Friday, March 27, 2015

*Review/Giveaway Stop* Stones and Finger Bones by Jessica Minyard

Series: The Black Towers # 1
Format: E-Book, 306 pages
Release Date: February 12, 2015
Publisher: Centurion Books
Source: Xpresso Book Tours

Aurelia Barone, Jewel of Starry Stone, harbors no illusions about the purpose of her life as heir to the throne. But after two failed betrothals, she starts to feel like nothing more than a pawn being moved aimlessly about a game board.

Until the night she loses everything.

Kidnapped by a wise-cracking mercenary with more than one identity, Aurelia embarks on a mission across land and sea to avenge her father’s death.

But an evil is rising from the ashes of memory. Insidious magic is stirring. The dregs of a once-powerful nation are thirsty for blood and revenge.

They seek to harness Aurelia. To tempt her. To manipulate her. And if necessary, to destroy her. 

Stones and Finger Bones is the first story in The Black Towers series by new to me author Jessica Minyard. Minyard writes a tale about a world where magical users called the Salindiri once flourished, and are now mostly in hiding, or keeping a low profile. I do suggest that readers take a peek at the back of the book for a nice glossary of terms that Jessica has created. It will help you understand who the people are, and how the world got to this point.

Stones main protagonist is Princess Aurelia Barone VII aka "The Jewel of Starry Stone" who is heir to the crown of Myrinthia. Aurelia is the only child of King Aurelien Barone but doesn't exactly have a good track record when it comes to her betrothed. After Aurelia's father is murdered, she is kidnapped by a roguish assassin named Rycendithias (Rycen). This is where the real interesting parts come from.

Rycen and Aurelia find themselves chased by a drathraq (dark walker), and later come face to face with not only the truth about Aurelia's heritage, but the person who was supposed to have died after giving birth to her; her mother. They travel by sea, and by land to uncover secrets needed to defeat the drathraq and understand Aurelia's abilities. As with other fantasy novels, there is the momentarily romantic interlude between characters. I will say that the romance is NOT love at first sight. It is a bitter battle which slow burns into something else.

Stones and Finger Bones follows a similar pattern to other Young Adult Fantasy novels. There is danger, suspense, bitter politics, backstabbing and betrayal, and a heroine who has to learn how to deal with the fact that she's got some powerful abilities and therefore powerful enemies. The story is also told from the perspectives of other characters like Marel Barone (uncle), Gianmarelo Barone (cousin), and Kostadin, an immortal Salindiri who has his fingers on the pulse of everything that happens in this story.

I dare say that I will be looking forward to the sequel of this story since there are more than a few questions that remain unanswered. I do believe that Aurelia is an interesting enough character not to abandon her journey entirely before it's finished. Even though Stones is a dark story at times, there are scenes of humor which I definitely liked. I also believe the sequel could be much, much darker if Minyard ends up unleashing Aurelia on those who killed her father.  

Truth in reviewing. I received this E-book via Xpresso Book Tours (Giselle) for the express reason of positively promoting this story. My opinions are my own and therefore subject to my likes and dislikes. No money changed hands.

Jessica wrote and illustrated her first story in the fourth grade. “The Dragon of Grindley Grun” was about an evil wizard, a princess, and a dragon who was actually a prince. She likes to think her writing has evolved since that very first story, even though she still writes about magic and evil wizards...sometimes.

She likes to sing loudly and dance on occasion without being particularly talented at either. Her interests include reading, writing, procrastinating, animal advocacy, musicals, accessories, memes, Harry Potter, and sweet tea.

Jessica lives in Kentucky with a spoiled pitbull.