Tag Archives: new adult romance

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Book Review: Dark Fate, by Karley Stafford

I accepted a review copy of Karley Stafford‘s Dark Fate as part of it’s book tour with Literary Book Tours. It was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight, earlier this year. So, you can hop over there for further information.
DARKFATE_highrescover

I am the alpha’s daughter, the alpha apparent, heir to our pack. A position I never wanted. I wish I could relinquish it to Cole, my shadow and second. But my father would be devastated, and the pack would surely ostracize me.

My world goes to hell when my father makes a deal with the Cavell Wolves, known widely for their cruelty. The deal in which I will marry Jasper, the heir to the savage northern pack. The last thing I need is a male to be by my side to become the Alpha my father raised me to be. What he doesn’t know, I’m already in love with a witch whom I would burn the world down for.

After a night gone wrong, betrayed by someone I trust, I find myself at the mercy of Marrock, my heinous father-in-law-to-be. Learning first hand of the atrocities he’s willing to commit to get what he wants. But I will not let him break my spirit.

my review

I think that the best I can say for Dark Fate is that it was OK. Now, it was OK. I’m not saying it was bad. The writing was clean and easily readable. There’s clear plot progression and I liked the characters. But it’s all about as subtle as a sledge hammer to the head in almost every regard.

The cataclysm was set in motion because the characters just yelled at one another with no actual communication. The main character got angry and stormed around constantly, showing absolutely no capacity for deeper or varied thought. The ‘loves’ were entered into/dismissed all but instantly. The sex scenes with the male characters were blunt affairs that, while not bad, didn’t fit either the places in the book they existed or were the sort of sex to fit the situation or characters (either of them). The betrayal didn’t feel believable, based on the character up to that point or the other coven members after the fact. (And it was a huge missed opportunity to explore several themes that would have added depth and color to the narrative.) The loss that prompted the attitudinal shift in the main character was over the top for what was needed and wasn’t built up to at all. The villain was a generic sexual sadist with no shades grey. And overcoming him happened so easily that one has to wonder why anyone even hesitated to take him on, leading to the events of the book.

Speaking of events leading up to the conclusion—and this is spoilery, be warned—Stafford at no point acknowledges (or even seems to notice) that for all the tragedy and death, or the importance put on how the main character wouldn’t bend to the will of another, etc. She ended up doing 100%, exactly what was wanted from her to begin with, mating Jasper. One conversation with…damn near anyone and there could have been a resolution. (And no, that wasn’t the point.)

dark fate photoHaving said all that. I think it’s all just basically the foibles of a first book. Stafford shows a lot of potential here and I’d read another of their books. The only real, rage inducing complaint I have that I won’t chalk up to First Book Syndrome is what I deem queer baiting in the first quarter of the book. While I appreciate a bi-sexual/pan-sexual heroine and there was actually F/F sex, this was ultimately a MFM menage book and, to me, the F/F start felt like baiting because of how it all worked out by the end. (Though it does very narrowly avoid the Bury Your Gays trope.)

So, all in all, I’m calling this OK. I don’t discourage anyone from picking it up. But I also don’t suggest diving in expecting a well fleshed out masterpiece.


Other Reviews:

prince of never

Book Review: Prince of Never, by Juno Heart

Prince of Never

I won an Audio copy of Juno Heart‘s Prince of Never from the author.

about the book

A fae prince with a poisoned heart. A mortal girl with a magical voice. Neither one believes in fairy tales.

City waitress Lara has the voice of an angel and no idea she’s marked as the fated mate of a silver-eyed royal from another realm. When she falls into Faery and meets an obnoxious huntsman who mistakes her for a troll, she’s amazed to discover he’s the cursed Prince of Air in disguise. Ever’s mother, the queen, is less than impressed. The opposing court of techno-loving Unseelie wants her as their very own pet. And an evil air mage wishes her dead.

Held captive by Elemental fae in the Land of Five, she’s certainly hit rock bottom.

But songs wield power, and Lara happens to be a true diva. Now if only she can use her newfound magical skill to make the Prince of Never a little less attractive. The first thing she wants is to find a way back home, and the last is to fall in love.

Ever and Lara think they know what they want, but destiny and an age-old curse have other ideas.

Book 1, a standalone with a HEA in the Y.A. interconnected series, each one starring a different cruel prince and his human fated mate.

For lovers of Faery. Above all else, romance rules.

my review

Not bad at all, but also not anything too new and exciting. I liked Laura. I liked that the author showed her thought processes. Rather than having her just talk endlessly, for example, we know she’s made a conscious decision to make a point to irritate someone by talking. I liked Ever and enjoyed that the author did a good job showing his feelings change and his own confusion with them. The writing is clean and easy to listen to, and the narrators both did a good job.

However, I’m bummed that the villain and the plot hinge on the cliched spurned woman. *yawn* Laura’s personality mirrors so many other female YA character—kind and giving above all else—so, seen a hundred times before. And Laura seemed able to mouth off to authority without consequence, an irritating trait in YA heroines. Or rather, not in the heroines themselves, but of the authors and writings of such heroines. I always notice when heroines are allowed behaviors no one else is and want to know why. Especially when the hero then loves that same trait in them. Chicken and egg, anyone?

All in all, I enjoyed it and I’d be willing to read another of Heart’s books.

prince of never

 

Feast-of-the-Mother

Book Review: Feast of the Mother, by Miranda Honfleur and Nicolette Andrews

feast of the mother

I picked up Miranda Honfleur and Nicolette Andrews‘ book Feast of the Mother when it was free on Amazon. I seem to recall that it was part of a group freebie event.

about the book

A witch. A murder. A curse…

Beneath the murky waters of the lake, an ancient being slumbers, and Brygida is its servant. Kept sheltered in the woods by her mothers from the nearby village, Brygida has never had so much as a friend—until the day she meets a charming stranger painting by the lake. He invites her to the village’s harvest feast, but her taste of the forbidden ends with a murder.

Called into service for the first time, Brygida must take up her ancestral duty as Reaper of Death and solve the murder within three days. If she brings the murderer to the lake on the third day, the being she serves will be sated. If she fails, Brygida herself will be drawn beneath the murky waters, and the village massacred. There’s only one problem: the main suspect is her charming painter, Kaspian.

As Brygida investigates, the dangers are many and answers few. The village and her family stand against her, and with time running short, the lake demands a price. Brygida believes Kaspian is innocent, but can she stake her life on it, when failure means condemning the rest of the village, and being dragged into the deep…?

my review

 

As I said, I picked up Feast of the Mother as an Amazon freebie. As we all know, Amazon freebies are hit and miss. I’m happy to say this one is a hit. It’s a tad on the repetitive side and the plot isn’t very deep (essentially being a murder mystery with a smallish pool of suspects). But the characters are likeable and have some depth, the world interesting, the writing quite readable, and conclusion satisfying. I’d have liked the villain to have been more developed and would have enjoyed seeing everyone’s contrition (but acknowledge it probably would have been inelegant to include it). All in all, I’ll be happy to read another of Honfleur and Andrews’ books.

feast of the mother