Reviews

BOOK REVIEW ~ KYLAND BY MIA SHERIDAN

Dirt poor. Hillbilly. Backwoods hick. Mountain folk. 
Tenleigh Falyn struggles each day to survive in a small, poverty-stricken, coal mining town where she lives with her sister and mentally ill mother. Her dream of winning the college scholarship given to one student by the local coal company and escaping the harshness of her life, keeps her going.
Kyland Barrett lives in the hills, too, and has worked tirelessly—through near starvation, through deep loneliness, against all odds—to win the Tyton Coal Scholarship and leave the town that is full of so much pain.
They’re both determined not to form any attachments, but one moment changes everything. What happens when only one person gets to win? When only one person gets to leave? And what happens to the one left behind?
Kyland is a story of desperation and hope, loss and sacrifice, pain and forgiveness, but ultimately, a story of deep and unending love.
THIS IS A STAND-ALONE SIGN OF LOVE NOVEL, INSPIRED BY TAURUS.

I never thought there’d be a day where I would write a negative review for a Mia Sheridan book. Up to this point, I have enjoyed each of the Sign of Love books as they truly are refreshing and unique contemporary romances. But what really makes this author and her stories stand out to me is that for a reader who doesn’t really enjoy overly sweet and idealistic romances, I simply cannot get enough of her words. While I do think her stories are sappy, it’s these same stories that make me and countless other readers fall in love with the idea of love. She creates unforgettable characters and weaves heartfelt emotion into her books that we remember and our hearts will never let go of. Just like love itself, her books depict romances that are wild, unpredictable, and absolutely epic.
Except for Kyland. I’m sorry to say, but every fiber of my being is silently screaming how clichéd, predictable, and frustrating this book was for me. I have no doubt most readers will enjoy this book, but because it had several things I personally didn’t like, the negative outweighed the positive and I finished the book feeling extremely dissatisfied.
For starters, I felt like if you mixed Stinger (time gap) and Becoming Calder (isolated community) together the book baby result would be Kyland. It’s set in a small, dirt-poor town in Kentucky, seemingly isolated from the rest of the world in terms of commerce and communication. In fact, if it weren’t for a Kardashian reference, I wouldn’t have remembered the book was set in modern times. It’s in these rough times that two kindred souls reach out to each other and connect – Tenleigh Falyn and Kyland Barrett. Unfortunately this is where my first issue with the book came up: I never felt an emotional bond between our two main characters. Yes, I certainly felt the lust, the attraction. I get that because they’ve experienced the same kind of poverty, there’s an understanding between them. But I didn’t feel that special spark that marked the electrifying connection between the hero and heroine that I normally feel when I read this author’s books, and a big reason for that was the timeline of the story.
In fact, my biggest complaint with this book would be the choppy timeline. The way this book is written…I already had a hunch there’d be a time gap somewhere, which I’m not really fond of. But what surprised me though was the lack of details in the story. Every chapter in this book before the time lapse would have a ‘several weeks later,’ ‘few days later,’ ‘months have passed,’ etc…and there really wasn’t a time where the story was just set in motion and let it run out rather than jump around. I also found it odd that since the blurb chose to zero in on how desperate Tenleigh and Kyland wanted to get out of the town by winning the scholarship, not much about their school or academics was present. Instead, most of the book before the time jump was exclusively dedicated to Tenleigh and Kyland admiring each other’s looks and randomly running into each other every chapter. There really was no plot or background story. It’s like the whole book revolved on Tenleigh and Kyland, and only on them. And then when it came down to who won the scholarship…I don’t even need to tell you what will happen because when you read it, it’ll be obvious. The drama that led to the disbelief, the confusion, the heartbreak, and the hatred that follows after all left me frustrated and then the time lapse came in. If you didn’t know already, I HATE time gaps, and this one couldn’t have waltzed in at the worst moment.
But I think what made these parts especially hard for me to accept was that between the time that passed and the jump to the future, it felt like no time really had passed at all. One page before I was internally screaming at these characters for being so stupid and the next page it’s ‘_____ years later.’ The way the author wrote these parts didn’t give me time to adjust to the time jump and that everything was indeed fast forwarded, especially when the characters still acted immaturely and made rash decisions like when they were teenagers.
At this point in the book, I was at the 61% mark and briefly considered stopping because nothing about the story seemed to work for me. I wasn’t feeling the emotional connection, wasn’t digging the drama that led up to the time gap, and didn’t even find the jump in time to be a boost to the story. But nevertheless, I still decided to continue anyway and rest of the book didn’t get much better for me sadly. I found Tenleigh and Kyland’s reconnection to be super rushed and formulaic. I’m normally not a reader who is good at guessing plot twists and what comes next but from the point of their reconnection all the way to the epilogue, I was able to predict things right before they actually happened. For those that have read a couple of this author’s books especially, I’m sure you will have an idea what the epilogue is like.
In the beginning of my review, I brought up comparisons to Becoming Calder and Stinger because of the similar isolated community and time gap parallel. But what made those two work for me more than Kylandis that both of those aspects were developed in detail. It worked because Calder and Eden’s story was split in two and really pinpointed the pivotal moments and allowed fresh emotions from the first to carry through to the next book. It worked because even though there were dreaded time gaps in Stinger the author gradually dropped them in the story, not smack them immediately after a big drama blowout and expect a ‘____ years later’ to tide me over.
So as you can see, all the issues I had with the book were plot devices I personally didn’t care for. If you’re a reader who doesn’t mind them, this book may very well be a winner for you. And even though this one’s my least favorite of her books, Mia Sheridan is still one of my favorite authors and I eagerly look forward to her next Sign of Love book.
Kyland is a standalone romance in the Sign of Love series and is inspired by Taurus. It’s not related to any of the other books in this series.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.