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The Ballad of Aramei (The Darkwoods Trilogy #3) by J.A. Redmerski

The Ballad of Aramei (The Darkwoods Trilogy #3) by J.A. RedmerskiThe Ballad of Aramei (The Darkwoods Trilogy, #3) by J.A. Redmerski
Published by J.A. Redmerski on November 18th 2012
Pages: 453
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Everything about Adria Dawson’s life has changed in unimaginable ways: the shattering betrayal of her mother, the fight for her life and sanity…the loss of her humanity. But now Adria must face the ultimate challenge and risk not only her life, but the lives of everyone she loves at the wrathful hands of Isaac Mayfair’s father.

Determined to help unravel a mysterious message deeply rooted in an unhinged mind, Adria becomes obsessed with traveling into Aramei’s turbulent past to see the truth of how the relationships and betrayals between the Mayfair and Vargas bloodlines were formed.

Meanwhile, Adria and the Mayfairs are doing everything they can to smoke out and trap the Praverian traitor. A trip to Providence uncovers not only an old family line who are enemies of the Praverians, but also raises questions about the Praverian’s true agenda.

But the traitor will be caught. People will die. And Adria’s destiny to be the cause of a war will come to pass. But what could a kind and simple girl like Adria Dawson ever do that could be considered an act of war? The landscape of the werewolf world will be forever changed in the climactic conclusion to The Darkwoods Trilogy.

The Darkwoods trilogy is easily a favorite of mine. Exploding with rich characters, unique werewolf lore, twisty plots and plenty of action; Redmerski hits all the right spots. Book one, The Mayfair Moon caught me by surprise when I read it back in January. I was slowly warming up to were-centric novels, a process seriously sped up the moment I was introduced to Isaac Mayfair. He was smoldering. The perfect eye candy. True, he had loads of secrets that were sure to cause some trouble down the road, but he was very protective and even sweet, at least, when he wanted to be. Like Adria, I was easily smitten.

I fell for Adria as well, of course not in a romantic way but in a reader loving their main character way. She was feisty and brave. A true survivor. Having spent more than half her life in a broken home with a mother and her abusive boyfriend, Adria remained remarkably strong and true to herself. I found her high level of compassion remarkable. This I suspect was due to the short stick she’d been drawn most of her life. The one bright spot in Adria’s life was Alex, her older sister. Unfortunately after relocating to Hallowell Maine, Alex fell in with a “shady” crowd and quickly begun pulling away from Adria. This of course sent Adria towards finding new friends, new love and unfortunately new enemies…
The Darkwoods trilogy is all about sacrifice, perseverance and redemption. In book one we were introduced to a somewhat coy, Adria who looked up to her sister and continued to love her mother regardless of the broken promises and bad mistakes made on a constant basis. Adria was basically thrown right into a dangerous war that had been occurring for hundreds of years between clashing werewolf clans. Instead of cowering or giving up, Adria proved that she was every bit as brave and powerful as any werewolf. She continually grew stronger, surprising not only her friends, but herself as well. The Ballad of Aramei continues Adria’s journey through self-discovery and self-empowerment.

Throughout books one and two, secrets and mysteries had been piling up left and right. One of the hugest, surrounding Aramei, thankfully was answered and resolved in the final installment of the Darkwoods trilogy. I loved getting to know more about “Aramei” and the part she played. There actually turned out to be a heck of a lot of similarities between her and Adria which made the story even more interesting. We also got a little more intel on Praverians, although not as much as I would have liked. The concept of these supernatural beings is so fascinating, something truly original and one of a kind brought to us by Redmerski’s seriously awesome imagination. I realize that the big Praverian reveal will probably occur in the planned spin-off but still it would have been nice to get a little more information. I felt like little was answered yet a lot more was put into question.

Except for the Praverian part, I thought Redmerski did a great job of sewing up the Darkwoods’ storyline. We got a lot of great closure, especially on a few key relationships. I thought that Adria’s character growth reached it’s peak, and that a few other character’s whose agendas were constantly put into question were revealed for good or bad. Those who needed redemption were able to seek it and those with the strongest hearts accomplished great feats of sacrifice.

I only had two somewhat small quips with this book. Being the third book in a series I already loved had me pre-convinced that I’d enjoy this one. However, it took me quite a while to get into this story. At times I found that there was a lot of description and little dialogue which tended to bore me a tad. I don’t have any halfsie stars, so although I have 5 shown I give The Ballad of Aramei 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars
Dumplin

Kindred (The Darkwoods Trilogy #2) J.A. Redmerski

Kindred (The Darkwoods Trilogy #2) J.A. RedmerskiKindred (The Darkwoods Trilogy, #2) by J.A. Redmerski
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on July 20, 2012
Pages: 348
Goodreads
five-stars

Isaac Mayfair is hiding a dark secret. And just when Adria Dawson thinks the worst of her life among the werewolf world is over, she learns the secret that can rip her and Isaac’s love apart. Adria must come to terms with what the truth means for her. What it means for her life and how much time she has left to live it. She must choose between two different fates, neither of which can offer life as a certainty.

As if Isaac’s betrayal isn’t enough, Adria learns that there are things out there older and more powerful than werewolves could ever be. An archaic entity known only to few as the Praverian, unlike anything Adria has ever known or heard of.

As Adria struggles with her own fateful dilemmas, she must also try to find out why the Praverian is so interested in her and do everything in her power to stay out of its way.

Due to MATURE YA content, this book is recommended for 17+.

As I sit here at my desk, pondering how to adequately describe my feelings for Kindred, a quote from one of my favorite Vampire Diaries characters comes to mind. “I think the term you’re searching for is O.M.G.” – Elijah. Yup. That pretty much sums up my thoughts into a cute little package. Warning: This review contains copious amounts of gushing due to the high level of awesome that Kindred embodies. We’re talking characters that feel like real life friends and family. Action that has your adrenaline pumping. Danger that makes you cringe and want to cower. And MOST importantly, sizzling romance with super sexy scenes that cause stream-like drool to dribble down your chin. I may have enjoyed The Mayfair Moon when I read it back in December. But Kindred well… It’s in an entirely different league. My love for this trilogy has officially gone up a notch. You can consider me certifiably addicted.

One of the many reasons I loved The Mayfair Moon was because it’s synopsis told us upfront that we were dealing with werewolves. I feel like the majority of wolfy books out there either A. try to make the supe element a surprise and successfully succeed in leading our minds astray or B. try to make the supe element a surprise but fail miserably by leaving tell-tale and downright ridiculous hints that are easily solved. With M.M.’s supe secret out from the getgo, it forced Redmerski to come up with a set of equally (if not more so) “pillars” to help carry the book; which she pulled of superbly. I found M.M. incredibly strong with it’s deep and thought-provoking characters and it’s fresh take and modern twists on an oldie but goodie myth surrounding the loup garou.

Kindred was fast-paced, nail-biting, and finger-cramping (holding onto a Nook for 4-5 straight hours). It was an amazing novel and one hell of a sequel. The characters we grew to love were all featured and utilized. Kindred reminded me again how truly amazing Adria is. Between an alcoholic mother with an abusive boyfriend, a sister who’s basically joined the dark side, a werewolf boyfriend that struggles with his humanity near and during the full moon, and oh yah, a war looming on the horizon that promises both death and destruction, you’d think Adria would be hopping on the first bus to looneysville. Not to mention her latest cases of zoning out and time loss that keep happening accompanied by loss of appetite and fainting. However, none of that slows our girl Adria down. With the danger and drama both at an all time high in Kindred, like always, Adria chooses to face it full on without fear. Well, there’s definitely some fear but she doesn’t let it control her. Then there’s Issac *swoon* he’s as devilish-y charming, compassionate, and romantic as ever. Seriously. Where can I find my own Issac Mayfair?!! Minus the ties to a warring and sometimes savage species, he’s like the perfect boyfriend. So sweet, caring, and compassionate, always thinking of cute dates and romantic gifts. Once again *sigggh*. And the passion PHEW! One needs to take an ice-cold shower after reading scenes containing his err… bareness. Eheh.

Kindred was a fabulous read. 5 stakes! I loved it even more than it’s predecessor, The Mayfair Moon. Since book one introduced us to this world; book two goes right ahead and brings the story to the next level. We get a deeper and better understanding of the characters. We also get a ton of new info including what a “Praverian” is (the series is called the Praverian Chronicles) and how “they” will effect the story to come. If you haven’t read The Mayfair Moon I implore you to head on over to Amazon and purchase it. It’s a must read for lovers of slightly edgy and incredibly sexy paranormal romances. There is a lot of mature scenes and dialogue so I’d consider this book more in the realm of “new adult” vs. “young adult”. Although a good chunk of the characters are teens. OH! And if you have read The Mayfair Moon – get Kindred ASAP. You will not be disappointed.

five-stars
Dumplin

The Mayfair Moon (The Darkwoods Trilogy #1) by J.A. Redmerski

The Mayfair Moon (The Darkwoods Trilogy #1) by J.A. RedmerskiThe Mayfair Moon (The Darkwoods Trilogy, #1) by J.A. Redmerski
on February 6, 2012
Pages: 352
Goodreads
five-stars

After a nightmarish encounter with a werewolf, seventeen-year-old Adria Dawson loses her sister, but gains the love of a mysterious young man and his legendary family. Strange and tragic things begin to happen in the small town of Hallowell, Maine: residents come down with an unexplainable 'illness' and some disappear. In the midst of everything, Isaac Mayfair is adamant about keeping Adria safe, even from her sister whom he has warned her to stay away from. As unspeakable secrets unfold all around Adria, impossible choices become hers to bear. Ultimately, no matter what path she takes, her life and the lives of those she loves will be in peril. As she learns about the werewolf world she also learns why her place in it will change the destinies of many.

The Mayfair Moon starts off with a dark tone that you later find out is intertwined throughout the entire novel. Sisters, Adria and Alex Dawson have had an extremely rough upbringing, between their drunken and abusive stepfather and their mother who just doesn’t seem to care, it’s no wonder that the sisters have clung to each other throughout their life.

What the book description calls as a “nightmarish” event turns the sister’s lives upside down when they come upon two werewolves battling in the woods. Like a domino affect, this awful encounter leads to the sister’s being sent from their home in Georgia to their aunt and uncle’s in Maine. Alex has a harder time adjusting to the uprooting unlike her sister, Adria, who quickly finds her own niche at Hall Dale Highschool.

As the days go on, dangerous forces (which later on you’ll learn about) begin to affect Alex’s behaviors and decisions leading to a rift between the once-inseparable sisters. Not only do the two get thrust into a centuries-old Lycanthrope war; they end up on opposite sides. A huge chunk of the novel revolves around Adria coming to terms with Alex’s new-found allegiances coinciding with strange occurrences such as the disappearances of fellow students and the shifty attitudes of some backwoods residents. Although Adria seems to easily accept the possibility of werewolves existing early on,, she doesn’t actually “put the pieces” together until 3/4 of the novel.

Thoughts:

It took me while to get into The Mayfair Moon, I believe it was around page 30 or so when I really became enthralled. However the rest of the book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through by creating many mysteries and questions that I needed answered for my own sanity. One thing I really enjoyed about this book is the relatively-realistic approach it took towards romance especially when it came to Adria. Although at the end of the novel Adria is head-over-heels in love I felt like the relationship was believable enough due to the moderate progression. I find that many novels these days tend to rush the romantic progression leading to unbelievable and almost-laughable relationships — luckily The Mayfair Moon did it right!

five-stars