October 1, 2015

Book Review: Grayson's Vow (A Sign of Love) by Mia Sheridan

Grayson's VowGrayson's Vow by Mia Sheridan
Rating: /5

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“Never fret, my love, the universe always balances the scales. Her ways may be mysterious, but they are always just.” 
(Isabel Dallaire ‘Gram’, Chapter I; Grayson’s Vow)
Mia Sheridan never ceases to amaze me over and over again!
It seems like romance story does flow in her blood, really.

I had this book on my TBR list before the title was even announced, even less the cover. All I knew that it would be another book of my best favorite romance series Sign of Love. I’ve read the other five out of six books from this series and I loved them all to my deepest bone. Of course I wasn’t even hesitate to pick this one up ‘cause I believed Mia Sheridan would never let me down with her writing.

Grayson’s Vow was based on the sign of Libra. The epigraph I quoted above had me all even more certain that this book would be an exquisite romance story. This book was featuring a unique, weirdly compatible, and endearing couple of Kira Dallaire and Grayson Hawthorn. Kira was the epitome of witty plotter. She’s funny, risk-taker, and a rather impulsive person. She’s the kind of person who never sits still and always runs around creating her own way instead of taking the common way, though most times her ideas would just bring her to some ‘tragic’ ends. Even though Kira’s been let down again and again by the very persons who supposed to protect her, she always tried her best to not let them, who count on her, down. It was her Grammy who taught Kira how to find a positive side of everything. That’s why when her grandma passed away, Kira practically lost the anchor that used to tie her down from floating away with the cruelty crawling around her. Having no one to lean on anymore and being exposed to a recurrent heartless shaming by the people who she thought loving her, Kira decided to go to Napa and left behind the luxury of her house that held nothing but fake happiness all along. Holding on to her grandma’s wisdom and some of her own undisputed skill of plotting; Kira came up with a worth-trying yet rather desperate idea of moving on. It was meant to be the most brilliant idea Kira ever plotted in her life, except, the other party who’s involved in this grand-scheme might have a different opinion on that.

Grayson Hawthorn only knew the feeling of being unwanted, disgraced, and betrayed all his life until he ended up believing that he was all of that: unwanted, a disgrace, a person who deserves to be deserted. It was none other but his own parents―his father and stepmother―who made sure Grayson knew where he stands in the family. He struggled to find the ground to put his feet at when he was tripped over another accident that land him into spending five torturous years in prison. It was when he came back that his deceased father left him the vineyard on the verge of breakdown to him. Though Grayson knew it was definitely not easy to keep the vineyard running, he made a vow to not let his father down. The father who’s been so distant toward him for years had left him a legacy to keep in the end; it was the only reminder he needed to keep going with his effort. But being a felon with all the negative labels plastered on his presence, it felt like him against the world all over. It was when a girl, a passionate little plotter came to his vineyard and offered him a business arrangement in the middle of chaos somehow lit a spark of hope in his eyes. It was sounded pretty risky but it might worth a try. But could he believed in a stranger who was obviously desperate yet looked as if she got the world all controlled in the little palm of her hand? Grayson Hawthorn was never the one to go against the current but with Kira Dallaire this might be time for him to set aside his worried and doubt and just act. But Grayson would do it all; no matter what the risk waiting in the end of the street, Grayson would stop at nothing to keep his vow.

As usual, Mia Sheridan is back with her undoubtedly graceful writing. As always, I felt like highlighting every word she wrote because they’re just too good to not being savored again and again. Grayson’s Vow was written flawlessly. The scenes, the plot, all the twists, and the characters, everything was very well thought out and not a single part was too plain or too exaggerating. Mia is a kind of author who’s detailed in her writing so you could expect a lot from this book. The story was set in Napa―which I know nothing about until I read this book. But the way Mia describing it made me feel like I was there seeing everything with my very own eyes. The life in Napa, the peaceful scenery of acres of vineyards, the enchanting old style of the Hawthorn residence with its maze and the gardens of peaches and apricots; Mia did a stellar job describing all that in rich details. Right after I finished this book for the first time (I already read this book twice, anyway. I just can’t help it), I went straight to my browser and looked up for Napa and there on my screen the imagination I built from Mia Sheridan’s description was projected into realism. The pictures of the vinery exactly like how I imagined it, with the owner’s house, gardens and fountain, and I shivered of the fact that I actually never knew how Napa was like before I read this book. It was like I ‘see’ Napa through Mia’s words and it was a hell of an experience for me.

Look! Grayson's Vineyard... lol! (photo source: Bouchaine Vineyards)

The storyline was really good. Compared with the other books from this series, Grayson’s Vow had the lightest tone among the rest. Even though Mia always opted for a HEA in her every book, Becoming Calder/Finding Eden, Archer’s Voice, and Kyland were more to the type of torn-my-heart-in-pieces read while Stinger and Leo were less heart-wrenching (but still making me cry a river, indeed). Grayson’s Vow did make me cry at one point but the majority tone of the book was amusing.

Kira was instantly drawn to Grayson’s gorgeousness on the first encounter.

‘He looked like every hero in every fairy tale I’d ever dreamed, come to life. And, God, I wanted to believe in heroes again.’
(Kira, Chapter III; Grayson’s Vow)
Yet the second time―when they officially met―she got a glimpse of fact that Grayson’s outer beauty didn’t really reflected what was on the inside.

‘But sometimes, I supposed, a girl just had to be her own hero.
Especially when the hero in question turned out to be a dragon.’
(Kira, Chapter III; Grayson’s Vow)
I was completely taken by the mischievous voice of Kira and how she successfully steered the usually calm Grayson into a fire-breathing dragon. Their moments were more hilarious than romantic most of the time yet it was the very thing that makes me crave for more. Among the other heroines of Mia, Kira stood out the most for me because of her interesting and relatable personality. She quickly escalated to the top list of my favorite heroine in this series. Meanwhile Grayson was so lovable yet slightly frustrating every time his insecurity got the best of him. Then Kira with all her cheerful nature totally turned his world upside down.

‘She kept me off balance and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why I liked it so much.’
(Grayson, Chapter IX; Grayson’s Vow)
God, I really couldn’t get enough of this couple!

This book made me laugh A LOT. It was such a fresh turn from the usual heavy story Mia brought on her previous books. Not that I minded it heavy, ‘cause I will forever have ‘torture-me-with-your-romance-story’ moment when it comes to Mia’s books. I’m just masochist like that.
There were a lot of comical scenes but there was this particular line that made me double-over with laughter. I don’t know about you, but this was just too funny for me.

‘He turned to Kira, his face lighting up as if she were the sun and he had just been looking into the darkness. Me being the darkness in this particular circumstances.’
(Grayson, Chapter IX; Grayson’s Vow)
Oh, boy… Bitter dragon alert!

The moment they agreed to execute the plot Kira had proposed to him, attraction and frustration took turns coming over between them. Kira with a personality like a sunflower, always looking up to the sun, was the polar opposite of Grayson’s cynical caterpillar demeanor, always looking down to the dark ground. Yet this is where their connection was tied in balance. Both had been done wrong badly by their closest people but they reacted differently to the events. Being with Kira made Grayson’s upturned world balanced right back to its axis. It was really beautiful how their romance was slowly built and grew even stronger over times. There were some pushing around happening but when they finally surrendered to each other’s heart, there was an epic love story established in the end.

‘If you let it, pain makes more space for love within you. And the love we carry inside makes us strong when nothing else can.’
(Grayson, Chapter XXIV; Grayson’s Vow)
After some revelations that caused both pain and total deep betrayal, Grayson realized that sometimes the best vow to keep was the one that was built under sincere intentions from both parties. With Kira, Grayson found that vow that he would keep with all his might for the rest of his life.

“… there will be times when we disagree or fight, or even question the other. There will be times when loving you brings up every fear inside me. But my vow is this: no matter what happens, I will never leave the room until we’ve worked through it.
And by that, I mean I won’t draw away inside myself either. I’ll stay present until we’ve solved the issue between us, no matter how long it takes. I don’t want you ever to worry I’ll push you away again. I vow that to you with my whole heart.”
(Grayson, Chapter XXV; Grayson’s Vow)
Somebody, vow that to me…

The story successfully relayed the analogy of the sign Libra through Kira and Grayson’s journey of love. The balance of their relationship finally accomplished once they understood that the very basic of loving someone was to love in truth.

Grayson’s Vow was the perfect read for those who want to read an epic romance in a beautiful writing. Though I will definitely recommend Mia’s other books with equal intensity, this book was suitable for those who enjoy comical read as much as romantic read. With plus points from some lovely side-characters, wonderful details of the setting, and heartwarming epilogue, this book would make you laugh a lot, cry, breathless, and fall in love from page one to the last.

“And sometimes we’ll meet halfway, but other times, I’ll come to you. And I’ll try my very best to put my pride aside so I know when I need to be the one to do that.”
(Grayson, Chapter XXV; Grayson’s Vow)

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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