So I had the privileged to read 'Harmony' by Stephanie M. Allen!
This will be my first book review of many, I hope! So let's get into it!
'Harmony' is a Coming of Age Fantasy Novel.
It has 307 Pages, and takes right around 4 hours to read. (give or take)
It is available in both Paperback and Kindle on Amazon
The first thing I noticed when I started reading, was that it is written in the First Person Point of View. I'm not going to lie, that concerned me a little bit.
Usually, I struggle with that perspective, because it makes you feel like you're trapped in ONE person's head, and are only able to see the story from their point of view.
Well, I am happy to announce that that was NOT the case with this story! And honestly, while reading, I nearly forgot that it WAS written in the first person POV.
Miss Stephanie does an AMAZING job on noting the other characters actions, expressions and the tension that rises and falls between them, that you don't have to guess what's going on in the other character's heads. You KNOW, and it's really amazing that she pulled it off so well!.
I REALLY enjoyed reading this book. It's very fun with lots of adventure and action with a good dose of mystery and romance, with lots of great characters!
The Main Character is Harmony Anne Robson, who I was able to connect with instantly. Her eagerness to escape her father, the fear of him finding them, and the small relief she finds when she's out of his reach is something I understand very well.
Anne finds comfort in a small, country farm in Kentucky and a wild horse who no one else can get close to.
Then of course, there's the tall, handsome farmhand, Brian.
Brian is a lighthearted, loyal character with a big heart. He's very caring but does have a tendency to tease.
When first got this book... I had only read half of HALF of the description, which goes something like this:
To seventeen-year-old Anne Robson, the world consists of two things - her love of horses and the threat of her abusive father. Even a move across the country isn't enough to give her peace. Then she meets Brian West - the handsome, mysterious horse trainer - and she begins to feel safe. The closer their friendship grows, the safer she feels
Mmmm.... So I'm going along reading this classic, girl meets farmhand, yada yada, sweet story. When all of the sudden, Brian has a sword. Okay that's cool.
And then... he's surprised that Anne can SEE the sword... huh.
And THEN they're talking about other dimensions!
At that point, I paused my reading, went BACK to Amazon and read the WHOLE description.
What a shock... it was a fantasy!
Okay. Back to the review!
Well, so not to ruin the story for any of you, everything takes a turn when Anne accidentally finds her way through a 'portal' into Harmony, a magical Kingdom where she learns she has the special and rare gift of healing.
While in Harmony, she meets King Joshua, who is, by far, my FAVORITE character in this book! I only wish he was in it more!
Joshua is a very humble king, who doesn't put himself above his people. He's also very patient and intelligent and, despite knowing there is an evil man out there trying to take over his throne, he remains kind and gentle.
And let's not forget the dragon!
This story takes all sorts of unexpected twists, from the mysteries of Harmony to the Romantic Sub-plot, as Stephanie Allen weaves a story of hurt, healing and a bit of humor.
There are a couple of instances where I started to get a little nervous, because I knew that the moment could very easily turn into a very graphic, and gorey scene. But, I was once again pleasantly surprised when she once again breezed through them, giving you enough detail that there's no question to how they died, but not making your stomach turn in the process... which is a BIG win for me, because I have a bit of a queasy stomach :P
But, I think what probably stuck out the most to me is that, the girl who had been hurt and questioned herself, is the Healer. And that. she has to find her self-worth and realize that she is special and someone to be treasured.
There is a LOT more i could say about this book, but I don't want to spoil it for you!
My only complaints: I wish there were more dragons! And I wish that Joshua was in it more. (Team Joshua!)
If you like fantasy, or romance, or even just horses, you will love this!
Just Click the link below to get your copy now!
I asked Miss Stephanie a few questions! Keep Scrolling to see her answers!
What inspired this story?
I wanted to do a portal fantasy for a long time but could never get it right whenever I put it to paper. Then, when I moved to KY and visited Cave In Rock, I just got inspired. Literally, I went, "This is it!" I also wanted to explore how a teen would react when thrust into another realm versus a child, like in the Narnia books.
What inspires you?
Music is my biggest muse. Every book I write has its own soundtrack, which I add to as I write. Usually movie scores and alternative rock are my go-to tracks.
Who's your favorite character and why?
In the first book, my favorite character is Joshua. He's patient, kind, and gentle but also protective. I have a crush on Brian, don't get me wrong. But Joshua would be the one I'd want to hang out with in real life.
Favorite memory while writing this story?
My favorite memory is actually exploring Cave In Rock with a camera in hand. It was amazing to go there and think about the history and just visualize my story coming to life.
Do you have any more books in the works?
There are two other books currently published in this series - Sealed Shadows and Clashing Fury - and I'm working on Prevailing Light, the fourth and final one right now, due early next year. The third book, Clashing Fury, is actually my favorite book I've ever written.
What was your first book and how old were you?
The first book I ever wrote was an NSYNC fanfic when I was sixteen. Very embarrassing.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I'm not writing, I usually have a book in my hand. I'm such an avid reader, mostly of YA fantasy or dystopian.
What message would you like to send to your readers?
Readers, the Harmony series is so near and dear to my heart. Anne suffers from anxiety and depression, like me and many others, so writing her character and putting so much of myself into her made her very special to me. Also, I hope you enjoy the first one enough to continue the series because you don't meet my absolute favorite character until the second book!
Any advice for other writers?
Don't ever give up. This industry is brutal and tough and comes with many heartaches and rejections. Keep pushing and keep writing. Whether you self-publish or strike a deal with one of the Big Five publishers, remember to write the stories YOU love!
A VERY special thank you to Miss Stephanie M. Allen for taking some time to answer those questions, and for writing 'Harmony'!
Don't forget to pick up your copy and let her know how much you enjoyed it!