Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Summer Solstice: Enchanted by K.K. Allen



Title: The Summer Solstice: Enchanted
Author: K.K. Allen
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Synopsis:

After Katrina Summer’s mother dies a mysterious death, she is hurtled into life at Apollo Beach where she learns the legends of her Ancient Greek ancestors. Kat’s world unravels as secrets from her heritage are exposed—secrets that her mother purposefully concealed. Leading to her 16th birthday, the day of the Summer Solstice, Kat becomes frightened when enigmatic visions and disturbing dreams haunt her. As her visions become reality fear turns to terror as powerful forces threaten the lives of those around her. Amidst the turmoil, Kat meets Alec Stone, who becomes her sole solace in an evocative world of mythological enchantment and evil prophecies that lurk around every corner . . .





The Author

K.K. Allen is the Contemporary Fantasy / Romance author of stories inspired by nature, magic and love. She loves manatees, learned to swim for the mere purpose of pretending she was a mermaid, and adores the beach so much she promises to one day live on one (in a tent if she has to) in Hawaii and serve snow cones on the side of the road. K.K.'s Summer Solstice series (The Summer Solstice Enchanted, The Equinox, and The Descendants) are now available! Her short story, Soaring, is available in the Echoes of Winter YA anthology.




Excerpt #1

I sit in front of the mahogany vanity that towers before me. It’s a monument much like everything else in my room. If the objects aren’t generous in size then they make up for it in their beauty and fragility.

Staring at my new reflection in the large oval mirror, I notice my face is fairer than I’m used to and it glows magnificently. My eyes are a bright and unusual shade of silver. My dark brown hair is soft, long, thick, and flowing down past my shoulders. I take in my groomed features with awe and reach for the glass, to touch the girl in the mirror. With every move of my hand as it creeps toward the glass my reflection follows in perfect synchrony. Together, our hands rise to our faces and move a strand of hair from our heads.

My lashes are longer. My nails, now they’re near my face, appear manicured and long—that's when I notice it . . .

The necklace. It lies across my neck as if made for me, but not just any necklace; the green stone reflects the light of the sun now streaming in through the massive balcony windows. I move to touch the necklace, lifting it gently from my neck.

My heart pounds like a steady drum as the image in the mirror smiles at me with an almost evil glimmer in its eye. I gasp. My image does not gasp with me but smiles even brighter. There are silver streaks of madness in her eyes that freeze me. Her eyes narrow and turn, so they no longer meet mine. They stare over my shoulder to where an antique vase sits, laden with fresh flowers. I watch it rise with every move of my reflection’s finger until it's propped up, lingering in midair.

A terrifying scream comes from the mirror and I jam my palms to the sides of my head to muffle the horrible sound. My image isn’t smiling anymore. Her mouth is grotesque, stretched to the sound of her scream. The vase shakes violently until, with a high-pitched ring, it shatters in midair, spraying my bedroom with glass.




Giveaway


Win a Kindle Fire, $10 Kindle Gift Card and copy of ‘Echoes of Winter’ (YA short stories).




My Review

Enchanted is a great introduction to the Summer Solstice Series by K.K. Allen.

I liked Katrina Summer, who, when we first meet her, is a shy and awkward teen. As the story progresses she becomes more confident and courageous.
I enjoyed the way that the connections between the characters developed at a natural pace. The spark of romance between Kat and Alex wasn't rushed and the strained relationship between Kat and her previously estranged Grandmother evolved gradually through the book.

The story is told from Kat's POV and ticks along at a steady pace. It's a good coming of age story with an original and believable mythological/fantasy backdrop.

The book is, as the title suggests, enchanting. :)




Excerpt #2

Today marks the sixteenth year of my life, a milestone that Rose believes to be cause for a celebration. It’s finally time for me to make an entrance to my party. I pause at the top of the grand staircase, taking one final look in the full-length mirror at the top of the stairs.

Charlotte helped me get dressed, despite my resistance. With simple touches like mascara and blush, my long eyelashes are accentuated and my cheeks rosy. Light eyeliner defines my silver-blue eyes, which are becoming more silver with every day that passes. It’s my hair that really strikes me though. The length alone has grown so fast over the few short weeks I’ve been here and it’s now down past my shoulders, in curvy locks.

During my research, I attempted to understand more about the day my grandmother holds so special. The summer solstice, June twenty-first, is the first day of summer. It’s also the longest day of the year as the sun reaches its highest point in the sky at noon. Since spending hours upon hours in the library, I’ve read all varieties of stories of the summer solstice and its celebrations. In general, it is a time when social code shifts as servants share in the merriment as equals. Sometimes, their masters even serve them.

Rose’s wild stories and crazy imaginings are getting the better of me. My dream last night had been just like the first upon arriving at Summer Estate. The girl in the glass shattered the same vase. Everything about the dream was exactly the same—except the evil smile in the mirror belonged to my grandmother. This time it was she who raised her hand to make the vase burst in midair.

I’m disappointed that my questions are still unanswered after all the reading I’ve done. What does any of this have to do with Rose’s obsession with Ancient Greek culture and our family history? At some point today, I plan to confront her. She will tell me everything she knows. She has to.

I run my hands down my ribs, onto the small of my waist, and finally to the top of my thighs, all covered in a simple green chiffon, baby doll dress that reaches to a couple inches above my knees. With a deep breath, I turn and look down the semi-spiral staircase that flows into the foyer. But before I take my first step, I peer over the rail to the great room below. It’s as if I’m overlooking a scene from a Mardi Gras parade. Explosions of color decorate the room. Generous arrangements of food and beverages are scattered around the room. A folk band plays spirited music from the corner. Arrangements of white flowers are sprinkled just about everywhere.


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