Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Review & Giveaway: IN THIS IRON GROUND by Marina Vivancos (A Natural Magic Novel)

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Cover Design: Natasha Snow
Length: 85,000 words approx.


Damien is nine years old when his parents die. What should have been the worst moment of his life begins a journey shadowed by loneliness and pain. The night of a full moon, four years and seven foster homes later, Damien flees to the forest, desperate to escape everything.

Instead, he finds the Salgado pack, and the earth beneath his feet shifts. Damien has seen the Salgado children in his school: Koko, who is in his class, and Hakan, two years older and infinitely unreachable. Damien is suddenly introduced into a world that had only ever existed in his imagination, where there is magic in the forest and the moon. He meets creatures that look like monsters, but Damien knows that monsters have the same face as anybody else.

Over the years, Damien and Hakan grow closer. First, just as friends and foster brothers in the Salgado house, and then into something heated and breathless when Damien joins Hakan at college. Despite what he may yearn for in the darkest part of the night, Damien knows, deep down in that bruised and mealy part of his core, that he’s not good enough to be part of the Salgado family, their pack. He’s not worthy of calling Hakan his home.

Even though he knows in the end it’ll hurt him, he’ll hold onto this for as long as he can.

CONTENT WARNING: This book contains themes of emotional and (nonsexual) physical child abuse and the subsequent emotional, cognitive, and behavioural impacts.

Carra's Review

In most books when you read about someone’s difficult past as a child, it is usually talk about in general terms, maybe with some supporting details. In some cases maybe graphic or disturbing details when an author is going for a certain effect.  Here, the author puts you in his head so you can feel his fear and upset to the point where you can feel your heart crack in two from the pain.  If you’re like me, you probably will develop a lot of animosity towards his foster carers; the contrast between them and the Salgado family that he eventually becomes a part of is obvious and worlds apart.

I do admit—the way this story is written made it difficult for me at times to concentrate.  It had the feeling of a story you might read for school—as if written by someone deep into English literature, which didn’t always fit with the characters’ personalities and ways of speaking and thinking.  That said, the prose was detailed and evocative, though sometimes in excess of what you’d expect from a young teen boy’s mind (Damien’s age during the story is from 13-19 years old).

The story does concentrate heavily on the difficult times in Damien’s life, and to me it felt like the happier parts come later in the book.  I would have liked to see more time devoted to the relationship development between Damien and Hakan so the end didn’t feel as unfinished.  I’m hoping that there will be more in the series to come so that a more solid continuing story will unfold.

In This Iron Ground was a 4-star read for me, and I would recommend it to fans of M/M romance and paranormal romance.  This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

Author Bio

When Marina was a child she couldn’t sleep. Night after dissolving night she just couldn’t sleep. Nothing much worked – until she started making up stories in her head. Suddenly, the transition into unconsciousness was a smooth dive into calm waters.

Marina is currently in a period of sleepless upheaval, and she hopes writing down the stories in her head will cast the same spell it did decades ago.

Marina hopes to write in a variety of romance sub-genres, from contemporary to supernatural to sci-fi. Her style, however, tends to focus on character-centred stories that explore different facets of the human experience, such as mental health. She also enjoys writing explicit, drawn-out sex scenes, so expect those to be a prominent feature of her stories.

Marina tends to keep to herself unless prompted, so don’t be shy in approaching her! 


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