Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sunday Street Team ~ Review of Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember

Sunday Street Team is organized by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28. SST is a cross between a blog tour and street team for a couple different titles each month. As the title suggests, the posts go up on Sundays!

Go here to learn more about SST.

Julia Ember is one of the featured authors this month! I was immediately drawn to her debut because it's called Unicorn Tracks. I mean, UNICORNS. Anyway, I have my review and a Rafflecopter to share with you all today. Let me know if you're excited for this book!

*I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.

Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study Unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.

*Releasing April 21st from Harmony Ink Press*
My Thoughts
Unicorn Tracks proved to be very interesting, which is what drew me to it! I was intrigued by the unicorns and the safari and the diversity. For the most part, I enjoyed the book and was happy with how it turned out. My connection was lacking, though.

The world was really cool! The mythical creatures were the biggest fantasy element. I loved them! Not only were there ones I don't see in books enough (unicorns and chimeras), but a different take was taken on many of them. The mermaids made quite an impression on me.

Other than creatures, the world didn't feel that fantasy-like. I saw two central conflicts in the world that didn't necessarily need fantasy elements to exist: poaching and threat of modernization. There were villages and a safari camp--pockets of life out in the middle of the savannah. It felt like it was set in Africa and Kara and her father were visitors from England, though it wasn't because the locations were fictional. I actually really liked this! It suited the book and its length.

The romance was really nice! It progresses quickly, but it still felt like a slow burn in a way. That was possibly due to the tender nature of Mnemba and Kara's relationship. They had a nice, natural chemistry that made them easy to root for.

I really liked Kara. She was a bolder character--the kind to put her hands on her hips and demand something from you (though I can't recall if she really did that during the book). I really liked how forward she was in the relationship, but she wasn't pushy with Mnemba. It was a respectful forwardness.

Sometimes I can have a harder time figuring out the personality of main characters when it's a first person POV, which is what happened with this book. I didn't get much of a read on Mnemba's personality. I didn't connect to her enough in order for that to happen. She did care deeply, though. She was a kind character. She seemed resilient as well. I just wish I would've connected to her more.

The length was an issue with me (it's 180 pages long), as it tends to be with shorter books. There were hints of a really strong family aspect that I would've seen more of. There was a glimmer of that strong support that is given to loved ones after a sexual assault and I wanted to see more of that because it was such a positive thing. It was easy to see the bond between Mnemba and Kara, but it was a little tougher to get a feel on the bonds between Mnemba and her parents and cousin. If the book was a bit longer, there could've been more room for that part of the story.

Overall, Unicorn Tracks featured many great things: unicorns, f/f romance, dangerous creatures, risky plans, a cool world, and f/f romance. If any of those things interest you, you should look into this book. It's a quick, enjoyable read.
About Julia Ember
Originally from the Windy City, Julia Ember now resides in Sunny Scotland where she learned to enjoy both haggis and black pudding. She spends her days working as a professional Book Nerd for a large book wholesaler, and her nights writing YA Romantic Fantasy novels. She also spends an inordinate amount of time managing her growing city-based menagerie of pets with Harry Potter themed names. Presently, she is the haggard slave Sirius Black and Luna Lovegood the cats and Bellatrix Le Snake. She also owns a freakishly adorable cob pony called Africa.

A world traveller since childhood, Julia has now visited over 60 countries. Her travels inspire the fictional worlds she writes about and she populates those worlds with magic and monsters.

Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter
- Signed copy of Unicorn Tracks
- Swag incl. Postcard and Bookmark
- African Tribal Pattern Headband
- Unicorn Plush
- Millie Marotta's Wild Savannah Adult Colouring book with Pencils -- Author will colour and sign the first page! <3
- Artisan Spiced Chocolate -- Mnemba's favourite.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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