Tag Archives: audiobook

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.

Review of Fighting for Love, by Aiden & Austin Bates

I haven’t been reading much lately, not even audiobooks. But today I needed to mow the lawn and fold laundry, both great audiobook activities. So, I gave Fighting for Love, by Aiden & Austin Bates a chance. I received an audible code for it at some point.

Description from Goodreads:

Warrior in the ring. Submissive in the bedroom. A dark threat against a promising future. . .and a growing new life.

He trains, he fights. MMA fighter Eric lives for each match because now there’s nothing else to live for. Though he once yearned for the steady, forever kind of love. . .though he craved domination. . .he was betrayed. Walking away from the man he would have married, Eric didn’t look back. And now his future is just as empty as his past.

The day Samuel was fired for wanting to marry the love of his life wasn’t his blackest moment—his blackest moment was the night before, when Eric left him without a word. But Samuel emerged stronger, learned that to survive heartbreak he had to be true to himself. He now craves someone to share his dark desires with—a dominating self Eric never knew.

Where there are secrets, there can never be true love.

When a new client walks into Samuel’s place, he’s shocked to see that the man booking his services as a dom is Eric. Is this a cruel joke, or are they fated to be together?

The only way to find out is to follow this thing to the end. Even if that means wading through blackmail, deceit and a shocking discovery that changes their lives forever. They have no choice but to defeat their enemies and make their love work.

Eric is carrying a baby and Samuel refuses to give them up without fighting the match of their lives.

Review:

You know, what I think amazes me most about this book is that it had two authors. Two people were involved in the writing of this travesty and neither one called a halt to it. It’s a disaster in so many ways. For one, even listening to the audio version, I caught several editing mistakes. The most common (and therefore the one that annoyed me most) was how it kept saying one character’s house was color-coded, but they meant color coordinated. As this was meant to be an endearing trait it was brought up several times and it was wrong every time. But there were also just other random mistakes. At one point someone left the bathroom to go to the bathroom. (He went to the bedroom).

But mostly I hated that the whole alpha/omega trope wasn’t situated in any sort of world. I’m plenty familiar with the Omegaverse. I’m not new to m-preg stories. But you can’t just drop alpha and omega characters into an undefined world. I have no idea if this was common among all people, some people, or a secret. I have no idea if these were human people or shifters of some sort (though I assume not since it wasn’t mentioned). Why were some alphas and some omegas? What makes an alpha or omega? Are there betas somewhere?

How, if at all, do the dominant and submissive traits come into play? Because the book infers that the words aren’t interchangeable, some alphas are dominant, but not all omegas are subservient, and visa versa. I think. I’m really not sure and that’s my point. None of this is defined or explained in any way. What’s more, the dominant character got into being a dom when he lost his job and someone else took him in and showed him the ropes. It’s reiterated that it’s just a job. So, even being a dom isn’t presented as a racial trait. So, what makes him an alpha if not his dominance?

Further, there is 100% no reason both characters needed to be male for this plot to work (as poorly as it worked, but you get my point). I love gay romance. So, I’m not saying the authors needed a reason to write the characters as gay. But the m-preg felt so forced and out of place, so poorly explained (not at all explained) that I feel like it just should have been left out. The sex was abortive and uninterestingly written (how do you make BDSM sex vanilla and boring?) that even it couldn’t redeem it. At least if one had been female one aspect of the pregnancy plot would have made a modicum of sense and one fewer facet would be a basket case.

Lastly (and this is a big spoiler), the whole plot hinges on my number-one most hated trope, the “Oops it all a misunderstanding that could have been avoided with a single conversation” trope. I hate this and it was apparent that this was going to be the case from chapter one and it was dispelled literally in a single partial paragraph. They had been together for years, were engaged to be married and one ghosted on the other based on a text from an unknown person. A text they later decided was a wrong number. It’s beyond ridiculous and predictable to boot. Why didn’t they just have the conversation two years ago?

About the only positive thing I can say is that the narrator did a fine job.