Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review & Giveaway: Rift Healer by Diane M. Haynes

Rift Healer Tour

Title: Rift Healer
Author: Diane M. Haynes
Release Date: March 12, 2012
Pages: 306, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 4.64 stars
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Content Rating: PG (There is kissing and mention of the word sex, but that's about it.)

rift healerSynopsis: Rift Healer is the first installment of the 'Forest Magic' series, a Young Adult Fantasy/Romance set in Central and Western Massachusetts. After a minor earthquake, the enchanted forest in Bidwell, MA, is infested with monster-spewing rifts. Gisele Westerfield's great nephew, the gifted Micah, and his distant cousin, Selena, arrive to assist. Together with Gisele's summer students, twins Haley and Lacey, they will try to heal the magical forest. Much to the consternation of the beautiful Selena, Micah identifies Haley as The One whom he'll share his future. But after witnessing a terrifying display of Micah's Gift, Haley cools to his advances and unexpectedly discovers her own Gift-- she can heal the earth. Monsters, mayhem, and teenage angst follow the small group as they confront evil in the forest and a dangerous prediction that 'one will fall'. Will they heal the rifts in time? Can they save the unicorns? And is Haley really destined to be with Micah?


Rift Healer was a fun and imaginative story that takes you on an adventure in a forest filled with magical creatures.  Because of a recent earthquake, the forest has become broken - full of huge rifts that allow evil magical creatures to escape out into the open.  Gisele, the keeper of the forest, has no one to turn to in order to help heal the forest except for a group of teenagers, who she is afraid to enlist lest they get hurt in the process.  But, when 14-year-old Haley discovers that she has an incredibly powerful earth healing gift, Gisele has no choice but to accept her aid.  The forest will be lost without her.  Meanwhile, Gisele's nephew Micah recognizes Haley as the girl who he has has visions about - his soul mate.  But, convincing Haley of that is more difficult than he expects.

What I loved:
  • The forest magic.  Haynes created a world filled with tons of amazing magical creatures (both good and evil).  There were typical creatures like dragons and fairies, but also many of her own interesting creations.  I also loved that the forest itself gifted the group with what they would need to heal the forest (although they had to figure out along the way what they were supposed to do with the magical items that they received) and that they sometimes used unexpected means to fight the evil creatures (like squirt guns!).
  • The characters.  I thought that all of the characters (with the possible exception of Selena) were well-developed and relatable.  I was rooting for Micah and Haley to get together and I felt like Haley especially seemed like a believable 14-year-old girl who was a bit overwhelmed and confused by the attention of a cute boy.
  • The pacing.  This book kept me engaged from beginning to end and never dragged!  At 300 pages, it still felt like a quick read.

What I didn't love:
  • Talk of marriage.  I have to admit that I couldn't quite get past the fact that Haley and Micah seriously talked about marriage when she is only 14.  Really?  I know they're supposed to be soul mates, but it just seemed odd to me.  On the other hand, 14-year-old girls might think that this is very romantic and sweet (I am a mom, after all, so I'm looking at it from a different perspective).  Oh, and the fact that there was even a mention of the possibility that they could have had sex also bugged me a little (Selena makes an offhanded remark asking them not to have sex in front of her and Haley momentarily tricks her twin Lacey into thinking she went skinny dipping with Micah).  But, I might probably a bit prudish when it comes to this - I know it happens, but as the mom of a pre-teen daughter, the idea of 14-year-old girls having sex is just scary to me!!
Overall, I thought that this was a fun, magical and engaging story, perfect for a YA audience (especially a younger YA audience).    4/5 Stars.

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

Author Diane M. Haynes

dianeDiane has lived in Massachusetts all her life where early on, her artistic talents were fostered, though her skills as an "excellent report writer" were often noted in previous employment. On her brother Rick's birthday, November 16, 2004, seven months after his death, she woke from an amazing dream which would not fade. She outlined the dream, made a few quick notes and days later produced a 12 page short story. After deciding her story was interesting but incomplete, she began writing her first novel, using her dream as its climax. She now believes the dream to be a 'Spirit Gift,' sent by her brother. Diane continues to reside in Central MA with her husband and a very naughty Basset Hound named Basil and his new adopted sister-Basset, Ruby, both of whom cleverly wreak havoc on the Haynes' formerly well-ordered lives. She spends her time writing, reading books about writing, talking about writing, painting with watercolors, antiqueing and attempting to train a very reluctant Basil and a willing, but highly comedic Ruby.

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  1. Yea hints of sex at 14 would kinda freak me out too lol! But the book looks very good :) Thank you for the giveaway! kamclauc AT gmail DOT com

    1. Glad I'm not the only one! It was really just barely hinted at in the book, so it shouldn't have bothered me, but that was enough for me to get nervous about it! Good luck in the giveaway!

  2. I think of other fairy tales though where the princesses are these young teens and meet the prince, fall in love and marry at the end. Yes, maybe weird by our standards, but if it is in the context of this type of fantasy story, I think it could be okay. Thanks for the good review!

    1. The book takes place in modern times, but I do see your point. And, to give Haynes credit, there are extenuating circumstances (Micah can see the future, so he KNOWS they're going to be together). Overall, I loved the story still!

  3. I've gotten this criticism of their ages a lot (mostly from moms!) & if I had it to do again, I'd make them a year older at least. But keep in mind, most of the action takes place only weeks from her 15th birthday and much of the feelings/future planning, etc. were in Haley's head. I remember planning my wedding to a fifth grade classmate whose name I know longer remember. I think lots of girls do this. Micah is a different story--he sees his future. He's has had far more experience and he KNOWS things others don't. Thanks for the nice review--I really appreciate it and I'm thrilled you liked Rift Healer. Diane

    1. Yes, You're totally right - I did have to acknowledge that I probably have a different perspective on this than a 14-year-old girl who was reading it would. I'm sure that she would think it was romantic! Since they're more your target audience than the moms are, it's probably just fine! I think that the book appeals to all ages, though. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

  4. Again, Nicole, thank you for your great review and insightful comments-and I'm happy to tell everyone that Micah's amorous attentions never go beyond kissing! REALLY!
    Also, Rift Healer was just voted FINALIST status in the READERS' FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL AWARD In the YA Fantasy Category. I'm so excited!
    Thanks again, Nicole~Blessings of the Enchanted Forest,