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Stained (Stained, #1)

Seventeen-year-old Julia is finally living the good life. She’s traded a hard cot in a Memphis orphanage for her very own room in a perfect little house, on a perfect little street, with a perfect set of parents who picked her to be their daughter.

But Julia is hiding a secret – and one fall night, she returns home from a friend’s house to find that her secret has found her. Her ‘forever home’ is ashes. Her parents are dead. And, in the sky above the flames, a winged creature hunts her.

The Nephilim King, Samyaza, has taken everything from Cayne. After struggling in the darkness for years to piece together his shattered life, Cayne is finally ready to confront his past and avenge the loss of everything he loved. He tracks Samyaza to a Memphis warehouse, where he winds up flat on his back, in the healing hands of a beautiful, dark-haired girl he doesn’t need to know.

Unbeknownst to either of them, they are already bound. Cayne’s past holds the answers to Julia’s future. But what will pose the greatest threat to her? The bounty placed on her head by the leaders of two Celestial realms, or giving her heart to a man who is bound, by birth, to break it?

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

5 out of 5 stars

This is the first time I’ve read Ella James and I. Am. Hooked. I thought the premise of the story was original and compelling and while the romance was completely, totally, head-over-heels incredible, it was clean, which seems to be becoming increasingly rare these days.

The plot:

The plot was fairly simple, but with a few surprises and twists along the way. There was some sarcastic humor, some swoon-worthy romantic scenes, and action-packed fight scenes. This was not a long story, but I greatly enjoyed it and plan to download the next book. The cliffhanger at the end elicits a compulsive desire to find out how things will turn out and…I might go download the next one after I finish this review…anyway…

The characters:

I loved Julia! She had spent most her life in foster care, but wasn’t rebellious and headstrong like a lot of character who come from foster care backgrounds are. She’s suffered a lot of tragedy and hardship in her life, but still has a good heart and tries to help people.

Cayne is a ship without an anchor. With no memory of who he is or what he is, he knows only one thing—that the Nephilim Samyaza is his enemy and took everything Cayne loved. Cayne and Julia’s paths cross when Samyaza fails to kill Julia, then Cayne, and Julia heals Cayne from his wounds. Cayne has done a lot of bad in his 200 years of life and clearly has more than a few regrets and demons.

There were a few other characters, but the story definitely focuses on Cayne and Julia and the mysteries surrounding them both. The supporting characters were more there for just that, support, but I really didn’t feel they needed to be developed more or anything, because this story was so clearly focused on Cayne and Julia and the obstacles and trials they face together.

I really liked the “loving all of someone” element of this story. There is talk of accepting a person you love completely and wholly, no matter what darkness or evil might lurk inside them. I think that is an underrated topic and hope to see more of it in the future books.

I highly recommend this (it’s free on Amazon!) and look forward to the rest of the series!

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