Tag Archives: erotic fantasy

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Book Review: The Yaga’s Riders, by C. Rochelle

Before I get to the review, a quick housekeeping note. I’ve returned to university and am now working on a Ph.D. As such, the time I can give to reading fiction (my favorite thing) is sadly constricted. It will likely take me a little while to find my feet and my new normal. But at the moment, I’m experimenting with reading and reviewing series instead of individual books. (I even made a whole post asking for omnibus recommendations.) This makes for longer posts a lot of the time but also allows for more time between postings. But I also acknowledge that I don’t usually tend to be quite as detailed when I’m reviewing several books together.  So, I may not stick with it. But for now, expect series reviews more often than individual book reviews.

OK, on to the review.

I picked up a copy of C. Rochelle‘s Rise of the Witch as an Amazon freebie and then went back and purchased a copy of the omnibus to finish the series.
the yaga's riders covers


As with most beginnings, it started with death.

When I had nothing left to lose, I traveled to the hut in the woods; the one no one dared approach. The witch who lived there recognized the darkness in my soul and took me under her wing—to witness her reign of terror firsthand and eventually, to inherit her legacy as my own.

Now I’m the monster they fear; the one humans avoid at all costs. In this welcome isolation, I’ve attempted to forget my past and the future that was taken from me.

Until three men appear, somehow able to break through my protective wards and see me in my true form. While resistant to their intrusion, I recognize they may be the ones I’ve been waiting for—the ones I need to ascend to my full power.

Too bad I would rather grind their bones than invite them in.

But something is mysteriously devouring the forest, and I suspect the threat may be the same one I barely escaped many moons ago. If it is, he will find me a more worthy opponent than the last time we met.

I am the Yaga and I may be broken, but my edges are sharp.

my review

I enjoyed the heck out of this series. Though more the first two books than the third, which I thought got too sappy and too deus ex machina-like. Characters suddenly developed and utilized powers too easily and conveniently. But outside of that, I loved the characters and thought the world was interesting. The writing is well-edited and easy to read. And there were just a lot of aspects of the romance and sexual relationships that I appreciated—things you don’t see often enough, IMO.

The heroine is curvy and doesn’t conform to a lot of today’s beauty standards. She’s not clean-shaven, for example. And the men make it very clear that they like this about her. One’s kink is even loving the smell of a woman a day or so outside of bathing. (This is notable since women are often taught they shouldn’t smell of anything at all—just one more way to plasticize us, IMO). So, I very much appreciated that the men loved aspects of her body that make her human in the most natural of ways.

Conversely, I did take issue with the gay character becoming bisexual for Vasi. It’s not written as if he was always bi but just finally found a woman to express it with. He was gay but confusingly found himself sexually attracted to Vasi. I found that a little ick if I’m honest. Though I adored the absolute chaos that was his relationship with Tan as well as Nox’s protectiveness of it.

All in all, this series was a winner for me, and I’ll be looking for more of Rochelle’s books. the yaga's riders photo

Other Reviews:

@author.tbwiese @C. Rochelle RH Author I read this in two days. Couldn’t put it down. RAN to my bookcase to start book 2. #bookthoughts #spicybooks #babayaga ♬ original sound – T.B. Wiese – Fantasy Author

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Book Review: Queenie & the Krakens, by Aleera Anaya Ceres

I received a copy of Aleera Anaya CeresQueenie & the Krakens in my November Supernatural Book Crate this month. While I don’t dislike this cover, I really do wish they would just leave the original covers on the monthly book selection. I almost always like them better. I don’t know if it’s a cost thing or a ‘special edition’ thing, but I think I say this every time I post a Supernatural Book Crate book, and I probably will continue to.

queenie and the krakens cover

Naomi Queen swore to herself she’d never get involved with criminals. She didn’t want any part of the world that raised her because she knew the trouble the malicious underground could bring. But all that changes when she witnesses a murder between a gang of mermen shifters.

Swept into the maelstrom of the paranormal criminal underbelly wasn’t exactly high on her to-do list. Neither was being hunted by the murderous gang that called themselves the Rogue Waves.

With her life in danger, Naomi has no other choice but to accept protection from the deadly MC’s rivals. But hiding at the Kraken Motorcycle Club’s compound was the last thing she wanted. These mermen are dangerous, violent, and sexy. Everything she’s tried to avoid. They’ll chew her up and spit her out like the vicious sharks that they are… or they’ll try to.

Naomi has a few tricks of her own up her sleeve, and if the Krakens thought she’d be a meek little witness, they have another thing coming. She can be as ruthless as the monster whose name they carry, and by the time she wreaks havoc upon their lives—and their hearts—they won’t even know what hit them.

my review

This has absolute chaos gremlin energy to it, and I’m here for it. Now, I didn’t like every aspect of it. It hit on some of my personal icks. But for the most part, I thought this was a lot of crazy, absurd fun.

Let’s just talk language for a minute. I curse like a sailor. So, the fact that these mermen motorcycle gang members do, too, didn’t bother me at all. However, I just can’t with the way women are always referred to so derogatorily. (This is in a lot of MC books, not just this one. But it really seemed to stand out here.) Bitch, for example, is used as an insult, a neutral description or identifier (i.e. not a man), and endearment in this book. And Old Lady is something to aspire to (separating you from the club whores). And I just can’t with it. I’m not saying anything general. It’s just one of my personal icks when women are talked about this way by the love interest(s), and it kept me from liking the book more than I did.

I loved the idea of the mermen motorcycle gang. But, honestly, the shifter aspect of the book was minimal, which was disappointing. Also, the book needs an editor. The prefix “pre–” means before (as in prefix). Just learning this one piece of grammar would correct about half a dozen misuses of the word precedes alone, for example. The book isn’t bad about typo-type editing mistakes. But there are a lot of misused words.

queenie and hte krakens photoHaving said all of that, while the reader doesn’t get to know the men well (it’s erotica, after all), they are a lot of fun. Box and Slug, especially. And I love that there weren’t immovable gender dynamics. Swords cross. Dominant men flex unexpectedly. Queenie tops, etc. And I appreciate that she had a backbone of steel and saves herself over and over again.

All in all. I didn’t love-love this. But I enjoyed the ride enough to want to check out more of Ceres’ books.

Other Reviews:

@authoralynichole Queenie and the Krakens by Aleera Anaya Ceres #whychooseromance #whychose #kindleromance #bookrecommendations #review ♬ original sound – Aly Nichole

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Book Review: A Soul to Keep, by Opal Reyne

I purchased an e-copy of A Soul to Keep, by Opal Reyne.
a soul to keep cover

All Reia ever wanted was freedom.

Known as a harbinger of bad omens and blamed for Demons eating her family, Reia is shunned by her entire village. When the next offering is due and the monstrous Duskwalker is seen heading their way, her village offers her an impossible choice – be thrown into the prison cells or allow herself to be sacrificed to a faceless monster.

However, he is not what he seems. His skull face and glow eyes are ethereal, and she finds herself unwittingly enchanted by him.

All Orpheus ever wanted was a companion.

Each decade, in exchange for a protection ward from the Demons that terrorise the world, Orpheus takes a human offering to the Veil – the place he lives and the home of Demons. The brief companionship does little to ease his loneliness, and their lives were always, unfortunately, cut short.

He’d thought it was a hopeless endeavour, until he met her. She’s not afraid of him, and his insatiable desire deepens within every moment of her presence.

But will Orpheus be able to convince Reia to stay before she’s lost to him forever?

my review

I enjoyed this, though it won’t top any favorites lists for me. I thought the world interesting, as well as the way Duskwalkers (and maybe demons) could craft themselves. I appreciated that Reia had a backbone and was the initiator of most of the sexual progress in the relationship.

I also thought Orpheus was adorable. He was super sweet, if a bit of a doormat. (Though I don’t think the reader is supposed to interpret it that way.) There is definitely some Himbo energy there. But it takes a lot of suspension of disbelief to overlook both that Orpheus eats people and takes people as sacrifices and still see him as the hero.

My main problem, personally, was the sex. I’m all about the monster sex, don’t get me wrong. And the sex was hot, not gonna lie. But it felt very much like it was written to match the trends of what is popular in spicy romance today, and, frankly, a lot of what Orpheus said/did/thought during sex didn’t actually fit him, the character as written. Sex-scene-Orpheus and rest-of-the-book-Orpheus felt like different characters. So, there was a disconnect for me.

I also thought the book could do with one more mechanical editing pass. There were several a soul to keep photoinstances of missing or misused words. No, I don’t mean because it’s Australian English. But I’d occasionally be pulled out of the narrative to figure out what word was missing from a sentence to make it make sense (it was usually an article or pronoun) or if the author actually meant the sentence to include same or some because it said, “same some” and only one or the other would make sense (that sort of thing).

All in all, though, I enjoyed more about the book than I didn’t and will likely read book two at some point.

Other Reviews:

A Soul to Keep by Opal Reyne