I was messaged by the author who had uploaded the story for free for a short time. These are my honest feelings on the book and it is just my opinion, which is not meaning any offense to either the author or other readers. This review will probably contain spoilers. I'm writing this review as I'm reading it, so some things might turn out better than I feel at the time I write that portion.
I assume that the beginning, the sexual scene between the main character and some sort of mystery man, was meant to gain interest. However, I felt it to be somewhat out of place, especially considering that the very next chapter was nothing to do with the first. The first chapter really seemed to serve no purpose and was irrelevant to begin some sort of plot. I also kind of felt it... Innapproprate considering that the very next chapter opens up with the girl being six years old. I understand that it (the story after this) is a flash back to her past, but it makes the first chapter awkward, to say the least. Very awkward.
As for chapters two and three, I felt that it was short, but interesting. I felt that the girl had people who cared of her, despite not having parents that were around. Though, I do feel that the author placed too many harsh feelings on the parents. Though the parents were absent, the girl was young at this point and the feelings of abandonment might just be that she might not have understood the circumstances of her parents. I liked this "history" into the character, but I think it was too short. I didn't appreciate the attempts to be mystical towards the end of the chapter as, like I said about the first, it doesn't further the plot much. The revelation about her parents at the end of the chapter brought me a little more interest of the plot, but it didn't feel like it was such an important aspect, being that Talia's feelings just don't seem realistic (especially for a girl so young). She cries a bit, but the story doesn't seem to convey what ought to be a truly devastating piece of news. I don't expect her to be completely depressed for the rest of the story, but my feelings after this chapter is that it's not such an important event to her, when realistically it would be very impacting. Chapter four continues with these events. She makes the realisation that she's completely alone, despite the fact that she's obviously not, considering her nanny. Not to mention the fact that two relatives, an aunt and uncle, turn up completely out of the blue.
I felt that her growing up was a little dull. She was taken in by her aunt and uncle (as well as the other children), I was kind of hoping that she would learn more about her parents; being that they had just died and she was meant to be mourning them. Yet, the story about the horses was completely unfulfilling. It really didn't serve much purpose, in my opinion. It's not actually until she turns twenty-one that she really begins to learn about her parents, which I just find to be weird. The family give her a lot of information about her parents, including contact details about their friends or people that they might have met. The reason that I point this out is that I reckon it would have been nicer to have them give her photographs and information over the years, letting her grow up with a little bit of knowledge about them. Keeping her away from those images and information just seems cruel. They've basically denied her fourteen to fifteen years where she might learn about her parents. On that note, it just seems so ridiculous that she could grow up so ignorant to basic facts about her parents. It also seems ridiculous that her aunt and uncle could keep all this information from her. Later on, it's finally revealed that she didn't even know their (her parents’) names, which is even more ridiculous.
The love story between Brad and Talia was gratuitous. I felt that they might indeed be in love with each other, but that it wasn't properly revealed to us. The author mentions that they became "as thick as thieves", yet in the chapters where she's growing up, all she really mentions is riding the horses all the time and we aren't introduced to the real portion of their "relationship" in any meaning of the word. The mixture between Brad leaving and the new discoveries of her parents became intertwined. Yet, I felt this to confuse the story a little. Earlier in my review, I was complaining of not much storyline, but now we have two (three if we include the horses) that seem completely irrelevant to each other.
There are a few more irrelevant portions in between here and the next actually important portion. The Australians she met were unoriginal and, I hate to say it, I kind of felt like the author was just vaguely reiterating some vague stereotype they had heard about Australians ("total piss-heads", really?). The relationship with Ethan was pretty dull and unimportant, especially the build up to them consummating their relationship. She didn't even seem to care about their relationship either, "I'm just happy to go with the flow..." Doug and Thailand were pretty dull as well. Though, the author feels it necessary to input more ignorant stereotyping of Australia, "Thailand was where I learnt to appreciate a good old Aussie tradition: the pub-crawl." Boon and the tai-chi served no real purpose, other than to stroke Talia's ego by her being so good at it. The further martial arts lessons are pretty dull and later in the novel, don’t seem to serve much purpose.
Towards the end of the story, I've come to the realisation that Talia is pretty inconsiderate to basically everyone she meets. She faults others for leaving without much mention, though she does it herself on multiple occasions. She faults others for not knowing much about her, yet doesn't tell them much in the first place. She makes observations about people to the point of rudeness and is kind of ignorant to those around her (though, I assume that as the fault of the author). In many cases, it just felt ridiculous that multiple men were falling head over heels in love with her when she had no real feelings towards any of them, save for one. I felt that was a poor choice for the author to make. The author also keeps on introducing ridiculous characters with weird stereotypes that don’t make sense to the story. Much of the characters or story lines introduced do not enhance or even have any relevance to the overall plot. In fact, there is a distinct lack of a real plot, just a few convoluted storylines which aren’t properly looked in to. Looking back over the first portion of the story, it presented multiple plots which the author could have followed. Yet, Talia takes on travels and pretty much ignores her parents’ deaths and her supposed love for Brad, despite the author trying to make it seem as if these are the major plot lines. Herein lies the problem. The author reveals plot after plot. Yet none seem to get completed in a realistic manner. A lot get minor continuances, but have no real importance within the entire story.
Some of these plots are continued, like the parents’ deaths and her supposed love for Brad. However, they weren’t completed. In an effort to continue with the Brad plot, we find out that he isn’t related to her biologically. I felt this to be somewhat tacky and a ridiculous way to further their supposed love. My main problem about their relationship is that when he’s getting married, he tells her that he’s always loved her. That he is choosing her, but marrying Suzanne. That makes no sense whatsoever, being that he’s choosing to make himself miserable. Not to mention, he claims that he’d been in love with her ever since they had first met (sort of) and if that were true, he realistically would never have left. It’s pretty obvious that he’s not in love with her at all and the author is just trying to continue the vague fantasy that everyone thinks Talia is fantastic.
I really, truly was expecting a lot from this story. Yet, it was an incredible disappointment. It took me roughly three hours to read it. It was marked as "paranormal" as one of the genres, I felt that it wasn't truly a paranormal book. There were one or two mystical elements that I can think of within it. Had they been taken out, the story wouldn't be very different. Though I am grateful that the author provided this for free, I am not intending to read other novels by this author. 1 star. I would not recommend it.