Author Archives: Sadie

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Book Review: Bride, by Ali Hazelwood

I purchased a copy of Ali Hazelwood‘s Bride at Barnes & Noble.

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Misery Lark, the only daughter of the most powerful Vampyre councilman of the Southwest, is an outcast—again. Her days of living in anonymity among the Humans are over: she has been called upon to uphold a historic peacekeeping alliance between the Vampyres and their mortal enemies, the Weres, and she sees little choice but to surrender herself in the exchange—again…

Weres are ruthless and unpredictable, and their Alpha, Lowe Moreland, is no exception. He rules his pack with absolute authority, but not without justice. And, unlike the Vampyre Council, not without feeling. It’s clear from the way he tracks Misery’s every movement that he doesn’t trust her. If only he knew how right he was….

Because Misery has her own reasons to agree to this marriage of convenience, reasons that have nothing to do with politics or alliances, and everything to do with the only thing she’s ever cared about. And she is willing to do whatever it takes to get back what’s hers, even if it means a life alone in Were territory…alone with the wolf.

my review

I was really pleasantly surprised by this one. It is trope-tastic and, therefore, super predictable if you’ve read any significant number of PNR books. So, don’t go in expecting anything radically new and inventive. In a very real sense, it is made up of the same-same as a million other PNR books.

But I liked the characters a lot. There’s some fun banter and sarcastic asides, and there are some interesting interspecies negotiations. Lowe pines marvelously. Despite having no significant POV in the book, the reader feels it. This is likely because the author’s writing is uncomplicated and easily readable. The book, and so the reader’s experience, flows nicely. All in all, I wish the next was already out so I could jump right in.

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“Bride” by Ali Hazelwood (Review)

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Book Review: Her Soul to Take, by Harley Laroux

I purchased a copy of Her Soul to Take by Harley Laroux.

Her Soul to Take cover

I earned my reputation among magicians for a reason: one wrong move and you’re dead. Killer, they called me, and killing is what I’m best at. Except her. The one I was supposed to take, the one I should have killed – I didn’t. The cult that once controlled me wants her, and I’m not about to lose my new toy to them.

I’ve always believed in the supernatural. Hunting for ghosts is my passion, but summoning a demon was never part of the plan. Monsters are roaming the woods, and something ancient – something evil – is waking up and calling my name. I don’t know who I can trust, or how deep this darkness goes. All I know is my one shot at survival is the demon stalking me, and he doesn’t just want my body – he wants my soul.

my review

I bought this before getting stuck in an airport with a significantly delayed flight. Which means I read most of it in one sitting. It served its purpose well on that front. It kept me amused. (Hope the people sitting to my left/right weren’t too shocked reading over my shoulder.)

I’ll fully admit the whole S&M kink isn’t one I particularly gravitate toward (I’m just a little too attuned to sex scenes that tread too close to gendered abuse in today’s climate.), and the ‘love’ here is expressed mostly through sex rather than any meaningful conversation or relationship building. But I did feel the author at least made the kink fit (Often, you can feel that the writer only included one or another kink because it’s on trend.), and the heroine was unabashedly into what she was into. So, there didn’t need to be the dreaded training scenes. (God, I’ve read so many training scenes. How different can any author really make them? I’m so entirely bored by them.) So, even if not a favorite, I felt the power dynamic and use of S&M worked here.

What I am into is a desperately obsessive, he-falls-first male lead. Leon is a demon, and the obsessive way he hyper-fixates on Rae feels like hedonistic, demonic behavior. It fits. It’s a weak basis for a romance, but it’s a strong base for why a historically murderous demon doesn’t murder one particular woman and protects her instead. A reader does just have to take it on romance-trope-faith that he is being legitimate and not simply enacting a deception in order to steal her soul, which, outside of romance-trope-faith, is the far more likely reality of the scenario presented in the story. Honestly, this little niggle always lurked in the back of my mind as I read. But I am as familiar with romance-trope-faith as any other romance reader. So, I persevered and overcame.

Rae (or Velma, as many other reviewers have called her, and they are right to do so) is likable enough. She’s not particularly smart about some things, but she’s also not TSTL either. Leon Her_Soul_to_take_photowas the real shining star for me, but Rae gave him enough reflective light to do so.

I also really enjoyed the Lovecraftian horror aspect of the plot. The solution was fairly obvious, the human villains were a little cliched, and the fact that their demise happened off-page (obviously enacted by the characters and likily the plot of the next book), felt jarringly anti-climactice. Overall, however, I’ll be reading that next book and will happily seek out more of Laroux’s writing.

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Her Soul To Take | Review

Review | Her Soul To Take

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Book Review: The Stone Dragon and the Moonshine Molly, by K.C. Norton & Jordan Riley Swan

I picked up a copy of The Stone Dragon and the Moonshine Molly by K.C. Norton and Jordan Riley Swan as an Amazon freebie. I’m not even sure I read the description. I just saw Dragons and such a great cover and went *click.*


It ain’t easy
running a speakeasy
in the dragon roaring ’20s.

Argyle Galloway always follows the rules, no matter the outcome. Without law and order to guide the Dragoncoat riders, the monsters and bugs swarming the Eastern Americas would destroy civilization. But when his dragon starts to shed its scales at the most inopportune time, he must hole up in a notorious speakeasy. The by-the-book Argyle is trying his best to keep on the straight and narrow. Yet he can’t resist the beautiful barkeep who pulls him deeper and deeper into the lawless realm of gangsters and rumrunners—even though she seems more dangerous than the dragon he rides…

Molly Walker wasn’t supposed to follow in her father’s criminal footsteps, but when he dies suddenly, she’s forced to take over his speakeasy or find herself living on the streets. She only intends to work the bar until she can find a buyer for it. Things spiral quickly out of control as clues surface, hinting that the robbery in which her father died might have been premeditated murder. Molly finds herself needing help from the stick-in-the-mud Argyle to solve the mystery, but she doesn’t know which is harder to do: figure out who killed her father while running his illegal bar, or keep herself from falling in love with the stranger who thinks she’s the biggest criminal of them all.


It’s the Roaring Twenties—speakeasies are around every corner, jazz is burning up Harlem, and the dragon population is booming. But it’s a lonely job for the brave Coat Wardens who patrol the skies of the Eastern Americas, as love is even harder to hold on to than the dragons they fly…

my review

I’m a little torn about how I feel about this book and that is partially because I don’t think it entirely knows what it wants to be genre-wise. It’s a fade-to-black romance involving new adults (early to mid-20s, one of which is one class short of a college degree and one of which has just finished the draconic version of flight school), but the language the book is written in is a very young adult. I realize it’s the author trying to play up and into cliched 1920s-speak. But it makes the characters feel like children, which then clashes with the adult plot points.

The book is also a little ham-fisted in its portrayal of the characters’ characterizations, Argyle’s especially. This, again, makes that characterization feel very young adult (if not middle-grade) coded. It is as if the author is writing for an audience that cannot be anticipated to identify character traits if they are not very obviously signposted repeatedly.

Outside of my sense of genre confusion, I generally liked the book. I thought the description of the dragons was new and unusual. I liked the characters well enough. And I thought it came to a satisfying (if somewhat sad) conclusion.

the stone dragon and the moonshine mollyAlso, as a little sidenote here on my own blog where I can safely be a little snarky, I take issue with the part of the blurb that says, “speakeasies are around every corner, jazz is burning up Harlem, and the dragon population is booming. But it’s a lonely job for the brave Coat Wardens who patrol the skies of the Eastern Americas.” The book is set in Knoxville, Tennessee. I feel like the description sets you up for one thing and delivers another. I have no preference, but I did kind of go “Knoxville? I thought it was gonna be in New York.”

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