Friday, April 28, 2017

Review: Serenade by Heather McKenzie

The Nightmusic Trilogy, Book One
by Heather McKenzie
Clean Teen Publishing
YA Suspense, Romance
346 pages

Kidnapped and held hostage in the Rockies, a teenage heiress falls for her abductor while her corrupt father and devoted bodyguard fight to get her back. The discovery of true love and dark family secrets turns deadly in this epic coming of age adventure.

Kaya Lowen dreams of living like a normal eighteen-year old, but being heiress to a billion-dollar company has put her life in constant danger. Fiercely guarded by her powerful and corrupt father, she develops close bonds with those who protect her, especially Oliver a bodyguard who has proven his devotion to her time and again. He wins her heart - until a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning everything she believes in. 

Haunted by true love and reeling from a guilty conscience, Kaya's world unravels when she's kidnapped. Held captive in a rugged wilderness fraught with raging storms, mystical caves and deadly predators, Kaya's father scours the forest and her bodyguard fights to get her back. But, the discovery of a dark family secret makes Kaya wonder if staying in the arms of her blue-eyed abductor, a captivating stranger with dark secrets of his own, is a safer place to be. At least, that's what her heart is telling her, her head is saying run...

An epic adventure centered on a smoldering love-triangle, Serenade sings a timeless tale of courage, self-discovery, and life-or-death love that will leave you breathless.


Intrigue, tension and danger pack these pages the whole way through. 

Kaya is a rich man's daughter who lives in a castle in the mountains, which might sound like the perfect life. Except, it's not. Thanks to a grandfather who wants to see her dead, she's under constant, heavy security. No friends. No life outside of the bodyguards and her nanny. When secrets start to unfold, she discovers that her grandfather isn't the only deadly threat in her life.

My favorite part of this book is the great outdoors. This takes place in the rustic mountains and the landscape comes to life. The descriptions paint lovely scenes and place the reader between pines, rocks and waterfalls. Even Kaya's room and surroundings gain vividness without the text every tipping into wordiness.

Kaya is a pretty down to earth character--all things considered. Almost too much so. She lives a very sheltered life but has a strong personality and adapts easily. She's caring, has a warm heart and overflows in determination. It's easy to root for her the whole way through. Those around her are just as vibrant and personality rich as Kaya, and round off the scenes well.

Action and tension ride high the whole way through with mounds of unexpected twists and turns. There are layers upon layers of secrets, most which are hard to predict and catch by the surprise. Bad guys meld with the good ones, making it hard to know what the real intentions are. Not everything falls into place, leaving several holes scattered throughout. The reasoning behind several secrets laid a little thin.

Romance rides high and grabs with amazing heroes. But even these have intentions which aren't crystal clear. The author does a terrific job keeping a shadow of doubt over the purity of the love and danger which might lurk within. There is a love triangle and a hard hitting 'love at first sight', which lacked a bit of reality. 

All in all, this is an engaging read and is sure to keep young adult suspense fans on the edge of their seats, and dreaming of what book two will bring.

And here she is. . .

Heather McKenzie is a Canadian author and Serenade is her first novel. A professional singer/songwriter with five albums to date, she has been telling stories through music for years and pulls from her extraordinary experiences as a musician to fuel her passion for creating Young Adult fiction. A rocker at heart, a mom of three, an aspiring painter, and a lover of animals, she is kept grounded by her husband at their home in Edmonton.

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