious professor again?  Or are there other people out there who know more about the past than they’re letting on?  I can’t wait.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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The Messenger by Pamela DuMond

The Messenger by Pamela DuMond(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Do you remember the first time you fell in love?

Read The Messenger (Mortal Beloved, Book One) and feel that beautiful—again.

Sixteen-year-old Madeline’s meant to fall in love with Samuel in every lifetime. But she meets him for the first time when she accidentally time travels into the past—hundreds years before she’s even born!

Their relationship is forbidden—Samuel’s half Native, Madeline’s white. Every rendezvous they share must be secret. Each moment they spend together tempts the odds that they’ll be discovered and brutally punished. But their love is fated—they musk risk all.

Danger intensifies when Madeline learns she’s in the past not only to fall in love, but also to claim her birth right as a Messenger—a soul who can slip through time’s fabric at will.

Deadly Hunters, dark-souled time travelers, crave Madeline’s powers and seek to seduce or kill her. Can Madeline find her way back to the future in time to save herself and Samuel?

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

If I had to describe The Messenger in one word it would be ‘disappointing.’

The prologue started off promisingly enough, with a girl (obviously the main character) running through the woods in a panic.  Okay, that sounds cool; let’s get on with the main event!  My excitement dampened throughout the first few chapters because of the pretty stereotypical “main character who has lost her parent in a horrific accident years ago” but I soldiered on.  When I got to when Madeline time-travelled I got pretty excited because I like time travel stories, which is why I requested this book in the first place.  Then that point in the story is where the true disappointment set in.

It’s hard to enjoy a book when you absolutely cannot stand the main character and I couldn’t stand Madeline.  I just wanted to reach in and slap her across her loud mouth.  Constantly.  Okay, she’s a little disoriented when she travels back in time, I’ll grant her that.  But once she gets on her feet and realizes “I better play along with these people or they’ll call me a witch and hang me” she then proceeds to act like a modern stereotypical American teenager.  She blurts out things at inappropriate times, uses modern slang (!) and generally acts like she wants people to start lynching her.  I get it, not all teenagers are smart and would instantly adapt to the 1600s.  Calling such a transition a culture shock would be quite an understatement.  But really?  Using the word ‘whatevs’ is definitely not going to ease people’s suspicions about you.  Ugh.

Aside from a narrator that really is Too Stupid To Live, the book’s premise isn’t all that bad.  Sure, it’s not the most original but the whole Messenger angle was sort of interesting.  Special people go back in time to right wrongs and/or meet their destiny.  Hunters try to prevent this.  Unfortunately, Pamela DuMond never really gets into fleshing the whole story of the Messengers out because Madeline’s stupidity gets her mentor accused of witchcraft.  Even the little knowledge Samuel has isn’t really enough to satisfy my curiosity.  I know this is the first book in a series but even that doesn’t really excuse the fact that we get more questions than answers.  So I give Pamela DuMond marks for potentially awesome world-building, but I can’t honestly say much about it because we didn’t learn all that much about it.

The plot is okay, but it’s also nothing to brag about.  It’s not fast, but not too slow and it was interesting enough to keep me reading even though I began to really loathe Madeline.  My only real complaint about the plot was that while some things were focused on too much, other things were neglected, like the growing attraction between Madeline and Samuel.  Yes, they spend some time together but in those interactions I really wasn’t feeling the sparks fly.  It just kind of felt contrived by the author because of course all YA novels have to have some romance.

Overall, the book would not be a bad book if not for the fact Madeline is just a really horrible main character.  Sadly for us, though, we’re pretty much stuck in her head the whole time so there is no escaping the fact that The Messenger fell flat on its face.  It had so much potential and did not live up to it.

I give this book 1/5 stars.

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Flirting With Fire by Tara Quan

Flirting with Fire by Tara Quan(Cover picture courtesy of Tara Quan’s site.)

Apprentice witch Catalina Gato is prohibited from assuming her human form in front of her new employer without his express permission. Since he doesn’t know he’s a warlock, he can’t give it, leaving her in a familiar’s limbo. To make matters worse, she’s barred from leaving his house, and her attempts to enlighten him of his true nature results in burnt notes, charred walls, and exploding laptops.

On All Hallows’ Eve, she gets one night of freedom. Deciding some no-strings-attached sex might take the edge off the intense attraction she feels for her clueless boss, she signs up for Madame Eve’s service. When she meets her masked mystery date at the Castillo Capital, she realizes she might have gotten much more than she bargained for.

After being gifted a one-night stand from his annoying best friend, attorney Leo Difuoco reluctantly ventures to the Castillo Capital to celebrate Halloween. When he meets his oddly familiar green-eyed date in a Cat Woman costume, flames literally ignite, sparks magically fly, and life as he knows it changes forever.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

Having read Tara Quan’s Operation Owl, I expected Flirting with Fire to be a semi-serious romantic novel.  That’s pretty much just what I got with this second book of hers that I’ve read but for some reason I just liked it much more than Operation Owl.

Maybe it was the fact that both characters are much better fleshed out, even though the book seems shorter.  Leonardo is a kind of sloppy bachelor who can’t see things under his own nose, but you get the feeling that his heart’s in the right place.  Why else would he care for the cat his crazy grandmother left him?  Cat, on the other hand, is a much more vivid character in my mind.  She’s stuck in the form of (you guessed it) a cat because she was a familiar to Leonardo’s grandmother and now Leonardo, who doesn’t believe in magic, is in control of her contract without knowing it.  So she’s stuck as a cat when she goes out of the house on every night but one: Halloween.

Since this is kind of a romance, you can pretty much guess how the story goes from there when both Leonardo and Cat go out on the same night.  Still, Tara Quan does a good job of building up a reasonable amount of suspense by ratcheting up the tension within both characters as well as creating some tension between the two when they meet.  And of course, when the romance part finally seems to happen, there’s still the question of Cat’s contract and whether Leonardo is willing to open up his mind and believe her.

The best thing about this book is that it’s emotionally satisfying.  There’s no Insta-Love, but rather an instant connection of some sort that in some situations obviously can lead to a one-night stand.  So that’s more than believable given the circumstances both characters are in at the time.  And by the end, you get the feeling that not only has the main conflict been resolved satisfactorily but that you can guess at what happens next to some degree.  It makes for a much better ending than the usual drive off into the sunset with these sorts of things.

So if you’re looking for a good book that’s also fairly light reading with plenty of romance, Flirting With Fire would be a great place to start.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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Goddess Born by Kari Edgren

Goddess Born by Kari Edgren(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Pennsylvania, 1730

Selah Kilbrid keeps a dangerous secret: she has the power to heal.

A direct descendent of the Celtic goddess Brigid, it’s Selah’s sacred duty to help those in need. But as the last of the Goddess Born living in the New World, she learned from an early age to keep her supernatural abilities hidden. The Quaker community of Hopewell has always been welcoming, but there’s no doubt they would see her hanged if her gift was revealed.

When a prominent minister threatens to try her with witchcraft unless she becomes his wife, Selah has only one hope–that her betrothed, a distant cousin from Ireland, arrives as planned. Marrying Samuel would keep her secret safe, preserve her sacred bloodline, and protect her from being charged as a witch.

But when news of Samuel’s death reaches the Colonies, Selah is truly on her own. Terrified, she faces an impossible choice–forfeit her powers and marry the loathsome Nathan? Or find an imposter to pose as her husband and preserve her birthright?

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

From the blurb, I had pretty high expectations about Goddess Born.  Not only that, it came highly recommended to me from a friend/colleague!  So you could say Kari Edgren’s book had a lot to live up to.  As it turns out, Goddess Born would far exceed my high expectations.  The characters were excellent, the world-building was fantastic and Kari Edgren brought the early Colonies to life.

First off, the characters were excellent.  Selah in reality, had a horrible decision to make when she learned of her cousin’s death.  Her father is dead so there’s no man to protect her from the law and Nathan’s wrath.  Her only hope is to marry her cousin, who’s dead.  But nobody in Hopewell knows that, do they?  So she embarks on a long, arduous and sometimes funny journey when she marries Henry, an indentured servant set to play the role of her cousin.  I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that yes, of course Henry and Selah are going to develop feelings for each other, but I also have to say that those feelings were far from Insta-Love.  In fact, it was almost Insta-Hate for a while there.

Both Selah and Henry stand out for me as characters.  They both have complicated histories behind the circumstances that found them married and neither one is really keen to divulge their past to the other.  At the same time, it’s obvious that both of them feel for the other’s plight.  Selah doesn’t like forcing Henry into a marriage just to save her own skin and Henry doesn’t like the fact that he’s the only one standing between Selah and Nathan’s considerable wrath.  He feels for Selah and she for him, but of course things are always more complicated than that.

As for the magic of Selah’s line, I think it was pretty well thought out.  It comes from the Celtic goddess Brigid and puts a lot of strain on its possessors.  They have the power of life and death over medical matters, so you really have to appreciate the fact that Selah is a good person who would never hurt anyone, even her own worst enemy.  Power like that can become heady and change people, but Selah is the sweet and level-headed young woman that she always has been.  What I really liked about the fact of Selah’s power is that she does run out and she does have to do a complicated ritual to renew it by going to the Otherworld.  Maintaining her power is not easy and adds another layer of conflict, rather than like in most stories where the power is never-ending and/or naturally replenishes itself.

I have to say that I also loved both the descriptions of the time as well as the pacing of the plot.  Kari Edgren really made me feel like I was in Pennsylvania in 1730, even though obviously I haven’t and I’ve never even studied that period of history.  I can’t vouch for authenticity in her descriptions but I do know that her writing really makes you feel like you’re in the period.  Sometimes that’s almost better than being accurate and boring.  The pacing, however, doesn’t allow for boredom.  It starts out a little slow at first, but quickly we have Selah’s life spiraling out of control as Nathan makes his ultimatum, her father dies, she learns her cousin dies and she marries an indentured servant to pose as him.  There is no such thing as a boring moment in Goddess Born.

So, at the end of all this, I don’t have anything but praise for this book.  It came highly recommended and exceeded my expectations.  It was fast-paced, felt historically authentic and the characters were amazing.  I can’t recommend it enough and even if you’re not necessarily a big reader of historical fiction, I’m pretty sure you’ll like it.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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Operation Owl by Tara Quan

Operation Owl by Tara Quan(Cover picture courtesy of Elle Rush’s blog.)

A Beyond Fairytales Adaptation of Grimm’s The Owl

Five years ago, Maya Jain kissed her best friend only to have him run out of her dorm room and leave the state. When he shows up in Washington, D.C., a wanted fugitive sought after by every branch of the US government, she can’t bring herself to ignore his plight. As their physical relationship picks up where it left off, she decides it’s time to make him see her as more than the bespectacled, bookish girl he once called “Owl.”

After being accused of espionage and treason, Zack Strong needs a forensic accountant to help clear his name. Not knowing who he can trust, this white-hat hacker has no choice but to ask his former best friend and math tutor for help. Together they unravel a cyber conspiracy at the Barn, an NSA facility tasked to intercept electronic communications. But as they traverse the nation’s capital to avoid capture, Maya insists on letting their simmering sexual tension take its natural course. Even though he’s never been able to shake the memory of their one kiss, he refuses to let her give up her life for a man with no future.

 

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

Operation Owl was a solid ‘meh’ for me personally.  Yes, I went into this expecting for there to be lots of romance (which was fine) but I also expected a little bit more action.  I’ll explain.

Essentially, the big conspiracy plot that’s the reason why Zack is running plays second fiddle to the interpersonal conflict between him and Maya.  That’s just fine by me in theory, except that in practice, the actual huge conspiracy probably made up less than 25% of the book whereas the rest was about their friendship.  With a conspiracy that big, I would have preferred a little more action because it’s pretty important.  So even though Operation Owl does have an interesting plot on the blurb, it’s actually very much the ‘romantic comedy’ it’s labelled as.  (Though lacking on the comedy part.)

Despite my misgivings about the plot, I did enjoy the characters.  Maya and Zack have had a complicated relationship, to say the least.  We learn about the events of five years ago that led to Maya kissing Zack and how that in turn led to them not seeing each other in person for all that time.  When they finally meet again, having Zack being chased by the government’s hired mercenaries doesn’t exactly make for the best circumstances.  Still, they make it work and their bond re-forms.  I liked seeing from each of their viewpoints how they learned to let go of the past and just focus on the present.  This is definitely one of the better romances I’ve read.

Tara Quan’s writing style is actually very good.  It’s well-suited to the contemporary feel of her novel and while it is pared-down, I was never confused about the setting or which character was speaking (as sometimes happens when authors try to cut too much description).  She does an excellent job with the sexual tension of both characters and by a certain point in the book you’re just ready to scream at them to go and have sex already.  Which is sort of the purpose of that unresolved sexual tension, I suppose.

So character-wise and writing-wise, I really have no complaints.  I would have liked for there to have been more focus on the conspiracy, but that’s just me.  At least the conflict was resolved nicely (but not necessarily neatly) at the very end and it would almost be believable were I not such a cynic about politics.  Again, that’s just me; it’s actually quite a satisfying ending from a reader’s standpoint.

I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

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Hyacinth by Abigail Owen

Hyacinth by Abigail Owen(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book #2 of the Svatura Series

Selene sacrificed everything when she took her brother’s place as ruler of the Vyusher, including her secret love for her one-time adversary Griffin Aubrey. When nightmares that are just a little too real start, Selene fears she’s turned into a cold-blooded killer…the monster that Griffin thinks she is.

Griffin and Ellie Aubrey are finally safe for the first time in over a hundred years. But when an unknown menace drives Selene to leave her family and ask for help, Griffin must decide. Can he move past his hatred of everything she is? Or will the bond that could bring them both the greatest joy now be the source of their deepest despair?

The threat of the danger stalking Selene in her dreams might be too much even for this powerful group. And Griffin doesn’t want to easily forgive the woman he blames for killing his family…

[Full disclosure: I was provided a free ebook copy of this a couple of months during the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

Ellie, the main character of the previous novel only barely features in this one.  Although I really did like her, that was fine by me as I got to see way more of Griffin and a whole bunch of Selene.  Both of them are fascinating characters in their own right but I’ll talk about Selene first.

She was enslaved by her brother for 150 years, which is long even for a Svatura.  More accurately, she had to do what he told her because of his mind control but unlike the rest of the Vyusher tribe she was fully aware of all of the horrible things Gideon had her do.  That really just makes it more awful when you think about it.  So now Gideon is dead and Selene is having a hard time accepting her role as Queen.  Not only that, now she has to cope with the crushing amount of guilt from 150 years of hunting other Svatura.

What I find interesting with the way she copes is that she really doesn’t magically get over everything on her own; for that, she needs more than a little bit of help from the original Svatura group of the first book.  One has the power to help heal emotions but even with Ellie’s help in amplifying it Selene will never be totally healed.  This is way more realistic than having her completely healed in time for the final showdown.  At the same time, even though I wanted to smack Griffin for being indecisive, I do believe it was far more realistic than him loving Selene despite all of their history together.  By the end of the novel you’re really in doubt as to whether these two are sure they love each other but I promise you that the ending is a satisfying one.

Just like with the previous book, the plot of Hyacinth is more character-driven than plot-driven.  The characters cause many of the events that happen in the end of the novel but this book is far from slow-paced.  Abigail Owen managed to balance character development with plot development and I really appreciated that balance.  It makes for a much more enjoyable, interesting read.  There weren’t really any truly enormous surprise twists for the plot but I did enjoy Hyacinth all the same.

Abigail Owen is fast becoming one of my favourite authors, as you can probably tell by this review.  I can’t wait to read the third book in the Svatura series!  In the meantime, I’d highly recommend it to pretty much all readers who like a little fantasy in their everyday life.  You really can’t go wrong with the Svatura series.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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