Tag Archives: self published

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Book Review: Soul Eater, by Lily Mayne

I received a copy of Lily Mayne‘s Soul Eater a Renegade Romance box.
Soul eater cover

Twenty years ago, monsters rose on earth and began a new age of civilization.

One where humans live in military-controlled, cramped and dirty cities along the coasts, and the majority of the United States is known as the Wastes. A lawless, desolate and dangerous place, teeming with monsters that have claimed the land for their own.

Including Wyn the Soul Eater.

He appears every three years, making his way across the country and slaughtering humans randomly, sucking them dry until they’re nothing but husks.

I’ve only been in the military for six months, but now I’m part of a unit tasked with trying to stop and capture him. And when I’m the only soldier out of hundreds that the Soul Eater leaves alive, I realise that… something about me has intrigued him.

But what is it? What could a twenty-three year old guy from the south, with no one and nothing in the world, have possibly done to capture the attention of a death monster with horns, blackened fingertips and a face hidden in the dark depths of his hood?

my review

This was really sweet, and I enjoyed it. I liked all of the characters, even the side one. But there really isn’t anything to it except the romance, and that left me a tad bored. There is no particular mystery or challenge to the plot (other than survival). There isn’t a lot of world-building. There are no significant characters outside of the main heroes and a side character who stars in the next book in the series. So, ultimately, though I liked the book, I wasn’t lit on fire by it. I have the next one, and I plan to read it though.

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Other Review:

Niblioholic: Review Soul Eater


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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

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Book Review: Stolen by the Orc Commander, by K.L. Wyatt

This was a Tiktok made me do it purchase. I bought a signed copy of K.L. Wyatt‘s Stolen By the Orc Commander.

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A human girl set on revenge…

Orcs and humans have been at war with each other for as long as Snow can remember. Orphaned as a child, she has spent her years as a tracker, known only as the ‘Hooded Bandit’ by the king’s men. Stealing anything she can in order to survive the harsh human lands of Everdean. The only thing keeping her going is the determination to make those responsible for her family’s death suffer.

When a routine carriage robbery goes south, Snow finds herself face to face with the notorious orc commander himself. Taken as his captive and returned to Orc Mountain, Snow has a new goal: escape from the mountain no matter the cost.

An orc commander determined to end the war…

Azogg the Destroyer is a skilled fighter. As leader of the orc army, he despises humans more than most. The war has destroyed their homelands, leaving them all to suffer in the mountains. As commander, he knows that he must find a way to end this conflict once and for all.

With no other choice, Azogg finds himself tracking a royal advisor…only to have his plans upended by a sickly human female. One he quickly discovers is not what she seems. Azogg is resistant to trusting a human, but her extensive knowledge of the royal trade routes makes her the ultimate find.

Could this human be the key to ending the war?

Tempers and passion flare as both Snow and Azogg realize the only way forward is for them to work together. Will this unlikely pair be able to put aside decades of hate and distrust? Or will factors beyond their control drive them apart before they get the chance?

Welcome to Orc Mountain.

my review

Note: Spoilery rant incoming. 

I wanted so badly to love this. The cover is awesome. I’m all about the orc romances, any monsters, really. I had high hopes. But I hated this. The editing is a hit or miss and the plotting leaves a lot to be desired, but the mechanical writing is perfectly readable. I just hated the story.

I spent too much time like, What? Just because we see his internal monologue and that he’s torn up about things (that’s sarcasm because we actually see very little of it), I’m supposed to miss the fact that he treats her like complete shit in every single interaction? There is absolutely nothing for a reader to connect with in this romance. Not even sex, because we don’t get a sex scene until around page 130 (in a 178-page book). So, it doesn’t even have being porn-with-plot as an excuse for its lack of anything to connect to.

There is just a male who avoids the woman we are supposed to believe he falls in love with, then shows up to treat her like garbage, and then avoids her some more before showing up to mistreat her again, over and over and over again. And a female main character who suddenly loses her heart literally like a day into the whole ordeal (not counting the unconscious one). Again, I was just like, What? Why? WTF?

It was so bad that by the time we finally did get the sex scenes, I was just pissed off that she accepted him. I was flat-out mad. The breaking point for me was when he crushed her by cruelly telling her she was worthless and should leave, and she was still there when he got back. Fair enough, you need a few days to get supplies and make preparations. But that wasn’t it. She chose to stay for him. At that moment, I was done. I finished the book just to finish it.

But, Nah, there was nothing for me here. I was flat-out pissed off for her. Fuck that guy, and not in a good way. And fuck her for being willing to let that man consistently treat her like he did and mysteriously fall in love with him. There was no romance in this romance. And, for the record, it’s not dark romance. I can’t even console myself that the darkness is the point. It’s not. It’s trying to be a romance and just completely failing.

I see what the author was going for, but it apparently takes a defter hand than she has. What she was going for requires push and pull, and there is no pull here. So, the relationship progression made no sense in context. Not even the fated mate aspect could rescue it for me.

The dude basically abandoned her in Orc Mountain, and she makes a whole life for herself—friends, accomplishments, she even gets a god damned pet—and he isn’t part of any of it. He’s nowhere to be found. Well, he pops up to be a dick every now and again. What am I, as a reader, supposed to find appealing in that? There are no scenes that make you go “aww,” no hot sex scenes to divert your attention, no challenge overcome together, no deep conversations (hardly any conversations at all), there is nothing prior to the sudden and unexplainable love that explains it or engages the reader.

Sure, he groveled a bit. But it was far too little, far too late. By that point, the fact that she was there to hear him out at all, let alone willing to hear him out, made no sense to me and pissed me off.

The ending was also just ridiculously predictable but somehow unnecessary. She had to sneak stolen by the orc commander photoin somewhere through a convenient secret tunnel (because, of course, she did), and then he was immediately sent in after her. So, why did she specifically need to sneak in in the first place? Obviously, so that the plot could contort so he can save her. But I’d have rathered she be the hero if I had to sit through such predictability. The book felt about a million pages long.

I appreciated the full-figured heroine and the LGBTQ rep. But I just didn’t enjoy the characters at all, and that meant I couldn’t enjoy the story. This was a big ol’ flop for me, and it was 100% because of choices the author made in plotting.

Other Reviews:

@whatsgnat I really like the characters and world, but everything else around it just wasn’t a hit for me. #booktok #books #bookishtiktok #bookishthoughts #booktiktok #bookish #book #monsterromance #monsterromancebooks #????booktok #????book #bookreview #bookreviews #bookreviewer #booksididntlike #bookfyp #fyp #bookthoughts ♬ original sound – Nat ✨️