{Review/Giveaway} A CLEARING IN THE FOREST by Kim Love Stump

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O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    PRINCESS ADRIANA KEPT HER hand steady as she lifted the slim onyx cylinder from the castle courier's outstretched palm. But she could not keep her heart from pounding or her throat from squeezing shut, making it difficult to swallow. Her Summons of Standing had arrived. The small parchment scroll contained within ordered her to proceed at once to the King's Throne Room.
    Adriana hurried down the long stone corridor. She had been expecting the summons for days, both dreading and anticipating what it would reveal. She was not concerned over her reception by the King--she was the beloved eldest child, in her opinion her father's favorite, and the apple of the kingdom's eye.
    But this audience would set the course of her life.

(Page 6, US e-book edition)

“We gave you courage and fidelity and kindness. They were Ora to give and we gave then freely to you.

But be Forewarned, your greatest strengths can hinder you more than your weaknesses...” 


A CLEARING IN THE FOREST is the first stand-alone book in the Journeys from Ayrden series by Kim Love Stump, about a royal family who sends out its heirs on their sixteenth birthday to embark on a quest. Only those that return are eligible to one day inherit the throne. Eldest daughter Adriana is the first to embark on such a journey, and it is foreshadowed that she will encounter many perils ahead of her.

I was surprised and intrigued by the fact that the book was a stand-alone. I knew it was the first in a series, but I thought that Adriana's journey would continue and be longer. Fans of stand-alones--especially in fantasy--will rejoice. This book is also super appropriate for all ages and full of wonder and enchantment. In some ways, it reminded me of a fairy tale: Three paths lie before you. Which do you take, the ordinary or the spectacular? Your choice will prove your character. Etc, etc. Even one of the predicaments Adriana gets into had a fairy tale-esque spin to it.

The imagery of the world was unique and intriguing, from the way food was gathered to the types of worlds Adriana encountered.  Nothing was ordinary or expected, and I really enjoyed that, especially with all the musical elements brought into play at one point. I loved visualizing so many new elements and embracing this odd, marvelous little world.

The end did feel a little abrupt for me, and I hope the book overlaps into the second one and continues Adriana's journey a little further, one of those books where it can be read on its own but has something extra for continuing readers, too!

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: G ( barely-there kissing )
Language: --
Violence: --
Other:  --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

The cover itself isn't anything new, but I LOVE the stamp for the series:

I love the miniature kingdom and the swirls on either side and the unfurled scroll with the series name and the circle of leaves. I just love the series logo so much!!
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Kim Love Stump
Release Date: Aug. 14, 2016
Publisher: Foxcroft Publishing
Received: Purchased

Princess Adriana is about to leave the Kingdom of Ayrden on the Journey of her sixteenth year.

If she is ever to ascend to the throne, Adriana must go—alone and unarmed—into the unknown. She’s been trained and gifted for the journey, just like all the royals who preceded her—even the ones who never returned.

Adriana leaves Ayrden on her brother’s black stallion the day after her birthday celebration, with bravery in her heart and hopes for a quick return. When three paths emerge, one of grass, one of gold, and one of gemstones, she chooses the pragmatic path of grass. Although it seems safe, and the landscape familiar, she soon finds she will have to overcome nearly impossible challenges. Ultimately, an unexpected friendship not only changes Adriana, but the very kingdom she someday hopes to rule. The question is, will the friendship turn into everlasting love?
About the Author
Kim Love Stump has loved to read and write ever since she can remember. Whether it was writing a story in third grade called I am a Date, or curling up in her swinging chair reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, fiction in all its forms has always been the fastest way for her to transport herself somewhere else. Now, as an author, Kim strives to transport others in that very same way. She and her husband of more than 30 years make their home in Charlotte, NC.


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