Tag Archives: audiobook

Review of Claiming Ana (Triple Star Ranch #1), by Brynna Curry

I received an Audible code for a copy of Claiming Ana, by Brynna Curry.

Description from Goodreads:

The child of a gypsy and fey, small-town veterinarian Dr. Anastasia Brannon has always hidden her magic for fear of ridicule. A red-hot encounter with the new PI in town makes their attraction impossible to deny. Throwing caution to the wind, she indulges her desires but keeps her secrets close.

A man with a shady past and secrets of his own, Howl Raven uses his feral talents and tracking skills to make a living, doing his best to lay low and hide the curse that haunts him every month. So far, so good…until an uncontrollable shift outside the full moon leaves him the victim of a werewolf hunter.

When she finds the enigmatic investigator wounded in the woods near her cabin during a storm, Ana provides medical care on instinct. She may be the only one who can banish the wolf from Howl’s blood, but at what cost?

Review:

This was not great. It started out well enough by introducing several interesting characters that then play essentially no role in the book at all. (I assume they are only there because they’ll have their own future books.) The love is instant, the plot is thin and the ending anti-climactic. Basically, had the author taken the time to develop this into a full-length novel (where she could have fleshed characters, plot, and the world out) it could have been pretty good. But she didn’t. Instead, it’s barely 75 pages and the reader feels all that it lacks.

On a side note, I really wish American authors would get on board with the fact that Gypsy is considered a slur and an insult and shouldn’t be used casually. I realize that that message hasn’t been as widely heard on this side of the Atlantic and it has developed a different meaning that many are reluctant to give up. But many who can claim the heritage have been fairly vocal that they wish it not to be used.

The narrator did a pretty good job, outside of the occasional tendency to get a little overly dramatic.

Review of Heart of the Fae and Veins of Magic, by Emma Hamm

Last week I listened to Emma Hamm‘s The Faceless Woman and so enjoyed it that I went in search of the beginning of the series and spent this weekend listening to Heart of the Fae and Veins of Magic.

Description:

Once upon a time…

A plague sweeps across the emerald hills of Uí Néill, leaving a young midwife’s father with months to live. To save her people, Sorcha makes a deal with a dangerous Fae. She must travel across the sea, through merrow and kelpie lands, to find a forgotten king on a crumbling throne.

Born king of the Seelie Fae, Eamonn fought battles unnumbered to uphold honor, duty, and freedom… until his twin brother sank a blade between his shoulders. Crystals grew from the wound, splitting open skin and bone. His people banished him to a cursed isle for his disfigurement, now king of criminals and fools.

With the help of brownies, pixies, and will-o’-the-wisps, Sorcha battles to break through his crystalline shell and persuade him to take back his stolen throne.

This determined beauty could come dangerously close to stealing his beastly heart.

Review:

Since Heart of the Fae and Veins of Magic form a duology, neither standing alone, I’m going to write a single review encompassing both. But one of the main takeaway potential readers should understand is this point that they need both books for a complete story.

I really enjoyed this, both the story and the narration. I really like that Hamm’s fae are old school scary fae, her female characters are strong and full of agency, and her male ones aren’t afraid to show need. I especially appreciated that it was Sorcha who took the lead in most sexual situations.

My only complaint here is how very gendered everything is. While I appreciate that Hamm’s goal was to emphasize that both a king and a queen are necessary, neither an accouterment to the other. (A pleasant change from most stories that center a king and make the queen little more than an accessory or political pawn.) But the book leans hard into women being soft and kind and caring and men being violent, rough and in need of tempering. True, Sorcha had to go against that in the course of the story but it was still a strong theme in the book. (As was how much bigger he was than her, another classic gendering technique.)

All in all however, I can’t wait to dive into more of Hamm’s writing and Waring’s narration.

Review of The Faceless Woman (The Otherworld #4), by Emma Hamm

I received an Audible code for a copy of Emma Hamm‘s The Faceless Woman.

Description from Goodreads:

Once upon a time…

A town will only suffer the presence of a witch for as long as she is useful. Aisling watches the flames lick her thighs and prays for a quick death. But when an Unseelie prince appears through the smoke, she does what any self respecting witch would do.

She curses him.

Bran should never have traveled to the human realm, and is shocked when a witch binds them together. His life is hers and he refuses to die. He saves her from the fires, casts a hex on the townsfolk for good measure, then whisks her away to safety. His only stipulation? She has to remove the binding curse.

Unfortunately for them both, she can’t. Witch and Unseelie must travel across the Otherworld to break the ties that bind them. Secrets and lies stand between them, but both will stop at nothing to save themselves.

Review:

I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. I love that almost every time I thought it was going to fall into some PNR trope it subverted it. Here’s an example (I’m paraphrasing), during the only (mild) sex scene Bran trotted out the common “say ‘no’ now, I won’t stop after this.” I hate when heroes do this and you hear it all the time in PNR, like the hero he isn’t saying “I’ll just go ahead and rape you if you try and stop me past this point” and the reader is supposed to feel it’s something else, romantic even. I groaned when he said it and then cheered when her response was, “I don’t want you to stop, but if you think I couldn’t stop you if I wanted to, you don’t know me well.”

That’s Aisling in a nutshell, never afraid to call someone out, never making herself smaller, never dulling her shine for someone else, but also never falling into harridan or shrew. I so much appreciated that both she and Bran were as honest with each other as they could be, never faulted the other for what was out of their control, and Hamm never took the easy ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘angry over secrets’ plotting path.

I look forward to reading more of this series, maybe going back and starting at the beginning. And if I can get the audio, even better, because Siobhan Waring did a marvelous job.