Tag Archives: Fae

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Book Review: Fighting Destiny, by Amelia Hutchins

I picked up a freebie copy of Amelia HutchinsFighting Destiny way back in 2015. Since then, it has come to my attention several times, either in an ad or just scrolling my TBR, etc. I finally just decided to give it a read.

fighting destiny cover

Have you ever heard of the old Celtic legends of the Fae – beautiful, magical, deadly and a love of messing with humans just for kicks and giggles?
Welcome to my world.

What started out as a strange assignment, leads to one of the most gruesome murder mysteries of our times and my friends and I are set and determined to find out who is killing off Fae and Witches alike.

Couple of problems in the way – I hate the Fae and the Prince of the Dark Fae is bound and determined that I work for him. He’s a rude, overbearing egotistical ass with a compulsive need to possess, dominate and control me. Oh – did I mention that he is absolutely sex-on-a-stick gorgeous and he makes me feel things that I never ever wanted to feel for a Fae…every time he touches me or looks at me with those golden eyes seems to pull me further in under his spell, despite my better judgment.

My friends and I can’t trust anyone and nothing is as it seems on the surface – not even me.

my review

Meh. The writing here was fine. But I simply did not like the book. Mostly, I did not like the love interest. Yes, I understand the idea of dark romance and enemies to lovers, etc. Here’s the thing, though: even in dark enemies-to-lovers romances, the reader needs to feel that no matter how dark and dangerous the male lead may be, the heroine is ultimately safe from him. I never got that sense here. Plus, there has to come a point in the book in which the male lead goes from enemy to lover and redeems his previous actions. I never reached that point in this book. They went from not having sex to having sex, but not to lovers. Even at 85%, he was still doing things I could not forgive him for. And at 99%, the author was still submitting the heroine to things I could not forgive her (the author) for.

What’s more, the whole book skimms over the fact that the fae are rapists—all of them. The author plays loose and fast with this fact, but it’s an unavoidable truth of the species as written. And, given the coercive contract and fae ability to subsume someone’s free will, I never felt the heroine had the autonomy to choose to engage in most of the acts she did. I understand dub-con and non-con stories. I do. I even enjoy them on occasion. But it’s a difficult sell and a book that doesn’t manage to walk the thin line of a hero who is willing to engage in non-con acts while still being redeemable compromises itself fully. This was exacerbated by how willing he was to threaten the use of further rape (while pretending it’s something else) but to do so when it is literally her greatest fear in life, based on extreme past trauma.

fighting destiny photoSure, I’m interested in the mysteries. But I’m not willing to read another however many pages of story in which the author ignores that the very characters we’re supposed to engage with are remorseless (and probably frequent) rapists. Let me be clear before someone comes at me with, ‘Don’t read dark romance then’ or some such. It’s the fact that the author is writing certain world and character traits while similtaneously pretending she isn’t and expecting the reader to do the same that is at issue, not the dark elements themselves. I will not be continuing the series.

Other Reviews:

Vicarious Book Reviews: Fighting Destiny by Amelia Hutchins

Fighting Destiny by Amelia Hutchins – Book and Audio Review

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Book Review: Behind the Curtain, by W.R. Gingell

I pre-ordered a copy of W.R. Gingell‘s Behind the Curtain. The drop day snuck up on me, though. So, it felt like a perfect surprise when I noticed it. I read the first three books in the series earlier this year. You can find the reviews here.

behind the curtain cover

The world Between is full of dangers, shadows, and reflections. Athelas knows the dangers, is one with the shadows—and has finally encountered a reflection could be just a bit too much like himself for comfort.

The house master has come back. Nobody will quite say who he is, or why he owns the house. And to Athelas’ growing irritation, no one will talk about the oddly powerful influence the house master seems to have over Camellia.

YeoWoo knows exactly who and what the house master is—and she knows exactly how much danger Camellia is in. The question she can’t quite seem to answer is: How much safer is it to put Camellia into Athelas’ power than it is to leave her in the house master’s power?

There are nightmares skulking in the corners. Pieces of curse lingering beneath the couch. And soon Camellia will have to make a choice between two evils.

To add insult to injury, the teapot has gone missing…

my review

Last year, The City Between took me by storm, and I binged the whole 10-book series. This year, I’ve been inching my way through the follow-up series, one book at a time, as they become available. It’s torture. But I’ve loved watching Athelas, YeoWoo, Camellia, Harrow, and the crew become a family. Gingell has a way with soft, subtle reveals, and I am here for it.

I’ll admit that there have been times that I wasn’t entirely sure what the subtlety of language was hinting at, or a character would say something along the lines of “I see…” but I do not, in fact, see. These are rare moments, though, and hugely overshadowed by how much I love every one of these characters, especially now that Harrow speaks (and, oh, the things he observes).

I cannot wait for March and the next book. But for a binger like myself, this read, wait, repeat is hell.behind the curtain photo

Other reviews:

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Book Review: Monsters of Faery #1 & 3, by Mallory Dunlin

I picked up my copy of Mallory Dunlin‘s Captured by the Fae Beast as an Amazon Freebie, and I think I received Claimed by the Flame of Faery from the author. I’m usually very good at keeping track of such things. But I have admittedly been a little distracted with school, and my logging system has kind of fallen apart. I suspect I probably owe an apology for taking a while to read the book because I had no record of having accepted an ARC. That is 100% on me. I dropped that ball. (I really hope it’s the only one.)

Those who are paying attention will also notice that this is books 1 and 3 of the series. (They all stand alone, so I don’t know that the numbers matter.) But I only read these two because I only own these 2.

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About Captured by the Fae Beast:

I never intended to become a princess. Or make a deal with a monster.

Lost in the wilderness, I thought the handsome stranger was my salvation—until I looked into the eyes of a beast.

They say not to bargain with the fae, but there was no other choice.

The deadly prince of Stag Court claims I belong to him. I only have a year and a day to convince him to let me go before I’m his forever.

He’s without mercy, known as a ruthless killer. Yet he protects me. Defends me. Tells me his secrets. In front of the Court, he’s the Beast, but behind closed doors he gives me the chance to choose him, or not.

The fae Court is a dangerous place, and the prince isn’t the only terror lurking in the shadows. But I’m stronger than his enemies give me credit for. Together, he and I might be each other’s salvation… or ruin.

My Review:

I must begin by acknowledging that this book was not at all what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be a dark fantasy romance. So, imagine my surprise when I got into it and found that it is actually incredibly sweet. I’ve been tempted more than once, even to go so far as to call it cozy. Though not an actual cozy mystery, it at times has that everything-will-be-right-with-the-world coziness.

Dain stole the show for me. He has all the markers of an alpha a-hole hero but just isn’t. The way he learns to ask plainly for what he wants is completely heartwarming. I think watching him brave hope (the most dangerous thing, really) made my heart grow two sizes. I liked Leah, too, of course. I liked that she was attuned to Dain’s quirks, willing to give him grace when he messed up, and simply a good person. But I was team Dain, all the way.

I did think Leah accommodated to living in a new world far too easily. She took on the duties and skills of the fae court (and war) with an ease that belied belief. I also thought the villain’s motives were incredibly cliched. We’ve all read some version of it too many times to consider it interesting. In fact, considering how deftly other aspects of the book were handled, I thought the overused villain type and their motives an odd departure. Lastly, the book meandered a little at times, feeling padded and overly long.

All in all, however, I enjoyed this and can’t wait to read more of Dunlin’s work.

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About Claimed by the Flame of Faery:

I meant to slay the dragon—not save him.

All my life, I’ve known what it means to be a human in Faery, and I’ve always fought back. But when my father attacks a half-dragon duke – and fails – I make the only bargain I can think my life for my his.

I expect to be treated like a slave, but my new master keeps me in luxury. There’s no escape from the beautiful, deadly fae duke—and I’m determined to use my position to help the other mortals in Faery.

But the more I learn about him, the more I want to know. He’s fascinating. Passionate. Every time he touches me, I want to beg him to never stop. There’s far more to the Flame of Faery than I ever expected.

His secrets bind him like thorned vines. His enemies lurk in the shadows. They know how to deal with a dragon… but they don’t know how to deal with me.

If I save him, my debt is paid. But I’m starting to fear that I’ll never want to leave…

My Review:

I had a mixed opinion of this book. On one hand, I was amused. I enjoyed spending time with the characters. I liked them, and I liked that Dunlin presented us with a male lead that gleefully broke a lot of the expected male characteristics. On the other, I didn’t really feel the chemistry between the two, and I didn’t particularly believe that Varistan would have avoided telling her the big secret as long as he did when he was given every incentive to do so. In fact, it was a solution to the one impediment that Bells kept saying was the reason she wouldn’t be with him. Further, when the secret came out, and she was predictably hurt by it, I do not feel like Varistan made anywhere near enough reparations. It felt very much like he shrugged and then just stood around and waited for her to get over her hurt. It was not enough for me by a long shot.

All in all, however, I liked this a lot and will be looking for more of Dunlin’s work.

Other Reviews:

Book Review: Captured By The Fae Beast