Mistwod by Leah Cypress
I like the font here, it's fancy but not unreadable, and while the colors don't perfectly blend (I find the hair color just a tad too jarring, although the title picks up the color of the eyes nicely) I do like the concept here and think it works well.
Summary: The Shifter is a mysterious, some would say mythological, being that is bound to serve and protect the royal family of Samorna from any and all harm. Or so she is told, she can't recall anything about her life before she ran wild in the nearby woods but accepts these duties and the name Isabel and goes along with them. But snippets of her past begin to emerge and she realizes that the past Prince Rokan has told her isn't the complete truth and that the truth is very messy indeed.
The Good: While it would be erroneous to say that all main characters share the same traits but there are a number which crop up quite frequently and makes them feeling "main character-ish". Isabel however doesn't feel main character-ish in any way yet is undeniably the MC, not a supporting protagonist as her status as body guard might initially imply but a rather interesting character who grows and ends up being quite complex and fascinating to read. The fact that she's one of the best portrayals of a non-human protagonist I've seen in a long time helps and her internal struggles and conflicts with her past and present make perfect sense and are interesting to watch unfold. When I first heard of the book I thought that it was based on a fairy tale and, while I can't find any references saying it was, it has a lot of real fairy-tale aspects to it (like the ever present theme of transformation).
The Bad: Quite honestly I thought this was an amazingly solid book without any major flaws. The only part that bothered me a bit was that there it seemed like there was a murder the hypotenuse to prevent a love triangle from eventually forming, I couldn't see any other reason for said character to be killed and that frustrated me. Other than that, I wasn't sure what the author was trying to accomplish with the character Albin at times, I suppose she was trying to create a more morally ambiguous character which got muddied along the way, but again this was a strong book without any large failings that I noticed.
So, my favorite of the Inkpot books and a keeper for sure. The author has a second book out now, which I believe is unconnected, that I plan on checking out sometime (just when my to-read pile gets smaller, at this rate I'll have enough books to talk about until September). And on one final, slightly unrelated note, I love how all the books I got from this were also autographed; normally I don't care if I'm able to get a book autographed or not but in an odd way it gave this contest a more personal feel and it just made me happy.