Friday, August 30, 2013

Blog Tour: The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard [Review + Giveaway]

Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, 
Publication.Date  April 28th 2013
Published By:  Amazon Digital Services / Finding Bliss Press
WebsiteLaura Howard 

The Forgotten Ones on Goodreads
My review copy:Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

Allison O'Malley's plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she's been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison's mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn't trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother's sanity.

The Danaans were lovely to look at, but their behavior was not normal. It was as if they were made of stone, incapable of emotion.
There are two kinds of magic the Danaans can use. One is mind magic. It is all about being able to control things with ones will. For instance, Eithne is a healer. She is able to use her mind to see what it is that ails you and reverse it. Niamh is able to use her mind to hear your thoughts and share hers.
I needed to get myself away from Daeghlan if I were to be able to think straight. He was too beautiful, painfully so.

     When it comes to magical / paranormal creatures, fairies are definitely not my favorite. That being said, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. It was a quick and fairly entertaining read, and I breezed through the 197 pages in just one afternoon. 

     At the same time, I wished the mythology was explored more in depth. It was evident to me that Laura Howard did her research well - the Danaans (Irish fairy folk) are creatures often mentioned in old Irish tales. I enjoyed reading about their attributes and abilities: flawless beauty, magical powers, unmatched intelligence. But I also wanted to learn more about their origin and purpose, history and politics. The Danaans are passionate, often hot-tempered and power thirsty. They plot against each other, use humans for their own purposes (toying with their emotions and driving them crazy), cheat and lie. The intrigue plays a big role in their daily lives. And they often come off as cold and ruthless. Don't get me wrong, reading about their evil plottings was very entertaining, I just wanted to learn more about the motivations behind them. 

     For the most part of this book, the romance takes a back seat. And that's a good thing. I was glad that the developing relationship between Allison and Ethan - as sweet and enchanting as it was - did not overshadow the rest of the story. To me, the most fascinating part of the book involved the mystery behind Allison's mother sudden descent into mental illness. I found it both absolutely terrifying and oddly intriguing. 

     As far as characters are concerned, I felt that Laura Howard did a good enough job introducing all the protagonists, though not so much fleshing them out further. With the exception of Allison and her mother, the characters - at least in my opinion - lacked emotional depth. The first part of the book - the part that focused primarily on Allison, her mom and their daily struggles with mental illness - was fantastic. It was creepy, moving and emotionally affecting, and it really made you want to find out more. But it all went downhill from there. The moment we're introduced to the Danaans and get thrown into the fairy world, we're being bombarded with confusing names, bits and pieces of mythology and the never-ending intrigue. All that makes the plot rather difficult to follow and you kind of find yourself wishing for more simplicity and less chaos. 

     All in all, while I did enjoy the mythological backdrop and the family dynamics depicted in The Forgotten Ones, I also found myself wishing for more in-depth exploration of some of the aspects of the story. This is definitely a good book and a promising beginning to a great new series, it just needs some polishing and further character development. I'm confident that fans of paranormal fantasy - and fans of fairy lore in particular - will enjoy this one even more than I did!

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Author Bio

Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.
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Grand prize giveaway
Open internationally
--5 eBook copies of The Forgotten Ones
--25$ Amazon Gift Card

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