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Book Review: Taken by the Dragon King, by Amelia Shaw

I picked up an audiobook copy of Amelia Shaw‘s Taken by the Dragon King on Google Play Books. (As it happens, I also have an e-copy. But when it came down to it, I went with the audio.)

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Stavrok won’t let anything stand between him and his mate.

There’s a beast inside of me, and there will be a time when I can’t control him.

That’s what my father told me happens when my dragon finds his mate. He will claim them. He will not be gentle. He will not be sweet.

My dragon will do whatever it takes to ensure his mate doesn’t leave, no matter the cost.

Lucy thinks soulmates are only for her dreams.

When a stranger breaks into my home and comes after me, I recognize his face. He’s the man from my dreams—the one I’m destined to fall in love with.

But I don’t believe in soulmates. That’s why I try to flee.

Stavrok takes Lucy to the snowy mountains, hellbent on proving she’s his mate.

But then his kingdom is attacked, and Lucy is stolen away from the Dragon King.

Now her only hope lies in knowing Stavrok will turn the world to ash and brimstone looking for her…and his dragon babies.

my review

Meh, this was fine, if a little bland and predictable. I don’t have a lot to say on this one. It is exactly what the title describes—no more, no less. I liked that he falls first and that she has a backbone. The writing is readable, and the plot holds together. But it is simply made up of a series of tropes we’ve all read before, and nothing feels original or even combined in a new way. So, honestly, I was bored by it. But if you happen to particularly like the tropes used, I imagine you’ll be more invested than I was.

Lastly, I listened to the audio version. Catherine Bilson did a fine job with the narration. But I rather feel she wasn’t a good fit styalistically. She was a little too prim and polite, as if she should have been reading a cozy Ms. Marple-style mysteries or sweet historical romances instead of mildly spicy PNR.taken by the dragon king photo

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Taken by the Dragon King, by Amelia Shaw | Book Review

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Audio Book Review: Ruwen, by Kate Rudolph

I picked up a freebie copy of Ruwen, by Kate Rudolph.
ruwen audio cover

Running out of time…

Ruwen NaNaran knows he’s a goner. The curse of his alien species has put a countdown on his life, and he’ll be dead before the month is out. Unless he finds his denya, the only woman in the universe who can save him.

Down on her luck and lost in space…

Lis Jaynx just wants to go home. Kidnapped from Earth by unknown foes, she’s dropped on a inhospitable planet with little food and no hope. She’ll do anything to find a ship to take her back to Earth, but Polai is hostile to all alien life, and Lis finds herself on the run.

An unexpected chance…

From the moment he sees her, Ru knows Lis is his denya. But she’s already wounded and distrustful of all aliens, even those who claim they want to help.

Will the explosive chemistry between them be enough to topple Lis’s fears? Or will their bond break before it even forms — leaving Ru a dead alien walking — and Lis all alone in the black of space…

my review

I listened to an audio version of this book and came to two realizations, both of which I’ll address here. First, this is not a very good book. It’s shallow and underdeveloped. But it also isn’t erotica; smut isn’t the point. So, there should be a plot to keep readers interested. Failing that, at least well-drawn characters or an intriguing world. This book has none of that. The whole thing is just sketched out, predictable, and too linear to be interesting.

I’ll form the second point with a question. Why, if the primary readers of romance are women and the female character is central, would anyone choose a male narrator? I’ll grant that this is a dual POV, but it is still a book for and primarily about a woman (formed for and of female fantasies). I had a hard time even deciding how I felt about the book because I so very much disliked it being narrated by a man.

If you consider that I was reading (what I hoped would be a) sexy sci-fi romance, it begins to resemble engaging in a sexual fantasy of sorts. Having a male narrator felt, to me, very much like having an uninvited man intrude. The argument could be made that by virtue of purchasing the book, he had been invited. And I’ll accept that. But it was done unwittingly, and I will endeavor not to make the same mistake again.

On top of that, I don’t actually think the narrator did a very good job. Years ago, I read an autobiography of some second-rate Hollywood actor who talked about the things he did to pay the bills before making it. Apparently, narrating a romance novel was one of those things. He ruwen photospoke about the book and author in a very condescending and disparaging way, basically making fun of both (as men do).

I feel like I could sense a similar undercurrent in Michael’s narration. This only added to the feeling of male intrusion. Not only was he there where he wasn’t wanted, but he was also there with his judgment (as men so often are). Of course, I could be projecting. But it all had a real effect on my ability (or lack thereof) to enjoy the book.

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Scary Mary the Hamster Lady: Book Review Ruwen

Audiobook Review: Ruwen (Mated to the Alien, #1). ⭐️⭐️⭐️


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Book Review: Bloom in Blood & Dance in Night, by L.A. Boruff and Lainie Anderson

I accepted a free Audible Code for a copy of L.A. Boruff and Lainie Anderson‘s Dance in Night through FreeAudiobookcodes.com. However, I didn’t realize at the time that it is book two in the series. So, I then had to hunt up a copy of Bloom in Blood, which I did.
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About Bloom in Blood:

At thirty-seven, the worst possible thing happened. Now, at forty-two, Riley has nearly given up.

Five years ago, my world was turned upside down when my husband and sons disappeared without a trace. I mourned, I searched, and when I got no answers, I began to prepare.

Nobody will catch me vulnerable again.

I was wrong to think my life couldn’t get any crazier. Now there are two vampires at my door telling me my missing family wasn’t human…and neither am I. I have a chance to regain everything I’ve lost. But first, I have to find the truth about my heritage, all while fighting the overwhelming attraction I have for my missing husband’s best friends.

No matter what, my mourning is done. My life is in my control again. And I will burn the world to the ground to get my family back.

my review

This has an interesting premise and characters. But the execution…OMG, the execution is so bad. I picked this book up because I accepted an audible code for a copy of Dance in Night—book two of the series—without realizing it is a sequel. So, I had to step back and find this book to read first. If I hadn’t committed to reading and reviewing book two and therefore needed to finish book one, I would have DNFed this pretty early on.

The narrative is almost entirely dialogue, which leaves very little room for world-building that isn’t just info-dumped from one character to another for the benefit of the reader. And so much of the dialogue is painfully stilted. Worst of all, in my opinion (because it’s a pet peeve—once you notice, you can’t stop noticing), names are constantly included in the dialogue.

Authors, step back and think about a conversation you have with friends and family in real life. How often do you actually say the name of the person you’re talking to? I find the constant inclusion of names in dialogue one of the fastest ways to make writing feel amateurish.

Plus, the name of this series is An Unseen Midlife. The character is 42. It’s meant to fit in the Paranormal Women’s Fiction genre. A genre for women approaching middle age who are past the starting a family stage and are moving on to finding themselves again outside of the role of wife and mother. So, when the plotline is all about the importance of her babies (and ends with her pregnant with another), it breaches the contract of the genre, in my opinion.

Add to all of the above the fact that the plot rockets at such a pace that nothing is allowed time bloom in blood phototo grow or develop, and the result is a complete flop for me.

The writing and editing are mechanically sound, and the book has a cool cover. (The series has cool covers, rather.) And I appreciate that Riley is a full-sized woman. She’s a size 18 when her husband falls in love with her. But that’s about the most positive thing I have to say about any of it.

About Dance in Night:

Several months after the heartbreaking events in the ruins of the Isla Del Sol, all Riley wants is to resolve her complicated past and move on with life.

Pregnant, married, and safe, she never expects to be kidnapped while on vacation with her husbands.

Her kidnappers open her eyes to a dangerous threat to her baby’s entire existence. Her children’s safety is her top priority, and Riley will stop at nothing to achieve it. Is she strong enough to save her family?

my review

Meh. I liked this one a lot more than the first in the series. But I 100% stand by my previous assertion that THIS IS NOT PWF. Paranormal Women’s Fiction focuses on what women do once they have passed the stage of life of marriage and babies. And while the character here is in her forties, she is freshly married and pregnant for most of the book, then she has the baby, and the rest of dance in nightthe book focuses on baby issues. THAT IS EXPLICITLY NOT PWF, and it feels like dishonesty on the part of the authors to pretend it is.

As for the plot itself, it’s pretty shallow and predictable. It’s not bad, per se, but there’s not a lot to it. (And honestly, I skipped past the spicy times, just not invested enough to bother.) All in all, I’m not too disappointed to read it, but I am very glad to have it off my TBR.

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