Sunday, April 27, 2014

April Wine Club Review ~ Before the Storm by Claire Ashgrove

Before The Storm
       A New Adult Urban Fantasy

~Paired with~

Domaine du Dragon Rose
       A 5 grape blend pink wine   

Lexi: It is official...I have read my first book labeled New Adult. And how much fun was this book!

Crystal: LoL I guess it was NA, I didn't even think of that while reading. I was so wrapped up in the fantasy part of it all, swept away by the magic, RL held no meaning. ☺ But, yay! Our readers don't know that I've been trying to get a NA book in you for a while now it seems. Silly me for not thinking of finding one with UF in it sooner! 

Lexi: Yeah, yeah, you are leagues ahead of me, buuut good choice of an UF! Before the Storm is a paranormal romance/UF. For me it started out slow but the enigma that is a windwalker (which our heroine Halle happens to be) kept me going. And I am so glad it did! There is so much history behind Halle’s magic, and I still feel there is more for us to learn! That or steal her book written by the first windwalker. Did you get hooked right away on Halle?

Crystal: As a romance lover, I adored the fact that this UF had a little bit of PNR in it. Not too much, I don't think, to distract die hard UF readers but just enough to keep us romance readers happy. ☺ Before the Storm was a slow start for me as well and Halle was a very closed-off character, so that made it a bit harder to connect with her. But once the world of magic was revealed and answers slowly started to come, I was hooked! There were some odd names here and there that took a while to wrap my head around and remember who was who, but the world Claire Ashgrove has created here is unique and enchanting

Lexi: This is a Claire Ashgrove book so we knew there would be some good romance in there somewhere. And she delivered, with Kale. I loved him the moment he showed up, knocking Halle to the ground. He is such a good guy and even though he may not always directly tell Halle the truth he is honorable. Anyone else going to chime in with a dreamy sigh?

Crystal: Kale *dreamy sigh* Claire Ashgrove definitely delivered with a swoon-worthy hero that seemed to be an all-american golden boy on the surface. But once you delved deeper there was an edge to Kale that I loved, add in a bit of mystery with his secrets, his protectiveness of Halle, and some alpha-male sexiness - I was a goner. I loved that his and Halle's relationship had a push and pull quality to it, Kale just got her. Sparks were flying all over the casting room, garden, and bedroom! 

Lexi:  There are some other alluring characters in Before the Storm. Marcus Wintergrave for one. I really enjoyed how Claire introduced new paranormal beings/creatures. Nothing like getting up close and personal with a Jadukara biting your leg. Any favorite characters you are looking forward to seeing in the Windwalker series?

Crystal: I loved Marcus! When he first showed up in person I was wondering if the author was going to turn the direction of the romance into a love-triangle, but I am really glad she didn't because I don't know how I could choose between him and Kale! I am looking forward to book two though to find out more about Marcus' tribe and the blood of the dragon. I expect we'll meet even more creatures as Halle comes into her powers. I think she will really shine then as a character. She needs to work out her powers to have the confidence she needs to face the future, because from the events that happened at the end of Before the's looking pretty dark. 

Lexi: Being my first foray into New Adult I was pleasantly surprised. Halle is young and clueless in many things, but she is strong and her sense of wonder as she uncovers her past and history are infectious. I am ready for book two!

Crystal: I'm so glad that we finally got you to dip your toes in this sub-genre. It's a lot of fun and as you can tell, pretty dang angsty. LoL Halle is young, and sometimes comes off as immature and naive, but she was a strong character with a good head. I liked that she was able to adapt to her circumstances, but coming from the past she had....I believe she had to learn to adapt to some pretty rough stuff. I'm looking forward to book two and the continuation of her journey as a windwalker. I can't wait! *sigh* If only Claire would let us know when we could expect the next book. *hint, hint if you're out there, Claire! ☺* Hopefully we won't have too long of a wait! This was a solid 4.5 wine glasses for me and I'd recommend it to all UF/NPR lovers!

21522451Title: Before the Storm 
Series: Windwalker #1
Author:  Claire Ashgrove 
Format: Paperback/ebook, 304 pages
Published: April 21st 2014 by Untamed Spirit
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Kobo
Source: Author
Reviewer: Lexi and Crystal
Halle Rhoads has a terrifying gift--she can kill with the fury of the storm.

She should have known that kind of power wouldn't go unnoticed. Thrust into a world full of dark magic with a handsome stranger who claims he can teach her, she struggles to master her abilities and stumbles onto a dangerous truth. She's a windwalker, the chosen vessel of the ancient dragons who once ruled the world. Many will stop at nothing to possess the power in her blood, should they discover her secret. With necromancers hunting her and Halle's closest allies guarding secrets, mastering her magic becomes a matter of necessity.

But accepting her destiny is altogether different. For doing so means she must sacrifice everything.

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