3 out of 4 stars
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Winter’s Kiss is the debut fantasy novel by H. L. Hines. As a writer of different genres, she draws from many elements to create her stories.
The book follows the struggles of Lana, a daughter of exiled nobles. Her family was wrongfully branded traitors by the king and forced into exile. Lana grew up hiding her inherited power.
The story opens with Lana on the run from bounty hunters. She must secretly travel through two dangerous, war-torn countries to reach someone who can help her family. On her journey, she discovers a powerful side of herself as she stumbles upon new friends and enemies. When she reaches her goal of meeting Lord Wyvier, she enters into a tumultuous relationship with him. Lana learns she must depend on herself as she searches for answers.
H. L. Hines has written a captivating tale. I was drawn in from the beginning. The plot is intriguing and contains different fantasy elements.
The author uses a descriptive writing style in both her depictions of scenery and descriptions of characters. I could envision the lonely forest when she wrote “The smell of moss and mud intertwined with the brisk scent of pine and cold earthy ozone had been the only refreshing distraction she had on this tortuously long journey.”
The characters were also well-described; from Lana and her friends to her foes. I really enjoyed the interlude with the “Gypsey-like” characters. They were colorful, passionate and full of life. The imagery of the dance scene was exhilarating and made me want to get up and move.
I also enjoyed the relationship between Lana and Lord Wyvier. It was like an emotional roller coaster. Although, at times I felt they should be more open with each other and not act like pouting children.
While the author wrote an entertaining and unique novel, the editing was lacking. This book appears to not be professionally edited or definitely needs a second editing. There were many grammatical mistakes and some awkward wording.
Based on my above observations, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I couldn’t rate it higher because of the errors, but didn’t want to rate it lower because I enjoyed it. I believe fans of fantasy and romance would enjoy this novel. I wouldn’t recommend it to young readers because of some profanity and intense sexual situations. I look forward to the next book and the continued saga of Lana.
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