Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: Cross Keys (Book #1) by Ally Shields

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Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Published: October 3, 2014
Publisher: Etopia Press
Pages: 286
Source: Red Moon Book Tours
When the first wanderer—a common elf who isn’t authorized to use the portal—is spotted on the streets of New Orleans, the king assigns Kameo Ryndel to capture the elf and bring him home to Elvenrude. But before she can intervene, he's shot and his body stolen by the gunmen. Just as puzzling is the appearance at the scene of Seth Lormarc, an Elite elf from a rival guild and heir to the centuries-old feud between their two families.

Seth is in New Orleans at the behest of his grandfather to find out who was behind the portal breach that could expose their existence to the world of men. His best lead is the intriguing Kam Ryndel. When he stakes out her apartment and finds her sneaking out in the middle of the night, dressed in black and leaping to the top of the nearest building, he realizes she's more than a beautiful woman. That kind of feat requires magic. Ancient magic.

As their paths cross and draw them deeper into a mysterious conspiracy, attraction sparks between them, but there’s little time for romance. The portal breach is tied to an illegal smuggling operation that has come to the attention of the human CIA. And the stakes are raised when Kam and Seth discover a band of rebels deep inside Elvenrude that offers nothing except violence and destruction of their world.

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About the Author:

Ally Shields grew up in the Midwest along the Mississippi River and currently resides near Des Moines. Writing has always been a part of her life, but in 2009, after a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time fiction writing. Her first urban fantasy novel, Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch Book One) was published in 2012 and the seven book series was completed in 2015. She loves to travel in the US and abroad and incorporates many of those settings into her books. Ms. Shields can be contacted through her website or twitter (@ShieldsAlly).

Author Links

My Rating:
I received this book from Red Moon Book Tours for the book tour, all reviews and opinions are my own.  If you would like to check out the rest of the blog tour click here for the official schedule.

I really enjoyed this book, I haven't read many books dealing with elves, and I am glad that I found something with elves in it to read. I only wish there were more about the elf history or something that kind of explained them a bit better or the world more in depth. Though I am hoping that will come in time as the series progresses. Elvenrude fascinated me though the people seem to be stuck back in olden times where woman are treated lesser than men, but Kam seemed to not let that stop her. I am excited to see how she changes Elvenrude.

I liked Ryden as a side character and I could really see him getting with Esty, Kam's sister. Ryden reminds me of a never ending food disposal, he can't leave any food or drinks behind. He also like Esty seem to be the only ones that are forward thinking in many ways. They don't fall for the whole Romeo and Juliet thing of where our houses are divided we must stay separated.

Caleb, Kam's sort of boyfriend, I was on the fence about. I was okay with him even though I know Kam has been friends with him forever I still felt off about him. There is a scene where when Kam comes back from New Orleans she spots him with her cousin shopping and he seems like he got his hand caught in a cookie jar. But Kam kind of overlooked that, I don't think I could have. It just seemed fishy to me, he even got me thinking he could have easily been a bad guy.

Seth works really well with Kam though they let there parents and Elvenrude get in between them a lot which can be bothersome, but that is what makes them working together needed. The pendants and stuff that they use to tap into the magic explains how they do some extraordinary things but not much is talked about with their own magic and how they can use it. As far as I can tell they can tap into the ancient magics but that is about as far as it goes.

The story itself wasn't to fast or to slow. I liked how the romance built slowly and wasn't insta-lovey, I kept rooting for Kam and Seth the whole way, I kept thinking okay this will be the scene something happens. I am very excited to see more of this story and what kind of trouble Kam and Seth find themselves into next.

Also side note I noticed the author lives in Des Moines, I just recently moved away from Iowa City and now I keep finding people and things going on in Iowa. Such a small world.



Caleb nodded absently at the departing couple, then returned his gaze to Kam. “I’m serious. It’s time you became more involved with trade matters. In fact,” he paused, “you have several decisions you should be making. When are you coming home?”

“I’m here now.” She clamped down on a spark of anger. Why did every conversation with him lead into demands about the future?

“You know that isn’t what I meant.”

She stiffened. “It’s too soon for any long-term decisions. I like where we are now.” A storm was gathering in his eyes, and she took steps to head off a fight. The King's Harvest Ball was hardly the time or place. She tilted her head and looked at him. “Are you about ready to leave?” A diversion was in order before she lost her temper and said something she’d regret. “I have to be back in the city by early morning, and I can think of better things we could be doing.”

“More than ready.” His smile held a provocative edge. “Shall we start our round of goodbyes?”

“I’m going to visit the ladies’ room, then I’ll catch up with you.”

“Don’t be long.”

She ducked her head and hurried away, anxious to get out of sight before he realized just how annoyed she was. She shoved the door open into the hallway a little harder than was necessary and ran into a solid body. She stumbled, throwing out her arms for balance.

“Oh, I’m so sor—” Strong hands caught her, and she looked up into Seth Lormarc’s glittering green eyes. “You!”

His eyes widened in surprise. “Do I know you?”

A spark of unexpected awareness ran up her arms, and she tried to shake off his grasp. He held tight until she was steady. “No, but I know who you are.” She looked pointedly at his hands. “Take your hands off me.”

“No problem.” He released her and stepped back, a smile parting his lips. “Are you always so charming?”

She frowned at him, ready to give a sharp retort, then hesitated, realizing how rude she’d been. “You’re quite right. Mother would be appalled at my manners. Thank you for your assistance. Now, if you’ll excuse me.”

“Certainly.” He moved to one side.

Her throat suddenly dry, Kam hurried past and down the hall. Insufferable Lormarcs. She entered the powder room and took a deep breath. The mirror revealed her heated cheeks, and she dipped a handkerchief in the water basin to cool her face. Why had she reacted so strongly, been so impolite? Was it the lazy smile he’d made little attempt to hide or just her anger at Caleb spilling over onto the first male she saw?

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