Monday, March 24, 2014

*Review* Secrets Kept by J.L. Mbewe + Giveaway

Release Date:  October 30, 2013
Published By:  AltWit Press
Length: 428 pages
Review Copy: mobi., provided by author for honest review.

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With a curse, she will build an army.
With the dagger, she will undo the last sacrifice.
But first the sorceress must find the secret keeper.

Torn from her homeland and thrust into a betrothal against her wishes, Ayianna learns her family has a deadly secret that now has her on the run. She joins forces with Kael, an embittered half-elf, and Saeed, an elderly High Guardian, to seek answers to her father’s death, the destruction of Dagmar, and the plains people’s bizarre behavior.

Ayianna discovers there is more at stake here than just her mother’s disappearance and her familial duty to her betrothed. The sorceress has cursed the plains people, and it is a race against time to release them before the sorceress resurrects an ancient evil.

  I really had no idea what to expect when picking this one up.  I had read the description and had the general idea that it was a fantasy and that Ayianna had a lot going on, but not to the extent that i discovered.  Mbewe has created one heck of a fantasy tale.  I am trying to think of the right type of fantasy because I know there is a name but it wont come to me either.  I believe it is high fantasy but do not quote me on it.  Regardless the characters and journey in this book was filled with challenges and excitement.

  I love when there is something to a plot, that will keep the ball moving.  Though to start it all seemed a little much, and at times I felt overwhelmed, it ended up working out beautifully.  Everything that happens to start and the attitudes that people have carries meaning throughout the book.  I quickly learned that this was more than a surface read, and Mbewe created something that everything means something, every step taken is important to the the next.  There were twists when I didn't see them anywhere in sight and progress at every corner.  There was a lot of unique creatures and concepts that I have never seen anywhere before this book... Some that haunt me still.

  Ayianna is a complex character.  She knows who she wants to be but life does not give her that option.  Her parents even take what little freedom she thought she had, by arranging a marriage.  To start this bothers her but her suitor is desirable and although she doesn't know him, she trusts her parents.  Even in the face of the things they withheld and the deaths of some, she is torn about honouring their promise of her to the man that she barely knows.  However, she is also determined to carry out the wishes of the people she travels with, people that knew her brother.  I enjoyed her when she held her own and stood up to the potential that I could see within her.  The moments when she seemed to submit and duck her head to please Desmond, I wanted to tell her to stand tall and be the strong woman she was, but I also understand that different cultures and upbringings can make habits like that hard to break.  I believe that she will will break it but it's a matter of her taking the steps to get there.

  There is not really romance because of the situation and everything falling apart.  However, in place of romance (because Desmond is an ass), we get Kael.  Although Kael can be an ass as well, he has reasons that don't touch the fate of everything.  He doesn't come off as self serving and he is loyal.  To be honest I really did like this character.  He could do the hot and cold mood swings but it worked for him.  Where I really felt that Desmond (Ayianna's betrothed) was a self serving ass.  Could I prove this theory... No.  However, there is this vibe that screams kick him where it hurts and tell him where to go almost every time he opens his mouth.

  I am normally the person on the fence with fantasy reads.  I am never sure if I like them or I don't but Secrets Kept really does make me want to have the next book in my hands.  I want to know where the story leads, I want to watch Ayianna grow into herself more than she has.  There is so much more to this story to be told and read and I would not hesitate picking up the next book to find out what the happening are.  If you are a fan of fantasy reads, you should not be missing this book.

About the Author

Born and raised in Minnesota, I grew up enjoying the Northern Lights, country living, and outdoor adventures. From early on I had an interest in books and desired to be an author. At the age of eight years, I crafted several children books out of construction paper complete with illustrations and an author’s bio on the back cover, certain that I’d be an author one day.

Then life happened and my dream dissolved into dust to be swept under a rug and forgotten. Writing didn’t leave me, though, as I continued to take pen to paper and capture the abstract and make it concrete.

The dream to become an author remained dormant as I went off to college, got married, and leveled out the ups and downs of life. Along the way I found myself writing grants and promotional materials for nonprofit organizations, penning poetry and essays while little by little the desire to write returned. I finally decided to put one foot in front of the other and pursue my dream to become an author.

With my husband’s constant support and belief, I have taken time off work to focus on caring for our two precious children and, of course, writing.

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HUGE thank you to J.L. Mbewe for giving a sign PB copy to one of 
you lucky people!!  You will be beyond lucky to have this on your shelf <3



  1. Thank you for including Secrets Kept on the tour and for your review. I appreciate it!

  2. Love the cover and the book sounds amazing! Thanks for the post and giveaway :)

  3. thanks for the chance to win this book, I really love the blurb and hope the book is as good as it


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