Harvest Moon, by Tonya Coffey

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A fantasy spin on a very familiar formula, Harvest Moon was definitely oriented for younger audiences.

The woods draw her, but she can’t figure out why. It all starts with a book that calls to her. Then wolves. From there, Jess finds out that her entire life has been a lie. Now safely sequestered away with fairies, Jess has many decisions to make—and a kingdom to run.

Harvest Moon followed almost every young adult trope to an absolute T. To name a short few: a young girl hidden away only to discover she was a princess from another land. A love triangle quite e in which she must choose between her heart and her duty (I’ll talk more about that in a minute). Unseen magical powers that she managed to harness almost immediately. And, of course, she was super powerful. Once again, a very obvious, very familiar formula. Fans of YA books like that would be delighted, I think.

Now, onto the love story.

I liked the dichotomy the author presented with “follow your heart” and “a queen must do her duty.” Sure, it led to a love triangle, but whatever. Unfortunately, the initial love story was presented in a creepy way that made me cringe and wonder just what Jess was thinking. While I think it was probably crucial to her development, the way things progressed just left me not feeling it. I think it was more of the way that she forced herself to comply, even though she clearly did not want anything to do with him romantically. Platonically, as if he were her sworn bodyguard or something, things would have felt much more natural, I think. The trope might work for some people, but it didn’t work for me.

I liked her relationship with her dad very much. Her origins were from a loving family rather than a broken one, which I feel like is another common theme in many young adult novels. Thankfully, Harvest Moon managed to deviate from that.

The writing style needed a little more help with description. I think there was quite a bit that could be improved with the narrative in general with some extra time spent on editing. Dialogue was clunky and awkward in some places and just didn’t flow the way it needed to. Things felt rushed once she crossed over into the world of fairies. I don’t think that helped my feelings on the love story.

Buy it here!

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Deamhan (Deamhan Chronicles #1), by Isaiyan Morrison

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Veronica Austin is on a mission to find answers about her mother. Her separation from the Brotherhood leads her to seek those answers in vampire and Deamhan dens. The closer she gets to her answer, the uglier things get…from both sides of her associations. What’s a girl to do?

 

After reading Maris: The Brotherhood Files, I was already familiar with this author, and their world, going into the story. I liked the fact that in the world created, books are written for both sides. While Maris focused on the Brotherhood, one faction of the overall conflict, Deamhan focused on the other. Between the two books, the author did a wonderful job with compare and contrast. The narratives didn’t contradict one another. The author had tight control over their world.

 

While the worldbuilding soared, the characters felt a little flat. They didn’t seem to have much in the way of personality beyond doom and gloom. Even Veronica felt boring as the main character. It was a very familiar plot with very familiar archetypes set as players. I will say that I loved the diverse representation that went into creating the characters.

 

The author was well-versed in the ways of convenient plot devices. Situations meant to evoke specific emotions used unique devices to achieve their goal. While the plot was familiar, some of the paths to get there were not. The first-person writing style was consistent and clear, and done in a tone that didn’t make it feel cringy.

 

So far, I would have to say I’ve experienced relative success with this author and their novels. They’re standalone, but set in the same world, which builds upon itself with every novel. The vampires are stereotypical, but tolerable. There’s enough uniqueness that it doesn’t feel like every other vampire novel out there.

 

Buy it here!

Southwest on the A303, by Adam Gary

Sometimes taking a journey is the best cure; grief, loneliness, or just a clear headspace. After losing a very important uncle, Alex is gifted a van and an opportunity to travel. With some gentle encouragement from his mom, he sets out to see sights and experience things that will change his life.

Southwest on the A303 is about conquering anxieties, learning to let go, and learning how to just live life. Along the journey Alex is reluctant to take risks, but his Uncle Bill left beyond some very convincing arguments for Alex to just go for it.

At its heart it’s a sad tale. Loss is difficult for anyone to handle and some people cope better than others. Some have an immediate silver lining to their situation while others have to really search. A303 provides a lick of hope for those still searching that they’ll be alright one day.

Buy it here!

Good news!

My laptop was finally salvaged 😭😭

…three hard drives later. But this means that reviews will resume tomorrow!

I’ve adjusted a few things at work so hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll have a little extra free time to not only finish the fifty some-odd reviews still in line, but to also implement some changes to the site that I’ve been sitting on for a little while. Hold tight, guys! I promise I’m almost there!