Friday, September 27, 2013

Review: Bleeding Heart by Amber Stokes

Bleeding Heart
by Amber Stokes
Seasons of a Story (July 2013)
Source: Purchased Ebook Copy
Five bleeding hearts. One profound journey.
Summer 1886

Sally Clay’s livelihood has been snatched away, but in its place arises an opportunity to escape from her sordid past and an unrelenting, unwanted suitor. Boarding a train with a heartsick rancher and an enigmatic miner, she leaves Virginia City behind and heads to Northern California, waiting for the chance to make right what went wrong three long years before.

But the road to revenge is far from smooth. Sally soon learns that the jagged pieces of a broken heart can far too easily wound the hearts of others – and hers isn’t the only heart that’s broken. Tragedy and fear dog her steps as she flees from the redwood forests to the high desert and back again. Will her bleeding heart ever find a way and a place to heal? A desperate soiled dove. Three men who come to care for her. One man determined to claim her. All on a journey that will show them what true love really involves.
Bleeding Heart is Amber Stokes debut novel. And what a great debut it was! I've said this to Amber before, but I will say it again. She has a beautiful way with words. She's able to clearly express what she is trying to say in a simple way that draws you in. For me, her writing voice is gentle, understanding, sweet, and genuine. I admire her for her great writing ability and love that she's sharing her wonderful talent with us all!

Bleeding Heart is not your typical feel-good romance novel. Much like life, it was an unpredictable journey for each of these characters. It had its share of heartwarming moments along with heart wrenching ones. Sally, Joe, Myghal, and Seth each have a painful past they can't seem to break free from. Along the journey they find themselves on, these characters become close and stick together as they face all the pain and hurt that comes their way. By the end I felt emotionally invested and attached to each one of them for different reasons. I felt like I was there in their lowest point, and was with them as they were rising up from the pit.

As you can imagine, this was such an emotional roller coaster for me. There were moments that had me smiling and laughing. And then there were times when I couldn't believe what had just happened. I went back and reread certain parts because I thought I read wrong. I literally had to set my Kindle down and take in what I just read. I thought Amber did such a great job with those kinds of scenes. She didn't dwell on them for too long, but she still gave the characters, and readers, time to grieve.

My favorite character, and someone I hope we see more of, is Myghal. He was so sweet and had a great sense of humor. Even though he was hurting inside, he didn't let it show. He was always there when the other characters were in need and I loved that about him.

Amber captured so much raw emotion in this story. This novel was definitely darker than I had expected, but that's not a bad thing. Even though there's a lot of pain throughout the story, we still feel a sense of hope for Sally and the others in the end. I really liked the historical aspects and the perfect amount of suspense thrown in. Bleeding Heart was a beautiful debut and I can't wait to read more!

About Amber Stokes
Amber Stokes has a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a passion for the written word - from
blogging to writing poetry, short stories, and novels. After her brief time at college in Oregon, she is now back home among the redwoods of Northern California, living life one day at a time and pursuing her passion via freelance editing and self-publishing.

You can connect with Amber on her personal blog (Seasons of Humility), the group blog she contributes to (The Borrowed Book), Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Shelfari, and LinkedIn.


  1. Crystal, what a wonderful review of Amber's debut! Beautifully written and expressed - agree with so much of what you said here; Amber does have a wonderful way of getting her point across in blogging and conversations, and I knew that'd transfer to her first novel and it did! Now... we get to read book 2 this winter! Cannot wait for that release! :)

    1. Thank you, Rissi! That means so much coming from you :D

      I can hardly wait for the release of book 2, too!

  2. Fantastic review, Crystal!! I thought Bleeding Heart was a wonderful debut novel, too! :)

  3. Way to go, Crystal! Great review. And so true! I like your description of Amber's voice and I'm very anticipating Myghal's story as well! Such a sweet guy, eh? So enjoyed reading your thoughts!

    1. Thank you so much, Ganise!! Love having you stop by :D I appreciate it!

  4. Oh, Crystal - this is so encouraging!! I'm blessed by your kind review and your sweet words. :) It means so much that you and Rissi think I get my point across in an understandable way. For an author to have readers say they understood - such a wonderful, wonderful feeling. :) *Hugs*

    Thank you for your support and for taking the time to review Bleeding Heart! I'm grateful for your friendship and thoughtfulness! Oh, and yes, after I edit the prequel, I do hope to focus on writing a sequel featuring Myghal. He's stolen my heart, too. :)


    P.S. *Waving to Melanie and Ganise!* Thank you for the kind words!

    1. I'm so glad this was a bit of encouragement for you, Amber!

      I'm so excited to see what you have for us next :)
      And I can't wait to see where you take Myghal's story!


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