Azure by Chrystalla Thoma #Review

Azure by Chrystalla Thoma #ReviewAzure by Chrystalla Thoma

Series: Drowning In You #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published on September 2, 2013
Pages: 362
Format: eARC
Source: Author
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four-stars      three-flames

I read this as part of the Red Hot Lovers Box Set.  This was another new to me author and I found her writing enchanting.  This was a New Adult story, but it had the flavor of an older style romantic suspense.  There is a hint of magic or is there?  The reader is never sure and neither is the heroine as her holiday to Crete involves more than exploring its fabulous culture, beaches, and food.

Olivia has joined her two friends on their group holiday to Crete in an effort to get over a recent break up.  Her friends are concerned about her.  She doesn’t want them to worry for her.  She is shaken by the break up, but not overwhelmed in misery- for that reason.  But she has never talked about what sent her fleeing from her hometown to Germany for the last six months.  A terrible thing happened and it is her fault.  She can’t get past that and the broken relationship is just evidence of that.

But then Olivia encounters the mysterious, brooding Kai.  She is attracted to the young guy who works around the hotel owned by his relations, but she is also put off by his frequent mood swings.  There is a lot of pain and sadness in his eyes.  He is shunned by many on the island who call him cursed and avoid him in fear.  What had he done, she wonders? He has a strong affinity with the sea that seems to call him particularly from a certain ill-fated beach.

Olivia desperately wants to learn Kai’s secrets, but soon learns that if she wants to gain his trust and get him to open up then she has to do the same.  This prospect is daunting.  Her friends grow concerned about her obsession with Kai and fear he will hurt her, but Kai’s relations know his secrets and watch her with equal concern that she will hurt him.  Time marches forward and she knows that in the end she will leave and he will stay.  Can they help each other- find themselves- in time?

So yes, this was an emotional read.  Both hero and heroine come with lots of painful baggage.  They have the potential to help each other heal and be the person who understands the other.  I liked how the author teased out the tension by dropping hints of Kai’s past a bit at a time.  And then there is the island legends and magic.  Is it real?  Or is it fictional like Shakespeare’s play The Tempest that Liv’s friend keeps quoting about the island’s magic?  That was fun not knowing.

Liv gets caught up in her head a lot, but the monologue wasn’t so much that it messed with the pace too much.  Kai is always in his head, but then again, he doesn’t narrate so the reader can only guess at what he’s thinking.  They are strongly attracted, but there is a push-pull thing going on.  They have their secrets between them and then there is the fact that Liv isn’t staying.  I liked that they didn’t tumble straight into bed.  They move in that direction, but the pace is reasonable.

The balance of romance and personal growth for the characters was good.  I also enjoyed the details of the Crete background.  Just enough to engage without taking over the story.

All in all, I was well pleased with my first foray with this author.  I would definitely recommend this one to New Adult Contemporary Romance lovers who don’t mind a hint of magic.

The box set was provided free by the authors in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #27 NA
Literary Pickers #27 underwater
New to Me #14 author
Mt. TBR #15

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I do not mind a hint of magic so 🙂

    • That was one of the fun parts- is it real or not? Kept me guessing. 🙂

  • Hints of magic? Yes, please! I think I’m gonna go one-click this. I’m gonna be scarce in a couple of weeks, due to a family emergency. so this will be the perfect read to distract me. Great review!

    • Oh, well I do wish you well with the family situation and I think that’s good that you’re there for your family.

      Oh yes, that magic was a draw for me to as I tried to figure out if it was real or exactly what was going on.

  • I like it when it references to a classic. Given that its executed well of course. So is this magic realism?

    • It was fun seeing the gentle ties to Shakespeare’s The Tempest. And yes, I suppose it falls into that category.

  • I like emotional reads when I’m in the mood for it.

    • Exactly! I have to be in the mood or I don’t have the patience for people to work their stuff out.

  • I haven’t read one where the setting is in Crete. I like the sounds of the touch of magic. This one sounds really nice even if emotional. Great review, Sophia!

    • The setting was one of the best parts and that hint of magic kept me guessing, but yeah, this pair have the emotions on high. 🙂

  • Omg! Haha I totally recognize the male cover model because I just read a book he was on. How weird is that?? Teehee! ♡♡ I loved your review girl, and my favorite part?? That is is BROODY and MYSTERIOUS. Although this trooe is kinda cliche, I don’t mind one bit! I’m glad you liked this one! ♡ now you said this is a series? Or a box set? Are the same characters in each one ?please say yes!

    • I have had that happened with covers, too. I associate the cover with just one book and then it’s weird to see the same cover or even the same models on a different cover.

      You’re in luck. This is a standalone story. It was part of a box set, but it’s a variety pack.

  • You are having success with these boxed sets. I own quite a few on my kindle and should dive in. I do love the sound of this and the touch of magic has me curious.

    • This particular set has 18 stories in it (whew) and this was the 10th one and so far only one was a dud for me. I’ve been tackling one story a month from this set and two from a historical one I got. Iza gave me the idea to read them broken up like this so they wouldn’t be so scary. 🙂

      The magical element was a definite draw to this story. I spent most of the time wondering is there or isn’t there about

  • That sounds really captivating, Sophia! I love the idea of not quite knowing if there’s a hint of magic or not. And Crete would be a wonderful backdrop for romance. Just added it on to my list 😀 (ps sorry for the comment bomb today. I’m trying to get caught up on visits from the last couple weeks. eeps! lol)

    • Comments are always welcome from you. Always.

      Oh, yes, that was the fun part. They are such broody people that it helped balance things.