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Real Rating = 3.5*
SERIES INFO: This is Book #1 of 2.5 (so far) in the “Flora” Series. According to the author, the final novella (#2.5) & book (#3) will likely be released in 2017. The audiobook for #2, Open Thy Heart, has been delayed; but she hopes to release it in late spring. And she is “in the process of searching for the *perfect* narrator” for #1.5 By Sun and Candlelight.
Dahlia: She seems like someone I would have enjoyed hanging out with in high school. Bookish, with just a few close friends.
Rowan: I like that he is careful about proprieties and mindful of the age difference. So many YA heroes aren’t anyone I would want my daughter (if I had one) to be interested in. BUT, his constant mysteriousness was very frustrating (although we learn the reasons for it later on).
Dahlia & Rowan: The main thing that kept this from being a 4* book was that there was too much “tell” and not enough “show” for their relationship. We are basically “told” that it is developing over time, as they meet & have great conversations; but we rarely get to “hear” those conversations for ourselves. We get lots of dialogue in the scenes with David, but skip over all but a few highlights of Dahlia & Rowan’s courtship. I would have like to spend more time with them, as they were getting to know one another. It might also have helped balance out the fact that he was careful to never talk about anything significant in his own life.
Dahlia & David: Oh man, I feel for you Dahlia. I have been in your exact situation with a long time friend, and it isn’t any fun. / I appreciate that she compares David liking her to her liking Rowan, and is able to be compassionate.
Her descriptions are especially good. Listen carefully when she first explains her "dreams." It is a verbal "map" to the land. I want to visit the beach, especially at night; a gorgeous guy as a companion would be plus too.
As I said above, I found the extended "mysteriousness" of everything a bit frustrating. Once things started being explained, the story really got going and became more action packed. I think we could have gotten to the action sooner if we had spent less time in the daytime world. The ending definitely leaves everything hanging. (I don't want to say a lot more, lest I ruin the mystery)
Note: there are some volume changes (e.g. when a character shrieks)
Pros: Her voice was very age appropriate / Good emoting w/o being overdramatic / Good speed. I actually listened on regular speed, rather than my usual 1.25.
Cons: Rowan’s voice took a little while to get into. / There may have been a point at which the wrong last name was used for Dahlia (I noted it, but forgot to record the time point, so I couldn’t recheck it).
HIGHLIGHTS(S): Dahlia works at a book store. / Scene in the snow / Scene with the stars & pillows / Peanuts, The Princess Bride, Ever After and other great cultural references. / The fact that her first crush, the jock, isn’t also a jerk.
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: Love triangle (although I understand the parallels that are being drawn)
--Enjoyment: Slightly ABOVE AVERAGE
I received this book free in return for an honest review, courtesy of Audiobook Blast dot com.
This may have been a young adult read, but it really can be for all ages. This storyline was the kind that grabs you & doesn't let go. You have to find out what's going to happen next and about Dahlia's family and the history of them all. The normal struggles all teens go through are addressed too. I can't wait to listen to more of this series.