Saturday, June 25, 2016

REVIEW: Splintered Souls

"A chill cut through her, and Lady Catherine Fairchild melted into her cloak.  She forced herself to keep to the shadows as she followed her maid along the darkened path to the stables.  Even with no moon to light her way and wearing a pair of borrowed boots at least two sizes too large for her feet, she lost her footing only once."

Flames of Time 1:
Splintered Souls
By: Erica Lucke Dean

Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Publication date: 8.29.15
Pages: 244

Recommended by: Read 2 Review
Date read: 6.21.16

Every woman, at some point in her life, dreams of finding her soulmate and living happily ever after. It's been said that the physical draw between you and your "other half" is something that you cannot deny... and cannot break.  In life, though, nothing is ever perfect, and so often things do not go the way you dream them.
            Ava had her life planned out, but after her father's death, she chose to move to Maine with her family and start her life over.  She enrolled in a small college and they moved into her grandmother's summer home.  Her family seemed to be getting better and she made some friends, even met the man of her dreams (that was a bit of craziness right there), but because of events from the past, Ava's life begins a crazy spiral that she never expected... one she has no idea how to handle.

Anyone who has discussed books with me in any way KNOWS that I am not a fan of romance.  I'm not completely opposed to there being romance IN a story, but the novel has to have a compelling storyline that will keep me hooked, something unusual, with a nice balance between romance and the rest of the story.  
            Not long ago, I had the pleasure (and I say that sincerely) of reading another book by Erica (Ashes of Life), so when I was asked to read this one, and having read the book description, I decided it was one I was willing to give a try to.
            I knew halfway through that I had made the right decision.  It was almost impossible for me to put this down, and I only did so because I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.  

This story had so much of what I love in a book, including adventure, and the romance, though a major part of the story, was the conflict, which actually made it even more interesting to me.  
            There's a lot to take in - every bit important.  She manages to tell a story that takes place in two different times (the present, which is affected by the past) and does so smoothly.  Her use of flashbacks is perfect, and the research that she has done on so many things throughout the book (including Tudor history, Lady Catherine, witches, curses, and spells) is spot on.

She has a way with characters that I find absolutely amazing, and anyone who is looking to improve their characters should take a look at the way she does it.  Each one is so real, which is quite refreshing.  Her characters have both a good and a bad side, sometimes making it hard to decide whether you like or dislike them... and sometimes you both hate and love them at the same time, but can't figure out why.  I get gut feelings about her characters, as if they were real people, which says a lot about her writing ability.
            My absolute favorite character is Josh.   He is Ava's little brother, and is the perfect representation of an eleven-year-old.  He can be such a jerk, and yet turn around and be completely loving, and I was so happy with the fact that he was willing to stand up to his sister when he knew she was wrong, defending the choice he made along with his friend.
            My least favorite character was Ava.  I just get SO tired of the "perfect female" character.  I'm not saying that she was all bad.  I just have a hard time relating to the whole "perfect" thing - she's so pretty and has a great body, the popular girls want to hang out with her, she easily fits in, and the guys are all chasing her.  Despite her father's death and the grief they are feeling, her life is still pretty perfect, even though there are things going on in the story that rocks her "perfect" world.  I think that's all just a personal thing with me, though, so I don't hold it against the author at all.

The ending was pretty amazing, and I can't wait to get my hands on book two.  It definitely was not the way I was expecting to things - not the direction I had fully expected things to go in as the events unraveled - but it ended perfectly.  In fact, I don't think there's any other way it could have ended - and I usually get really ticked off about cliffhangers.  It answered quite a few questions, but also left it open to SO many possibilities.

Definitely a book I recommend to others, including people like me who aren't fans of romance, and I can see this being in my top favorite reads of the year.

About the book:
When Ava Flynn walks away from a scholarship to Georgetown and moves into her grandmother's abandoned summer home in coastal Maine, she steps into the center of a centuries-old curse.  On her first night, she notices a mysterious leather-clad stranger looking up at her third-story window.  For weeks, everywhere she goes, Ava catches more glimpses of him, but she can never get close enough to find out who he is.  
            Over three hundred years ago, Lady Catherine Fairchild risked everything to protect her unborn child, sending a ripple through time that would change Ava's future.  As the mystery unravels, the horrifying consequences of Lady Catherine's choices drag Ava deeper into a world she never knew existed, trapping her in a conflict that's been raging since before she was born.  A winner-take-all battle for her souls.

About the author:
After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains where she lives in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse with her workaholic husband, her 180lb lap dog, and at least one ghost.
            When she's not busy writing or tending to her collection of crazy chickens, diabolical ducks, and a quintet of piglets, hell bent on having her for dinner, she's either reading bad fan fiction or singing karaoke in the local pub.  Much like the main character in To Katie with Love, Erica is a magnet for disaster, and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces.
            How she's managed to survive this long is one of life's great mysteries.


Erica Lucke Dean said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review my book! I really appreciate it!

Meghan H said...

You are very welcome. Thank you for making me reconsider my stance on romance. Well, at least your kind of romance. :)