Monday, May 5, 2014

Review & Giveaway - Shadow Fire by Kimber Leigh Wheaton

Shadow Fire Tour
Shadow fire
Title: Shadow Fire
Series: The Light Chronicles #1
Author: Kimber Leigh Wheaton
Release Date: February 24, 2014
Pages: 310
Goodreads Rating: 4.13/5 Stars
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
My Content Rating: YA (Lots of passionate kissing and some talk of sex)

Summary from Goodreads:  Ashlyn – a free-spirited teenager whose peaceful life is shattered when the village elders honor her with a perilous quest to recover a stolen relic.

Zane – a jaded mercenary, torn by his undeniable desire for Ashlyn and the dark secret that could make her hate him forever.

Delistaire – a malevolent sorcerer driven by an insatiable lust for power.

All three are bound together by an ancient relic supposedly infused with the power of a Goddess.

Shadow Fire – adventure, passion, secrets, and betrayal

As Ashlyn and Zane race to stay one step ahead of the evil lurking in the shadows, their passions are ignited and their bond strengthens. But will they find the relic before Delistaire? Or has their entire quest been orchestrated from the very beginning by a madman in pursuit of ultimate power?

Each installment of The Light Chronicles is a standalone story.

Shadow Fire is a unique new YA fantasy, where magic and monsters come together to create a dangerous world.  

Ashlyn has been chosen by her village to go on a quest to find an ancient stolen statue that will save her world.  She is accompanied by a handsome mercenary named Zane, who vows to protect her at any cost. Together, they face horrible monsters and dark magic on their quest.

The negatives:
  • Focus on Zane and Ashlyn.  While I really loved Zane and Ashlyn together, I thought the first half of the book focused just a little too much on their growing relationship.  They spend most of the first half of the book passionately kissing (and moaning, etc. - and often wishing they could do more - I thought the book was going to head into NA territory sometimes, but the fact that Ashlyn had to remain "pure" for their quest kept it all YA appropriate).  Since there was no real tension or conflict to their relationship, I actually got a little bit bored with the passionate scenes - I found myself thinking, "Yep, they like each other (oh, sorry, love each other), and they really like to kiss a lot.  Got it.  I'm ready to move on."  Luckily, the second half of the book picked up quite a bit and the true plot got underway. 
  •  Modern dialogue.  For a fantasy story in a somewhat medieval setting, the dialogue in this book occasionally felt a bit too modern.  This might be a bit nit-picky, but it took me out of the story from time to time.
What I loved:
  • The worldbuilding.  I thought that Wheaton created an incredibly intriguing world with its own complex history and magic.  I especially loved the inventiveness behind the monsters that Zane and Ashlyn often encountered while on their perilous journey.  I also enjoyed the magic element to the story, and loved pretty much any part of the book where magic was the focus.
  • Ashlyn and Zane.  Like I said, while my personal preference would have been a little less of a focus on the budding romance between these two in the first half of the book, it's not because I didn't like them - or because I didn't like them together.  Ashlyn was a strong character who could take care of herself.  She was adept with a bow and arrow and found that she also had a strong magical ability.  There were definitely times where she let Zane protect her when she probably didn't need to, but there were plenty of times where she stepped up and saved the day herself.  Zane was everything you could wish for in a book boyfriend - strong and handsome and devoted to his paramour, but sometimes vulnerable.  And I did appreciate that Wheaton kept her book clean without making her characters seem chaste - this is actually perfect for YA readers. (Characters who show self-control! Yay!)
  • Taranis.  This cheeky pirate popped up in the last third or so of the book.  At first it seemed that Wheaton was aiming for a love triangle, but luckily things between Ashlyn and Taranis never got beyond flirtatious banter.  Taranis was my favorite character in the book - his sometimes goofy antics were refreshing, and he was just an incredibly likable guy (he was sort of a pirate with a heart of gold).  I kind of hope that we'll be seeing more of Taranis in future books!
  • The second half.  The second half of this book really picked up for me.  This is where the plot really thickened and we started to get a sense of real danger and excitement from Zane and Ashlyn's journey. The last third, especially, was full of twists and turns and lots of action and adventure!
I think that Shadow Fire is a great choice for YA readers who enjoy fantasy.  I love that each installment in this series is a standalone story (no cliffhangers!).  I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

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Praise for Shadow Fire 
"This book contains monsters, magic, majestic creatures, and a evil guy that wants to destroy the world. If you love hot guys.....Zane is all that plus a few tricks up his sleeve. Just read it!" Venture ~Amazon Reviewer

"Adventure, magical creatures, fun characters, and romance make this book a perfect read for all ages." James ~Amazon Reviewer

"I thought the writing was strong; it had me turning the pages quickly to see what would happen next. The characters were engaging and the dialogue well-written." Lisa Temple ~ Goodreads

"Oh, I truly loved this one! Shadow Fire, by Kimber Leigh Wheaton, is a snappy, sassy, sweet, all-that-kind-of-awesome-and-then-some YA read. I couldn't put it down." ~Sasha Hibbs ~ Amazon Reviewer

KimberAuthor Kimber Leigh Wheaton
Kimber Leigh Wheaton is a YA/NA author with a soft spot for sweet romance and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She is married to her soul mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs and four cats. No, she doesn’t live on a farm, she just loves animals. Her house is filled with dragons, though she does lament that they are the porcelain, non-flying variety. Kimber Leigh is addicted to romance, videogames, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate covered superhero!) Her debut novel, Shadow Fire, is the first book in The Light Chronicles series. Watch for book two, Stolen Moon, a standalone sequel, coming soon.  

Author Links:
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  Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 5/25/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway