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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Book review of Shadows of Nightshade, Plus an Interview with the Author, Lyla Oweds

Shadows of Nightshade (The Garden of Eternal Flowers #1) by Lyla Oweds
Genre: New Adult Fiction (Paranormal/Fantasy Romance)
Date Published: March 8, 2023
Publisher: Self

I dream of a time where I was warm, safe, and loved.

But my waking reality is starkly different.

Anxiety plagues me and spirits haunt the shadows. No matter how fast I run, I can’t seem to escape my past.

The only solace and steady force in my life is my best friend, Finn.

And now… there’s a ghost haunting me. And I’m not certain if it wants help or if it wants to kill me. There’s only one person who can understand: Finn’s brother, Damen.

However, in reaching out, I’m betraying Finn and setting things into motion that cannot be undone.

But nobody ever said that doing the right thing was easy.

The Garden of Eternal Flowers is a re-envisioning of my Grimm Cases series. Eternal Flowers has taken my original vision of Bianca's story and transformed it into something new and beautiful. Some chapters are similar, and some dialogue is the same, as The Grimm Cases, Origins, but overall, about 75% of the book has been entirely revisioned with new plot points, mystery, and interpersonal relationships. Also, unlike Origins (originally a Wattpad release), there is now a clear beginning, climax, and conclusion in each individual novel, which allows them to be read alone or as part of the ongoing series.

I hope that you will enjoy Shadows of Nightshade as much as I enjoyed writing it. Truly, it is an honor to write about Bianca and her boys, and all of these characters are near and dear to my heart.

Trigger Warning: This series deals with the aftermath of severe childhood trauma.

Shadows of Nightshade is the first book in The Garden of Eternal Flowers series by Lyla Oweds. This is a re-envisioning of the author’s Grimm Cases series. I haven’t read the original, but this was a fun introduction to the series. My only fault with it would be the ending. The blurb says each book would have a clear ending, and I didn’t find that to be the case. I felt like it ended right when it was really starting to get going. Maybe that’s because I didn't read the original. So, I still don’t really know what’s going on. Was I supposed to read those books first? Anyway, I loved the characters. Each one has an individual personality, and they are set apart from one another. I feel like that’s hard to do when you introduce so many characters in a small amount of time, but the author pulled it off well! They were a fun group!

Shadows of Nightshade by Lyla Oweds was kindly provided to me by Lola's Blog Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

I wasn’t sure why he thought he deserved any special rights to my time, but it was obvious that he believed he could do whatever he wanted. How did he become so arrogant?
I opened my mouth to respond—which would probably have ended with me embarrassing myself—but nothing escaped. I stared at him, my heart racing, as I stood speechless. Then laughter—close enough for me to pick up—drifted over from the next row.
The sound shattered the enchantment cast over me—how could I have forgotten our position—and my face burst with heat. How would this scene appear to anyone passing by?
Damen’s eyes glinted mischievously. He must have had the same realization.
“Let me go,” I hissed. But my whispered venom only encouraged him, and he smiled. My traitorous heart began to beat faster. “Someone might see us!”
“Really?” His grin grew wider. This was the expression he’d had when we first met. “Then it’s fine if we don’t get caught? Consider it noted.”
“No!” I was internally screaming, even though my words were a weak protest. “You can’t play around with students anyway.” Not that it mattered there’d be no games between us—ever. “You’re basically a professor.”
“Ah.” He ran his finger down my cheek and I shivered. “But you’re not my student. I can’t help it.” His lips dipped slightly, and he tilted his head as his gaze continued to hold mine. “You’ve taken root in my mind.”
How idiotic. I would bet my shoes that he said that to everyone.
“Why are you so annoying?” I gritted out. Plus, what even was that line? It sounded like something from a cheesy romance novel. I’d be shocked if that ever worked for him in the past.
Finn’s stupid, horny brother. He could go flirt with someone else. I didn’t even remember why I wanted his help anymore, because no matter how much I wanted to lean into his touch or melt under his scorching gaze, I wanted to poke him in the eyes that much more.
What a quandary.

How long have you been writing? I've been writing since I was in high school, but nothing serious until after my oldest daughter was born.

What inspired the re-imagining of The Grimm Cases? Healing! The revamp was all about healing and moving on from my own past.

What was the weirdest thing you had to google while doing research? Probably stuff about how to kill people and different poisons. 

What book have you read too many times to count? My own! I have a million easter eggs in my books, so I keep re-reading to make sure I remember them all.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received? If you're bored writing the thing, people will get bored reading the thing.

If you could hop into the life of any fictional character, who would it be and why? None! I don't read particularly happy things! 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your books? How hard it is to write! You can create perfect characters and worlds in your head, but writing it all out is a completely different beast.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? Watch TV and sleep! I also spend a lot of time working and studying for my graduate program.

Are any of the things in your books based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? Half and half! Emotions and some events are based on real-life situations but set in fictional scenarios.
Lyla Oweds is a paranormal / urban fantasy author who resides in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania with her husband, children, and animals. While she enjoys all genres of fiction, she has a deep appreciation for fantasy, romance, mystery, crime, and horror. Lyla has a bachelor’s in anthropology and will be completing her master’s in information technology in 2023.

Writing is her moonlighting passion, and she loves having the opportunity to share her perspective as a disabled (profoundly hard of hearing) woman. During the daylight hours, Lyla works as a principal / lead design and development specialist focusing on user experience and accessibility. When not working, Lyla is usually indulging in one of her many hobbies such as amusing her children, gardening, crocheting, interior decorating, baking, cooking, or playing video games.

To learn more about Lyla Oweds and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Goodreads.

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Shadows of Nightshade. One winner wins a paperback copy of Shadows of Nightshade.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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