Saturday 27 September 2014

The Golden Key Chronicles: Candra's Freedom by AJ Nuest

Title: Candra's Freedom
Author: AJ Nuest
Series: The Golden Key Chronicles 02
Read Type: ARC for HarperImpulse
Stars: StarStarStarStar

You can purchase a copy of this instalment of the series from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Alternatively you can purchase the entire Golden Key Chronicles on Amazon UK and Amazon US
You can find out more about the author on her Website, Blog, Facebook, Author Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

Series Synopsis

The key would unlock his future and the safety of his kingdom, but he never imagined the sorceress would unlock his heart…

Antiques restorer, Rowena Lindstrom, finds herself the owner of an ancestral armoire containing a hidden key and a magic mirror leading to another realm!

But the handsome warrior prince waiting on the other side is truly the final straw. This must be an elaborate joke, right? As she struggles to discover the truth, Rowena learns Prince Caedmon Austiere needs the key to save his kingdom. In the end, she cannot deny him anything. Including her heart.

Book Blurb

The key would unlock his future and the safety of his kingdom, but he never imagined the sorceress would unlock his heart…

Lost in a world she doesn't recognize, Rowena struggles to find her place.

Yet her abilities with a blade and the loyalty of a fierce falcon don't discourage the heated advances of the handsome Prince Caedmon, and the connection between them seems much deeper than her troubled heart can recall.

Author Bio

I am a multi-published, award-winning author who lives in the middle of a cornfield in NW Indiana. My loving husband, two beautiful children and a bevy of spoiled pets have agreed to stay and, in exchange for three rations per day and laundry service, tolerate my lunacy.

While I spend most days happily ensconced in crafting romance across a multitude of genres, an underground coup has been percolating. The dogs just informed me the cat is secretly vying for dictatorship. 


My previous reviews for this series can be seen below:
Rowena's Key

I received a copy of The Golden Key Chronicles from the author in return for an unbiased review. At the author's request I will read and review each novella separately, followed by an overview.

Strong language: Yes
Drugs: No
Violence: Yes
Sexual content: Negligible

Candra's Freedom starts two years from where we left Rowena's key, with Rowena having just landed in this new world, and being separated from her Prince Caedmon. While we don't know what has happened in between it's clear that Rowena is a very different woman to the one we saw before. She still has her stubborn edge, but now she is very tough and clearly has had a hard time.

Soon a boat is arriving, returning Caedmon from his time away. Knowing the situation even less than us, he scares her with his reactions and determinations to pick up where he left off. We see a lot of the circumstances through his eyes as he has to figure the past, and learn some hard truths. This showed a very different, side to him, emotions heightened until they made a wall of steel as he had to be restrained to stop him committing murder, as well as castle life, to what had been alluded to in Rowena's Key. Backstabbing and political wordplay take precedence at every turn. He can't rescue the heart of his girl without committing treason.

On Rowena's part she has become very physical, a trait that fits her bringing some of the modern day sexual equality with her to the past. She's inventive and the fights are written believably. I did feel they were lacking somewhat in emotion, however I think this is partly in design as Rowena has had to suffer to survive. When she is alone with her hawk I think is the only time we truly see her let down her guard and see what is really going on inside. This is subtle but clean, a good piece of writing.

I would have liked more interaction between Caedmon and Rowena as this is the main draw to get somebody to pick up the second novella, but what was there was tense, tight and filled with emotion from both sides, even if they weren't on the same page. I particularly liked the reversal of language in their main discussion, with Rowena having picked up the nobility's way of speech, but imploring Caedmon to "speak plainly" as he adopted speech nearer to what we'd use in every day. He was fluent and heartfelt, it made me really root for them.

Looking at the overall plot of this novella I am surprised it ended how it did and hope this was setup for a future book in the series or it will feel like we're back to square one again.

The 411

A very different tone to the previous novella, I liked the action packed side being broken by matters of the heart. The writing was clean and precise, but spent a bit long on some aspects.

Overall it kept my attention and made me want to read on to find out how this can be resolved.

I give this novella a 4


  1. Thank you so much for the review, Laura! I appreciate you taking the time to read my story! xo