By Courtney Shepard
Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
Reviewed by Marta Tandori for Readers' Favorite
Unbalanced by Courtney Shepard is a good fantasy read, a well-imagined and brilliantly executed story with a complex plot, a story that features magic, the unbridled quest for power, greed, and betrayal. There is a powerful and fanatical sect operating across the world and only four sisters, born every generation and gifted with power over fire, earth, air, and water, can stop them from taking control over the earth and subjecting humanity to untold horrors. The order craves nothing more than to make sacrifices of the sisters because it is in sacrificing them that it grows stronger. Now, when Asha, the fire, lovely and fair, encounters a stranger, she falls in love. Little does she know that her blind love will strip all her powers and make her the most vulnerable to the order. Can the sisters unite once again to save their kind and take control over their destiny?
Unbalanced is an engaging story with an international setting, covering different countries and spanning from the Middle Ages till the present time. I loved this story for one great reason: It is character-driven. Courtney Shepard pays a lot of attention to the detail, and this does not distract her focus from the plot. Readers will enjoy how she explores the psychological conflicts in characters, unveiling powerful emotions. The characters, though strange in a way, are believable and they have emotions and attitudes that will resonate with many readers. Fast-paced, Unbalanced doesn’t lack the surprises that make readers want to read more. From the very beginning, it is packed with action and very interesting dialogues. I enjoyed this one a lot.
Reviewed by Stephen Fisher for Readers' Favorite
Reviewed by Sherri Fulmer Moorer for Readers' Favorite
It's a battle as old as time, and the intensity of the battle in this generation is complicated by intense new factors. Four sisters hold the power of the Earth elements of earth, fire, wind, and water. Throughout the ages, they have been successfully hunted by The Order, which grows in power through the death of the sisters. This time, they've made it further than ever before, surviving into their mid-twenties, but they can't avoid the battle that comes to them as they're drawn together, only to be pulled apart. This time, though, there's another factor: four brothers with similar powers who seek them. But what is the brothers' intent? Unbalanced, by Courtney Shepard, takes you on a whirlwind, mind-blowing journey across the globe as the eight seek the truth, as well as the survival that has eluded them up until this lifetime.
Unbalanced is a unique, fast paced story that draws readers into a world of magic and mysticism that's different from what you typically see in modern fiction. It's a breath of fresh air from the popular dystopian view of the future in that it focuses more on how discovering the past can help to make the present better. Courtney Shepard gives readers a thrilling story with plenty of twists, turns, battles, magic, and intrigue to keep you guessing right until the end. It's the beginning of an amazing journey, and I look forward to discovering where it takes the sisters (and the brothers) next. An excellent read!
Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Unbalanced by Courtney Shepard is a modern day fantasy about four sisters that were each born with power over one of Earth’s elemental forces: Fire, Earth, Water, and Air. Beginning with Asha : a superhero vigilante commanding Fire. Clay Brent has her in his gun sights, but can’t bring himself to pull the trigger. She is literally the woman of his dreams. So here she is in the flesh, and he just has to meet her. He scores points when he does an emergency appendectomy on a young girl named Maria. Brent explains that he is a part of the program Doctors without Borders. Go figure. A doctor who poses as a sniper? As the story heats up, so does the relationship between Asha and Clay. Instead of killing her, he knocks her out and brings her in. His organization, The Order, is looking for the elemental Sisters. Meanwhile Earth moving Ivy learns about her sisters, and that she has the ability to find them. She meets up with Mere, and Avia, after Avia escapes her pursuers when her concert performance is over, like she is an international secret agent.
Ms. Shepard does a fantastic job of moving this story along at a fast pace as Ivy races to reunite her estranged sisters, and then seek out Master Miles. Courtney’s story is flawlessly written with characters that jump right off the pages. She inserts her characters into the plot in an enticing way to introduce them. You find yourself easily getting caught up in the race against time. Unbalanced has little bit of everything a reader could want in this action packed fantasy adventure, including some tastefully written romance. I give the story two thumbs up, and anxiously await the next book. Brava!
Unbalanced is a wonderful paranormal fantasy that has just the right amount of romance to keep both lovers of paranormal and romance intrigued with this unique offering by talented Canadian writer, Courtney Shepard. Since the Middle Ages, each generation has produced four unique sisters that have the power over the four essential elements of life: earth, air, fire and water. Hunted by a fanatical secret sect called the Order, each generation has tragically lost their lives to the Order and, with each conquest, the Order’s power grows exponentially. Now it looks like history is once again about to repeat itself. Sister Asha, who controls the element of fire, falls for the charismatic Clay, who has his own agenda where Asha is concerned. It isn’t long before she’s betrayed by him and imprisoned and stripped of her power. Asha, separated from her sisters since birth, is eventually reunited with them and together they must join forces to change their fate and prevail against the evil that is the Order.
Unbalanced is a fast-paced paranormal romance that will leave its readers somewhat 'unbalanced' as the story unfolds. At its most basic, it may be said that this is a story about good versus evil but essentially, it’s so much more. This is a story that’s peppered with danger, mystery, betrayal and intrigue. The author has a wonderful imagination and a solid creative bent that lend themselves well to this kind of story. As indicated earlier, Unbalanced will leave its readers ‘unbalanced’ – but in a good way. It’s engaging, well-written and intoxicating, the perfect trifecta for a good read – and a good read is exactly what is delivered!
Courtney Shepard © 2013 | All Rights Reserved
Elemental powers infuse this amazing story with depth and excitement as four young women fight against The Order, which is only interested in eliminating them and stealing their strength. Unbalanced by Courtney Shepard starts with a historical look at the required deaths of each generation of four sisters with supernatural powers. Moving to the present, the story focuses on Asha with the power of fire as she is tracked down and imprisoned by members of the mysterious Order. Fortunately for her, though, Clay discovers he has strong feelings for Asha and questions the motives of Master Heath and the Grand Master. Circumstances take Asha and Clay to a cabin in Switzerland where Mere, Avia and Ivy, three more sisters who have only just found each other, are discovered. Against a paranormal army, they hold their own with the combination of their earth, wind, water and fire powers, as well as help from Clay and his brothers who also possess such strengths. Now that the young women have met, the clock is ticking on their lives. Will they get the help they need or are the brothers just a diversion to make sure they fall to the power of The Order?
Excitement and intrigue jump off virtually every page in Unbalanced by Courtney Shepard. Each character is unique, well developed and exciting to see in action as they discover the depth of their abilities. Their bonds are also intense and this brings out traits in them they had not realized existed. Together with Clay, Rio, Aron and Cole, they set out to understand what is happening and how they can prevent it, making for interesting relationships and adding more questions that don’t have easy answers. Unbalanced is a great book for paranormal romance fans with just the right touch of intimacy and tremendous depth of emotion, and a great beginning to what promises to be a great series.