Rising by Holly Kelly…Review, excerpt and more!

Posted May 23, 2014 by Lillian in Reviews / 3 Comments

Happy Friday everyone! Today I have for you a sweet tale and undersea adventure that was recommended to me by a friend (and so far she has yet to steer me wrong!). This was my first time reading a book where some of the scenes took place under the sea, and I really enjoyed it. If you like fantasy, romance, and just a good easy read, I highly recommend you check this book out.

On a side note, the publisher (Clean Teen) has a great way of letting parents know what their child is reading. It has levels and ranking similar to that of TV shows so you can decide if your child is mature enough to handle what is in the book. I love this (check out more about their company by clicking here)!! So I will definitely be checking out other books from this company. To see this book’s disclosure/rating, click here.

Okay back to the review 🙂

Rising by Holly Kelly…Review, excerpt and more!Rising by Holly Kelly
Series: Rising #1
Published by Clean Teen Publishing on September 5, 2013
Length: 350 pages
Reviewing eBook from Amazon

In a war between the humans and the inhabitants of the sea-humans will lose. Xanthus Dimitriou-the most lethal Dagonian to rise from the ocean-is on a mission to save mankind from annihilation. But first there's one small thing he needs to do... kill a beautiful young woman in a wheelchair. Killing her doesn't start out as part of his plan. He entrenches himself deep in the human world. Aligning himself with his enemies, he prepares to send them to Triton to face their punishment. Then Sara Taylor rolls onto the scene. Xanthus knows at once she's a criminal. And her crime? Being born. She's a human/Dagonian half-breed, an abomination. Killing her should be an easy job. All he has to do is break into her apartment, slit her throat, and feed her body to the sharks. Simple, right? Wrong. If only she weren't so beautiful, so innocent, so sweet... Saving the world may have to wait. It appears Xanthus has a woman to save. But protecting her may cost him his own life.


Rising by Holly Kelly is a story about preventing war between Dagonians and humans and finding love in the unlikeliest of places. Xanthus Dimitriou is a Dagonian warrior fascinated with the human world. After thousands of Dagonians are killed from the careless dumping of toxins into the ocean, Xanthus petitions King Triton to allow him to find the culprits and figure out a way to keep the humans from polluting their home. What he doesn’t plan on is finding a half-breed (human/Dagonian) on his mission. He also doesn’t plan on falling in love with her. Sara Taylor has lived her life in a wheelchair, secluded from all except her best friend and deathly afraid of water. She was born with a deformity that keeps her from showing her true self to anyone. That is until her new landlord shows up and quite literally takes her breath away. But how will she overcome her insecurities and will he stick around once he sees her legs?

This was my first book that I’ve ever read about mermaids and I loved it! The POV alternated between Sara and Xanthus but it was easy to keep track of. Xanthus is my new book love, though Kryos (more from him in book two of this series) is a big rival. Xanthus is called the Nightmare of the Deep by those who know him. A fierce warrior with a soft spot for humans, Xanthus is loyal to a fault and very much a gentleman. I also loved Sara. Despite being born with a fin instead of legs, she is quite resilient. She speaks her mind, has her own business, and is independent from her mother. She’s a testament to what people can achieve when they don’t let their defects cripple them.

The plot of this story was simple. Dagonians hate humans, humans don’t know they exist. Xanthus’s job is to find those responsible for polluting the ocean and killing thousands of his people. He sends the culprits back to King Triton. That part of the story was quick and just a side to what the main story revolved around…the love growing between Xanthus and Sara. I loved the sweetness of their relationship. Xanthus is old-fashioned, Sara is innocent, but that’s not all. She’s an abomination according to Dagonian law and Xanthus must find away around this.

Overall, I loved every page of this book! In fact I liked it so much that I sat down and read it in one sitting. Then I went and bought book two and read it the next night! Mrs. Kelly knows how to write a good, easy to follow fantasy that keeps your attention. There’s just enough action balanced with the romance that I think both genders could enjoy it, though it is more geared towards the women. And even though I know this is probably written for young adults, I enjoyed it immensely! So if you like fantasy, romance, and suspense or you’re just looking for an easy read to take you to a new world, I highly recommend you check this book out.

Excerpt from Rising by Holly Kelly

He knew what he had to do, what he’d done countless times before. As a trained soldier, he had a sacred duty to protect his people, guard their secret, and uphold the law. This female’s presence here was not only a criminal act, but it also presented an imminent threat. And because of that, his course was clear.

He had to kill her.

His plan lay clearly before him. Blanketed in the shadows, he’d enter her apartment window. Moving silently, he’d strike fast. Before she could cry out for help, he’d have her throat slit wide open. With her blood flowing swiftly, she’d be dead in mere seconds. The fact that she bathed at this time added to the ease of the execution. Clean up would be simple. Before the night ended, it would be as if she’d never existed. The Dagonian threat of exposure would be wiped clean from the human world.

Xanthus stood, his feet rooted in place under her window. Her sweet scent surrounded him as he listened to her pitiful sobs. Then, in that moment, he did the most shameful thing he’d ever done in his life.

He hesitated.

No, he didn’t merely hesitate. He halted. Fingering his blade in his holster, he willed his feet to move, but they seemed unwilling to obey. Then his mind latched onto a thought. It was no crime to wait for a more opportune time or a more secluded place to strike. He didn’t need to act rashly. True, finding her here in the human world shocked him, but he needed to be clear-headed and sure when he killed her.

He made his way back to his vehicle and climbed behind the wheel. He leaned his head back against the seat, closed his eyes, and attempted to clear his head.

He’d be back and she would die. She deserved to die. She may have the voice of an angel, but that was a lie. She was a traitor, a threat to their people. No other explanation made sense.

He felt someone near just before a fist rapped on the glass. A big, filthy man with wild hair motioned for him to roll down his window.

As soon as the glass lowered, the barrel of a high-caliber pistol poked inside. “Give me all your money and I won’t hurt you,” the man growled.

“Put away that gun and I won’t hurt you,” Xanthus said, his voice low and menacing.

The man didn’t seem too impressed. “Yeah man, right. You might notice I’m the one with the…” Before he got the words out, Xanthus had the gun out of the man’s hand and pointed back at his face with his windpipe clenched in his fist.

“Hey man, I was just joking,” the human choked out.

“Just walk away. And don’t come back. If I see your face anywhere near here again, I’ll kill you. Do you understand me?”

The man’s eyes widened in fear. “Yeah, yeah, I hear you,” he said, just before Xanthus released him and he escaped into the darkness.

Xanthus looked toward the little female’s apartment building across the street. Could she have found a more dangerous place to live? He placed the gun in the glove compartment. He shouldn’t have let the gunman live.

This Dagonian female probably felt at home with these bottom-feeders.

Probably? Aw Hades. He cursed himself and the doubt in his mind. He doubly cursed that he couldn’t seem to stop himself from caring about her welfare. He’d be killing her himself, after all. The traitor had to die, regardless of his feelings and no matter how appealing she was. Of course if she died by a human’s hands then he wouldn’t…


He shook his head at his own idiotic thoughts. If a human killed her, then her body would be taken to the morgue, for the humans to see. He couldn’t let that happen. He had to be the one to kill her and carefully dispose of her body. And he would, soon.

Just not tonight.

About Holly Kelly

Holly Kelly is a mom who writes books in her spare time: translation--She hides in the bathroom with her laptop and locks the door while the kids destroy the house and smear peanut butter on the walls.

Holly was born in Utah but lived in Salina, Kansas until she was 13 and in Garland, Texas until she was 18. She's now back in Utah--"happy valley". Holly is married to her wonderful husband, James, and the two of them are currently raising 6 rambunctious children. Her interests are reading, writing (or course), martial arts, visual arts, and spending time with family.

Holly Kelly's first published book is: Rising. Rising was published by Clean Teen Publishing on September 6, 2013.

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