Tag Archives: Harper A. Brooks

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Book Review: Cruel Shadows, by Harper A. Brooks

I picked up a freebie copy of Harper A. BrooksCruel Shadows through Amazon.

cruel shadows coverI’m caught in the shadows…
…and the shadows want to play.

I thought I’d dreamed up the shadow realm and the place I called Dark Castle.

But it’s very real. And he’s still here.

My prince, my savior, my captor…

The monster in my bed.

But this time, he’s not alone.

I must escape, but first, my prince and his shadow men want me to fulfill their demands.

All of them.

The longer I stay, the harder it is to resist their dark promises, their insatiable hunger. Because, while these monsters’ smiles are cruel, their touches are the most delicious torture.

But they aren’t the only threat in this world. The darkness that wanted me before has found me again, and like my Shadow Prince, it’s ready to claim me as its own…forever.

my review

This was a pretty big “meh” for me. It held my attention for about half the book, and then it lost me to boredom. I only finished it to finish it. The writing is fine. There’s a little inconsistency to it, but it’s perfectly readable. The characters could be interesting if they weren’t just cardboard cut-outs. The world could be intriguing if it were actually developed. The plot might have been fun if it actually materialized before the ~85% mark.

Let me be clear here that I’m not actually complaining about the lack of plot. I know what kind of book I picked up. But, for a book this length, I needed something to make me care about the characters and all the sex they were having. I don’t even necessarily need to like them, but I need to care. And that’s where Cruel Shadows fails. I didn’t care. No one grabbed my attention. Nothing kept me interested. All in all, like I said, “Meh.” It’s a thing I read and will quickly forget.

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Book Review: Wolf Marked, by Harper A. Brooks

Here we are at last, reviewing the last Wolf Marked book in my Wolf Marked reading challenge. As a reminder, three different books titled Wolf Marked were promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight fairly close together.

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I was so amused by this that I decided to read and review all three. The whole thing took a little longer than I usually like challenges to, because I had to wait for the last Wolf Marked (this one by Harper A. Brooks) to actually become available. In fact, it doesn’t actually comes out until the end of this week. I got to it a little early as a for-review ARC through Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR.

Wolf-Marked harper brooks

The cycle of the moon can bring love… or death.

Time is running out for Astrid. If the wolf-shifter doesn’t find her soul’s mate before her twenty-fifth Blue Moon rises, the consequences will be fatal. With only three weeks left, things aren’t looking good… until Erec, a smooth-talking rogue wolf, lands at her feet.

The strange spark between them leaves Astrid wondering if this mysterious man could be the one meant to break her curse. But can she trust him?

From the moment Jerrick killed the only man Erec ever looked up to, Erec vowed to stop the crazed wolf. Partnering with the west-side pack seemed the logical move to accomplish that goal. But he never expected to fall for the alpha’s beautiful daughter, and now this lone wolf is wondering if she could be the one to save him from the curse.

With imminent dangers looming and the swirling patterns on their skin marking them for death, can Astrid and Erec save the west-side pack from the encroaching pack before their last Blue Moon rises in the sky?

my review

This wasn’t bad, if you like the kind of thing. I acknowledge that it’s competently written and edited and has a great cover. But I was only so-so on the book for personal preferences kind of reasons. Mostly, I consider a lot of the plot components low-hanging fruit in the storytelling department.

If you’re going to design a whole new fantasy world, but populate it with all the same mores, biases, and social norms as the real world, I consider it kind of lazy. And that’s what Brooks does here. One of primary tensions of the book is a woman who is always struggling to exist outside of men’s protective shadows. She’s considered amazing because she excels at some skills considered male. She (and other women eventually) want to prove themselves, so she convinces leadership to let women participate in some previously male-only activities and show themselves to be competent and useful. (There is no acknowledgement of the importance of female skills, only that women are equal because they too can do the things men do. But that’s another issue all together.)

Similarly, you see the big reveal (twist) coming about a mile off. It’s another plot device that’s frequently used. Having said all of that, both are tied into Brooks’ plot nicely and aren’t even overly ham-fisted. So, if you like this sort of story, I imagine you’ll like this one. It’s not badly done. It’s just been done and done and done again.

I will grant that Brooks’ claim “each book in the Shifters Unleashed series can be read as a standalone,” is proved true. I always distrust being told a book in a series can be read as a stand-alone. I’ve been burned so many times. But here it is 100% true. Other than sharing one origin myth, Wolf Marked and Tiger Claimed (which I also reviewed) have zero cross-over. They truly can be read as stand-alone books. I think whether you choose to and how much you’ll enjoy them will truly come down to a matter personal preferences.

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Book Review: Tiger Claimed, by Harper A. Brooks

I received a copy of Harper A. BrooksTiger Claimed for review from Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR. It was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight. But more importantly, it is kind of part of my Wolf Marked Reading Challenge (where I’m reading three books titled Wolf Marked); in the sense that my third, and last, Wolf Marked book is second in the Shifters Unleased series, with Tiger Claimed being book one. I was told the books stand alone and, in theory, that means I didn’t need to read Tiger Claimed before diving into Wolf Marked. But I don’t always trust that to be true. So, I went head and read Tiger Claimed before my final Wolf Marked. And while I would normally review them together, I’m posting reviews separately since I don’t actually have a copy of Brooks’ Wolf Marked in hand yet (though I expect to soon). I hope all of that makes as much sense on screen as it does in my head!


Centuries of hate and a legendary love to overcome it all…

One untimely trip to the marketplace makes Cara, a panther shifter, the prime suspect in the king’s murder. The tiger prince is set on seeing her rot in a prison cell, but she’ll do anything to keep her family from starving. Even agree to be imprisoned by the handsome tiger, who’s also her enemy.

Prince Kael is determined to claim vengeance for his father’s murder. He thought he could put his vendetta aside for the ceremonial Hunt, but one whiff of the panther suspect, and his inner tiger becomes unleashed. But in a cruel twist of fate, the magnetic bond he feels with Cara is one he can’t deny. And suddenly, he aches to claim her as his own.

The hatred between tigers and panthers is all their people know. If Kael and Cara follow their hearts, it could mean treason and death. Will they be blinded by the prejudice and sorrow of their pasts or will love finally reign free?

This was fluff—short on plot, depth and world development, high on drama and feels. But sometimes a little fluff is what a body needs. I liked both Cara and Kael. Cara was a strong heroine, self-sacrificing and up front in her beliefs. Kael was an endearing hero, large and imposing but no alpha-a-hole. The reader sees his insecurities and very real desire to do the right thing. True, the ‘love’ is all but instant. The couple goes from strangers…less than strangers (enemies really) to eternal, bonded, loving mates in about two days. And then they manage to undo the snarls of hated, self interest, and racism in seemingly just about as much time. So, maybe there’s not anything approaching believably here. But Brooks does make you feel for the couple and root for their success all the same. Lastly, mine was a ARC copy and might not have had it’s final copy edit, so I can’t comment on editing, but the writing is quite readable. I’m not disappointed to be committed to reading book two.

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