Golden Dunes of Renhala
by Amy Lutchen
Published Nov 2013
*ARC Ebook obtained in exchange for an honest review*
Synopsis via Goodreads:
How do you live with a secret so dark and so deeply woven into your being that it threatens to smother your very existence, with no known way out? Use it to your advantage.
Kailey Rooke, karmelean, and now a possibly unethical karma-for-hire, has spent the past year jumping from project to project without any real hope for salvation. With repercussions from her actions at every turn, she discovers that as time goes on, she loses a bit more of herself to that which feeds on her anguish--that which is thriving inside her own body.
When a new contract to find a missing girl arises, Kailey attempts to put her past and its associated problems on the back burner, but she soon finds out that treachery and deceit lie shortly ahead in Golden Dunes, only giving face to new problems, with one leading right back to her childhood past.
She struggles to complete her contract as her own life teeters on a fulcrum, constantly tipping according to karma’s whim. How long will she keep her balance? Which way will she fall?
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(Book 1 Free at the time of posting!!! Go get it! )
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I love food. I do.I also love tea. Very much. Maybe even more than food. But I’ll get to that later… Let me tell you a story, first…There was a dark time in my life, years ago, when some really crappy things happened—things that darkened my world. I had suffered through a horrible sexual assault by a stranger, and my parents—my major support in my life—were both very, very ill. The assault was hard on everyone. I struggled to perform as my usual self, but I knew I was different now. I was holding back, something I never ever did. And I found joy in nothing. I was not the same daughter they had watched grow up for the last twenty five years.My mother sensed my constant pain despite my façade of NORMAL. Having been through her own horrible experiences, she knew what swelled in my belly, and knew it was best to share the thoughts and tears. The worst thing to do was to bottle it up and let it brew in its own filth. Open arms and open ears were the best remedy.I couldn’t even begin to clock the hours spent talking over cups of hot tea with my dear mother about any and everything under the sun. The sheer act of letting myself bleed out the bad through words spoken was a therapy so good for my soul that I began sharing my experiences with others. I talked about it ALL. Every. Tiny. Painful. Detail. Then, something strange happened. I began feeling like me again. That girl that loved taking long walks by herself and loved sharing smiles with strangers was back. That girl that loved food, and loved the preparation involved in making meals chock full of love was back. I WAS BACK.With my return, my mother encouraged me to do the things that made me happy inside, but she also stressed the importance of expressing myself. So one day I began writing down all the things that were still lingering inside me causing strife here and there. I planned on crumbling up this paper and throwing it away, but I knew that the troubles would always loiter, even after the paper made its trip to the incinerator. Well somehow, those notes then turned into a short story, and eventually, that short story morphed into an epic tale of a woman and her ill mother on a magical quest. And there was lots of food and tea involved!My mother was able to read half of my novel before she passed away and the joy in her eyes reading it is what will fill my soul with happiness for eternity. Renhala is a gift of words that touches the senses. My heroine, Kailey, is a tea-loving woman with an appreciation for good food and an even greater appreciation for family.Besides sharing my story (Renhala is currently free!) I also wanted to give you all one more gift: a recipe of my mother’s for Steak Diane—a food that made its way into my mouth and into my novel.Thank you all for reading and I’d love to hear from you about what foods make you happiest!STEAK DIANE:4 strip steaks (1/2 lb), cut ½ in thickSalt & pepperMustard¼ C butter3 T lemon juice2 tsp minced fresh chives1 tsp Worcestershire saucePound steaks thin (about ¼ in thick), sprinkle each with S&P. Rub mustard on both sides of steaks.Melt butter in large skillet over med-high heat. Fry 2 steaks for 2 min on each side, transfer to hot serving plate. Repeat with remaining steaks.Add lemon juice, chives, and Worcestershire to skillet and bring to boil.Return steaks to the pan to heat through and coat with sauce. Pour remaining sauce over steaks on plate.Enjoy a cup of earl grey tea afterwards!
If you missed my review of book 1, go HERE and you'll find it :)
My review of Golden Dunes went live back in December but here it is again in case you missed it.
My review of Golden Dunes went live back in December but here it is again in case you missed it.
Wow... I mean wow... The world building is just out of this world... literally. I love the world that the author builds for this series. The Golden Dunes... I mean, I felt like I was sweating and wiping sand away from my skin while I was reading. Love, love, love that about this series. Everything is so vivid but not the point where it's over-described. There's plenty of room for you to add to it in your mind while you're reading.
The characters - They're great. I loved seeing the "problem" side of Kailey come out so much in this novel. I have to admit, her talents still are hard for me to imagine in my mind but I just have to go with it because it's awesome. Her "feeler" - I have a hard time picturing that when she's constantly sending her feeler out. Ooh and the men... I love Ladimer... You honestly don't seem to see Connor much. Or maybe it was because I couldn't wait until Ladimer graced the pages again so I wasn't paying attention to Connor.... LOL I didn't focus very much on the romantic aspect between Kailey, Connor & Ladimer in this novel. I was more focused on the events unfolding in the novel. It was spectacular.
I really enjoyed the new characters and the investigation that they were trying to work though. There were a few flips in the plot that I didn't quite follow (one person whom I thought dead was not and the other sibling was...) but I'm thinking that I may have just been too sleepy to keep up. Ha. I loved seeing all of the original characters being pulled over into book 2 as well. Great, great characters!
Overall, great continuation to series. I think I may have liked this one a little bit more because it was just...awesome. Bu! Love him!!! I just want to get a nose plug and give him a big hug!
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Cover Rating: 4 Stars
Characters: 4 Stars
Plot: 4 Stars
Climax: 5 Stars
Ending: 5 Stars
As an unexpected warmth flows into the room, running over my feet first, I freeze. It slowly crawls up my body, touching my hands and forcing them to reach forward. As the heat envelopes my head, I suddenly yearn to possess this deadly treasure, so I touch it, and the pole comes off the wall with one pull. I embrace it, suddenly feeling I will never be disconnected from my new lover, because it is me and I am it. I swing, and it is light in my hands. The metal whistles as it slices air, singing its song of perfection—perfect balance.Suddenly, I am torn from my find by a peculiar noise accompanied by the faint smell of rotten eggs. I know the smell, and I run to the door, not wanting to be cornered in this room. That’s when I see it standing in the road, and it’s huge—at least eight feet tall and five feet wide, with dark brown skin and fur. I recognize the feet—all three of them, situated like a tripod, with the center leg slightly forward. Its full hideousness is far worse than its feet alone. The huge eyes that take up at least 50 percent of its head stare at me while its mouth, which seems to take up the other 50, quivers, drooling some dark liquid. I can’t be sure, but it looks like it’s hungry. It stares at me as though I’m a huge medium rare rib-eye steak. There are sprouts of fur here and there around its body, and its arms dangle below its waist. It wears a large loincloth and short pants, both shredded on the edges. There is also a band around its waist, somewhat resembling an extra, extra, extra large fanny pack. I stand, frozen with fear at the realization that I’ve been visited by yet another hideous creature. It was not a dream. The delicious meal I just ate starts creeping up my throat, but I swallow, keeping it at bay.A noise escapes from behind the creature. Its ears quiver, and its head turns all the way around like an owl’s, then swivels back toward me. I’m amazed by its flexibility. Its skin seems to be in constant movement, and it begins moving toward me quickly. It’s so fast. And so big.I grab the pole and stabilize myself, knowing I cannot outrun this abomination, and it’s time to prove I can take care of myself. Seconds before it reaches to grab me with its monkey-length arms, I duck and swing the pole out, but the creature jumps over me swiftly.It lunges again quicker than expected, and I manage to somehow cut my leg with my own weapon. The flow of blood freezes me, vulnerability creeping up on me like a dark shadow. The creature makes the jump toward me. I fall directly down, sticking my pole spade straight up in its direction with my eyes closed. My movement is unexpected—by both of us—so the creature comes down slightly crooked as my blade nicks the inside of its leg.Black ooze runs down its leg, dripping onto the dirt. Black ooze. Before I lose myself to the visions, I notice the tears in its eyes. This big, ugly creature—surely sent by Satan himself—is crying, and reeks of regret?“Ow! You hurt Bu! How could you? Bu was only going to help you.” Its voice is undeniably male and youthful as it wipes the dark ooze from its mouth on the back of his hand, then proceeds to lick some off.“Oh, gross,” I say, totally disgusted. I hold the pole weapon out in front of me.The tears are as big as his eyes as they roll down his cheeks, and I find myself feeling bad I hurt him, even if he was going to rip my throat out. I get closer to him, just out of arm’s length, and say, “You were going to eat me! Is this a trick? You feign pain, I come close, and then you eat me?”He then does something unexpected—giggles. It’s then that I feel it—purity. Purity of heart and soul is spewing from him, like rays from a sun, warm and soft as cashmere.“Wait,” I say as I sniff the air. “You smell like chocolate.”
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour for Golden Dunes of Renhala. Here is what you can win: signed Renhala hardcover, signed bookmark, tea(s), two fun pouches (one with a skull, the other the word "LOVE"), a snake ring and $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card.
You can enter the giveaway here:
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