4 out of 5 stars
**Please note, book was gifted by author in exchange for an honest review.**
"You shouldn't trust me, Sofia. I can lose my mind and break you any time."
Let's talk cover. The color scheme is gorgeous. I'm not sure how I feel about the guy though. Maybe it's because I have the lead character looking very different in my own head.
A Castle of Sand is the third installment of the A Shade of Vampire series by Bella Forrest. Once again, the story came out swinging by foreshadowing what was to come. It was a great set up that, as the reader, I wondered, in the back of my head as I read, when will the other shoe drop? The odds continue to stack against Derek and Sophia and danger is literally around every corner. Their relationship is steadily maturing as the series continues. When I say maturing, I don't mean sex. This isn't quite a YA read and while it isn't a detail oriented erotica, you get the gist, hormones are definitely flying. They matured in how they communicated, how they went from being a couple to one solid, joint force. In the world of make believe, their relationship and the progression of it is very relatable and therefore believable.
Those damn Novak men. By now, you know the deal, love the Prince, hate the passed over Prince and the menacing King. That being said, there's a little something that all three characters possess that strikes intrigue. Dear ol' dad is ruthless and that devious brother...wow. Even the golden boy, Derek, the most fascinating thing about his character is that he is, literally, always teetering on the edge. He isn't quite stable when it comes to keeping his wits about him, remaining "proper". He will flip his lid at the flip of a coin and that alone sends me into a fan girl frenzied!
A Castle of Sand was a coming of age for both Sophia and Derek. No longer just the star crossed lovers, they are finding themselves, their individual strength and their greater purpose. Sophia emerged as a brave, determined young woman and while Derek may be forever 18, he is no child. He is forced to draw his line in the sand and stands strong with his choices, willing to sacrifice everything that he is for whom he loves. This too cued additional fan girling.
Last but not least, there were tears. As Vivienne warned, blood was indeed shed. Quite a bit actually. This isn't just a teen sappy romance, it's also has a balls to the wall, catch me if you can type of feel to it. It's action packed with many twists and turns and surprises that left my jaw on the floor and tears in my eyes. Fantastic storytelling, another job well done.