Olivia's Choice by Taylor Grace
Publication Date: December 4th 2013
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When her boss asks her to complete a project that takes her back to the annax city, Olivia’s lifelong avoidance of the race comes to an abrupt end. The last thing she needs is the arrogant son of the annax leader as a co-worker. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what she gets. To make matters worse, the pesky tionnax, sworn annax enemies, decide to butt in and capture Olivia. They hurt her so badly that Baphrem can only save her by turning her into what she fears most, an annax. Now, Olivia has to decide: can she love the man who made her worst nightmare come true?
Olivia Penny is a teacher who hates teaching. She gets up in front of class full of kids and freezes – why this is, we don’t know. Because of this she brought the idea up of doing an exchange program and heading up the organizing, etc. She’s very excited when the proposal is approved until she hears that she’s not going somewhere exciting like…China. No she’s going to Viddion – a city where one of the Forest Races live, and a place she ran away from years before.
Olivia swore that she’d never return to Viddion but it’s either return or lose her job. She chooses to keep her job and makes the trek through the forest to get to the city. Along the way she’s greeted by the Viddion guards and when she refuses to tell them why she’s there the head guard chucks her into the freezing river. She manages to make it to the city and not only gets into it with the head guard again (who she finds out is the leader’s son, Baphrem) but she also is reunited with her father and brother once again.
Olivia wants nothing more than to put the exchange proposal into place and leave Viddion but she’s working with Baphrem and they rub each other the wrong way. Olivia (who was born Teil) wants nothing to do with the strong and sexy Baphrem and is sure to emphasize her independence at every turn. Baphrem knows that this stubborn woman is the one for him and enjoys seeing the fiery side of her.
After one argument Olivia goes for a run and Baphrem’s enemies end up capturing and torturing her. The only way to save her is by turning her annax – something that Olivia’s always feared. Now she has to deal with Baphrem’s betrayal and seeing if she can face her fears head on.
Olivia’s Choice is a fantasy read from start to finish. The annex people – along with the other Forest Races that Ms. Grace has created – were well done. I’m not normally a fantasy reader but this one looked worth reading. I Thought when I first started that it would be very similar to Avatar but it really wasn’t anything like that and I was very happy about that.
I really liked all of the characters in this story…except Olivia/Teil. She started to grow on me after she stopped being such a stubborn woman but by that time most of the book was over. She called herself independent and Baphrem called her fiery. I called her rude, mouthy, bad-mannered, inconsiderate, self-centered and obnoxious. Now she wasn’t that way with everyone so I didn’t put the book down when her mouth started flying, but I did consider it. I’m happy I didn’t because it ended up being an entertaining story. Baphrem and the other characters in the book made up for Olivia’s lack.
Besides my dislike of Olivia, the story, imho, needed some serious editing. There were discrepancies, punctuation issues, spelling issues, words left out and words added in. I have to say that it put a damper on my total enjoyment and I was sad about that. I think had the book been edited more thoroughly it would have made it a stronger story. Ms. Grace has a very creative mind and I give her kudos for creating a good first book.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5