Friday, 3 January 2014

ARC Review ~ Storm and Stone by Joss Stirling

Storm and Stone
ARC paperback won from in a competition by the author in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 14th February 2014

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Behind the ivy-clad walls of an exclusive boarding school, lurks a sinister web of corruption, scandal, and conspiracy. American student Raven Stone has noticed something is horribly wrong. First there were the unexplained disappearances. Then there were the teachers' lies. And now the death threats ...Also entangled in the disturbing turn of events is the enigmatic Kieran Storm - a fellow student with a killer intellect and a body to die for. He's heading for trouble and taking her with him. Raven can feel herself falling in love, but can she trust a boy she knows almost nothing about?

My Opinion

When I got an email from the author saying I had won an advanced copy of Storm and Stone for my review of a previous book by her, I squealed and did a little dance around my living room. I've had Storm and Stone on my wish list ever since it appeared on Amazon and it was one of the books I was most looking forward to reading this year, so I was eager to start it as soon as it came. Unfortunately, I had some other books I was under obligation to review first so I had to wait a few weeks (yeah I know it's not that long really). Anyway, Storm and Stone didn't disappoint and I think it's my new favourite by Joss Stirling.

The blurb didn't really give me much to go on with what was going to happen in the book so I didn't know what to expect beside some romance and mystery. I definitely didn't see Joe and Kieran's part in the book coming though. And although their roles are revealed quite early on I'm not going to ruin anything for your by saying it. I'll let you find out for yourselves.

For me the best part about this book was that it was believable - especially the relationships between characters. The banter between Joe and Kieran was brilliant and made me smile as they teased one another. I especially like Joe's joke on Kieran's class schedule! It was easy to believe they were close and I liked the differences in personality. They worked together, with Kieran's over analytical mind contrasting with Joe's easy manner that drew everyone in. Kieran's personality never failed to amuse me, especially when the comments were not appropriate for the situation.

As well as this Raven was a great character. Having had a hard time growing up, she was easy to relate and sympathise with. She was likeable, yet she wasn't weak and didn't let her tormentors get the better of her. I loved her strong attitude and how she took no nonsense from anyone-even Kieran. They balanced each other well in the relationship and I think the author did a great job of building the romance. It was sweet, fun, emotional and had just the right amount of danger.

With plenty of twists and turns, Storm and Stone kept me engaged throughout the entire book. I didn't pause once while reading it! There is plenty of action that leaves you hanging on every word and I was surprised at how the plot developed. The book was definitely not what I was expecting which made it all the more enjoyable.

Overall, Storm and Stone was a brilliant read that delivered on my high expectations for this author. I love her work and can't recommend it highly enough. If what I said above wasn't enough there is also a subtle message about stereotyping and prejudices that was cleverly woven into the book. It's not glaringly obvious but it's something I've come to notice with this author and she is one of the few, for me, who can pull it off well due to the subtlety. If you love romance, action and mystery I would definitely recommend this book to you. I just wish it wasn't a standalone as I'd love more on Kieran and Raven!

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