Friday, May 5, 2017

Review & Tour: To Betray My King by Kayla Lavan

Title: To Betray My King
Author: Kayla Lavan
Genre/Age: Fantasy Romance/YA
Series: The Betrayal Legacy Series (Book One)
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via YABound
Rating: ✺✺✺.5
SynopsisWould you choose to save your kingdom or follow your heart?

Brave and kindhearted, Arianna is a princess of a kingdom that nobody wants. The magicless. Marrying the charming, flirtatious, and egotistical Prince Roland was the last thing either of them wanted, but for the sake of their people they agreed. War breaks out with the neighboring kingdom, forcing the prince’s hand to join in the fight. He leaves his new wife with the only man he trusts, his childhood friend, a dutiful, strong, and handsome knight.

A sweet romantic tale of forbidden love in a dark fanatical world.

Arianna found herself in the garden, sitting on the bench. Groaning, she pinched the bridge of her nose, feeling a familiar throb behind her eyes.

"You lasted longer than I thought you would." Conrad was plucking a nice green apple from the tree. It tore off with a snap, the branch springing back into place, rustling the leaves.

Arianna gave a halfhearted reply, taking it as a compliment. "Thanks."

He took a large bite out of his snack, plopping down beside her. His heavy weight caused the bench to jump. She braced the armrest in surprise. "You going to the ceremony?" He didn't bother to notice the jarring impact he caused.

She released her hold on the bench. "I am the princess." She brushed her hands over her gown, knocking off the invisible dust.

"The twins will be there," he said.

"Your brothers?" She smiled. "That's wonderful."

He snorted, taking another bite of his apple. "I'll never hear the end of it."

"Is your whole family coming?"

He shrugged. "I guess."

"Are you not excited?"

He seemed unsure. "I always pictured them as my little brothers." He sighed, staring at the half-eaten apple. "They are becoming more powerful every day."

"Growing up is a part of life."

He tapped his finger beneath his grey iris. "They will be stronger then me soon."

A soft touch upon his knee. "Just because you are half-blooded doesn't make you half of a person."

"If it wasn't for the fact that my father had such strong magic, I don't think I would've been a guard."

"It isn't just your weaving," she said, trying to encourage him. "You're loyal and strong." She paused. "And very good with a sword."

"You've never seen me use a sword."

"No." She glanced away for a second. "But Roland trusted you to protect me. If he has faith in you, I do too."

He leaned against the bench, resting both arms on the back of it. "Did anyone ever tell you that you are too honest?"

A sly smirk appeared on her face. "Are you blushing?"

He huffed in disbelief, turning his head away. "Of course not."

She leaned forward, tilting her head more to see him. Her smile widening. "Ah! You are--!" The apple was shoved into her mouth. She gave a muffled cry.

He chuckled. She removed the apple with a puff. "Why are you taking it out? It suited you." He rested his cheek against his knuckles, giving her a handsome smirk.

I've been writing half of my life, starting at the ripe old age of 13. Back then my favorite pass time was doodling in class, sleeping in class, and studying tests or homework that was due the next class period. But by night I lead a secret life. I would go home, turn on my computer, and get on my dialup Internet (which makes me sound really old) and I would write. 

At first it was for fun. I was brave back then and posted everything online. In the 14 years I have been writing, I have posted over 1.5 million words, all of which is still available to read for free. My most well known story being "Fun 'N' Games at Ouran". 

A year or so ago I posted a one-shot that was 50k-60k in words. Afterwards, I looked at it laughing, and said to myself "I think I would like to get paid for this now" and then 'To Betray My King' was born. It seems so simple as I'm sitting here, typing this for you to read, but it's the truth. 'Betray' is my first book, but it won't be my last. I love writing. I would never give it up for anything in the world.

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Buy Link: Amazon

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**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

I am entirely too confused right now...

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Princess Arianna has decided to marry Prince Roland, not because she loves him but due to her commitment to her family's kingdom and their citizens. She doesn't even know the prince and has no idea what he looks like but she's hopeful that their union will lead to a respectful marriage, despite Roland's scandalous reputation as a womanizer.

Roland isn't your typical prince. He'd rather prance around town, hopping from one beautiful woman's bed to another, than spend his time studying how to rule a kingdom. Yet, war will wait for no one and there is one brewing. So Roland's time for play is coming to an end. He must get married. It's too bad that his new princess seems immune to his charm.

Conrad is tired of cleaning up Roland's messes. And there have been a lot of them. Though the prince is his best friend, Conrad knows that it's time for Roland to grow up and put his kingdom first. And Conrad finds Arianna to be a dream wife for any man, even him. 

When Roland must leave for war, Conrad is tasked with protecting the princess. As time goes by, it becomes harder for the guard to ignore the desire he feels for Arianna. But when the prince returns, where will it leave the three?

My thoughts have been conflicted over this book for several days.

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On one hand, there is a lot to like about this story. The author does a good job of weaving a complex tale with colorful characters in an old-world setting. The world-building is deep but created with ease. There are several kingdoms, different forms of magic, and a rich history here, yet I was never overwhelmed by any of this.

We saw things from all three of our main characters' POV, though Roland's was missing for most of the book due to his absence. Each of the three voices leading the story were strong and unique. I can't say I liked listening to one over the other, really. It was nice to get to see all sides of the story and connect with all three characters, separately. 

The story had decent pacing with bursts of action here and there. Since we know this is a love triangle in the making, there is a level of tension growing throughout. The writing for most of the book was well-done and easy to follow. There were some slow spots, mostly right after the middle, but I never wanted to put it down.

However, I did run into some trouble. For one, I think Conrad and Arianna's relationship could have become more obviously romantic. Theirs is a great friendship but really only Conrad's thoughts stray into romantic territory. I wanted to see more of those thoughts coming from Arianna. She certainly had them for Roland. 

I also had a big problem with the ending. Everything was going good, for the most part, for the first three-quarters of the book. When Roland returns, we have that tension that has been slowing building, but to my surprise, it was over in a flash. Then there is a sudden shift in the story and the plot practically explodes with one event after another--none of which are adequately explained. I felt as if I was reading a completely different book at this point.

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I won't give anything away but I will say that there are several scenes in which characters are vaguely described, I assume to keep their identities a secret. Yet, I became confused by the different unnamed men in the chapter. Who is who and why so much secrecy? I wouldn't call the end a cliffhanger, more like a big gaping hole in the story. And in fact, there is a missing chapter, as noted in the author's comments in the final pages.

The book left me with questions that I couldn't find answers to unless I subscribed to the author's email and received the missing chapter. I wont lie, it was a bummer. It's like getting all the way through a book and reaching no conclusion. At all. Not even a build-up for the next book. It's disappointing to say the least, but I did give in to the author's book-extortion and subscribe to the newsletter.

Soon after, I received the missing chapter. It is a great addition to the book and I believe it should be included in the main story, itself. No, it doesn't answer all of my questions. It also doesn't necessarily explain the epilogue, either. But it does at least answer one question and that is whether I will continue reading this series. And I will. What can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to a fantasy romance.

In closing... 
I recommend requesting the missing chapter before you even start this book so you'll have it when you need it. It was a good read even if I did want to pull my hair out at the end. 3.5 suns!

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