This story took of at an extreme pace. I’m not usually a fan of the typical “love at first sight” kind of books but the mystery surrounding Nate and Cora’s relationship was intense. I really liked that, although the characters were obviously crazy about each other, the focus point was the curse on Cora’s family. I immediately connected with the main character of the story, Nate. He was funny and intelligent. His love interest, Cora, was also very interesting. Coming from a family with a history of cursed woman, she and Nate fight an evil spirit for the love they have found. The ending really was not what I expected and I think that is the main reason I like this book so much. This book is a good mix between suspense, mystery, and a little romance. I cannot say enough how much this book surprised me. Although some parts were scattered and required a little concentration to understand, this was an all around good book. If paranormal mystery is your thing, I’d recommend this book. Julie
Erlanis Chronicles, 1
Nathaniel West’s mother is dead, his father a lost cause. Anger has become a way of life, until he meets and falls in love with Cora Ewell. Only Cora has a secret, one that could kill them both.
An age old dark magic resurfaces and it becomes a race against time for Cora and Nate to find the long buried secrets to saving everyone they love and each other.
After a near fatal accident leaves Nate in limbo, he must find a way to get through to Cora before time runs out and she is forced into life eternal with the evil wizard, Elias Stafford.
14+ for adult situations
I felt insignificant among the forest of tall, needle-like trees. Tree roots, covered in a thick green moss, erupted from the ground like long twisted fingers. A fine dewy mist hung low to the ground and rays of sunlight speared through the dense canopy. The path that had brought me to this point had now become nothing but a trail of crushed leaves and forest litter.
Which direction had I come from? Trees, mist, and fog enveloped me. My throat constricted. I needed to get out of there. I searched for my footprints to head back the way I’d come. I found them straightaway and was about to make for home when I felt a curious prickle on the back of my neck—that weird sense that someone was watching me. While I couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, my instincts told me something or someone had entered my little bubble of personal space. There was a familiar scent in the air, out of place in this earthy forest, the sweet perfume of roses.
I stood motionless, willing the entity out of its hiding spot. A movement, a blur, the rustling of leaves, then nothing. This place was messing with my head and I’d been here less than five minutes. Convinced my brain was playing tricks, I took one last look over my shoulder, then trekked back into the forest, not sure whether that was the right direction.
A flash of red whipped between two trees in front of me, stopping me in my tracks. I pressed my palms into my eyes. When I let go, tiny white flecks danced around my vision like fireflies. After a moment, my eyes regained their focus, but not before I stumbled, tripped over a tree root, and fell squarely on my arse. Something uncomfortable dug greedily into my thigh. I pushed the huge rock away and rubbed my leg furiously, knowing that was going to leave a bruise. Great.
The ground was cold and hard and dampness seeped through the seat of my shorts. I rolled to one side, ready to push myself back to my feet, but what I saw stole the air from my lungs and I fell back to earth with a thud.
Was it a girl or an angel? Surely, normal girls didn’t glow like that? I lay on the hard ground, transfixed and completely unable to move. Watching me from a short distance away was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen in my life.
Some things can be stalled or avoided altogether, but destiny isn’t one of them. As soon as Nathaniel began narrating his tale I knew he was going to have something worthwhile to say. His personality had a lot of rough edges. They occasionally made me wish he’d slow down and think about the consequences of his actions first, but his impulsivity and tendency to be blunt also rounded out his personality. Is he likable? No, not always. He is intriguing, though, and that matters a lot more to this reader. Nathaniel and Cora’s relationship moved incredibly fast. While I’m not opposed to the idea of two people instantly being attracted to one another, it was hard for me to understand why these particular characters fell in love when they knew nothing about each other. Their personalities and interests were quite different from one another. I don’t expect as many details from a short story as I would from a full length novel, but seeing them discover more similarities over the course of a few conversations first would have made their blossoming love more believable. The villain in this tale is deliciously frightening. Other characters discuss him for a while before he shows up, and the anticipation of seeing what he’s actually like kept me glued to the page. I learned enough about Elias to understand why everyone was so anxious about him. The scenes that included him were my favorite ones, though, and I looked forward to every single one of them. I’d recommend Of Fire and Roses to anyone in the mood for something paranormal and romantic that most definitely is not actually a paranormal romance. This a unique twist on themes that are common in both genres, and I, for one, am glad I read it.
General: I loved that this was a male dominated world (in terms of POV). I always like new/less done things and I feel like in romance when novels pick one POV it's normally female. Having a male narrator only really set the book off right for me and got me involved right away. The writing itself flowed well from scene to scene and the pacing was perfect from start to finish. The strongest element in this book were the emotional connections that were so beautifully drawn out. I didn't connect as well with Cora because of the external POV but I was so drawn to Nate. You could so easily feel what he was suffering, both in the past with his father and the present. Then there were the plot twists. All were wonderfully done, unexpected and made perfect sense. I loved the darker elements in the story because I felt it really pushed it one step past a traditional YA romance. I can't wait to move onto the next book and see where it takes me, as the ending is almost a cliffhanger and certainly left me dying for more. Characters: Cora- Cora was a delightedly dark character. I loved that we saw her through Nate's eyes because it was a testament to how emotions can color the view we have on a person. She was mysterious and intriguing. She felt believable although I would love some more time with her in future novels. Nate- Nate is the strongest YA male character I have ever read in a book 1. He had it all, gut wrenching sorrow, beautiful love and a broken home trying to heal. It was so easy to fall into love this guy and the way he faced his destiny was wonderful. I know he will only continue to grow and impress.
What a pleasant surprise this was. Not having read any teenage stories since - well, since I was a teenager, I really didn't expect to be taken on such a journey. The characters gripped me immediately and I couldn't put it down. Well done Danielle Belwater on such a terrific first novel. Can't wait to read more.
After a pretty horrible year Nate and his Dad move to a new town where he meets a beautiful girl called Cora. Of Fire & Roses sees Nate and Cora immersed in a battle against bad magic and an evil curse. It was an interesting change to read a YA book told in the guys POV and I enjoyed getting inside Nate's head. I did get confused at times because Nate's inner thoughts didn't always seem that congruent with a teenage guy. The language didn't always seem to 'flow' as the dialogue sometimes seemed a little immature but I'm sure this can easily be 'tightened' to increase the natural ebb and flow. I liked Cora and would have liked to have seen her developed a little more. The family history stuff reminded me a little of that in the Caster Chronicles (in particular Beautiful Creatures). I'm not generally a big fan of insta-love because I usually find it unrealistic, but when I considered the age of the characters and remembered how emotionally charged teenagers can be I was more willing to accept it. The book is short and sweet, combined with a clever concept and an interesting twist. I hadn't seen certain events coming and was happy with the ending. It would have been nice to have had the events spread over a longer time frame as everything seemed to happen rather quickly. The backstory with Stafford was intriguing and I enjoyed the supernatural element. Of Fire & Roses is a fun and intriguing introduction to Danielle Belwater's Erlanis series. I received the book from the author for an honest review!
What a great story! The beautifully written debut by this author captured my imagination with her vivid imagery and well-drawn characters. I loved reading a book written from a male POV and found Nate to be a really endearing character. I felt for him and his struggle with losing his mother and trying to make a new life, and rooted for his relationship with Cora. There were a few twists and turns, all unpredictable which is the sign of a skilled storyteller. There's hints of something darker coming in the next book and I can't wait to read more of Nate's and Cora's story. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to read a well-written YA romance with an original plot.