on m/m romance, baking, knitting, and occasional smut

Tag Archives: Talya Andor

2254Hello again everyone and I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend! I finally finished Lost! And OMGOMGOMG I loved it!!! I know that some of you are Lost fans as well, so I will tell you that I was worried about how the series would end. I ended up making it 5 years?? now (something like that) since it ended and still not learning much about it, which is good. I hate getting spoilered, especially about something that I spent years really caring about. But I was worried because the middle seasons lost the thread of the story a bit and even I could see that when it was happening, not just in retrospect. But from the middle of Season 5 to the end of Season 6 it was go.go.go.go and right on target. That’s why I spent several days this week finishing it instead of reviewing 😉 But, I will say that I LOVED it to pieces and I cried like a baby. It would be worth watching again, that’s for sure!

I have a lot to update you about, so let’s get going 🙂


take_a_breakFirst off, this week is going to be a slow week for us. We’re taking a week off — sort of. We still have a few guest posts this week and a few reviews and giveaways that were intended to go up, so those will still be on. But it’s a naturally slow week and since we have a large group of reviews we’re working on for the next few weeks, we’re going to use this slow week to try to get a bit ahead.

samhainbannerNow, this is exciting 🙂 We’re now going to be posting reviews from Samhain Publishing! While we often review books that we’ve bought or acquired from authors, we get the bulk of our books from the publisher for review. And until now that included just about all of them except Samhain. The good news about this is that because our books acquired for review take precedence over books that we buy and might decide to review, that means that we’ll be posting a lot more reviews of those Samhain books. First review up this week is Burden by Annmarie McKenna, reviewed by Sadonna.

This Week’s Wrapup

cover3_frontAnyta Sunday stopped by this week with a really great post called “On (Not) Coming Out as a Gay Romance Writer” that generated a lot of really interesting comments. Her book, Taboo for You is available here from Amazon!

03 SurfeitTalya Andor visited for a third time to talk about her third book in the Appetite series from Less Than Three Press, Surfeit For the Senses (all 3 are now on sale!). Every time she visits to talk about these books I have a day or two of severe cravings! But this was a really interesting post talking about the evolution of a multi-course meal in relation to writing a series. Read her post, “Themes of Progression”, here.

CH_BeginningOfKnowledge_cvrThe lovely and talented (and my friend) Anne Brooke visited this week for the first time here at The Armchair Reader! Her post, “Erotica or How to be Fully Human” generated a lot of interest and I love the insight that she has into writing about sex! Check it out and get her book The Beginning of Knowledge from Wilde City Press here. Or, read my review here.

CH_TruckerFucker_100dpi_cvrBarry Lowe was here to talk about why he writes the erotica he does and I really liked seeing his views on his own work (that I’m addicted to, which I said in my review). This is Barry’s first time at The Armchair Reader and you still have a chance to win Trucker Fucker by commenting in the post! Ends tonight at Midnight! Buy Trucker Fucker here at Wilde City Press.


Dev Bentham, Clare London and Jordan Castillo Price (three of my favorite authors!) stopped here on Thursday for the last stop in their 3-part Art Appreciation Blog Tour! The other two stops were at Joyfully Jay and Book Reviews and More by Kathy. At TAR, they answered a whole group of random art questions and talked about their characters and their feelings about art. It’s a great tour, so check our their post here and make sure to check out the others as well!

dance only for meAnd last this week in a full week of guest posts and visits from authors, Megan Derr stopped by to talk about her new release in the Dance with the Devil series (one of my all time favorites!), Dance Only for Me,talking about the origins of the series in her post, “How Did We Get Here”. I loved this book like I loved the others so make sure to look out for my review, coming soon! Buy the book here at Less Than Three Press.

Here’s what we reviewed this week:

Find a Way (Prince and Trader #2) by RG Green – Pretty Good
Sky Hunter (Skybound #3) by Fae Sutherland – Pretty Good
Audible by Dawn Kimberly Johnson – So So (Sadonna)
The Buyout by Bru Baker – Really Liked It (Nikyta)
Running Up That Hill by Barry Brennessel – LOVED it!! (Sadonna)

Coming Up This Week – 7/28 – 8/3

On Tuesday, Carole Cummings and J Tullos Hennig will be here for the first post in their new series about Spec Fic: “Two old Speculative Fiction Nerds walk into a bar…”. It’s going to be wonderful so make sure you look for it!

rulesforsuccess400On Wednesday, Mina MacLeod is visiting to talk about her new release (on that very day) from Less Than Three Press, Some Rules for Success in the Music Business (available now for Preorder!). I’m excited to read and review this one!

thornlessrose_tcmillAnd lastly, Friday brings us a post from TC Mill, who has a new release from Storm Moon Press, Thornless Rose available now! Look forward to my review of that one as well!

Here are our reviews for this week:



Look forward to these giveaways this week!


These giveaways both end tonight at Midnight. Click on the covers to enter!

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  • For updates on all the posts, click on the button at the top right of the page (first in the right column) to get email updates so you don’t miss anything!
  • Be sure to look out for a new update soon. I’m going to be putting the covers of our best reviewed books (monthly) in the right column so you don’t forget the wonderful books that are newly released!
  • And lastly, our Author List is newly updated

Thanks everyone! Have a wonderful week and we’ll see you around 🙂


Congrats to these winners!

Sonata by AF Henley: Karl
Freeman by Clare London: Andrea M
King Mai by Edmond Manning: parisfanca

I’ve written both Andrea M and parisfanca, but if you didn’t get my email, please email me at armchairreader[dot]coleriann[at]gmail[dot]com to get a copy of your book. I’ll have to draw another name if I don’t hear from you in 48 hours.

Thank you to everyone who commented and read all three of these really wonderful posts! AF Henley’s guest post (“Kids in Fics”), Clare’s guest post (“The Unreliable Narrator”) and Edmond’s guest post (“Opening a Man’s Heart”).

Buy Links:

King Maihttp://www.amazon.com/King-Mai-Lost-Founds-ebook/dp/B00DXMVCO0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374860796&sr=8-1&keywords=king+mai+manning

cover3_frontCH_BeginningOfKnowledge_cvrpaintingintherainblindedbyoureyessympathy03 SurfeitCH_TruckerFucker_100dpi_cvr

Click the links to enter these still open giveaways!

Taboo For You by Anyta Sunday – Ends Tonight!
The Beginning of Knowledge by Anne Brooke – Ends Tomorrow (7/27)
The Art Appreciation Blog Tour – Ends Tomorrow (7/27)

  • Painting in the Rain by Dev Bentham
  • Blinded by Our Eyes by Clare London
  • Sympathy by Jordan Castillo Price

Surfeit for the Senses (Appetite #3) by Talya Andor – Ends 7/28
Trucker Fucker by Barry Lowe – Ends 7/28

My apologies, both for double booking guest posts today and getting my wires crossed with Megan Derr about which days we both had! I present to you, the third release of Talya Andor’s Appetite series!

Welcome to the first stop on the Tour de Foodie, Course Three, and thank you, Cole, for welcoming me back to reveal some details about Surfeit for the Senses, the latest volume of the Appetite series. I appreciate your hosting me. Appetite is a story that definitely delivers on a theme for multiple levels: the most obvious being food and a trip into the culinary world of fine dining.

Throughout the books, the theme of progression plays an important role. We learn early on through Alex, the protagonist, that there is a structured progression to fine dining meals. They begin light to heavy, simple to rich. This is echoed in everything from the food to the wine pairings for a traditional fine dining meal. Small portions are succeeded by progressively larger bites. Salad gives way to protein, and fish is succeeded by fowl, or a cut of meat.

This progression is paralleled in the Appetite series in two important ways. The first, most obvious journey is Alex, who starts out a green graduate from the Culinary Institute of America. No matter how well he did in his classes, when he comes out second in his class he learns all too soon that so much more is expected of him on the line of a fine dining kitchen. He’s not working a privileged position in a pub anymore. Hired straight into Schulze’s from school, he’s expected to buckle down and work all the tasks expected of him, from peeling and dicing onions to filleting fish to topping off squeeze bottles of olive oil, if that’s what is needed. He starts out a newbie who knows a great deal less than he thinks.

By the time Competitive Edge rolls around, Alex has grown a great deal as a chef, but there are things he has yet to reach, or realize. His journey continues, but he’s no longer a newbie. He’s demonstrating his prowess and holding his own against other chefs his own age, including Nik, who he continues to woo even under the most unlikely and stressful of circumstances. The prizes he takes home by the end of that arc are so much more than the obvious. Alex demonstrates a spirit of competition that is the height of sportsmanlike, and the attitude that real masters show. “Defeating you isn’t worth anything if you’re not also at your best,” the culinary greats say.

Surfeit for the Senses continues Alex’s progression to the next level. He’s reached an important point in his career as a chef, but has further responsibilities thrust upon him that he wasn’t expecting—and didn’t particularly want for at least a few years. With so many competing priorities in his life, it’s a struggle for what will come out on top, especially when the Five Stars show, and his own personal life, have even more curve balls to throw at him.

Another progression in the Appetite series is something I’m sure many readers have noticed so far—the arc of the romance takes a progression, as well, from light to heavy. The first installment was definitely on the light side, the second brings Alex and Nik closer to where they both want to be, and the third … well, I hope everyone will be satisfied with the rich and heavy course that comes third. Those that have held out with me this long will receive their dessert for sure!

A little bit more about the story:

03 Surfeit

Surfeit for the Senses by Talya Andor
M/M contemporary romance
Rating: explicit (in this installment)
Word count: 66,000

With the buzz and drama of competition behind them, Alex is determined to focus on the one thing that matters most: his budding relationship with Nik. All the pieces seem to be finally falling into place, as he settles into his new living arrangements and gets back into the rhythm of the kitchen, while he and Nik spend all their precious free time together.

Life never stays smooth for long, however. The combined weight of family tragedy, television fame, and new, unexpected responsibilities strain the bonds of Alex and Nik’s partnership, and conflict between them demands they settle the question of equality once and for all. Pulled in so many directions, it may be more than a new relationship can take.

You can purchase Surfeit for the Senses at Less Than Three Press. The Appetite series is available and currently 20% off on sale at the press.

Win an ebook copy of Surfeit for the Senses:

Do you like cooking, or being cooked for? A night in with a good meal, or a table at a fine dining establishment? Tell me about your favorite kind of meal in the comments—I’d love to hear from you! And it would be nice to hear what you think about the entry, too. All commenters will be entered in a randomly-selected draw for a free copy of Surfeit for the Senses in the electronic format of your choice, drawn on July 28th.

Thanks for reading, and may your meals always be delicious bounty for all your senses!

Check out my author blog for additional chances to win a copy of the novel (and copies of the first two), and the “Tour de Foodie” continues tomorrow at Romance Lives Forever! Each stop of the tour is a new chance to win.

Today is the first day of my Tour de Foodie, Course Two, and I’m thrilled to be returning to the Armchair Reader to bring you a sneak peek at The Competitive Edge. Thank you for having me! We’re returning to the kitchen, and this time we’re turning up the heat for sure.

Not long after I’d written the roughly two hundred thousand word first draft of Appetite, I happened to read an article about the draw of cooking shows such as The Taste and Chopped. As I revealed in my first blog tour, I’m a devotee of the genre, and I’ve seen pretty much every competitive cooking show out there, including the somewhat more obscure Around the World in 80 Plates.

There’s something about competitive cooking shows. “Reality” shows of all kinds have taken off with explosive growth, but competitive cooking shows should, by any account, be the kind of thing that shouldn’t work in television format. Cooking is so sensual, involving taste and smell, that it seems counter-intuitive people would want to watch entire shows about preparing, eating, and critiquing it. And yet these shows flourish across the board, from America’s Worst Cooks to Hell’s Kitchen; from Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives to Top Chef. They’re bringing out new ones every year, though I have to admit I quit on 80 Plates before the season was over—and I usually finish what I start when it comes to television as well as food.

Whether it’s the sight of the food, or the different personalities, there’s a draw to competitive cooking shows. They follow a familiar format that draws us in with a diverse array of people, all kinds of cooking styles from spicy Latin to homey Southern, and pit chefs who are talented at their craft against one another. So there’s the suspense element, wondering which of these people are going to come out on top.

In addition to that, as Padma Lakshmi often says, we eat with our eyes first. It’s a familiar truism because the presentation matters, and those lingering close-ups of all of those individual dishes have us all imagining what it would be like to taste what’s being served up. Combined with the commentary of the hosts and critics, it’s almost like we’re tasting the dishes ourselves. One thing is for certain—if you’re settling down with an episode of Masterchef, you’d better be full already, or have something on hand to nibble and keep the cravings at bay.

Writing Appetite was in part a loving tribute to these shows. I wove together all of the different elements that you love, or love to hate, about competitive cooking shows like the Next Food Network Star or worldwide-beloved Top Chef. Of course, at the same time it’s a very specific journey for Alex and Nik, two skilled young chefs with very different personalities. Their romance is put on the back burner when the element of competition is thrust into their lives once more.

My advice for The Competitive Edge, as much as any cooking show, is definitely to go in with a full stomach or something to feed the cravings. In this installment, though, Alex and Nik will be bringing the heat, and with their highly driven, spirited natures, neither one will be holding back.



Over the past several weeks as they had met for coffee, Alex had taken to bringing certain kitchen products home. He would wake early and cook and assemble a little something the next day. He put together amuse bouches for Nik, bringing him a series of perfect bites to prove his increasing prowess. Nik accepted each morsel with delight, but each time Alex asked him if he’d crossed the threshold, Nik would only give him a mysterious smile. Then he would promptly dissolve Alex’s higher brain functions by doing something like licking his fingers.

“Ohh,” Nik exhaled.

Skewered on a bamboo toothpick was a marrow-enriched veal cheek atop a petite potato rosti—a crispy potato cake—drizzled in rich sauce made with marrow, wine, and veal stock. Alex watched avidly as Nik popped it between his lips in a single, deft bite. His eyes fluttered shut with pleasure and he held a hand over his mouth as he chewed slowly.

“How is it?” Alex wanted to know, after Nik had swallowed his mouthful and remained still, his eyes closed.

“Delicious,” Nik said, opening his eyes.

“Great,” Alex pressed.

“It’s very flavorful, Alex,” Nik told him, setting his box down and turning a matter of fact look upon him. “Is Uncle letting you make the amuse bouches, now?”

“We collaborate on the menu every week; Johann, Günther, and I,” Alex replied. “I am still learning a great deal under their direction, but I do plate many dishes for service. Like this one.”

“Is it a special for the week?” Nik wanted to know.

Alex shook his head. “It’s an amuse bouche I came up with, and Johann said he might use it, with refinements. You like it?”

I do like it,” Nik said with a decisive nod.

“You like Alex?” Alex inquired interestedly.

Nik burst out in a cheerful cackle of laughter, crossing his legs again. “I’m changing the subject now, Alex. And this isn’t a date, because I got my own coffee.”

“Hm,” Alex replied, mentally plotting to arrive first the next day they had together so he could have Nik’s coffee waiting for him. “How is life at Collette’s?”

“Great!” Nik said, beaming again. “You know, I am more of a sous-sous chef there, just because the kitchen is so much bigger … did I tell you there’s floor space at the front of the house for about two hundred and fifty covers at once?” He sounded excited despite the demotion.

I wish I could stop by there some time,” Alex said, wistful. He was still saving up all of his pocket change to be able to move into his own place, or at least one with fewer roommates. He only had two criteria: a bed for Alex, and the space and privacy to set the stage for a very important seduction. His father hadn’t resumed his monthly ‘family allowance,’ and Alex had far too much pride to ask.

“You could,” Nik said, and grinned. “If you stop by after-hours you can try some of our leftovers before we throw them out.”

Alex wrinkled his nose. “The kitchen dregs,” he said, sparing Nik the dry no, thanks.

“They’re good kitchen dregs,” Nik countered. He picked up his coffee in one hand and patted Alex’s thigh with the other. “I ought to get going. Chef wants me to come in early today; he said we got an unusual proposal …”

“Really?” Alex interrupted, dropping a pinch of croissant back onto the plate. “Chef Johann asked me to come in early today, too. He did not say why.”

“You’d better hope Uncle doesn’t want to open the restaurant for some kind of holiday brunch again,” Nik said, rolling his eyes.

Alex grinned. He wouldn’t mind serving brunch; he looked at everything as a learning experience, for which Johann praised him repeatedly. “You’ve done the holiday brunch before?”

“Yeah.” Nik wrinkled his nose. He set his coffee down again. “That’s why I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”

“Least of all someone you care for as much as Alex,” Alex concluded smugly.

“Keep reaching for the stars!” Nik said with a laugh, slapping his thighs with both hands before rising to his feet. “Sooner or later, you’ll either increase your range, or singe your fingertips.”

You can purchase The Competitive Edge at Less Than Three Press.

Check out my giveaway for a chance to win a copy of the novel, and the “Tour de Foodie” continues tomorrow at It’s Raining Men! Thanks for reading, and let me know what you thought of the Tour de Foodie.

Hello, and thank you for having me at Armchair Reader, I’m a big fan! Welcome to my “Tour de Foodie,” a blog hop to accompany the release for my new novel, A Cut Above the Rest, first of the Appetite series. Cooking plays a vital part in the series, and I’ve been touching on different aspects each day.

Today my topic of interest is the “signature dish.”

Most audiences became familiar with the concept of a chef’s signature dish when Gordon Ramsay rolled out Hell’s Kitchen in the mid-Naughts. The signature dish challenge has been part of the premiere episode from the very beginning, even crossing over to Top Chef’s first season as the judges challenged the contestants to show them what they were made of by presenting a signature dish.

There’s a couple of different takes on what makes a signature dish. Some chefs say that a signature dish is their own self, on a plate. Others set forth the signature dish as a mark of renown, the dish for which they are most well-known. And Gordon Ramsay, in particular, claims several “signature dishes” in his repertoire, so the signature dish can be taken, in general, as a dish that a chef has chosen—either original or revamped—and showcased with their own particular spin. To me, the signature dish is a mark of the chef that shows off something distinctive to their style, and tells the diner something about that chef in their choice of that particular dish.

I love signature dish challenges, regardless of what show is presenting them. The signature dish can give a lot of insight to the chef’s approach to food, and that’s one reason I like it. The ingredients that the chef chooses, the method of cooking, the level of technical skill involved, the way that the chef executes the dish … all of these things are very telling, and you get a sense not only for the way the chef cooks, but also their personality. Not only that, but when watching a signature dish challenge it’s exposure to a range of different dishes, and I’m constantly looking for new recipes to try, new ingredients and new flavors to incorporate.

Though I’m not a professional chef, only a passionate amateur, I’ve gone so far as to choose my own signature dish. I love a good golden-seared sea scallop over mushroom risotto. Both scallops and risotto can be notoriously finicky to cook, but are amazing and incredibly delicious when prepared well. What this tells you about me as a cook is that I’m not afraid to try my hand at difficult dishes, and prefer something that is ultimately clean and simply presented but complex in flavor and somewhat earthy, with complementing umami flavors in the scallop and the mushroom. I’m also a perfectionist who’s okay with trying, trying, trying again until I get it right and master the trick to cooking it properly when I want to put the time into that finicky dish.

When a chef has chosen a signature dish, to me it really means they’ve found their feet in the cooking world. For a writer, it’s like when they’ve found their voice. They have the confidence and the cooking chops to express opinions, and set their stamp on a particular dish that they can claim as theirs.

In A Cut Above the Rest, our story focuses on two main figures entering the field of fine dining. Avoiding spoilers, one of the young chefs has a signature dish at this point in his career, and the other does not.

The signature dish empowers a chef with the freedom to express themselves, while taking a dish and making old things new. With Appetite, I’m taking up the concept of competition driving things to the next level, a personal level, where these young blades sharpen their knives on one another in order to bring out the best in each of them.

Of course, anywhere knives, kitchens, and hot tempers are involved, there’s potential for things to go wrong … or so very right.

01 A Cut Above

The door creaked open and shut further up the alley. Alex turned, expecting to see Florian joining him for a smoke. Nik stepped out into the alleyway, unfastening his chef’s jacket all down the front, baring a red t-shirt with a scrawl of words over the upper chest. He peeled up the bottom of his red shirt, fanning it out to circulate cool air through the front.

Alex lifted a hand, but found his voice was stoppered in his throat. He reached for his cigarette instead, turning to one side to ogle Nik less obviously, unable to resist the slender nape revealed by the dark hair pulled into its severe tail, the skinny chest spanned into a stretch as Nik lifted both of his strong, slender wrists into the air, pushing them as far as they would go. His face went soft-focused, his defenses dropping in that moment while he shifted positions, extending his arms in front of him and lacing his fingers, stretching those as well. Nik bounced on his tiptoes, making soft grunts of exertion that Alex could hear even from the back of the alley.

Stretching one arm over the other, Nik swung in Alex’s direction. His eyes widened to such an extent that Alex could see white even from his distance. “What are you doing?” he exclaimed.

Alex performed a quarter turn, glancing to one side of him, then the other as though expecting to find any others that Nik might be addressing. He waved his cigarette laden hand through the alley air. “Taking that break you told me to?”

Nik stormed up the alley, aiming a finger at Alex like a cocked gun. “You’re smoking!” he uttered in tones of mingled anger and betrayal. “I can’t believe you’re smoking … it ruins your palate, and it cheapens our restaurant.” He didn’t stop walking until he was toe to toe with Alex.

Alex flicked his cigarette ashes to one side and kept the butt gripped low. That was all he needed, to burn his chef with stray ashes during an argument over the fact that he was smoking. “Yah, I know you Americans think it’s a filthy habit, but I am on my break, okay?”

Nik came right into Alex’s personal space to aim that finger near his nose, his face shuttered down in cold, hard lines once more. “Don’t ‘you Americans’ me, Alex, I have dual citizenship and I can speak German almost as well as you,” he exclaimed. “I’m surprised at you; what do you expect to accomplish, killing your taste buds like this?”

The unexpected attack on his break, Alex’s one moment outside of the kitchen that had been consuming his life, threw Alex into quiet confusion for a moment. “You can’t tell me not to smoke.” Alex kept his cigarette off to the side, but its smoke continued to waft up between them. Fuck it. He wasn’t going to try and hide something for fear of Nik’s displeasure. Alex brought his cigarette and set it between his lips.

Nik’s nostrils flared. “I can tell you not to smoke on our property,” he retorted, reaching up to snatch the cigarette from between Alex’s lips, leaving them tingling. “You’re a chef, Alex, and if you want to be a great one, you ought to think about what this does to your palate. Your sense of taste, your sense of smell.” He held the cigarette pinched by the very end, smoke curling in the air between their faces.

Alex inhaled, on the verge of saying something a man should never say to his ranking chef, on the line or off it.

“Besides,” Nik continued, bringing the cigarette to his lips and taking a thick drag, his plush mouth closing on the filter where Alex’s lips had been clamped only seconds before. He inhaled, taking the smoke directly into his lungs before leaning forward until there was only radiant heat between them. “Would you want to kiss this?”

Before Alex could move or formulate a response, Nik exhaled a stream of smoke directly into his open mouth.

It set Alex to coughing. His eyes watered and he balled his fists up as Nik pitched his cigarette to the ground, grinding it out with the ball of his non-slip shoes, eyeing Alex from across the smoldering distance between them before turning about face. Nik stalked back up the alley without another word.

Alex struggled to formulate thought in a haze of smoke and liquefied brain matter. A part of his primitive brain was still tracking the sway of Nik’s hips even as Alex grappled with the upsurge of emotion that he had to label as rage. He was trying to set Nik’s well-tended hair on fire with the power of his mind. He couldn’t even muster a ‘how dare you’ for Nik’s presumption.

He definitely couldn’t let himself think he more than wanted to kiss that mouth, ashtray taste or no. He wanted to ravish it with his own until there was more than just a kiss between them.

You can purchase A Cut Above the Rest at Less Than Three Press.

Check out my giveaway for a chance to win a copy of the novel, and the “Tour de Foodie” continues tomorrow at A.F. Henley’s!

Title: Fireborn
Author: Talya Andor
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 15k words
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Short Story, The Bestiary Collection, Sacrifices, First Times/Love, Phoenixes
Rating: Pretty Good


Thaniel has been chosen for the sacrifice that will renew the lands and bring sorely needed rain, and it is a duty he has always accepted. On his last day he ventures out to enjoy those things he loves and finds final resolve in all that he enjoys. But that resolve is tested in the moment when he must say goodbye to his dearest friend …


Though I have gotten a couple of books from this author, I’ve yet to read them, so this is my first chance to read anything by this author. If this story is good evidence of her work, I found her to be a really delightful writer with a lot of promise. Though there were a few things that I thought might have been worked on, this story really surprised me in its depth and I quite enjoyed the style of writing.

Four years ago, Thaniel was chosen amongst the other young teenagers as his land’s sacrifice. For those years after he was chosen, he lived a life of comfort and abstinence. To remain pure until the day in which he’ll give his life to support the people of his land, who at the end of every four year cycle are thirsting for the rains which will come with another sacrifice’s death, he must never fall in love, remain a virgin, and never alter his body in any way.

But, while time passed and he continued his studies and made a best friend in Blaise, he didn’t realize how close the ceremony was creeping up on him. Until he realizes that the end of his life is just around the corner, and suddenly must face what he might be giving up and if it is worth it.

I found this story to be very similar to a young adult story, and while there is sex in the story, it is written in a very romantic and less graphic way. The issues that Thaniel has to deal with aren’t issues that most people his age have to face, but not only does the story explain the world well enough that we understand this cycle of rain, but Thaniel is also shown to us through his own recollections. He is definitely an old soul type of person, who at a young age had to deal with death. It altered him in ways that set him apart from the other children, and directly influence and shape the man he is when he faces the sacrificial pyre. This was the best part of the story for me — Thaniel, facing his own mortality.

I did have a little bit of trouble with the romance in the story. Mostly, that I couldn’t quite see the chemistry. But, I also realize that that is the case because most of this story deals with issues apart from the connection between Thaniel and the man he loves. In all, the issue I really had (which was one of the reasons I felt that way about the romance) was that the world and cycle and the gods and the sacrifice… it didn’t all add up for me, and I was waiting for the author to work out some of the kinks, to answer some of my questions about why things are or how they work exactly. In the end, I found much of that to be left alone, unanswered. It’s a choice by the author, of course, and I’m not a reader that always wants the answers given to me by the end of the story or else I get upset. I’m not, and I’m not saying I wanted that here. But I did feel like there was very little to go on through most of the story, and I wish I had been given a bit more of the world.

That affected my enjoyment somewhat, and in the end I ended up finding the story more technically good than I enjoyed it. I did like the story, but perhaps I found that I liked the writing itself more. I’ll definitely be checking out more of this author’s work and I’m excited to read it, and to see how her writing changes or evolves in the future. I’d recommend this one.