The Willow by Stacey Kennedy

From Stacey’s Website:

In Carson City, Nevada a tragic car accident has claimed the lives of Nexi Jones’ adoptive parents. Now, without them, her reason to live has vanished and she is determined to end her pain.

The problem with that, it’s not heaven she wakes up to, it’s the Otherworld. Nexi must reconcile the truth about her past, and her heritage as part guardian/part witch, while she begins to train to join the Council’s guard. But it’s not the combat training that has her worried, its attempting to keep her cool around the luscious guardian, Kyden that’s her biggest concern.

Before long, Nexi’s skills are put to the test as she begins to fight against the supernatural who have taken a human life. But nothing can prepare her for the journey ahead. Soon, she will find herself lost in a mystery and fighting to keep all she’s gained, as Lazarus, a vampire, threatens to take it all away.

Stacey is a new to me author, but based on the size of her book list, she’s been around a while. Her books are sold both in e-format as well as several in print format. The Willow was given to me by Stacey for review on Amazon and B&N but of course I’m going to talk about it here as well.

Nexi has had a rough go of things recently. Her adoptive parents have just died in a car wreck and left her alone in this world. She is extremely depressed and decides she no longer wants to live. She goes to the only peaceful place she knows, underneath her favorite tree, a willow, to die. As she lays there, bleeding out she has a vision of a man coming for her, to take her home.

When she awakens she realizes that this wasn’t death, she’s been saved…and her whole life has been a lie. Her true father has come for her and has taken her to another dimension to train as a Guardian. A league of supernaturals who police other supes. Nexi is half Guardian and half powerful witch, a combination no one has ever seen before. Along with her sexy trainer Kyden they begin searching for a dark force that is using shape shifters to do his dirty work. When it’s revealed that Nexi is the intended target and Kyden is taken….well hell itself won’t hold Nexi back.

I enjoyed Stacey’s storytelling very much. The world building was done expertly and was extremely lush and complex. I love a heroine that is completely kick ass and Nexi doesn’t disappoint. While I thought her acceptance into the new world was fast…the training took place over several chapters and felt in line with the story pace. She is damn near indestructible and so the fight scenes were lively and very well wrote.

Kyden is our sexy Guardian and trainer. He is completely cocky and has no trouble pissing Nexi off so she will train harder. His protectiveness of her is sweet if not a little over the top at times. I got tired of him slapping her ass every five seconds.   However, when he is taken by the villain , her attempts to get back the man she loves is very well done. It was nice to see the tables turned and the woman going for her man.

The secondary characters were all very vividly wrote and picturing them wasn’t ever an issue. I will be curious to see how the interpersonal relationships with everyone holds up in the next books in the series. I had some issues with Haven…I found her completely annoying. I’m not sure if that’s what Stacey intended with her character or not..but seriously if I were Nexi I would have knocked that girl out about the second time I met her. She is sickenly sweet one minute and then extremely bitchy the next. Her mind seems nearly like a childs except when she is hanging off her muscled Guardian hunk, Finn. Finn seems to take it all in stride, but really…I wanted to hurt her. Her connection with Nexi makes the situation kinda sticky (they are soul sisters), and Nexi seems to switch between loving her and being constantly annoyed by her.

The wolf shifters added another level that I enjoyed. The hierarchy was done very well and was new to me. I am definitely wanting to know what it going to happen with Valor, who seemed to be particularly protective of Nexi….even though she is in love with Kyden….now.

Stacey does a wonderful job for the first book in her Magical Sword series, The Willow. I was interested, intrigued and the sensual writing will definitely work your mojo.

I give The Willow 3.25 stars!

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