I read a lot of galleys. A lot of them. My dream is to discover the next big thing before they’re actually, you know, the next big thing. Everybody loves to have a good “I knew them when” story. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. I’ve been in a reading slump for longer than I care to think about.
Then I got an email from Candlemark & Gleam. I love this publisher. C&G is responsible for bringing Justin Robinson into my life. I trust these folks with my reading time. It wasn’t just any email, either. It was the announcement of an upcoming book. From a new author. With a link to the galley. A debut novel backed by Candlemark & Gleam? Yes, please.
I work two jobs, six days a week. It’s safe to say that when I began reading Olivia R. Burton’s MIXED FEELINGS, I didn’t have a lot of free time. I made the time. I read in the car line at Squish’s school, in bed at night far later than I should have. On one occasion, I nearly maimed a co-worker because he wouldn’t stop talking while I was trying to read the last fifteen pages on my lunch hour.
From the moment I began reading, I was charmed. Gwen, the protagonist, is so far from perfect that she could be me. She’s an empath like no other – she’s self-centered, and more than a little lazy. She’s a therapist by trade, but more because it’s the easy route than because she cares about people. She’s so real I think I may have gone to high school with her.
She learns from two terrifying faeries about the abduction of several children, and isn’t overly concerned. That these faeries also mistake her for the emissary of some powerful and mysterious mistress doesn’t bug her much, either. When someone steals her birthday cupcakes, however, Gwen is finally stirred to action.
Burton is a wonderful storyteller. The pacing is pitch-perfect. The book is neither so fast-paced that it’s confusing nor so cliched that it’s predictable. It’s a fun ride. The characters are believable, and there’s no end of surprises in store. No spoilers or anything, but Go, Chloe! Like, seriously. And the author avoids the info-dumps so common in the genre. Her world and back story unfold very organically.
The book is not perfect. Gwen’s appetite for sweets and Mel’s appetite for the ladies (I do so want to learn in future books that he’s a virgin!) are a little over-the-top. But the writing is so solid that the flaws are forgivable. In a world of authors who take themselves and their stories way too seriously, Mixed Feelings is a fun read. I give it a solid four stars. I visited the author’s website and learned she has many books planned and even written that take place in this same world. That is a whole lot of happy in one place.
The release date for MIXED FEELINGS is November 11, 2014. I love this book so much, I’m going to buy it. Friends, there is no higher praise.
Sound like a book you’d like to read?
I encourage you to give it a whirl. Get in on the ground floor, here. You’ll be able to say you knew Olivia R. Burton when. This girl is going places!
(Edited to remove rafflecopter giveaway, which is over.)
Original version published at Becoming Cliche. Reposted, in full, with permission of the author.