Thursday, April 11, 2013

Return by Charity Santiago - Review and giveaway

This review is done in conjunction with the author's tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Charity will be awarding one $10 Amazon gift card for a random commenter and a grand prize of the winner's choice of any mini gift basket from (a $24.99 value), so leave your thoughts here and you're entered! If you want more chances to win, visit the rest of her tour stops here.

Return by Charity Santiago
Fantasy YA
263 pgs
4 Stars

For the last three years, eighteen-year-old Ashlyn Li has been running from her destiny. A free-spirited ninja, Ashlyn would rather loot an abandoned city or challenge a fiend to battle than assume leadership of Toryn, her father's kingdom. However, when a series of attacks reunites Ashlyn with the friends who helped her save the sun three years ago, she discovers that her kingdom is at war and her father has presumed her dead.

Suddenly Ashlyn is faced with not only fulfilling her birthright, but also making sense of her feelings towards two very different men- Drake Lockhart, the enigmatic vampire who captured her heart three years ago, and Vargo, the charismatic assassin who was once Ashlyn's sworn enemy.

Will Ashlyn ascend the pagoda and become Lady of Toryn?

My Review: Ashlyn Li is the main character in this book and she seriously kicks butt! She's a princess gone wild--she would rather do her fighting than come back and help rule the kingdom. After all, her having to take over the kingdom is still a ways away. Unfortunately, her kingdom is at war--and her father thinks she's dead. Clearly, it's time to do some damage control.

My only problem with the book is that it drops you right in the middle of the action and it might take you a while to figure out exactly what's going on. There's a lot of history (would love to read the story that happened BEFORE this one--when Ashlyn's sister, Drake, Skye, and the others first got together). It didn't take too long to come up to speed, however.

I loved the characters--and, to my dismay, I really like both Drake AND Skye--so I'm looking forward to the next book in the series to see how this particular triangle is going to play out. Recommended for 16+.

Now enjoy an excerpt:

Ashlyn frowned, trying hard to focus. "I only asked you to start thinking of yourself as a man, Drake, instead of a monster. That's hardly the same thing."

"I'm asking you to think of yourself as a leader," he said. "You've spent so long running from responsibility that you think yourself incapable of fulfilling your birthright."

"We haven't seen each other in three years. You don't know what I'm capable of- I don't even know what I'm capable of."

He grabbed her hand, abruptly, and brought it up to his chest. Through the cloth of his shirt, his skin was warm to the touch, and Ashlyn let him press her hand against the solidness of his shoulder, confused as to what he was doing.

"This," he said, his voice low, "is where I was struck by Devlyn's sword."

After a moment, he slid her hand lower, until it was resting directly above his heart. Ashlyn paused, entranced by the lack of a pulse beneath her fingers, the scent of him filling her senses and enveloping her like the rain against the roof.

"This," Drake said. "This is where I would have been struck, if you had not deflected the blow."

She met his gaze, breathing so hard that she felt light-headed. His eyes bored into hers, piercing her straight to her soul.

"I know what you are capable of, Ashlyn," he said. "I know better than anyone."

In February 2011, Charity Santiago's 7-month old son was admitted to the hospital with severe respiratory issues. While Charity stayed at his bedside, she kept them both entertained by downloading several books on her new Kindle and reading them out loud. It was during this time that Charity learned about Kindle's self-publishing program, and realized that she had an opportunity to share her writings with the world.

Charity is a native of southeastern Arizona, and a writer since childhood. She wrote her first manuscript, Guinea Pig Code!, at age nine. When she’s not writing books, Charity spends her time wrangling children, watching Sylvester Stallone movies and pursuing a degree in Education.



Book can be purchased at:


  1. Hi there! Thank you so much for the kind review! I do plan on writing the story of what happened before Return...eventually. I have more than nine other books outlined for this series, but Ashlyn was my favorite character and I really wanted to tell her story first. Thanks for taking the time to read and review! I appreciate it!

  2. Sounds really great. I hope the first book comes out soon.

  3. Very helpful review, thank you.


  4. Thanks for sharing your story. I think she is strong so she'll chose to fufill her destiny in the end

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  5. A triangle makes for great reading when you love both the guys, as you said.


  6. I agree about being dropped right into the action. I think it was confusing at first but once you started grasping things the story really came quickly and in a really great story arc!

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com