Friday, June 18, 2021

Weekend Reads: Azriel by Lee James (Laurie)

Friends! I am SO excited to be a part of the Azriel Blog Tour today!!! As soon as I heard about Azriel by my pub sister Lee James, I absolutely had to know more (and I know I'm probably biased, but the acquisitions editor at Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing has a knack for finding fantastic stories, so I knew this one would be good!)! Then I saw that cover - WOW!! I was fortunate to have the opportunity to read an advance copy of this beauty to provide an endorsement, and let me tell you, the inside is every bit as epic as the cover promises. And now I can't wait to share about it with you!

Bree Faro has always lived as an outcast, fighting for her survival with no one to trust. When she rescues a man from a strange imprisonment, she finds herself unexpectedly drawn to his home city of Azriel. Even more puzzling, his comrades who call themselves Watchmen welcome Bree as a long-lost sister. Bree knows they would reject her if they found out the real reason for her presence in Azriel, but she can't quite squelch her longing to become one of them. As the layers of her past and identity unravel and the dangers threatening Azriel escalate, Bree can no longer avoid decisions about what side she's fighting on and who she wants to become. This loner may have finally found her home and family...if she can save them all from destruction.

Okay, so that overview wasn't as specific as I'd like, but there was just SO MUCH happening in this book and I don't want to risk giving away any spoilers! Because you really just need to experience it for yourself. First of all, Bree was such an epic heroine! I sometimes have trouble relating to rough-around-the-edges, warrior-type protagonists, but Bree had just enough soft spots and vulnerability that I was rooting for her right from the beginning. And the Watchmen! The concept was so cool, and they had this deep bond of loyalty and trust and camaraderie that made me so wish I could be one of them, despite the fact that I'd be rubbish with a sword :) Even the dark and evil characters were complex and intriguing with sympathetic moments that took me by surprise. 

James' evocative writing style really brought the story world to life. And what a story world! The fantasy elements blended with Biblical tradition in such a unique way, and I'm so grateful this is a series so we'll get to keep exploring in future books! I also appreciated the author's keen understanding of the human heart and the depth and scope of the battle between good and evil within individuals and over the entire land. But even when I couldn't stop turning pages in the midst of suspense and threat of imminent doom, the powerful tread of hope and healing underscored every scene and brought the story to its inspiring conclusion.

I'd recommend this book for any older teen or adult on the lookout for a well-written fantasy adventure filled with plot twists, intrigue, and memorable characters!

But don't just take my word for it! You can find many other reviews, plus some guest posts and interviews with the author, on the full blog tour schedule below! If you're ready to give Azriel a try, you can find the purchase links HERE. And make sure to check out to find out more about the author and her other books! Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Azriel Blog Tour Schedule

• Monday, June 14th, “Azriel: The Watchmen Saga Begins,” Laurin Boyle,

• Monday, June 14th, “Interview with Lee James, Author of Azriel,” Mary Schlegel,

• Tuesday, June 15th, “Review of Azriel by Lee James,” Pam Halter,

• Tuesday, June 15th, “Azriel Release Day: A Most Sacred Secret,” Lee James,

• Wednesday, June 16th, “Azriel Blog Tour: A Writer Writes,” Laura A. Grace,

• Thursday, June 17th, “Review of Azriel by Lee James,” Crystal Grant,

• Thursday, June 17th, “Azriel Release Party Tonight,” Michele Israel Harper,

• Friday, June 18th, “Weekend Reads: Review of Azriel by Lee James,” Laurie Lucking,

• Friday, June 18th, “Azriel Blog Tour: Swords and Magic and Intrigue, Oh My,” K.A. Cummins,

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