I received a free ARC of this book and my rating is based primarily on plot, characterisation and development, reader engagement, my expectations based on the book cover and having read book 1 previously i.e. did it disappoint, were my expectations met etc. Then considering formatting, editing and lastly spelling and grammar. The following review is my honest opinion, freely given.
I will try to keep this review spoiler free.
A stand-alone story within the Stargazer Series, which takes place on Stargazer Island, focusing on the developing romance and struggles of Celia, a student in forensic science and psychic medium and Rowan, a Roma police officer. Happily, familiar faces from Book One reprise their roles.
Celia and Rowan’s romance is heating up but someone is desperate to cool their fire and close off Celia’s heart to those that love her, taking the idea of possession to a whole new level.
Lucky for Celia, the love of her life has Roma magic on his side, so when Celia’s Professor comes to the Island to administer her midterm exam and gives her a necklace, he starts to suspect that something narky is going on, putting the strength of their love to the test.
First of all, I thought the cover was stunning. So much detail in the locket and the frost on the hand, really engaged me and made me want to delve right into the story and find out what it was about. The cover sold me on the premise of the story and didn’t disappoint, as the essence of the story is plainly referenced in the image, but provided just enough mystery to keep me guessing.
This book is beautifully formatted, clear and easy to read, superbly edited, which really helped to get me absorbed into the story, as there aren’t any glaring errors that took me out of the magic.
The characters are well crafted, each with their own traits and personalities, which made for a stimulating read, as each one offers their own unique supernatural ability and perceptions.
The book is written in third person which is very well suited, as each character is able to have dialogue, interactions and internalised thoughts which help drive the plot forward from multiple perspectives within the same chapter, giving the reader a well-rounded take on events.
The tone of the book is well balanced, with moments of lightness and humour, action and descriptive romantic scenes, spaced throughout.
I loved the villain in this book, which is influenced by lesser-known mythology, bringing a very sinister and possibly unfamiliar creature to a reader’s attention. Trenz draws on many mythologies and folklores to bring the inhabitants of the Island to life and I love being surprised. While reading you get the sense you understand exactly where the story is heading but then Trenz casts her magic and it’s something else entirely.
The pacing of unfolding events is good, the tension builds to a spectacular and heart-warming showdown, which puts to good use the well-established bonds of the characters. Trenz has a talent for sowing the seeds of a story well in its infancy. Every little thing bears further analysis in one of her books. I get the impression that Trenz never mentions anything casually, even something as simple as a man dressed in a knight costume at a Halloween party towards the end of the book, piqued my interest. Tidbits of information and foreshadowing hooked me from the start, making me keen to read on.
I love the use of rhyming in spell craft sections and once again the aspects of witchcraft are respectful and well researched, adding credibility to the characters and plot. The autumnal setting, closing in to Samhain is beautifully described throughout and the many references to delicious foods made me hungry for more than just Rowan (my favourite character).
I also love how Trenz sets up the focal characters for subsequent books, by inferring new relationships forming, romantic entanglements and encounters – look out, I think it might be Eric and Sage’s turn next. This book also included more diverse characters (LGBT) and what I liked about it was that their introduction didn’t feel forced, which sometimes it can. But I think these two characters may very well become my new favourites.
Overall, a wonderfully written book, detailed and well crafted, with all the warmth, good feeling and festive spirit of a pumpkin spiced cocoa. Tasty and I drank up every drop. Please, Sionna, can I have some more?
I rated this book
Blurb from Amazon
A powerful psychic medium who loves to learn and a Roma police officer who has dreams and visions. An evil that can freeze even the warmest heart. Celia Lawrence doesn’t want to admit it, but she’s been captivated by Rowan Ellis since they first met. It’s difficult keeping things light and friendly. Especially since Rowan is determined to teach this bubbly, blonde ball of energy with a brain that won’t quit a few truths. And a whole new way of thinking about relationships. Luckily, Celia loves chemistry because what’s between the two of them is explosive. But someone -something– is determined to chill the heat growing between them. Plagued with disturbing dreams of ice and death, Rowan does not know what’s behind the danger. He only knows that he will risk everything to save Celia from it. When the danger comes from within, however, can Celia herself learn what she needs in time to save herself, and everyone she loves?