Here is something that many readers take for granted.  Writing. Is. Hard!  Especially if you intend your book to be part of a larger series, you must plan for every character, every place, your timing must be perfect like a fine waltz.  It’s nearly impossible to do so seamlessly, and can often be tedious for the reader. The writer struggles oftentimes to bring characters to life and work them into the world we all know.   

Yet there is always an exception. 

I bought the novel Lichgates (Book One in the Grimoire Trilogy) about two weeks ago.  All I knew at the time was the brief synopsis given on Amazon, and that I liked the author, S.M Boyce very much.

Here is the tale, and I warn you now, I cannot do it justice in one measly paragraph:

“Kara Magari is just a regular girl on a hike.  One day she chooses to take the way less traveled by (not always the best idea Mr. Frost) and stumbles through a Lichgate.  What is a Lichgate you may ask?  It is a portal, wormhole, trapdoor in this world, leading straight through to another one.  The world of Ourea.  She finds herself in a library, and curiosity prods her to investigate the one book that will change her life forever.  The Grimoire.  The note attached seals her fate.

“From the moment you read these words, you will be hunted.”

Kara begins the journey through Ourea.  Quickly meeting Braeden Drakonin, a Blood Prince to an Evil King.  Braeden is looking for a way out, a true escape from his father’s grasp since he has been lying and hiding since he was twelve years old. “

My immediate thought, ‘here we go, another forbidden romance’. 

I’ve never been happier to be wrong in my life!

Kara is strong.  She has been through a lot but is never a wilting flower.  She accepts her new role, but not so readily a completely new destiny.  People get hurt, people die, and sometimes the bad guys get the upper hand.  Instead of a romance novel, we get a love story.  An honest to God, love story played out in every facet possible. Kara and Braeden struggle with having lost the people they loved most in their worlds.  At its core, Lichgates is about loving your Kingdom, your home, your family, your people, your ways, and figuring out how to love yourself when you feel broken beyond repair.

This book is very fairytale-esque but not of the Disney kind. It is fast paced, a constant adventure which is exceptionally rare for a first novel.  Hell, it’s rare for any novel at all!  It splinters into so much detail that I wouldn’t truly know where to begin describing the trials the characters must go through.

Together Kara and Braeden take a heroic journey.  The story is an epic tale woven intricately and exceeding all expectation.  I was instantly transported to my childhood bedroom. Reminded of the first time I ever read of the Great Aslan and his land of Narnia.  The moment when I was nine and decided, I would cure my fear of water, for one day I would be The Lady of the Lake, and know Arthur and his Knights.

This story is rare, and I found myself feeling blessed to have gotten to read it.  I truly believe it will be considered a ‘Classic’ in years to come.  I have no trouble imagining my daughter one day wanting to be Kara, keeper of the Grimoire, as I once yearned to be Viviane of the Lake.  To know there are writers out there still capable of producing such legends, simply makes me believe in the magic that books fundamentally are. 

I tip my hat to Boyce, and I beg her to hurry up with the second installment!

I hope there are Unicorns.

Get  your copy here!

Since receiving my shiny new Kindle just a few months ago, I’ve been opened to the awesome world of new novelists.  It has been a rocky adventure of books.  Oftentimes awesome reads have sucked me in for days, other times I curse the heavens (in that very dramatic, TV movie sort of way) and then erase them from my Kindle immediately.

I’d seen some tweets concerning The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton, but hadn’t fully sought it out.  The cover was pretty, and the author’s tweets were fun.  Finally, last week, after stumbling across the book for the millionth time, I took it as a sign.  This book was intended for me.

I can say now, my only regret is that I didn’t buy it sooner!

I won’t give you too much back story.  Partially because you can read the synopsis, but mostly I don’t trust myself with spoilers. 

The bones of the tale are this:  Sophia is an average girl, living in a painfully small town.  She is very much the ‘Boo Radley’ of the neighborhood due to her Wiccan religion, and a very overzealous Christian woman who hopes to rid the town of her evil.  As if being stalked by a crazy lady wasn’t enough, Sophia must deal with a constant hissing, a buzz that rattles around in her brain 24/7.  She managed to go to college, and now hold a job, but the constant noise never leaves her mind.  Curing her curse is her number one priority.  That is until she meets a whole host of supernatural beings, some dangerous, some carrying very human burdens, and one downright sexy.  She finds herself embroiled in a centuries old battle, first to find out about her own ancestry, then to save those she loves.

I loved this book, and I’ll give you just a few reasons why although I could probably come up with dozens. 

I was a Wiccan for fifteen years.  Rebecca Hamilton has been the ONLY fiction author I have ever read who described ritual, as well as Wiccan beliefs accurately and completely.  For her insight and research, I applaud and respect her.

The main character Sophia drew me in from the beginning of the book.  She has a crazy mother (who can’t relate to that) and is trying very hard to live her life, despite her hardships financially as well as medically (the constant noise in her head)  As the book evolved my only complaint was Sophia’s fear of her own power and her raging self doubt.  More than once, I wanted to hop into the story, shake her like a ragdoll and tell her she was strong enough to do anything!  (There is also a sex scene I wouldn’t have minded hopping into as well.  I’m telling ya, buy the book!)

Keeping the storyline moving was the lovable Charles.  He is a member of the supernatural realm, and I don’t want to say too much on that, but he oozes sex appeal.  He added some much needed humor to the extremely serious Sophia, and helped to keep the story moving at a good pace.  Not to mention he sounds drop dead gorgeous, and there are a few scenes not intended for children in the book.

I have to tip my hat to Hamilton for my favorite line in the book.  I don’t know if it was an intended knock on the ever popular yet poorly written Twilight series or not but as Charles pops up at Sophia’s window one night, she crossly asks him if he’s spying on her.

His response?  “You’re not so interesting that I came to watch you sleep, darlin’.”  

Rarely does a line literally make me laugh out loud as that one did.

Hamilton also manages to put together an excellent “supporting cast” of characters, including Sophia’s best friend Ivory, and Charles’s best friend Adrian.  The characters are not only rich and welcoming additions, but they end up having very deep and meaningful backgrounds that assist in tying the entire story into a neat little bow.  Personally, I love neat little bows, and so I was in reader heaven.

All in all the book was great.  It wrapped up nicely while still leaving a few questions unanswered for the next books in the series.  Those books I will not hesitate to buy.  As I clicked The Forever Girl from my To-Read folder over to my Modern Classic folder, I stuck my kindle on my overflowing bookshelf, propping it next to the framed picture of my Grams and her pet cardinal from so many years ago, and smiled.

Don’t worry, you’ll understand everything, the book is only a click away!