Book Review: Winter's Shadow by M.J. Hearle

Monday, April 18, 2011

Winter's Shadow by M.J. Hearle
Publication date: 1st June, 2011
Source:  Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia
Blake Duchamp...

He's all that Winter Adams can think of. Ever since their fateful meeting at Pilgrim's Lament. Ever since he looked at her with those emerald eyes. Ever since he saved her life.

But Blake isn't all that he seems. There is a strangeness about him, something dark and otherworldly. Something dangerous. In his attic is a secret he would kill to defend, but Winter seems to have a special ability to make him forget his duty. And he is her only protection against the gathering darkness.

The only problem is, to protect Winter, Blake must risk exposing her to an even greater danger. Himself.

My Review:

Favourite Quote: Blake titled his head at her as if she was a particularly tricky problem to solve.  Their eyes locked, and for one delirious moment Winter had the sense again that Blake wanted to kiss her.  It was an irrational, impossible, wonderful instinct - an instinct her body reinforced through its reaction.  Flushed with heat, her pulse quickened, and everything stood out in exquisite detail.  The stars in the sky, Owl Mountain, a tooth of darkness in the distance, a stray lock of Blake's hair stirring in the breeze, the sensual curve of his lips, and  his eyes.  Most of all his eyes.

Isn't that quote gorgeous?  Winter's Shadow is a dark and appealing read that is so beautifully written.  It's pages are full of intrigue and mystery that make it hard to put it down.

Hearle writing is hypnotic.  He has a great eye for details especially when it came to describing the setting.

Through the broken pane of the stained glass window she could see the remnants of an ancient graveyard, all but hidden by the tall grass and weeds that had crept in from the surrounding woods.  Blackened tombstones rose above the grass here and there like strange fungi, weathered by the elements and the passage of time.  Standing over of the graves, dressed in a simple gray suit, was a young man.

The pace starts very slowly, maybe a little too slow in the first half but it does pick up and then you find yourself completely captivated by this tale.  The plot is refreshingly different from other paranormal reads out there. Hearle has certainly created an interesting and unique concept that is full of dark and eerie secrets that gently unravel ensuring you are kept in suspense until the end.
Winter's Shadow is mainly told from Winter's POV.  We do get flashbacks to 1878 and Blake's narrative briefly that allows us to understand the story better.   Both Winter and Blake are likeable and well crafted characters.  However, Blake would be the standout out character for me.  He was a complex and alluring.

The ending was satisfying but at the same time wanting more.  I am left hoping there is more to Winter's and Blake's story. 

Overall, Winter's Shadow is a strong debut novel.  It you are looking for an exceptional paranormal romance that is smart, spellbinding and original than you shouldn't miss this.

Overall Rating: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 4/5

For more info: Visit MJ Hearle's website.

Note: This book is an Australian title for those of you participating in the Aussie YA Reading Challenge.   No international release date yet.  But I am hoping to arrange a book tour for this in the near future with Go Aussie Book Tours.


Jess - The Tales Compendium said...

This is the second review I've read recommending it. I'll have to keep my eyes open for it. Thanks Nic!

Cass said...

The book does sound fabulous! Thanks for the review, and I like the quotes you included. I'll be reading this next month, it's nice to know what's coming.

It's a Book Thing said...

Great Review! Thank you - Going to keep a look out for it!

Hope you can stop by the blog to say hi!

Savannah said...

This sounds like a great book! I love the cover! Going to keep my eye for this one so I can read it. Great review :)

Nomes said...

wow nic. way to write a review!

i do like the prose samples you included. and the fact that it sounds different to what is already out there (and written by a male!)

Jan von Harz said...

Sounds like a great read. Love the quotes and can see why you call Hearle's writing hypnotic. Great review!

Jenny said...

Ooooo this sounds really good. I do love paranormal YA romance:) So glad to know that despite it's slow start it really picks you up and you're able to get fully immersed in the story. Fabulous review Nic!

Anonymous said...

Wow- that cover is beautiful. I love smart books, ones that dont seem like cheesy teen insta-love garbage, I will for sure check this one out! :)

Blueicegal ♥ said...

Hehehehe I like the sound of this one! Love the cover.

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

Exquisite quotes Nic! I've been looking for a love story that doesn't seem so contrived. The one between Winter and Blake sounds epic. And I have yet to read an Aussie paranormal, so that makes me super excited to try this one.

Dazzling Mage said...

Ooh, I'm really curious about this now. From the quotes, it seems this book is fantastic. Great review!

Leanna Elle said...

Oh hey, Blake Duchamp!

I love a good paranormal love story and hadn't heard of this one before. I'll add this to my list and keep an eye on the Book Depo and/or an International release.

Great review, Nic! :)

Jenny N. said...

Do you know if this is releasing in North America too? Love the first quote and makes me wnat to read this now.

Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) said...

Great review! I added it to the ever growing and never ending to read list. Who knows if I ever will get to read it, hopeful it does release over here soon (or ever!).

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Darn those Aussies... making a book like that and then placing it out of my reach! *sob* Oh, those quotes really make me want to read this. You are so evil for getting me all excited to read it and then go "na na!" it's only published here! ;) I suppose we do get you back from time to time... *sigh* Darn publishers!

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

This book sounds great!! Thanks for the review!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nic,
Thanks for the kind review. I'm hard at work on the sequel to Winter's Shadow at the moment. It's tentatively called Winter's Light and should be out next year. If you're interested check out my website for updates.
Thanks again,
M. J.

Lamia (The Book Eater) said...

Great review! This book looks so exciting. Blake looks really intriguing and the plot makes me want to buy the book... Right now. And I just saw the pub date was only in june. Damn! I need to get my hands on it.
Thank you for a lovely aussie rec! I'm really addicted to them :)

Julie said...

I'd definitely love to read this book. The story sounds as haunting as the cover. And yes, the writing seems very hypnotic. Love the quotes. It's extremely visual. I hope it comes out in the US soon!

Alix said...

Sounds intriguing I'll keep my eyes out for an international release :)

Love the cover too, I had hair that colour at Uni :)

Misha said...

Awesome review! I love the cover too. I am glad to hear that it's beautifully written. I hope to read it some day.

A Canadian Girl said...

Sigh, another great Aussie book that I won't be able to read :( I love the sound of the story and characters and so will add it to my wishlist on Book Depo.

Anonymous said...

what colour is winter's eyes

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