I am always on the look out for new-to-me authors, I just love adding books to my to be read list. And so you can imagine how happy I was when an author found me, on Instagram, and asked me to review her series! So here I am, sharing my thoughts on the first book in the Wildheart series by Emily Israd.

Murmur by Emily Israd - Book Review - Odd socks and Lollipops

Now, I first saw Emily’s book on Instagram and I can tell you that I instantly fell in love with the covers. And I was over the moon to be asked to share my thoughts on the series. I will be reviewing each of the books in the trilogy over the next few weeks.

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Title: Murmur

Author: Emily Israd

Synopsis: Hannah Sterling can change into a bird.
Or at least, she could until this past summer. When the Sickness takes away her shapeshifting ability, Hannah finds herself grounded—maybe for good.
But there’s no time to worry about that. Life in Jessup, Oklahoma has started heading south, fast. A student is killed, a biker gang is on the prowl, and the man Hannah’s father just hired is seriously giving her the creeps.
Meanwhile, Jack Corbin is having problems of his own. Life as the local miracle healer isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and Jack’s strange power seems to be drawing clients and danger in equal measure.
With the darkness closing in, Hannah and Jack need to take hold of their powers to protect the people they love.
It’s going to take every ounce of luck—and magic—to get out of this one alive.

Pages: 307

Categories: Fantasy, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, YA, LGBT, M/M relationship.

Publication Date: 30th April 2013

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: I am going to start with saying that… I love this series so much! I read the whole trilogy in less than a week, because I could not put it down and I could not stop thinking about it. I first fell in love with the covers, and then the synopsis sounds amazing and the book lived up to these crazy high expectations I found myself with.

I am going to try my best to keep these reviews spoiler free, but it’s going to be so difficult not to tell you everything! Murmur is told from two different points of view, that of Hannah and Jack. The book is written in third person, which is great for me because my preference does lean that way.

Despite that fact that there two POV, they each have their own distinct ‘voice’ and I was always aware of who’s shoulder I was looking over. The change over at chapter breaks felt really natural and the story wove so well with these two view points. I really liked both Hannah and Jack, which is always a good bonus as we spend a lot of time with these two, and with their friends Will and Finn. I love the dynamic between these four, it comes about so naturally with Hannah being accepted in to the group of boys who have been friends for a long time. And there is no love triangles, which is great for me as I find them so stressful to read about.

I know this is a mini-spoiler but it’s an early on in the book and I think it’s such an important issue so I am going to talk about it in my review. Finn and Will are in a relationship together, and I love the way that Emily has written them and their relationship. They are such wonderful and unique characters and their friendships with Hannah and Jack are a pleasure to read too. As a reader we get to see some small part of their struggles in terms of family opinion from Will’s family, but we also get to witness a wonderful, happy, natural relationship between these two teens. In some books, it’s hard not to feel like LGBT+ relationships are added in as an afterthought, and not because they are a part of the story, a part of life, but this is definitely not the case with Murmur. I think that Murmur is a wonderful example of a portrayal of an LGBT+ relationship in fantasy/paranormal setting. LGBT+ teens need to see themselves in stories, and they deserve these characters not to be portrayed as an ‘exception’ or used to further the story for other ‘normal’ characters. And I absolutely love Finn’s term of endearment for Will it’s heart-meltingly cute.

The group has such a wonderful dynamic and I love the way that the dialogue is between the guys. I love the solidarity the four main characters get from being Shapeshifters in a world where the majority of people are Statics. There is a real fear of discovery, especially for Hannah who has experienced first hand the consequences of discovery can have.

Each of the four main characters is so totally unique and I love that we get to know more about their family situations in the book, and how it is to live as a Shifter in Jessup. There is exactly the right amount of action and information in Murmur, and this continues for the whole series. We are never left with gaps in the world building, yet nor are we subject to overwhelming descriptions. The balance is perfect in these books and it makes them so enjoyable to read.

Even though it is the first book in the series, Murmur is actually self contained and I think that it could be read as a standalone. However, I was so glad that I had the next book to jump straight in to, because I just loved the characters so much. From all of Hannah’s lovely, noisy family of 5 aunts and her father, to Jack’s Grandpa Bert. I also felt I wanted to know more about Finn and his strange family dynamic of a shifter/static family in which shifting was not spoken about. Will’s family also interested me, as did the Sons of Morrigan.

I love Emily’s take on shapeshifters, and I love the focus on birds. I have also read the other two books in the series now and I am going to have to stop here for fear of giving something away that is in the later books! I will say that there was a suspense element running through the books, and I think it was done really well – I loved the plot and it’s twists and turns. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read and one which has already made it over to my reread list!

I would definitely recommend Murmur (well, the whole Wildheart series) for anyone who likes YA fantasy or paranormal. There is a bit of a romantic focus in the books, but it is a very slow burn – and I really enjoyed the romance arc in the trilogy. Check out next week if you want to know more about book two, which is called The Raven Mocker!

You find Murmur over on Amazon* and it’s available in ebook and paperback format. You can also see Emily Israd over on Instagram she has such a gorgeous account!

I received an ebook of Murmur for the purpose of this review, however all opinions and words are my own with the sole exception of the synopsis show in italics above.