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Book Review: Fae Bound, by Verity Inkwell & Aspen Winters

I do this thing sometimes, where I go to Amazon, limit my search to paperback books available through Amazon prime, in a certain genre, and then order them by lowest to highest price. It’s fun to see what the algorithm throws at me for like 2 bucks. If it offers up something halfway interesting and not number 37 in a series, I buy it and read it. It’s not so much about getting a cheap book, it’s about the chaotic joy of letting mysterious math and fate recommend a book. That’s how I ended up buying myself a physical copy of Fae Bound, by Verity Inkwell and Aspen Winters (a book I’d never heard of).

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Changelings are well known in lore. Fae take the human child and leave their own behind. But nobody has told the story of what happens to the human child taken.

My name is Amelie le Fae, and I am a human Changeling. High King Oberon declared long ago that Changelings had to marry and stay within the realm. I’m a bit of a different case.

I was born a witch, and being brought to the Underground realm only increased the potency of my magic. Unfortunately, Oberon had a clause ready for Changelings like me. Upon our three-hundredth birthday, we must be bound to no less than three mates.

Every fae in the Underground would give their left leg for the chance to be bound to a witch. The problem is, I want love. So, I’ve kept my magic hidden from suitors for two-hundred and ninety-nine years. I’m running out of time.

my review

This had a very simple plot, very little world-building, and basically no character development. But it was still a fun little sexy romp. Amelie needs to find no less than 3 men to marry in the next few days. Because, despite having had 300 years to do this, she’s waited until the last moment and not even bothered to learn anything about the requirement. (She’s 300, but this still reads like YA. Partly because of her lack of concern or knowledge about her own situation, but also because of the sort of interactions the characters have with their parents.)

Luckily, all she has to do is stand still and the men will throw themselves at her and, like any good fairy-tale, only the right ones will stick. Nothing in this was believable—yes, I know it’s fantasy, but even fantasy has to meet the suspension of disbelief threshold, and this doesn’t. But, again, it’s an enjoyable read anyway, if you’re willing to just let it be silly.

It is oddly in-explicit in the sex though. So, don’t go in looking for high steam. It’s not quite fade to black, but the sex scenes just aren’t particularly full or robust.

The book ends on a cliffhanger. But being only 148 pages, I feel like there really wasn’t any need to break this up into multiple books, except that that seems to be the thing to do lately.

All in all, not a finely crafted piece of literature. But there is an innocent joy to it that makes me interested in continuing. The 5 characters basically meet, decide they’re a family now, and go about being good to one another. There is something to be said for that.

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Book Review: Dragon Mate, by Jen L. Grey

While Jen L. Grey‘s The Hidden King wasn’t featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight, I did post it on Sadie’s Spotlight’s Instagram page and ended up with a free ecopy of the books. I read book one, Dragon Mate last night.
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Sometimes, survival depends on not being seen.

I should know. That’s the only way I’ve survived. Getting accepted into a prestigious university was my chance at freedom; to escape and live without fear and resentment.

And with no emotional attachments–or at least that was the plan.

Until I see Egan.

He’s sexy, mysterious, and has muscles in all the right places. He invokes feelings I don’t want or understand.

The more he shows up, the harder of a time I have remembering why staying away from him was a good idea. But he brings deep, dark secrets that alter my entire world.

Monsters exist. Witches cast spells. And animals may be human after all.

I either embrace fate and enter a strange new world full of risks like never before or walk away.

Maybe, I’m destined for heartache because sometimes, love isn’t worth what it costs to fall.

my review
I wouldn’t go so far as to call this bad. Certainly, the mechanical writing is perfectly competent. I don’t remember any big editing foul-ups and I do always appreciate a big ol’ cinnamon roll hero. So, I really liked Egan. (I’m fairly sick of all the alpha a-holes. So, a softer kinder hero is nice to see.) But I would call the book super inelegant. There just isn’t any subtly in the plotting, emotional arc, mystery, or romance. It’s all just splashed harshly and half-haphazardly on the page.

The book would have been vastly improved with the addition of Egan’s POV. Jade’s traumatic past didn’t feel real or pertinent (though maybe it’ll be more relevant in future books). I didn’t believe she’d be such a mouse if she’d also spent years being taught to defend and respect herself. And “I can’t allow myself any friends” seems an illogical response to it. Her diarrhea of the mouth wasn’t cute, it was just annoying. I think I got whiplash with all the emotional yes-no-yes-go away-come back etc. The villain was painfully obvious. And I’m hoping this is a spin-off of another series, otherwise there is just a lot of history referenced but never explained. (Edit: It turns out to be a spin-off of The Wolfborn Trilogy). Then, it ends on a cliffhanger with nothing concluded. So, I didn’t finish it feeling particularly charitable.

I do actually have books two and three. Who knows, maybe I’ll be in the mood to read it some time. But I’m not betting on it.

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Book Review: The Dragon’s Midlife Mate, by Haley Weir

I picked up a copy of Haley Weir‘s The Dragon’s Midlife Mate on one of it’s Amazon free days.

the dragon's midlife mate
Welcome to Cress, a mystical small town with magic, mystery, and golden-eyed men…

Ariah

Who says you can’t restart your life in your 40s?

I’m trapped in a loveless marriage. When my husband discovered that I’m a dragon shifter, he twisted my secret to keep me bound to him. He treats me like a circus animal. His prized possession.

It’s time for me to dust off my wings and fly.

I packed my bag and ran. I didn’t know where I was going, just that I had to get out of there. I left the big city and stumbled into a small town lost in time.

The last thing I expected was to run into one of my own kind. Zachary is a sexy-as-sin bartender with shimmering golden eyes.

But can I trust him the way my heart desperately wants to?

Zachary

I came to Cress as an orphan. The people of this small town took me in. They accepted me for what I am–a dragon shifter. They protected me.

And now I protect them.

I never thought I’d want anything more…until she shows up on my doorstep. She’s scared and tired, but far from helpless. When her gaze meets mine, it hits me.

I’m staring into the eyes of my mate. And I’d do anything to keep her safe.

my review

This simply wasn’t very good. It’s not sloppy bad, it’s just all tell (no show), which creates a distance between the reader and the characters, and it has a really simple, shallow plot. Everything happens in a linear manner. This happens, which leads to this, which leads to that, and then this happens and then that happens. There are no red herrings, no mysteries, no need for characters to consider or figure anything out. Everything is presented on the surface and proceeds in an orderly (and there fore boring manner). There are also loads of inconsistencies, especially around time and distance. And the plot just makes no sense. Why Marko was allowed to do ANY of what he did when they had the power to prevent it? It felt artificial. No way I believe Zachary let that happen one chapter after we were shown him go all alpha male on Cornelius.

I’ll be honest, I read the first half and skimmed a lot of the second half. And I’m not often a skimmer. I consider it cheating myself out of a book. But I just wanted to be done with this without having to give it much more of my time.

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