Tag Archives: Dragons

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Book Review: Forbidden Honor, by May Dawson

I picked up a copy of May Dawson‘s Forbidden Honor as an Amazon freebie.

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In my world, dragon shifters rule. Dragon shifters are always royals. They’re always male. They’re always assholes.

An orphaned servant like me? Everyone assumes on first shift, I’ll turn into a squirrel.

Instead, I grow wings. Breathe fire. Throw the world into chaos.

No one wants a girl in the Royal Dragon Guard. So I’m disguised as a man and sent off to military training.

The Dragon Royals are not a welcoming bunch. These princely scions of the four ruling families have been training to fight the plague-crazed Scourge since they were toddlers. Every girl in the city dreams of winning the heart of one of the dragon nobles, but they only care about each other.

Jaik, the cold-hearted hero who never smiles and never falters. Arren, who kills without mercy and guards his friends fiercely. Lynx and Branick, the twin spymasters with deadly swords. Talisyn, with the beautiful cruel mouth and endless bravery.

By night, I’m the servant they flirt with. I’m the one stealing Jaik’s heart and kissing Talisyn and antagonizing Arren. All the while, Branick and Lynx fret that I’m a spy, sent to destroy the Royals.

By day, I’m Lucien Finn, the man they despise and the dragon shifter they have to fight alongside.

These royals are determined to make me fall, and the princes play dirty. Can I ignore the pull they have on my heart and kick them off their thrones?

Will they break the maid… or kill the man? What will it do to us all when they finally discover the truth about who I truly am?

my review

I had mixed feelings about this book, but I mostly enjoyed it. I liked the characters well enough and the world seems interesting. But I also thought it had a little too much filler and far too strong of a ‘she’s a special snowflake who is not like other girls’ vibe. Plus, the men of the harem are given drastically uneven attention, though I suspect that is a matter of the neglected ones getting time in future books. All in all, I don’t regret reading it, but I probably won’t be continuing the series all the same.

Here’s the thing. I love the Why Choose genre, but it’s burning me out pretty quickly because of how series-heavy it is. This was book 1 of 6, and I’ve read enough such series to strongly suspect I’ll need to read all 6 books to reach any sort of satisfying conclusion (and each will end on a cliffhanger). I just am not ready (or in a position, time-wise) to commit to 5 more books. That’s not so much a criticism of the series as a comment on my condition in engaging with it. But it is what it is.

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What I’m Reading: May Dawson’s Dragon Royals series

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Book Review: Fire Heart, by Emma Hamm

I purchased a copy of Emma Hamm‘s Fire Heart.

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They handed her a sword and bid her to take a throne…Lorelei is half elf in a kingdom where that bloodline is synonymous with “slave”. The Umbra King holds everyone captive with his pet dragon who knows no mercy. She hides in the shadows and steals to stay alive, until a rebel group gives her an offer she can’t refuse.

The King seeks a bride. If she can get close enough, she could drive a dagger into that wicked man’s heart. But the bridal games are more difficult than most. Lorelei must prove herself not only beautiful, but talented, poised, and deadly as the king. However, the closer she gets to saving her kingdom, the more she realizes a singular problem stands in her way.

The dragon.

The King’s bodyguard is more than a slathering beast. He’s a man. And the longer she’s near him, the more she realizes that perhaps the king isn’t the most dangerous person in the kingdom. Perhaps she had to guard not only her body, but her heart. For a dragon mates for life, and they’re hard pressed to give up their treasures.

my review

My experience with Emma Hamm’s books has been inconsistent. I’ve read some that I absolutely loved (such as the Otherworld Series) and others that I’ve just been bored silly by (Bleeding Hearts). This was one of the latter. Maybe I just need to avoid any of her titles with Heart in it.

The writing in Fire Heart is good, and I liked the characters well enough. But the plot just left something to be desired. The main character was little more than a patsy. The main love interest was bland, though I did appreciate his fatherly attributes. The villain was a caricature. The side characters were largely uninteresting. It was all just kind of mid.

Maybe, despite the heroine being a couple of hundred years old, the story just felt too YA for me. Maybe I just expected more from this author. Who knows? All in all, I probably won’t pick up the next in the series unless it’s a freebie. But I’m still open to trying others of Hamm’s books.

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Other Reviews:

ARC Review: Fire Heart by Emma Hamm

The Rambling Book Nerd: Fire Heart, by Emma Hamm

 

 

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Book Review: The Lost Siren, by Raven Storm

I’d seen several tempting teasers for Raven Storm‘s The Last Siren on Tiktok. So, I grabbed a freebie copy from Amazon when I was able. the lost siren

A human female born into a breeding manor never has a choice…I am a slave, but at least I am alive.

When the man with wings and scales gave me a second choice—I took it. The others of his kind pin me with hungry eyes, but I’ll do what I must to survive. I’ll preside over their Draken Games—and choose a winner every night to share my bed. The alternative is death.

Traded from one prison to the next I have but one hope left—the Lost Siren. I must find her before the demon hordes come if these men—Drakens—have any chance of escaping their mountainous prison, and me along with them.

my review

I am on an unfortunate losing streak. This is the fourth book in a row I’ve read that started out well but then deteriorated by the end, largely due to authorial choice. The problem with this one was that, though the writing was perfectly readable, I hated everything about the plotting and characters. I found everyone unpleasant and unlikiable. But I have a second, more important complaint that I’m not even 100% sure how to explain.

Throughout the book, over and over and over again, Wren is told that no one will hurt her; no one will do anything that she doesn’t consent to. But the book is full, I mean chock full, of people doing things she doesn’t consent to. She almost dies like 15 times from drakens hurting her. I’m talking broken bones, concussions, intended SA—serious hurts—and often these events happen on the same page as “no one will hurt you, no one will do anything you don’t want.”

This could have been interestingly integrated into the plot. The different degrees or meanings of safe or consent could have been explored. Or the expectations of men and women or drakens and humans. Maybe it was a lie to put her at ease, etc. This could have been purposefully used. Instead, when each draken says she’s safe and no one will force her to do anything she doesn’t want, the inference is that they are sincere. Over and over and over again. Despite this, the excuse for many of the injuries is that the drakens are fighting their instincts. (It’s never clear what these instincts actually are; it’s implied to mate, but it reads like kill, so I don’t know.) The important part is that if the instinct is to rape and rend, I do not know where the assurance that no one would hurt her is supposed to have even come from. It’s not in their nature. It’s not in their culture. It does not appear to be a shared norm or commitment.

What this means is that it’s the narration—the author—that is lying to the reader. They set up the expectation that Wren can look to ‘her males’ to keep her safe and reinforce it repeatedly with the ‘no one will force you’ mantra. But then prove it a lie over and over while also writing Wren as if she is safe with them, which is provably (proven) false. Each man physically harms her more than once. Each man stands by while she fights off opponents that require a suspension of the lost siren photodisbelief to accept she survives (and I mean stand next to her while this happens).

All of this breaks an important compact between the author and the reader. Again, this does not feel like it’s purposeful plotting; rather, it feels like an author-inconsistency. She wanted the reader to believe something, so she repeated it over and over but was not able to substantiate it in the actual plotting. I lost trust in Storm very early, and they never regained it, never even seemed to recognize that they needed to try. All in all, I simply didn’t like the book.


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