Stars of Fortune
I love romances set on Greek Islands, and when I learned this first book in the author’s Guardians trilogy is set on Corfu, I downloaded it immediately. Unfortunately, after the initial chapters, the book felt as if it could have been set anywhere near the sea and didn’t live up to my expectations.
The book begins with a tale of three goddesses making stars of fire, ice, and water for their new queen, when the evil Nerezza appears and tries to take the stars. Nerezza is banished from the land, but on leaving vows to return, take the stars, and gain immeasurable power. Each goddess hides one star and stands watch over it for protection. Okay, confession time. I read the first few pages of this tale, rolled my eyes, and skipped to the contemporary portion of the book. I did go back and read the full tale after I finished, but don’t feel I missed much in skipping straight for the story set in today’s world, featuring artist Sasha Riggs.
Dreams and visions are disrupting Sasha’s life. She dreams of a distant island filled with battles, blood, and pain, but also sees the three stars. Joining Sasha in her dreams are two women and three men who share the pain but also offer her a chance for joy and true love. Sasha sketches her visions, and then does something seemingly irrational; she abandons her solitary life in North Carolina and books a flight for the island she dreams about: Corfu.
Soon after checking into her hotel on Corfu Sasha meets archaeologist Riley Gwin and over drinks, Bran Killian joins them. Sasha tells each she recognizes them from her dreams. She convinces them she’s not insane by showing her sketches. Both Bran and Riley know more about the stars, and the next day the three head off both to explore the island and find a home base. At this point I found myself rolling my eyes. Despite the dreams, despite the visions, I found it hard to accept that Sasha would move in with two virtual strangers who are clearly keeping secrets.
In quick order two others join their group. Sawyer King appears as a hitchhiker and willingly moves in with them, while Annika Waters appears almost mysteriously from the beach by their villa. And while engaged in an early, brutal battle, swordsman Doyle McCleary appears to help save them from Nerezza and her minions.
We learn quickly that Sasha and Bran have special powers and natures; Sasha is a seer and Bran is alternately called a sorcerer, a witch, and a wizard. The other four’s secrets are revealed more slowly, and a couple surprised me. While the six quickly form as a team, they continue to hold secrets.
Sasha’s feelings for Bran began in her dreams, and get stronger upon meeting. Bran’s equally attracted to Sasha, and it’s all he can do to resist making love when she wanders into his hotel room the first night in the midst of a vision. When they do make love, it’s everything they each hoped for. Without getting into spoilers, I had issues with just how hot and pleasurable it was given things we learn about Sasha’s past history.
While Sasha and Bran are clearly the main couple, much of the focus is on the establishment of the team. That being said, I found five of the team quite interesting, in particular archaeologist Riley, but had major issues with Annika. It seemed obvious from the first what Annika’s special power/nature is, and I found it surprising the other five didn’t suspect. Clearly they all knew something was unusual as Annika doesn’t recognize the most basic items, and speaks in a simplistic manner. But there were several clear, repeated clues that no one seemed to notice. The six spend large amounts of time in the stunning villa Riley miraculously obtained for them. With a few nods to the seashore and restaurants, the book could have taken place on any island.
Overall I found this easy to read for a few minutes at a time and just as easy to set aside for days or weeks. For me it’s a C+, a tiny bit better than average, but just not enough to recommend. Mostly I wish I’d waited for the price to drop as $9.99 feels like a lot to have paid for what I got.