Blessedly Bound, by Lucretia Stanhope



A witchy tale of how to not meet family. Gwen Hensley moves to Kansas to find out why her grandmother died. She ends up finding out more than she bargained for, in more than one way.
Being the first novel in a series, it sets up an awful lot for later. Things start intense, then settle down the farther into the narrative the reader gets. Because it spends so much time setting up for the future, there’s a little less time devoted to the present. The reader gets a good grasp of the characters and backstory. However, things feel a little flat. An emotional connection with the characters wasn’t present. On the surface, the reader recognizes that the situation is a tragic one. The style and tone help that. There’s a dark, somber feel to it. The characters even have a dark, somber feel to them. Only, they get overshadowed by the divergent plot lines.
Each of the characters did have their own plot line. Their stories wound up intertwined, yet distinct. I liked that. There was lots of foreshadowing that created a good level of tension. The writing style overall was well suited to the narrative. The dialogue does get clunky in some areas.. It doesn’t flow like natural conversation. It did well to prevent telling the reader too much information at once. Gwen knows only as much as the reader, which helped to develop the mystery and the character interactions.
The unique situations of the character were a huge draw. There’s not a lot I can say without giving spoilers, but the sexual tension was insane. Most of the placement was good. Some of the progression left me scratching my head. Some of it could be the lacking character depth and back story.
I liked the way the magic was set up. A lot of times it’s overpowered and used as a convenience. The magic contained in this novel didn’t feel like that. It falls back on a popular trope, but maintains a different feel than most. I will admit I’m excited to see how the build-up comes to a head.
Not a bad read overall. The narrative is set up for big things to come, and I’m kind of excited to see where it goes. While the main story for this novel gets tied up at the end, there’s so many questions left for the future ones.
Buy it here!

Names of Power (The Angel), by Travis Galvan

5_7_17 Names of Power

4 stars

Names of Power reads very much like a young adult book. It feels jovial, goofy, lighthearted–much like Maximum Ride, by James Patterson. Except narrated in third person, rather than first.

 

We follow siblings Bo and Ren on a very supernatural journey. With some help, they uncover a series of mysteries that will change their lives forever.

 

The authors’ hook is pretty intense without context. It sets a very promising narrative.

 

The very first thing that jumped out at me for this novel was the family dynamic. Ren and Bo come from a very loving home. With a single father, no less. Both of which are so nice to see in YA. Their father is so supportive and loving–sometimes a little too much. Brother and sister have arguments within normal parameters. They all love each other. The author sets up that this novel won’t follow all stereotypes.

 

For the most part, it doesn’t. Ren is a girl that’s not always thinking about boys. She’s smart, capable, and doesn’t need rescuing. She’s not “the chosen one destined to save the world” (yet). Her character development isn’t focused on love and finding “the one.” She gets a storyline that’s about her, and not a plot device that allows someone else to take the spotlight. I thought her character development went in a clear, logical direction.

 

It’s fast paced, so all the action feels nonstop. These kids never rest. Sometimes things felt too easy–like their father being too accepting, but it works. Everything flows from one scene to the next, without any weird breaks or jumps. The tone and style are very lighthearted. Very positive. Even when conflict happens, it doesn’t feel like it gets anyone down.

 

The story is well put together. Everything gets tied up, and makes sense from beginning to end. Even the mystery is well done. It takes unexpected twists and turns and unravels at the right pace. Characters feel like contributors to the resolution. All the information presented to the reader feels necessary, and never feels overwhelming. I can say without shame that it kept me guessing.

 

There’s a little editing needed, but nothing deal-breaking.

 

Given the title and the ending, Names of Power (The Angel), sets itself up as only a fraction of the actual story. It introduces a complete mystery, with a larger one lurking behind. This sets the stage for a story arc of epic proportions.

 

Buy it here!