Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review & Giveaway - Fragile Brilliance by Tammy Blackwell

Title: Fragile Brilliance
Series: Shifters & Seers #1 (But really comes after the Timber Wolves trilogy)
Author: Tammy Blackwell
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Pages: 339, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 4.17 stars
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
My Content Rating: NA or Mature YA (No sex directly shown, but mature situations, language and violence)

Summary from Goodreads: Maggie McCray has worked her whole life for the opportunity to attend Sanders College. It’s her one chance at becoming a world-renowned artist, and she’s determined nothing will get in her way. But when a murder brings Maggie and her powers to the attention of the Alpha Pack and the tragically handsome Charlie Hagan, her carefully planned future hangs in jeopardy.

Charlie Hagan isn’t happy when the Alpha Female assigns him as Maggie McCray’s personal bodyguard. Just being near the Thaumaturgic threatens to unleash the primal instincts he’s been suppressing for so long. Charlie knows if the coyote is uncaged, then the person he’ll most need to protect Maggie from is himself.

I so enjoyed Fragile Brilliance! While the story was compelling and the paranormal world was intriguing, it was really the characters and the romance that made this a fantastic read.  I LOVED Charlie and Maggie!

The synopsis describes the book well, so I'll skip right to what I did and didn't enjoy.

The negatives:
  • Not a lot of paranormal activity.  For a paranormal romance, there actually isn't a ton of paranormal in Fragile Brilliance.  Blackwell has created a very interesting werewolf/coyote society, but we don't see them in action much.  And Maggie has a power, but we don't see that at all until about 75% of the way through the book.  Luckily, I was so wrapped up in the relationship that was building between Charlie and Maggie that honestly didn't mind the lack of paranormal happenings.
  • Not really book #1 in the series.  Okay, I have to say that this can definitely be read without having read Blackwell's other books.  I actually didn't realize that this series was connected to another series until I went to go write this review.  Knowing that, though, I feel a little teensy bit cheated.  I definitely think I would have had a deeper understanding of the Shifters and Seers if I had read the Timber Wolves series first - I just bought the whole trilogy so I can read it now!
What I loved:
  • Charlie and Maggie.  I was thoroughly enchanted with both Charlie and Maggie throughout this entire book.  Maggie has an artistic spirit. She's passionate about her art and serious about her future and she's not going to let a silly little death threat get in her way. Charlie is equally focused, but his only goal is to keep the Alpha Pack safe.  Charlie has been through so much pain in his life that he has completely turned off his emotions.  I absolutely loved Charlie and Maggie together.  I spent the entire book waiting for Maggie to completely break through Charlie's shell.  I have to admit that I was a bit worried at first that this was going to be another case of instalove - there was definitely an instant attraction between Charlie and Maggie that bordered on being a little too much.  So, I was very pleasantly surprised when the relationship developed slowly, first as a friendship and then progressing to something more.  I was definitely invested in the romance between these two!
  • Biting humor.  From the first line of this book, I was pretty sure I was going to love it, and I wasn't wrong.  There were so many times when I found myself laughing out loud at the sarcastically wit in this book.  I highlighted a ton of fun lines on my Kindle!!
  • Mystery and history.  While the central mystery of the book wasn't a complete surprise (I had a good idea of who the perpetrator was - at least partially), I still found myself wrapped up in a lot of the smaller mysteries in the book and in the history of the Shifters and the Seers (which I would have known about more if I'd read the Timber Wolves trilogy).  How was Maggie connected to the Alpha Pack and what was her power? Why was someone out to kill Maggie and the Alphas?  I wanted to know!
Fragile Brilliance is an excellent paranormal romance with compelling characters and an interesting story.  I can't wait to read the Timber Wolves series now so that I can learn more about the paranormal world that Blackwell has created! 4.5/5 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***



Tammy Blackwell is a Young Adult Services Coordinator for a public library system in Kentucky. When she’s not reading, writing, cataloging, or talking about books, she’s sleeping.

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